Thursday, December 30, 2010

Finally Worked Alaska

One day short of the end of the year - KL7J was calling CQ on 7.005. K4MLW sent me a txt message saying thus - dial flew to 7.005. Buttons were pushed to increase power from QRP to full barefoot power and called KL7J. He came back giving a 449 report while I gave him a 559. It was a feeding frenzy during the pile-up. KL7J was pretty quick in reponding to the stations in almost machine gun fashion. Now it is just South Dakota

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Recent Contacts

Looking at the Logbook:

224 Log Entries
Worked 48 states Mixed Mode
Worked 21 states QRP (5 watts)
Worked 25 DX Entities (1 QRP Bulgaria)

Recent Contacts:

CO2UE from Havana, Cuba - Band 80m 12/29CW : He must have been putting out some power as he came in loud. He could not copy me very well at 5 watts. Got my call sign though and gave a 325 signal report. I increased power to 70 watts and gave me a 569. Short QSO just a brief exchange of pleasantries.

WA9VEE Wayne from Indiana - 12/29 - Band 40m CW: We exchanged reports then he dropped off when I said I was QRP. I found him later in 80m but did not bother to contact him again

LU7yZ - Alejandro from Argentina - 12/28 - Band 20m CW: This was a contest that I was able to sneak in on

HC6EP - Ernesto - Ecuador - 12/28 - Band 20m PSK:

LU5CAB - Juan - Argentina - 12/28 - Band 20m PSK:

KP4RY - Abimael - Puerto Rico - 12/28 - Band 20m PSK:

HP2SM - Santiago - Panama - 12/28 - Band 20m PSK:

W7GVE - Ed - Arizona - 12/28 Band 20m CW QRP:

ZS2CR - Collette - South Africa - 12/28 - band 20m PSK: This was a notable one in that it took a while for us to make the exchange. She is YL - QSL direct only - plenty of apologies for not doing eQSL or LOTW

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

O There's No Mode Like Code for the Holidays

Oh, there's no mode like code for the holidays,
'Cause no matter how QRS you go,
When you pine for the rhythm of a friendly fist
For the holidays, you can't beat old Morse code.

I worked a gal who lives in Tennessee,
She was callin' for
Pennsylvania, so we ragchewed for a while.
From Pennsylvania, hams are beamin'
South to work those W4's,
From Atlantic to Pacific,
Gee, the QRM's terrific.

Oh, there's no mode like code for the holidays,
'Cause no matter how QRS you go,
When you pine for the rhythm of a friendly fist
For the holidays, you can't beat old Morse code.
For the holidays, you can't beat old Morse code.

Monday, December 20, 2010

2010 Year in Review

Well another year is about to close on me and it has been a rough year for things other than amateur radio which limited my on the air time (family illnesses mostly). I am thankful that the year is almost behind me.

There are some good things though. Jamboree on the Air (october 16, 2010) with the scouts somewhat forced me to learn CW - although we did not do much CW transmission during the Jamboree itself. I did get a chance to use my new (then) Palm Mini paddle which attaches to the radio via magnets - a real clever design.

Since Oct 16, I managed to learn enough CW to make 56 QSOs in CW - 3 of which were QRP.

We started a CW training net on Saturday mornings on 80m with Dave Watson (W4DJW), Stephen Belknap (KJ4RXY), Tony (N4BDR), and Phil (KG4FQG) as regulars.

Dave (W4KA) gave me a tip on a great logging program from N3FJP - ACLogger.

I also purchased my first quality paddle from Begali with great correspondence from Bruna (the owner's daughter).

I also put in a 500 Hz CW filter to complement the DSP narrow filters into the FT897D.

PSK has taken a back seat and I have not been on HF phone since the spring and summer other than occasionally checking into the Carolina SSB Net on 3915.

I managed to get 48 of 50 states with QSL Cards in hand - just need Alaska and South Dakota

Memberships in FISTS, SKCC and NAQCC have been helpful in being able to log the CW QSOs so far.

I am looking forward to NAQCC Sprint days in 2011 and I am contemplating operating mostly QRP in 2011 especially as we get into the peak of the solar cycle.

I attended my first BRARS Club meeting and have been able to meet most of the club members at the Friday night "Eat and Greet" at the Golden Coral in Cherrydale.

I joined Greenville ARES and attended most of the meetings since joining and the Thursday night training nets on the 146.820 repeater.

As for projects - built an OHR Dummy load and a cantenna type dummy load. I built reverse polarity and overvoltage protection for the Yaesus and put a lightning arrestor onto the feedline.

Thanks to the readers for reading this blog and hope to see you on the air in 2011. Have a Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

NAQCC Sprint Tips

There are ways to operate contests and sprints that are more efficient than others and lead to better results. Since the NAQCC is concerned with proper operating procedures and teaching the joy of contesting to those who are interested in the fun and excitement of contests, we offer this page of tips. These tips were gleaned from over 40 years of contesting and observing the best contesters in the world over that time span.

The overall best tip is to always keep in mind "brevity, brevity, brevity." The quicker you make an exchange, the more time there is to make exchanges and thus a higher score for the operator. This is why you hear in the major contests speeds of 30, 40, even 50 WPM being used.

However in our NAQCC sprints we are concerned with helping newcomers to contesting, and we urge slower speed operation. But you can still be brief even at slow speeds in the following ways.

Make your CQ's brief. Call CQ NA K3WWP - no more, no less. If you don't get an answer, do it again after a few seconds, and keep doing it over and over until you do get an answer or give up and move to another frequency or go search & pouncing.

Search & Pounce or S&P means you go looking for someone calling CQ and 'pounce' on them. When you find a CQ, simply send your call letters, nothing more.

When contact is made, again be brief. Just send what is required, nothing more. If the other station doesn't copy something, it is up to him to ask for repeats. This is much quicker than sending all your info two or more times, as the odds are good the other station will copy you the first time.

Let's look at a typical contact exchange between me (K3WWP) and K4BAI. (1) is what I send, (2) is what K4BAI sends.

First with me calling CQ:

(1) CQ NA K3WWP
(no answer - repeat)
(1) CQ NA K3WWP
(still nil - repeat)
(1) CQ NA K3WWP
(2) K4BAI
(1) K4BAI 569 PA 2
(2) TU 559 GA 644
(1) TU CQ NA K3WWP
(and so on)

And with me answering K4BAI's CQ:

(2) CQ NA K4BAI
(1) K3WWP
(2) K3WWP 559 GA 644
(1) TU 569 PA 2
(2) TU
(and I continue my S&P or go somewhere and call CQ)

If you miss an item in an exchange, let's say the RST, simply ask RST? once. Then the other station should send simply 559. One question, one repeat. If conditions are really horrible, you may have to modify this, but don't take it to extremes.

This is the ideal and quickest way to make an exchange. However our sprints are a little less formal and more relaxed, and in K4BAI's case, John and I generally greet each other by name when we make contact except in the very fastest most intense contests. It's always nice to add a little personal touch whenever it doesn't slow things down too much.

