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[l] at 6/10/24 6:36am
My latest One-Day Tech Class took place on Saturday, June 1. There were only 13 in this class, fewer than most classes that I teach. I think the main reason for this is that the university school year had already ended, so there were only a couple of students in this class. Students in my June 1, 2024 one-day Tech class taking the license exam. Nine of the thirteen passed the test. This is a little lower than usual, but one of the students was a ten-year-old who seemed more intent on playing with a yo-yo than actually getting a license. Another was a young man who didn’t miss by much. He took the test again on Saturday, at our club’s regularly-scheduled test session. So, if you don’t count the ten-year-old—and I generally don’t count anyone that young—then the final result is 10/12, which is much closer to my usual pass rate. I got a kick out of one guy in the class. He was so afraid that he had failed the test. As he was waiting for his exam to be scored, he asked me about one of the questions. Unfortunately, he had chosen the wrong answer, and when I told him this, he got even more anxious. In the end, all of his worrying was for naught, though. He passed with a score of 30/35. As always, thanks to the VEs who came to administer the test. These included (in alphabetical order by call sign) Dinesh AB3DC, Ed AB8OJ, Don AC8TO, Steve AC8YA, and Mark W8FSA, I’ll next be teaching at Hackers on Planet Earth (HOPE) in New York City in July. If you know someone who would like to take the class, have them contact me, and I’ll email them when the date is set. After that, I’ll be teaching at DEFCON in Las Vegas in August.

[Category: Classes/Testing/Licensing]

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[l] at 6/9/24 7:33am
A couple of days ago, it occurred to me that I hadn’t backed up my computer log or uploaded to Logbook of the World (LOTW) for a while. The backup went well, but when I tried to upload my latest contacts to LOTW, I got an error message. It puzzled me for a bit, but then I remembered that the ARRL had been hacked about a month ago, and that LOTW probably was still down. I tried just now to log in to LOTW via the ARRL website. There was no notice on the LOTW home page, but when I clicked on the login link, nothing happens, and the attempt just times out. I think it would be a courtesy to note that LOTW is still down and that you can’t log in just yet, but it’s not that big a deal. Lots of dahs I recently worked Miloš, OM0MM. If you’re a CW operator, you know that’s a lot of dahs (14, to be exact). I actually had to listen to it a couple of times before I copied the call correctly. Being a Slovak-American, whenever I work an OM station, I like to send them an email. I asked Milos if this was a vanity call sign. He replied: Ahoj Dan, Thank you for nice QSO and for an email.  Sorry for my bad English. About my call, yes I requested for this call sign and I lucikly get it My father (OM0EE) recommended it to me because I am only a CW operator, and I liked the idea of all dashes. So you have a Slovak roots? Very nice to hear that. You are the first Slovak ham in USA I have met. Miloš OM0MM Of course, Miloš’ English is a lot better than my Slovak, so no worries there. In making this off-air contact, I feel that I’m doing my part to enhance international goodwill” as describe in Part §97.1(e). Pro tip While it is sad that more Americans don’t know more than one language, it would be difficult for U.S. hams to master all the languages out there. Having said that, when I want to gauge how well a ham that I’ve contacted is comfortable with English, I look at their QRZ.Com page. If it’s written in English, then I reach out to them in English, as I did with Miloš. I have also tried doing a Google translate to send an email, but my results have been mixed. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m sending a Google translation (I always note that I used Google to translate the message) or what, but I get fewer replies with a translated email.

[Category: ARRL, DX, lotw, OM0MM]

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[l] at 6/6/24 7:03am
I’ve quit Twitter/X, and am now part of the Fediverse. There are quite a few radio amateurs in the Fediverse, and if you’d like to follow me there, you can follow @kb6nu@mastodon.radio. Mastodon.radio is a space for radio amateurs and SWLs, but it’s not the only radio-focused Fediverse server. It connects with the servers listed on fediverse.radio, including mastodon.hams.social, a server here in the U.S. Mastodon seems to have a much higher signal-to-noise ratio than Twitter. Here’s a few links I found and things I learned on Mastodon last night: K8CX Ham Gallery. K8CX has an interesting collection of photos from Dayton, DX sound clips, and a QSL card museum. I’ve submitted a couple photos of me and the ICQ Podcast crew at Dayton 2024. M17 Users mailing list. The  home page for this mailing list says, “The primary assumption of this mailing list is that M17 is (in June, 2024) in usable (enough) form for actual deployment and use in amateur radio.” They believe that all the pieces are there now.  Typically, to use M17, youll have to be somewhat of an experimenter to work around the inevitable glitches in using M17, but in the opinion of this list founder, all the pieces are there now. 44-foot doublet. Last night, there was some discussion of portable antennas, mainly the 44-ft. doublet antenna. This is the antenna that L. B. Cebik describes on the web page, 1 Wire, 7 Bands, 2 Directions, or The 44 Doublet as a 40-10 Meter Antenna.” There’s a similar antenna out there called the NorCal Doublet. The NorCal Doublet uses ribbon cable as the feedline to reduce weight. These two antennas look like they’d be worth experimenting with. The NorCal Doublet. See you in the Fediverse!

[Category: Antennas, Digital Modes, On the Internet, doublet, gallery, M17]

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[l] at 6/4/24 6:31pm
I received this from Fred Hopengarten, K1VR, yesterday via the CWops mailing list: While ARRL suffered on other fronts recently, the ARRL Legislative Activities Committee enjoyed a big win. On May 14th, the Vice-Chair of the relevant subject matter committee in the U.S. Congress (Rep. Randy Weber, R-TX-14) signed on as a co-sponsor of H.R. 4006, our bill to aid HOA residents. We now hope to get others on the relevant sub-committee of the House Energy & Commerce Committee to co-sponsor (“to sign on to”) our bill. Can you help? To find a list of the members of the Sub-committee on Communications & Technology, see https://democrats-energycommerce.house.gov/subcommittees/communications-and-technology . Do you know any of these people? Even if you don’t live in a district listed, if you are member of a club based in that district, please let me know. If you would like to see a copy of the bill, just ask me. Your two ARRL volunteer lawyers engaged in lobbying this bill in Washington are Gulf Director John Robert Stratton, N5AUS, and me. The bill has already been introduced in the Senate with both a Republican and a Democrat as co-sponsors. If you can help us lobby another member of the House Communications & Technology subcommittee, please let me know. CWOps #57 Fred Hopengarten, Esq. K1VR Hopengarten@post.harvard.edu

[Category: Antennas, HOAs]

