New video touts amateur radio

Yesterday, I received kind of an odd e-mail from a group calling itself the World Genesis Foundation. It asked if I would “share the news about a new educational video about Amateur Radio.” Here’s the video:

To be honest, I didn’t watch all 32 minutes, but it seems like a decent video, if a bit “new-age-y,” and it’s aimed at attracting young people into the hobby.

I’m more intrigued by the sponsor of the video, the World Genesis Foundation. It has a very fancy website, but not a lot of substance. It touts some kind of relationship with the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), but isn’t specific about that relationship. On their home page, they list three “highlighted projects,” but the link to the very first one is broken.

I guess I shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth, though. The video, and the accompanying website, RadioQRV.Com, could help attract more young people into amateur radio, and that could be a good thing.

From my Twitter feed: radio gifts,

RadioSurvivor's avatarRadio Survivor @RadioSurvivor
There’s got to be someone on your list who wants a radio purse radiosurvivor.com/2013/12/02/hol…

Check out the radio tower tie….Dan

HamRadioSupply's avatarAmateurRadioSupplies @HamRadioSupply
New post: What the heck is a grid dip meter? goo.gl/C9BTnR

I wrote this yesterday for the AmateurRadioSupplies.Com blog…Dan

ARRL_PR's avatar

ARRL Media & PR @ARRL_PR
Get tips on #HamRadio PR & promotion! The December issue of #ARRL‘s CONTACT! has been posted! bit.ly/bRzdks

Deadline for Leonard Award approaching

From Bill, N2COP, and the ARRL PR Committee:

The deadline is December 6th for the 2013 Bill Leonard W2SKE Professional Media Award. The Leonard award recognizes journalists who earn income from stories they write or produce about Amateur Radio, but the Leonard Award also indirectly recognizes your efforts, and the efforts of your PICs and PIOs, to bring your Ham Radio activities to the attention of professional media employees. There are actually not one but THREE Leonard awards:

  1. Text (newspapers, magazines, blogs),
  2. Audio (broadcast radio, podcasts), and
  3. Video (TV, DVDs, webcasts).

With the deadline now two weeks away, the Thanksgiving holiday is the perfect time for you and your PICs and PIOs to assemble nomination packages. A full description of the Bill Leonard award, rules and submission criteria can be found on the ARRL website.

It’s always a fun occasion to give a local reporter in your section a plaque to honor their coverage of Amateur Radio, plus you now have a friend in the media who will tell his or her media friends about Ham Radio. It’s an all around win for our hobby. Those of us who are members of ARRL’s Public Relations Committee look forward to reviewing your submissions in December.

My slides have gone viral….well, sort of

I got this in my e-mail this morning:

You’re featured on the SlideShare homepage

Congratulations kb6nu!

Your presentation has been featured on the SlideShare homepage.

Kudos from our editorial team for your effort. Your presentation was chosen from thousands uploaded to SlideShare every day from around the world.

Ham Radio? Do They Still Do That?

Your presentation will remain on the homepage for a limited time.
Share with your friends on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Guess what, we’ve already tweeted it on @SlideShareToday!

— The SlideShare Team

How cool is that? It’s gotten close to 500 views in the last 24 hours.

Ham radio? Do they still do that?

When I tell people that I am a ham radio operator, I often get asked, “Do they still do that?” Well, of course, we still do that. So, when I was asked to speak to a Mensa group here in SE Michigan, I decided to use that as the theme of my talk.

Feel free to download this from SlideShare and use it whenever you’re asked to give a talk about amateur radio, adding or deleting what ever slides you think are appropriate.

From my inbox: CQ Burger King, BPL, solderless PL-259

Amateur radio plays a big part in this new Burger King ad.

 

FCC Denies ARRL BPL Petition. As this commentary from TV Technology notes, the FCC denied the ARRL’s that BPL systems include full time notching of amateur radio frequencies and an increase in the required notch depth from 25 dB to 35 dB. They also say, “While the Second MO&O isn’t good news for amateur radio operators, utilities seem to have lost their interest in using BPL to provide residential Internet access…and smart meters so it may have little real impact.” Let’s hope it stays that way.

Solderless PL-259. On the AMRAD mailing list, one ham writes:

Shakespeare has been in the marine antenna business since shortly before the discovery of oceans and they have a couple of bits of kit which you might consider for your ARES or Field Day bug-out box. They make a PL259 and a coax cable spice which go together with nothing but a knife sharp enough to cut the plastics and a pair of pliers. I wouldn’t try running the legal limit through these (the coax they fit wouldn’t like it either) but i have used the PL259 for up to 100-watt service and they have performed admirably.

