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[l] at 12/6/23 12:40pm
Its nice that amateur radio is getting some air time, but unfortunately, these two reports may not be the most flattering..Dan Learning about the art of ham radio operation The Gaston County (AL) Amateur Radio Society convinced a local TV station to come out and watch them do a POTA activation. Local group helps community rediscover ham radio

[Category: Amateur Radio in the News, Alabama, California]

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[l] at 12/2/23 9:27am
Bill Crane, W9ZN, passed on October 26, 2023 . He was 84. You could often hear his booming signal on the CW bands, and I was fortunate to work him many times. He was a great operator and had a very distinctive way of calling CQ call. His call often included his attention-getting BENS BEST BENT WIRE routine (see YouTube video below). He was an audio engineer at WGN in Chicago for many years and worked right up until his death. See the video above. He was also a DJ in the 1960s and 1970s. His nickname was Butterball, leading me to think that he was a big guy, but as you can see from the video, he was a compact, wiry fellow. There are two remembrances on amateur radio websites that I could find: Amateur Radio Newsline. The segment about W9ZN starts at around 3:40. QRZ.Com BENS BEST BENT WIRE 73, BillThe post W9ZN SK first appeared on KB6NU's Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: People, W9ZN]

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[l] at 11/30/23 8:10pm
This appeared in todays issue of the ARRL Letter..Dan ARRL RF Safety Committee Develops New Guidelines to Communicate RF Safety Radio amateurs now have a new tool from ARRL to help answer questions about their stations. Neighbors of amateur radio operators are sometimes concerned about transmissions and radio frequency exposure from amateur stations. The ARRL RF Safety Committee, with their international counterparts at the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB), the Irish Radio Transmitters Society (IRTS), and the Swedish Society of Radio Amateurs (SSA), has developed a new set of guidelines to help amateurs interact with and talk to their neighbors about RF exposure. Chairman of the ARRL RF Safety Committee Greg Lapin, N9GL, said the new informational PDF, Helping Amateurs Interact with Neighbors Asking About Radio Transmissions, was developed after a year of discussions about RF safety. Neighbors may be alarmed by some of the misinformation about RF safety that is available from a variety of sources. By following the exposure regulations from the Federal Communications Commission, we can be confident that our families and neighbors are safe, Lapin said. Lapin added that RF exposure regulations are based on decades of trustworthy research. He also encouraged all amateur radio operators to perform exposure assessments for their stations to make sure they meet those regulations. Its a rather long document, but here are some key points: Be sure that the amateur radio station about which the neighbor has questions has been evaluated for EMF exposure compliance. Be prepared to offer the results of the evaluation to the neighbor. If the station has not been evaluated for compliance, be prepared to indicate that the licensee will evaluate it soon and will provide the results to the neighbor. Be able to contrast the relevant exposure limit to the maximum strengths of the amateur radio station. Be fluent with terminology for specifying units of RF exposure such as electric and magnetic field strengths and power density and averaging time. Be prepared to comment on the margin of safety inherent to the RF exposure limits. Have a point of contact with the local jurisdiction regulatory authority to provide to the neighbor if they have additional questions about exposure. The post ARRL RF Safety Committee Develops New Guidelines to Communicate RF Safety first appeared on KB6NU's Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: Everything Else, RF safety]

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[l] at 11/29/23 3:22pm
While plowing through a stack of old QSTs the other day, I ran across the article, A Simple Morse Memory Keyer, by Dave Benson, K1SWL. K1SWLs design uses a Raspberry Pi Pico, which is a small, inexpensive, yet quite powerful, microcontroller board. Since I had one that I purchased to play around with a while ago, I thought Id give this project a go. The software was devloped in BASIC, using the MMBASIC interpreter, but I thought Id use this project to learn more about Python. You can program the Pico with MicroPython, if you have the right tools. One of those tools is Thonny, an integrated development environment (IDE). There are versions that run on Windows, Macs, and Linux boxes. I have an old laptop that I installed Lubuntu on a while back, so I thought Id use that for programming. Unfortunately, I couldnt seem to install the latest version of Thonny on it. Im not sure exactly why, but I thought that perhaps something was weird with my Lubuntu installation. So, I decided to install another ham radio distro. The first one I tried was Andys Ham Radio Linux, created by Andy, KB1OIQ. It had gotten a nice write-up on Hack-a-Day, and it looked like just what I needed. Unfortunately, I never got it to install properly. The first couple of attempts were my fault. My first mistake, I think, was trying to use the Lubuntu Startup Disk Creator. I probably should have gone with one of the tools that KB1OIQ recommends, or the program that I eventually used—Balena Etcher. Plus, I really disliked the Lubuntu default wallpaper! My next mistake was not reading the Getting Started document. In that document, KB1OIQ details the steps to follow to successfully install his distro. I just plugged the USB stick into the laptop and winged it. Using this approach, I ended up making several mistakes. Dragon OS Even following the instructions, though, I was never able to install the software correctly. After four attempts, I just gave up and went to Plan B: Dragon OS. Dragon OS is based on Lubuntu (ironically) and includes a bunch of SDR software.  You can see the complete list on the DragonOS Sourceforge page. It  supports a wide range of inexpensive SDR hardware, including RTL-SDR, HackRF One, LimeSDR, BladeRF, and many others. Installing this distro was a breeze. I downloaded the .iso file, burned the installation disk with Balena Etcher, plugged it in, and it installed the very first time. Thonny wasnt part of the distro, but I opened a terminal window, typed in pip install thonny, and in a couple of minutes, I had the latest and great version of the IDE. It took me two days, but I can finally start working on the keyer software now. So, now, I have some questions for you: Are you using Linux in your ham station? If so, what distribution? What do you like or dislike about it? What are some fun Linux software packages, other than Thonny, that I can play with? The post Recent adventures with Linux first appeared on KB6NU's Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: Computers, Software, Dragon OS, Linux, Raspberry Pi Pico]