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[l] at 6/3/24 6:39am
It was sunny, but a little cool Thursday morning at the Island Lake Recreation Area (US-3315). Photo: KW1L. Where: US-3315, Island Lake Recreation Area (near Brighton, MI) When: 10:30 am – 1:30 pm (1430 – 1730 UTC) Who:  Paul, KW1L, came with me today. Weather: It was sunny, but a little cool in the morning. As you can  see, I’m wearing a sweatshirt. The temperature eventually got in to the low 70s, with very little humidity. Rig: Elecraft KX-3, 66-ft. doublet antenna On Thursday morning, Paul and I decided to set up on a hill overlooking the lake. There were very few people at the park Thursday morning, so we almost had the whole park to ourselves. There were a few swimmers. Brrrrrr. That water must have been cold. As you can see from the photo at right, the operating position is in the sun. It was a bit cool in the morning, and being in the sun, made it feel just right. It was just before 11:00 am when I made my first contact. I chose 40 meters to start, and I quickly made the 10 contacts needed for a legal activation. I then moved up to 20 meters, where I had decent success. I even tried 15 meters, but I only worked one station on 15—Russ, K5TUX of Linux in the Ham Shack fame. We brought our lunches with us, and we broke for lunch about noon. After lunch, we decided to give 20-meter phone a try. We made a couple of phone contacts, including KC4DSV, who was operating from a spot that qualified as two parks: US-3924 and US-2935. We decided that that was a great way to end the activation, so we packed up and headed home.  

[Category: Parks on the Air, US-3315]

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[l] at 5/29/24 7:35am
The FCC recently released this public notice: PUBLIC SAFETY AND HOMELAND SECURITY BUREAU SEEKS COMMENT ON THE IMPACTS OF THE MAY 2024 GEOMAGENTIC STORM ON THE U.S. COMMUNICATIONS SECTOR PS Docket No. 24-161 Comments Due: June 24, 2024 The Federal Communications Commission’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB or Bureau) seeks comment on any observed impacts to communications that resulted from the May 2024 severe geomagnetic storm. On Thursday, May 9, 2024, the National Weather Service Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) issued a severe (G4) Geomagnetic Storm Watch, forecasting a series of coronal mass ejections (CMEs) that merged with the Earth’s electromagnetic fields between May 7-11, 2024.1 On May 11, 2024, the storm reached extreme (G5) conditions, the first time this severity has been observed since 2003.2 According to the SWPC, CMEs are large expulsions of plasma and magnetic field from the Sun’s corona.3 Electromagnetic currents generated by CMEs, when merged with the Earth’s electromagnetic fields, may distort the propagation of radio frequency waves. On May 11, 2024, the FCC High Frequency (HF) Direction Finding Center, which supports the public safety community and federal partners by locating interference to radio spectrum below 30 MHz, observed significant disturbance in the propagation of HF radio signals. This disturbance resulted in the disruption of voice and data communications passed over HF frequencies. To better understand the impacts of the geomagnetic storm on the U.S. communications sector, the Bureau is requesting information from communications service providers and the public regarding disruptions in communications between May 7 and 11, 2024, that it believes to be a result of the storm. The Bureau is encouraging commenters to provide any available evidence, particularly electromagnetic spectrum analyses, imagery, or chronological logs relating the storm’s impacts. Where possible, the Bureau asks that commenters include the description of the impacts; make and model of affected communications equipment, which could include transmitters, receivers, transceivers, switches, routers, amplifiers etc.; make, model, and type of affected antennae and their composition; frequencies affected; type and composition of cable adjoining communications equipment and the antennae, if applicable; duration of the impact; and any residual effects observed in the hours following restoration. You can find the entire document, including footnotes and instructions on how to file a comment, at https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-24-493A1.pdf. It will be interesting to see a report on this after the comments are in.

[Category: Propagation, FCC, solar flare]

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[l] at 5/28/24 1:29pm
Where: US-3315, Island Lake Recreation Area (near Brighton, MI) When: 2:30 pm – 4:30 pm (1830 – 2030 UTC) Who:  I was accompanied on this activation by my lovely wife, Silvia. Weather: The skies were overcast, and it looked like it was going to rain. It was also very windy. The temperature was in the upper 70s, and very little humidity. Rig: Elecraft KX-3, 66-ft. doublet antenna Yours truly making a Q at US-3315. Photo: Silvia Ruiz. On this activation, I set up in the Bluebird shelter at the Island Lake Recreation Area. It was a bit of a hike to get there, as the road was closed for repairs. That worked in my favor, though, as I had the shelter all to myself. True to its name, I spotted a bluebird perching on the volleyball net near the shelter. To the dismay of my wife, I spotted a lot of spiders, too. I started out on 20 meters, but there was so much contest QRM, I decided to try 30 meters instead. Unfortunately, there wasn’t that much activity on 30, so I decided to try 40 meters. I had much more success there. Conditions were good, and I was getting  good Reveres Beacon Network spots. I made 12 contacts in less than a half hour. After that, I tried 17 meters, and I made a couple of contacts there, but eventually wandered back to 20 meters. Instead of operating around 14.060 MHz, though, I saw some POTA spots above 14.090 MHz, and worked a park-to-park, then started calling CQ up there. That worked out OK, and I ended up the activation with 25 contacts total. Then, it was off to dinner with Silvia.  

[Category: Parks on the Air, US-3315]

