DX from the Railroad Station

I rode my bike to the old Potter Place Railroad Station from Andover this afternoon. I worked Corsica, Oregon, Croatia and Spain. It was absolutely beautiful today.


It was a perfect, clear day around 75F. I rode about 2 miles from Andover along the old Northern Rail route. Part way into the ride I passed the old covered bridge at the Blackwater River.


The Potter Place station is a museum now. I set up under a huge pine tree on the south side of the track. I tossed a 30 foot wire over a branch and started with the KX3 on 20 meters. 9A2AJ, Tom from Croatia was calling CQ. I’ve worked him a dozen times before, and when I answered he asked if I was running 5 watts. He gave me a 579. He was 599 and I told him I was on a bike ride and was, indeed QRP.


Next I went to 17 meters where W1VDE, Roger in Oregon was just finishing up a QSO. At first he said I was only S1, but later he said I’d come up a lot and he gave me a 569. I tuned up a bit and was thrilled to work TK3LS on the island of Corsica. Laurent gave me a quick 599. He was very strong to me.


I was about to call it quits when I heard EA5KM in Spain calling CQ on 30 meters. He had a hard time copying my call, even though he was strong to me. We made a quick exchange and I packed up for the ride back. What a glorious day for a quick outing.

Jim Cluett, W1PID, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from New Hampshire, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

Hunting For NDB’s In CLE 210

'VR' - 266kHz

This coming weekend will see another CLE challenge, this time in the MF band from 260 - 269.9 kHz plus 440 - 1740 kHz.

'CLE's' are 'Co-ordinated Listening Events', and NDB DXers around the world focus their listening time on one small slice of the NDB spectrum ... but this time around, the range has been expanded.

The lower frequency range covers one my very strong locals, 'VR' on 266 kHz. 'VR' is an outer marker approach to Vancouver International's 'two-sixes' and is located a few miles east of the main runways in a farmer's field. Although running just 50 watts, it is widely reported (as far east as North Carolina), probably due to the excellent soggy ground beneath its somewhat unusual delta-shaped loop.

From CLE coordinator Brian Keyte (G3SIA), via the Yahoo ndblist Group, comes the following reminder:

Hello all,

Our end-of-August Co-ordinated Listening Event will soon be here.
We'll be hunting for normal beacons in two contrasting frequency ranges
and there is also the possibility of hearing several amateur beacons.
As always, first-time CLE logs will be extra welcome.

Days: Friday 26 August - Monday 29 August
Times: Start and end at midday, your local time
Frequencies: 260.0 - 269.9 kHz
plus: 440.0 - 1740.0 kHz

These are interesting frequencies, the same ones that we last used for
CLE191 in February 2015 when 45 of us joined in.

Many of us should be able to hear beacons in both ranges, though Europe
only has a handful in the '260s'. From 440 onwards, North America has a
few, mostly around 520 kHz, while Eastern Europe has several beacons
and some regular UNIDs. Some of the NDBs can also be found among
Europe's Medium Wave Broadcast Stations.

Many of us are within range of amateur beacons on frequencies mainly
around 474 - 478 kHz. We'll be listening for ANYTHING OPERATING IN
BEACON MODE, preferably with normal speed Morse.
(We ask operators who sometimes use QRSS, PSK, WSPR, etc.,
which need software to receive them, to PLEASE CHOOSE THE
SIMPLER MODE during the CLE so that we shall all be able to
receive them and make reports).

Please look out for my final details with advice about log-making, etc.
in a few days.

From: Brian Keyte G3SIA ndbcle'at'gmail.com
Location: Surrey, SE England (CLE co-ordinator)

These listening events serve several purposes. They:
  • determine, worldwide, which beacons are actually in service and on-the-air so the online database can be kept up-to-date
  • determine, worldwide, which beacons are out-of-service or have gone silent since the last CLE covering this range
  • will indicate the state of propagation conditions at the various participant locations
  • will give you an indication of how well your LF/MF receiving system is working
  • give participants a fun yet challenging activity to keep their listening skills honed

Final details can be found at the NDB List website, and worldwide results, for every participant, will be posted there a few days after the event. If you are a member of the ndblist Group, results will also be e-mailed and posted there.

The very active Yahoo ndblist Group is a great place to learn more about the 'Art of NDB DXing' or to meet other listeners in your region. There is a lot of good information available there and new members are always very welcome. As well, you can follow the results of other CLE participants from night to night as propagation is always an active topic of discussion.

If you are contemplating getting started on 630m, listening for NDBs  is an excellent way to test out your receive capabilities as there are several NDBs located near this part of the spectrum.

You need not be an ndblist member to participate in the CLEs and all reports, no matter how small, are of much value to the organizers. 'First-time' logs are always VERY welcome!

Reports may be sent to the ndblist or e-mailed to either myself or CLE co- ordinator, Brian Keyte (G3SIA), whose address appears above.

Please ... give the CLE a try ... then let us know what NDB's can be heard from your location! Your report can then be added to the worldwide database to help keep it up-to-date.

