Operating Notes: I really had a ball down at the museum last night

It’s been very hot and humid here in SE Michigan this week, making me verrrry lazy. So, I almost decided not to head down to the Hands-On Museum and operate WA2HOM last night. I’m sure glad I forced myself to do it, though.

I got there about 5:45 pm, turned the rig on, and right away I could tell it was going to be a good night. IK2CIO was just blasting in at at least 10 dB over S9. Over the next half hour, I worked four other European stations, including OK7MD, DF6HA, and SN0H.

At that point, I decided to give 15m a whirl. Tuning around, the only station I could hear was JM7OLW. He was a decent S6, so I was sure that I could reach him. After swinging the beam around, I got him on the second try. If you go to JM7OLW’s QRZ page, you’ll note that he lives in Fukushima–yes that Fukushima. He lives just 35 miles from the nuclear plant that was damaged by the tsunami a couple of years ago.

After working JM7OLW, I still couldn’t hear anyone, but decided to call CQ. Boy, was I surprised when Dennis, KE7DZ, came right back to me. We had a nice 20-minute chat, which was a nice change from the short DX contacts.

After the contact with Dennis, I tuned around some more, and it appeared that the band had come to life. I could hear a bunch of stations in the Northwest, and then worked ZL1ALZ. It was nice to add another ZL to the log.

I guess the moral of this story is that 15m is open to the Asia in the evenings, at least lately. I was hoping to find a BY, but no luck with that.

At that point, Ralph, AA8RK, showed up. I gave him the operator’s chair, and we tried our hand at phone. After no replies to CQs on 15m, he QSYed to 20m, where we had a lot better luck.

We worked a bunch of U.S. stations on 20m, but the highlight–for me, anyway–was working KJ6HOT. Not only is this another station to add to my collection of QSLs from stations whose callsigns spell words, his QTH was very near to where I used to live in San Diego. Unfortunately, he was only using 5W, so we had to let him go after a short QSO, but that was fun, anyway.

I had a great time and Ralph had a great time. I just wish that I could get more of the local hams to come down and operate the station. That three-element Yagi really makes it a great station.

Should we change Part 97.1 (b)?

Part 97.1 sets out the “basis and purpose of amateur radio. Paragraph (b) of that section reads, “Continuation and extension of the amateur’s proven ability to contribute to the advancement of the radio art.”

I’ve long thought that we should petition that this paragraph be changed to something like, “Continuation and extension of the amateur’s proven ability to contribute to the science and art of electronic communications.” After all, we do much more than just radio these days. And, what we do is more than an art, it’s science as well.

What do you think?

From my Twitter feed: attic fan dipole, ADIF 3.0.4, ARRL Centennial


MW0IAN's avatarIan @MW0IAN
Attic Dipoles g0kya.blogspot.co.uk/2009/01/multi-… similar to what I use here with surprising results #hamr

This is an interesting twist on the fan dipole.


colinbutler's avatarColin Butler @colinbutler
Amateur Data Interchange Format (ADIF) Standard 3.0.4 released – ow.ly/of2gL #ham #hamr #amateurr

One Tweeter commented that they should have just used JSON. That might be a good idea for the future.


RigolHam's avatar

Steve Barfield @RigolHam\
* Share Your Knowledge at the ARRL Centennial Convention! | @arrl amateur radio goo.gl/FXfDxb
I was actually thinking of attending the Centennial celebration. Maybe I’ll propose a talk on the one-day Tech class.

Hams oppose tower project

A recent article, “Radio towers spark high wattage opposition,” in the online edition of All Point Bulletin, the community newspaper of Point Roberts, WA, caught my eye. At issue is the construction of five, 150-ft. AM radio towers. According to the article, “The antennas will produce a broadcasting signal for KPRI Ferndale 1550 AM which bills itself as ‘your number 1 South Asian voice.’ The company currently broadcasts at 50,000 watts during the day and 10,000 watts at night.”

Towards the bottom of the article, this paragraph appears:

Ham radio operator Steve Wolff told the crowd that Point Roberts’ ham radio club members were unanimous in their opposition to the towers. Citing an objection filed with the FCC, he recounted how one ham radio operator in Ferndale had received burns from the radio energy captured by his radio tower from the KRPI broadcasts.

First, I find it quite ironic that amateur radio operators would actually oppose a tower-construction project. Second, I’ve never heard of anyone getting RF burns from his tower from a broadcast signal. Seriously, how close would the amateur radio tower have to be to the broadcast tower to capture enough power to cause an RF burn?

No-Nonsense Guide to Amateur Radio: VEs make taking the test easier

Back in the old days, you had to take amateur radio license exams at a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) district office. I was pretty lucky in this regard. Since I lived in the Detroit area, and it was relatively easy to get to the FCC office in the Federal Building in downtown Detroit, where they gave the tests once per week.

Other guys weren’t so lucky. They had to travel a fair distance to take the test, sometimes paying to stay overnight in a hotel.

That changed in 1984 when Volunteer Examiners (VEs) took over the administration of amateur radio license tests. Now, VE teams administer tests all over the country, and it’s very easy to find a test session near you at a time that’s convenient for you.

When most people go looking for an exam session, they go to the ARRL website or the W5YI website

  • Anchorage Amateur Radio Club VEC (AL)
  • Central America CAVEC (AL)
  • Golden Empire Amateur Radio Society (CA)
  • Greater LA Amateur Radio Group (CA)
  • Jefferson Amateur Radio Club VEC
  • Laurel VEC (AZ, FL, IL, MD, MI, MS, NY, OH, PA, VA)
  • Milwaukee Radio Amateur’s Club VEC(WI)
  • SanDARC-VEC (CA)
  • Sunnyvale VEC ARC, Inc. (CA)
  • W4VEC (CA, FL, GA, IN, MS, MO, NC, OK, PR, SC, TN, VA)
  • Western Carolina ARS VEC (NC, TN)
  • Feds to begin monitoring spectrum usage

    According to the Monitoring Time Fed File blog, The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will begin monitoring real-world usage of the radio-frequency spectrum in 10 cities and evaluate possible plans to more efficiently utilize both federal and non-federal spectrum.

