ICQ Podcast Episode 251 – G8BBC

In this special episode, Colin M6BOY, Chris M0TCH and Martin M0SGL visit Broadcasting House in London for the official launch of G8BBC.

We would like to thank our monthly and annual subscription donors for keeping the podcast advert free. To donate, please visit - http://www.icqpodcast.com/donate

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

VE3WDM's QRPower BLOG 2017-10-22 02:23:00

I just can't believe the weather we are getting for it being half way through October. The temperature today was 22C with clear skies and just a gentle breeze off the lake. This is a great time to grab the KX3 and head out for some portable op's. I check the contest calendar to see what was happening in the way of CW contests. I found the NYQSO party and Worked all Germany (WAG) contest were going to be in full swing the same time I was out. I checked to see what the contest report was supposed to be, contesters can add lots of contacts to a portable op. I set up beside the lake (Lake Ontario) with a nice breeze and in the shade as the sun was out and I did not want to overheat. I made 20m my band of choice and it so happens that it was alive with WAG contesters. The band was in great shape and lots of German stations looking for DX stations to fill their log! I was using my Elecraft KX3 at 10 watts and my Chameleon mag loop antenna. I was set up in 10 minutes and on the air searching the band for contacts. I was on the air for about an hour and had the following contacts:
DF0DW           WAG contest
IQ1GE             DX calling CQ
DJ0SP              WAG contest
DL5HIA           WAG contest
DF8AA            WAG contest
W2RR              NYQSO party
DJ6OZ             WAG contest
DL0DA            WAG contest

As you can see the WAG contest dominated the bands and it turned out the NYQSO party participants were just not making it over the German WAG contesters. I did not include the signal reports in the above list as it was a contest so the standard 599 was sent. I knew I was no were close to 599 as the German stations asked on more than one occasion for a repeat.

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

AmateurLogic.TV 12th Anniversary Contest Winner


ALTV is happy to announce the winner of our 12th Anniversary contest. Ed Thomas, WD8KCT from North Canton, Ohio is one lucky guy.
Thanks Icom, MFJ, and Heil Sound for making this possible.

George Thomas, W5JDX, is co-host of AmateurLogic.TV, an original amateur radio video program hosted by George Thomas (W5JDX), Tommy Martin (N5ZNO), Peter Berrett (VK3PB), and Emile Diodene (KE5QKR). Contact him at [email protected].

Amateur Radio Weekly – Issue 178

New bands spring to life, some denied access
A few operators reported making contacts on 630 meters the first night, although noise levels were high, and a geomagnetic storm was in progress.

Scouts’ Jamboree on the Air this weekend
Operating frequencies on HF, DMR, D-STAR, APRS, more…

Meet the geek who tracks rogue satellites with coat hangers
He liked to catch the military’s secret space shuttle, which sounded like a video game monster in agony.

Bicycle race communications with N7RXE
200 miles, three states, multiple public safety jurisdictions, 4 net controls, 8 repeaters including mobile repeaters, APRS iGates, portable Digipeaters, 135 operators, and 40 vehicles beaconing APRS.

Elecraft AX1 Antenna
The AX1 is a dual-band (20 and 17 meter) compact antenna system based on an optimized 2-piece whip.

Kansas City firefighter uses Ham Radio skills to help Puerto Rico
“We put this PVC, tape measure antenna up,” Dougherty explained. “Next thing you know, we were talking to somebody 100 miles away, passing traffic back to San Juan for people who needed to contact San Juan.”

ADS-B Shootout: FlightAware vs rtl-sdr.com Antenna Kit vs Jetvision
Three antennas on windowsill, one week.
Radio for Everyone

Upcoming LF tests from WH2NXD / NI7J
One of Ron’s several experimental licences allows him to run as much as 10W ERP from 68-76 KHz.

Homemade data cable for Yaesu FT-2D
This piece of wire can be used as outlined in the manuals. I was able to read and write my FT-2D as expected.


NIMO Tube: Rarest and most dangerous digital display of all time
Rarer than a moon rock…. Deadlier than plutonium… It’s The NIMO digital display tube!

How high should a dipole be?
A look at antenna modeling.

Portable Ham Radio tips & tricks
Tips & tricks on taking the radio out of the shack.

Amateur Radio Weekly is curated by Cale Mooth K4HCK. Sign up free to receive ham radio's most relevant news, projects, technology and events by e-mail each week at http://www.hamweekly.com.

Twenty Six SOTA Summits

I’ve written before about how operating goals can be a good motivator for getting on the air and making ham radio contacts. It is fun to have a goal to work towards and keep checking items off on the list. A few years ago, I decided to apply this approach to Summits On The Air (SOTA). SOTA is ripe for this kind of thing, given its extensive database and tracking of QSOs.

Our family has a cabin in the mountains that we use to hike, jeep, ski, snowshore, explore, escape …  So I decided to make a list of the SOTA summits in the general vicinity of the cabin. I did not use a precise criteria, just listing the summits that seemed close by. I used the Lists Of John web site as a tracking tool. That site is used by hikers/climbers to track their ascents, often working on their own list of summits based on whatever criteria that interests them.

