Antenna Installation Instructions

On the Tacos mailing list, Mark, KB3OGD, posted the following:

I was reading the installation instructions for a particular brand of television antenna, and I thought that the last warning would be useful for all of us:  “WARNING Do not attempt to install if drunk, pregnant or both. Do not throw antenna at spouse.”

That is good advice, but I’m surprised that they actually published it.

QSO #10,000!

Eight years ago, I got back into ham radio after a fairly long hiatus. The first QSO I logged back then was XE2AHN on Saturday, August 10, 2002 on 20m CW. Coincidentally, I started blogging shortly afterwards.

Well, yesterday, I reached a milestone. I logged QSO #10,000 here at KB6NU. The QSO was with Wilbur, KB1CL, on 40m CW. If you do the math, that works out to just over 3.25 QSOs per day. That doesn’t include contacts I’ve made over the years using our club calls at special events, Field Day and other contests. I’m guessing that number to be at least 750, so overall, I am going to claim an average of at least 3.5 QSOs per day.

More QSOs
Another milestone  passed recently was 1,000 QSOs in the log at WA2HOM, our station down at the museum. We made that QSO a couple of weeks ago.  I’ve probably made the majority of those QSOs, so I think I’m pretty safe in claiming an average of 3.5 QSOs per day.

QRZ Lookups
Finally, I now have more than 10,500 lookups on QRZ.Com. That goes hat in hand with the number of QSOs. Of course, there are DX stations with many more lookups, and that’s kind of humbling. I forget which station it was, but when I recently looked them up on QRZ.Com, they had more  than 100,000.

MI Tech Prof Gunning for Ham Frequencies?

Is a Michigan Tech electrical engineering professor aiming at ham frequencies? In the article, “Sharing the Airwaves: Michigan Tech’s Tian Researches Cognitive Radio,” there’s a line, “Meanwhile, frequencies in other bands used by amateur radios and pagers are rarely bogged down by too much traffic.” It goes on to describe Tian’s research into cognitive radio, a technology that allows radios “to dynamically pick the best frequencies and use them to transmit their signals.”

Of course, Tian is not trying to horn in on the amateur radio bands. She’s just trying to use the radio spectrum more efficiently. It’s fascinating technology, too. I’m trying to imagine how something like this would work on 2m.

Of course, the problem on 2m anymore is not too much traffic, but not enough. Perhaps we could make our network of 2m repeaters smart enough so that they connect two stations no matter where they are as long as they are in the coverage area of the network. That might boost usage, which would be a good thing.

N5LU, KB6ZL, and WB8KVS

A couple of days ago, I worked Bill, N5LU.  I had worked him a couple of years ago and noted in my logbook that his previous call was KB6ZL. I thought it quite a coincidence that his previous callsign was so close to mine.

This time, I got the rest of the story. As it turns out, Bill was living in Concord, CA at the time, and took the Advanced Class test at the San Francisco FCC office, where I’d taken the test a month or so earlier.

Now, if  you think that’s coincidental, listen to this. Prior to living in California, Bill lived here in Michigan—Milan, MI, to be exact, which is just down the road from Ann Arbor. His original callsign was WB8KVS, and he took the General Class test at the FCC office in Detroit.  Before I moved to California, I lived in the Detroit area, and my original callsign was WB8KTZ. I also took the test at the Detroit FCC office, again just a month or so before Bill did.

He beat me to the 1×2 calls, but I still think I’m hanging on to my 2×2 call.

More Ham Videos

Here are a couple of videos whose links were sent to me via the many ham-radio mailing lists that I’m on:

A Ham’s Night Before Christmas. KN4AQ’s version of the Christmas class “Night Before Christmas.” Thanks to John, W8AUV, for sending me this link.

Six year old ham on Letterman

Sorry about the quality of this image, but the video itself isn't all that good.

Six-Year-Old Ham on Letterman. Gary, KN4AQ, who posted this to the PR List says, “I was putting my “Ham’s Night Before Christmas” video up on Ham Radio Tube (www.hamradiotube.com) and I came across this video from the Dave Letterman show back in 1993.” Veronica, KC6TQR, (now 26) responded on YouTube. She says she’s not very active – just talks to her family.”

International Morse Code, Hand Sending. This is a Morse Code training film produced by the Army in 1966. The lessons are still applicable today, even when using a paddle and keyer to send Morse Code. It has a sense of humor, too. Thanks to Don KA9QJG, for posting this to the HamRadioHelpGroup mailing list.

ARRL’s “Five Pillars”

ARRL's Five Pillars

Shouldn't membership be the "first pillar"?

While we’re talking about the ARRL, here’s another thing that just occurred to me.