Some more tips briefly. Always make sure the frequency is clear when you call CQ by asking QRL?. You'll have the best chance of making contact if you exactly zero beat the station your are calling. Don't bother with procedure signals like BK, K, AR, etc. They are not necessary and consume time.

Mark K5GQ suggests a tip about getting call signs correct. If someone questions you about your call, as in my case - K3WWP? or K3VWP? - you have a couple options.

If the questioner had your call correct - K3WWP? - DO NOT repeat your call, but simply send 'R' for OK - or - 'C' for YES or CORRECT. If you repeat your call, that confuses the questioner because then he may think that K3WWP is not correct, and will probably ask again, all of which wastes precious contesting time.

If the questioner had your call wrong - K3VWP? - then is the time to send your call once or twice again. Just your call, nothing else.

If you are not sure if the questioner had your call correct because you didn't copy all of what he sent - K3 WP? (the space indicating you didn't copy that letter) - then it is probably best to send your call twice and take it from there.

Mark also suggests when asked to repeat your member number do it as follows in his case - 878 NR 878 - in other words your number, NR, then your number again. I prefer just the number sent once, but Mark's method has merit, and actually with my short number (2), it is better in my case and is what I usually do.

Thanks Mark. K3WWP

NAQCC Slow Speed Net

This is from NAQCC - North American QRP CW Club


Just a quick reminder of our NAQCC QRS Net (NQN) this (Sunday) evening USA
local time which is Monday at 0000Z on 3562.5 kHz +/- QRM. Note that's a new
experimental time that worked fairly well last week.

NCS is WY3H using the NAQCC club call N3AQC.

We are doing our best to expand our list of NCS for the net. We are slowly
starting to get responses from members. Tom WY3H is keeping track of all the
info, and as soon as he gets anything to me, I publish it in the latest
newsletter and on the club web site Elmer page. If you are interested in
helping out, please let Tom WY3H know at wy3h@windstream.net. Thanks.

We are also trying to establish additional regional nets. Tom has reported
one volunteer so far. That's KE7LKW is going to set up a net for the Pacific
Northwest region. More details as they become available will follow in the
upcoming newsletters and in the Elmer section of the web site as I get the
info from Tom.

For those new to the net, here is a brief description of the informal net
procedure.

The call-up is CQ NQN DE N3AQC QNI.

After the NCS sends QNI, send your call once. PLEASE BE SURE to ZERO BEAT
the NCS. Having stations spread out on the band makes it very difficult to
run a net efficiently. When the NCS acknowledges you, just follow his
instructions. All those who check-in will then be given a turn or two to
make comments. That's pretty much it. We're NOT a traffic net nor even all
that formal. You don't even have to learn the special QN signals, as the
only one we use is QNI which basically means check-in. We exist just as a
means of some actual on-the-air slow speed code practice which is different
to a certain extent from computer or tape practice.

Since code practice is so important in becoming a proficient QRP operator,
this is the ONE and ONLY NAQCC activity where we allow use of QRO if
necessary in poor conditions.

I'll be there this evening. Will you?

Finally a note on the NAQCC web site. Hopefully most all of you know now
that the site has moved and we have our own domain name now - naqcc.info. We
now have 1,000 times the web space we had before the move, and will be able
to do a lot more now on the site to help promote CW. The first two things we
have already done is to re-post all our past newsletters in .html format.
That goes back to issue #042 when we switched from an email newsletter to an
on-line one. We've also re-posted all our past featured member pages. Now we
have a great membership database search feature, and in a day or two you can
search ALL results from our 74 sprints we've held. See how many sprints
you've entered with a list of all your scores, look at the results from one
particular sprint, and much more.

* John K3WWP - 100% CW / QRP - Proudly promoting Morse Code:

* As NAQCC VP - # 0002 FC # 1 - http://naqcc.info/

* As FISTS Keynote QRP Columnist - # 2002 - http://www.fists.org/

* With my CW-QRP site - http://home.windstream.net/johnshan/

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

December 14, 2010

The last few days have been good - as I have worked numerous stations 10 stations since 12/9 all on CW

W5GXV Gene on 80m - Spring Branch, Texas

N2FJ Fred on 40m on the FISTS calling frequency - Ogdensburg NY

WB4PMQ Macon on 40m frm Greenville NC was a very interesting contact. He operated a Small Wonder Labs XCVR putting out 3 watts into a 40m dipole and got a 599 signal report from me. He has an interesting Bio on QRZ

WG0K David from Lincoln NE was a short QSO on 20m band exchanging WX reports. It is cold in Nebraska

N4UEB Paul from Canada KY in 40m band is interested in old gear - operated an old Yaesu FT100 tube radio into a G5RV

WA0USA Victor from Palm Beach Gardens was a long ragchew on 40m

W6DDB Bill Welsh from Lancaster CA on 40m

KC8MFF Bob Cole from Buckhannon WV is a straight key operator and one of the cleanest CW i have seen (not coming from a keyboard) on the FISTS calling frequency on 40m

K3RLL Bob from Bethlehem PA was operating a K2 portable in Florida and gave one of the cleanest signals I have seen from 5 watts - gave him a 579 report

W2XU Steve from East Lyme CT on 80m

K1YS Mike from Barre CT on 80m

N0EK Ed from Bergen ND - is my prize for the week. I have been looking for ND for months now and just fell into my lap on 40m FISTS calling frequency. Now that ND is in the bag, only SD and AK remain for WAS.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Saturday CW Net December 11, 2010

Dave Watson is NCS

Band is 40m and Frequency Is 7.090

latest update

rain all around my vertical portable antenna don't want to risk the coils getting wet

I will not dial in

I will monitor your www.livestream.com/w4djw

so please feel free to choose whatever band works for you

Ariel

Friday, December 10, 2010

Sunrise in Myrtle Beach

Instead of ham and eggs - 20 meter ham

I only had a few seconds to take this picture before the sun peeked out of the clouds at full blast which would have made it impossible to take this picture.

Vacation in Myrtle Beach


We'll I guess this is what a ham does on vacation. Here I am listening to a couple of hams yakking it up on 40m N4QR and AB8EL in my PJs. It was actually warm in the heat of the sun although ambient temperature is about 47F. I had a Buddistick on the railing and the FT817 on my lap. I threw out a couple of CQs but no takers. Better luck next time. The paddle is a Palm Mini Paddle from Palm Radio. The netbook computer is great for PSK QSOs.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

December 8, 2010 First QRP CW QSO

Today, I made contacts as far away as Arizona on 50W W8FDV and Saint Mary's PA NM3B on the FT897. The RIT and DSP Passband tuning is great on this rig.

Later on in the evening - I tried the FT817 and worked a station in Michigan K9AAA - Dave in Delton, FISTS member 11347 and SKCC 654T. Immediately after the QSO - I was called by W5GXV - Gene from Spring Branch TX - through a process called tailending. Gene is also a FISTS member 11347 and SKCC 654T. The QRN was heavy. They had a strong enough signal that they could punch through my squelch. On the other end, they had to dig me out of the QRN (static) with my 5 watts. It was really exciting being able to make a contact with 5 watts, I wish I had a narrow filter. These operators had experience -as they were able to get me to zero beat in no time flat - as their signal directly matches mine in tone and on the spectrum. It is great being on vacation.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

December 7, 2010 Activities

It is nice being on vacation - I can fool around with radio stuff.