Steve McDonald, VE7SL, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from British Columbia, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

Weekly Propagation Summary – 2016 Aug 22 16:10 UTC

Weekly Propagation Summary (2016 Aug 22 16:10 UTC)

Here is this week’s space weather and geophysical report, issued 2016 Aug 22 0524 UTC.

Highlights of Solar and Geomagnetic Activity 15 – 21 August 2016

Solar activity was at low levels on 15 August due to an isolated C1 flare at 15/0023 UTC from Region 2578 (N09, L=084, class/area Cro/020 on 18 Aug). Very low levels were observed from 16-21 August. Although Regions 2574 (N05, L=173, class/area Dho/290 on 09 Aug), 2576 (S15, L=160, class/area Hsx/140 on 10 Aug), 2577 (N03, L=164, class/area Dso/130 on 12 Aug), and 2578 were on the visible disk during the period, the regions appeared to be in slow decay. No Earth-directed coronal mass ejections were observed.

No proton events were observed at geosynchronous orbit.

The greater than 2 MeV electron flux at geosynchronous orbit was at high levels on 15-16 August, moderate levels on 17 and 19-21 August and normal levels on 18 August. The largest flux of the period was 9,570 pfu observed at 15/1605 UTC.

Geomagnetic field activity was at mostly quiet to unsettled levels with an isolated active period observed on 21 August due to a pair of weak, negative polarity coronal hole high speed streams (CH HSS). Quiet levels were observed on 15 August under a nominal solar wind regime. By early on 17 August, solar wind speed increased to 435 km/s while total field increased to near 9 nT. Quiet to unsettled levels were observed from 16-18 August with quiet levels on 19-20 August. Solar wind speed decreased slowly until midday on 21 August when another CH HSS became geoeffective. The geomagnetic field responded with quiet to active levels on 21 August.

Forecast of Solar and Geomagnetic Activity 22 August – 17 September 2016

Solar activity is expected to be at very low to low levels through the forecast period (22 Aug-17 Sep).

No proton events are expected at geosynchronous orbit.

The greater than 2 MeV electron flux at geosynchronous orbit is expected to be at normal to moderate levels with high levels likely on 26-28 August and from 31 August-12 September as a result of recurrent CH HSS activity.

Geomagnetic field activity is expected to be at unsettled to active levels from 23-25 August, 29 August-08 September, 13-14 September, and again on 17 September with G1 (Minor) storm levels likely on 30-31 August due to recurrent CH HSS activity.

Don’t forget to visit our live space weather and radio propagation web site, at: http://SunSpotWatch.com/

Live Aurora mapping is at http://aurora.sunspotwatch.com/

If you are on Twitter, please follow these two users: + https://Twitter.com/NW7US + https://Twitter.com/hfradiospacewx

Get the space weather and radio propagation self-study course, today. Visit http://nw7us.us/swc for the latest sale and for more information!

Check out the stunning view of our Sun in action, as seen during the last five years with the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXN-MdoGM9g

We’re on Facebook: http://NW7US.us/swhfr

Tomas Hood, NW7US, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Nebraska, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

RFinder Lifetime Membership

Some very welcome news popped into my inbox this morning from my friend Bob Greenberg, W2CYK.  Bob is the owner and founder of RFinder the Worldwide Repeater Directory.  

I had the opportunity to meet Bob via social media many years ago when RFinder first launched and have been a fan and supporter of RFinder ever since.  I even discussed RFinder in episode 55 of the Practical Amateur Radio Podcast back in May of 2012.  

For several years I used the ARRL repeater directory along with their TravelPlus digital version to search for and program my transceivers.  While this solution worked very well, it was limited to just the ARRL database.   For the traveling ham, this meant being at the mercy of the internet to find information on repeaters in the region and countries visited and this information was not always accurate.

In the time I’ve known Bob and been a user of RFinder, it’s grown to become a truly worldwide solution with partnerships with many national radio societies including the Radio Society of Great Britain, Amateur Radio Society Italia, Deutscher Amateur Radio Club, Radio Amateurs of Canada and the American Radio Relay League (just to name a few).  Finally, the current database contains current and validated repeater information from over 175 countries. 

RFinder the Worldwide Repeater Directory is available in app form for both the iOS and Android platforms and is also supported by both RTSystems and CHIRP radio programming software.  Normally the cost for an annual subscription is $9.95 USD, but for a VERY limited time an RFinder Lifetime Membership is available for $99.99 USD.   When I say VERY limited time, I truly mean this offer will not last long.  It’s a very good deal.

Until next time…

73 de KD0BIK (Jerry)

Jerry Taylor, KD0BIK, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Colorado, USA. He is the host of the Practical Amateur Radio Podcast. Contact him at [email protected].

Hand-carrried QRP antennas VK3YE

The maestro of the Ham video VK3YE has written his 2nd ebook for the kindle. Peter kindly sent me the details as below:

Summary of Hand-carried QRP antennas

Whether through choice or circumstance, more radio amateurs than ever before are enjoying portable operating. 

