2012 Old Tyme Radio Calendar Now Available

The 2012 WA1KPD Old Tyme Radio Calendar is available for free downloading from WA1KPD’s Boat Anchor Collection website. It features great old photos like the one of W1FET at right. My question is how many hams operate in a suit and tie?


Yaesu, Motorola Split

Yaesu: The Radio

This is the new logo for Yaesu Musen.

In a letter dated 12/27/11, Jun Hasegawa, president and CEO of Vertex Standard, has announced that the company is ending its four-year-old joint venture with Motorola. The letter states,

…we have decided to transfer the Vertex Standard LMR business to Motorola and focus on Amateur, Marine and Air-band business. The effective date for this reorganization will be January 1, 2012.

Other details include:

  • The name of the company will revert to Yaesu Musen.
  • The company will be wholly-owned by the founder’s family.
  • The name of the operation in the U.S. will be Yaesu USA, and there will be no change in management or in address and phone numbers.


A nice batch of QSLs

I just got home from dinner out with the in-laws, and was pleasantly surprised by the envelope from the QSL bureau. In addition to the batch of European QSLs, the ones below were also in the envelope:




I’m not exactly sure, but I think this is the first cards I’ve gotten from all three countries (even though I may have gotten LOTW QSLs from them.

Buddy Up to Learn CW


The CW Operators Club has started a program called CW Academy to help people learn Morse Code. Their Web page says,

The program addresses all levels of enthusiasts; from those aspiring to become licensed operators with a desire to learn Morse Code, all the way to veteran operators wanting to increase their CW activity, skills, and code speed…A CWops member/advisor will be assigned to each registrant as a mentor and on-air contact.

I really don’t know all that much about the CW Operators Club. It seems little snobbish to me—to join you have to be sponsored by three current members—but that may be because I’ve not been invited to join.

FISTS, another CW club, without any sponsorship requirements, I might add, has a similar program they call Code Buddies. According to the FISTS website,

K3NEM, The Amateur Radio Club of the National Electronics Museum members are the volunteers handling the Code Buddy Program. Contact them at Box 1693 MS 4015, Baltimore, MD 21203, or Email Nick at K3NY@arrl.net. We need ELMERS and Buddies, please volunteer to be a Code Buddy!! You don’t have to be a speed demon to be a Code Buddy, lots of people just want someone to practice with, just like YOU! To volunteer or to get a Code Buddy, include what you need (teacher, student, practice buddy), what bands you can work, and what areas of the country you can reliably work.

A Ham Radio Christmas

I love this YouTube video. It’s a great mix of images from old catalogs and newer images.


And, here’s a recent recitation of the classic “Ham’s Night Before Christmas.”

Manual Provides Guidelines for Radio Installations

This is from Mike, W2MJZ…Dan

I just just came across the 2005 version of the Motorola  U.S. Standards and Guidelines for Communications Sites (Motorola R56) as a downloadable PDF. This highly detailed document is the absolute gold standard for radio communications site construction. The 518 page book details a very wide range of topics such as grounding, power distribution, safety, and accepted radio communication site construction practices.

Unlike the very limited and sometimes ambiguous material found in NEC with regard to correct radio communications site practices, the Motorola standard goes into great depth in areas of real concern to the amateur radio operator. What should also be noted is that this document is not a dry complex engineering level text, but rather, it is a user friendly, well illustrated guide geared towards professional radio communications technicians and installers.

I haven’t had much time to review the entire manual, but from what little I’ve seen it’s well worth downloading.

Rugged Transistors, Designing Radio Systems

Here are a couple of links to articles in electronics engineering trade magazines that I’ve run across lately that I think are of interest to amateur radio operators:

  • Some new transistors can withstand VWSRs up to 65:1.Gauging Ruggedness In RF Power Transistors. This article, written by editor Jack Browne, who is himself a ham, covers some of the new power transistors on the market. Some of them are capable of withstanding VSWRs on the output of up to 65:1!
  • The Radio Link: A Tutorial. This series of articles is a bit heavy on math for most radio amateurs, but the point of the series is to think of radio communication as a system whose behavior can be predicted. Thinking about how we use radio in this way could help us to become better radio amateurs.

