I love this photo of Field Day 1948. It’s a reminder that it’s time to start thinking about this year’s Field Day…Dan
Here’s the accompanying article.
I love this photo of Field Day 1948. It’s a reminder that it’s time to start thinking about this year’s Field Day…Dan
Here’s the accompanying article.
New post: Impersonating FBI Agents And People Who Can Solder bit.ly/JQRKil
This isn’t related to ham radio, but I do like a nip of tequila from time time….Dan
So, this weekend, I played around in the ARRL 10m Contest. Like most contests I enter, I didn’t try to compete seriously, but it was fun. It all started on Friday night when one of the people I follow on Twitter tweeted, “Getting ready for the 10m contest.” I thought to myself, “Hey…I haven’t hooked up the 10m loop for ages.”
I tweeted back, “Good idea. Think I’ll head outside and connect up the 10m loop.”
The contest started at 0000Z, but I didn’t get on until 0126Z. Since it gets dark here about 2230Z, I didn’t think that I’d hear much. I surprised myself, though, I made 11 contacts in about 40 minutes. The signals weren’t strong, but strong enough. The stations I worked were all domestic: OH, MI, NJ, VA, MA, WI, and TX.
I really wasn’t planning to operate much the next day, but it was snowing like crazy outside, and Dave, N8SBE, sent out an e-mail to our club’s mailing list that the band was open. So, after making some buttermilk pancakes from scratch for the XYL and me, I headed back down to the shack at about 1400Z.
Europe was booming in, and I racked up a bunch of countries, including at least one (Northern Ireland) that I hadn’t worked before. Also, since the loop is directional north and south in the haphazard way that I threw it up, I worked a couple of South American and Caribbean stations.
I operated until about 1800Z. One thing that I found interesting is the way the propagation changed. Early in the morning, the Europeans were strong. As the day wore on, they disappeared, but the West Coast stations took their place. You could almost feel how the ionosphere was changing by the stations being worked.
Sunday morning was much the same, except that I got on an hour later and had already worked many of the stations I was hearing. Nevertheless, I managed to work several new multipliers, including NS, Bermuda, Guernsey, and the Dominican Republic.
Adding those multipliers really boosted my score, but my attention was flagging. I decided that I would quit at noon or when I reached 50,000 points, whichever came first. At 11:55 am (1655Z), I had 49,128 points (178 Qs x 4 points/Q x 69 multipliers). I was just about to give up when I worked VY2TT at 1658Z. That put me over the top. I finished with 50,120 points (179 Qs x 4 points/Q x 70 mults).
I just uploaded my log to QScope, It reports that I operated for 7 hours, 26 minutes, yielding an overall QSO rate of 24.08 Qs/hr. My best rate for a 10-minute period was 48/hr on Saturday morning. Not terrific, but I had a good time doing it.
One of the students in my last Tech class, has taken up traffic handling. This evening, he forwarded a piece of traffic to me:
Message Number 1058 Routine HXG Station or Origin: KD8RCR Check 25 Place of Origin: Midland Mi Date: Nov 26th IF HF CAPABLE PLEASE JOIN US ON MACS NET 10AM AND MITN NET 7PM BOTH ON 3952 KHZ X WE NEED YOUR PARTICIPATION X 73 Ryan KB8RCR
Somewhere along the way, “KB” got changed to “KD” or vice versa, but it was cool to get it.
The bee’s knees
Last night, I worked Curt, N5CW, on 40m CW. This wasn’t the first time that I’d contacted Curt, but it was the first time that he mentioned that he kept bees. He isn’t the first ham radio operator/beekeeper that I’ve worked. A couple of weeks ago, I worked KC4URI, who also keeps bees, and a while back, W3BEE. I’ve now worked more beekeepers (3) than I have barbers (2).
This evening, I worked RD110RAEM, a special event station commemorating the 110th anniversary of the Arctic explorer and amateur radio operator, Ernst Krenkel, RAEM (1903-1971). He was a famous polar explorer, Hero of the Soviet Union, chairman of the USSR Radiosport Federation (1959-1971), and the first chairman of Central Radio Club of the USSR. There’s even an Ernst Krenkel Museum of Radio and Radio Amateurs in Moscow.