This list turned out to have 26 summits on it and I completed the last one a few months back, which was an unnamed peak (W0C/SP-055). Fifteen of these were the first activations of those summits. Some of these have still not been activated by anyone else (except for Joyce K0JJW, who usually hikes with me).

Now that I have completed that list, I obviously need to create a new one. With all of the SOTA summits available in Colorado, I won’t run out of options any time soon.

73, Bob K0NR

The post Twenty Six SOTA Summits appeared first on The KØNR Radio Site.

Bob Witte, KØNR, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Colorado, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

More Autumn Antenna Adventures….

…with Arduino.

Last time I showed you how easy it is to hook up a relay to an Arduino MCU. Without some human control, however, it is a pretty useless setup. It needs switches and the switches most used in the Arduino world are momentary push buttons. They are versatile as just by altering some code you can change a momentary switch into a toggle switch or a rotary switch. Nifty! Hooking them up is not quite straightforward, though, because they need either a pull-up resistor or a pull-down resistor. The voltages on Arduinos I/O (input/output) pins alter between two states: 0 and +5 Volt. When an I/O pin is connected to either ground (pulled down, LOW) or +5V (pulled up, HIGH) by shorting a switch, this state is easily read by the Arduino. But when the switch is not shorted the I/O pin “floats” and its state is not certain due to electrical noise; it might be anywhere between 0 and +5V. It’s difficult to tell what the Arduino will read then: either HIGH or LOW, but this is anybody’s guess. To prevent this from happening both ground and +5V are connected to the switch to make sure the I/O pin will see two clear states. To prevent damage due to high currents a 10k resistor is added.

With that out of the way and everything hooked up the fun stuff can begin.
Just like last time we first define what I/O pins we use. Apart from the relayPin we now also have a buttonPin, namely A0. In the setup we now declare that buttonPin is used for INPUT, as we already defined that the relayPin is used as an OUTPUT pin.

The part which the Arduino loops through (over and over) looks a bit more complex now. It features an “if” statement:

if (digitalRead(buttonPin) == HIGH) {
digitalWrite(relayPin, HIGH);

This is not so difficult as it looks. In plain English it reads: “if you read out the buttonPin and it is equal to HIGH, execute the commands that are sandwiched in between { and }“. And the single command is the same as last time: write to the relayPin and make it active, or HIGH.

But what in other cases? That is the next part, which begins with “else“.

else {
digitalWrite(relayPin, LOW);

In all other cases make the relayPin LOW or inactive.

The result of all this you can see in the following short video.

Better, but still not useful enough. Once we release the button our relay also deactivates. A toggle switch is what is needed in this case, so let’s change the code and make it into one.

And this is where I find joy in working with Arduinos. With just three lines of code I can change the behaviour of a push button. There are loads of examples on the web that use lots more code to achieve the same result, but by being clever it can be done far more efficiently. Discovering this gives me the same kick as working a new DXCC entity, or building a circuit which works the first time. Although it almost wrecks my brain sometimes, the reward makes it all worth it.

Let’s take a quick look at the code. If the Arduino finds that the switch is activated, the buttonPin read HIGH. Only then execute a single command…

digitalWrite(relayPin, !digitalRead(relayPin));

Write to the relayPin and make it the opposite (!) of the state it is in when you read out the relayPin“. So when the relayPin is HIGH, make it LOW and vice versa. The exclamation mark is short for “not” or in this case “the opposite“. Even though we defined that the relayPin is used for OUTPUT, that doesn’t mean you can’t read the status of it. Genius, isn’t it?

To finish it off we add a little delay to prevent button bounce, because this will happen when you use momentary push buttons. (For Arduino purists: I know there are much better ways to combat button bounce – even hardware solutions – but for this article I’d like to keep things as simple as possible: KISS all over).

At the end of the day we now have one problem solved and our switchable loop antenna is one step closer to completion. The next problem: how to tune the loop?

Hans "Fong" van den Boogert, BX2ABT, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Taiwan. Contact him at [email protected].

LF Tests From WH2NXD / NI7J

For those of you with an interest in amateur LF work, you may be interested in the upcoming WSPR test  transmissions from Ron, WH2XND / NI7J, located in Phoenix, Arizona.

One of Ron's several experimental licences allows him to run as much as 10W ERP from 68-76 KHz. To generate this amount of ERP at 75 KHz requires a lot of power and I suspect that he will still be well under his licence limitations ... amateur-sized antennas are just not very efficient on these low fequencies.

Previous experiments a few years ago, at lower ERP, produced impressive results, as shown by one of the WSPRnet maps for an overnight session on 75.075 KHz.

Ron used one of the Hans Summers U3S transmitters to generate his LF WSPR signal, amplifying it with a 400W Hafler audio amplifier. This winter's tests will be at 800W, with a W1VD FET amplifier designed for VLF.

Ron's experimental licence also covers 470 - 495 KHz at a whopping 100W ERP and 130 - 140 KHz at 50W ERP ... some serious power.

You may also find Ron's interesting and well-illustrated website description of some experimental antenna work that he has been doing on MF, LF and what it takes to resonate a typical Marconi 'T' on these bands.

MF- LF 'T' Antenna At WH2XND

75 KHz Loading Coils!

Ron has tentatively chosen late November or early December for his 'almost' VLF tests and when the date and frequency are finalized, I will post the information here on the blog.

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

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