How to get Techs on HF?

In the Muskegon Amateur Radio Council newsletter, Flashovers, the following short column appeared:

ASK ELMER (Advice for the Ham)
Dear Elmer,
Most new hams seem to become active on the re- peaters to the exclusion of HF. How can we promote their activities on HF?
Signed, HFer

Dear HFer,
10 meters provides good opportunities for the Techni- cian operator to operate CW and SSB. But not FM. Perhaps, if they had FM privileges it would make the purchase of a 10 meter rig more attractive.
73, Elmer

Elmer would like to hear from you too. Write to him at: Flashovers, PO Box 691, Muskegon, MI 49443-0691 or contact him  at the following email address,

I e-mailed Elmer:

Hi, Elmer:

I have a couple of suggestions for encouraging Techs to get on HF.

  1. If your club has a club station, invite them down to the club station some evening or Saturday and have them get on the air! This might be especially cool during a special event or contest, such as the MI QSO Party.
  2. If your club doesn’t have a club station, invite them over to your house and let them operate your station for a bit. Show them your QSL cards and maybe the projects you’re working on. If you show them how much fun you have on HF, it will certainly encourage them to get on as well.

73, Dan KB6NU

I think all of us HFers should take some responsibility for introducing Techs—especially new ones—to the magic of HF. How do you do it?

The Logger’s Bark

As many of you know, I write and send out a free monthly column for amateur radio club newsletters. One of fun things about doing this is that I get to read newsletters from all over the country, as many put me on their electronic mailing lists.


This month, Mike, W7MWF, sent me the latest edition of The Logger’s Bark, the newsletter of the Radio Club of Tacoma (WA). In his “From the Editor” column, Mike explains how the newsletter got its name:

An interesting (to me, anyway) tidbit came along a few weeks ago. How did The Logger’s Bark get its name??

As it was explained to me, way back in the olden days before computer logging, contesting was a bit more different and hectic. A crew of folks were on duty supporting the operators by maintaining old- fashioned paper logs. Since during contests penalties were sometimes assessed for duplicate entries, an important function of the logger was to advise the operator when his or her contact was a “dupe.”

Upon hearing a call sign that had already been recorded, the Logger would bark out loudly “DUPE” to the operator, thereby passing on the information that the QSO could be curtailed. Thus arose the term “Logger’s Bark.”

Well, Mike, I found that tidbit interesting, too.

Mike also mentioned that his club is celebrating its 100th anniversary in October of 2016, and I gleaned from their newsletter that their membership is right around the 300 mark. Sounds like a great club to me!

From my Twitter feed: #hamradio t-shirts, cheap key, Broadband HamNet

I don’t usually include two Tweets from the same guy, but the two below from KE9V are great…Dan

ke9v's avatarJeff Davis @ke9v
Get the #hamradio Beefy-T shirt.


ke9v's avatarJeff Davis @ke9v
My straight key it’s nicer but this one is more affordable. #hamradio


ZionArtis's avatar

Zion Artis KF4NOD @ZionArtis
I find this very interresting. Introduction to HSMM-MESH or Broadband-Hamnet: via @YouTube

ZM90DX to commemorate Kiwi contribution to amateur radio

This from VK4ZD:

kiwi-dx-groupAfter World War 1 and with the banishment of radio amateurs to the supposedly “useless shorter wavelengths” an amazing period of radio exploration took place.  Amateurs all over the globe soon learnt that far from being useless these wavelengths seem to allow communication over long distances.  Amateurs in ZL were at the forefront of this activity with the first ZL to VK QSO in April 1923, and then world record distance QSOs between ZL and Argentina in May 1924, ZL and California in September 1924, ZL and Connecticut on the US east coast just weeks later, and the ultimate Z4AA Frank Bell’s QSO with Cecil Goyder G2SZ in London on 18 October 1924.

To commemorate the 90th anniversary of the record breaking activities of these early pioneers of Amateur Radio, ZM90DX will be on the air between 1 October 2013 and 31 October 2014 on all bands 1.8 MHz to 1.2 GHz and beyond in all modes.  Activated by the Kiwi DX Group, an informal group of DXers and contest enthusiasts, ZM90DX will be used around New Zealand and a special commemorative QSL card will be available as well as an award program for contacts with ZL during this period.

Not only will ZM90DX be active at expected times and on expected bands, but in the spirit of those early pioneers the ZM90DX operators will also be calling CQ on bands and in directions one may not necessarily expect with the intention of exploring the boundaries of radio propagation.

This will be an unparalleled opportunity for Amateurs all over the world to work ZL while celebrating the exploits of those early trail blazers whose work paved the way for radio communications as we know it today.