They are kind of expensive at around $15 a pop, but they do look like quality parts and that they’d work pretty good in a pinch.

From my inbox: amateur radio video, new NIST time code, Arduino-like RF board

This video is an introduction to amateur radio produced by a club in Quebec. It’s a very slick production.

New NIST time code. From the 3/5/13 NIST Tech Beat:

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is changing the way it broadcasts time signals that synchronize radio-controlled “atomic” clocks and watches to official U.S. time in ways that will enable new radio-controlled timepieces to be significantly more robust and reliable. This new time broadcast protocol will not only improve the performance of new radio-controlled clocks and watches, but will encourage the development of new timekeeping products that were not practical with the old broadcast system because of local interference or other limitations. For example, appliances such as refrigerators, microwave ovens and thermostats, as well as traffic light timers and sprinkler systems will be able to take advantage of this new phase modulation broadcast.

Open-source RF. EETimes reports:

Lime Microsystems Ltd., a developer of configurable multi-band radio transceiver ICs, has launched an open-source RF hardware project that it says is intended to further innovation in wireless systems. The non-profit initiative has been launched under the name Myriad-RF with its own website and includes pre-made RF boards with editable design files that developers can freely download and use in their own designs.

I like this idea a lot, and I think it deserves a good look by radio amateurs.

Field Day in the news for 2012

Newspapers, radio stations, and TV stations all over the country covered Field Day last weekend. Many wrote stories before the event, many after. Below, are only some of the stories that appeared after the event.

Amateur radio operators practice communications as hobby and …
KY3 – SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — When disaster strikes, communication often breaks down. Without cell phones and the internet, most of us would be lost. But a fraction of …

Amateur radio operators provide lifesaving communication and …
KSPR – Local operators assist in disaster situations and help to spot storms.

‘When all else fails,’ there’s amateur radio
Helena Independent Record – Amateur radio remains part of the emergency communications system, but another appeal for the users is being able to do a lot of things with different gadgets.

Amateur Radio Operators Prep for Disaster
WAAY – The technology was invented nearly a century ago, but today, these radios can be the most effective form of communication when disaster strikes.

‘Hopping and popping’ on radio in Live Oak
Appeal-Democrat – Microphones in hand, fingers at the radio dial, the amateur radio operators … About a dozen members of the Yuba-Sutter Amateur Radio Club joined radio hams …

Amateur radio operators connect Anderson to the world at training
Anderson Independent Mail – Ham radio operators from Anderson County spent Saturday telling the world about the 90-degree weather in Anderson.

Amateur radio operators have a busy weekend at SCCC
New Jersey Herald – NEWTON — When Kelly Leavitt wanted to send his stepdaughter in Florida a message Saturday afternoon, he didn’t reach for his cell phone to instantly text her …

Amateur radio operators prepare for disasters at the 5th annual Field ...
Billings Gazette – When disasters strike, ham radio and amateur radio operators are sometimes a … The club, a group of about 60 amateur radio operators, have helped out local …

Radio club practices craft for Field Day
Lawrence Journal World – The Douglas County Amateur Radio Club on Saturday had its annual Field Day, when amateur radio members practice their skills by making contacts all over …

Ham radio preps for disaster
Times Record News – Members of the Wichita Amateur Radio Society operate radios to contact other sites across the United States …

Amateur radio operators participate in field day
Janesville Gazette – Carl Cramer and about 15 members of his ham radio club, the Greater Beloit Amateur Radio Club, have been camped out this weekend at Thresherman’s Park …

Ham radio operators stay in practice
BlueRidgeNow.com – A handful of ham radio operators, with the Blue Ridge Amateur Radio Club, tapped on keyboards or messaged Morse code across the wires during Field Day, …

Amateur Radio Field Day Held in Bend
KTVZ – BEND, Ore. — Amateur radio is a hobby for most people interested in communication, and this weekend, several people in Bend participated in a national …

Amateur radio operators demonstrate hobby
Marshfield News-Herald – Members of the Marshfield Area Amateur Radio Society gathered at the Miller Recreation Area shelter Saturday and Sunday to hone their skills and show off …

Amateur radio still proving useful in an emergency
YNN – It can’t exactly be described as a lost medium, but as new communication technologies have evolved, amateur radio has been pushed to the back burner. But as …

Amateur Radio Operators Often Help In A Crisis
WDEF News 12 – It may seem just like another hobby to most, but Amateur Radio operators, known as Hams are often called upon in a crisis. And the Bradley County club has …

Huntsville area ham radio operators have a ‘fun’ time during a mock …
al.com (blog) – Enlarge Dave Dieter Field Day is the climax of the week-long “Amateur Radio Week for the national association for Amateur Radio. Using only emergency power …

Amateur radio enthusiasts ready for emergencies
Dothan Eagle – To the average person, ham radios may seem like relics – ties to the first half of the 20th century useful only for nostalgic reasons.