Suitable equipment is widely available but what about antennas?  Manufactured antennas exist but only some suit lightweight portable activity.  And, it’s easy to overpay for something that’s too heavy and too lossy for successful QRP.  

Hand-carried QRP antennas takes the mystery out of portable antennas.  After inviting you to assess your needs, it discusses the pros and cons of popular types.  Its style is brisk and practical with almost no maths.

Many ideas for cheap but good materials suitable for portable antennas are given.   Beginners and those returning to radio after a break should especially find this section handy. 

Finally there’s construction details on a variety of simple but practical antennas and accessories suitable for portable operating.  All have been built and tested by the author over almost 30 years of successful QRP activity.  

Hand-carried QRP antennas is an ebook readable on most devices.  It’s the author’s second book, following on from the top-selling Minimum QRP, released in 2015. 


Peter (mis?)spent his youth at rubbish tips, taking apart given radios and TVs and building electronic projects that mostly did not work.  He avoided soldering until figuring out that new solder works better than reusing solder from terminal strips in valve radios.  

Milestones included the construction of a crystal set in 1980, discovering shortwave broadcasting on a valve receiver in 1981 and a simple ‘electronic organ’ in 1982 from a Dick Smith Fun Way book.  Hours were spent putting wires into springs on a Tandy 150-in-1 electronics set.  Amazingly some wires could be pulled out and the project would still sort of work with only half the parts in circuit. 

Two back to back AM/shortwave radios led to the discovery of amateur SSB activity and a novice licence in 1985.  The following year was spent building transmitters no one heard.  A one valve crystal controlled CW transmitter from the 1973 ARRL Handbook provided the first contacts – mostly CW/SSB crossmode on the 3.579 MHz TV colour burst crystal frequency.   The value of frequency agility was an early lesson and various VFOs were built, most of them drifty.  

The 1990s brought more bands, more modes and smaller gear.  Projects included a 7 MHz VXO CW direct conversion transceiver, 2m FM portable transceiver, and a 14 MHz CW transmitter for Cycle 22, then near its peak.  Later favourites included HF DSB and SSB transceivers (often using ceramic resonators, ladder crystal filters, NE602s and BD139 transistors) and phasing SSB equipment.  

Limited space led to experiments with magnetic loops and HF pedestrian mobile.  The joys of the latter (along with the perils of a trailing counterpoise) were first discovered with a converted Johnson Viking CB on 28 MHz.  This was mounted in a carpeted chipboard box with battery and 1.5 metre whip.  A move to a bayside suburb brought further HF portable and pedestrian mobile activity which remains an interest to this day. 

 More details from the VK3YE website http://home.alphalink.com.au/~parkerp/handqrp.htm

Steve, G1KQH, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from England. Contact him at [email protected].

ICQ Podcast Episode 218 – Having Fun with Morse Code

In this episode, Martin M1MRB / W9ICQ is joined by Leslie Butterfield G0CIB, Edmund Spicer M0MNG and Matthew Nassau M0NJX to discuss the latest Amateur / Ham Radio news. Colin M6BOY rounds up the news in brief, and this episodes feature is Having Fun with Morse Code.

  • Radio Amateurs Facing Unnecessary Restrictions
  • Wireless World Magazine Archive
  • Switched-Mode PSU Jams Communications
  • US Air Force to Improve HF Communications
  • Symbol Rate Discussion Open Until October
  • IRTS Free New Member Offer
  • 4m Ham Radio Band for Australia?

Colin Butler, M6BOY, is the host of the ICQ Podcast, a weekly radio show about Amateur Radio. Contact him at [email protected].


The other evening I was having a cup of tea and checking out my new QST that just arrived and found myself very interested in a piece written by Steve Ford in his column Eclectic Technology. The title caught my eye "When a signal is barely a WSPR" Steve looked at how the Raspberry Pi could be used for WSPR transmissions. Seeing I have the Raspberry Pi3 this sparked my interest. It was pointed out that all you need to turn your Pi into a WSPR transmitter is a board from TAPR called QRPi.  The board is offered at a very reasonable price of 29.00 U.S and it's set for 20m at 100mW. Before I got to excited about this little project  I wanted to see if using 100mW's would net me any results. I have seen other hams in the past net great results with far less than 100mW's and WSPR is known for it's great decode at very low power........BUT.......I do have a challenging setup here. On Friday late afternoon I gave WSPR a go on 20m at 100mW and was I impressed with the results. I was received by DK6UG for a distance of 39383 miles per watt and also ON7KO for a distance of 37285 miles per watt. I was amazed that my setup was able to produce those results! Now another question I wanted to consider is at 100mW how much of that actual power makes it to my antenna? To do this I referred to a coax calculator I punched in the type of coax (RG8X) the SWR (1.4:1) the length (30 feet)  the frequency (14) and finally the power (100mW) The calculated amount I was informed was 92mW of raw power! So this bumped my miles per watt to 4281 for DK6UG and 4053 for ON7KO! It's not timo look more into the TAPR project!!

Mike Weir, VE3WDM, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Ontario, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

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