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.

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/

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.