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[l] at 5/19/22 9:33pm
Day 1 at the 2022 Dayton (Xenia) Hamvention is winding down, and I just have to blog about it. Its been so much fun that even if I had to go home today, Id say that the trip was worth it. Now, you might be asking, Doesnt Hamvention start on Friday? Yes, it does, but Im here representing ARDC, so I have an exhibitor badge. That let me get in today. Exhibitor hours on Thursday are from 8 am to 8 pm. I got there a little after 8 am and went to get my exhibitor badge. That went smoothly enough, and be 8:30 am, I carted the ARDC swag over to our booth (Booth 1302, by the way). At this early hour, it doesnt look like Hamvention yet. Below is a photo I took at around 9 am showing how empty it was. The Yaesu folks were hard at it, but it looks like the rest of the vendors slept in. Sorry for this photo being a little blurry. I should have checked it and taken another. For the next hour and a half or so, I just hung out and schmoozed with other hams that I know, including Jim K8JK and George K9TRV. I was waiting for the weather to clear up a little. I brought my KX3 with me and wanted to do a little operating, but it was foggy and damp, and even though it was forecast to clear up, it was looking like rain to me. About 10:45 am,, the sun broke through for a bit, so I decided to give it a go. I found the tallest tree in the flea market to throw my 66-ft. doublet up into and set up the rig on one folding chair while I sat on the other. Yours truly working CW in the Hamvention flea market. 40 meters was in great shape, and over the course of a couple hours, I made about a dozen contacts, including some SSB contacts with a couple of multiple-operator POTA stations, whose operators were on their way to Xenia. One notable contact was a 30-minute QSO with a station in Columbus. We were both 599. Columbus is about 60 miles from Xenia, so I guess it was some weird short skip. Just before I decided to pack it in, a passerby suggested that I try 10 meters. I heard a couple of stations on 10, including one DX station whose call I never got, but none of them could hear me. I packed up after a couple of hours, and just in time, too. As I was coiling up my antenna, the folks whose flea market space I was using drove up. After a bit of lunch, I did a quick turn around the flea market. Not many were set up yet, so I didnt see anything really exotic. After the flea market, I went schmoozing again. My first stop was the Mississippi Valley Amateur Radio Associations emergency communications bus. This club got a grant from ARDC, and they done a great job outfitting the bus with both HF and VHF/UHF gear. My final stop before heading off to dinner was with Russ K5TUX, Cheryl W5MOO, and Bill NE4RD at the Linux in the Ham Shack booth. These people were hard at work setting up their booth, so I didnt bother them for too long, but I wanted to touch base with them, as there so graciously had ARDC on their podcast. After that, it was off to dinner with Jeff, KE9V. Jeff is also a ham radio blogger (although I cant seem to find his blog just now), and weve known each other for quite a while. After dinner, Jeff Tweeted, Just had dinner with @kb6nu — we solved a lot of problems but so much laughter that it couldn’t be recorded and taken seriously. Thanks Dan, enjoyed that a lot! Well, Jeff, I enjoyed it a lot, too, especially because you paid! Next year, dinners on me. Now, its off to bed to get ready for tomorrows adventures. The post Day 1 at Hamvention 2022 appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: Hamfests, People, Hamvention, KE9V]

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[l] at 5/9/22 5:54pm
DOGE transaction sent via radio using a protocol called Radio Doge DOGE is not the first cryptocurrency to be sent via radio transmission. Concepts such as mesh networking, amateur radio equipment and portable antennas have given people access to bitcoin transactions without internet access. Mitchie Lumin and Timothy Stabbing recently mentioned in a blog post that the Starlink satellite network of Elon Musk’s company SpaceX will be used to do Dodgecoin transactions without the Internet. For this, a Radiododge Regional Hub was created. This technology is named RadioDodge which is a low cost and reliable technology. It works with Starlink internet service. This offline transaction was transmitted over HF radio to a regional hub more than 150 miles away in Colorado, USA. read more Amateur radio operators help keep cyclists safe during Tour de Tulsa TULSA, Okla. — With hundreds of cyclists riding over a hundred miles in Saturday’s Tour de Tulsa, there was bound to be some help they’d need along the way. That’s where a local hobbyist group stepped in. “Some of these routes are out there in the middle of nowhere,” Paul Teel said “Stuff on the road,” Teel said. They’re gonna have flat tires. They’re gonna be tired.” That’s where Teel steps in. “We provide this as a community service,” he said. He’s a member of the Tulsa Amateur Radio Club. His love for the hobby dates back to his middle school days. watch the video This seems like a cool thing to do Historic Bridgnorth mill celebrated as part of UK radio ham event Daniels Mill, at Eardington, was one of around 300 water and windmills across the UK celebrating National Mills weekend. Organised by the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, this years theme is ‘New Life for Old Mills, ’ to celebrate the repair of wind and watermills which allows the important historical buildings to survive for future generations to come. In support of the weekend, amateur radio enthusiasts from across the country set up temporary amateur radio stations at a number of the participating mills, hoping to make contact with other ones within the UK and Europe. Called Mills on the Air, the amateur radio station at Daniels Mill was operated by enthusiast Martin Childs, from Chelmarsh, who used a special call sign for the event of GB4DM. read more The post Amateur radio in the news: Sending Dogecoin via HF radio appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: Clubs, Emergency Communications / Public Service, DogeCoin, Mills on the Air, Tulsa]

