Saturday, September 24, 2016

ATNO #299 H44GC Solomon Islands

The latest ATNO #299 H44GC Solomon Islands  is in the log

On Deck:

#300 5U7RK Niger - September to November 2016
#301 T31T Central Kirabati - October 4 - Oct 30 - 3 Operators led by 3Z9DX
#302 4U1UN United Nations HQ - October 24, 2016
#303 XU7MDC Cambodia - November 4-14, 2016'
#303 XU7AEC Cambodia - Russian team Nov 16-Dec 5, 2016
#304 TL8AO Central African Republic - November 10-22, 2016
#305 Nepal being planned second half of October - with SP9FIH as 9N7CC, SP2FUD as 9N7FD, SP9FIH as 9N7WE

Monday, September 12, 2016

ATNO #298 Bhutan A5A

I have been trying for days with no luck - finally on 9/13 at 02:16 on 18076 CW.  Zorro, JH1AJT team leader of the A5A expedition shown below operating SSB






A Matter of Days - The Genesis Debate


There is a YouTube video, that is comprised of many segments stitched together that totals up to 3 hours and 45 minutes.  On one side is the side comprised of Dr. Hugh Ross, astronomer and president of Reasons to Believe, who ascribe to an "old earth" account of creation and Dr. Walter Kaiser, professor of Old Testament and one of the translators of the New International Version of the bible.  On the other side is Ken Ham, leader of the ministry - Answers in Genesis, and Dr. Lisle, another astronomer.  Both sides present an impassioned plea to ascribe to their points of view.  It got heated but remained civil.  This video, if one has the patience to listen to all three plus hours, shows both sides of the debate by those who passionately espouse their points of view.

I agree with Dr Walter Kaiser's point of view that it is somewhat precarious to be a hard liner on the 24 day point of view, when scripture does not present a clear (beyond reasonable doubt) formula for it.  His point is that there are six distinct time periods for the creative acts by God that were performed.  The important point is not how long it took God to perform these "acts of creation" but that it is God that performed it.  Hour 2:36 is where Dr. Kaiser states his position clearly.  Ken Ham is clearly on the defensive in this video.  I think both views are equally compelling, though one may be in error, in the grand scheme, is not central to the essential message of the gospel.
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Friday, September 9, 2016

Που οι άνθρωποι λένε είμαι - "Who do people say I am?"

Mark 8:27-30 “Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, 'Who do people say I am?' They replied, 'Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.' 'But what about you?'


Matthew 16:13-20 "When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”  They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”  “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Atheists Richard Dawkins, finally admitted that Jesus really existed in a YouTube video below.    Are we prepared to accept the testimony of historical testimony not only from followers of Jesus but also from those outside.  That was the final question in this video.

Islam, however claims, that Jesus really existed, but that he is only a prophet, and denies that he is "God".  The prophet Muhammad is a greater prophet but according to Islam, that only Allah is supreme.
Another interesting debate which involves Hugh Ross - founder of Reasons to Believe, and Victor Stenger.



There are many opinions (perhaps countless)  on what to ascribe to Jesus's nature whether he existed, whether he is truly the God that created the universe.  Where did the universe come from?  Where did human beings come from?   These are rather complex questions.   On one end, there is the thought the we are a product of random chance, of Darwinian, evolution and natural selection, and that given infinite time, our existence can be explained.  On the other end, the existence of an "intelligent creator" is the driving force for all existence.  Not only that, the written testimony of the early followers of Jesus also make the claim that it is this Jesus who created the universe and holds it all together.
Who do you say Jesus is?

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Amplifiers - Is The Extra Power Worth The Investment??