According to Southgate Amateur Radio News, there will be 23 special event stations operating throughout the month of December commemorating Krenkel, including 20 in Russia and three in the Ukraine. On Sunday, December 29, the 42nd RAEM International CW HF Contest will take place.
Last week, we purchased a new (to us, anyway) rig for our station at WA2HOM—an Icom IC-756PROIII. After using it a bit on Thursday evening, and for a couple of hours on Saturday and a couple more today, I must say that I’m enjoying this radio.
I spent my four hours mainly working the CA QSO Party. I tallied 106 QSOs and scored just over 10,000 points. I also happened upon G100RSGB calling CQ on 21.375 MHz, and had a delightful conversation with Roger, who was operating from the Rolls Royce engineering center near Nottingham. That will be a nice QSL card to add to our collection.
Ovide, K8EV, is as well. He e-mailed me yesterday:
I had a terrific radio session Saturday morning. Though band conditions were unsettled, and noise was high on 20m, I was able to adjust our new (to us) IC-756PROIII’s noise reduction (NR) circuit to turn marginal signals into a quality contacts. The audio from the transceiver is outstanding. It’s clear even in a large, noisy room.
The sound of the new radio attracted visitors to the shack at regular intervals. Two hams and two mothers wandered by, one with a cute first grader who has the distinction of being the first kid operator on our new transceiver. Denis, my friend in New Mexico, was the radio docent.
The second mom, who lives in farm country in Santa Clara Valley CA and has been trying to decide whether to home-school her child, had an extended conversation with Denis on the topic. Denis, it turns out, is an excellent resource, having home-schooled two boys, one of whom went to Oxford University to get a Ph.D. in mathematics! The mom, who is visiting her husband’s family in Dexter, was delighted to find unexpected help on an issue she has been struggling with on a visit to the Hands On Museum.
There are a few accessories that we still need to purchase, including a CI-V cable to connect the rig to the computer and a cable to connect the rig to the Signalink interface. So far, though, it looks like we’ve made a good purchase.
As you can see from the certificate above, I am a champion again. This time, I had the highest score from Michigan in the 2013 Maritime QSO Party. My score? 212, including a 200 point bonus for working the club station of one of the contest’s organizers. The other 12 points came from my four QSO points and three multipliers. The Maritime Contest Club didn’t publish a list of all the entries, but I gotta believe that I was the only one from Michigan.
Art Bell to make comeback with Sirius show about the paranormal. Art Bell, W6OBB, radio’s master of the paranormal and outward edges of science, will return to the microphone on Sept. 16 with a new nighttime show on Sirius XM Radio. Bell was one of radio’s top syndicated voices in the 1990s before walking away from his nightly show in 2002 due to family issues. He worked occasionally after that but hasn’t been on the air since Halloween 2010.
Learning on the fly: Kent’s Sealfon recalls the skills he learned in Vietnam after Army training. Life rarely goes as planned, and even the best training doesn’t prepare us for everything. If there’s one lesson Michael Sealfon learned during his yearlong tour in the Vietnam War, and the 40 years since, it’s that.
Operators prepare to host amateur ham radio ‘Olympics’. The World Championship of amateur ham radio is coming to Massachusetts next year, and local ham-radio operators were helping prepare for it by testing sites around the region this past weekend. “This is big international stuff, and Massachusetts is the one that’s hosting it,” said local ham radio operator Bob Reif. He helped set up a radio tower in Heald Street Orchard Friday morning to test the site for the competition. “It’s the Olympics of amateur radio.”
Last Saturday was a real bust down at WA2HOM.
First of all, the weather’s been really overcast and rainy around here the past week or so. Saturday was no exception. We didn’t get a lot of rain, but it was overcast and dark all day.
Second, when I got down to the museum, I found that the relatively new keyer wouldn’t key the radio. I tried resetting the keyer, changing the keyer output (the WKUSB keyer has two different outputs), and some other things, all to no avail. Then, it occurred to me to change the batteries. I hadn’t thought about that right off because I could hear the sidetone OK. Anyway, changing the batteries worked like a charm, but I wasted at least 45 minutes goofing around with it.
As it turned out, I needn’t have bothered. The bands were so bad on Saturday, due to some kind of solar disturbance, I guess, that I only managed to eke out one contact.