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[l] at 5/7/22 8:56am
From the ARRL Letter, May 7, 2022: Two videos introducing the ARRL Foundation Club Grant Program are now available. The ARRL Foundation Club Grant Program, funded by a grant from Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC), will make $500,000 available to clubs, enabling them to more easily provide and expand club projects, including those that will have a transformative impact on amateur radio, create public awareness and support for amateur radio, and have an educational and training impact. The program will provide up to $25,000 for worthy club projects. A recording from an ARRL webinar introducing the program, which aired on May 4, 2022, is available on ARRLs YouTube channel. A second video, presented by Jason Johnston, KC5HWB, provides a step-by-step overview of online ARRL Foundation Club Application Process. Johnstons video, published on May 5, can be viewed on his YouTube channel, Ham Radio 2.0. More information about the Club Grant Program is available at www.arrl.org/club-grant-program. What this item doesnt say—but is mentioned in the videos—is that applications are now  being accepted. This fund isnt limitless, so you will have to do a good job crafting your application. Having a good idea and a good plan will enhance your chances of getting one of the grants. Although this isnt mentioned on the web page, note that applications are due May 30 for the first set of applications. The post ARRL Club Grant Program now accepting applications appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: ARRL, Clubs, Club Grant Program]

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[l] at 5/6/22 3:41pm
When I was a kid, a friend of mine tried to get me into Boy Scouts. The first thing that they tried to teach me was how to tie knots. At that point, I wasnt really much of an outdoors type, so the utility of knowing how to tie a variety of knots was lost on me. As a result, I didnt stick with the Scouts that long. Now, I regret that. Knowing how to tie knots is extremely useful when putting up antennas, especially when operating portable. I did learn how to tie a bowline knot (see right), and that has been very useful, but there are other knots that I really should have in my repertoire. Well, recently, someone on Twitter posted: So here’s a statement of fact, and a question: I suck at tying knots. What types of knots should I learn how to tie, that would be most applicable to tying off antennas and such? He got a lot of great responses, so I thought Id post some here: I like a tautline hitch for lines that need to be tightened and then secured. newlangsyne.com/doc/tautline.h… the bowline is good too. 4 knots you can’t go wrong with: -clove hitch -bowline -trucker’s hitch -sheet bend There are lots of fancier, more specific, or frankly better options, but this covers a lot of life. -Tie to something -Make a loop -Tie and tighten -Tie two ropes. The bowline is my go-to for lots of things, including attaching a rope to the insulator of an end-fed antenna. I usually revert to trucker hitch. Clinch knot. Good for thinner rope, wont slip or stretch with time. I second all of these. Sheet bend is the all time most useful knot IMO, clove hitch close second. There’s also one called a taut line hitch, useful as well. Learn the trumpet knot, because it’s fun. Really only used for taking slack out of lines. Learn the Sheep Shank! I find myself using arbor knots pretty often these days. Lots of cool knots here. One site that Ive found to help me learn these is Animated Knots. This site has short videos that step you through tying a knot. Do you have a favorite site for learning how to tie knots? If so, please enter in the comment section below. The post Knots for ham radio appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: antennas, knots]

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[l] at 5/3/22 2:46pm
I own a FlexRadio 6400, and overall, Im quite happy with it. Its probably the best-performing radio that Ive ever used, Having said that, its not perfect. Recently, Flex released an update to SmartSDR, and for some folks, the update caused their radios to quit working. This appears to be happening for those who havent installed new SDR cards in their radios. SDR card corruption is a known problem for some FlexRadios. There has also been some discontent with the speed at which Flex addresses bugs in the software and releases new features. This prompted one fellow to post to FlexRadioSmartSDR@groups.io: Ive had my 6400M for a couple of years now and have seen very few new features added to it (smartcontrol & memory functions)via software update.  Most software updates have centered around fixing bugs. This platform has so many possibilities, but Flex is not living up to the hype of its advertising. Its more like new software = same old radio OR new software = brick your radio. I replied: I agree with Dennis that the FlexRadio platform has a lot of potential, and Im a little surprised that there arent more third-party developers. I think that there maybe be two reasons for that: FlexRadios arent cheap. As a result, maybe there arent enough of them out there for a third-party developer to make any money developing third-party apps. Im thinking thats the reason that Flex themselves havent added more features. The return on investment just isnt there. Developing this kind of software is hard. It takes a lot of expertise and a lot of time. I thought about trying to develop a better Free DV waveform after reading about its limitations somewhere. I quickly realized, however, that I currently do not have the skills to do that, nor do I want to spend the time developing those skills. Does the Flex live up to its hype? Id say so, but I can see how some users could be disappointed. Nothings perfect, however. I guess that if you want something thats more plug and play, you should get something like an ICOM IC-7610. Ive decided to wait a bit before upgrading my SmartSDR software. That should give things time to settle down a bit.   The post Programming is hard appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: Gear/Gadgets, FlexRadio, SmartSDR]