Elecraft only produces a 500 Watt amplifier.  Many radio amateurs invest in amplifiers that go up to the legal limit of 1500 Watts in the US.  In Canada, the legal limit is 1000 Watts.  In the UK, the legal limit is 400 Watts.  Just what is the cost difference between 500 Watts and "legal limit" amplifiers and let's limit the discussion to the US where legal limit is 1500 Watts.  Here is a sampling of several 500 Watt and legal limit amplifiers in the US market:

500W Linear Amplifiers:
Elecraft KPA500 - $2299
Ameritron ALS-500M - $849 (does not include 6m)

1500W Linear Amplifiers
ACOM 1500 - $3989 
SPE Expert 1.3K-FA - $5000
Alpha 9500 - $7995
Alpha 8410  - $5995

The Elecraft KPA500 is simply the standard bearer for 500W amplifiers and its mettle has been proven in many DXpeditions in far away places.   The Alphas are the standard in the upper end.  The price difference ranges from $1690 all the way up to a whopping $7146.

The question is - is all the price difference worth the extra 1000 watts.  Lets look at what you are really buying in terms of what you can hear.  10*log(1500/500) = 4.77 dB or 8/10ths of an S unit.

Let's not confuse the issue between twice the power and twice the volume.  The latter is quite subjective

3 dB = twice the power (Power respectively intensity - mostly calculated)

6 dB = quadruple the power, twice the amplitude (Voltage respectively sound pressure - 
mostly measured)

10 dB = "twice" the perceived volume (Loudness nearly sensed psychoacoustics)

I would say that when referring to perception of something being twice as loud to the human ear that 10db is about right. Try it out for yourself with a vocal on a stereo receiver/amplifier that controls volune in dB since our ears are most sensitive to the human voice.


Here are instrumental recordings for you to listen for yourself:  Look for the 2:27 PM post.

Recordings - Reference, 1dB, 10dB and 2dB

You have to go somewhere in the middle of the thread to hear the recordings.  I recommend using headphones.

So an 800W amplifier will correspond to X when a 500 Watt amplifier is Z - 2 dB difference.   I can hardly tell the difference between Z and X.  So a 1500W amplifier is slightly louder than X, when Z is 500 Watts - but how much louder?  They say that 3 dB is the threshold of being able to perceive an increase in loudness.  By the way Q is like 100 watts when X is 1000W.  Also Z is like 800 Watts when Q is 100 Watts.  There is a good amount of perceived difference between 100 Watts and 500 watts but the incremental improvement above 500W to 1500W is indeed small.  Remember that dB's are all relative measures.

I dare say that between $1700 to $7000 you could have spent on the legal limit amplifiers could be better invested somewhere else - and nowhere to that price tag. Because you can't work them if you can't hear em no matter how much power you are putting out, I am of the opinion that you are better off spending a little bit of money in filters and equalizers if not the receiver itself.   Assuming you don't want to invest in a new and expensive high end receiver, my suggestion is to port the audio into an amplified equalizer / filter.   The ear is most sensitive to the midrange of the frequency spectrum based on the work of Fletcher and Munson.   Filter out 600 Hz and below and above 6000 Hz and you filter out any associated noise as well - so all you have is the frequency content that the ears are most sensitive to.  This equipment can be purchased for about $200-$300. 

Another worthwhile investment is that of receive antenna systems.  But now we are talking between another $200-$1000 depending on whether you have land or not.  If you have plenty of land, beverage systems are quite inexpensive.   If you have no land, then receiving loops like the K9AY will do the trick.  I have been successful in employing transmitting full wave loops which are very quiet in terms of noise.  I have used the vertically polarized 30m delta loop during the 13Colonies special event while operating as K2L with good results. Full wave loops are very cheap to make - really just a hunk of wire with a 4:1 balun to match the rigs impedance.  In fact I worked Heard Island VK0EK, Juan de Nova FT4JA, RI1FJ Franz Josef Land  and several other difficult expeditions using such an antenna.  The 30m delta loop nearly outperformed the Hexbeam during the 13 Colonies special event not because the loop is louder but because the atmospheric noise is so low that the signal to noise ratio so high that even the weaker signal of the loop is quite intelligible. 