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[l] at 11/22/23 7:02pm
Unable to hold its traditional, in-person Digital Communications Conference (DCC) this year, Tucson Amateur Packet Radio (TAPR) will hold a one day online Mini-DCC on December 9 followed by the annual TAPR membership meeting. So mark your calendars for Saturday, December 9, from 1700 to 2230 UTC (1200 to 1730 EST, 0900 to 1430 PST). Login details for the meeting will be available on the TAPR website prior to December 9. Planned presentations include: *    TAPR SDR Development Progress and Challenges by David Larsen, KV0S *    Developments in ka9q-radio by Phil Karn, KA9Q *    An Open Source Wideband HF Receiver Design by David Witten, KD0EAG *    An Inexpensive GPSDO for HF Receivers by John Ackermann, N8UR *    Current Open Source Digital Voice Techniques by Walter Holmes, K5WH *    A Low Cost FreeDV-based ESP32 Radio Interface by Mooneer Salem, K6AQ *   ESP32 APRS and LoRA Hardware by Jason Rausch, K4APR The annual TAPR membership meeting will occur following the presentations. The post TAPR to hold mini Digtal Communications Conference on Saturday, December 9 first appeared on KB6NU's Ham Radio Blog.The post TAPR to hold mini Digtal Communications Conference on Saturday, December 9 appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: Digital Communications, DCC]

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[l] at 11/21/23 9:05am
This looks like a fun thing that you might want to do with your club.Dan Is ham radio still a thing? [SUSSEX COUNTY, DELAWARE] Amateur radio, aka ham radio, has been around for more than 100 years. While it started as a way regular citizens could experiment with Morse Code communication, it soon became wireless voice communication. With modern technologies like cellphones and the internet, it would seem there is no need for radio communication. But, ask any one of the almost 2,000 Federal Communications Commission-licensed ham radio operators in Delaware, and they will tell you its more than a hobby. For many, it is a part of everyday life. October was especially busy for local ham radio operators. A group of hams from the Nanticoke Amateur Radio Club set up their equipment Oct. 7 at Redden State Forest just south of Georgetown. The purpose of the event was to give the operators experience in setting up an operational field station completely off the grid. They spent several hours in Parks on the Air conversations with other hams, many of whom were located in a variety of parks and public lands around the globe. read more More club funDan Ham radio group installs new equipment at Silver Star summit [KELOWNA, BRITISH COLUMBIA] Radio repeater equipment was recently replaced at the summit of Silver Star mountain by local ham radio operators. As far as we know, no pigs were harmed in the adventure. Ham radio is not for people who love pork — its a well known term for amateur radio operators such as the Vernon North Okanagan Radio Amateur Club. On Oct. 21 and 22, the group replaced equipment and operated a demonstration and educational radio station as part of the international scouting movement’s Jamboree on the Air, and participated in Parks on the Air and Summits on the Air radio sport activations. Photo: NORAC. read more National Weather Service SKYWARN volunteers spot storms in Knox County. Want to join? [KNOXVILLE, TN] Between 1870 and Aug. 7 of this year, there have been 338 tornadoes observed across the 40 counties monitored by the National Weather Service office in Morristown. Fifty-five of those tornadoes touched down on a single day: April 27, 2011. During severe events like that violent spring tornado outbreak, the Morristown office relies on its powerful radar to warn the public. But its other greatest tool for keeping the public safe is a bevy of amateur radio operators called SKYWARN, the National Weather Services eyes on the ground. Our greatest technology that we use here is our radar, and I would say the SKYWARN spotter network is a pretty close second, said Anthony Cavallucci, a warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service. I think a lot of people just automatically assume we know whats happening on the ground, and we really dont until somebody reports it. Those reports are really quite helpful. read moreThe post Amateur radio in the news: Club POTA activation; POTA, SOTA and JOTA; Skywarn in Knox County, TN first appeared on KB6NU's Ham Radio Blog.The post Amateur radio in the news: Club POTA activation; POTA, SOTA and JOTA; Skywarn in Knox County, TN appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: Emergency Communications / Public Service, Parks on the Air, British Columbia, Delaware, SkyWarn, Tennessee]