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[l] at 5/2/22 2:50pm
More and more, Im impressed by what IARU R1 is doing for amateur radio. The latest is their Ham Challenge 2022. The challenge is for hams to come up with game-changing idea that will attract more people to amateur radio and make amateur radio more fun for those already involved. According to the official rules, [IARU R1] expects you to come with new ideas that we will help you to bring to reality. The winning teams or individuals will bring their ideas to life in partnership with the amateur radio community. The International Amateur Radio Union Region 1 (IARU R1) will provide guidance for these projects and will support them financially. The ideas will be judged according to the following criteria: Increases the fun and enjoyment of amateur radio. Serves the global ham community. Is experimental in nature. Is innovative. Increases radio amateurs knowledge. Is valuable to society. Unfortunately, this challenge is only available to amateurs in IARU R1, but I do have some readers in R1, so I hope that this message gets to them. I also hope that the IARU R2 folks get a good look at this and perhaps come up with something similar here. The deadline for submitting ideas is May 31, 2022, and applicants must submit an abstract of their idea with short bio and a brief motivation statement. A committee will review and select the best proposals by June 10, 2022. The participants will then have 15 more days to prepare a more detailed presentation of their idea to be presented in person or virtually during HamRadio 22 in Friedrichshafen. Cash prizes for the winners are as follows: 1st place: €500 2nd place: €200 3rd place: €100 Youth prize (under the age of 26): €200 Youll find the complete rules on the IARU R1 website. The post IARU R1 wants you to #BePartOfTheFuture appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: Promotion & PR, The Service, Friedrichshafen, Ham Challenge, IARU R1]

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[l] at 4/30/22 9:13pm
Ive often thought that hams should do more with badges, like they do at DEFCON and other hacker conferences. I had some ideas of designing my own, but then I found out about the Pimoroni Badger. The Badger is a very cool, hackable, programmable badge with an e-ink display, with a  Raspberry Pi RP2040 processor. Its programmable with microPython, and in my case, Im using the Thonny Python development environment on my iMac. The e-ink display is a 296 x 128 display, and Pimoroni makes available a python program that does an incredible job of converting .png files to 1-bit grayscale images. Here are a couple of images I created for the Badger: My hair is mostly gray now, so they grayscale picture here doesnt look too bad. It even does QR codes! Im planning on bringing this to Dayton with me. A friend of mine has 3D-printed a holder for this which lets me power this from 3 coin cells. This should be fun! The post Badger me.please appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: Gear/Gadgets, Badger]

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[l] at 4/28/22 2:59pm
A couple of weeks ago, the Veritasium video, “The Big Misconception About Electricity created quite a stir. If you’re interested in the physics of electricity, you might want to watch this yourself. Im not going to discuss the technical merits of this video here (although feel free to do so in the comments below). Instead, Im going to mention that some hams suggested that we get the guy behind Veritasium to produce a video on an aspect of ham radio. The idea would be to attract those who are interested in the science behind radio—presumably younger people—into amateur radio. After all, if he can make mundane scientific topics seem cool, shouldn’t he be able to make amateur radio seem cool? Also, he has almost 12 million subscribers on YouTube. If we could somehow convince him to do a video on amateur radio, it would get a lot of play. I’ve emailed him about this and am now waiting for a reply. My question to you all is are there other video producers out there like Vertiasium who are doing something similar? I’ve been browsing YouTube for the last hour, and while there are a ton of videos on radio waves, for example, they’re all pretty dry, academic stuff. I want to find someone that can not only explain a topic, but spur a viewer’s imagination as well. I know we have a bunch of amateur radio YouTubers, and they all do some great videos, but their audience are folks who already have amateur radio licenses. Theyre preaching to the choir. I want someone who can produce a video that people outside the church will watch and convince them to join the congregation. What do you think? Do you have any favorite video producers who might be able to pull this off? To sweeten the pot a little, let me remind you that Im the Communications Manager for ARDC. We make grants to organizations and projects that promote and support amateur radio. If we find the right producer, funds might be available. The post Another crazy idea for an amateur radio video appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: Promotion & PR, Videos, Veritasium]