I spent a few hours trying to salvage the dummy load I built a while back which could not get to work. Having given up, I purchased a kit from OHR (Oak Hills Research) for an air cooled dummy load. I tried originally to solder a set of 20 1K-ohm resistors in parallel between two copper plates but the plates act too much as a heat sink for my 60w soldering iron. I got the plans originally from K4EAA who sold me the resistors. At any rate, I could not get the impedance to stabilize to an acceptable value - too many cold solder joints. I decided to take it apart today and start from scratch. First I tried de-soldering and that did not work too well. I just ended up clipping them to salvage the resistors. So now I ask myself - what do I do with a bunch of stub wire resistors. I checked all the resistors for resistance value and they mostly came 1000 ohms +/- 2 until with a couple that were off as much as 10 ohms - good enough for a dummy load.

I dug out some old 14-3 Romex and pulled out the bare copper ground. I hammered a hardwood nail into a sawhorse and wrapped the wire around the nail head making a tight loop. I pulled the loop taut until the hole is just big enough to pass the resistor leads. I repeated this twenty times x 2 wires spaced 5/8 inch apart. I then soldered the resistors to these loops. I tested the impedance with a VOM as I soldered each resistor making sure I have a stable resistance value. I then coiled the assembled resistor assembly into a tight spiral making sure none of the wires touch. I then soldered the ends to the SO239 on the lid of the quart can. Checked the impedance again and it registers 50.5 ohms. I poured a quart of mineral oil into the quart can and the put the cover with the resistor assembly and voila - a nice accurate dummy load for the shack.

Anyway, this is a gift for the young Stephen Belknap - 12 yr old general class operator and part of the talented Belknap family of hams. I visited with them and they are such great people to be around - plenty of stories to share about all things radio.

Before bedtime I worked a station in Dover PA - W3OKC on the low bands - 80m at 3.560Mhz. It turns out he is a FISTS member as well and his number is the one after mine 15356 (mine is 15355) . He instantly sent me an e-QSL which I confirmed straightaway. There has been a lot of QRN of late and so W3OKC had power up to 200w. I was at 75W. We both exchanged 599 RSTs. Nice QSO - short and sweet.

I learned something else new today - there is an LED indicator on my radio that blinks green when I am at zero beat - between listening to the tone as a I turn the VFO - looking for the green LED to flash makes zero beating a cinch.

Monday, December 6, 2010

How to Zero Beat?

ZERO BEAT

By Dick Arnold, AF8X

Not having much success when answering a CQ? It maybe the station calling CQ can’t hear you because you are not zero beat with his frequency. Every CW radio transmits on a different frequency that it receives on. This is called the TX offset.

A receiver tuned to the exact transmit frequency of a signal is said to be nulled. For the tone of the CW signal to be heard, the receiver would have to be tuned off of the center frequency. The most common offset is 600 Hz although as high as 800 hz is still in use in some rigs. In some newer rigs this offset is adjustable.

Many rigs have a spotting tone that can be matched with the incoming signal. When the tones merge, you are zero beat with the incoming signal. Some other radios are adjusted to have matching side tone and offset so that when the incoming signal pitch matches the side tone, you are zero beat.

The less expensive direct conversion rigs have the advantage of being able to hear signals on either side of the carrier frequency. However you must be tuned on the correct side so your offset frequency matches the receiver of your contact. You may use the RIT if available to tune out QRM and listen to the other sideband.

If you have a problem discerning the proper tone to tune to, there are a couple Zero Beat Indicators on the market which use LEDs to show a zero beat condition.

Another method is to tune through a signal from high pitch to null putting your receiver zero beat with the transmitted signal. Note the frequency 1 and then tune from null to that frequency plus 600hz 2. That should put your transmit frequency exactly on the incoming signal transmit frequency, e.g. 1 14.030.10 2 14.030.70.

Normally, unless the other station is using a very narrow filter, you will be heard if properly zero beat, even if the offsets are opposite and of different tones. The pass band allows for some difference in tuning.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

CW Training December 4

It was the usual cast W4DJW (Dave), KJ4RXY (Stephen), N4BDR (Tony) and myself NY4G. i started it out over-ambitiously trying to check every one in using the usual CW net protocol. We ended up scaling it back a bit and took turns transmitting and copying selected letters.

This week it was ABCD.

Next week it will be ABCDEF. For homework try to make as many words out of these 6 letters and we will take turns transmitting over the air like this week.

Dave W4DJW will be the NCS as I will be away. However I will try to check in.

Lets use 7.090 as the frequency on the 40m band. Hopefully we will have good propagation. I doubt I will be able to key up the repeater from Myrtle Beach - so I will try to communicate with the NCS on HF on CW as well.

Dave check your email Saturday morning to see if I will try to check in or not. I trust your email address in QRZ is up to date.

Good luck and see you next time.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

CW Training Net Nov 27

In Attendance
KJ4RXY - Stephen
W4DJW - Dave
KJ4SVH - Justin
NY4G - Ariel


Dave W4DJW had a treat in that he was able to stream the activity on his Flex radio monitor through livestream.com/w4djw

It was a sparsely attended net perhaps due to the holiday. We did not go through any of the extra class questions and may cover it next week.

Found a great club - specially for new CW ops - SKCC which meets on various bands.

Check out http://www.skccgroup.com/opfreq.htm

They are mostly straight key operators so they are great for copy practice if nothing else - since they don't send very fast. Made a few QSOs with people in the group on 40 meters at 7.110 and they are very nice mostly older gentlemen.

Till next week

Ariel

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

CW Training Net for Nov 27 Agenda

Check In to the 146.820 Repeater at 0800 EST

Tune HF Rig to 3.540 MHz or as otherwise directed by netcontrol

Round 1:
Each person checking in sends their own call sign 5 times: e.g. K4EV K4EV K4EV K4EV K4EV
Net control provides acknowledgment and signal report for every call sign heard
e.g. K4EV DE NY4G TNX FER CK IN UR RST 599 599 599 K

Round 2:
Stations copy net control signal reports and then sends both the copied RST and report to net control
e.g. NY4G DE K4EV R MY RST 599 UR RST 579 AR KN

Net Control asks for name and location
e.g. K4EV DE NY4G R PSE NAME? QTH? AR K

Round 3:
Stations send their names and locations
e.g. NY4G DE K4EV R NAME BRUCE BRUCE QTH GREER, SC GREER SC AR KN

Round 4:
Net Control Station Acknowledges and Initiates QSO Closing
e.g. K4EV DE NY4G R FB GUD TO MEET YOU BRUCE TNX FER QSO HPE CUL 73 SK K4EV DE NY4G K
Station send closing remarks
e.g. NY4G DE K4EV R CU AGN NXT WEEK TNX FER QSO 73 SK NY4G DE K4EV CL

QSY to FM 146.820 for Critique/Review by the Group and the Extra Class Question Review Portion

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Helpful Cheat Sheet

A Cheat Sheet

You might find it helpful to use a cheat sheet that you can refer to when your mind suddenly goes blank. So here it is. Just fill in the blanks and replace NY4G with YOUR CALL and the other station’s call sign in the ______________.