Debby heightens significance of amateur radio
WJTV – GAUTIER, Miss. (AP) A weekend of “field day” activities for the Mississippi Coast Amateur Radio Association and the Jackson County Amateur Radio …

Local amateur radio enthusiasts practice their emergency response
Norman Transcript – Throughout the U.S. and Canada, ham radio enthusiasts spent 24 hours over the weekend practicing for emergency situations like Norman’s April 13 torna.

Amateur Radio Operators Participate in Nationwide ‘Field Day’
Patch.com – Saturday event at Horton’s Point Lighthouse was a blend of ham radio fun and emergency preparedness.

Small Town Amateur Radio Society participates in Vilonia field day
Log Cabin Democrat – A mobile weather spotter, James Cope of Vilonia, was in his vehicle seven miles south of the city on April 25, 2011, when he “had eyes on the tornado” that …

Debby Heightens Significance of Amateur Radio
ClaimsJournal.com – A weekend of “field day” activities for the Mississippi Coast Amateur Radio Association and the Jackson County Amateur Radio Association gained significan.

Hams succeed during national field day
Jackson Progress-Argus – The Butts County Emergency Communications Auxiliary participated in the national Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL) Field Day event during a 24-hour …

Field Day offers radio club a chance to shine
Weatherford Democrat – Members of the Amateur Radio Club of Parker County took part in a worldwide Field Day Saturday to raise awareness for what the club does. Will Teague, left …

Field Day shows off ham skills
Ramona Sentinel – Amateur radio operators—usually referred to as “hams”—have long communicated with each other without the benefit of the Internet, cellphone towers or other …

Amateur radio operators prepare for ‘worst’
Sand Springs Leader – Tulsa area amateur radio operators gathered Saturday at Chandler Park to practice for a “worst case scenario.”

Yuma’s Amateur Radio Ops Demonstrate Emergency Capabilities
KSWT-TV – Yuma’s Amateur Radio Operators joined thousands across the country in demonstrating their emergency capabilities Saturday.

Lake of the Woods Amateur Radio Society makes connections …
Daily Miner and News – Members of the Lake of the Woods Amateur Radio Society were among thousands of ham radio operators across North America reaching into the airwaves…

Police Explorers Begin Amateur Radio Classes
The Missourian – When four young members of the Pacific Police Explorers Club signed up to take classes for the amateur radio federal license exam, Keith Wilson, Franklin …

Amateur radio operators prepare in case of an emergency
Kalispell Montana News – GREAT FALLS- When disaster strikes and all communication lines are down, its licensed amateur radio operators that step in to help, and many of them …

Amateur Radio Event Showcases Emergency Preparedness Skills
Emergency Management – More than 35000 amateur radio operators participated in Field Day and demonstrated the practical uses of ham radio during an emergency.

Local club practices emergency readiness
Jacksonville Daily Progress – Amateur radio enthusiasts gathered together on Saturday to test their emergency readiness. The Cherokee County Amateur Radio Club participated in the.

Emergency radio operators hone skills
Navarre Press – The Navarre Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Amateur Radio Club held a field day from 1 p.m. on June 23 until 1 p.m. on June 24 to test …

Is this thing on?
Maple Ridge News – The Mission Amateur Radio Emergency Services group braved the inclement … This year they joined in with the Maple Ridge Amateur Radio club station who …

Amateur radio connects Coweta County, world
Newnan Times-Herald – Online edition of The Times-Herald, Newnan and Coweta County’s Online Source. Find the latest local, state, national and international news. View and place classified ads online.

Amateur radio club tests emergency communication
Star Community Newspapers – A friend in radio broadcasting attracted Hansen to amateur radio frequencies while he was living in southern California. Just a few months after obtaining his amateur radio license and his own call sign, Hansen’s house was a victim of the Northridge …

When all else fails…Local Ham Radio operators give demonstration for Gordon …
Calhountimes – The Cherokee Capital Amateur Radio Society held its annual field day event in Gordon County on Saturday, June 23, 2012, where the club set up a three alpha station, using no commercial power, to demonstrate how communication could be established, via …

Hamming it up
Coeur d’Alene Press – This past weekend the world got a little smaller. Every fourth weekend in June since 1933 Amateur Radio operators (Hams) have participated in Field Day.