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[l] at 4/25/22 2:26pm
Here are some articles from the electronics trade magazines (well, online magazines, anyway) that I found interesting: Equipment Recommendations for a Home Electronics Lab Some of the authors suggestions may seem a bit pricey for a radio amateurs home lab, but good test equipment will yield good results. He writes: With one exception, I like test equipment with knobs. That refers to scopes, signal sources, and power supplies. Siglent makes a nice, economical line of these kinds of instruments and they’re all available tomorrow via Amazon. You will probably need multiple power supplies, and you’ll want an old-school linear supply for audio work. Once upon a time, I’d have said buy only HP T&M gear (because I worked there, so I have a preference), and older HP gear from eBay can be nice, but the Siglent stuff comes with a warranty. Welcome to Antennas 101 In a very short space, the author does a pretty good job of explaining antennas and some of their parameters. For example, heres how he explains antenna efficiency: Antenna efficiency is like efficiency in general—the ratio of power out to power in. However, it’s designated in several different ways. In most cases, efficiencies account for the I2R losses, losses in any dielectric, and losses based on coupling to other devices. What may not be included is any loss related to antenna and transmission- line mismatch losses, resulting in reflected power and a higher SWR. However, some measures of efficiency factor in any change in antenna radiation resistance variation. Most small antennas aren’t that efficient. Anything better than 50% to 60% is usually good, but always seek to improve it if you can. AC grounding: essential, dangerous or both? The first thing that the author of this piece does is to explain that, A large part of the confusion comes from the ambiguous and this sloppy terminology associated with that innocent-sounding seven-letter word. He then explains that the word ground can refer to any one of three types of circuit connections: Earth ground where the circuit is actually connected to Earth, which acts as an infinite source and sink for electrons; Common (may also be called signal ground), which establishes a 0-V point in a circuit (and there is often more than one of these in the circuit). It’s usually very misleading to even use the word ground with this one. Chassis ground, which connects all nominally zero-volt potential points in a circuit; it may be connected to Earth ground, but often cannot be as there is no Earth ground for many devices such as most portable, battery-operated ones; here, it may be misleading to use the word ground if it is not connected to a real Earth ground. The rest of the article is equally enlightening. The post Trade magazine articles: home lab equipment, antennas 101, AC grounding appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: antennas, Electronics Theory, Test Equipment, grounding]

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[l] at 4/24/22 10:14am
In this episode, I joined Martin Butler (M1MRB), Edmund Spicer M0MNG and Ed Durrant DD5LP, and we blabbed about: Youth Preparedness Award for Clovis High School Students Solo voyager Horie, 83, Passes Hawaii 3 weeks into Pacific trip Amateur Radio Helps Rescue Injured California Outdoorsman Pubs and Clubs On The Air (PACOTA) 2022 Colin (M6BOY) rounds up the news in brief and in the episodes feature The Fed Files. The post ICQ Podcast Episode 375 The Fed Files appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: ICQ Podcast, Podcasts, Special Events, boating, CERT, pubs, wilderness protocol]

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[l] at 4/20/22 8:36am
Some of these operators are just amazing One of the most encouraging things in amateur radio is the renewed interest at the college level. Heres an example: Just for fun, heres a little electronics theory. The post Amateur radio videos: High-Speed Telegraphy 2021, college kit build, winding toroids appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: Building/Homebrew, CW, Kits, QRQ, toroids]

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[l] at 4/19/22 7:12am
Solo voyager Horie, 83, passes Hawaii 3 weeks into Pacific trip HAWAIIOctogenarian Kenichi Horie, who aims to become the oldest solo voyager to cross the Pacific, passed Hawaii on April 17, a week ahead of schedule and apparently in good shape and spirit. Although Horie carries a satellite phone, communicating with others through a ham radio remains one of his favorite pastimes. “March 31: I spotted a tanker on the sea’s horizon this morning for the first time since I set out. The vessel was traveling eastward. Tomorrow, I am going to use the ham radio.” Amateur radio fans across Japan tried to communicate with Horie on April 1, with some setting up large antennas. But they could not reach him due to the poor conditions for radio wave transmission. The following day, some could. Kenichi Horie waves on his yacht, Suntory Mermaid III, as he sails off Honolulu. (© Kenichi Horie) read more Launch into more: Gloversville school club prepares students for more than careers in STEM GLOVERSVILLE, NY – Once a weather balloon is launched – payload attached – Gloversville Middle School science teacher Chris Murphy is behind the wheel, ready to drive to wherever the landing site might be. In the backseat are students following the airship on computers and punching in data that helps determine his directions. The advisor for the school district’s High Altitude Achievement club has been going on these adventures with students since 2013, and ham radio operators along the route and someone at a home base help direct, too. The experience varies from a car caravan to a single vehicle, and from students on a second or third launch to their very first. The seventeenth, and most recent launch, on March 17 was, however, a first. It was the beginning of a launching era including eighth graders in the experience. read more Ham radio operator reflects on 40 years in the hobby Peru resident Bill McAlpin said he vividly remembers being a kid and someone giving his father a shortwave radio. Shortly after acquiring it, McAlpins family strung an antenna up between his house and his grandparents house next door, and hed sit for  hour listening to communications from all over the world. And McAlpins been hooked on amateur (ham) radio ever since. .read more The post Amateur radio in the news: 83 year old uses ham radio on solo voyage, school uses ham radio to prepare students for STEM careers appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: Classes/Testing/Licensing, Kids, Operating, Japan, STEM]