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[l] at 11/19/23 8:17am
HAL, lets work 20-meter FT8 this afternoon. In this mornings email was a message from Inc. magazine with links to some articles in the magazine. At the top of the list was, 4 Unimaginable Ways A.I. Will Change Your Life Within the Next 5 Years, According to Bill Gates. Gates says that in the next five years, you will have your own artificial intelligence assistant, or agent, that will be a frequent voice in your ear and will help you with everything from deciding where to go on vacation to managing your friendships and more. Lets think for a minute about Gates 4 Ways and how they might help us enjoy amateur radio more. 1. You wont bother with software or operating systems anymore. How cool would this be. You could simply tell your AI amateur radio assistant, Lets operate 20-meter FT8 this afternoon, and the agent would set up the radio and begin looking for contacts. If the band wasnt open, it would come back and tell you, Im sorry, Dave, but propagation on 20 meters is terrible this afternoon. May I suggest 30 meters instead? 2. Your agent will be a frequent voice in your ear. Gates believes that most of us will wear at least one earbud most of the time so that our agents can talk to us whenever they need to. So, for example, it might be monitoring the activity on 6 meters and notify you when the band is open. Or, you might want it to notify you when a particular contest or operating event is coming up so that you dont miss it. Dave, it might say, remember that the 2-meter club net is at 8 pm tonight. 3. Your agent will get involved in your personal relationships. We often dont think of amateur radio as having a personal aspect, but it really does. For example, dont we enjoy talking to some people more than others? Your personal agent could monitor your clubs 2-meter repeater or 40-meter CW and notify you when your friends are on the air. Gates also notes that you could have your AI assistant talk to your friends assistants and set up lunch for you. Well, you could also use that capability to set up an on-air sked. 4. It might even help you solve personal problems. The article notes, One of the most intriguing predictions Gates made is that your agent could also become your therapist While many hams probably do need therapy, Im not so sure how applicable this will be to amateur radio. What I could see happening is using an AI assistant to help you choose your next rig or maybe help you troubleshoot a problem. Here are some scenarios: You ask your AI assistant what rig you should buy next. Since it already knows what bands you like to operate—and the state of your finances—it can analyze all the options and find a radio that meets your operating needs and fits into your budget. You might describe your backyard and the bands that you want to operate, and your AI Assistant could come back with antenna suggestions. You ask your AI assistant about a problem that youre having with your rig. It comes back with, Dave, if you would just RTFM, you will find the answer on page 67 of the operating manual. Or, after scanning the appropriate online forums, it would tell you, Dave, several other owners seem to be having a similar problem. Heres what theyve done. All of this sounds kind of fun to me, but I can understand some of you having reservations. What do you think? Can you think of other ways an AI assistant would make amateur radio more fun for you?The post Will AI help us have more fun with amateur radio? first appeared on KB6NU's Ham Radio Blog.The post Will AI help us have more fun with amateur radio? appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: The Future of Amateur Radio, The Service]

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[l] at 11/15/23 7:49am
Podcast peeks behind the scenes at DLARC Radio Survivor is a podcast that covers anything related to radio, including amateur radio. In this episode, they interview Kay, K6KJN, curator of the Digital Library of Amateur Radio and Communications (DLARC). SatDump Gains Notable Updates I found this on Amateur Radio Daily: SatDump, a popular piece of software used to decode imagery from weather satellites such as NOAA-18 and others, has gained significant updates to the way it processes and projects received images on maps. Imagery projections are much more accurate as a result of recent code refactors. A detailed deep-dive into the changes have been published. SatDump is available for all major platforms. This looks like a pretty cool program. Ive added this to my list of projects to get up and running one of these days. Speed key test I forget on which mailing list or forum this came up, but the talk rolled around to the poor fists of some operators who use bugs and cootie keys. Someone mentioned that Navy radio operators had to pass a speed key test before they were allowed to use a bug on the air, and when they passed the test, they were given a certificate, like the one at right. Then, someone, with tongue firmly in cheek, suggested that hams should have to pass a similar test. I realize that the logistics of developing and administering a speed key test for radio amateurs—not to mention enforcing it fairly—would make it an impossibility. Even so, I would encourage straight key users and cootie key users to test their fists. You can use either fldigi or a a program called Precision FistCheck to do this. Improving ones sending not only makes it easier for the other operator to work you, but should also help you make more contacts.The post Random thoughts: DLARC on Radio Survivor podcast, open-source software packaging, speed key test first appeared on KB6NU's Ham Radio Blog.The post Random thoughts: DLARC on Radio Survivor podcast, open-source software packaging, speed key test appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: CW, On the Internet, Software-Defined Radio (SDR), bug, DLARC, SatDump, speed key]

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[l] at 11/13/23 8:20pm
This email from the FCC showed up in my email this afternoon. Let the innovation begin! For Immediate Release FCC ADOPTS RULES TO MODERNIZE AMATEUR RADIO SERVICE AND FOSTER INNOVATION WASHINGTON, November 13, 2023—The Federal Communications Commission today adopted new rules to incentivize innovation and experimentation in the amateur radio bands by removing outdated restrictions and providing licensees with the flexibility to use modern digital emissions. The Report and Order adopted today eliminates the baud rate limitation—the rate at which the carrier waveform amplitude, frequency, and/or phase is varied to transmit information—in certain amateur radio bands.  Instead, the Commission establishes a 2.8 kHz bandwidth limitation in the applicable amateur radio bands.  The changes will enable the amateur radio community to operate more efficiently, including in support of emergency situations when appropriate, and foster experimentation, which is a core principle of the amateur radio service. The FCC also adopted a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking which proposes and seeks comment on the removal of the baud rate – sometimes called the symbol rate—limitation in the VHF and UHF bands and in the 2200 meter and 630 meter bands, which the Commission allocated for amateur radio use after it released the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in 2016.  It also seeks comment on the appropriate bandwidth limitation for the 2200 meter band, the 630 meter band, and the VHF/UHF bands.The post Let the innovation begin! FCC eliminates baud rate limitation first appeared on KB6NU's Ham Radio Blog.The post Let the innovation begin! FCC eliminates baud rate limitation appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: Digital Modes, Rules, Regulations, Enforcement]