Fletcher-Munson Curves Below 



So there you go, get an inexpensive tube amplifier like a Clipperton L or Drake L4B which will easily do 800 Watts (for $7000 dollars less) and you are almost on par with a legal limit amplifier on the other end.  Better yet run it at 500W to preserve your tube finals.   With your listening system in place - you can hear them when they answer "Your Call 5NN".   Without the latter, no matter how loud you are on the other end - it does not matter, you won't make the QSO.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Achieving Balance in Our Lives



This blog post is also inspired by the blog post of n6pse and what has been happening in my life over the past few months:

https://n6pse.wordpress.com/2016/08/24/keeping-balance-in-our-lives/


Many months ago, I also went through a similar awakening after having received a nasty  e-mail from a fellow radio amateur who I thought for years was a friend.   I questioned why I was putting in untold hours in front of the radio trying to pursue the achievements portrayed in pieces of paper.  I was focused and I was successful but at what cost - neglect of my wife and family? So i decided to withdraw from amateur radio in palpable and significant ways.  I took the 2 meter rig out of the truck.  For a while I enjoyed having an HF rig in the truck to make CW QSOs while driving to work.  I stopped that too.  So my forays in radio contesting, DX chasing or otherwise have been drastically reduced. 

  
I measured my progress in terms of numbers and time elapsed and it still is a struggle for me to find that balance between investing my time in this hobby and other meaningful, worthwhile and even enjoyable things,  I just have to keep reminding myself about what is truly important.  I also realized that the achievement of others came at substantial cost in time and money and I simply did not have the resources nor the willingness to pay the price.  I simply have to be satisfied by the capabilities of my "little pistol station" and the amount of time  I can truly afford to pursue what remaining interest I have in amateur radio.  I also believe that the time is ripe for a major pullback.  DXCC entities after 300 are very few and far between.  I have no desire anymore  to get to 1500 Challenge points.  The 160 meter DXCC is still a challenging one but it requires waking up early and staying up late.  

So to the readers of my blog - I would just ask you who spend considerable time in your shack and away from your family to take a second look at what price you are paying,  in the quest for a certain number of DXCC, Honor Roll, Challenge status, and to take time to cherish what you have and enjoy those around you.



I’ve sincerely enjoyed doing my Blog these past six  years. As evidenced by the change in my blog title, the focus of what I write on has changed and reflects my quest to determine what is important -  in finding balance, truth, and meaning.  The science of amateur radio still fascinates me and provides a backdrop in the wonder of why God created this universe and my place in it.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

ATNO #297 Pitcairn Islands VP6J, ATNO QRP #156 CY9C

18.084 CW at 16:48  signals up and down from weak to good copy  on my hex - workable.  Confirmed in Clublog

CY9C was S9 +10  on my meter on the K2 - perfect candidate for QRP.   Propagation jumped and even Pitcairn is open on 12m.

Contact with CY9C signing as NY4G/QRP confirmed in Clublog


Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Age Old Question - How Old Is Earth

This post is meant as a follow-up to my previous post.


The following excerpt was written by Greg Neyman in 2005 and I could not have said it any better.


"If God's creation was billions of years old, how would He have written the creation account in Genesis?  One thing is certain...God is good at telling us exactly what we need to know.


     When God refers to a large number, He uses picture stories, such as Abraham's descendants being as numerous as the sand.  Why does He do this?  If God had said, "You will have millions of descendants," Abraham would have asked, "What is a million?" 


     When considering the creation, if we broke it down into days, that would be 5,000,500,000,000 days, or roughly 13.7 billion years.  Do we need an account for each day of creation...of course not.  God in His infinite wisdom, saw fit to tell us the creation story by breaking it down into creative segments, each of which was attributed to a specific creative act or acts.  We need to give the early Hebrews of Genesis a break...they didn't have calculators like we do!


     One must also consider that time with God has no meaning.  To Him, 10 billion years is like a day.  Thus, it is no problem for God to put billions of years into one of His days.  Dr. Hugh Ross puts it best in his determination that the frame of reference for creation is the surface of the earth.  Genesis 1:2 puts the witness of creation on the surface.  But who is witnessing these events?  It is God himself.  During the first 5.99 days of creation, God is the only one present.  Thus, human time does not matter...no humans were there to witness the passage of time.   What matters is how God sees time!  Thus, a billion year day is only a passing moment in God's eyes.