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[l] at 4/17/22 10:11am
Michigan has 83 counties. I live in Washtenaw County (WASH) in Southeast Michigan. The Michigan QSO Party was yesterday, and I had a really great time operating it. I even racked up my best score ever. Heres my report to 3830scores.com: Michigan QSO Party 2022 Call: W8RP Operator(s): KB6NU Station: KB6NU Class: Single Op LP QTH: Ann Arbor, MI, USA Operating Time (hrs): 6.25 Summary: Band CW Qs Ph Qs 40 194 158 20 50 Total: 244 158 CW Mults = 67 Ph Mults = 63 Total Score = 83,980 This is my best score ever in the MI QP. I started out on 20m just after 1600Z. Band conditions seemed OK, and I managed to make 50 contacts in about an hour, but then the band seemed to give out, so I switched to 40m. Fortunately, 40m was in great shape. And, just maybe, using the W8RP call sign had something to do with it! W8RP was the call of Roy Purchase, proprietor of Purchase Radio here in Ann Arbor, MI. He passed shortly after I moved to Ann Arbor, but by all accounts, he was a really great guy. Maybe his spirit was watching over me yesterday. Phone? If you know me, you know Im not a big phone operator. Even so, possibly the best choice I made yesterday was to work phone on 40m in the evening. Conditions were really great—for both in-state and out-of-state QSOs, and I picked up a bunch of multipliers that I probably wouldn’t have on CW. As you can see, I made almost 160 contacts on phone, and that took just over an hour and a half. Also on phone, I worked a couple of guys who recognized the W8RP call sign. One fellow said that he knew Roy personally. The second said that he used to live in Michigan and regularly patronized Purchase Radio. That was fun. I was going to go for 100,000 points, but about 0115Z I started getting tired. I exercised a little, intending to work some 80m CW when I finished around 0200Z, but I couldn’t work up the enthusiasm to do so and settled for the 84,000 points. The post Operating Notes: 2022 Michigan QSO Party appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: Contests, Operating, Michigan QSO Party]