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[l] at 5/26/24 5:49pm
If you regularly read this blog, you know that I often criticize the ARRL. I can’t help myself. They make it soooo easy. Despite that, I still think that all hams should be members. The biggest reason I think that all hams should belong to the ARRL is that they really are the only organization advocating for amateur radio with the FCC, Congress, and local and state legislatures. You can criticize them for perhaps not doing enough, but without the ARRL, very little would get done. I also think that the ARRL is the only organization with the wherewithal to provide the leadership necessary to move amateur radio forward. They haven’t done nearly enough, but there are some programs worth noting, such as the Clean Signals Initiative and the youth programs that Steve, K5ATA has been running. With more members, we could see more programs like this. A declining membership might mean that these programs and even more get cut.  Membership isn’t cheap, but ARRL membership isn’t cheap, but amateur radio isn’t a cheap hobby. How much do you spend on amateur radio per year? Chances are that $60/year is just a small fraction of that. (If it’s not, then I’ll forgive you for not being a member.) The way I look at it, I would have no right at all to criticize the League if I wasn’t also a member. They may still blow me off, but at least they can’t say that my opinion means nothing to them because I’m not a member. Of course, that opinion doesn’t hold water with everyone. On a mailing list discussing the future of amateur radio, one fellow wrote, The one tiny thing I can do is to choose not to continue helping to fund ARRL’s “same old, same old” operation . They don’t notice my opinion, but they may notice the absence of my financial support… but probably not. Actually, I think that they do notice. It doesn’t happen overnight, but if you keep poking them, sometimes things do change. For example, for a long time, I criticized them about not supporting clubs enough. Well, in November 2021, they started publishing the Club News  email newsletter, and recent changes in the club commission program make it more profitable for clubs. At one point, they were talking about offering training for club officers—another of my ideas. Unfortunately, it appears that this program never got started, as I can’t find any mention of the training on the ARRL website. This is disappointing. I suspect that part of the reason this never got off the ground is a lack of resources. The ARRL is working to make ham radio better I think that the ARRL really is working to make amateur radio better. They may not be doing the best job that they could be doing, but quitting the ARRL isn’t going to make the situation any better. The only way to get the ARRL to change is by organizing ourselves, finding good candidates to run against board members we don’t think are doing a good job, and helping  those candidates run effective campaigns. You can’t do that if you’re not a member. This approach may or may not work, but the only option is to just give up, and I don’t think that giving up will make ham radio better. If you’re on the fence about renewing your ARRL membership, I would encourage you to do so. If you’re not a member, please consider joining. Then, let’s figure out a way to make the ARRL truly the “national association for amateur radio.

[Category: ARRL]

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[l] at 5/25/24 2:12pm
Where: US-3315, Island Lake Recreation Area (near Brighton, MI) When: 1:00 pm 4 pm (1700 2000 UTC) Who: On this activation, it was just me. Weather: Beautiful day.  Sunny skies, temperature in the low 80s, and very little humidity. Now that I’m back from Dayton, it’s time to start enjoying the summer. For many hams, that means Parks on the Air! I’ve already made a couple of activations, and plan to make many more this summer. I’ve also decided to blog about each activation. My operating position at US-3315 on Friday, May 24, 2024. Yesterday, I activated US-3315, Island Lake Recreation Area, the park closest to my house. They’re doing some renovations at the two spots where I usually set up—the Bluebird and Hickory picnic areas—so I set up at the Kent Lake beach area. There isn’t a shelter close to the parking lot, but there are plenty of trees to provide shade. Notes I chose kind of a public place for this activation. Public places are good for attracting visitors, but you have to be more careful with your antennas. I put some caution tape on both legs of my inverted V antenna, but even so, you should keep an eye on the antenna. A family with small kids claimed a couple of picnic table near me, and at one point, one of the toddlers decided it might be fun to play with the antenna. Overall, I think that I prefer a more secluded spot. I’ll just have to hike a bit further from the parking lot. Having said that, the young(ish) father of the toddler came over when I started tearing down and inquired about what I was doing. He said that he was thinking of getting an SDR, so that he could start monitoring different services. I gave him my card and encouraged him to contact me if he developed an interest in amateur radio. I spotted my first sandhill crane of the year. Last year, they were regular visitors, and I’m happy that they’re back this year. 20 meters sounded kind of dead, even though I was getting some decent spots on Reverse Beacon. I’m thinking that there are fewer hunters in the early afternoons, for whatever reason. I was getting a weird, intermittent, man-made noise that I had not heard before at this park. I thought it might be from passing cars, but I couldn’t really figure out where it was coming from. I have some fancy banana plugs that I’m using on the radio end of my twisted-pair feedline. These do provide a good connection, but for some reason, the screws holding the wire in place are coming loose. I’m hoping a little LocTite on the threads will cure that problem. Immediately after going QRT, I downloaded the log to Evernote. I didn’t do this last time, and unfortunately, my phone completely died and I lost that log. Next time, I’ll bring a rag or a brush, to brush and dirt or branches on the table before I begin operating.

[Category: Parks on the Air, Island Lake Recreation Area]

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[l] at 5/24/24 8:38am
Amateur radio is supposed to be all about public service, but it doesn’t always have to include radio. At this year’s Ann Arbor Creativity and Making Expo, I ran into Dale Grover of Maker Works, a non-profit makerspace here in Ann Arbor, MI. He mentioned that he’d recently gotten a grant to repair assistive devices for people with communication and access needs. These devices are used in schools that generally don’t have a big budget for repair. It seemed like a good opportunity for ARROW members to use their electronic skills for a good cause, so I told him that I’d try to find some volunteers to help out. I got a great response to my call for volunteers, and yesterday afternoon, four ARROW members met at Maker Works to fix assistive devices. Shown below is Paul, KW1L; Rick, K8BMA; and Ron, K8RCF. Yours truly is taking the picture. Typically, devices have a big switch that the user presses to play a pre-recorded message. The problems are generally easy to diagnose, and the repairs are generally simple repairs. Rick, for example, replaced the plugs on several of the devices, and Paul and Ron replaced the speakers in several of the units. One of the devices that I tackled came with a note that read, “Won’t play or record, even with a new battery.” As we all know, the first step in troubleshooting is to verify the problem. So, I obtained a new battery and opened the battery compartment. As shown in the photo at right, it was clear that the problem was a defective battery clip. Somehow, someone managed to tear the negative contact off the clip. I replaced the battery clip and brought the device back to life! Overall, we probably fixed close to ten devices, including the pushbutton switches. We probably could have fixed more, but it took us some time to learn how to disassemble and then reassemble the devices. Even though the fixes are usually simple, they can also be a bit frustrating. For example, the device that I replaced the battery clip on wouldn’t go back together very easily. It looked to me as though the screws holding the device together just aren’t long enough. Other devices had similar design issues. Our first repair session was a fun and interesting exercise, and we plan to go back in the future. There are many more devices to fix. I asked Dale, our contact at Maker Works, if we might schedule an evening session so that our members who are still working can attend. After all, why should us retired guys have all the fun? Having said all that, I have to believe that there are public-service opportunities like this in your community that your clubs could help with. Keep your eyes open and get your clubs involved. If there’s an expense, for say equipment or replacement parts, you can always apply for a club grant from the ARRL or ARDC. I’d be happy to help you write the proposal, if you need help. If you do find similar opportunities, please let me know, and I’ll spotlight them here on my blog. These kinds of projects provide a real public service even if they don’t involve radio.

