Amateur radio in the news: Ft. Wayne (IN) hamfest, CA ISS contact, Roger on the Radio

Another selection of news items about amateur radio from around the country.

Hamfest brings on-air friends together (Journal-Gazette of Ft. Wayne, IN). Amy Kritzman and her husband, Ron, occupied some prime real estate as the 41st annual Fort Wayne Hamfest and Computer Expo opened Saturday. Facing the entrance, the Kritzmans don’t carry the adapters, cords and tools that thousands of ham radio operators forage through every year. What the couple have in stock is personality. One look around Memorial Coliseum Exposition Center’s floor and it’s obvious the Kritzmans are known for their custom-embroidered hats, featuring the names and call signs of radio operators in different thread colors.

Teen takes lead on call to International Space Station.(Contra Costa Times, CA). More than 100 students sat on the playground of Rancho Romero Elementary School on Wednesday morning staring into the clear, blue sky, waiting for their 10-minute date with an astronaut. Many watched in rapt anticipation for one of the two 14-foot antenna towers perched atop one of the school’s buildings to tilt into motion. That, they were told, would be the first sign they had made direct contact with the International Space Station.

Roger, N4ZC, has hosted a radio show on WSGE in Charlotte, NC, playing big band music for the past 33 years.

‘Roger on Your Radio’ signs off at WSGE. For 33 years, Roger Burt – aka “Roger on Your Radio” – stood inside radio station WSGE’s studio at Gaston College in Dallas and broadcast his four-hour radio program called “The Good Stuff,” which featured music from the big band eras.

From my Twitter Feed: Antarctica, tech writing, FUNcube, end-fed half-wave

 There’s so much good stuff on my Twitter feed this afternoon, I couldn’t limit myself to just three Tweets…Dan

DX_World's avatarDX World @DX_World
VK0GB – Casey Base, Antarctica: Gerry, VK0GB (G3WIP) is located at Casey Base, Antarctica until February 2014…. bit.ly/1beTklH

ke9v's avatarJeff Davis @ke9v
Tech paper writing tips: A dark and stormy night | EDN edn.com/electronics-bl… via @EDNcom

 

FakeScience's avatarFake Science @FakeScience
Someone forgot to put “Saltine” on this copy of the Periodic Table.

 

2e0sql's avatarPeter Goodhall @2e0sql
Amsat-UK have released a handbook for the FUNcube-1 satellite, the launch date is rapidly approaching 13 days to go! wp.me/p3TuHs-kE

MW0IAN's avatarIan @MW0IAN
The versatile end-fed wire VK3YE home.alphalink.com.au/~parkerp/gatew… #hamr

K5PEA celebrates ham radio and the purplehull pea

K5PEA QSL

Normally, when I post about QSLs in my collection of QSL cards from stations whose callsigns spell words, I post two at a time. Well, this one is so remarkable I thought I’d give it its own blog post. When I worked K5PEA in September in the Arkansas QSO Party, I thought it was just another guy lucky enough to get a distinctive callsign. When the QSL arrived, however, I was pleasantly surprised. Not only is the QSL very distinctive, the message is very friendly and inviting.

Bill, WB5FKG, writes, “TNX so much for FB QSO in AR QSO Party, Dan. VY happy to send the QSL with “PEA” in it. Hope you can come to our festival some day.” The festival he is referring to is described in the boilerplate below:

Emerson’s sandy loam is ideal for growing purple hull peas. These tasty and nutritious legumes are some of the best eatin’ the South has to offer. And, each year, on the last Saturday in June, we celebrate the purple hull pea at the PurpleHull Pea Festival. The feature event, the World Championship Rotary Tiller Race–a race of souped-up garden tillers–garners national and even international attention. Bring your ham rig and join us! For information, visit www.purplehull.com.

Sounds like a great time, doesn’t it? One of these years, I’m going to rent an RV and travel around to all these festivals, and if the festival already has a special event station, I’ll help man the station, and if not, I’ll set one up of my own.

Operating Notes: WA2HOM 11/3/13

I had a great time down at WA2HOM yesterday. I only spent two hours down there, but I managed to work three special-event stations and even did a little running in the Sweepstakes contest.

RCA officially began operations from this site on Long Island on November 5, 1921.

RCA officially began operations from this site on Long Island on November 5, 1921.

The first special event station I worked was W2RC, the club station of the Radio Central Amateur Radio Club. W2RC was operating from the RCA Radio Central facility in Rocky Point, NY, shown in the photo at right. RCA officially began operations from this facility on November 5, 1921, and, at the time, it was the largest transmitter facility in the world.

I also worked W0I, a special event station run by the Arrowhead ARC commemorating the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald. The club was operating from the pilot house of the William A. Irvin, a Great Lakes freighter docked in Duluth, MN.

The club’s website notes, “The club was founded in 1929 and received its charter from the ARRL and was signed by W1AW, Hiram Percy Maxim himself. The club continues to hold monthly meetings and has a yearly Hamfest, Christmas Party, Picnic, as well as supports local VE testing in the Arrowhead region of Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin.” What a great history!

The third special event station was with N4V, operating from the Stuart (FL) Air Show. I didn’t spend a lot of time with the ops there talking about the show, but I did visit the show’s website this morning, and it looks like quite an affair.

If you’re interested in working special event stations, go to the special event stations page on the ARRL website. I visit it nearly every weekend when I’m down at the museum.

I would also encourage you and your club to organize a special event. It’s a lot of fun to be on the other end of the mic or key. If you do organize a special event, make sure to get it listed on the ARRL site. You can do this by filling out the Special Event Listing Form.

From my Twitter feed: dB, SW, SSTV

EDNcom's avatarEDN.com @EDNcom
Engineers refer to measurements in dB all the time. Here’s a refresher on decibel basics. edn.com/design/test-an…

 

ke9v's avatar

Jeff Davis @ke9v
Radio World: Shortwave Efficacy to Be Pondered at BBG radioworld.com/article/shortw…

 

AMSAT_UK's avatar

AMSAT-UK @AMSAT_UK
ISS Amateur Radio Slow Scan TV Active wp.me/p2Mn4x-4Yk #amsat #hamr #iss #sstv

Amateur radio in the news: oldest social media, convention, FCC shutdown

Ham radio operators stay true to social media’s low-tech roots. Long ago, before Facebook, Twitter and email, ham radio operators were the original social media geeks. And they’re still out there, in greater numbers than ever, chatting and messaging each other all over the world without an Internet connection or even a telephone line.

Amateur radio club hosts convention. The Santa Barbara Amateur Radio Club hosted the 2013 ARRL Southwestern Division Convention in September at the Marriott Hotel in Buellton. The conference brought together amateur radio enthusiasts from all of Southern California and Arizona to share and learn from the experts on specific topics of concern. The conference stressed two areas of interest: emergency preparedness and attracting young students to the art of Amateur Radio.

Shutdown upends ham radio buffs’ Wake Isle trip marking massacre. For anyone questioning the reach of the federal government shutdown, consider Wake Island. Not much more than military-plane refueling and classified operations occur on the unincorporated U.S. territory, a coral atoll located between Hawaii and Guam, about 6,700 miles (10,780 kilometers) from the legislative standoff in Washington. That was about to change this week with the arrival of a dozen ham-radio operators who thought they’d won approval for a two-week commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the World War II massacre of almost 100 U.S. civilian contractors on Wake Island by the Japanese on Oct. 7, 1943. Instead, after months of preparation, the trip is on ice because of a paperwork delay the group attributes to the partial federal shutdown, which started Oct. 1 as Republicans and Democrats failed to agree on a stopgap spending measure.

WA2HOM Report – 10/6/13

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.

WA2HOM

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.

I’m a winner again!

Maritime QSO Party certificate

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.

Say “HI” to Juno

On October 9, 2013, the spacecraft Juno will fly by Earth to get a gravity assist and put it on a course for Jupiter. To celebrate this event, NASA is inviting amateur radio operators around the world to say “HI” to Juno in a coordinated Morse Code message. Juno’s radio and plasma wave experiment, called Waves, should be able to detect the message if enough people participate.

Say HI to Juno

NASA is asking us to send the letters “HI” in verrrrry slow Morse Code on 26 different frequencies in the 10m band. I say verrrrry slow because each dit is 30 seconds long.

The event is to start at 1800 UTC on October 9 and last until 2040 UTC. The “HI” message is to be repeated every 10 minutes, beginning at 18:00, 18:10, 18:20, etc. as shown in the figure below.

Say HI to Juno

The Say HI to Juno Web page has much more information on this event. The page include a table of frequencies on which to transmit and information on how to get a QSL card. There is also a Facebook page.

I think that this is a very cool event, and I hope that if you have the capability of transmitting on 10m that you’ll participate. Let’s all say HI to Juno!

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 http://www.zm90dx.com/.

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: http://www.country-files.com/