Ham Radio in the News – 5/30/12

China/PhillipinesHam radio pulled into territorial dispute. China is using amateur radio to claim sovereignty of Scarborough Reef. The Chinese say that in 1990 a German ham was told  by the Philippine ambassador that the reef was not within Philippine territory.

Amateur radio essential tool. Behind the scenes at every Drivesouth Rally of Otago a team of local amateur radio enthusiasts works tirelessly to keep track of every car. Their support is vital to the three-day event, which started last night, as there is either unreliable or no cellphone reception where many of rally’s stages are held.

W6G Salutes Golden Gate Anniversary. The San Francisco Amateur Radio Club helped mark the 75th anniversary of the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge by contacting other amateur radio operators this Memorial Day weekend.

Ham Radio in the News – 4/6/12

Knobs, Dials, and Crackles.  BBC Radio 4′s Today programme is producing a limited edition, digital radio – sold to raise money for Children in Need. Aspiring UK designers – and listeners with a touch of creative flair – are being encouraged to submit designs. For inspiration, reporter Nicola Stanbridge went to look at one of the country’s largest private collections of vintage radios.

Wales remembers young radio amateur who monitored and reported Titanic distress calls. As the Titanic was sinking in the North Atlantic, its more than 2,000 passengers and crew scrambling in the dark for lifeboats, a young man far away in Wales heard the ship’s distress calls on his homemade radio. The local Blackwood & District Amateur Radio Society will be using a special call sign to send messages on April 13-15 from Gelligroes Mill, where Moore built and operated his device.

Billy Burdette, K4NJS, SK. Mr. Burdette was a past member of the Spartanburg Amateur Radio Club and he was a current member of the Old Friends Amateur Radio Group. He was a dedicated amateur radio operator having the call letters K4NJS. Billy was a colorful figure attending dozens of hamfests over the years.

WA2HOM to operate in special event mode on Saturday, February 25, 2012

Rotary InternationalI am a member of the Ann Arbor Rotary Club. The Rotary Club was founded in Chicago on February 23, 1905, and in commemoration of that event–and to promote awareness of the Rotary Club’s End Polio Now campaign–I’ll be calling CQ Polio on Saturday, 2/15/12 at WA2HOM.

I plan to operate primarily on 20m phone on or about 14.280, plus or minus QRM. If you’re in the Ann Arbor, MI area, I’d like to invite you to come down and help me. I plan to be there from 10am until at least 4pm EST (1500 – 2100Z).

If you’re not in the are, I’d like to invite you to work us. We’ll send out a commemorative certificate to anyone who’d like one.

If you’d like to know more about Rotary, you can go to www.rotary.org.  If you’d like to know more about the End Polio Now campaign in particular, go to  End Polio Now section of the Rotary website.

International Museums Weekend, June 16-17 and 23-24, 2012

Since I’m the station manager for WA2HOM, I’m always interested in ham radio events that take place at museums. I am, therefore, excited to note that the operating event, International Museums Weekend, will take place on both June 16-17, 2012 and June 23-24, 2012.

This has been primarily a European operating event, but I’m hoping that we can also get something going here in the U.S.  I know that I plan to participate in this event at WA2HOM.

Here’s how the IMW’s website describes the event:

The intention of the event is to set up amateur radio special event stations at as many of the museums as possible throughout the whole of the world. I would hope for an HF, VHF, and if at all possible, a Ui-View (APRS) packet station to be set up at each museum site, but the scope of your station is entirely up to you. The choice of museum is also left very much up to you, however aim for the largest and/or most unusual you can find.

The museums taking part over the years have included ships, castles, air museums, Napoleonic forts, pumping stations, wireless museums, racing museums and many others. For the purposes of the event, the word ‘museum’ is loosely interpreted. There really is no shortage of venues in which such an event can be staged, no matter where in the world you might live.

Related video
Just coincidentally, I received in an e-mail a link to a video that  documents two QSOs from a portable station to two museum ships.