[Category: Emergency Communications / Public Service, Equipment Maintenance, makerspace, troubleshooting]

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[l] at 5/24/24 8:38am
Amateur radio is supposed to be all about public service, but it doesn’t always have to include radio. At this year’s Ann Arbor Creativity and Making Expo, I ran into Dale Grover of Maker Works, a non-profit makerspace here in Ann Arbor, MI. He mentioned that he’d recently gotten a grant to repair assistive devices for people with communication and access needs. These devices are used in schools that generally don’t have a big budget for repair. It seemed like a good opportunity for ARROW members to use their electronic skills for a good cause, so I told him that I’d try to find some volunteers to help out. I got a great response to my call for volunteers, and yesterday afternoon, four ARROW members met at Maker Works to fix assistive devices. Shown below is Paul, KW1L; Rick, K8BMA; and Ron, K8RCF. Yours truly is taking the picture. Typically, devices have a big switch that the user presses to play a pre-recorded message. The problems are generally easy to diagnose, and the repairs are generally simple repairs. Rick, for example, replaced the plugs on several of the devices, and Paul and Ron replaced the speakers in several of the units. One of the devices that I tackled came with a note that read, “Won’t play or record, even with a new battery.” As we all know, the first step in troubleshooting is to verify the problem. So, I obtained a new battery and opened the battery compartment. As shown in the photo at right, it was clear that the problem was a defective battery clip. Somehow, someone managed to tear the negative contact off the clip. I replaced the battery clip and brought the device back to life! Overall, we probably fixed close to ten devices, including the pushbutton switches. We probably could have fixed more, but it took us some time to learn how to disassemble and then reassemble the devices. Even though the fixes are usually simple, they can also be a bit frustrating. For example, the device that I replaced the battery clip on wouldn’t go back together very easily. It looked to me as though the screws holding the device together just aren’t long enough. Other devices had similar design issues. Our first repair session was a fun and interesting exercise, and we plan to go back in the future. There are many more devices to fix. I asked Dale, our contact at Maker Works, if we might schedule an evening session so that our members who are still working can attend. After all, why should us retired guys have all the fun? Having said all that, I have to believe that there are public-service opportunities like this in your community that your clubs could help with. Keep your eyes open and get your clubs involved. If there’s an expense, for say equipment or replacement parts, you can always apply for a club grant from the ARRL or ARDC. I’d be happy to help you write the proposal, if you need help. If you do find similar opportunities, please let me know, and I’ll spotlight them here on my blog. These kinds of projects provide a real public service even if they don’t involve radio.

[Category: Emergency Communications / Public Service, Equipment Maintenance, makerspace, troubleshooting]

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[l] at 5/23/24 8:34am
On Thursday, May 16, I attended Four Days in May (FDIM), an event put on by the QRP Amateur Radio Club International (QRP ARCI). The first FDIM was held in 1996, and QRP ARCI has held it every year since, excluding the Covid years. This year, nearly 300 people attended the event. Like the name implies, there are FDIM events on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, but the main event is the series of talks on Thursday. These start at 8 am and run until 5 pm. This year, the talks included: The Construction and Use of a WhoZat by Jack Purdum, W8TEE. Jack is a retired professor from Purdue University, a frequent speaker at FDIM, and the designer of many microcontroller-powered ham radio projects, including transceivers and antenna analyzers. This year, he talked about his latest design, the WhoZat. WhoZat is a portable, battery-powered device that allows an operator to type in a call sign prefix and obtain information about the country associated with the callsign. It will give you the country name, and the azimuthal bearing from your location to that country. One of the takeaways from this talk is that the WhoZat is powered by a Raspberry Pi Pico, and Jack encouraged everyone to consider the Pico for future projects because it has more computing power and more memory than most Arduinos.In addition to talking about the WhoZat, Jack was promoting his latest book, Digital Signal Processing and Sofware Defined Radio. Its available on Amazon for $45. Top 10 Junkbox Projects by Hans Summers, G0UPL. Hans is the genious(?), madman(?), entrepreneur(?) behind QRP Labs. In this talk, he extolled the virtues (as I have done) of a well-stocked junkbox. The project that resonated the most with me is the one-tube transmitter.The reason it resonates with me is that Ive been threatening to build one for years myself. Hans actually did it, though. In fact, he made his first QSO with a transmitter he built from an ECL82 tube. At the end of his talk, Hans gave a little plug for his newest transceiver, the QMX+. The embedded SDR rig covers 160 6m, in a slightly bigger form factor than the QMX, for only $125. Its incredible, really. zBitxA Portable Station for the CW Operator by Ashar Farhan, VU2ESE of HF Signals. In this talk, Ashar described his zBitx, a portable CW/FT8 SDR transceiver. This isnt a radio that Ashar is selling (yet!), but it does look like a complete design. And, of course, that design is completely open source, something he ribbed one of the other presenters about. This radio is powered by a Raspberry Pi, specifically the Raspberry Pi Zer 2 W. This module costs $15 and runs Linux. Ashar says, if ARduino was a matchbox RC car, this Raspberry Pi is an Airbus A380, both in terms of size and speed. It can run WSJT X, fldigi, and full-stack SDR. The radio also takes advantage of the WiFi capablity of the RPi. Theres an app that runs on a smart phone that acts as a front panel. At the end of his talk, instead of flogging a product, Ashar passed out a small PCB assembly called the sBitx Hat. Designed to plug into a Raspberry Pi, it includes an Si5351 clock generator and a 96 kbps, dual-channel audio codec. It looks it will be a fun thing to play with. Adventures of a QRP Evangelist by Cliff Batson, N4CCB, proprietor of the QRP School YouTube channel. Cliff gave us a primer on QRP operation and on how to make YouTube videos. He encouraged us all to go out and make videos. Im not so sure about this myself. It seems to me that there is already too many ham radio videos to watch. Amplifying Your Adventures, Minimizing Your Power by noted YouTuber Tom Witherspoon, K4SWL. In his presentation, Tom concentrated on the personal and operating aspects of QRP, not the technical. The conclusion published in the proceedings does a good job of summarizing his talk. It reads, Since my journey into ham radio began in 1997, Ive encountered countless naysayers proclaiming, That wont work or Lifes too short for QRP. These discouraging words often came from individuals who lacked firsthand experience in the field. Rather than accepting the pessimistic views, Ive treated them as a checklist of challenges to overcome. my approach has been simple: get out there, experiment, and fully immerse myself in the moment. Its through this hands-on exploration that Ive discovered the true joy and potential of QRP operations. Designing the Elecraft KH1: From Vision to Reality by Wayne Burdick, N6KR. Wayne certainly needs no introduction. His talk concentrated on how he made some of the decisions he made in designing the Elecraft KH1 hand-held HF transceiver. It was a great talk that gave quite a bit of insight into the design process. Personally, Im not sold on the KH1, but Elecraft cant make them fast enough, so I guess that tells you how valuable my opinion is. The Amazing Thermionic Valve by Greg Latta, AA8V. Greg is a professor emeritus of electrical engineering from Frostburg State University. He delved into some of the theory of how vacuum tubes work and some of the practical applications. Stealth Operation from Hotel Rooms and Other Unlikely QTHs by Ross Ballantyne, VK1UN. Unfortunately, Ross was unable to present, either in person or via Zoom. According to the paper in the proceedings, Ross was part of several peace-keeping missions to remote spots around the world. On these trips, he operated from many hotel rooms and gained quite a bit of experience doing so. For example, he writes that virtually all of his antennas are made from wirewrap wire, which he gets from Ali Express. To couple the wire antenna to the transmitter, he uses a Z-match tuner or a modified Z-match tuner called the FRI match ATU. Its a shame that Ross wasnt able to adress us in person, as he sounds like quite an interesting fellow. A walk with VU2ESE After the talks, I decided to take a walk and stretch my legs. Just as I got to the street, I ran into a friend of mine, Arun, W8ARU, and Ashar, VU2ESE. We decided to walk together, and ended up walking about a mile and a half or so. Arun and Farhan have been friends for many years. In fact, Arun hired Ashar to work for a company that Arun owned when he lived in India. (Arun now lives in Ann Arbor, MI, which is how I got to know him.) Arun once told me the taught Farhan how to solder. I confirmed that story at Hamvention last year when Ashar visited the ARDC booth. In addition to all his development activities, Farhan recently joined the board of directors of Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC), the private foundation that I retired from last May. We had a great chat about the future of ARDC and amateur radio in general, among other topics. It will be interesting to see in which direction the new board members take ARDC. Vendor Night Thursday evening, FDIM holds Vendor Night. Its a great deal for vendors. Theres no charge to participate as a vendor, and its a lot of fun. A couple of years ago when I did Vendor Night, I also shared a booth with the Dayton Makerspace on Friday and Saturday at Hamvention and ended up selling more books in 2 hours at the FDIM Vendor Night than I did in 2 days of Hamvention. This year, I sold about $150 worth of books. What was even better was meeting everyone, including those who have used my books to get licensed or to upgrade. For example, Tom, K4SWL, came over and shared his story with me. He said that hed used my study guide to upgrade to General. That was cool enough, but he then went on to say that one year, his wife said that she would also upgrade as an anniversary present. So, she also used my study guide to get her General. Kudos to QRP ARCI for another successful FDIM. If youd like to get a copy of this years proceedings, you can contact them by emailing toystore@qrparci.org or n8et@woh.rr.com. QRP ARCI also has some other goodies, if youre interested, in their Toy Store.