Is this frequency in use?

QRL? (then LISTEN)

Calling CQ

CQ CQ CQ DE NY4G NY4G K

Answering another station’s CQ with Signal Report

___________ DE NY4G NY4G UR RST (599 or 579 etc.) AR KN

After another station answer’s your CQ

__________ DE NY4G NY4G GM (GA, GE, GN) TNX CALL UR 559 (or 579, 549, etc) 559 QTH TRAVELERS REST, SC NAME ARIEL ARIEL HW? AR _____ DE NY4G KN

Ragchew

________ DE NY4G NY4G HI (HIS NAME) (RAGCHEW DISCUSSION) AR _______ DE NY4G KN

To end the QSO

____________ DE NY4G NY4G R _____________________________________________, OK TNX NICE QSO HPE CU AGN 73 GM SK _____________ DE NY4G K

If the other station initiates ending the QSO

____________DE NY4G R OK TNX NICE QSO HPE CUL VY 73 SK _________DE NY4G CL

Extra Class Questions - For November 27 Net

E1A11 (A) [97.219]
What is the first action you should take if your digital message forwarding station
inadvertently forwards a communication that violates FCC rules?
A. Discontinue forwarding the communication as soon as you become aware of it
B. Notify the originating station that the communication does not comply with FCC
rules
C. Notify the nearest FCC Field Engineer’s office
D. Discontinue forwarding all messages
~~
E1A12 (A) [97.11]
If an amateur station is installed on board a ship or aircraft, what condition must
be met before the station is operated?
A. Its operation must be approved by the master of the ship or the pilot in command
of the aircraft
B. The amateur station operator must agree to not transmit when the main ship or
aircraft radios are in use
C. It must have a power supply that is completely independent of the main ship or
aircraft power supply
D. Its operator must have an FCC Marine or Aircraft endorsement on his or her amateur
license
~~
E1A13 (B) [97.5]
When a US-registered vessel is in international waters, what type of FCC-issued
license or permit is required to transmit amateur communications from an on-board
amateur transmitter?
A. Any amateur license with an FCC Marine or Aircraft endorsement
B. Any amateur license or reciprocal permit for alien amateur licensee
C. Only General class or higher amateur licenses
D. An unrestricted Radiotelephone Operator Permit
~~
E1B Station restrictions and special operations: restrictions on station location;
general operating restrictions, spurious emissions, control operator reimbursement;
antenna structure restrictions; RACES operations
E1B01 (D) [97.3]
Which of the following constitutes a spurious emission?
A. An amateur station transmission made at random without the proper call sign
identification
B. A signal transmitted in a way that prevents its detection by any station other
than the intended recipient
C. Any transmitted bogus signal that interferes with another licensed radio station
D. An emission outside its necessary bandwidth that can be reduced or eliminated
without affecting the information transmitted
~~
E1B02 (D) [97.13]
Which of the following factors might cause the physical location of an amateur
station apparatus or antenna structure to be restricted?
A. The location is in or near an area of political conflict, military maneuvers or
major construction
B. The location's geographical or horticultural importance
C. The location is in an ITU zone designated for coordination with one or more
foreign governments
D. The location is significant to our environment, American history, architecture, or
culture.
~~
E1B03 (A) [97.13]
Within what distance must an amateur station protect an FCC monitoring facility from
harmful interference?
A. 1 mile
B. 3 miles
C. 10 miles
D. 30 miles
~~
E1B04 (C) [97.13, 1.1305-1.1319]
What must be done before placing an amateur station within an officially designated
wilderness area or wildlife preserve, or an area listed in the National Register of
Historical Places?
A. A proposal must be submitted to the National Park Service
B. A letter of intent must be filed with the National Audubon Society
C. An Environmental Assessment must be submitted to the FCC
D. A form FSD-15 must be submitted to the Department of the Interior
~~
E1B05 (B) [97.15]
What height restrictions apply to an amateur station antenna structure not close to a
public use airport unless the FAA is notified and it is registered with the FCC?
A. It must not extend more than 300 feet above average height of terrain surrounding
the site
B. It must be no higher than 200 feet above ground level at its site
C. There are no height restrictions because the structure obviously would not be a
hazard to aircraft in flight
D. It must not extend more than 100 feet above sea level or the rim of the nearest
valley or canyon
~~
E1B06 (A) [97.15]
Which of the following additional rules apply if you are installing an amateur
station antenna at a site within 20,000 feet of a public use airport?
A. You may have to notify the Federal Aviation Administration and register it with
the FCC
B. No special rules apply if your antenna structure will be less than 300 feet in
height
C. You must file an Environmental Impact Statement with the EPA before construction
begins
D. You must obtain a construction permit from the airport zoning authority
~~
E1B07 (A) [97.15]
Whose approval is required before erecting an amateur station antenna located at or
near a public use airport if the antenna would exceed a certain height depending upon
the antenna’s distance from the nearest active runway?
A. The FAA must be notified and it must be registered with the FCC
B. Approval must be obtained from the airport manager
C. Approval must be obtained from the local zoning authorities
D. The FAA must approve any antenna structure that is higher than 20 feet
~~
E1B08 (D) [97.121]
On what frequencies may the operation of an amateur station be restricted if its
emissions cause interference to the reception of a domestic broadcast station on a
receiver of good engineering design?
A. On the frequency used by the domestic broadcast station
B. On all frequencies below 30 MHz
C. On all frequencies above 30 MHz
D. On the interfering amateur service transmitting frequencies
~~

Our First CW and Extra Class Training Net - November 20

Thanks to all who joined and made it worthwhile. Needless to say, I was very nervous but the participants were very accommodating.

Those who checked in

W4DJW - Dave
W5MFC - Mike
W4KA - Dave
KJ4RXY - Stephen
KJ4UHE - Laure
N4BDR - Tony
KG4FQG - Phil

Afterwards W4DJW and I had a short QSO and had some practice. Till next time.

Be ready to transmit your call signs and get your keys ready!!

Answers to Extra Class Posted

See the previous post - the answers have been added

Friday, November 19, 2010

Extra Class Question Review - November 20, 2010

E1A Operating Standards: frequency privileges for Extra Class amateurs; emission standards; automatic message forwarding; frequency sharing; FCC license actions; stations aboard ships or aircraft

E1A01 (D) [97.301, 97.305]
When using a transceiver that displays the carrier frequency of phone signals, which of the following displayed frequencies will result in a normal USB emission being within the band?
A. The exact upper band edge
B. 300 Hz below the upper band edge
C. 1 kHz below the upper band edge
D. 3 kHz below the upper band edge

ANSWER: When using a transceiver that displays the carrier frequency of phone signals, a displayed frequency of 3 kHz below the upper band edge will result in a normal USB emission being within the band. Note - The inner edge of the side band is 300 Hz away from the center carrier frequency and the outer edgel 2.8 kHz away - thus a center carrier 3 kHZ away will be totally be within the band with 0.2 kHz to spare.

