More on the W8P special event

Rotary InternationalAs I reported earlier, I operated a special event station, W8P, from the Ann Arbor Hands-on Museum the weekend of February 26-27. The special event commemorated the founding of the Rotary Club on February 23, 1905, and was designed to also spread the word about Rotary’s End Polio Now campaign. 

One of the incredibly cool things about Rotary is that it is an international organization. There are 34,000 Rotary Clubs all around the world, and many Rotarians (as we call ourselves) are radio amateurs. There’s even an international group of Rotarians who enjoy amateur radio call Rotarians on Amateur Radio, or ROAR.

ROAR members all over the world participated in this special operating event. Here are their reports as relayed by Bill, VK4ZD:

  • From Dan, KB6NU (W8P): W8P made 80 contacts in about four hours of operation, all but one or two in the continental U.S. My goal was not to make as many contacts as possible, but to engage as many hams as I could about the End Polio Now campaign. I think I was successful in doing that. I recommended to those that were interested that they visit the endpolionow.org website and tried to answer their questions about polio as best I could.
  • From Jean-Pierre (F1CFA): It was the French Contest, but it was possible to make QSO with a foreign station…American, Japanese, etc…On 18, 21, 28 MHz !!!!
  • From Coco, YO9BC (YO9POLIO): In Roumania the only ROTARY Club having radio amateurs among its members is ROTARY Club Ploiesti (Prahova, District 2241). There are three members of ROTARY Ploiesti who are also ROAR members: Mr. Malanca Mihai, YO9BPX; Mr Rosca George, YO9BGR; and Mr. Duque Vincent, YO9BC. On 22 and 23 February, we contributed to the event two stations: the Ploiesti radio club station, YO9KAG, with five operators under the supervision of Malanca Mihai, and YO9BC, with Rosca George as operator. AIl authorized bands where worked, including 10m, 15m, 20m, 40m, and 80m, using phone (SSB), CW, and digital modes. We made 1,680 contacts on all continents. Special QSL cards were mailed to all correspondents.
  • From Pertti, EA7GSU: I kept busy in the morning and the afternoon calling CQ POLIO on 20m and 10m. Got 31 contacts with two W’s,one VU and one LU included.
  • From Wally, VK6YS (VI6POLIO): We made a total of 296 contacts, and logged 46 different countries, with over 1350 lookups on my QRZ.com page. Interestingly quite a number had already had a look at the page before making contact and then once they read the page decided they want to be on the contact list. Overall a very enjoyable weekend albeit my daughters wedding did slow me down a bit on the Sunday. Apart from all that, it was most interesting talking to people around the world about polio and the state of polio eradication in the world.
    What I found disturbingly, was that a number of VK calls I spoke to were quite ignorant of the threat of polio and saw it as a dead disease that we don’t even need to think about any more.
        In fact one VK2 suggested that the effort should be put into ridding the world of HIV as he saw that there is a real issue rather than polio.!!! I did explain to him that there were great differences between the two diseases and in particular when you look at the numbers affected particularly children. But it was interesting to have a few comments at such a level of ignorance.
        On the other hand, I spoke to 3 VU stations who were completely full bottle on polio and eradication and were so proud to tell me that India was declared polio free three years ago. They also thanked Rotary International for the work done in assisting.
    Many of the Europeans I spoke to on 10 m were well aware of polio in the world in the current status of the eradication progress. Thank you so much for the work done to get this event on the road. I did enjoy it immensely.
  • From Lee Moyle, VK3GK (VI3POLIO): A fun Sunday spent operating VI3POLIO from the home QTH. I managed to work about 640 contacts often with DX-pedition style pileups. VI3POLIO had 3 operators, and I believe the two Peters, vk3kcd and vk3fspr  had a good result too. Looking forward to next years event. 73 VK3GK
  • From Noel, VK2IWT (VI2POLIO): I had a fantastic time talking to those that I did.
  • From Diane, VK4KYL (VI4POLIO): THe QRZ pages for each of the “polio” websites garnered a lot of attention. Another fantastic Radio weekend for Rotary’s 109th Birthday spreading the word on Rotary & Polio Plus: we contacted some 905 Radio Hams and we had people commenting on what great work Rotary does and a number were going to check out their local Rotary Club. Our radio activity webpages got over 3100 hits.  The operators were myself (Diane VK4KYL, Alizah VK4FOXE and Bill VK4ZD).