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[l] at 11/12/23 8:37pm
$70,000 Upgrade Coming To Skywarn Ham Systems In The Ozarks Almost $70,000 are on the way to expand and upgrade the Southwest Missouri Regional Skywarn Ham Radio Repeater System. The 49-repeater group, which includes KRMS Radio and TV, serves as a system which provides ground-level eye-witness updates to the National Weather Service in Springfield stretching from Lake of the Ozarks to Branson and from Lebanon to Joplin. Funding from the Amateur Radio Digital Communications will pass through the Southern Missouri Emergency Communications Fund to provide for the upgrades. The project is expected to take about 10 months to complete. read more Is ham radio still a thing? [DELAWARE] Ham radio, also known as amateur radio, has been around for more than 100 years. While it started as a way regular citizens could experiment with Morse code communication, it soon became wireless voice communication. With modern technologies such as cell phones and the internet, it would seem there is no need for radio communication. But ask any one of the almost 2,000 FCC-licensed ham radio operators in Delaware, and they will say it’s more than a thing. For many, it is a part of every day. The month of October has been especially busy for ham radio. On Saturday, Oct. 7, a group of “hams” from the Nanticoke Amateur Radio Club set up their equipment at Redden State Forest just south of Georgetown. The purpose of the event was to give the operators experience in setting up an operational field station completely off the grid. They then spent several hours in “Parks On The Air” (POTA) conversation with other hams, many of whom were located in a variety of parks and public lands around the globe. The parks communication has become very popular, organizers said, and many operators can be found in a park using either Morse code or voice mode to make as many contacts as they can around the world read more Ham Radios Crowdsourced Ionospheric Science During Eclipse On 14 October, millions of people in North, Central, and South America peered through safety glasses and other viewing aids at the partially obscured Sun. Simultaneously, thousands of folks experienced the annular solar eclipse in a different way: through transmissions sent and received over amateur radios. Before, during, and after the eclipse, ham radio operators pinged signals off the ionosphere and connected to people hundreds or thousands of kilometers away. The experiment, part of the Ham Radio Science Citizen Investigation (HamSCI), is gathering hundreds of thousands of those contacts to investigate how the ionosphere responds to the temporary loss of sunlight during an eclipse. “This is our way of remote sensing the ionosphere,” said Nathaniel Frissell (call sign W2NAF), a space physicist and electrical engineer at the University of Scranton (W3USR) in Pennsylvania and the lead HamSCI organizer. “People have been doing this for about 100 years, and it’s gamified,” he said. “We used this idea to create a ham radio contest that would actually be a scientific experiment.” read moreThe post Amateur radio in the news: Repeater upgrades, POTA in DE, HamSCI first appeared on KB6NU's Ham Radio Blog.The post Amateur radio in the news: Repeater upgrades, POTA in DE, HamSCI appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: Amateur Radio in the News, ARDC, Parks on the Air, VHF/FM/Repeaters, Delaware, HamSci, Missouri]

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[l] at 11/8/23 2:31pm
If Id only kept my butt in the chair a little longer I might have come in first in the QRP category for the 2023 Michigan QSO Party. I only operated for 7-1/2 hours, not all 12 hours. Embedded Python programming resources Python programming is popular for AI, web, and amateur radio applications, and it can also be used for embedded applications. Heres a list of articles from electronic design on programming in Python: The Best Python Compilers and Interpreters for Developers Oct. 24, 2023 The Python programming language and its applications can be supercharged by these leading compilers and interpreters. What’s the Difference Between Python and MicroPython? April 17, 2023 The differences between the Python and MicroPython programming languages are minute, but they make a powerful difference. How to Program Hardware with MicroPython: A Beginner’s Guide June 4, 2020 C isn’t the only programming language for microcontrollers. This article covers the compatible hardware and workflow steps when programming with a different option—MicroPython An Introduction to MicroPython and Microcontrollers May 14, 2020 Microcontrollers don’t have to be programmed in C. MicroPython works just fine. Python’s Big Push into the Embedded Space Aug. 29, 2018 Python is very popular in many areas from machine learning to powering websites, but it’s also great for embedded applications. Get a free email address from email.radio The email.radio website says, email.radio is dedicated to providing free email hosting for all licensed ham radio operators (globally). You will get a (free!) email @email.radio address, that is 1GB, which you can ask to expand later on. Unlike the ARRL forwarding service this appears to be a real email account. Ive just applied for an address, and Ill post here with my experience once Ive got it.The post Random thoughts and ideas: If I’d only…, embedded Python programming, get a free email.radio email address first appeared on KB6NU's Ham Radio Blog.The post Random thoughts and ideas: If Id only, embedded Python programming, get a free email.radio email address appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: Building/Homebrew, Computers, Contests, Microcontrollers, email, MI QSO Party, Python]

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[l] at 11/6/23 12:45pm
In this episode, I join Martin Butler M1MRB, Caryn Eve Murray KD2GUT, Edmund Spicer M0MNG, and Ed Durrant DD5LP to discuss the latest Amateur / Ham Radio news, including: Club opens arms to the Radio Community for a build-a-long. FCC Eyes New Approach to Wireless Alerts FCC To Vote on Removing Symbol Rate Restrictions Northern India State Makes Hams Top Priority End of Teletext Service in Ireland Saved by 2 Metres RFI from above is Anything but Heavenly Interference Broadcast Celebrates 80 Years for UK Shortwave Site D.A.R.C. Celebrates 100 years of Broadcast Radio in Germany with a Transmission on Medium Wave and other Activities. This episodes feature is Amateur Radio, Someone Else’s Problem. In this feature, Martin, M1MRB, and Colin, M6BOY, discuss what rank-and-file amateurs to help amateur radio grow and prosper.The post ICQ Podcast Episode 416 – Amateur Radio Someone Else’s Problem first appeared on KB6NU's Ham Radio Blog.The post ICQ Podcast Episode 416 Amateur Radio Someone Elses Problem appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: Building/Homebrew, Rules, Regulations, Enforcement, Satellites, SWLing, India, symbol rate]