Hams’ Offer Information Lifeline When All Else Fails
The Epoch Times – Hams are the operators of amateur radio, the old-time tech that once connect people across oceans. Nowadays, hams are practically a stereotype—laid back, white-haired retirees who fiddle with dials and antennas, talking to fellow operators across the …

Ham Radio
Santa Ynez Valley News – Field Day is the annual test of radio operators’ ability to set up emergency communications under field conditions and operate solely on emergency power systems for 24 hours, said Ray Lischka, the emergency coordinator for Lompoc Valley Amateur Radio …

Ham radio operators hold annual Field Day exercise
Clay Today Online – But amateur radio operators in the area were on the air within hours after the hurricane hit.” As emergency coordinator for Clay County, Gray said, “We work through the Clay County Emergency Operations Center in Green Cove Springs as an alternative in …

Having a field day: Amateur radio operators contact Croatia
The Union of Grass Valley – The Nevada County Amateur Radio Club held a field-day event on June 23 and 24 at Empire Mine. More than 375 contacts with amateur radio stations all (read more)

Ham radio demo held
Shore News Today – The Shore Points Amateur Radio Club hosted Amateur Radio Field Day last weekend at the North End Observation Deck Ham radio operators from Atlantic County participated in the emergency preparedness.

Local radio operators gather
The Hillsdale Daily News – The Hillsdale County Amateur Radio Club Field Day was held recently. Here, Club member, Milt Bowers, communicated with various parts of the country and said between 600 and 700 contacts would be made by the end of the 24-hour period depending on …

21 Things to Do: Go to Field Day

Field Day, held on the last full weekend in June, is the quintessential amateur radio event. It includes elements of just about everything that makes amateur radio the great hobby that it is, and you should make every effort to participate in Field Day the first year that you’re licensed.

Field Day got its start in 1933 as an emergency-communication exercise. Ham radio operators dragged their equipment out into a field somewhere and operated using emergency power sources. The aim was to see how prepared amateur radio operators were to respond to an emergency and to learn how to do it better.

2008 OMARC Field Day

Tents often serve as shelters for Field Day stations. Photo courtesy of Ken Barber, W2DTC.

Emergency communications preparedness is still the primary purpose of Field Day. Amateur radio operators tune up their gasoline-powered generators and test their solar panels to ensure that they will be ready in case of an emergency. And, by hauling out into the field all manner of radio equipment, we find out what radios will work best in that operating environment.

Of course, the only way to tell how well your equipment will work is to actually operate it. That’s where the contest part of Field Day comes in. Stations score points by making contacts with other stations, and those with the most points win. Other things being equal, the stations that work the best will make the most contacts and score high in the contest.

Many Field Day stations have multiple transmitters, and when you have multiple transmitters, you need multiple antennas. Setting up a multiple-transmitter operation can be a lot of work. That’s why Field Day is often a club activity. For some clubs, it’s the biggest event of the year. In addition to all the technical activities, clubs use Field Day as a social event. There’s food and drink and reminiscing about Field Days gone by. For some hams, that’s more fun than actually operating.

Finally, because Field Day is such a big event, the ARRL encourages us all to use the event to reach out to the public, elected officials, and served agencies, such as county emergency management and the Red Cross, and educate them about amateur radio. Unlike many contests, where you only score points when you make contacts, you score Field Day points for holding your operation in a public place, handing out brochures to interested parties, and having the mayor come and visit your Field Day site.

How to participate
By participating in Field Day, you’ll learn more about amateur radio in a single day than you will doing just about anything else. If you’re a club member, ask how you can help out organizing  your club’s Field Day event. That’s sure to win you points, and it will make your Field Day experience that much more fun and educational.

If you’re not a club member, or if you’ll be out of town that particular weekend, you can find a Field Day site closeby, by going to the ARRL Field Day Locator. The clubs that are listed there are sure to welcome you, especially if you arrive early and help them set up.

I hope I’ve persuaded you to participate in the next Field Day. You’ll not only learn a lot, but you’ll have a lot of fun. Don’t forget to take some sun screen and mosquito repellent!

Get a Google grant for your ham club website

On the ARRL PR mailing list, Allen, W1AGP, the ARRL’s Media and PR Manager, posted this:

Does your ham group have a website?  Is it a non-profit? [Then, sign up for] Google Grants for Nonprofit Group Advertising.

Steve, W5SMP, spotted this option.  While I can’t use it with the main ARRL website (due to advertising – “Your website cannot display revenue generating ads, such as Google AdSense or affiliate advertising links, while participating in Google Grants.”)  many of the section and divisions have their own sites that should fit the requirements.

Being listed high up and getting free ads on Google is a definite plus.

You should have your Public Information Officer (PIO) look into this. It takes some work, but  this program is free, so why not take advantage of it?

And, finally, if your club doesn’t have a PIO, you should appoint one. Not having one limits you. The ARRL has many resources for PIOs, making the job easier.