     The creation account is written in such a manner for all people to understand it.  The issue is not how long creation took...the issue is that God did it, and that's all that matters in the end."


Did the English translators do us a disservice?  The divine revelation was given to the Hebrews - the translators merely translated as best they could.   In the end we have to use reason to make the distinction.  

Saturday, August 20, 2016

In Defense of the Faith - Genesis As The Atheists Stumbling Block


Apologetics (from Greek ἀπολογία, "speaking in defense") is the discipline of defending a position (often religious) through the systematic use of information. Early Christian writers (c. 120–220) who defended their faith against critics and recommended their faith to outsiders were called apologists.[1] In modern usage the term 'apologetics' is largely identified with debates over religion and theology in the USA and is rarely heard in the UK (although the related word 'apologist' is used in British English).   Reference - Wikipedia

The blog title has been changed to "With Mine Own Eyes" because my defense of my position is based on my perspective and understanding.   The reference to John 20 is intended to show the dichotomy between those who believe with limited empirical evidence against those who demand unassailable empirical validation.  The current understanding of "young earth creationists" is that the universe is "young" based largely on the literal 24 hour day of the English translation of the Hebrew Old Testament stating that all creation including that of man took place over a span of 6-24 hour days.   The word used in Hebrew is the word "Yom".   The word "Yom" usage in Hebrew spans many meanings and not just that of a 24 hour period of time.  It is important to know that because Hebrew vocabulary is limited to only 8700 words and English - a half million, understanding the Hebrew needs to depend on context.   Here are several examples of the uses of "Yom" as described by Hebrew scholar Greg Neyman in 2005.    The following are excerpts from his web article.  http://www.oldearth.org/word_study_yom.htm

"Yom" as Time

 

     It is interesting to note that in 67 verses in the Old Testament, the word Yom is translated into the English word "time."  For instance,  in Genesis 4:3, it says "And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord."  In this instance, Yom refers to a growing season, probably several months.  Again, in Deuteronomy 10:10, it refers to a "time" equal to forty days.  In I Kings 11:42, it says "And the time that Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel was forty years."  In this case, Yom translated as the word "time" is equivalent to a 40 year period.

     In Isaiah 30:8, it says "Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever."  In this case, Yom is equal to "forever."  How long is forever?  An infinite number of years...billions upon billions upon billons of years.  If Yom can equal trillions of years here, then why not billions of years in Genesis? 


"Yom" as Year

 

     Four times in the Old Testament Yom is translated "year."  In I Kings 1:1, "David was old and stricken in years..."  In 2 Chronicles 21:19, "after the end of two years" and in the very next verse "Thirty and two years old."  Finally, in Amos 4:4, "...and your tithes after threeyears."  In each case, Yom represents years, not days.


"Yom" as Age

 

     Eight times in the Old Testament Yom is translated "age."   These range from sentences like "stricken in age,"  meaning old age (Genesis 18:11 and 24:1; Joshua 23:1 and 23:2), and other times it says "old age" (Genesis 21:2, Genesis 21:7).  Genesis 47:28 refers to "the whole age of Jacob," therefore yom here refers to an entire lifetime.  In Zechariah 8:4, it says old men and women will sit in the streets of Jerusalem, "each with cane in hand because of his age."

     

"Yom" as Always

 

     Four times yom is translated as "always," in Deuteronomy 5:29, 6:24, 14:23, and in 2 Chronicles 18:7.  Always here can be interpreted as a lifetime...for instance, we are to keep the commandments of the Lord always (Deut. 5:29).

 

"Yom" as Season

 

     Three times yom is translated "season."  In Genesis 40:4, "...and they continued a season in ward."  Again, in Joshua 24:7, "dwelt in the wilderness a long season," and in 2 Chronicles 15:3, "...a long season Israel hath been...".  In each case yom represents a multi-month period.


