From my Twitter feed: SDR showdown, ground rods, end of the world?

R3UAA's avatarR3UAA @R3UAA
Taylor Killian: SDR Showdown: HackRF vs. bladeRF vs. USRP
taylorkillian.com/2013/08/sdr-sh…

 

K5PO's avatarAndy Holmes, K5PO @K5PO
K5PO Shows the *right* way to install ground rods… Even in rocky soil! #powertools #hamr youtu.be/YObizRMo068

 

ke9v's avatarJeff Davis @ke9v
It’s the end of the world, as we know it –> Anonymous develops secure data over ham radio scheme. theregister.co.uk/2014/05/01/ano

KB6NU wins the Alabama QSO Party

I got a surprise in the mail a couple of days ago. Apparently, I was the high scorer from the state of Michigan in the latest Alabama QSO Party. My score was 2,639, with 48 total QSOs. This goes to show you that you don’t have to spend a lot of time, or even make hundreds of contacts to be a champion contester.

alqp-certificate

Operating Notes: MI QP, a coward on 2m, Nerd Nite

Nerd Nite Ann Arbor. A week ago yesterday, I spoke to a bunch of nerds at Nerd Nite Ann Arbor. I shared the limelight with two other nerds, a bonsai (which I learned is pronounced “bone-sigh”) nerd and the organizer of the Ann Arbor Mini-Maker Faire, a gathering of local nerds. The cool thing about Nerd Night is that it’s held in a bar, and it’s a lot of fun. My talk was well-received, gauging by the number of questions.

MI QSO Party. The Michigan QSO Party was held on Saturday, April 19. This year, I made 176 CW QSOs, and racked up 75 multipliers, for a total score of 26,400 points. Not a bad showing.

 2m coward. Wednesday, as I was walking downtown to a business meeting, I was talking to a friend on the local repeater about taking a video of my Tech classes. This guy had been in one of my Tech classes, and at one point, had suggested video recording them.  Since I’m going to be teaching another class a week from tomorrow, I asked if he could come down and do it, or failing that, if he had any video equipment that I could borrow.

As it turns out, he could neither record the class, nor did he have any equipment I could borrow, but our chat got me to thinking that it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to do it now anyway. The Tech question pool will be changing at the end of June, and some of what I’d cover would be obsolete in a hurry.

The talk then turned to who I might get to do the recording in September at the next class. I know one guy who does the video for all the local tech groups in town, and was thinking that perhaps I could get him to do it. I’d probably have to pay him something to do it, however. My friend then suggested that I could burn some DVDs and sell them to defray the cost of the recording and maybe even make a few bucks.

When we signed, a guy got on and said in a rather nasty tone of voice that amateur radio can’t be used for personal gain. He didn’t identify himself, and I didn’t recognize his voice. I came back and said that the rule is that you can’t be paid to operate an amateur radio station, and that my friend and I weren’t making any money by just talking about it.

Not only that, I noted that it’s against the rules to not identify your station and challenged him to do so. Of course, the coward didn’t ID. I’m still miffed by this incident.

From my Twitter feed: Save the Easter bunny, loop antenna, your own satellite

 

o0ToTOm0o's avatarE22ICQ @o0ToTOm0o
Rescue the Easter Bunny – Ham Radio Fox Hunting for Beginners. youtu.be/tQ8gNHAFXXY fb.me/20HNd9HQh

 

kritikal's avatarAndrew Herron, W8FI@kritikal
Frank’s N4SPP Ham Radio home-built SM0VPO 80 40 20 meters compact spiral loop antenna nonstopsystems.com/radio/frank_ra… via @Delicious

 

UlisK3LU's avatarUlis K3LU @UlisK3LU
Send your own satellite into space for $1000 – smh.com.au/world/science/… via @smh

A photo from Field Day 1948

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

A.Radio News Sept 1948

Here’s the accompanying article.

From my Twitter feed: Edinburgh Morse, hams hear old spacecraft,

G7AGI's avatarDavid De Silva @G7AGI
I’ve just discovered @edinburghmorse. Looking forward to seeing the new web site go live.

exploreplanets's avatarPlanetary Society @exploreplanets
Amateur radio enthusiasts were able to detect the carrier signal of a decades-old NASA spacecraft: planetary.org/blogs/emily-la…

ke9v's avatarJeff Davis @ke9vObject of Interest: Aereo’s Tiny Antennas newyorker.com/online/blogs/e… via @NewYorker

M0PZT's avatarCharlie – M0PZT @M0PZT
Blog updated: What Makes A Real Ham? m0pzt.com/?blog #hamradio

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.

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.

From my Twitter feed: Antique wireless, Nuclear Summit special event

K7AGE's avatar @K7AGE
AWA GATEWAY available #hamradio antiquewireless.org/uploads/1/6/1/… pic.twitter.com/NoI7dkksmW

DIYEngineering's avatarDIY Engineering @DIYEngineering
Call for Hams and Hackers: Welcome ICE/ISEE-3 Home – ISEE-3, one of America’s most dedicated space exploration … ow.ly/2DSJMz

PD0MV's avatarPD0MV@PD0MV
#PD6NUKE – For All Ham Operators world wide pic.twitter.com/tmHZDuCQAOStory image