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[l] at 11/5/23 7:11am
I added Disney+ onto my hulu subscription several months ago, and while casting around for things to watch on the service, I found The Simpsons—all 34 seasons. I had never watched many episodes of The Simpsons, but my wife and I quickly got hooked. Somehow, its funny, disgusting, and heart-warming all at the same time. Were now making our way through Season 4. In episode 13, Barts Aunt Selma expresses a a desire to have a child. In the scene below, at about the 12:50 mark, Selma (on the left) is discussing this desire with her sisters, Marge Simpson (center, blue hair), and Patty (right). Patty asks, Why do you want a baby so bad? Selma replies, I got a lot of love to give, and right now, my only outlet is my ham radio, and gestures towards the radio, which we see from behind. The next shot shows the radio from the front: I cant tell if its an Icom, a Yaesu, or a Kenwood. Maybe its a Heathkit! This episode was first aired in 1992, so it couldnt have been an Elecraft. So, Aunt Selma enters the pantheon of TV characters who also were hams. These include: Herman Munster, played by Fred Gwynne in The Munsters (1964-1966) ALF (1986-1990) Mike Baxter, played by Tim Allen in Last Man Standing (2011-2021) The post Who knew? Bart Simpson’s Aunt Selma is a ham radio operator first appeared on KB6NU's Ham Radio Blog.The post Who knew? Bart Simpsons Aunt Selma is a ham radio operator appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: Everything Else]

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[l] at 11/2/23 12:30pm
FCC to lift symbol rate limitations This is a topic thats been in the news lately. The FCC is planning to remove the baud rate limitation on digital transmissions and replace it with a 2.8 kHz bandwidth limitation. This video goes into quite some detail on this. You can find the complete text of the Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking at https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DOC-397992A1.pdf. K5ATAs vision for the role of ham radio in STEM education Steve, K5ATA, ARRL Education and Learning Manager, gave the keynote speech at the 2023 ARRL Pacific Division Ham Radio Convention Pacificon. I love the vision. The question now is how to turn that vision into reality. POTA activation rain gutter Mr MUD, VA5MUD, forgot to bring an antenna to one of his latest POTA activations. That didnt stop him, though. As he shows in this video, he simply clips a wire to a nearby rain gutter.The post Amateur radio videos: FCC to replace symbol rate limits with bandwidth limits, K5ATA’s vision for the role of ham radio in STEM education, rain gutter POTA antenna first appeared on KB6NU's Ham Radio Blog.The post Amateur radio videos: FCC to replace symbol rate limits with bandwidth limits, K5ATAs vision for the role of ham radio in STEM education, rain gutter POTA antenna appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: antennas, ARRL, Digital Modes, Kids, Parks on the Air, Rules, Regulations, Enforcement, Canada, STEM, symbol rate]

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[l] at 10/31/23 7:26pm
So, on /r/amateurradio this afternoon there was a post asking for opinions about a new antenna analyzer by Chameleon. The thing costs $200, and as far as I can tell, only measures SWR. I commented, Take a look at the SDR-Kits FA-VA5 600MHz Vector Antenna Analyzer. For about the same price, it covers up to 600 MHz, and does a heck of a lot more than the Chameleon analyzer. I have an earlier version of this analyzerthe VA-4and it works great. To which someone replied, lol you have to put that together yourself. What followed was a series of comments about how difficult it would be to build the VA-5 kit and whether or not it should be doable for most hams: Me: Basically, its just final assembly, and you get a much more capable analyzer. If you cant do that yourself, well. Him: Says there’s soldering involved. That’s pretty intense for newbies compared to this unit that is ready to go right out of the box. Me: Its really not that difficult, and like I say, you end up with a much better analyzer for about the same price. Him: You’re probably right, but for someone that’s never touched a soldering iron in their life, it doesn’t matter how much it costs they’re not going to buy it. Me: If youre doing stuff that requires you to use an antenna analyzer, you should know how to solder. Him: Agree to disagree. I use a coil antenna in the field. I use an analyzer to ensure I get it tuned below 1.5:1 without using a tuner. I’ve never needed a soldering iron for anything and I’ve been a ham since April 2000. Me: OK. Well agree to disagree. Ill say one more thing, though. If youve never touched a soldering iron in all that time, youve ended up paying more for your hobby than you need to. This is a case in point. By doing a little soldering here, you could get a lot more for your money. Him: I don’t think that is accurate. Nothing I’ve purchased over the years could have been assembled by me with just a soldering iron except the N9TAX roll up jpole I purchased a few years ago but even with that it would have required more tools than a soldering iron that I don’t have either. Me: I dont know what exactly youve purchased, but Id bet that there are some things you could build yourself with a soldering iron (and some other tools, of course). And, by doing so, saved yourself some money, or gotten more for your money. Not only that, by building your own stuff, youll learn more about how radio and electronics work. If youve limited yourself to using only things that you can buy youre really missing out on one of the big pleasures of amateur radio. I am both amused and befuddled by this conversation. I dont have any reason to believe that this guy is lying, but at the same time, I find it hard to believe that this person has been a ham for more than 20 years and has never soldered anything. Maybe if they only had their license for 2 months, but 23 years? And, as I said, if they really dont have a soldering iron, what do they do when things break? Just throw it away and buy something new? Thats crazy. I really cant imagine being a ham and not having a soldering iron. Soldering is ham radio 101 or should be, no?The post Don’t you think that hams should know how to solder? first appeared on KB6NU's Ham Radio Blog.The post Dont you think that hams should know how to solder? appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: Building/Homebrew, Kits, soldering]