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[l] at 4/16/22 7:27am
This post is shamelessly ripped off from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) website. Before you jump all over me, anything published by the U.S. government is in the public domain. Historical photo shows RMS Titanic from the side, with four prominent funnels. If you’ve seen the movie Titanic starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, then you’ve watched the star-crossed lovers’ untimely end and the tragic sinking of the Royal Mail Ship (RMS) Titanic. What the movie didn’t show is that radio played a role in the ship’s communication efforts — though it lacked standards that could have saved many more lives. The tragedy of the Titanic raised awareness that improvements to wireless communication were needed and led to new regulations and legislation by Congress to improve wireless technology, radio equipment and standards for maritime navigation. Leading the charge to make this happen was the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The Role of Wireless Technology in the Titanic Tragedy The RMS Titanic was a luxury passenger liner making its first trans-Atlantic voyage from Southampton, England, to New York City. The ship was an impressive 269 meters long, just a little shorter than the 300-meter height of the Eiffel tower (minus the tip). In the late evening hours of April 14, 1912, the Titanic struck an iceberg about 640 kilometers (400 miles) off the coast of Newfoundland. By 2:20 a.m. on April 15, the ship had sunk, and only about 710 people survived. More than 1,500 people, including passengers and crew, were lost. Reconstruction of a ships radio room from around 1910, at the Science Museum in London. At that time, the use of wireless systems, such as wireless telegraphs, on ships was relatively new. Passengers and crew could use these telegraphs to send messages back to land, and they played a role in ship operations like communicating between different areas of the ship. The technology relied on radio frequencies to transmit telegraph signals as coded messages without relying on telegraph lines. The wireless telegraph on the Titanic was owned and operated by the Marconi Company and was considered one of the best systems in the world, with a range of up to 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles). However, the system’s electronics created so much “noise” that it disrupted the wireless systems of other ships in the area. Throughout the day of April 14, four ships — all within 60 miles (96.6 kilometers) of the Titanic — had warned of icebergs in the area. The closest ship, the Californian, was 10 miles (16 kilometers) away when the Titanic’s wireless telegraphers sent out the SOS signal for help. Unfortunately, the Californian’s telegrapher had been rebuffed by the Titanic’s telegrapher earlier in the day for interfering with the Titanic’s private messages sent ashore and therefore had shut down for the night. The Carpathia, which was 58 miles away, responded to the signal for help but didn’t arrive until an hour after the Titanic had sunk. The sinking of the Titanic also highlighted the lack of trained telegraphers. Since the wireless technology was relatively new, many of the ships’ wireless telegraphers were inexperienced. They had a hard time catching signals sent to them, had difficulty relaying messages and were frequently sending repeats of their messages so they made sense on shore. This disaster would spur government officials, researchers and lawmakers to address the shortcomings in wireless technology. International Radiotelegraph Conference and Radio Act of 1912 A few months after the Titanic sunk, the second International Radiotelegraph Conference was held in London to immediately address the technical aspects of radio. Two wavelengths were used at the time, and leaders of the conference agreed the 600-meter wavelength would be used solely for ships at sea. They also implemented rulings to reduce interference from spark transmitters, a popular type of radio transmitter on ships, which used electric sparks to generate brief pulses of radio waves. Wireless telegraphers turned the transmitter on and off with each pulse to send messages in Morse code. The pulsed or damped radio waves diminish in strength as they travel, and the rate at which they decay is expressed in a quantity known as the decrement. The damped radio waves also have a wide bandwidth with continuous frequencies that diminish exponentially over time. When the measurement of decrement is high, the radio signal becomes broader, increasing the chance for interference from other signals with similar frequencies. The new ruling set limits with a lower measurement of decrement from spark transmitters, allowing telegraphers to fine-tune or sharpen their receivers to catch the radio signal because it was on a narrower frequency band. The exception to the ruling was for SOS signals, so multiple parties could intercept them. The rulings from the conference were implemented by Congress on July 23, 1912, through amendments to the 1910 Radio Ship Act. This resulted in the 1912 Radio Ship Act, which required an additional auxiliary power supply on ocean liners, and trained wireless telegraphers with at least two in charge of radio equipment. Congress also passed the 1912 Radio Act, which required licensing of commercial and amateur radio stations, minimizing interference communication between stations, addressing types of wavelengths used and prohibiting interference in radio communication, to name a few. Congress delegated the task of investigating how to implement these measures to NIST, known at the time as the National Bureau of Standards. Kolster and the Decremeter At the aforementioned International Radiotelegraph Conference was the recently hired NIST research engineer Frederick A. Kolster. His first assignment was to attend the conference as an observer and technical adviser to a NIST official, Louis Winslow Austin, who was one of 12 U.S delegates. Austin directed the Naval Radio Telegraphic Laboratory, housed and operated at NIST in Washington, D.C., but owned by the U.S. Navy; it later became one of the founding units of the Naval Research Laboratory. Kolster also assisted Professor Arthur Gordon Webster of Clark University, who had a paper published at the conference about regulations on using radio communications as a safety aid in navigation. Early drafts of the paper were reviewed by NIST for technical accuracy. At NIST, Kolster was tasked with designing a device to help ensure radio communications would not suffer interference from other electrical devices on ships. His device, called a decremeter, measured the radio signal’s rate of decay, and could be used by inspectors to determine that a ship was complying with the new regulation. The regulation led to the use of damped radio waves with a narrower frequency range that was less likely to cause interference with another ship’s communications. Kolster developed the original device between 1912 and 1914 and then designed a portable version that fit inside a suitcase-like structure, making it easier to move around. Once completed, the decremeter was accepted by the U.S Department of Defense and the Bureau of Navigation, whose functions would later be absorbed by the U.S Customs Service and the Coast Guard. Other Inventions During this time, Kolster also developed other instruments to aid in regulating maritime navigations and communications. The Bureau of Navigation needed a radio beacon system to help ships navigate in inclement weather, such as heavy fog or rainy conditions. Kolster designed an improved radio compass — the forerunner to modern aviation landing systems — that let a ship establish its current position by accurately figuring out the direction of signals coming from stations on land. The technology was ready for deployment by 1915. However, the Bureau of Lighthouses, later absorbed into the U.S Coast Guard, was reluctant to install the beacons until ships were equipped with the radio compasses. Most ship captains were hesitant to introduce more equipment out of fear that it would further clutter up their ships. It wasn’t until around 1919 that an agreement was reached between the lighthouse managers and the ship captains, and the radio compass was officially approved by the U.S Department of Defense and implemented. Kolster wasn’t the only NIST researcher working on maritime navigation. NIST researchers C.W. Waidner and Hobart Cutler Dickinson boarded Navy patrol boats in the summer of 1912 to investigate possible methods of detecting how close or far away icebergs were. One possible method seemed to focus on analyzing temperature variations of the seawater, but their research proved inconclusive. Later in the 1930s, a team of NIST researchers (Frank Wenner, Edward H. Smith and Floyd M. Soule) developed a salinity meter for the International Ice Patrol to help it locate icebergs. The sinking of the Titanic triggered immediate actions to prevent further tragedies at sea. Though it’s not likely that a movie will be made about the safety regulations and laws that followed, NIST played a prominent role in developing the necessary standards and technology to support them. About the Author Alex Boss is a general assignment writer in the NIST Public Affairs Office and covers standard reference materials (SRM). She has a B.S. in biology from Rhodes College and an M.A. in health and medical journalism from the University of Georgia. Her favorite pastimes include playing in DC’s recreational soccer leagues and drinking chai lattes. The post NIST and the Titanic: How the Sinking of the Ship Improved Wireless Communications for Navigating the Sea appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: History, NIST, Titanic]