In summary the huge numbers of Hams who looked up information on our QRZ web pages shows the high level of interest this activity has generated over the weekend in question.

QSL cards will depict the Sydney Opera House as illustrated on the VI4POLIO QRZ web page.

Operating notes: A productive day down at the museum

WA2HOM QSLI wasn’t able to get down to WA2HOM, our club station at the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum on Saturday, but I did make it on Sunday. It was a very productive—and fun—day.

I arrived at the museum at about 1:15 pm, and when I got up to the shack, there was a guy looking over the station. I asked if he had any questions, and we had a nice chat about what we do at the museum. He told me that he’d always wanted to get an amateur radio license, but for whatever reason, had never gotten around to it. I handed him one of my Getting Into Amateur (Ham) Radio flyers, and got a real good feeling that I gave him the push he needed to get over the hump.

Next, I tuned to 15m CW, and, in short order, found both W1AW/7 (WA) and W1AW/0 (KS). They both had strong signals, and I worked them on my second or third call.

Two new “countries”
Tuning down the band, I happened upon EA9UG in Ceuta. According to Wikipedia, Ceuta is an “autonomous city of Spain and an exclave located on the north coast of Africa, sharing a western border with Morocco.” It is a DXCC entity. There are less than 100 amateur radio operators in Ceuta/Melilla. Not only was this a new country for us at the museum, I worked and EA9 myself from home just a few days before.

After that contact, an Italian ham, now living in the U.S. dropped in for a visit. He’s lived here for several months now, but hasn’t yet operated from here, as he was unsure of what he could do and what he couldn’t do. I assured him that the U.S. and Italy had a reciprocal operating agreement and that he should feel free to operate here. I also pointed him at the W8SRC Repeater Guide.

Finally, just before leaving, I thought I should make at least one contact in the ARRL DX SSB Contest. I switched up to the phone portion of the band, swung the beam south, and heard FY5FY calling CQ. French Guiana just happened to be a new one for us. I’m not sure what our count is, but we have to be getting close to 100 countries by now. I guess that my next task will be to get the log uploaded to LOTW and then see where we’re at.

I really love interacting with the museum visitors and encouraging them to either get their tickets or have more fun with ham radio if they do have one. Throw in all the great contacts that I made, and you can see how I had such a great day down at the museum.

From my Twitter feed: clear-top boxes, SDR, HSMM

LA3ZA's avatarSverre Holm, LA3ZA @LA3ZA
Show off your project in a clear top tin la3za.blogspot.com/2014/02/show-o…

roteno's avatarVictor Laynez @roteno
Fun little radio housing. pic.twitter.com/QtmCw2smuW

DIYEngineering's avatarDIY Engineering @DIYEngineering
Using SDR to Read Your Smart Meter – [BeMasher] was dissatisfied with the cost of other solutions to read his smar… ow.ly/2EcLiT

kc5fm's avatarkc5fm @kc5fm
An Old Buzzard’s Guide to Getting Started with HSMM-Mesh bit.ly/1eL1cQg #ARRL #hamradio

ARRL Board Requests Member Comments About Digital Modes

ARRLSB QST @ ARL $ARLB007
ARLB007 ARRL Board Requests Member Comments About Digital Modes

ZCZC AG07
QST de W1AW
ARRL Bulletin 7  ARLB007
From ARRL Headquarters
Newington CT  March 3, 2014

To all radio amateurs

SB QST ARL ARLB007
ARLB007 ARRL Board Requests Member Comments About Digital Modes

At the January 2014 ARRL Board of Directors meeting, a resolution was passed which asked for member feedback and input pertaining to the increasing popularity of data modes. The information gathered by  this investigation is to be used by the HF Band Planning Committee of the Board as a means to suggest ways to use our spectrum efficiently so that these data modes may “compatibly coexist with each other.”  As per the resolution, the ARRL Board of Directors is now reaching out to the membership and requesting cogent input and thoughtful feedback on matters specific to digital mode operation on the HF bands.

