CW Ops Wanted

Jim, K8ELR, forwarded this to me this afternoon:

KURDISTAN DXPEDITION NEEDS MORSE OPS
Paul Ewing, N6PSE, says that he has several open positions for CW operators on the DXpedition team headed to Kurdistan in April. Ewing says that costs for this DXpedition are quite reasonable and they will be operating from a very safe and secure facility. Anyone interested in joining the DXpedition team may contact Ewing directly by e-mail to paul (at) n6pse (dot) com or check out the website at www.yi9pse.com. (GB2RS)

According to the website, they plan on running two CW stations, each equipped with an ICOM IC-7600 and SteppIR beam antenna and 300-ft. Beverage antenna.

The current team includes:

  • N6PSE – Paul Ewing
  • N6OX – Bob Grimmick
  • JH4RHF – Jun Tanaka
  • AH6HY – David Flack
  • N2WB – Bill Beyer
  • YI1UNH – Heathem Sabah
  • K3VN – Al Hernandez
  • K3LP – David Collingham
  • WØUCE – Jack Ritter
  • W5KDJ – Wayne Rogers
  • FM5CD – Michel Brunelle

A VOIP Contest??

In my e-mail just now, I got the following:

Hi , Daniel

My name is Rick, and my call sign is XXXX. I’ve been a contester since 2004 when I became a ham, and I love it!

I wanted you to see this information from a friend of mine, Trippy, about a new contest that will be held in March of this year! I will be in it myself, and I hope to work you in it.

Please tell every contester you know about this new contest. I look forward to working you!

73,

Rick, XXXX
PS, contest letter and announcement from Trippy to you, is below

There were several problems with this e-mail. First of all, there was no attachment. Second, this was obviously spam. I don’t know Rick or Trippy, nor have I ever worked them on the air. Third, I just can’t excited about a CQ100 contest.

Here’s my reply:

Hello, Rick–

First, there was no attachment.

Second, as I hope you know, CQ100 isn’t really a new mode. It’s a computer program that simulates amateur radio contacts using the voice over Internet protocol (VOIP).

I’m not one of those OFs (old farts) who gets all hot and bothered about the use of VOIP in ham radio. I use EchoLink when it’s appropriate and feel that it does have a place in ham radio. Having said that, I just can’t get very excited about a “contest” that takes place over a VOIP network, especially one that you have to pay for! Operating a “contest” over VOIP is like shooting fish in a barrel.

If you’re having fun with CQ100, more power to you. I think, however, that you’ll have a lot more fun by actually radiating some RF energy of your own.

73!

Dan KB6NU

What do you all think?

Calling All Rookies – Get on the Air for the Rookie Roundup

From the 2/18/10 ARRL Letter:

The ARRL Rookie Roundup is designed to help newly licensed amateurs build their operating skills on HF. It is a contest specifically for those new to Amateur Radio, similar to the ARRL Novice Roundup that ran from 1952 until 1995. The Rookie Roundup brings the fun and Elmering of the old Novice Roundup into the 21st century. Three Rookie Roundups will be held each calendar year: SSB in April, RTTY in August and CW in December.

The Rookie Roundup will be scored 100 percent in real time through the www.getscores.org scoring system. There are three ways to participate: by using your favorite logging software with the real time scoring support, by downloading a simple logging program from the www.getscores.org Web site or by logging your contacts directly into a www.getscores.org Web page. No separate logs are required — it all happens online in real time and final scores will be available online within hours of the end of the contest! More information is available on all of these options at www.getscores.org. Of course, you can get on the air and make contacts without logging them, but you won’t have as much fun!

Who Can Participate?
Any ham licensed for 3 years or less qualifies as a Rookie. If you were licensed in 2008, 2009 or 2010, you can compete in the 2010 Rookie Roundup. Non-Rookies may only work Rookies, while Rookies may work everybody. A major part of the success of this contest will be non-Rookies getting on the air and working the Rookies, just as in the Novice Roundup. Just like in the Novice Roundups of years past (when Novices could work anyone and non-Novices could only work Novices), Rookies may work anyone, be they Rookie or non-Rookie; however, non-Rookies are limited to only working Rookies.

Entry Categories
Single Operator Rookie, limited to a maximum of 100 W. Spotting assistance or using call sign and frequency alerting systems is allowed, but self-spotting or asking somebody to spot you is not. All Rookies must identify themselves as a rookie. Example: “Kilo Bravo One Quebec Alfa Whiskey, Rookie.” Non-Rookies only need give their call; no designation is needed.

Awards
Certificates will be available for all participants to download. The top five high scores from each US call area, Canadian province and Mexican call area will be recognized on their certificate. No national winners will be recognized.