Further details can be found on

Note: “Please remember this is a ZL based activity NOT ZL9 Campbell & Auckland Islands.” ENSURE your logging software logs ZM90DX correctly as ZL and NOT ZL9, Auckland / Campbell Islands. To update the Country File for your logging software please visit:

IRTS Promotes Clubs

IRTSI forget exactly where I found out about the EI8IJ Fund, which promotes amateur radio clubs in Ireland, but when I did read about it, I thought, “What a great idea!” Here’s how the Irish Radio Transmitting Society (IRTS) website describes the EI6IJ Fund:

Each year, in order to promote Amateur Radio to the public, the Committee will consider the awarding of a number of grants to Affiliated Clubs. These grants will primarily be funded by a kind donation by the late John O’Riordan EI6IJ. The grants will be of around €300, usually not exceeding a total of €1000 in any one year, and are to assist with the mounting of public special event stations by clubs affiliated to IRTS. The stations should have significant public exposure with the specific intention of demonstrating Amateur Radio to members of the public. The funds may be allocated in one or more grants, or not at all, depending on the nature of applications received.

The ARRL continually pays lips service to clubs, but rarely do they ever put their money where their mouth is. Perhaps instead of spending so much time and effort to raise funds for W1AW, they should spend some of that loot on a program such as this which will reach many more people.

If your club could apply for such a grant, how would you use the money?

Lack of standardization holding back amateur digital communications

Via Twitter, I recently found out that Yaesu had introduced a new digital communication system—called System Fusion—at the ARRL/TAPR Digital Communications Conference in Seattle, WA. When I asked KE9V, the guy who posted this announcement to Twitter whether or not Fusion was going to be more than a niche product, he replied, “I think it’s a long-shot at best. ICOM has dumped a lot of cash in D-STAR and now years later it’s just catching on. Tough road.”

Compounding the fact that Yaesu is late to the party is the fact that the radios are probably going to cost an arm and a leg, just like the D-STAR radios. Call me an old fart—and I have been called that and worse—but I just don’t see where the digital features are worth the extra bucks. (I would be happy to be convinced otherwise, though. Please feel free to comment on this below.)

Wouldn’t it have been nice if Yaesu and Icom, and maybe even Kenwood, had gotten together and developed a digital communication standard that both companies could support? Not only would have it made it more palatable to invest in such a radio, I bet those radios and repeaters would cost less than the current D-STAR and Fusion offerings. That’s just what happens when companies adopt standards.

As Bob, K0NR, tweeted, “File this under ‘missed opportunity.'” I agree.

p.s. I wanted to include a picture of the system, but the Yaesu website doesn’t yet have any yet on their website. There is, however, a YouTube video of the DCC meeting at which Yaesu introduced the product.

The MI Section needs your help

I received this a couple of weeks ago from Larry, WB8R, our section manager. If you live in MI, please consider helping out….Dan


Please review and give consideration to the following from our  Section Emergency Coordinator/Section Traffic Manager, John  McDonough, WB8RCR:

With rapid changes in technology, increasing recognition by FEMA of the value of amateur radio, and an increasingly close relationship with the Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division of the Michigan State Police, the demands on ARPSC are increasing rapidly.

To address these pressures, we need to recruit additional volunteers to take the lead in a number of areas, as well as fill some more traditional vacancies.

The following are areas where we know we have a current need:

Net Manager, Michigan Traffic Net – Duties include recruiting net controls and liaisons, monthly reporting, improving the operation of the net. This is a formal Section level appointment.

Digital Relay Station – Take traffic from NTS Digital and relay it to legacy nets. Area Digital Coordinator can provide training and equipment. The ideal candidate could take traffic to CW as well as phone nets. This is an Area level appointment.

Assistant STM Admin – Need a person to take reports and enter into the section database. Potentially also prepare report to headquarters. Mostly clerical but some database skills would be helpful. Most reports are received as radiograms so the candidate should be comfortable with HF traffic handling.

Project Manager, NTS Modernization – Requires the ability to manage a project to interface the Section’s VHF digital network to NTSD. Also work with ASM Digital to strengthen the VHF network. Strong network skills needed, some programming skills would be helpful. The candidate will need strong persuasive skills. The major requirement here, though, is the ability to manage a project. The candidate would likely recruit the assistance of various experts, although some level of network skill is required to even understand the problem.

SEOC Operators – We badly need a cadre of operators who can help at the State EOC. Requires excellent operating skills, passing a background check, willingness to take IS 700, 100, 200, 800, 300 and 400 as well as REP101. Ideally can get to the SEOC for operation in a reasonable amount of time 24×7, although candidates further away could operate later operational periods. General class or higher, able to operate HF and VHF Phone, CW and NBEMS from the SEOC. Packet familiarity would be a plus.

ASEC SEOC Alternate – The SEC currently has only one official alternate, at least one additional is required. Candidate should be close to Lansing, willing to make critical decisions with uncertain data, able to present AuxComm status to the SEOC in a concise, professional manner. Requires passing a background check, willingness to take IS 700, 100, 200, 800, 300 and 400 as well as REP101. Intimate familiarity with MICIMS is needed. This position involves little to no on-the-air operation. This is a Section level appointment.

MBO – We would like to have an MBO in Michigan. Ideally we would place this at the SEOC but that is not entirely necessary. Candidate would manage the MBO, checking periodically that traffic is flowing. Requires the ability to put up a multi-band automated station operating 24×7 with a Pactor II or better modem. If the MBO is located at the SEOC, we may be able to arrange grant funding to equip the station. Will work with ADC and multiple DRSs. This is an Area level appointment.