[Category: Gear/Gadgets, On the Internet, Videos, FDIM, Hamvention, QRP-ARCI]

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[l] at 5/21/24 1:35pm
I really had a blast at this years Dayton Hamvention. My 2024 Hamvention experience included: Parks on the Air (POTA) Four Days in May New product introductions: QMX+, zBITx, Icom X60, Flex 8000 Forums Kids Food Friends, lots of friends Rather than try to write about it all in one big blog post, Im going to split it up into a bunch of smaller posts. Heres the first installment POTA, POTA Im retired now, so I can take as much time as I want for events like Hamvention. That being the case, my first decision was to not only go to Hamvention, but also Four Days in May (FDIM), put on by the QRP Amateur Radio Club International. The biggest part of FDIM is the all-day seminar held the Thursday before Hamvention. The talks begin at 8 am and run until 5 pm. I only live about three and a half hours from Dayton, so in the past, Ive driven down verrrry early Thursday morning, so that I could get there in time. My wife thinks Im getting too old to do that, though, so I drove down on Wednesday. Since the drive is so short, however, I took advantage of the fact that I had a lot of time and activated two parks along the way: Van Buren State Park and Grand Lake St. Marys State Park. Both of these parks are not far from I-75, and I was kind of excited about doing this as it would be my first rove on my own. I left my house at 9:30 am. It was raining as I left, and for most of the way to Van Buren State Park, which is just north of Lima, OH. When I got there, though, the rain had stopped, and I got set up quickly. While eating lunch, I made 18 contacts in a little over an hour. Onward and southward I packed up and headed to Grand Lake St. Marys State Park. On the way, it began raining again, but by the time I reached the state park, it had stopped and the sun was shining. As the name implies, its quite a big lake for a man-made lake. In fact, according to Wikipedia, Grand Lake is the largest inland lake in Ohio, and at one time, was the worlds largest man-made lake. The lake was constructed in the early 19th century as a reservoir for the Miami and Erie Canal, which connected the Ohio River with Lake Erie. The canal system thrived for about thirty years in the mid-to-late 19th century before it was replaced by the railroads. One of the attractions for me is that there is a lighthouse on the lake. That being the case, my first choice for an operating position was at the lighthouse. Unfortunately, the lighthouse is on private land, so I couldnt operate from there. Instead, I chose a spot on the west side of the lake, from which I could see the small lighthouse. It was a very nice spot, and like the first park, I made 18 contacts in a little over an hour. The adventure started after I packed up to go. I had noticed that battery in my phone had started to drain quicker than usual, but I still thought that I had enough battery power to get to Dayton. I started out on the route that Google Maps gave me, but I only got about ten miles, before the phone went completely dead. I plugged it into the cars USB port, but it just didnt want to charge up. I kept driving going first south, then east, then south again, reasoning that Id eventually hit I-75. That strategy worked quite well, and I evenutally ended up in Fort Loramie, OH. I stopped for a bite to eat, hoping that I could charge up my phone there, but the batter was completely dead. It wouldnt take a charge at all. After eating, I headed south on I-75, hoping that once I got to Dayton, I could figure out how to get to the hotel in Fairborn. That was wishful thinking, of course. After getting off the freeway, I asked for direction several times, but even so, I wandered around northeast and nothwest Dayton for at least an hour before I got to where I was going. Fortunately, the hotel was close to several stores that sold Tracfones, which is the cell phone service that I use. I was able to purchase a new Samsung for $50, and after some wrangling with their tech support was able to get my phone number assigned to it. I was back in business. At that point, it was time to hit the sack. Stay tuned for more of my Hamvention 2024 adventure. Tomorrow, I’ll be blogging about the Four Days in May talks and Vendor Night.