~~

E1A02 (D) [97.301, 97.305]
When using a transceiver that displays the carrier frequency of phone signals, which of the following displayed frequencies will result in a normal LSB emission being within the band?
A. The exact lower band edge
B. 300 Hz above the lower band edge
C. 1 kHz above the lower band edge
D. 3 kHz above the lower band edge
~~

ANSWER:

E1A02
When using a transceiver that displays the carrier frequency of phone signals, a displayed frequency 3 kHz above the lower band edge carrier frequency display will result in a normal LSB emission being within the band. See above.


E1A03 (C) [97.301, 97.305]
With your transceiver displaying the carrier frequency of phone signals, you hear a DX station's CQ on 14.349 MHz USB. Is it legal to return the call using upper sideband on the same frequency?
A. Yes, because the DX station initiated the contact
B. Yes, because the displayed frequency is within the 20 meter band
C. No, my sidebands will extend beyond the band edge
D. No, USA stations are not permitted to use phone emissions above 14.340 MHz
~~

ANSWER:

It is not legal to return the call using upper sideband on the same frequency because your sidebands will extend beyond the band edge.
14.349 MHz + 3 KHz = 14.352 MHz.

The band edge for 20 meters is 14.350 MHz therefore your signal would be out of band by 2 KHz


E1A04 (C) [97.301, 97.305]
With your transceiver displaying the carrier frequency of phone signals, you hear a DX station's CQ on 3.601 MHz LSB. Is it legal to return the call using lower sideband on the same frequency?
A. Yes, because the DX station initiated the contact
B. Yes, because the displayed frequency is within the 75 meter phone band segment
C. No, my sidebands will extend beyond the edge of the phone band segment
D. No, USA stations are not permitted to use phone emissions below 3.610 MHz
~~

ANSWER:

With your transceiver displaying the carrier frequency of phone signals, you hear a DX station's CQ on 3.601 MHz LSB. It is not legal to return the call using lower sideband on the same frequency because your sidebands will extend beyond the edge of the phone band segment.
3.601 MHz - 3 KHz = 3.598 MHz

The band edge for phone on 80 meters is 3.600 MHz; therefore your signal at 3.598 MHz would be out of the band by 2 KHz and in the RTTY and data segment of the 80 meter band


E1A05 (C) [97.305]
Which is the only amateur band that does not permit the transmission of phone or image emissions?
A. 160 meters
B. 60 meters
C. 30 meters
D. 17 meters
~~

The 30 meter band is restricted to RTTY and data transmission only.


E1A06 (B) [97.303]
What is the maximum power output permitted on the 60 meter band?
A. 50 watts PEP effective radiated power relative to an isotropic radiator
B. 50 watts PEP effective radiated power relative to a dipole
C. 100 watts PEP effective radiated power relative to an isotropic radiator
D. 100 watts PEP effective radiated power relative to a dipole
~~

You must do a calculation of transmitter power, antenna gain and line loss to determine your ERP. On the 60 meter band power is limited to 50 Watts ERP, (Effective Radiated Power) referred to a dipole antenna which includes antenna gain and the path loss or gain from the transceiver to antenna itself. If you had an antenna with +6 dB of gain over a dipole and a coaxial line loss of -3dB the maximum output allowed from the transmitter
would be 25 watts. Gain over dipole would be 6 dB -3dB Loss or 3db, therefore you would have to have a transmitter power of 3 db less than 50 watts, or 25 watts transmitter output power.

E1A07 (D) [97.303]
What is the only amateur band where transmission on specific channels rather than a range of frequencies is permitted?
A. 12 meter band
B. 17 meter band
C. 30 meter band
D. 60 meter band
~~
The 60 meter band is the only amateur band where transmissions on specific channels rather than a range of frequencies is permitted.

E1A08 (C) [97.303]
What is the only emission type permitted to be transmitted on the 60 meter band by an amateur station?
A. CW
B. RTTY Frequency shift keying
C. Single sideband, upper sideband only
D. Single sideband, lower sideband only

Upper sideband SSB is the only emission permitted to be transmitted on the 60 meter band by an amateur station.
~~

E1A09 (A) [97.301]
Which frequency bands contain at least one segment authorized only to control operators holding an Amateur Extra Class operator license?
A. 80/75, 40, 20 and 15 meters
B. 80/75, 40, 20, and 10 meters
C. 80/75, 40, 30 and 10 meters
D. 160, 80/75, 40 and 20 meters
~~
The 80/75, 40, 20 and 15 meter frequency bands contain at least one segment authorized only to control operators
holding an Amateur Extra Class operator license.


E1A10 (B) [97.219]
If a station in a message forwarding system inadvertently forwards a message that is in violation of FCC rules, who is primarily accountable for the rules violation?
A. The control operator of the packet bulletin board station
B. The control operator of the originating station
C. The control operators of all the stations in the system
D. The control operators of all the stations in the system not authenticating the source from which they accept communications

If a station in a message forwarding system inadvertently forwards a message that is in violation of FCC rules, the control operator of the originating station is primarily accountable for the rules violation.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

CW TRAINING NET - SATURDAY NOV 20, 2010

Tune to 146.820 at 8:00 EST (1300Z)

Coordinated between 146.820 FM and HF on 80m (CW portion of the Band)

Wait for Net Control to Start the Net

Check-In - Participants declare whether to participate or just listen

Listen for instructions on what frequency to tune to for the HF CW Portion

Agenda:

Basics of CW Operation - moderated by net control on FM

Sample QSOs (example to get the feel and rhythm) on HF

The Morse Alphabet on HF

Participants Check in using CW (as slow as necessary for good transmit)


NEXT WEEK:
Net Control calls CQ
Stations Check In using CW
Net Control Acknowledges Stations and Provides Signal Reports
Stations Report Back Signal Report Given and Gives Signal Report to Net Control

CW Operating Manual - from FISTS.ORG

You are ready to make that first contact. Your palms may be sweating and your heart rate may be racing. That’s ok. We’ve all been there. The first time I called CQ I was very nervous. I didn’t think it was possible for fingers to have a stuttering problem but there I was, stuttering with my fingers. Gradually I relaxed and calmed down. The CQ’s flowed from my fingertips with fluidity before sailing skyward. “Hey, this is really fun,” I thought to myself. Suddenly, the inevitable happened; somebody actually answered! The anxiety returned. “Now, what do I do?” Here is some help with establishing that first contact.

Answering CQ

Let’s suppose you’re tuning across the bands and you hear a station calling CQ. The station seems to be sending at a speed you can copy: CQ CQ CQ DE W5MFC K

To answer W5MFC you just send the following: W5MFC DE (your callsign – lets use mine, NY4G, for our examples) AR

That’s all there is to it. AR is the letters A and R sent with no spaces in between, a procedural signal that means “end of message” or “over.” If the band is noisy or you are running low power, you may want to repeat your call sign twice like so: W5MFC DE NY4G NY4G AR

This is a ‘1x2’. The other station’s call sent once, and yours sent twice. This allows the other station double-check to make sure they got your call right.