Data Architect – Candidate would interview Section and State officials to develop a data architecture for the Section. Data architecture background required. Important: This is not a database design exercise, data architects understand the difference.

ASTM Exercises – Developing exercises is very challenging, even though we only do two a year. Incorporating NTS into those exercises is even more challenging. We not only require more manpower to develop exercises, but should have someone who can focus on making those exercises more meaningful to NTS. In addition to IS 120, 130 and 139, candidate must become familiar with the UTL and the needs of the served agencies. Must work closely with the SEC and the ASEC for Training and Exercises.

Section level appointments require ARRL membership in good standing, basic IS courses, approval by the SM. Area level appointments require ARRL membership in good standing, approval by the Area chair.

Please contact me if you can help in any of these areas, even if helping means restructuring some of these thoughts.

73 de WB8RCR
As our involvement increases with the Michigan State Police Department of Homeland Security, we find that our level of required sophistication increases as well. This is not your grandfather’s ARPSC any longer. If you have the talents that John is looking for and are looking for a challenge and an opportunity to help out, please contact him at If you have questions, comments, suggestions or ideas, please feel free to contact him as well.

Thank you for your consideration.


Larry, WB8R
Michigan Section Manager


Here are the last two QSL cards received here at KB6NU. You gotta love these kinds of coincidences. I can’t make this up!


Adam, KJ6HOT, writes:

Dan, you get to be the proud recipient of my first ever QSL card sent. The photo is one I shot a few years ago of professional rock climber Chris Sharma at a local San Diego crag. Best of luck to you on building your collection of QSL cards from stations whose callsigns spell words. 73, Adam, KJ6HOT


Don, KW2AIR, writes:

Just changed my call from WA2PXY to KW2AIR. I was stationed on Governor’s Island, NY, NY from 1970 – 1974 and spent many hours on Coast Guard club station W2AIR. So, I changed my call to remember those days in the U.S. Coast Guard as a radioman…Glad to be part of your collection. Best 73s, Don.

Amateur radio in the news: VOIP, emcomm, clubs

More kids should get the idea that amateur radio can still lead to a good career in tech…Dan

Vonage co-founder: VoIP came from ham radio, big bad telecoms At TwilioCon, Vonage co-founder Jeff Pulver gave a fascinating keynote about ham radio, getting fired, and a run-in with the FBI — and how all that gave birth to modern voice over Internet protocol technology. Pulver is widely recognized as a pioneer of VoIP technology and was the chief writer of the FCC’s first VoIP ruling.His current company is a Twilio-based iOS and Android app called Zula, created to enable better communication among teams. “It was amateur radio that unlocked my connection to voice over IP,” he said.

Ghostbusters-like crew of amateur radio operators help in emergency. When disaster strikes and traditional telecommunications services are curtailed, who do emergency responders call? A Ghostbusters-like crew of amateur radio operators.

This is a nice profile of a club in Maryland….Dan

Hamming it up on the air. For Rob Hoyt, president of the Charles County Amateur Radio Club, his interest in amateur radio started when he was a kid. But he credits his hobby for leading to a successful career.

Lots of (ham) visitors at WA2HOM this weekend

This weekend down at the museum we had a number of hams  stop by and visit:

  • Pete, KD8TBW. Pete had contacted me earlier in the week and asked if I could help him with some things. I gave him the grand tour of our HF station and then helped him program his HT. I hope this gives him the jumpstart he needed to really get into amateur radio.
  • Henry, K8HLD, and Sarah, KD8JOB. As I was standing outside waiting for Pete, the W8UM repeater blurted out its ID in Morse Code. When he heard the Morse Code, a guy who was waiting for some members of his family, asked me if that was a ham radio. When I said yes, he told me that his father and mother were hams, and that he would send them up to visit the station. We gave them the tour, and then I asked if Sarah had a QSL card for my collection. Unfortunately, she did not.
  • a father and son who are both hams, and whose callsigns I wrote down, but can’t remember at this point. The son just started at U-M and plans to join the U-M Amateur Radio Club. I encouraged both to get their General tickets, and tried to impress them by showing off our DX capabilities. As it turns out, there was a European DX contest in progress as we were chatting, and so I tuned around, found DF0HQ calling CQ, and worked him on the first call. They were duly impressed.
  • Paul, KC8QAY and Rebecca, KC8WWP.  This couple was accompanied by their cute little, two-year-old son, who apparently isn’t mic-shy at all and could rattle off his father’s call sign very nice.
  • Brad, N8VI. Brad came with Paul and Rebecca.

Oh, and Ovide, K8EV, was there, too. He’s not really a visitor, though. :)

Operating Notes
In addition to impressing visitors with our DX prowess, I worked as many Route 66 on the Air stations as I could. In the end, I managed to work nine of the 18 stations, ranging from St. Louis, MO to Barstow, CA. I’ll be trying to get as many of these QSLs as I can.