    A document summarizing the plan is available online. At this point, it’s only a pilot program, but the NTIA will use the program to “evaluate whether a more comprehensive monitoring program would create additional opportunities for more efficient spectrum access through, for example, increased and more dynamic sharing.”

    The public is invited to comment on this program. More details are available in the document.

    This should probably encourage us all to use our bands more, and in the words of a fellow club member, “everything 2m and above is underused.” I tend to agree with this assessment. Do you? Got any good ideas on how to use the UHF/microwave bands?

    From the trade magazines: satellite tracking, online circuit design, open-source test board

    More cool stuff from the electronics engineering trade magazines….Dan

    LEO satellite tracking in your backyard. Learn how one guy built his own satellite tracking system in his backyard.

    The rise of the online circuit-design collective. Though still in the infancy stage, design and simulation tools that run entirely in the browser are pushing their way onto the EDA landscape. The ultimate goal is that they become essential players within the realm of professional design.

    Test and measurement  turns to open source, Kickstarter. The field of test and measurement is set to benefit from open-source software applications if a Kickstarter fundraising project is successful. The Red Pitaya is a credit card-sized, reconfigurable measurement board with 60MHz of input bandwidth and an onboard Xilinx Zinq FPGA to perform signal processing.

    Amateur radio in the news: students earn licenses, tower exemptions, making friends

    Petal teacher helps students earn amateur radio licenses. Petal High School Information Technology teacher Brad Amacker helped his students earn amateur radio licenses thanks to a grant he received during the 2012-13 school year. Amacker received the Mississippi Professional Educators Classroom Grant Award. He was recognized for this award at the August 13th school board meeting.

    City supports exemptions for towers used by amateur radio operators. Garry Schwartz says his 19-metre amateur radio tower has been up for so long, most people don’t notice it unless he decorates it for Christmas. Schwartz, president of the Saskatoon Amateur Radio Club, is happy that the city seems prepared to relax restrictions for amateur radio towers despite more restrictive rules pending for new commercial antenna towers. “I’m pleased with the results,” Schwartz said Tuesday after a meeting of the city’s planning and operations committee. Schwartz said his antenna has been in place for 40 years.

    Making friends a world away. Marilynn Jordan was the guest speaker at the Crestline-Lake Gregory Rotary Club’s morning program on July 25, and she spoke to members about how easy it is today to enjoy the amateur radio hobby. “It’s really a lot of fun,” she said. “I’ve spoken to radio operators in Greenland, Finland and all over South America. Everyone speaks English, so it’s very easy for us to talk with other ham radio operators.”

    From my Twitter feed: ISS, HackRF, radio merit badge

    This is a great story….Dan

    hamradiopodcast's avatarHRP @hamradiopodcast
    Astronaut talks about his ham radio contacts fb.me/VdbC8Qr8

    hlinke's avatarHeiko Linke @hlinke
    a revolution in the sdr-world at kickstarter: hackrf, an open source SDR platform: kickstarter.com/projects/mossm…

    w0sun's avatarBill WØSUN ?@w0sun
    BSA Radio Merit Badge Presentations and Material from K2BSA fb.me/11nJ7RKQM

    Am I being a grouch?

    Yesterday, I received a GigaAlert that a British ham’s website contained a reference to “KB6NU.” I’m always curious about these links and clicked over to the fellow’s website.

    What I found dismayed me a little. He not only had a link to my website, but had completely taken the text from one of my posts and re-posted it on his website. Now, that wouldn’t be so bad if it was just some ham who thought my post was interesting and wanted to share it with others. This guy, however, was trying to make money with his website, and had both advertising and an online store. Basically, he was stealing my content to attract hams to his website so that he could then sell them stuff.

    I emailed him, asking him to remove my content. In reply, I got the following:

    Firstly, any content that appears on my site is NOT “taken” from your site, i have feeds taken from QRZ.COM amongst others that get posted automatically to my site if they contain certain keywords. I’d never even heard of you or your blog until i received your email.

    As iv’e never taken or copied anything directly off your site, i’d have to delete the feeds i have set up from other sites, which i’m NOT prepared to do. I notice that one or two of said posts actually promote a book youv’e written, so you in effect are getting FREE publicity ANYWAY !

    I SUGGEST YOU STOP BEING SUCH A GROUCH and get over yourself. Your email hardly promotes the “spirit of amateur radio”. By the way if google has you at #1, it’s because your content and links appear on MANY MANY sites.

    In order to delete these above mentioned feeds, many many other posts would be omitted and/or deleted from the automated feed system i have set up on my site, so as previously stated, i am NOT prepared to delete my feeds.

    So, not only was he stealing my content, he was doing it automatically. And, I’m not the only one he’s stealing content from. He’s stealing content from many of the more popular amateur radio bloggers.

    My reply to him was:

    No matter how you’re getting my content, you’re still stealing it, and you’re stealing it from all the other bloggers as well. I would suggest that stealing is also not “in the spirit of amateur radio.”  Putting links on your site is one thing, but reposting entire posts is copyright infringement. It’s as simple as that.

    One of the things that bugs me the most is that he somehow feels that he’s not responsible because it’s the software on his site that is copying my content. I know that web hosting companies take a dim view of copyright infringement, and I’m considering contacting them about this.

    I haven’t yet gotten a reply to this message, but I thought I’d throw it open to you. Am I being unreasonable here?