The feedback may include, but is not limited to, the recent proposal the ARRL made to the FCC, RM 11708, regarding the elimination of the symbol rate restrictions currently in effect.  A FAQ on RM 11708 can be found on the web at, http://www.arrl.org/rm-11708-faq .

The Board of Directors believes that member input in the decision making process is both valuable and important as well as fostering a more transparent organization.  It is to this end that we open this dialogue.

Comments must be received no later than March 31, 2014 to be included in the Committee’s report to the Board at the July 2014 ARRL Board of Directors meeting. Please e-mail your comments to: HF-Digital-Bandplanning@arrl.org

Concerned members may also contact their Division Director by mail, telephone or in person with any relevant information.

Amateur radio in the news: School Club Roundup, Berkeley ARC turns 100, Morse Code wall

For Two Rivers School students, amateur transmission brings a window on a wider world. Two Rivers School in North Bend (WA) became a ham radio station for a day, Feb. 12 during the nationwide School Club Roundup event. Middle school teacher Joe Burgener, with assistance and equipment from parent volunteer Stephen Kangas, introduced students to the world of amateur radio, from the science of radio waves, to the regulations for amateur operators, to the hands-on work of hanging antennae, and finally, to the actual operation of the radio equipment. Students spoke with several operators in California and one at the North Pole during the day.

Students at Two Rivers School in North Bend, WA participate in the School Club Roundup.

UC Berkeley Radio Club going strong at 100The Bay Area might be a hotbed of high technology, but low technology has its fans, too. Just ask the UC Berkeley Amateur Radio Club. It’s been around 100 years, and its members don’t mind a little dust and rust on their tech. “I think the old equipment is really cool and retro,” says club member and electrical-engineering major Andy Hu. “I’m still fascinated by the profundity that an electrical signal can leave the radio in front of me, travel up a wire to an antenna outside, and someone halfway around the world with an antenna outside connected to their radio can hear my voice and talk with me,” says club member Bill Mitchell, a chemistry graduate student.
Union Station Wall Represents Song Lyrics in Morse Code. An interesting-looking bumpy, yellow structure inside Union Station in D.C. represents a lot more than the naked eye might notice. As it turns out, the bumps are morse code representations of the lyrics from Death Cab for Cutie tune “Soul Meets Body.”
 

Operating Notes: W1AW/8, W8P

Over the past week, I participated in two special operating activities. The first was operating as W1AW/8 on 40m CW on Thursday evening, 2/20/14. Three of us—Stuart W8SRC, Arun W8ARU, and yours truly—operated for two hours between 0100Z and 0300Z at W8UM, the station of the University of Michigan’s amateur radio club. Matt, WS8U, the station manager, made all the arrangements.

While it was a lot of fun, I’m afraid that we didn’t make as many QSOs as we’d hoped. Band conditions were just horrendous, due to a coronal mass ejection, and often we couldn’t hear a thing. All told, we only made 86 contacts over two hours.

We did have a lot of fun, though. Stuart recorded about a half hour of our operation and posted the video to YouTube (see below). You get a great view of the back of my head in this video. :)

W8P spreads the word about End Polio Now

Over the weekend, I operated W8P from our station at the Hands-On Museum. The purpose of this special event was to commemorate the founding of the Rotary Club in 1905 and to spread the word about the End Polio Now campaign. Since the mid-1980s, Rotary International has been working to eradicate polio around the world.

Since 1988, more than 2.5 billion children have been vaccinated against polio, and the number of countries where polio is endemic has decreased from 125 to just 3 (Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan). On the About Polio page, there’s a graphic example of how the number of cases and the countries in which polio is endemic has declined over the years.

I operated solely on 20m SSB, and made a number of poignant contacts, including those who had family or friends who were polio survivors. Perhaps the most touching was with Greg, WA4YBP, of Shelby, NC, who is himself a polio survivor. He contracted polio when he was only 9 months old and wasn’t expected to live. He not only survived, but has lived a good life, even though he’s spent his entire life in a wheelchair.