A special (event) day at WA2HOM

I had a special day at WA2HOM today…a special event day, that is.

First of all, it was SKYWARN Recognition Day today. There were more than 100 National Weather Service amateur radio stations on the air today (see map below).

SKYWARN Stations

More than 100 NWS amateur radio stations were on the air today for SKYWARN Recognition Day.

I managed to work eight of them including stations in FL, IL, KS, KY, MA, TN, TX, and VA.

I also contacted several stations participating in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) Amateur Radio Clubs Special Event. This operating event was held in conjunction with the SEC championship football game. I was able to work three of the stations: AA4UT (Univ. of Tennessee), W4DFU‘ (Univ. of Florida), and W5YM (University of Arkansas). It was great to hear so many college club stations on the air.

One thing that I found a little curious is that the event lasted only from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm.  Then, it hit me. The game must have started at 1:00 pm. D’oh!

I worked two stations commemorating the attack on Pearl Harbor. The first, N4WIS, was aboard the battleship U.S.S. Wisconsin in Norfolk, VA. The second, W2W, was located at the National Electronics Museum in Baltimore, MD.

When I wasn’t busy working the special event stations, I managed to sneak in a couple of DX contacts. The first, VP2MOR, was on the island of Monserrat. The second, NH7U, is on the island of Molokai in Hawaii. It was kind of neat to work NH7U as I’ve actually been to Molokai.

In addition to all these great contacts, I was able to give a couple of demos to interested museum patrons. That rounded off a really special day down at WA2HOM.

Tesla’s Lab on the Air November 5

From Hamilton, KD0NFR:

Wardenclyffe, Nikola Tesla’s last laboratory will be on the air November 5th as special event station W3T! Wardenclyffe is located in Shoreham, NY on Long Island. W3T is part of a network of special event stations that are helping to raise awareness for the effort to purchase the laboratory and restore it into a science museum. To read more about the effort to restore Wardencyffe, please check out the Tesla Science Center website.

The other stations in the network are N3Y which will transmit via satellite and possibly HF from the New Yorker Hotel, Tesla’s last home in Manhattan, and YU0TESLA which will transmit on 20m as well as other HF bands. For the latest updates on what frequencies to catch the stations on and a sneak peek at the QSL cards and QTHs, go to the special event website.

If you’re in the Shoreham area on the 5th, please stop by the station! Also, be sure to check out the Radio Central Amateur (RCA) Radio Club. They will have the Marconi radio shack on the air a few miles away transmitting as a special event station commemorating the 90th anniversary of the opening of the RCA transmitting antenna farm in Rocky Point, NY. More details are available at the RCA website. Without the RCA club W3T would not be on the air. Their help has been invaluable!

If you have any questions, or you’d like to help out, please feel free to contact me at hcarter333@gmail.com.

73 de KD0FNR Hamilton Carter

Heathkit Nostalgia Event

On July 23rd, 1954, “Mr. Heathkit,” Howard E. Anthony was killed in a plane crash. To honor “Mr. Heathkit,” The Great Outdoor Radio Club, or GORC, is proud to sponsor the First Heathkit Nostalgia Event. This event is open to any licensed amateur radio operator. The main objective of the event is to communicate with classic Heathkit Radios. This is not a sprint nor is it a contest. This is a friendly gathering of amateur radio operators who own and operate Heathkit radios. If you don’t own a Heathkit radio, you still may join the fun!

Sponsor: The Great Outdoor Radio Club – GORC
Date: October 1st, 2011
Time: 0000 UTC – 2300 UTC
Bands: 160m, 80m, 40m, 20m, 15m, 10m, 6m
Modes: SSB, CW

A certificate will be issued to any amateur radio operator who makes contact with a minimum of ten Heathkit radio stations. A special certificate will be issued to any amateur radio operator who operates his or her Heathkit radio station outdoors and makes a minimum of ten contacts. This certificate will have a graphic your Heathkit radio model on it.