While I was on the Media Hits page (see previous post), I noticed a link to the ARRL Five Pillars. As shown, the five pillars are:

  • Public Service
  • Advocacy
  • Education
  • Technology
  • Membership

Now, I have no beef with these pillars, but shouldn’t membership be first? After all, without membership you really don’t have any of the other four. I’d really like to see the ARRL put the members first. It would make the organization stronger and allow it to do even more in the other areas.

Also, if you page through the slide show and get to the membership section, there’s no mention at all of club services. This is yet another indication about how the ARRL really feels about clubs. There’s always lots of talk about how clubs are the lifeblood of amateur radio, but where the rubber meets the road, there’s really very little in the way of club support.

Want to Know What the Media Think About Ham Radio?

If you’re interested in how the media views ham radio these days, then go to the ARRL’s Media Hits page. On this page, Allen, W1AGP, the ARRL Media & Public Relations Manager, is collecting information about media coverage of amateur radio, and where appropriate, links to the coverage. There are many more media hits on this page than there is space for in the Media Hits column in QST.

Local Community Radio Act Enables Low-Power FM Stations

Prometheus Radio ProjectYesterday, the U.S. Senate passed the Local Community Radio Act, and the bill will now be sent to the White House for President Obama’s signature. This act will expand the low power FM (LPFM) service created by the FCC in 2000 – a service the FCC created to address the shrinking diversity of voices on the radio dial. Over 800 LPFM stations, all locally owned and non-commercial, are already on the air. The stations are run by churches, schools, non-profit organizations, local governments, and emergency responders.

The bill repeals restrictions on LPFM stations put in place by Congress in 2000 at the behest of commercial broadcasters. The restrictions unfairly limit the frequencies available to LPFMs by allowing low power stations on every fourth frequency instead of every third. This means that if there is a full power station on 91.3 MHz, an LPFM station must be 800 kHz away on the dial at 92.1 MHz, instead of 600 kHz away, at 91.9 MHz. These restrictions are called third adjacency restrictions, because 91.9 MHz is the third adjacent channel, and 92.1 MHz is the fourth. The Local Community Radio Act allows LPFMs on third adjacent channels across the US.

Commercial broadcasters claimed that allowing LPFM stations stations to transmit only 600 kHz away from their stations would cause interference. A $2.2 million study conducted by the MITRE Corporation, however, disputed these claims. The results of the study so conclusively debunked the claims of commercial broadcasters that Congress stopped the study early to avoid unnecessarily spending more taxpayer money. In short, the study found that interference between low power stations and full power on third adjacent channels is not an issue.

Many different groups worked on getting this bill passed. They include the Prometheus Radio Project, Future of Music Coalition, Media and Democracy Coalition, Media Access Project, National Hispanic Media Coalition, United Church of Christ Office of Communication, Inc., U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Christian Coalition, Catholic Radio Association, MoveOn.org, ColorOfChange.org, New America Foundation, Media and Democracy Coalition and others.

While this news is not specifically ham-radio related, but it is radio-related, and I can see some hams becoming involved with and providing technical support for community-based, low-power radio stations around the country. What do you think?

Here a some links to get more info on LPFM:

December 2010 Issue of Spectrum Matters Now Available

The latest appeal for funds newsletter on spectrum allocation is now available from the ARRL website. This issue does have a couple of articles worth reading, i.e. items on how other IARU members are working on spectrum allocation issues and how the ARRL is responding to the National Broadband Plan. Unfortunately, the newsletter also contains three columns from Chief Executive Officer K1ZZ, Chief Technical Officer NQ4X, and Chief Development Officer K4MMH and a display ad that once again make the newsletter look like just another way to beg for more money.

New Rules Governing Vanity, Club Station Call Signs Coming February 14

SB QST @ ARL $ARLB030
ARLB030 New Rules Governing Vanity, Club Station Call Signs to Take Effect February 14

ZCZC AG30
QST de W1AW
ARRL Bulletin 30 ARLB030
From ARRL Headquarters
Newington CT December 16, 2010
To all radio amateurs

SB QST ARL ARLB030
ARLB030 New Rules Governing Vanity, Club Station Call Signs to Take Effect February 14

On Wednesday, December 15, new rules affecting vanity and club station call signs within the Amateur Radio Service were published in the Federal Register. They can be found on the Web in PDF format. These new rules will go into effect on February 14, 2011.

Thirteen months ago, the FCC announced its intention of modifying Part 97 as it applies to the vanity call sign system and club station call signs, aligning the rules to prior Commission decisions. Last month, the Commission released a Report and Order (R&O), outlining its decision. Along with the changes to the call
sign rules, the FCC made “certain minor, non-substantive amendments” to portions of Part 97.
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