And here’s something entirely out of left field. Scientists have published a paper that shows that random noise can actually make signals clearer. The process is called stochastic resonance, and while the article doesn’t explain the theory in much depths, and I’m not sure that it’s something that’s applicable to radio communication, it seems like it might be something to look into.

73 Magazine Archive Online

511 issues of 73 Magazine are now online. Wayne Green started 73 in 1960 after serving as editor of CQ Magazine for several years. It ceased publication in 2003.

Wayne Green is one of the true characters in ham radio, and indeed, in technical publishing in general. Not only did he publish 73 Magazine, but also started Byte and a slew of other computer hobbyist magazines. These days, he seems to be interested in a variety of what some might call “off the wall” topics, including cold fusion and alternative health care.

The issues of 73 that are in the archives are listed in a seemingly random order. I suspect that this is the order in which they were uploaded to the archive. Even so, just scanning the article titles is fascinating. Here’s a sample:

  • Eager for Meager – Try an 11m vertical on 160 (Dec 2002)
  • How to Build A Great Ham Club (Dec 1997)
  • The Schizophrenic Triangle – a split-personality radiator (Dec 1978)
  • RF Sniffer – Snooper sensitive RF detector which you will build (Dec 1960)

When I first went to download an issue—the December 2002 issue—I was excited to see that a Kindle-compatible .mobi file was available. I was quickly disappointed, however. After downloading and copying the file over to my Kindle, I found that it was nearly unreadable. Whoever converted the file must have used some kind of OCR program, and didn’t do any checking before uploading it. So, stick with the PDF version.

If you do download and read some of the articles, please comment here if you find any that are particularly interesting.

Changes to Euro EMC Directive Could Include Ham Kits

On the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU), Region 1 website, Thilo Kootz, DL9KCE, Chairman EUROCOM Working Group, writes:

As part of the NEW LEGISLATIVE FRAMEWORK (NLF) ALIGNMENT PACKAGE the European Commission is reworking some directives. One of the affected directives is the EMC directive including some major changes. Most of them are neutral or even good from an amateur radio operators perspective. However there is one slight change pickaback carried, which very much affects us.

In detail:

The definition of the term ‘electromagnetic disturbance’ will include the wanted signal of a radio as a possible source. This is not in line with the radio regulation of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and not in line with the vocabulary of the International Electrotechnical Committee (IEC).

IARU Region 1 will respond to it with a letter soon.

However we strongly suggest, that you contact your local MEPs and tell them about this change in the EMCD, that is neither in line with the reasoning of the New Legislative Framework, nor does it help to improve protection of radio services or equipment.

The full text of Directive 1999/5/EC can be found here.

What always interests me in these cases is why these changes are being proposed. Do ham radio kits really generate that much EMI, or is some commercial interest behind this?

Gray Line Notifier

I’ve always been kind of fascinated by gray-line propagation. The gray line is a band around the Earth where night is turning into day and day is turning into night. Theories differ as to why, but radio propagation along the gray line is often very efficient. NA5N has one explanation of the phenomenon.

This morning, while walking to our ham radio club breakfast get-together, I got to thinking about how I might be better able to take advantage of gray-line propagation.Because this phenomenon is so short-lived, it’s easy to miss the gray line. How cool, I thought, would it be if I could come up with a program that would inform me when my QTH was beginning its transit through the grayline.

I thought up several ways to get my computer to do this. Then, it occurred to me that I should be able to write a Web application that hams could sign up for that would either send them an e-mail or send them a Tweet when their QTH was about to enter the gray line. And, coincidentally, I might be able to sell some advertising to pay for this and maybe make a few bucks off it.

I’m tentatively calling this application the Gray Line Notifier. I talked up this idea a bit at our breakfast this morning, and the guys noted that there are already may gray line maps on the Web, but none of them can be programmed to send you notices. We chatted a bit more about this, and came up with a couple of features for this app, including:

  1. Will send either an e-mail or a Tweet, when a ham’s QTH is about to enter the gray line.
  2. Include information about other countries/grid squares that are also along the gray line.
  3. Perhaps interface with a DX spotter to see if there is good gray line propagation at the time.
  4. Beam headings to take advantage of gray line propagation.
What do you think? Would you sign up for this service? Can you think of any other features that I might include?