Go to www.getscores.org for more information on how to participate. Be sure to check out the April 2010 issue of QST for complete rules and other information. The Rookie Roundup — a fun event for all amateurs!

Sounds like fun to me. Every Elmer should get on and participate along with the rookies.

SSTV Live

Jim, K8ELR, has really gotten into operating the digital modes down at the museum. So, I was interested to see a notice on the HamRadioHelpGroup mailing list that the KB7TBT SSTV Web Page was back online. On this page, James, KB7TBT displays a number of live feeds.

KB7TBT SSTV CQ ScreenDon, KB9UMT, the list moderator, asked if someone could explain SSTV and how to operate it. James replied:

Q. What is SSTV?
A. SSTV is a picture transmission method used by amateur radio operators to
transmit and receive static pictures via radio in either color or
monochrome.

Q. What does SSTV stand for?
A. SSTV stands for “Slow Scan Television.”

Q. What does one need to participate or use SSTV?
A. A Ham Radio license to transmit.

Q. What does SSTV sound like?
A. To listen to a sample of SSTV: http://www.qrp.org.uk/sstv_test-1.wav.

Q. Can someone just listen in or receive only for SSTV?
A. Anyone can receive, just like any radio receiving it does not require a
license. Install the software and place your computer microphone against the receiver speaker, it’s that easy!

Q. What frequencies are there or where does one listen on HF for this SSTV activity?
A. The most popular is 14.230 MHz during daylight hours (due to
propagation).

Q. Can this also be used on VHF/UHF?
A. YES! 145.500 simplex is a popular VHF frequency for SSTV. (I have even used
a 2M FM Repeater a few times). The ISS has SSTV on board and the downlink freq is 145.800 when in use. UHF is used as well but I am not familiar with the freq.’s.

Q. Can SSTV be used anywhere or is ther rules on this…and or band plans?
A. Analogue SSTV is classified as an IMAGE MODE. Voice and Image most of the
time go together. (Check your local band plans and rules.) There is some difference in opinion but analogue SSTV is NOT a digital mode. (I personally disagree)

Q. Is this a SSB mode always or can this be used FM also?
A. FM and SSB can be used, just remember to operate within your local band
plan.

Q. What software is there for this..or are there different kinds of SSTV?
A. Ham Radio Deluxe offers a fantastic program for SSTV and it is free. (HRD
Digital Master 780 – This is what I use.) There is also MM-SSTV, a bit outdated but still works well and is free. (Not sure how well it works on Win7 or Vista)

Q. Are there other online SSTV web pages to watch SSTV?
A. Why would you want to watch any other page but mine? ok, ok, there are many websites around the world. To see pictures from around the world go to my SSTV page and scroll down. All the thumbnails have links to the websites they come from.

Q. Can you DX using SSTV?
A. YES! I send and receive pictures from all over the world.

Q. Are there SSTV nets?
A. Yes, just do a search for SSTV Nets. One website I have found lists both analog SSTV nets and digital SSTV nets.

Operating Notes – 2/17/10

Some random notes about operations here at KB6NU and WA2HOM over the past couple of weeks:

  • Novices! In the past two weeks, I’ve worked two Novices. Both were a little shakey, but I’m glad to see them still getting on the air. I guess I fell into the trap that anyone who still had a Novice license was probably not really interested in ham radio any more. I’m going to send them a QSL card and encourage them to stay in the hobby and upgrade.
  • Sunspots! Old Sol must be getting a bit spotty again. Last Sunday, I fired up the rig on 15m after hearing some guys say on the ham radio mailing lists that I’m on that the band was open. Indeed it was. I worked EI6IZ (who was just booming in), CO8WZ, and an N7 station in CO. This morning, I worked a guy who said that 12m has been open, too. I should put together a fan dipole for 12m and 17m and see what kind of trouble I can get into.
  • Short skip. Over the past couple of days, the skip on 40m has been really short at times. Saturday morning, down at the museum, we worked AA8N, who is in Flint, MI, just 70 miles or so up I-75. Since then, I’ve worked a station in Richmond, IN (180 miles) and one in Newark, OH (170 miles) on 40m. It’s an interesting phenomenon.
  • LOOOONG Skip! This morning, around 4 am, I found myself unable to get back to sleep. What would any typical ham do in that situation? Get on the air, of course. Tuning around 40m, I copied a fairly weak signal whose prefix I thought was “HW0.” That didnt’ sound right to me, so I kept listening. Turns out the station was 5W0OU in Western Samoa (about 6,800 miles). It took a couple of calls, but eventually he heard me. So, I’ve got another one in the log.