Both of these operations were worthwhile in their own ways. I’d urge you all to either participate in a special event operation, if you’re invited, or start your own special event. Special events not only make our hobby more fun, but can also provide a real public service.

Delta Division survey provides insight into clubs

In a LinkedIn discussion about grant writing for amateur radio clubs, I learned about a membership survey done by the ARRL’s Delta Division. There’s a big section on clubs and club activities. Here are a few bullet points from the executive summary:

  • Clubs and the experiences that League members have in them constitute important elements shaping both amateur’s behavior and assessments of membership. Almost two-thirds (65%) say they are a member of at least one local club. The median distance to their nearest club is 9 miles, irregardless of their membership status. By comparison, the average commute to work in the US is almost one hour. Comparing ARRL Affiliated Club locations with those of the survey respondents using GIS methods, the objective distance to a club does not appear to have an important relationship to membership even though it was the second highest reason given for non-membership.
  • What does affect membership appears to be the availability of time to participate and the quality of club leadership. Life cycle demands involving work and family obligations are tied to age and marital/parental status. These periods reduce the potential for many to seek membership in clubs. Leadership which allows or even fosters a hostile political environment and which does not plan and conduct interesting educational activities sponsored by the club are the most reported signs of poorly-evaluated leadership in the Delta Division.
  • Club leadership is rated very positively by many Division club members. There appears to be a segment of clubs, however, who have lost members due to poor leadership and perhaps a lack of leadership training for succession in club leadership roles. 

For the full report, go to http://www.arrldelta.org/2013final.pdf.

From my Twitter feed: club resources

arrl's avatarARRL @arrl
ARRL Atlantic Division Adds Resources to Aid Amateur Radio Clubs: The ARRL Atlantic Division leadership has cr… bit.ly/1gB2ptw

Atlantic Division director Bill Edgar, N3LLR, is truly one of the directors that knows what he’s doing.

 

qrparci's avatarQRP ARCI @qrparci
The Rockmite is back ! A HF transceiver with built in keyer for $40 – qrpme.com/pages/RM%20][.… #hamr #hamradio #qrp

The Rockmite is a classic. If you haven’t built any kits lately, consider picking up one of these and doing so.

 

AlanAtTek's avatar

Alan Wolke W2AEW @AlanAtTek
Lots of folks liked my “how to test BJTs” video, and asked for a similar one on MOSFETs. Here it is: youtube.com/watch?v=gloikp…Another great W2AEW video. I don’t know how he has time to do these, but they’re certainly worth watching.

ARRL membership: Is 25% asking too much?

ARRLIn the March 2014 issue of QST, Harold Kramer, WJ1B makes a big deal of the fact that ARRL membership is now up to 162,200 members and growing at a rate of about 1% per year. After patting the ARRL on the back about this, WJ1B launches into a discussion of the different programs that WJ1B feels have contributed to the membership growth.

Let’s take another look at the numbers, though. As the editorial points out, 10,300 ARRL members are international members, meaning that there 151,900 U.S. hams are ARRL members. Another article in the March issue, “New Licenses,” notes that the total number of licensed radio amateurs at the end of 2013 was 717,201. If you do the math, you’ll find that only slightly more than one in five hams are ARRL members. I personally don’t think that’s so hot, and it’s certainly not worthy of all the self-congratulation going on in this editorial.

The licensing article also points out that “the amateur radio population in the US grew by slightly more than 1 percent last year.” That being the case, ARRL membership has grown at about the same rate. If all the programs noted in WJ1B’s editorial were so effective, wouldn’t you expect membership growth to be at least 2%?

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again. I think the ARRL should set a goal to enroll at least 25% of licensed radio amateur as members. It seems to me that any group calling itself “the national organization for amateur radio” should have at least one in four amateur radio operators as part of their membership. I think it says something that the membership rate is so low.

What do you think? Am I right or is reaching 25% asking too much?

2014 Tech study guide index

I’ve now update all of the sections for the 2014 version of the No-Nonsense Technician Class License Study Guide. Here’s an index to all of the sections: