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.

Amateur radio in the news: reaching out to kids, ILLW, Lancaster Count Fair

 

The Owensboro ARC hosts a children’s program at the Owensboro Museum of Science and History where kids can learn the Phonetic Alphabet while making crafts.

The Owensboro ARC hosts a children’s program at the Owensboro Museum of Science and History where kids can learn the Phonetic Alphabet while making crafts.

Owensboro ARC reaches out to younger audience. The Owensboro Amateur Radio Club  hosts a children’s program at the Owensboro Museum of Science and History where kids can learn the Phonetic Alphabet while making crafts. “We are trying to get younger folks interested,” Walt Shipman, KI4OYH, said Thursday. “It’s where it starts.”

I like this idea! It might be something we can do down at the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum….Dan

Lighthouse to go international. Radio operators from around the world will be including the Oak Orchard Lighthouse (NY) in International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend, Aug. 17 and 18. It is the first time the lighthouse is participating in the event fully.

Keeping an eye on the sky. If you go to the Lancaster County (NE) Super Fair, you’ll probably see guys in golf carts and green jackets offering rides to those in need. Those guys are members of the Lincoln Amateur Radio Club. Members of the club are also trained storm spotters — many involved in the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency, and they know exactly what to do if severe weather hits.

 

Operating Notes: VEs, YVs, and the 13 colonies

I”m certainly no history scholar, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that this time of year is a good one for independence struggles. Our own Independence Day is, of course, celebrated on July 4, even though I recently learned that the Continental Congress actually decided to declare independence on July 2, and Samuel Adams always thought that it should be celebrated on that date. Canada Day, the day they celebrate their independence is on July 1, and Venezuelan Independence Day is on July 6.

These events are being celebrated by amateur operators in these countries by either special operating events or contests.

U.S. independence is being commemorated with the Thirteen Colonies Special Event.  Since I’m mostly a CW operator, it’s more difficult for me to work all thirteen than it is for the phone ops, but even so, this year I bagged six of them. K2H was actually QSO #13,000 in my computer log.

On Monday, July 1, I got sucked into operating the RAC Canada Day contest. This year, I made 59 contacts in an hour and a half, and quit when my score exceeded 1,000. (My final score was 1,032.)

Tonight, I got sucked into the Independence of Venezuela contest, when I first the first station, 4M5IR on 7027 kHz. Not hearing any other YV stations on CW, I actually went up to the phone band and worked some stations on SSB. After working five on phone, I did manage to work another on CW, so I’m up to seven at this point. It’s getting late, though, and I might just call it a night after I finish this blog post. Seven is respectable, I think.

LOTW update
This afternoon, I uploaded my contacts from the last three months. The file was processed pretty quickly, and I was please to find that I’ve added two more entities to my DXCC total. I’m now at 120 total, with 117 on CW. On 30m, my best band, I’m up to 88 total confirmed.

From the ARRL Letter 6/27/13: Intruder Watch, 13 Colonies special event

Here are two items from today’s ARRL Letter. I include the first one because you’ll notice that there is no report for Region 2. The ARRL is responsible for the Intruder Watch in Region 2 and seems to be behind our brothers in Regions 1 and 3 when it comes to reporting on intruders. I’ve included the item on the 13 Colonies Special Event because I like working this event and would encourage all of you to do so as well…..Dan

IARU(1)International: Intruder Watch Documents Odd Bursts, Beeps and Buzzes on the Bands
The International Amateur Radio Union Monitoring System (IARUMS) continues to observe and log suspect and apparently unauthorized operations that intrude on Amateur Radio allocations. For example, the

TheMay 2013 IARUMS Region 1 (Europe) Newsletterreports an over-the-horizon (OTH) radar operating in Iran daily on 10 meters (26 to 30 MHz), transmitting bursts with 307 and 870 sweeps per second, 60 kHz wide and often jumping, covering 700 kHz and more. IARUMS Region 3 (Oceania) volunteers also have reported hearing the OTH interference from Iran. Regulatory agencies in Switzerland and Germany have filed complaints without effect.

IARUMS volunteers in Region 1 also report BPSK daily military traffic from Ukraine on 15 meters. German authorities have formally complained. DGØJBJ reports having observed 11 OTH radars on 20 meters, 65 OTH radars on 15 meters and 30 OTH radars on 10 meters — not including the OTH radars from Iran.

IARUMS Region 3 volunteers further report ongoing “illegal use of 10 meters for local short-range communications in a number of Asian countries.” Radio Amateurs in IARU Region 2 (the Americas) may report suspected intruders on exclusive Amateur Radio allocations to the ARRL.

On the Air: 13 Colonies Special Event Set
The annual 13 Colonies Special Event will take place during the first week of July, with participating 13 colonies’ stations on the air from 1300 UTC July 1 until 0400 UTC July 6. Event sponsors say at least two special event stations will operate from each colony state. The theme for 2014 is “Banners of the Revolution,” and the certificate — available to all participants regardless of the number of stations worked — will reflect that theme.

Those working all 13 colonies qualify for a “Clean Sweep” certificate designation, and a special endorsement will be attached for stations working WM3PEN in Philadelphia. The suggested exchange is call sign, name, signal report and state/province/country. The event’s sponsors report that more than 62,000 contacts were logged in last year’s 13 Colonies Special Event.

WA2HOM Operating Report: Toad Suck, counties, Polish DX

I had a blast down at WA2HOM today.

One of my first contacts was with W5STR, the club station for the Small Town Amateur Radio Service (STARS), a club in Arkansas. The club was operating from a campground in Toad Suck, AK. Yes, you read that right–the place they were operating from is named Toad Suck, a place that a recent poll says has the “most unfortunate name” in the U.S.

As you may know, I’m a sucker (pun intended) for odd place names. That being the case, I had to find out how Toad Suck got its name. According to their website:

Long ago, steamboats traveled the Arkansas River when the water was at the right depth. When it wasn’t, the captains and their crew tied up to wait where the Toad Suck Lock and Dam now spans the river. While they waited, they refreshed themselves at the local tavern there, to the dismay of the folks living nearby, who said: “They suck on the bottle ’til they swell up like toads.” Hence, the name Toad Suck. The tavern is long gone, but the legend lives on.

I love it.

og3077f_back_1_

Next, I worked Heikki, OG3077F. On his QSL card, found on QRZ.Com and shown above, Heikki says, “I applied for this special callsign to commemorate my contacts with all 3,077 U.S. counties, all on CW, which took me 24 years to complete. I started chasing U.S. counties in 1987, which I met Bud, W0UBT, in Minnesota. He gave me the USA County Record Book, as a gift, and upon my return to Finland, I started to fill it up. Many thanks to all of my local and international county hunter riends for all of your support throughout all of these years.”

Finally, I worked 20 stations in the Polish DX contest. One of the stations I worked was SP9ATE, whose QSL card will be a nice addition to my collection of QSLs from stations whose callsigns spell words. I almost worked SP9GEM, but after many attempts to get him to copy my callsign, he gave up and went on to the next QSO.

W8P Spreads the Word about End Polio Now

Rotary InternationalOn Saturday and Sunday, February 23-24, 2013, Ann Arbor, MI, USA amateur radio operators gathered at WA2HOM, the amateur radio station at the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum. They were there to operate special event station W8P to commemorate the founding of the Rotary Club on February 23, 1905 and spread the word about Rotary International’s End Polio Now Campaign.

Operating the station on Saturday were:

  • Dan, KB6NU
  • Jack, N8PMG
  • Jameson, KD8PIJ
  • Dinesh, AB3DC
  • Mark, W8MP

Since the museum is only open from 1500Z – 2200Z, we were only able to operate for seven hours on Saturday. We spent all of our time on 20m phone, with our beam pointed southwest, concentrating on working mostly U.S. stations. We had originally intended to operate on 14.287 MHz, but quickly had to change frequencies, as that portion of the band was occupied by participants in the Mississippi QSO party. Before moving, though, we were able to contact Pertti, EA7GSU, who was operating the event in Spain.

We finally ended up on 14.227 MHz and made a total of 110 contacts on Saturday. This included 29 states and four DX contacts.

On Sunday, we only operated for a couple of hours and made another 27 contacts. While we made fewer contacts on Sunday, the contacts that we did make were more poignant than the ones on Saturday.

My first contact on Sunday was with a gentleman who was spending the winter in Florida, but whose hometown was Standish, Michigan. He told me that his mother had polio, and in the late 1930s and early 1940s, they would put her on a bus for Ann Arbor, where she would receive treatments. While there’s no way to be sure, I think that this ham’s mother was taking part in some of the research leading to the Salk vaccine in 1955. That research took place right here at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

I also talked to hams that had direct experience with polio. One was a polio survivor himself. Another’s wife was a polio survivor. A third was a physician who had been to Africa and had treated polio victims there.

It was a real treat to combine two activities that I enjoy so much–amateur radio and Rotary–and it felt good to know that in some small way I was furthering the work of the End Polio Now campaign. I hope that next year we will once again operate this special event and get even more Rotarians and amateur radio operators to participate.

Amateur radio videos: Arduino, K6H, British humor

More ham radio YouTube videos:

Ham radio Arduino beacon. A simple ham radio morse beacon comprising a Barbones arduino, and a keyed oscillator. Sources of all info except the oscillator are in the credits and clip. You can key any simple oscillator the same way.

Working K6H Special Event Ham Radio Station On The Set Of “Last Man Standing” I haven’t yet watched this show, but I think it’s pretty cool that they were able to operate from the set.

The BBC on Ham Radio – 1950s Style. Here’s some vintage Tony Hancock and the “The Radio Ham”. To be honest, I couldn’t watch this all the way to the end, but you might find it more humorous than I did.

 

Olympic special event station on the air

2012L - the London Olympics special event station

The London Olympics special event station, 2012L, is on the air. Says the website,

The call sign of the London Flagship Amateur Radio Station celebrating the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. This unique amateur radio special event radio station is based at the Royal Greenwich District Scouts Activity Centre in New Eltham, south-east London. Eltham is in the Royal Borough of Greenwich, one of the six “host boroughs” for the Games.

We plan to make at least 60,000 contacts during the seven weeks of round the clock operation. The first contact was made on the afternoon of Wednesday 25th July, when the first Games football event took place in Cardiff. Operation will continue until the end of the Paralympics on Sunday 9th September.

They have been apparently generating huge pileups, especially on 20m. I’m hoping to work them before they close down.

UPDATE
GW0RYT informs me via Twitter that there is also an Olympic special event station, 2012W, in Wales.

Operating Notes – 7/8/2012

Yesterday, down at WA2HOM, our club station at the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, I worked a bunch of special event stations:

In addition, while tuning around down in the CW portion of the band, I ran into Peter, N4UP, who graciously worked me so that I could get his QSL card to add to my collection of QSL cards from stations whose callsigns spell words. The contact worked out for both of us. Peter told me that he’s started a collection of cards with unique prefixes, and that I’m his first KB6.

Operating Notes: 6/13/12

Operating notes from the past week:

  • I was net control for this week’s ARROW 2m net. This net takes place every Monday night at 8 pm  on the 146.96 repeater. This Monday, we had ten stations check in. One station had two young visitors, who were able to say a few words on the radio. QNI: 13, including yours truly.
  • On Sunday afternoon, I left my HF rig tuned to 28.010 MHz while I played around on the computer upstairs. I turned up the volume so that I could hear it if anyone came on. Twice, I heard DX stations calling CQ. I worked CT1HMN one of those times.
  • DX was pretty good over the weekend. I worked a ZP6 (Paraguay) on 30m and an HK0 (Colombia) on 40m.
  • Sunday night, there was a “numbers station” on 10115.5 kHz. This one was sending random code groups, each consisting of five characters. I hear these stations about every six months.
  • At WA2HOM, our station down at the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, I worked EO2012KW, a special event commemorating the European 2012 Football Championship taking place at venues in Poland and the Ukraine.
  • If the Detroit Tigers win the American League pennant, I’ll organize a special event station commemorating their participation in the World Series. I won’t be able to get a cool call with a “2012″ in it, but I could probably get the callsign W8S.

EFC 2012

 

  • Last night, I worked Jim, W4BKV. When he heard that I lived in Ann Arbor, MI, he volunteered that he used to come up here a lot in the 1970s and 1980s doing consulting work for a company called Sycor. Well, as it happens, I came to Ann Arbor to work for Northern Telecom, the company that purchased Sycor. We had a great chat, nearly an hour long, talking about Sycor and how technology has progressed since then.
  • Ann Arbor is a great town from a QSO prospective. Despite it being a relatively small town, the University of Michigan is here, and lots of hams have either visited here or gone to school here or have heard of the place. So, there’s plenty to talk about.