If W5MFC was able to copy you, that station will then come back with something like:

NY4G DE W5MFC TNX FER CALL UR RST 559 IN…

If W5MFC only copied part of your call sign, you may hear one of the following. The station may or may not add DE W5MFC depending on the situation:

QRZ? (Who’s calling me?)

? ? (Who’s there?)

KC? (KC something….didn’t get the rest of your call sign.)

OBU? (Got the suffix, but I missed the prefix)

In this case, just send your call sign again.

Calling CQ

If the band seems to be in good shape, but nobody is calling CQ, you can do the following:

1. Find a frequency that seems to be clear, and listen for a few seconds. Listening is very important.

2. If you don’t hear anything, send QRL? and listen for a bit more. Make sure you listen slightly up and down from your transmitting frequency as well. QRL is a Q signal that means this frequency is in use. When you send QRL? you are asking if the frequency is in use. If somebody comes back with C, YES, or QRL, then move to another frequency so you don’t interfere. No further response is needed.

3. If you did not hear a response, send QRL? again and listen again. Some stations may take a bit to respond.

4. Still nothing? You can assume the frequency is clear. Immediately send your CQ while the frequency is still open.

The 3x2 CQ call seems to work well for most situations. Call CQ three times, and then send your call twice: CQ CQ CQ DE NY4G NY4G K

The final K at the end means you’re inviting any station to answer you.

After calling CQ, listen, listen, listen. Listen slightly up and down in case the station trying to answer you is slightly off frequency. You can miss a return call if you are not listening carefully. If you hear nothing, send another 3x2 CQ call again, and listen. Repeat until either somebody answers or you want to try in another spot. Pretty easy, huh?

The 10x2x3 CQ call (CQ sent 10 times followed by your call sign twice, sent three times in a row) is seldom productive. Normally when stations hear this, they will keep moving up or down the band, and you will be scratching your head wondering why nobody is answering your CQ: CQ CQ CQ CQ CQ CQ CQ CQ CQ CQ DE KC0OBU KC0OBU CQ CQ CQ CQ CQ CQ CQ CQ CQ CQ DE NY4G NY4G CQ CQ CQ CQ CQ CQ CQ CQ CQ CQ DE NY4G NY4G K

The QSO

Basically there are three parts to a QSO: The introduction, the middle, and the conclusion. Almost sounds like a term paper. Let’s take a look at each of these parts.

The Introduction

Once a CQ is answered, the stations first exchange three important pieces of information: RST (a signal report), QTH (location), and Name. So let’s suppose I am calling CQ and WA3XYZ answers me. I would then send something like this:

W5MFC DE NY4G GM (GA, GE, GN) TNX CALL UR 559 (579,549, etc) 559 IN TR, SC TR, SC NAME ARIEL ARIEL HW? AR W5MFC DE NY4G KN

First I send the other station’s call, then DE (which means from) and then my call sign. Then I say good morning (GM), afternoon (GA), evening (GE), or night (GN), whichever is appropriate. Next I say thanks for the call (TNX CALL) and give the RST signal report (UR 559. I then send my QTH or location followed by my name. You can send ‘QTH’ instead of ‘IN’. But don’t send ‘MY QTH IS’ because that would be redundant….sort of like saying ‘MY MY LOCATION IS IS’.

‘HW?’ is short for ‘How are you copying me?’. Then I send AR (Over or End of Transmission), W5MFC DE NY4G (so other stations listening will know who we are) and KN which says go ahead to a specific station, which in this example is WA3XYZ.

The other station will then reply back with its information by sending something like the following: NY4G DE W5MFC R GM ARIEL NICE TO MEET U UR RST 579 579 QTH GREER, SC GREER, SC NAME MIKE MIKE HW? AR NY4G DE W5MFC KN

The R sent after the initial call signs means that the other station copied EVERYTHING that you sent. Don’t send R and then ask the other station to repeat part of the information that was sent. It’s bad form.

If you need the other station to repeat something send ‘PSE RPT NAME’, or ‘RST’, or ‘QTH’, etc. You can also send something like ‘NAME?’ or’RST?’ in your next transmission, and the other station should understand.

The Middle

Now, you chat back and forth about whatever you want: the weather, sports, your rigs, antennas, etc., using a format like the following: W5MFC DE NY4G R blah, blah, blah, AR W5MFC DE NY4G KN

Then the other station has a turn: NY4G DE W5MFC R blah, blah, blah, AR NY4G DE W5MFC KN

Technically, you don’t have to send both call signs with each transmission. Some stations just send BK (back to you) and the end of a transmission and then legally identify the station every 10 minutes. Other stations will send both calls with each transmission so those listening will know who they are.

The Conclusion

To end the QSO just send something like: W5MFC DE NY4G R blah, blah, blah, OK MIKE TNX NICE QSO HPE CUL 73 GM SK NY4G DE W5MFC K

I thank Phil for a nice QSO, say hope to see you later (HPE CUL), send best wishes (73), and good morning (GM). The SK procedure signal means that’s all I have. Similar to AR except it is only used in the final transmission from your station. Phil will then send his final transmission: NY4G DE W5MFC R FB DAN TNX QSO 73 SK KCNY4G DE W5MFC CL

The CL means that Phil is going to be closing his station and won’t be answering any more calls. Phil could also end his call with a “dit dit”. I would respond with a single dit.

Ending a QSO with the dit dit – dit, or the “shave and a haircut…two bits” is a friendly way of acknowledging that the QSO has ended and you enjoyed the chat. It started back before anyone can remember with one Ham sending ‘shave and a haircut’ – dahdididahdit - and the other station completing it with ‘two bits’ – dit dit. It has shortened over the decades to stations sending ‘dit dit’ and ‘dit’’.

Please don’t fall into the habit of pluralizing. There is no need to send “73s”. 73 by itself means “best wishes”; it is not proper to send 73s or ‘best wisheses’


Another tip to remember is that most Procedural Signs (like QTH) already mean phrases, and are intended to reduce the amount of sending you need to do to make your point. You don’t need to use extra words when using prosigns like QTH. QTH PA is sufficient, not MY QTH IS....

A Cheat Sheet

You might find it helpful to use a cheat sheet that you can refer to when your mind suddenly goes blank. So here it is. Just fill in the blanks and replace W5MFC with the other station’s call sign.

Is this frequency in use?

QRL? (then LISTEN)

Calling CQ

CQ CQ CQ DE _____________ K

Answering another station’s CQ

W5MFC DE ___________ AR

When another station answer’s your CQ

W5MFC DE __________ GM (GA, GE, GN) TNX CALL UR 559 (or 579, 549, etc) 559 IN ______________, __ ______________, __ NAME _______ _______ HW? AR W5MFC DE __________ KN

To end the QSO

W5MFC DE __________ R blah, blah, blah, OK TNX NICE QSO HPE CUL VY 73 GM SK W5MFC DE __________K

If the other station initiates ending the QSO

W5MFC DE __________ R OK TNX NICE QSO HPE CUL VY 73 SK W5MFC DE __________

A Final Word about Speed

Accuracy transcends speed. Most operators would rather copy slower accurate code with proper spacing than code sent fast with uneven spacing and lots of mistakes. Speed will come with practice.