Then, Tim, KT8K, showed up. No, that wasn’t a bad thing, but the weekend before, I’d been bragging about what a great station we had, with our three-element Yagi and all, and that he should come down and visit sometime. Well, of course, when he does make it down there, that bands were so dead, it wouldn’t have mattered much what kind of antenna we had.
Finally, just to add insult to injury, when I tried making copies of the brochure that I hand out, Getting Into Ham Radio, the copy machine jammed on me! This is only the second time that this has ever happened to me down at the museum.
Sunday, I fared much better. I pointed the beam southwest and made three really nice CW QSOs with N5KY, KB5GXD, and KB0KIE. All three of them were just a few degrees of the beam heading, and all three had good signals. Morgan, KB0KIE, is just getting back into amateur radio and was a bit apologetic about his fist, but I told him not to worry. We need all the CW ops we can muster.
Sunday night, I got sucked into the RAC Canada Day contest. I got started late, and by that time, many of the contestants already had hundreds of contacts. That didn’t stop me from claiming and running a frequency for a while. I pulled the plug about 0315Z, with just over 1,000 points.
This year, Field Day was a low-key affair. One of the reasons for this—and I hate to admit this—is that I just wasn’t motivated to put all that much effort into it. So, when Tim, KT8K, suggested a two-man operation, I thought I’d give it a try.
We swapped several e-mails, trying to figure out how exactly to approach this. For example, one question was where to do this, his house or mine? Since Tim’s house is higher up than mine, and he has a better crop of antennas, we decided to do it at his house.
The next question was whether or not we’d run QRP (class 1B) or a more conventional class 1E. To run 1E, Tim would have to get his generator up and running. To operate class 1B QRP, we’d have to find some batteries and figure out a way to charge them with alternative power. (This year, the rules were changed so that to the the 5x multiplier for QRP contacts, you have to use some kind of alternative power.)
Even as late as Friday, we weren’t sure what source of power we were going to use. One of Tim’s co-workers volunteered to see if he could get the generator running. I took the small solar panel that Tim had and tried to charge a gel-cell with it.
I had no success with the small solar panel. If I’d been more motivated, and had thought twice about this, I could have probably found a more suitable solar panel. Indeed, after describing my travails, someone did volunteer a solar panel for next year, should we want it. This year, it was not to be, though.
Fortunately, Tim had more success with the generator. His co-worker cleaned out the gummy generator, and Saturday morning, Tim re-assembled it. The thing ran like a charm, and we were class 1E.
One order of business for me Saturday morning was to get acquainted with Tim’s Orion. That’s me above getting set up and finding my way around the rig’s controls.
The Orion is waaaay more transceiver than I’m used to operating. For one thing, it has two receivers. It’s a little quirky, too. Tim noted, for example, that the RIT never did work. After Tim’s instructions, I hooked up my Begali Simplex and Winkeyer, and racked up a bunch of QSOs. I was good to go.
For the first five hours, we swapped in and out every hour to hour and a half. About 7pm, I headed home for dinner, and to get some sleep. I returned about 2am to take the night shift, while Tim hit the sack. When he got up around 7:30, he once again took the controls, while I sacked out on his couch for a couple of hours. After that, we switched in and out again.
Overall, we made about 870 QSOs. While that’s pretty good, it was a little bit unsatisfying. We thought that we’d do better. We never really found the sweet spot, though. That is to say, we rarely found a frequency that we could run for very long.
Overall, though, it was a lot of fun, and I learned something about operating a radio with two receivers and the value of having two antennas that you can switch between while operating. It is kind of amazing, but with one antenna, a band can seem dead, while with another, it’s much more lively. Switching between Tim’s inverted vee and his vertical dipole allowed us to choose the better antenna for the operating conditions.
Next year, if we do this again, we really need to do more planning. If we had done a few more things beforehand, instead of just operating, we could have improved both our number of QSOs and our overall score, I think. These include:
Matt Maszczak @rocknrollriter
For the new or newer op looking into contesting: http://www.arrl.org/news/view/dayton-contest-university-videos-available-on-youtube?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=facebook …
Jacob Beningo @Jacob_Beningo
Turn a Smart Phone into a Signal Generator | EDN http://www.edn.com/electrical-engineer-community/industry-blog/4416138/1/Turn-a-Smart-Phone-into-a-Signal-Generator … via @edncom
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