[Category: Lighthouses, Parks on the Air, Hamvention]

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[l] at 5/14/24 1:23pm
On Mastodon, ARIP @amateurradioinclusivitypledge@mastodon.hams.social posted: I love that this club has this as the very first thing in their about section. They also do nets via Allstar. I’ve checked in a couple times and they are a delightful bunch, based on those couple interactions! Check them out if you’re in their neck of the woods, or if you have a hotspot etc, and can check in with them via Allstar. lakewashingtonhamclub.org/about/ The passage being referred to is: In amateur radio, all frequencies are shared and are available for the benefit of everyone regardless of race, religion, gender, gender expression, age, disability, or sexual orientation. Lake Washington Ham Clubs mission is to create a positive and welcoming environment for all amateur radio operators and enthusiasts where everyone can learn, enjoy the hobby, explore new challenges, and build life-long friendships. As such, we show respect to one another as peers and conduct ourselves to earn that respect at all times. Is this what your club is about, too?

[Category: Clubs, Lake Washington Ham Club, WA]

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[l] at 5/13/24 1:11pm
Last Wednesday, Scott Yonally, N8SY, the Great Lakes Division director, addressed our club, ARROW, via Zoom. Scott pretty much stuck to the facts and managed to avoid any controversial issues. There was one statistic that really jumped out at me though. One of Scott’s slides pointed out that there are 751,233 licensed radio amateurs in the FCC database and only 145,133 ARRL members. My calculator says that means that only 19.3% of licensed radio amateurs are also ARRL members. As you know, if you’ve read my blog over the years, I keep track of this number, and this is the first time that the number has fallen below 20%! We all know that the ARRL is having membership problems, but I didn’t realize that it was this bad. According to the 2022 annual report—the 2023 annual report has yet to be released—ARRL membership was close to 152,000. That’s a drop of nearly 5% in less than two years! Even if you allow for 50% of those in the FCC database being either inactive or SK, that’s still not even close to 50% of active, licensed amateurs being ARRL members. As a point of comparison, Fabian Kurz, DJ5CW, recently posted on Mastodon membership figures for DARC, the German equivalent of the ARRL. He noted that there were approximately 31,000 DARC members at the end of last year. I asked if he knew how many licensees there were in Germany, and he replied that there were 60,736 individual licenses on Dec 31, 2023. You do the math. More than 50% of licensees in Germany are also DARC members! What’s the ARRL doing about membership? After gathering this data, I asked Yonally in an email, what the ARRL was doing to increase membership? In his talk, he pointed to the new, free student membership, and the increased club commissions. These are good programs, but overall, I don’t think that they’re going to increase ARRL membership much, if at all. I told Yonally that from my point of view, membership should be the staff’s first priority. If ARRL membership continues to decline, we might as well just close up shop right now. I keep my ear pretty much close to the ground when it comes to social media, and the ARRL isn’t getting a lot of positives strokes. One of the most common things I hear is, “I’m not planning to renew.” It makes me wonder if the ARRL has just given up on increasing membership. In 2008, the ARRL made a big deal out of hiring a membership manager. And, as recently as 2019, the 2018 annual report noted that membership dropped less than forecast. The report said, ARRL Membership Manager Diane Petrilli, KB1RNF, and a small group of ARRL staffers are working with marketing agency Mintz + Hoke to help formulate future strategy for increasing and maintaining membership.” Fast forward to 2023, and the only mention of membership in the 2022 annual report is the chart shown below. There was no explanation at all. I’d like to know what happened to the 2018/2019 strategy. Ms. Petrilli left the ARRL in 2021, and is now working for the Gerontological Society of America. I searched the ARRL website and cannot find anyone with the title of Membership Manager, so I’m wondering who at HQ is now responsible for increasing membership? I also wonder what the 2023 annual report will have to say about membership. What role do clubs play? When I pressed Yonally on this lack of membership strategy, what I got back was kind of confusing. He sent me a bunch of replies to a poll he conducted as to why hams don’t belong to local clubs. The laundry list of complaints was nothing new—we all know that there are many clubs that aren’t run very well—but I couldn’t figure out how that related to ARRL membership. Further down was his answer to my question about what the ARRL is doing to increase membership: My answer is simple…  YOU are the ARRL. ARRL is a member-based organization. We are ALL responsible for increasing the numbers. In other words, the ARRL has no membership strategy, or at least none that Yonally is aware of. If the ARRL is relying on clubs and individual members to boost membership, then we are truly screwed. It’s a lot of work just keeping a local club going and most of them aren’t going to have the bandwidth or motivation to also recruit ARRL members. Aside from a few bucks that they might get from the commission program, clubs have no incentive for recruiting ARRL members. It’s the ARRL’s responsibility to recruit ARRL members, not the local clubs. Only the ARRL can figure out what benefits it can offer radio amateurs to recruit and retain them as members. I advised Yonally not to waste his time trying to get clubs to do something that they are ill-equipped and not really motivated to do. Set a target As I said earlier, I really think that increasing membership should be the ARRL’s top priority. Just think of all the cool things they could do if 50% of the licensed amateurs in the U.S. were ARRL members. If DARC can hit 50%, I think that the ARRL can get to 25%. This is a membership target that I’ve been suggesting for many years. Let’s get started on this today.

[Category: ARRL, membership]

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[l] at 5/10/24 8:13pm
The Amateur Radio Software Award (ARSA) committee is pleased to announce that they have selected OpenWebRX, a project led by Jakob Ketterl DD5JFK, and OpenWebRX+, a project led by Marat Fayzullin KC1TXE, as the winners of the 5th annual Amateur Radio Software Award. The award recognizes software projects that enhance amateur radio and promote innovation, freedom, and openness in amateur radio software development. These projects allow access to radio reception from around the world, whether they are ham operators, shortwave listeners or somebody curious about radio waves. The committee is impressed with the ease of installation, simplicity of use, and overall features that are provided. The history of these projects showcase the benefit of open source software. OpenWebRX was originally created by András Retzler but due to the demands of his career he decided to discontinue its development. Jakob Ketterl took over the OpenWebRX project and continues to maintain and improve OpenWebRX. Marat Fayzullin’s OpenWebRX+ builds on top of Jakob Ketterl’s OpenWebRX adding support for additional communication modes and advanced features. Both projects are currently separate, allowing implementers of hosting sites to choose between the simple core version or the enhanced version, while allowing the developers to focus on their projects goals. Jakob Ketterl plans to use the award money to purchase new hardware for the build system of the OpenWebRX project. Recently he added a number of avionics related modes (ADS-B, VDL2, HFDL), a new decoder for DAB (European digital broadcast standard), the ability to decode RDS / RBDS, and a new experimental data interface in the form of MQTT that is intended to allow third-party processing of the information that is received via OpenWebRX. Marat Fayzullins goal for OpenWebRX+ is to support as many communication modes as possible without the need of tweaking multiple pieces of software. In his own words: “In a way, I view OpenWebRX+ as a real-life ‘tricorder’ for the radio spectrum.” The ARSA committee is already looking forward to next years award and welcomes input and nominations for future awards.

