A CQWW Story

I got this story from Bill, NA8M, in this morning’s e-mail:

Sunday, I heard XP1A working stations right and left,  passing out “59 40″ like there’s no tomorrow.  He was funny in that he had his mic on VOX and got tangled up in the call signs occasionally.

Then he said, “Gentlemen I need to take a break.  My butt is getting too flat.”  He went away.  Since I didn’t have zone 40 yet, I hung around.  Then he returns to the mic and begins a round of endless, “XP1A XP1A XP1A XP1A XP1A …” and won’t listen for anyone.  I get frustrated and put him in a memory slot and dial past.

A bit later, my curiosity gets the better of me and I QSY back to XP1A’s frequency. Again, he’s passing out “59 40″ like crazy.  I climb into the pile-up and give him a call.  Well, actually, lots of calls.  No joy.

Then, out of the blue, he says, “I’ve got to clean the frequency.  XP1A XP1A XP1A XP1A XP1A XP1A …” without coming up for air.  It was so funny!  I had to walk away.  Just when you think you’ve heard it all, you run across something like this.

This was my first frequency cleaning.  Even though I never did work him, it was entertaining!

Ham Radio in the News – October 31, 2001

Here is the latest Ham Radio in the News:

99-year-old Ham radio operator still tuned in. This story speaks for itself. I hope I’m still making QSOs when I’m 99.

KL7OT Makes a Contact

Arlene “Buddy” Clay, 99, with her Ham radio set up. After 67 years living along the Kuskokwim River, in January she moved from Aniak to the Primrose Retirement Community in Wasilla. (from The Frontiersman)

Radio club helps to make Halloween a treat. I like this article because it describes ham radio providing a public service that is not emergency communications. I also like the name of the newspaper: The Daily Gleaner.

150 years ago, a primitive Internet united the USA. While not directly related to ham radio, this article puts our current communications technology in perspective. The telegraph was the invention that set the stage for today’s Internet.

Tesla’s Lab on the Air November 5

From Hamilton, KD0NFR:

Wardenclyffe, Nikola Tesla’s last laboratory will be on the air November 5th as special event station W3T! Wardenclyffe is located in Shoreham, NY on Long Island. W3T is part of a network of special event stations that are helping to raise awareness for the effort to purchase the laboratory and restore it into a science museum. To read more about the effort to restore Wardencyffe, please check out the Tesla Science Center website.

The other stations in the network are N3Y which will transmit via satellite and possibly HF from the New Yorker Hotel, Tesla’s last home in Manhattan, and YU0TESLA which will transmit on 20m as well as other HF bands. For the latest updates on what frequencies to catch the stations on and a sneak peek at the QSL cards and QTHs, go to the special event website.

If you’re in the Shoreham area on the 5th, please stop by the station! Also, be sure to check out the Radio Central Amateur (RCA) Radio Club. They will have the Marconi radio shack on the air a few miles away transmitting as a special event station commemorating the 90th anniversary of the opening of the RCA transmitting antenna farm in Rocky Point, NY. More details are available at the RCA website. Without the RCA club W3T would not be on the air. Their help has been invaluable!

If you have any questions, or you’d like to help out, please feel free to contact me at hcarter333@gmail.com.

73 de KD0FNR Hamilton Carter

Handheld radio does it all

I’m sorry that I’ve forgotten who originally sent this link to one of the ham radio mailing lists that I’m on, but the PUXING PX-D03 Cell Phone Radio Dual Band w/MP3 Player is just too cool not to blog about. It has the following features:

  • Frequency Range: VHF/UHF 136-174/400-470MHz
  • Transceiver U+V dual band
  • 128 channels
  • PC programming
  • Dual sim cards,dual standby
  • MP3 Player
  • Cell phone+transceiver
  • Built-in camera
  • FM radio
  • TV player
  • Entertainment and Games
  • Short message send/receive
The price? Only $180, including shipping. My guess is that it’s not yet FCC certificated. The web page displays the prominent warning, “???Please make sure the system of this item is match for your country ???” Even so, it looks like something fun to play with.

BPL: It ain’t over yet

FCC LogoWe haven’t heard much about BPL in the last six months or so, but it ain’t over yet. The FCC has just released its Second Report & Order on BPL and in it, the commission said that the last cycle of comments did not “warrant any changes to the emissions standards or the extrapolation factor.”

They did tweak the rules a bit. The did increase the required notch filtering capability for systems operating below 30 MHz from 20 to 25 dB and clarified the guidelines for measuring emissions. One notable aspect of the new rules is that they differ from the recently-released IEEE 1901 standard  calls for 35 dB notching at frequencies below 30 MHz.

The R&O document itself makes for some interesting reading. The tone is quite petulant. You can tell from the tone how much they resented the ARRL keeping their feet to the fire.