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[l] at 10/30/23 10:10am
Over the years Ive built up quite a pile of amateur radio magazines, and Ive decided that its time for them to go. Before pitching them, however, Ive been paging through them to see if theres anything of interest. I found this article in the June 2006 issue of World Radio. I contacted the author, Kelly, K7SU, and hes given me his permission to re-publish it here. This seems like a great way to get publicity for your club. I emailed a couple of local stations this morning, and Ive already received a positive reply from WCBN, the student-run, alternative broadcast station here in Ann Arbor, MI. How to Spread the Word about Amateur Radio Kelly Klaas, K7SU I have been in radio broadcasting since 1969 and an amateur radio operator since 1966. During my time in broadcasting I have learned a few things about how the public can use the media to its advantage. It’s not as difficult as you may think. The trick is to think of your local, amateur radio club as a non-profit public service organization. And in fact, that’s exactly what it is. Every commercial broadcast station must justify its license to operate by broadcasting in the public interest and providing a certain amount of public service. That public service includes local programming dealing with issues of local public interest and availability to local non-profit organizations. The best vehicle for amateur radio clubs to use that broadcast stations have to offer is the Public Service Announcement, or PSA. A PSA can come in a couple of forms. It can be a brief announcement of an upcoming club event or it can be an announcement of normally fifteen, thirty, or sixty seconds in length describing your club and the benefits it has to offer. If you listen to the standard broadcast stations very much you undoubtedly have heard them. These announcements are free of charge to non-profit groups. But the key here is “non-profit.” Commercial broadcast stations are required to air a certain amount of public service ads to remain in the good graces of the FCC. PSAs can benefit your local ham club in at least three ways. First, they let the local hams and the public in general know that there is a local club and about the various activities you may have going. Second, for those who may be interested in becoming a ham, it lets them know that there is help nearby. Third, even if the listener is not interested in becoming a ham, it boosts the awareness that there are ham radio operators in the vicinity ready to pitch in if emergency communications should be needed. But how do you go about getting a PSA for your very own amateur radio club on your local stations? It’s quite easy, actually. Most radio and TV stations have public service directors, or at least someone who coordinates the PSAs and other public service programs. Some stations do a better job at this than others. A representative of your local amateur radio club should contact the area stations and find out who that person is. Then they should contact this person and see what the requirements are for sending in the information. Then DO IT! Most any ham club activity is certainly a valid reason to get an announcement on the air. Many radio and TV stations have a “daily calendar” type of program. This is the perfect place to start. Send to the appropriate station personnel the “who,” “what,” “when,” “where,” and “why of the club activity for inclusion in these types of programs. Keep it short and to the point and always include an email address, web site or local phone number so the listener can get more information. Do NOT send in a multi-page document and expect the PSA director to go through it and pick out the pertinent information. That’s NOT going to happen. Use short and “to the point” descriptions for each of the categories. One or two contacts are enough. You don’t need a list of all the people in your club along with emails and phone numbers. Also, leave your contact information for the station personnel in case they need to contact you. You never know, they might want to pass it along to the news or public affairs department if it’s a good subject for a story. Another type of PSA is simply a short message, similar to a commercial, for your club. These vary in length but are usually 15, 30 or 60 seconds long. These take a little more thought in order for them to be of interest to the local radio/TV station. Depending on the radio/TV stations in your area it will be more of an effort to get them interested in running this type of announcement. But if you wrote the PSA for them and offered to help in any way you might find they would be agreeable to running your announcement as a  stand-alone ad. If they would rather have station personnel voice the PSA then let them. If they would rather have someone from the club voice it with their help, then that should be fine also. The name of the game here is to get the message of your local amateur radio club on the air and to the public. Don’t be discouraged if you are not as successful with this level of cooperation at first. It will vary from station to station. You may be wondering just when the PSAs will be broadcast. Many radio stations these days carry satellite programming at various times of the day. These programs always have a certain number of two, three or four (maybe more) minute breaks for the local stations to insert their local ads. If there aren’t enough sold commercials to fill the breaks then they have to use PSAs. Many times these are national PSAs that deal with anything from teen pregnancy to housing discrimination. Quite frankly many stations run these national PSAs due to a lack of anything else to run and they may or may not even be applicable to their area. Many radio stations would much rather fill with LOCAL announcements. That’s where your local club could help. Do not inundate the station with multiple pages of announcements. Start with a single 15- or 30-second PSA. It usually takes a very good PSA to keep a listener tuned in for over thirty-seconds. Besides, you don’t want the radio station thinking you are trying to take over their airwaves. And a clever 15-second announcement will be more effective than a boring, rambling 60-second announcement. Keep in mind that it’s usually best to approach the radio/TV station first for this type of PSA. They may not be interested at all so there is no point in wasting your time preparing one. But, if they should show an interest, be sure you oblige them in a short period of time before they change their mind. Due to the nature of the broadcast business you may find that one or two folks on the staff are also amateur radio operators. This is especially true in the engineering department. Many a chief engineer around the country is a ham. If you happen to know any radio engineers in your area you may want to start with them. They may have a fast-track and an inside shortcut to getting your PSA on the air. For that matter, if you know ANYONE who works at a local station, start with them. It’s not WHAT you know but rather WHO you know. PSAs are free. The broadcast stations get no money for running them. Therefore a sold commercial always takes top priority. Your PSA may be scheduled to run, but at the last minute is booted out by a sold commercial. Don’t let this bother you. It’s the name of the game. Commercial radio/TV stations make their money by selling ads. If not for that, we wouldn’t have local radio/TV stations. Your announcement will eventually make it on the air. Use the “daily calendar” program to advertise scheduled club activities. Use the recorded PSA for a long-term method of promoting your club. It should be somewhat generic in nature without time-sensitive material. Also, be willing to change it from time to time to keep it fresh. Be sure to let your local news organizations know about any public activities that may warrant a news story or a spot on the evening news. This can include public displays for Field Day or similar events. Stories of local amateur radio operators talking to the 188 are always interesting fodder that the local media would like to cover. Let them know about it. You will find varying degrees of interest and cooperation with your local stations regarding announcements for your club. Again, probably the easiest and quickest way to get your announcement on is if they have a “daily calendar” program. The “commercial” announcement I talked about will be your most difficult hurdle, but don’t give up. You may not have any trouble at all. The idea is to use your local broadcast stations to your benefit as much as you can for as much as they are willing to let you use them. Even a little bit may be much better than what you are getting now. If you would like more pointers or advice you can email me at K7SU@arrl.net.The post Get publicity for your club with a PSA first appeared on KB6NU's Ham Radio Blog.The post Get publicity for your club with a PSA appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: Clubs, Promotion & PR, PSA, WCBN]