[Category: Software, open source, OpenWebRX, SDR]

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[l] at 5/7/24 10:02am
A Stroudsburg teens’ passion for radio [Stroudsburg, Monroe County, PA (WBRE/WYOU)] In this week’s Here’s to You Kid segment, 28/22 News met a young ham radio operator. It’s not only his hobby, what he does also involves helping save lives. Samuel Thrall, W3GZ, has a passion for radio. 14-year-old Samuel Thrall, W3GZ,  is a member of the Eastern Pennsylvania Amateur Radio Association (EPARA.) He passed three levels of the FCC Amateur Radio Licensing exam and now helps at the Monroe County Public Safety Center. What interested him in ham radio in the first place is simple. “The scientific aspect of it is very interesting because it’s a technology we use on a daily basis. Our phones are all powered by radio just with computers built into them,” Samuel explained. …read more and watch the video As a ham radio operator, Lacy, of Middleburgh, had interesting perspective on Boston Marathon [Middleburgh, MA] There are an estimated half a million spectators along the Boston Marathon course in any given year. If you’ve run the race, you know what a half-million voices stretched over 26.2 miles of Massachusetts roads sound like. Of the over 9,000 volunteers that work Boston, over 300 serve as the voice of the marathon in their own way, but also serve as the eyes and ears. For the last two years, Matt Lacy of Middleburgh has been one of them. On Monday, he took up his assigned station at Mile 11 as one of the amateur (ham) radio operators who play an important role from start to finish by providing a communication network that supplements the other public safety personnel and resources vital to this massive enterprise. “For the ham radio folks, it’s the premiere public service event, the chance for us to get the experience doing one of these events, having to report to whatever levels we need to, working within the confines of whatever section of the course we’re on,” Lacy said on Wednesday. …read more TAG students launch solar-powered balloon [Iowa Falls, IA] Riverbend Middle School TAG (Talented and Gifted) students launched a solar-powered balloon on April 5 from the school, after a presentation and help from amateur ham radio operator Jim Emmert of Pella. The balloon named PENS-p22 traveled across Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina, the Atlantic Ocean, Morocco, Algeria the Mediterranean Sea, Italy, and the Adriatic Sea. The “pico balloon launched by the students made it all the way to Italy. “I am constantly on the lookout for guest speakers, fascinating projects or unique things that we could learn about,” TAG teacher Amanda Fjeld said. “I value exposing students to new topics and projects of any kind. I am constantly brainstorming ideas and often ask others for engaging project ideas. My friend Jen, who is from Pella, told me about Jims Solar Balloon program, so I reached out to him. I was especially excited because I lack knowledge in the world of solar technology and weather patterns but want to expose students to more science-related opportunities.” Emmert is a retired teacher who lives in Pella and travels to different schools teaching students about amateur radio, earth science, balloons, and GPS technology. He also launches Pico balloons and gives predictions and tracking to the students. “Our students spent about three hours on the morning of April 5 learning and launching the balloon,” Fjeld said. “It was one of the few times I have had all of the students in TAG in 6th, 7th and 8th grade come together on one project, so it was encouraging to see them interact and work together.” …read more

[Category: Amateur Radio in the News, Emergency Communications / Public Service, Kids, balloon, Boston Marathon, IA, MA, PA]

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[l] at 5/6/24 7:28am
The good news about this point in the sunspot cycle is that the sun is more active, meaning that in general, band conditions are pretty good. Except when they’re not. According to the NOAA: There are several types of space weather that can impact HF radio communication. In a typical sequence of space weather storms, the first impacts are felt during the solar flare itself. The solar x-rays from the sun penetrate to the bottom of the ionosphere (to around 80 km). There the x-ray photons ionize the atmosphere and create an enhancement of the D layer of the ionosphere. This enhanced D-layer acts both as a reflector of radio waves at some frequencies and an absorber of waves at other frequencies. The Radio Blackout associated with solar flares occurs on the dayside region of Earth and is most intense when the sun is directly overhead. This seems to be happening frequently in the last week or so. You can go to the NOAA site or SolarHam to learn more than you probably want to know about this. Radio blackouts are no fun, but they’re especially disappointing if you’ve hauled your gear out for a POTA activation. I went up to the Island Lake Recreation Area (US-3315) on Saturday afternoon and fought the conditions for a while. I was also competing for calls from the Indiana, New England, and 7th Call Area QSO parties. I started out on 20 meters, but after making only five contacts, I decided to try 17 meters, where I was able to scratch out a couple more.  I then tried 15 meters, but had absolutely non success there, so I went back to 20 meters. By hunting around for some park-to-park contacts, I was able to make 20 contacts overall, but it took me two and a half hours to do it. I’m not sure if the conditions or the contest competition was the main culprit, but activating on a big contest weekend was probably not the smartest thing to do. Activating the AACME Conditions weren’t all that much better Sunday morning, when three of us—Joe AC8ES, James AE8JF, and yours truly—set up to demo amateur radio at the Ann Arbor Creativity and Making Expo (AACME).  Joe had brought his Xiegu G90 and Alex Loop, but we were barely able to hear anything. Joe, AC8ES, and Dan, KB6NU, at the 2024 Ann Arbor Creativity and Making Expo. Photo: James, AE8JF. We attributed this to two factors. First, we were trying to operate the loop inside the building. Second, there had been reports of solar flares that morning that were adversely affecting HF propagation. Despite that, we had a great time. Joe had brought his latest project—a QRP dummy load/wattmeter—that’s going to be our club’s next build project. And, I brought various keys and code oscillators to demonstrate Morse Code and get kids (and adults) to send their names in Morse Code. A little after 1 pm, I decided to set up my KX-3 and see what I could do with it. Before the event started, I had set up my 66-ft. doublet in the courtyard just outside where our table was located. Over the next hour and a half, I managed to scratch out eight contacts, all on 20 meters, and all with participants in the New England QSO Party. Overall, I think our participation in the AACME was a success. We were able to spread the word about amateur radio and our club. I passed out some flyers for my June 1 Tech class, and met some other interesting people.