Rule of thumb for spacing: The space between letters should be about as long as a dash – which is equal to 3 dits. The space between words should be about as long as two dashes (technically, 7 dits, but it’s easier to estimate ‘two dashes’ since you DON’T want to start counting). Keep in mind that the person on the other end has to decipher your sending, so make it as clear for them as you can. Spacing is just as important as the letters themselves. Without spacing, it’s all gibberish! Space between your letters, and pause ever so slightly between words.

It is asking for trouble to call CQ with a speed faster than you can comfortably copy, because that will probably be the speed somebody will use when answering you. Don’t get frustrated if the other station doesn’t slow down for you, even after you have sent PSE QRS (please send slower). The other station may be pressed for time, in the heat battle during a contest, or has been operating at a fast speed for so long that they have difficulty copying or sending slower. You also need to be courteous. Do not assume that everyone who does not slow down is being a jerk. If you cannot copy the other station, just say SRI TOO FAST, send them a 73 and move on. You are sure to find somebody that you can work.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

CW Training Net

W5MFC (Mike) , N4BDR (Tony), W4KA (Dave), and I discussed the possibility of having a CW and Extra Class - Training Net.

Idea1: Use the 820 machine for he Extra Class Content and CW Coordination
Idea2: Use the 80m CW band for the CW training in the evening

Sunday, October 31, 2010

CW Contacts

I have entered the world of CW and it has proven to be more challenging and fun than any other mode I have tried. I have made 2 contacts and one is confirmed on eQSL.cc (W4ELP). Need to improve my copy skills though bug time.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Earth Dodges Another Solar Bullet

Just as sunspot 1105 was turning away from Earth on Sept. 8th, the active region erupted, producing a C3-class solar flare (peak @ 2330 UT) and a fantastic prominence. Here is a snapshot from the Solar Dynamics Observatory:

The eruption also hurled a bright coronal mass ejection (CME) into space: SOHO movie. The expanding cloud is heading into a part of the solar system not currently occupied by any planet--it's going to miss everything, including Earth. If such a CME did hit Earth's magnetic field, it would probably trigger strong geomagnetic storms. Maybe next time...

Update #1: Two new movies of the eruption are available from the Solar Dynamics Observatory--a big picture view in black-and-white and a spectacular close-up in three extreme ultraviolet colors.

Update #2: NASA's STEREO-Ahead spacecraft is stationed almost directly above sunspot 1105. A first-look movie shows a shadowy "solar tsunami" wave racing away from the blast site.

Monday, September 6, 2010

New Equipment

The truck now has a dedicated Yaesu FT2900 2m radio. It has a bit more power to reach the more distant repeaters with 75 watts output on the 5/8 wave antenna. It is a bit nicer than having to connect the handy talkie HT which is actually adequate at 5 watts with the wide footprint of the 146.610 repeater. It just saves the hassle of connecting it all the time. The HT is now a fixture in the Mini Cooper

Sunday, August 22, 2010

TS830S 40m band is back

I really like the TS830S and it is one of my favorite radios. Somehow I lost drive on the band. I took it to Ron Crisp WB4VZN in Union SC for him to look at it. Ron has developed a reputation for being the "radio whisperer" when it comes to Kenwoods and he did not disappoint. He put it on the scope and with a few screwdriver turns, he put the 40 meter band back to life on transmit. It gets a full 100W power out still. Thanks Ron for all the help.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Propagation News

ARLP032 Propagation de NW7US



This week's bulletin was written by Tomas Hood, NW7US. Tomas is filling in for your regular reporter Tad Cook, K7RA.

Sunspot numbers and solar flux increased this week, with average daily sunspot numbers up over 32 points to 53, and the average daily
10.7-cm solar flux up over 3 points to 84.5. These are the numbers from last Thursday through this Wednesday, August 5 through August
11.

The sunspot count on August 11 was 66, consisting of four active sunspot regions, NOAA Active Regions 1093, 1095, 1096, and 1097.
The largest of these was 1093 with a relative size of 130 millionths of a solar hemisphere. The sunspot count of 66 is the highest yet
recorded in Sunspot Cycle 24. Another note-worthy development this week is that five active sunspot regions were reported on August 12.
However, most of the spots were small, resulting in a daily sunspot count of 50.

Another news-worthy event was the M-class X-ray flare that erupted from active sunspot region 1093 on August 7. This flare was 10
times more powerful than the C-class flare on August 1 that caused so much News Media attention on August 3 through August 5. This
M1.0 magnitude solar flare peaked at 1824 UTC on August 7 and ejected a huge mass of coronal plasma. Many hoped that the coronal
mass ejection, or CME, originating from the sunspot region 1093 would trigger auroral displays around the world just like those that
occurred last week. However, because this CME was not fully Earth-directed, most of the CME missed the magnetosphere, resulting
in only the slightest increase in geomagnetic activity between August 10 and 11.

This flare, one of the biggest since the start of Cycle 24, also triggered a metric type II radio burst. This kind of radio burst
can be heard from a radio receiver tuned to, say, a six-meter frequency as the burst occurs. The burst sounds like rushing wind.
You can hear a recording of a type II radio burst as recorded on 50 MHz by Thomas Ashcraft on April 2, 2001 at 2151 UTC that occurred
during the X22.0-magnitude X-ray flare, by browsing to http://tinyurl.com/50MT2RB. Incidentally, the April 2, 2001 flare
is the second largest event on record after the X28.0-magnitude mega-flare that occurred on November 4, 2003.

A movie of the August 7 M-class flare showing a series of filtered views of the event as seen by the Solar Dynamics Observatory's
Atmospheric Imaging Assembly can be viewed at http://tinyurl.com/20100807mflare and is available in high
definition.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Meteor Showers Tonight

SUNSET PLANET SHOW: When the sun goes down tonight, step outside and look west. Venus, Mars, Saturn and the crescent Moon are having a lovely 4-way conjunction. It's a great way to warm up for the Perseid meteor shower, which peaks on Thursday night, August 12th. Get the full story from Science@NASA. Sky maps: August 12, 13.

PERSEID METEOR SHOWER: The annual Perseid meteor shower is underway. According to the International Meteor Organization, dark-sky observers are now counting more than 35 Perseids per hour, including many fireballs. Be alert for Perseids from 10 pm on Thursday, Aug. 12th, until sunrise on Friday, Aug. 13th. The darkest hours before dawn are usually best.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Great Solar Storms

History of Geomagnetic Storm Damage

The following geomagnetic storms damaged the electrical power grid (summarized by James Marusek from a paper published in 2007 (http://www.leif.org/EOS/SSTA.pdf):

August 2, 1972 – A solar storm caused a 230,000 volt transformer located at the British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority to explode

December 19, 1980 – A very expensive 735 kV transformer failed 8 days after the Great Red Aurora of 19 December at St. James Bay, Canada.

April 13, 1981 – A replacement 735 kV transformer at St. James Bay, Canada also failed the next year during another geomagnetic storm.