"Yom" as Ever

 

     Ever is used to represent a long period of time, such as in Deuteronomy 19:9, "to walk everin his ways."  Nineteen times Yom is translated "ever."  The old testament uses "for ever" instead of the word forever.  In sixteen cases of use of the word ever, for is placed before it, indicating a infinite period of time.  I will not list them all (consult Strong's Concordance for a full listing) but here is an example.  In Psalm 23:6, it says "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever."  Here Yom is translated as the final word of this verse, ever.  Thus, Yom in this verse, and 16 others, represents eternity.

 

"Yom" as Evermore

 

    In one instance, when yom is used in conjunction with kôwl, Yom is translated "evermore."  Deuteronomy 28:29, "...and thou shalt be only oppressed and spoiled evermore;" thus representing either a lifetime or eternity.

 

"Yom" Usage in the Old Testament

 

     As you can see, Yom is used in a wide variety of situations related to the concept of time.  Yom is not just for days...it is for time in general.  How it is translated depends on the context of its use with other words.



"Yom" in the Creation Account

      Even within the creation account, Yom is used to represent four different time periods.  

  1. Genesis 1:5  "And God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night."  Here, Moses uses Yom to indicate a 12-hour period
  2. Genesis 1:14  "And God said, "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years."  Here, Moses uses Yom to indicate 24-hour days
  3. Genesis 2:4  "...in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens."  Here, Moses uses Yom to indicate the entire creative week.

     The fourth usage of Yom in the creation account is in the summary for each of the six creation days, "and there was morning and evening the first day". Yom is used to represent a finite, long period of time, 

The question is have the "Young Earth Creationists" taken the 6 literal days to NOT align themselves with the evolutionists, even though the current scientific understanding of nature is that of the age of the universe is much closer to billions of years as opposed to 6000 years?

The skeptics have assailed the young earth view as being preposterous which then keeps them from believing the more important tenets of the Christian faith - that Jesus Christ existed, that he died a substitutionary criminal's death to allow those who believe His work to have fellowship with God.   An old earth view is not necessarily at odds with Scripture after all.   Will I break fellowship with a "young earth" believer? By no means.  I will defend my position, in a nice and loving way.






Wait A Minute - I Thought This Was About Amateur Radio

Yes it still is about amateur radio - but not all the time.  Yes - and from time to time I will post discussions related to amateur radio.  But amateur radio is not my sole passion nor is it the most important pursuit of my life.  Amateur radio and the science related to it is fascinating but very important to me is the ability to convince skeptics into a world view, a perspective that is shaped in the pursuit of truth as supported by the "scriptures".   The one premise that I hold to is that the writings written by the ancient Jews in the Hebrew language, that is Moses et al, and the writings by the eyewitnesses who lived in the time of Jesus, which was in the Greek language are inherently inerrant and a revelation of truth.   I choose words carefully because words have meaning but care must be taken in the context and the true meaning of the words used.    How we see the world and how we interact with it is shaped by our understanding of it.   So sufficient for now is to let my readers  know that there is a "changing of the guard" on the nature of my posts.   For those readers who anticipate amateur radio related content - do not despair there will be sprinklings of it along the way.  Until next time.

CY9C Saint Paul Island DXpedition #296 All Time New One

August 22
80m 3523 CW 09:46 UTC
30m 10114 CW 02:45 UTC

August 21
160m 1820 - 500w 01:34 UTC

August 20
20m 14014.5 - CW - One Call 13:14 UTC
17m 18077 - CW- 14:00 UTC

With the distance a mere 1400 plus miles, it is a lot like shooting fish in a barrel even with many callers.   A little bit of listening pays off to identify where in the bandpass the DX operator is listening.   I hear a lot of callers calling randomnly.  This is how I am able to make a contact with one or two calls.


August 19 Update:
The operators have landed on the island with very limited equipment.  The radio gear transport has been delayed by heavy rain, rough seas and thunderstorms.  VFR conditions not currently present to fly into either operating site via helicopter.  Rough seas are preventing the landing of two boats to unload gear.