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[l] at 4/9/22 6:00am
On the amateur radio subreddit, some guy posted a link to his ePay store where hes selling fancy crystal radios. Since theres a rule that you cant post ads, his post was quickly removed, but not before I clicked on a link and got a look at his work. Honestly, some of it looked pretty interesting, but there was one thing he was selling that I questioned. One of his products is a little board with four germanium diodes in parallel (see below). Im going to guess that these are 1N34A diodes. When I asked him what the purpose was for connecting four diodes in parallel like that, he replied, To decrease the Diode Resistance so it improves the Diode performance in a Crystal Radio (his caps, not mine). Now, its true that connecting resistors in parallel will decrease the total resistance, but lets look at a typical crystal radio circuit: This circuit uses high-impedance headphones or a high-impedance earphone because there is no powered amplifier. The only power comes from the received radio wave itself. This means that very little current will be flowing in the circuit, so theres really not much to gain by decreasing the Diode Resistance. So, to answer my own question, no, I dont think that paralleling diodes in a crystal radio circuit would make it work noticeably better. The post Would paralleling diodes make a crystal radio work better? appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: Building/Homebrew, crystal radio]

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[l] at 4/8/22 11:37am
Little known fact: I gave the ARSA committee the idea for this logo. Earlier this week, the Amateur Radio Software Award (ARSA) committee selected David Rowe, VK5DGR, and his project, Codec 2, to receive the 3rd annual Amateur Radio Software Award. The award recognizes projects and their developers for technical innovation, impacts on amateur radio and community involvement. The award includes a $300 grant. Codec 2 is a foundational project for digital voice communication on HF and VHF. It provides a royalty-free and open source codec suitable for digital voice application in amateur radio. Codec 2 enables other software and hardware projects to utilize digital voice communication without the barriers of licensing, usage fees and vendor lockdown. In describing the project, Rowe said, As well as speech compression software, the Codec 2 library also includes a variety of modems integrated into the FreeDV protocol to support robust open source digital voice over HF radio. We are working on improving the quality, and lowering the SNR required for HF digital voice. With Codec 2, David has made significant contributions to amateur radio by helping to move the community beyond the vendor controlled digital voice ecosystem and enabling other innovation previously prevented by patents. David Rowe and key contributor Mooneer Salem, K6AQ, created FreeDV, a program for digital voice communication over HF, as a reference implementation. Codec 2 is also used by the M17 team for digital voice in their VHF/UHF/GigaHertz communication protocol and applications. About the Award The Amateur Radio Software Award is an annual award and is intended to recognize software projects that enhance amateur radio. It aims to promote amateur radio software development that adheres to the same spirit as amateur radio itself: innovative, free, and open. The ARSA committee is solely responsible for determining the winner of the award. The committee this year included: Claus Niesen, AE0S (since 2020) Kun Lin, N7DMR (since 2020) Rich Gordon, K0EB (since 2021) For more information about the award, visit the ARSA website. Special Event Station ARSA is sponsoring special event stations K3A, K3R, and K3S from Friday, August 26th through sunday September 5th, 2022 to promote innovative, free, and open amateur radio software. During the event, we will honor the 2022 award recipient. As part of the special event, we encourage people to submit nominations for the 2023 Amateur Radio Software Award. The post VK5DR, Codec 2 developer, wins 2022 Amateur Radio Software Award appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: Software, Amateur Radio Software Award]

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[l] at 4/7/22 5:51pm
My apologies for not blogging for a while. I had to do my taxes last weekend. Then, to add insult to injury, I came down with a case of COVID, despite being vaxxed and boosted.Dan My first QSL today is from WB5HOW. HOW is an all-time new one (ATNO) for me!   The second is from W0OX. I actually have a couple of OXes, for some reason. The post QSLs: WB5HOW, W0OX appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: QSLs, W0OX, WB5HOW]

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[l] at 4/4/22 3:07pm
Young ham on David Letterman Veronica Harrington, KC6TQR, appeared on March 26, 1992. She was six years old at the time. David Letterman actually had a ham license at one point. KB6NU on Operator of the Week Yours truly appeared on the podcast, Operator of the Week by WA7PBE. Its always fun to appear on podcasts like this. Make your own DMR codeplug This video by BridgeCom aims to take some of the mystery out of DMR codeplugs. The video talks about the Anytone radios that Bridgecom sells, but you should be able to set up your own after viewing the video. If you need more info, the YouTube page lists a bunch of other videos explaining how to do this. The post Amateur radio videos: 6-year-old ham on David Letterman, KB6NU on Operator of the Week, how to make your own DMR codeplug appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: Kids, Podcasts, VHF/FM/Repeaters, Videos]