March 13, 1989 – At 02:45 EST on March 13, geomagnetically induced currents (GIC) inundated the transformers of the Hydro-Quebec power system and overloaded them with current. The voltage fluctuations that resulted prompted the tripping, or deactivation, of reactive power compensators at the Chibougamau, la Verendrye, Nemiscau and Albanel substations. A severe voltage drop resulted; the power lines from James Bay malfunctioned and the system collapsed. It was later determined that the power lines were substantially vulnerable due to their great length and the number of static compensators that ran along their distance. The Hydro Quebec outage resulted from the linked malfunction of more than 15 discrete
protective-system operations. From the initial event to complete blackout, only one-and-a-half minutes elapsed—hardly enough time to assess what was occurring, let alone to intervene.15 The blackout resulted in the loss of 21,500 megawatts of electricity generation. It took nine hours to restore 83% of that electrical load. The blackout affected 6 million people. The physical damage included a 1,200-ton capacitor failure at a Static VAR Compensator (SVC), overvoltage damage to two step-up transformers at the La Grande 4 generating station, surge arresters at the La Grande 2 and Churchill Falls generating stations, and to a shunt Figure 2. Earth ground resistivity based on underlying rock strata. Conductivity measurements from the Geomagnetic
Laboratory of the Geological Survey of Canada in Ottawa with Extension to the United States Completed by Electric Power Research Institute – Sunburst Project. Units – siemens per meter.
(regions in red are very non-conductive). reactor at the Nemiscau substation, and damage to the SVCs themselves.

March 13, 1989 – The solar storm destroyed a $12 million generator step-up transformer owned by the Public Service Electric and Gas Company of New Jersey. The transformer was a linchpin in converting electricity from the Salem Nuclear Generating Plant. The 288.8/24-kV single-phase shell-form transformers, which are rated at 406 MVA, are connected grounded-wye. The damage to the transformers included damage to the low-voltage windings, overheating, thermal degradation of the insulation of all three phases, and conductor melting.12 The utility asked the supplier for a replacement and was told thatthe order would receive top priority, but it would still take almost two years to fill. Fortunately a spare transformer was made available, but it still took 6 weeks to install.

October 30, 2003 – A power grid in southern Sweden located in Malmo experienced a 20-50 minute electrical blackout affecting 50,000 customers due to a strong solar storm. The same storm caused significant transformer damage in South Africa. Over 15 transformers in South Africa were damaged, some beyond repair.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Solar Blast Just Missed Earth




SOLAR BLAST JUST MISSES EARTH: On Saturday, August 7th, magnetic fields around sunspot 1093 erupted. NASA spacecraft and many amateur astronomers photographed the blast, which produced a strong M1-class solar flare and hurled a coronal mass ejection (CME) into space--apparently just missing the sun-Earth line. The explosion also made whooshing sounds in the loudspeakers of some shortwave radios. Visit http://spaceweather.com for audio recordings and movies of this latest solar event.

AURORA RECAP: Last week's geomagnetic storm sparked Northern Lights as far south as Iowa in the United States, and some nice Southern Lights over Antarctica. See photo above

Thursday, July 29, 2010

New Call Sign

The FCC issued a new 2x1 call sign - this was after several attempts. 2x1 and 1x2 call signs in Region 4 are really hard to get. So many folks compete for the few that is very much like a lottery.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

WAS Update - Down to 5

40 meters offerred the opportunity for 4 more states but I was only able to get 2. K7QHU - Steve in Idaho and KB9AIT - Gary in Wisconsin

This leaves only VA, WY, AK, OR, and SD

Monday, May 17, 2010

WAS Update

Got two more hard states. Jay W9JAY/M is mobile in North Dakota and KE8UN/QRP was operating a QRP station in West Virginia and he was surprisingly strong. I gave him a 55 and he gave me a 57. Jay in ND was only 22 both ways but a QSO nonetheless.

Remaining states are just AK, ID, OR, SD, VA, WI, WY. I see a WI and a VA station checking in to the 3905CC net so these two states should be doable. The last 5 will be hard.

Friday, May 14, 2010

WAS Update

Picked Up a few more states tonight: W1ZQ in New Hampshire on the 3905 SSB net on 75m. Also K14DFS in Georgia - also on the 3905 SSB Net on 75m. Also picked up Arizona station KW7E Mel from Phoenix on PSK on 20m.

Missing states left are only AK, ID, ND, OR, SD, VA WV, WI and WY

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Finally Got Hawaii - KH7S

I was listening into another Hawaii station KH7DX waiting for an opportunity to make a contact after his other contacts, and then Russ darling (KH7S) came booming in at just a few minutes before 4:00Zulu. I immediately replied - exchanged pleasantries quickly as we knew the band conditions were starting to breakdown. We exchanged reports and called it a QSO. Thanks Russ for one of the more difficult contacts for "Worked All States"

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Worked All States Update

There are only about a few states remaining. Yesterday was a good evening in that I was able to get 3 relatively hard states to get ARKANSAS (N0AXZ operating portable), MONTANA (KE7EYN) and UTAH (N6RSH). The Utah station can barely hear me and me him with 2-2 reports both ways. The Montana station however was quite loud with 5-5 reports both ways.

This just leaves me with the following missing states:
NH, WV, AK, ID, ND, SD, HI, AZ, NE, GA, NV

I will try Hawaii tonight - I had almost a contact with KH7S one early morning on PSK31 for a few seconds - not long enough to exchange reports and log.

Alaska and the other mountain states will be hard

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Vanity Call Signs

Applications are in for a 1x2 and 2x1 vanity call. KD4Q is the first one - my chance for this one is 1 in 4. The second one is W4DX which proved to be quite popular and my chance for this one is 1 in 75. The next one coming up is AK4T on May 14. We'll see what happens in about three weeks.

Monday, April 19, 2010

New Call From the FCC

The FCC issued a new sequential call sign (system generated) not a vanity call as a result of my passing the Extra Class exam this past week.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Central Carolina Emergency Net

Found the CCEN net on 75m on 3907 Kilohertz. The net controller tonight was Aubrey K4ATH.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Spirit Net on 3.905 MHz

Great study tonight moderated by Phil WA3MNS - as we finished Matthew 22 and started Matthew 23. Phil has such a humble spirit.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Built A Copper J-Pole

I recently completed the construction of a copper J-pole antenna for 2 m and 70 cm. The construction is from 3/4 copper pipe. The connection is via an SO239 mounted on a plexiglass plate. The center conductor is connected to the stub witha 16 gage copper wire via 3/4 pipe clamps mounted to the plexiglass S)239 holder. The shield is mounted to the radiating element

The SWR is optimized for 146.610 which is the BRARS repeater. The SWR stays quite low - 1.0 to 1.1 between 144 and 146.8 MHz with a minimum at 146.6 MHz and does not exceed 1.5 at the end of the 2m band at 148 MHz.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Range of the FT897 at 50W

On the J-Pole I was able to have a conversation into Powdersville and I was S3 on the receiving end - communicating Simplex without the repeater.