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[l] at 10/28/23 6:13am
I like listening to pirate radio. Some of the shows can be very creative. This evening, for example, Thunder Chicken Radio broadcast some Halloween music and Orson Welles War of the Worlds. And, in addition to that, they sent some SSTV images as well. How cool is that? HF Underground For some reason, pirates love to broadcast during Halloween season, so this really is the time to listen. As to what frequencies to listen to, pirates seem to favor a small band just below the 40-meter amateur band. Pirate radio aficionados often spot stations when they hear them on the HF Underground Bulletin Board. Thunder Chicken Radio was on 6935 kHz tonight. Last night, I heard WENO on 6930 kHz. Thunder Chicken was broadcasting USB, WENO LSB. Now that I have a radio with two receivers, I can watch for pirates as I operate on the amateur radio bands. Ive learned several things about how to manipulate the two receivers and the bandscope by listening to pirate radio stations. Unused parts Like many hams, I have a stock of parts that Ive acquired over the years. They often come in handy, but it seems that more often than not, I dont have to exact thing that I need, so end up buying even more. Its too bad that experimenters couldnt have some kind of clearinghouse where we could share parts amongst ourselves. Unless it was a local kind of thing, though, I guess shipping charges would negate any advantages accrued by sharing. Operating W1AW/8 This week, I operated W1AW/8 on 40-meter CW for a total of 100 minutes as part of the Volunteers on the Air effort. I managed to work 48 stations. I thought that there might be more activity, as I was operating in the evening, but perhaps at this point of the year, VOTA isnt such a big deal. At any rate, if you contacted me, thanks for the Q!The post Random thoughts: Listening to pirate radio, unused parts, operating W1AW/8 first appeared on KB6NU's Ham Radio Blog.The post Random thoughts: Listening to pirate radio, unused parts, operating W1AW/8 appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: ARRL, Building/Homebrew, SWLing, VOTA]

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[l] at 10/26/23 7:36pm
I got this email today from Dale Williams, WA8EFK, the ARRL Great Lakes Division Director: Dear ARRL Great Lakes Division Member: We need your assistance, and we need it NOW. We strongly encourage you to assist the ARRL and the entire U.S. Amateur Radio community by submitting comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) before October 30th to save the privileges we have fought to gain on 60 meters. Even if you are not currently active on 60 meters, the proposed reduction in power from 100 watts to an equivalent of less than 10 watts is the most sweeping reduction of HF privileges in decades. If Amateur Radio (sic. amateur radio should not be capitalized) opposition to this proposed change is weak and the FCC goes through with the change, will a lackluster response from the Amateur Radio community embolden the FCC to remove or modify more HF privileges? Please read this message in full to understand why your help is needed prior to submitting your comments. The FCC has issued Notice of Proposed Rulemaking’s (NPRM) Docket Number 23-120 which would reduce power on 60 meters from 100 watts ERP (Effective Radiated Power) to the equivalent of 9.5 watts ERP. The NPRM would replace the current five channels (currently each with a 100-watt power limit) with a 15 KHz continuous spectrum from 5351.5 to 5366.5 KHz, but limiting power to the equivalent of 9.5 watts ERP. ARRL is proposing to keep the current five channels AND add the docket’s proposed 15 KHz of continuous spectrum, all at a power level of 100 watts ERP. It’s important to note that in 2022 our neighbor, Canada, enacted ARRL’s position by keeping the five current channels AND adding the expanded 15 KHz of continuous spectrum, all at 100 watts. ARRL is advocating for the FCC to adopt the identical allocations and power limits which Canada put in place over a year ago. When the FCC authorized 60-meter access for Amateur Radio operators in July 2003, the Commission cited the positive propagation attributes for emergency communications. Over the past twenty years during hurricanes, Caribbean Amateur Radio stations used 60 meters to relay critical weather and situational reports to U.S. operators. Clearly, 9.5 watts ERP would be woefully inadequate to maintain communications for these purposes. In the May 2023 ARRL survey, members overwhelmingly pointed to Spectrum Defense as the #1 priority of the League. The Great Lakes Division takes this priority seriously. For the maximum impact, the FCC needs to hear from ARRL members in Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio to underscore the importance of 60 meters in our densely populated region on the eastern seaboard situated between active hurricane zones and our nation’s capital of Washington, DC. Having a consistent bandplan with Canada will also ensure harmonious communications throughout most of North America. PLEASE support the ARRLs filing in this matter. To learn more about the NPRM and its impact on our 60-meter privileges, please visit https://www.arrl.org/60-meter-band . On this webpage you will find the links to file comments with the FCC. Please don’t delay. A  substantial response from the Ham community before the October 30 deadline is the only way to forestall the loss of our valued operating privileges. Please urge your fellow Hams to file comments as well. Protection of our Amateur Radio spectrum is our number one priority. 73 Dale WA8EFKThe post Please comment on the 60-meters Notice of Proposed Rulemaking first appeared on KB6NU's Ham Radio Blog.The post Please comment on the 60-meters Notice of Proposed Rulemaking appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: ARRL, Rules, Regulations, Enforcement, Spectrum Defense, 60 meter band]