Friday, August 19, 2016

All Time New One #295 Franz Josef Land

Latest Update:  Eugeny (UA4RX) is now back in Russia and his log has been uploaded to Clublog.  Eugeny has very good ears and even my first 30m contact (prior to the insurance contact) has been logged.  Thank you Eugeny for an all time new one.  Victor UA2FM is his QSL manager and promises to answer QSL requests within a week of receipt.  No amateur radio activity from FJL is expected over  the next twelve months.

Original post: RI1FJ has been lurking out there for the past few days but has been very elusive.  He is usually spotted by Russians and Northern Europeans.  He seems to get into Japan quite often and occasionally VK land.  I have never seen him spotted by a US station.  This morning I saw him spotted by a French station and decided to go for a listen.  He was very very weak but he was there calling CQ on my 30m loop. I sent out my call sign several times and heard the familiar AGN.  I sent my call a few more times and heard him say NY4G NY4G 559 559 TU 73.  I then sent him TU DE NY4G 5NN 5NN TU 73 and I heard him come back CFM 73.  This should be the one for the book.


Contacts:
6/29/2016 10102 CW 10:25
7/11/2016 14004 CW 22:23 coming in like gang busters into the east coast -one call
7/21/2016 18091 CW 15:09 loud into the east coast

Up next:
CY9C Saint Paul - August 19-29, 2016
A52ARJ, A52LS, A52EQW, A52AEF Bhutan August 22-27 running barefoot to a Hex
A5 3 person DXpedition headed by Zorro 9/8-17 w/ 2 stations with 1.3kW amp and Tribander
VP6J Pitcairn Islands - August 25-Sept 3, 2016
YX0V Aves Island - August 31- Sept 10, 2016
VP6AH Pitcairn - September 2016
H44GC Solomon Islands  - September 2016
H44COW October 18-21, 2016
4U1UN United Nations HQ - October 2016
XU7MDC Cambodia - November 2016
TL8AO Central African Republic - November 2016

All Time New One #295 Franz Josef Land

Latest Update:  Eugeny (UA4RX) is now back in Russia and his log has been uploaded to Clublog.  Eugeny has very good ears and even my first 30m contact (prior to the insurance contact) has been logged.  Thank you Eugeny for an all time new one.  Victor UA2FM is his QSL manager and promises to answer QSL requests within a week of receipt.  No amateur radio activity from FJL is expected over  the next twelve months.

Original post: RI1FJ has been lurking out there for the past few days but has been very elusive.  He is usually spotted by Russians and Northern Europeans.  He seems to get into Japan quite often and occasionally VK land.  I have never seen him spotted by a US station.  This morning I saw him spotted by a French station and decided to go for a listen.  He was very very weak but he was there calling CQ on my 30m loop. I sent out my call sign several times and heard the familiar AGN.  I sent my call a few more times and heard him say NY4G NY4G 559 559 TU 73.  I then sent him TU DE NY4G 5NN 5NN TU 73 and I heard him come back CFM 73.  This should be the one for the book.


Contacts:
6/29/2016 10102 CW 10:25
7/11/2016 14004 CW 22:23 coming in like gang busters into the east coast -one call
7/21/2016 18091 CW 15:09 loud into the east coast

Up next:
CY9C Saint Paul - August 19-29, 2016
A52ARJ, A52LS, A52EQW, A52AEF Bhutan August 22-27 running barefoot to a Hex
VP6J Pitcairn Islands - August 25-Sept 3, 2016
YX0V Aves Island - August 31- Sept 10, 2016
VP6AH Pitcairn - September 2016
H44GC Solomon Islands  - September 2016
H44COW October 18-21, 2016
4U1UN United Nations HQ - October 2016
XU7MDC Cambodia - November 2016
TL8AO Central African Republic - November 2016

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

K2L Plaques Arrived


The K2L plaques for winning top state arrived.  Mine also arrived   My teammate Bill N4IQ's plaque is shown next to mine.  The rest of the team's plaques have also arrived.   


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

YV0 Aves Island - YX0V to be activated

Aves Island -#17 on the most wanted list was just announced - activation August 31 to September 10.  More details to come soon

QSL Route W4DTA/YV5DTA