How will the ARRL respond? It’s unsure at this time. The minutes from the October 1, 2011 ARRL Board of Directors Executive Committee meeting note that the ARRL counsel did not expect the second R&O to be released so soon:

BPL Issues: More than three years have passed since the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit found that the FCC violated the Administrative Procedure Act when it adopted rules governing broadband over power line (BPL) systems. General Counsel Imlay told the EC that the FCC is “long overdue” in releasing a Report and Order to correct the deficiencies in its BPL regulations. According to Imlay, a draft Report and Order is reportedly circulating among the Commissioners, but is not expected to be adopted soon.

Imlay also pointed out that FCC is also lax in bringing enforcement action against operating BPL systems that have been shown to be operating in violation of the existing rules. Members of the EC agreed that it is time to request another round of meetings with the FCC Commissioners or their senior staff to press these issues.

Over and above all that, it’s good for hams that BPL has not been a big success in the marketplace. Don’t let that fool you, though. BPL has been touted as the backbone of the “smart grid.” That could put lots of little transmitters on the air, in many places where BPL is not being used for Internet access.

It ain’t over yet.

UPDATE 10/27/11

The 10/27/11 ARRL Letter points to a story on the ARRL website about this new R&O. It reads, “‘We were prepared to be disappointed, and we were,’ commented ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ.’ It also says, “While a thorough technical analysis of the FCC’s latest BPL document will take some time, Sumner predicted that the ARRL will file a Petition for Reconsideration.”

Auroral flutter an interesting phenomenon

Aurora

An aurora over Alaska. Source: NASA

Last night, it was reported that there was a coronal mass ejection (CME) that resulted in an aurora being seen as far south as Atlanta, GA. The aurora, more commonly known as the Northern Lights, are usually only visible as far south as the northern tier of the United States.

I knew something was up as soon as I turned on my rig last night. Nearly every signal had some auroral flutter on it. Auroral flutter is caused by radio waves bouncing off the ever-changing aurora or passing through it. When severe, auroral flutter can make a signal nearly unreadable.

Auroral flutter is usually limited to signals that pass over the North Pole. I first became aware of this phenomenon when I worked several stations in Northern Russia. Last night, though, even U.S. stations had this characteristic flutter. I was a little flummoxed by this. I’d never heard this on domestic QSOs.

I got to talking about this with Steve, N4LQ. He said that he was at first a little taken aback by the auroral flutter, because he had been fooling around with the receiver section of the HW-16 he was using and didn’t know if the odd sound he was hearing was the result of his experiments or band conditions. I assured him that it wasn’t the receiver. :)

Learn about antenna tuners

Here are a couple of resources that will help you learn about antenna tuners. The first was posted by Richards, K8JHR, to the HamRadioHelpGroup mailing list. It is a presentation on antenna tuners given by W0QE, who was involved in the development of Palstar’s new HF-AUTO tuner. There’s lot of good info, but it’s missing the context that the talk would have given.

The second is an online antenna tuner simulator that appeared in the September QST. By playing with it, you can see how changing the settings of the tuner affect the values of the capacitors and inductor and how eventually you get to a matching condition.

It would be interesting to have such simulators for various other matching networks, such as the L-network for matching random wires and for the matching network used to match end-fed, half-wave antennas.

Video documents state of the ham radio art in the 1970s

This ARRL video from the 1970s, narrated by Roy Neal, K6DUE (sk), and featuring such 1970s notables as Dick Van Dyke, Barry Goldwater, K7UGA (sk), Arthur Godfrey, K4LIB (sk), King Hussein, JY1 (sk), and many others extol the virtues of amateur radio in this vintage film. It’s quite long—more than 25 minutes long—but quite an interesting period piece. Just look at the size of those HTs!

QSLs good enough to eat

Here are the two latest additions to my collection of QSL cards from stations whose callsigns spell words. These two are good enough to eat!

W3PIE QSL

I worked this station during the PA QSO Party. It was as easy as, well you know…….

 

W6OAT QSL

I worked W6OAT during the CA QSO Party. He was really booming in on 20m phone. You can see why. I bet his neighbors just love having that tower in their neighborhood!

Keep electronics safe from static discharge

Electrostatic discharge, or ESD, is perhaps the biggest danger to integrated circuits, and electronics companies spend millions of dollars each year on products to reduce static buildup and discharge and to test how susceptible their ICs are to ESD. Simliarly, when building a kit, or working on electronics that are ESD-sensitive, it’s a good idea to use a conductive  mat on your work surface and a wrist strap connected to earth ground. I use both in my shack.

Texas Instruments has a number of videos on their website that will give you a better idea why this is a good idea. They’re mostly designed to sell you their ESD protection devices, but unless you’re designing electronic systems, you can mostly ignore the sales pitch.