Exchange: Call, RST, Heathkit Model (or Power Level if no Heathkit radio used)

Please email all logs to: heathkitevent@wa3wsj.org

Mail to:
Heathkit Nostalgia Event
775 Moonflower Ave.
Reading, PA 19606-3447

Ham Radio in the News – Lighthouse Edition

Montage Lighthouse, Australia

The Hellenic Amateur Radio Association of Australia spent three nights on Montague Island to celebrate International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend.

The weekend of August 20-21 was International Lighthouse Weekend, and as ham radio operators are wont to do, there were a number of special event stations set up at lightouses around the world. I worked three in the U.S. from the WA2HOM and one in Germany from here at my home station.

Here are some news stories about lighthouse operations in various places:

Ham radio at lighthouse (Crescent City, CA, USA)

Light banter hits the airwaves (Williamstown, Australia)

Calling the world from Montague Island on Lighthouse Weekend (Australia)

Calling the world from the lighthouse (Gibraltar)


Ham Radio at the Detroit Maker Faire

This Saturday, I was part of the ham radio booth at the 2011 Detroit Maker Faire. What a blast. As I’ve preached before, Makers are our kind of people. That is to say they are people interested in actually doing stuff. And that includes both the exhibitors and the attendees.

KB6NU @ 2011 Detroit Maker Faire

Yours truly at the 2011 Detroit Maker Faire. Seated is Dave, N8SBE, enjoying lunch. Photo courtesy of Roger Rayle.

To be honest, I didn’t get to see much of the Faire myself. If you take a look at the website, though, and some of the pictures taken by Roger Rayle, you’ll get an idea of what was being exhibited, and how much fun it was.

As far as ham radio goes, we had quite an operation, thanks in no small part to  James, W8ISS, who was our organizer. It included two HF stations, my Morse Code display, and a satellite station. The real coup here was that James got museum personnel to erect two antennas for us up on the museum roof. One was an R8 vertical; \;the other a multi-band dipole.

We were so lucky with radio conditions. Conditions on both 40m and 20m were really good on Saturday afternoon, and we generated pileups on both CW and phone. It was a real blast to be on the other side of a pileup and get to work stations one right after the other.

As I mentioned, my contribution was a Morse Code setup. I had my touch keyer, a bug, my J-37 straight key with leg clamp, and my Kent paddle all on display. As I usually do, I tried to induce people to step up and send their names in Morse Code. With this crowd, it wasn’t too difficult to do.

What I would do is ask them the initial of their first name, and then show them how to send that using the touch keyer. Then, I’d encourage them to look up the other letters of their name on the chart I had on the table. If they were able to successfully do this in a more or less understandable fashion, I would extend my hand and say, “Nice to meet you, Lindsay (or Julius or Aidan or whatever their name happened to be).” That would usually get a surprised smile out of them.

Perhaps even more important than teaching people something about Morse Code or ham radio, the “send your name in Morse Code” display gave me a chance to make contact with people. I passed out a lot of cards at this event, and invited many to attend our next one-day Tech class.

One interesting contact I made was with a woman who was home-schooling her two children. While the boy and girl played with the keys, I had a discussion with her about why I thought ham radio was a good fit with home schooling. I noted that it not only taught kids something about science and technology, but also about geography and social skills.

She agreed and noted that she thought that many other home schoolers would be interested in getting their kids into ham radio. She gave me her e-mail address and said that she would be willing to plug me into the home schooling movement. Stay tuned for how that goes.

In nearly every way, the Detroit Maker Faire was a great event. We made lots of contacts, both on-the-air and in person, we taught a lot of people about ham radio, and had a lot of fun in the process. The only thing that could have been better was that it could have been about ten degrees cooler, but that’s something we could deal with.

N8M to be QRV from the Detroit Maker Faire

N8M will be active on the amateur radio satellites and HF this weekend Juy 30-31 from the Detroit Maker Faire at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI. Operating modes will be HF/VHF/SAT/EME CW/VOICE/DIGI conditions permitting. We hope to work as many Satellites as possible with the special call.

For more info, e-mail N8NWA at Yahoo.com