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[l] at 10/25/23 6:57am
Eclipses do odd things to radio waves. An army of amateur broadcasters wants to find out why Its the huge tower in his back yard that gives Todd Bakers hobby away. Bristling with antennae, the 30m (100ft) structure is taller than many of the mature trees nearby. Baker, an industrial conveyor belt salesman from Indiana, goes not just by his name, but also his call-sign, the short sequence of letters and numbers that he uses to identify himself over the air: W1TOD. He is a member of the amateur radio, or ham radio, community. You name it, Ive been in it, he says, referring to different radio systems, including citizens band, or CB radio, that he has dabbled with over the years. Communications were just plain-o cool to me. Now, he dabbles in celestial citizen science, too. On 14 October, he and hundreds of other amateur radio enthusiasts will deliberately fill the airwaves during an annular solar eclipse, as it crosses the Americas. Theyll do it again next April, when a full solar eclipse becomes visible from Newfoundland to Mexico. read more Local ham radio group trains to support hospital system during cyber attack [PORTAGE COUNTY, WI] A cyber terrorist has taken control of the nation’s healthcare system. Communications are down, bringing hospital and medical operations to a grinding halt. Enter Portage County’s ham radio group, Portage County ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Service) group. Nicholas Proulx and Phil Schobert, both members of the group, spent Saturday morning participating in the simulated emergency, which tested county-wide radio communications from the group’s command center — a mobile trailer known as EM50 — parked behind the Portage Co. Annex building. read more From Baton Rouge to Belize, local ham radio operators talk around the globe [BATON ROUGE, LA] The small room near the top of the USS Kidd is tight, with just about enough room for a ham radio and, at a stretch, four people. For ham operators Pam and Jeff Welsh, its all the space they need. On the morning of Oct. 13 the pair — both members of the Baton Rouge Amateur Radio Club — were hunched over a ham radio, fiddling with dials and knobs as the sound of static filled the room. The BRARC, for short, was marking the occasion of the U.S. Navys birthday by transmitting from the Kidd, with people tuning in from around the country and farther afield. read moreThe post Amateur radio in the news: BBC on the Solar eclipse QSO Party, ham radio supports hospitals, Baton Rouge hams activate the radio room of the USS Kidd first appeared on KB6NU's Ham Radio Blog.The post Amateur radio in the news: BBC on the Solar eclipse QSO Party, ham radio supports hospitals, Baton Rouge hams activate the radio room of the USS Kidd appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: Clubs, Emergency Communications / Public Service, HamSci, hospitals]

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[l] at 10/21/23 7:44am
One of the features of WordPress is that you can create a draft post by jotting down an idea or cutting and pasting a URL into a blank post. I  do this frequently, then abandon the drafts. There are several reasons for this: The idea was only partly-baked or just a random thought. I was too lazy to write a whole post about it. It wasnt that great of an idea to start with. I think that some of these ideas do deserve to see the light of day, however. They may get others thinking and spur discussion about a particular issue or technology. That being the case, here are some things that have crossed my mind lately. arrl.org vs arrl.net email addresses If youre an ARRL member, you can request an ARRL email address. If youre an ARRL staff member or a mucky-muck volunteer, such as section manager, you get an arrl.org email address. If youre not one of the chosen few, they give you an arrl.net email address. This is something that has griped me for a long time. Its just another indication of how the ARRL views its members and makes it clear that members are second-class citizens in the ARRL hierarchy. By contrast, I am also a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). The IEEE has many more members than the ARRL, but when you apply for an IEEE email address you receive an ieee.org address, no matter if you are a Nobel Prize winner or a student member. Photos on QRZ.Com One thing that always bugs me is that when I look up someone on QRZ.com, I find a photo of their radios or their shack. Pictures of equipment, such as the one at right, do nothing for me. What I want to see is your face like the one at left. That will tell me a lot more about you than the brand of radio that you operate. Amateur radio advocate will not seek re-election to Congress Representative Debbie Lesko (R-AZ) has announced that she will not seek re-election in 2024. In May, the ARRL reported that Lesko (AZ-08) introduced The Amateur Radio Communications Improvement Act (H.R. 3241) on May 11, 2023, to require that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) eliminate the obsolete HF digital symbol rate limit with a 2.8 kHz bandwidth limit. Hopefully, someone else will pick up the ball and run with it.  The post Random and partly-baked thoughts: ARRL email addresses, pics on QRZ.Com, amateur radio advocate to quit Congress first appeared on KB6NU's Ham Radio Blog.The post Random and partly-baked thoughts: ARRL email addresses, pics on QRZ.Com, amateur radio advocate to quit Congress appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: ARRL, On the Internet, Rules, Regulations, Enforcement]

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[l] at 10/19/23 9:09am
A couple of weeks ago, while doing a POTA activation, my friend, Rick mentioned that there was a young woman who walked by a couple of times looking curiously at us. I hadnt noticed because I was busy operating. After wed packed up, however, I guess her curiosity got the better of her because she came up to us, with her two young sons, just as we were leaving and asked what we were doing. We told her that we were radio amateurs participating in an activity called Parks on the Air, and that we had set up a small station and were making contacts with other amateur radio stations.  She seemed truly interested, so it was a shame that she hadnt come up to us sooner, as we could have given her a full demonstration. I gave her my card and said that if shed like to know more to get in touch with me. Well, a couple of days later, she emailed me and said that she would indeed like to bring her sons and husband over and get a demonstration. We arranged to meet last Saturday. The whole family came, including the husband and little sister. The husband is actually an electrical engineer, so he was interested in the technology. I made a few contacts and showed them the code practice oscillator that I modified to work with a paddle in addition to a straight key. (More on that later.) One of the sons really enjoyed playing with the code practice oscillator.  I would have taught him how to send his name in Morse Code, but right about that time, the little sister decided it was time that they all go home. We said our goodbyes and I invited them back if theyd like to hear more another time. Yesterday, I received a thank-you card in the mail. Included were two nice notes from the sons. It was a very nice surprise, and I do hope theyll take me up on my offer to come back sometime.   The post A nice surprise first appeared on KB6NU's Ham Radio Blog.The post A nice surprise appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: Kids]

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