[Category: Promotion & PR, Propagation, G90, solar flare]

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[l] at 5/1/24 5:51pm
Yesterday, on Mastodon, a fellow posted this: W1M / AE0SB (Its May Day!)@AE0SB From Now until May 5, I have the special event call sign W1M in celebration of International Workers Day, the original Labor Day. For more information, you can go to https://w1mayday.wordpress.com W1M Amateur Radio Special Event Celebrating International Workers Day #MayDay#MayFirst#HamRadio That got me thinking that there must be something that we all would like to celebrate, so why not request a special event call sign and operate as a special event station? For example, today’s the date that the Empire State Building opened in 1931. What if some hams requested the call sign W2E and then took some HTs up to the top of the Empire State Building and operated from there? (Having said that, I’m not sure that would be allowed, but if it was, that would be kind of fun to do, don’t you think?) Or maybe it’s celebrating the occurrence of a significant date in the life of thousands of people…..like your college team winning the national championship. (Can you tell I live in Ann Arbor, MI?) Another possibility might be celebrating a special anniversary of a club that you belong to. So, for example, if you’re a member of a Rotary Club or Lion’s Club that’s celebrating their 25th, 50th, or even 100th anniversary, you could request a special event call sign and operate for a week using that call sign. Obtaining a special event call sign Any licensed amateur radio operator in the U.S. can request the use of a special event call sign. To reserve a call sign, you simply contact any authorized Special Event Call Sign Coordinator. This may be done by regular mail, telephone, FAX, e-mail or through their Internet web page. An easy way to do this is via the 11 special event call sign website. First, search their database to make sure that the call sign that you want is available for the dates that you want to operate. Once you’re sure that the call sign is available, you can request it using the request page. Within a day or two, you’ll be notified that it’s been assigned to you. There is one caveat. You can’t request a special event call sign for more than two weeks. I wanted to request the special event call sign W8A for the entire summer a, Ann Arbor is celebrating its 200th anniversary this year. When I asked the ARRL VEC about this, they were hesitant to assign me the call sign for so long. They said that the longest that they would be comfortable with was two weeks. Listing on QRZ.Com To really make a splash with your special event call sign, you should edit the QRZ.Com listing for that call sign. To do that, you first submit a support request. They will then send you an email describing how to edit the listing for the call sign. In the listing, be sure to describe what youre celebrating. If its historical, include as much of the history as you can. If it has some particular meaning to you personally, you can include that as well. As far as QSLs go, you might want to design something that you can send electronically. And, if someone wants a printed card, you could take that design to a Staples and have a few printed for you. Ive always enjoyed working special event stations, and I think that coming up with your own personal special event would be even more fun. So, whats your special event?

[Category: Special Events]

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[l] at 4/29/24 8:46am
I’ve been falling a bit behind in my “amateur radio in the news” posts. These are from the beginning of April, but still worth blogging about, I think……Dan STEM Club Members Earn HAM Radio Licenses [GREENVILLE, IL] Members of the Greenville Junior High School STEM Club have obtained their Amateur HAM Radio licenses, after attending sessions led by the Okaw Valley Amateur Radio Club. The students immersed themselves in learning radio communications principles, regulations, and practical skills. Okaw Valley members believe the partnership by the two groups showcases the importance of community collaboration in enriching educational experiences. Attainment of the licenses not only equips students with valuable skills, but also opens doors to opportunities in emergency communication and public service. Earning their licenses were Milan Hustedde, Jay Neer,  Ryder Johnson, Nolan Prater, Lukas Simmonds,  Ezra Van Middendorp,  Jackson Wood. …read more Tooele students have out-of-this-world conversation with astronaut TOOELE, Utah — Excitement filled the air as students from the Tooele County School District had the extraordinary opportunity to connect directly with astronauts aboard the International Space Station. Thanks to the amateur radio on the stations, students from the district gathered at Blue Peak High School and posed questions Monday to astronaut Mike Barratt in live ham radio contact. …read more and watch video see also Utah students use ham radio to connect with astronaut during eclipse BBC Total solar eclipse: The 4-minute window into the Suns secrets About halfway down is this section: Radio listening party The Suns activity can disrupt almost all our communications, including the humble long-wave radio. Energy from the Sun charges a region in the upper atmosphere called the ionosphere, which helps radio transmissions whizz around the planet. But when the Moon blocks the Sun, the ionosphere is affected. To test what that does to radio, hundreds of amateur radio operators will join a listening party and send signals to each other across the world, competing for the most connections. They might communicate in Morse code or even speak. The results could help scientists better understand radio communications used by emergency workers, airplanes, and ships, as well as GPS, according to Nathaniel Frissell at University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, who is running the party. …read more

[Category: Kids, Makers/Making, Satellites, IL, ISS, solar eclipse 2024, UT]

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[l] at 4/26/24 11:10am
Over on Mastodon a couple of days ago, a fellow posted a link to the ARRL CEO’s editorial in the May 2024 QST with this comment, Seems like drama aimed at…everyone?” In the editorial, NA2AA, rails against the “persistent  bashing” of the ARRL. He writes, “Recreational attacks on social media and other public forums, where participants ‘eat their own’ and only serve to drive of good people within amateur radio, are counterproductive and reckless. I actually agree with him on this, but I also think that this editorial comes off as kind of petulant. Like he’s not getting the kudos that he thinks he deserves. This may be true, but I’m not sure an editorial like this is the way to get people to stop. If anything, it gives bad actors another target to shoot at. Warm fuzzies Coincidentally, there was a post on /r/amateurradio titled “Leaving ARRL.” The post itself was kind of nonsensical, but I found one of the comments to be spot on. The commenter writes, I was an ARRL member for a couple years after I got licensed back in 2018. I would rather spend my money by directly investing in local clubs. I dont outright hate everything about them, but I sure dont get warm fuzzies either. I think that this may be one of the most cogent observations yet. It’s not that the ARRL isn’t doing good things for amateur radio, but that they’re not providing that warm, fuzzy feeling that members are looking for. In Rotary clubs, fellowship and camaraderie are stressed, and Rotary leaders recognize that the camaraderie—i.e. “warm fuzzies—provided by Rotary clubs is the biggest reason that members continue to be members. I think that this is what’s missing from the ARRL. If the ARRL was a more collegial organization, then perhaps there would be less contentiousness. Social media is with us to stay. Asking people to stop posting bad things about you isn’t the way to get them to stop. Dealing with misinformation While writing this post, I did an internet search for how nonprofits deal with misinformation” that yielded hundreds of references. One of them listed five tips to combat misinformation and disinformation, including: Use trusted messengers.  Look for leaders of groups and sub-groups to connect with the broader community. Fill information gaps quickly with accurate information; explain what you are doing; and find the facts when all are not yet known. Be transparent about how decisions are made. Repeat actionable information. Build trust in “blue sky times” when there is no crisis. Perhaps this is a start?

[Category: ARRL]

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