Ain’t ham radio fun?

The Transistor Museum Dedicated to Preserving the History of Semiconductors

The Transistor Museum’s tagline is “Dedicated to Preserving the History of the Greatest Invention of the 20th Century,” and it does a pretty good job of it. On this website you’ll find articles on:

  • The First Germanium Hobbyist Transistors
  • Early Transistors at Motorola
  • The First Transistor in Space
  • Norman Krim, the Father of the CK722 Transistor
  • a whole lot more

Like all good museums, they also have a museum store. They sell a couple of books on the early semiconductors as well as some of those transistors themselves. They’re kind of pricey, though. A 2N60 or 2N609, for example, costs $20.

Who Said Teens Aren’t Into Ham Radio

Who says teenagers aren’t into ham radio? Check out TeenRadioJourney.Com. Written and produced by Paul, KC9QYB, this website contains both blog posts and podcasts for teenaged ham radio ops (as well as us OFs as well.)

The latest version, episode 14, talks about three aspects of Elmering, including:

  • promoting the hobby,
  • Elmering, and
  • study help.

There’s lots of other good stuff there, too.

University of Miami’s Ham Radio Station Helping Haiti

Here’s a story that appeared on the University of Miami’s website a couple of days ago:

Like so many post-quake emergencies, this one was urgent. Doctors at the University of Miami’s hospital in Haiti knew a 13-year-old survivor of the January 12 cataclysm would not live without surgery. But they were not equipped to perform it.

With cell phone and satellite phone coverage spotty, and land lines destroyed, neither could the doctors summon an ambulance nor call other makeshift hospitals to search for one that could help the teen-aged girl.

Fortunately, they had the world’s first, and still most reliable, wireless technology just 25 yards outside the hospital’s pediatrics tent – the impromptu ham radio station Ronald Bogue, assistant vice president for facilities and services, and UM alumnus Julio Ripoll established to ensure uninterrupted communications between the hospital at the edge of the Port-au-Prince airport and the Global Institute/Project Medishare’s Haiti Relief Task Force on the Miller School campus.

Bogue never dreamed, though, that Haiti’s WX4NHC, an offshoot of the ham station Ripoll founded at the National Hurricane Center as an architecture student 30 years ago, would evolve into a vital lifeline that has saved countless lives.

read the whole story…

FDIM a Fantastic Event!

In conjunction with the Dayton Hamvention, the QRP Amateur Radio Club (QRP-ARCI) hosts what they call Four Days in May (FDIM). The highlight of FDIM is the seminar on Thursday, the day before the Hamvention starts. I’ve attended twice, and will most likely be attending this year. The seminar includes sessions on any number of ham radio topics, not just QRP. In the past, these have included antennas, software-defined radio, and making a regenerative receiver tuned with a lipstick tube.

Steve, G4GXL, writes to the qrp-l.org mailing list:

The team are now back from Hamcation (well, most of them), so we are now accepting online registrations for FDIM 2010 !

For those that are new here, FDIM is ‘Four Days In May’ and is organised by QRP ARCI. The biggest QRP event of the year which runs in parallel with the Dayton Hamvention. Anyone can attend – you do not have to be a QRP ARCI member. We expect around 400 QRPers this year at the Seminars, evening events and Gala Banquet.

To book for the Seminar and/or Banquet, hover over the  ‘Register Here’ button and click on ‘Seminars and Banquet’. You can book for yourself and up to 6 other people on a single form. Pay immediately afterwards using Paypal.

The Buildathon can also be booked online with a similar procedure (place are limited to 30 !)

Room reservation details are on the website. Essentially – reserve through Hank K8DD to get the QRP ARCI group rate and free breakfast each day.

Any problems with registration – email me direct (steve@g4gxl.com).

Any queries about FDIM to Norm, WA4ZXV (FDIM Chairman) at fdim@qrparci.org.

See you there!

NTS Going Digital?

From Jay Nugent, WB8TKL, AEC Washtenaw — NTS Liasion & Packet Operations, Michigan Section ASM for Digital Technologies:

Over the last couple weeks the Michigan Section National Traffic System (NTS-Digital) has been experimenting with using the digital mode “Olivia” on 75-meters to pass NTS formatted messages. Attendance has varied from just a handfull of participants to a dozen or more. This is a new mode for traffic handling and Net operations, so there are a number of bugs and procedures to be worked out.

Users are invited to fire up their HF rigs and digital decoders and follow along as these traffic nets evolve. And please check-in if you are able and willing. The next net will be held using Olivia 500/8 near 3583 KHz on Feb 16th at 2100 hours local.

Contact Jay for the latest net report and updates to their evolving operating procedure.