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[l] at 3/31/22 2:42pm
In this episode, I joined Colin Butler, M6BOY; Edmund Spicer, M0MNG; Ed Durrant DD5LP; and Leslie Butterfield, G0CIB to discuss the latest Amateur / Ham Radio news. The news items included: ARRL Teachers Institute to Offer Four Sessions this Summer Russia and Belarus Suspended from CEPT membership Australian Radio Hams Help out after Floods AMSAT Receives a Grant From ARDC The episodes feature was on Hamzilla 2022. The post ICQ Podcast Episode 373 Hamzilla 2022 appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: ARRL, Emergency Communications / Public Service, ICQ Podcast, AMSAT, ARDC, Australia, ICQPodcast, Ukraine]

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[l] at 3/29/22 6:55am
East Boothbay couple listening to Ukrainian invasion on shortwave radio [WISCASSET, ME] An East Boothbay couple is hearing about the Russian invasion of Ukraine a little sooner than most. For the past month, Al and Shirley Sirois have been glued to HF (high frequency) or shortwave radio transmissions between people around the world and Ukrainians. On March 4, they heard conversations between the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) and Ukrainians during the attack on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant which caught on fire. The Siroises listened until transmission propagation began to wane. In Maine, Al says the best time to listen is between 3 to 6 p.m. read more Fillmore Skywarn — local weather spotters With spring approaching, many of us begin thinking more about the possibility of severe weather. Thanks to Fillmore Skywarn, a volunteer storm spotting group, we can rest a little easier. The storm spotters stress safety as the highest priority as they look for storms; people are placed to the side or in back of storms and never cross a bridge without knowing there is another way out of the area. Their job is to observe the storm and report it to the proper emergency authorities. Club leader Jim Miller emphasized that they are NOT storm chasers. Brian Stockman added, “We try not to become a victim!” read more The post Amateur radio in the news: WTWW broadcasting to Ukraine, ME couple listen to Ukrainian invasion on SW radio, Fillmore SkyWarn appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: Amateur Radio in the News, Emergency Communications / Public Service, SkyWarn, Ukraine]

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[l] at 3/28/22 11:07am
I recently purchased two items that Ive been disappointed with. They not amateur radio products, but they are radio-related, so I thought Id blog about them. These Amazon Echo Buds amazingly DO NOT WORK with Amazon Fire tablets. The first product to disappoint are the Amazon Echo Buds, 2nd Generation. I purchased these when they went on sale for $80. That sounded like a great deal, especially considering they offered automatic noise cancellation. I planned to use them when watching videos or listening to podcasts on my Amazon Fire tablet while Im on my rowing machine or lifting weights. The rowing machine is quite noisy, so I thought that the noise cancellation feature would come in handy. Unfortunately, as amazing as it sounds, the Amazon Echo Buds WILL NOT WORK with my Amazon tablet! I spent more than an hour goofing around with this before I gave up. The tablet pairs up quite nicely with all of the other Bluetooth speakers that I have, but for some dumb reason, I cant pair the ear buds with it. I tweeted about this: Im very disappointed that my @amazon Echo Buds arent supported by my two-year-old @amazon Fire tablet. I just find that incredible. and I actually got an email from an Amazon customer service rep. I explained the problem and got the following reply: Im sorry to hear about the issue/s experienced with your Echo Buds and Fire Tablet 8 (7th Gen), which prompted you to leave a review. https://www.amazon.com/gp/profile?ref_=ya_d_l_profile From the developers : Fire 7 (all generations), Fire HD 8 (9th gen or older), and Fire HD 10 are not compatible with Echo Buds. The Echo Buds are going to be returned. Clock needs a software upgrade I had an Emerson atomic clock for years that bit the dust last summer during a power outage. Im guessing that the power surge when the power came back on somehow caused the clocks power supply to fail. Its been on my pile of things to be repaired since then, but I wasnt able to find a schematic for it online, and that made fixing it more difficult. Last week, I decided to just buy another one. So, I searched through Amazon and found the Ambient Weather RC-8465 Projection Alarm Clock. It not only syncs to WWVB, but also projects the time on a wall or the ceiling. It also has a built-in temperature sensor to let you know how hot or cold it is in the room. And, it cost only $20. I like the clock, but one of its quirks is that while it does show the indoors temperature on the projected image, every once in a while it would display .- F OUT. Guessing that that was the outdoor temperature, I looked for a way to turn that off, since I dont have the outdoor sensor. I didnt find out how to do so in the instructions, so I sent an email to the address in the instruction sheet. They replied: Thank you for contacting support. unfortunately, this model is designed to show outdoor and indoor temperature there is no way to turn off this base function. OK, I thought, maybe Ill get the outdoor temperature sensor. Well, as it turns out, the outdoor sensor costs $30! I emailed them back saying that I guess Ill just have to live with the funky temperature display. I emailed them back, noting that they should really update the clocks firmware   The post 2 product FAILs appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: Gear/Gadgets, Amazon, WWVB]

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