ICQ Podcast Episode 210 – Operating Portable

In this episode, Martin M1MRB / W9ICQ is joined by Leslie Butterfield G0CIB, Matthew Nassau M0NJX Andy Mace M0MUX to discuss the latest Amateur / Ham Radio news. Colin M6BOY rounds up the news in brief, and this episodes feature is Operating Portable.

  • New UK Ham Radio Guidance
  • Easier Ham Radio Authorization for Olympics
  • Ladyada Awarded Ham Radio License
  • Ham Radio Commutes and Secures West Bengal
  • Live Audio on DMR Brandmeister
  • Romania Hams Get 5 MHz Allocation
  • 50watts for Australian Foundation?

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

A CW contest surprise!

I was reading a fellow blogger Bob VA3QV post about the CQ WW CW 2015 contest and how he did in the contest. It got me thinking to head over to see how I did, I gave a rather part time effort and the conditions were not all that great...surprise surprise. Since moving into the condo I have not been giving the CW contests the effort I have in the past. I entered the contest Single op, QRP single band (15m). I read the results with shock........1st place in Canada, 10th in North America and 29th in the world. I was pleasantly surprised.

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

Amateur Radio Weekly – Issue 109

P5: Disease or Sickness?
It’s time for the ARRL to do the responsible thing and delete P5 from the DXCC list.

Breached secrecy foiled North Korea DXpedition, group leader says
“What we did not have was the support of those we asked to remain quiet, nor the support of anyone we asked for help with funding.”

Three new CubeSats now in orbit
Signals have been received from the three CubeSats launched April 25 on Soyuz flight VS14 from the Kourou spaceport in South America.

The Icom IC-7300 vs. Elecraft KX3: Which do you prefer for CW/SSB?
At the end of this post, I have an embedded a survey in which you can vote for the sample recordings you like best.
The SWLing Post

Power Genius XL sneak peak
This baby uses a pair of state-of-the-art LDMOS chips and cruises at 1,500 Watts 100% duty cycle (no worries in RTTY or JT65) and covers 160m to 6m.
With Varying Frequency

FCC Invites Comments to eliminate 15 dB gain limit on amplifiers
Expert maintains that the 15 dB gain limitation is an unneeded holdover from the days when amplifiers were less efficient and the FCC was attempting to rein in the use of Amateur Service amplifiers by Citizens Band operators.

USB soldering iron is surprisingly capable
We know what you’re thinking. There’s no way an 8 watt USB-powered soldering iron could be worth the $5 it commands on eBay.
Hack A Day

How the End-Fed antenna gets a bad reputation
When used in a shack you hear all manner of stories of how the end-fed random wire antenna absolutely reeks havoc with RF at the station. So what’s the deal?
Ham Radio QRP

Dissecting D-Star streams between reflectors
In preparation for some software development work contributing to XLX reflector software I wanted to disassemble the UDP stream exchanged between D-Star reflectors and a reflector and a connected node respectively.

W1UL free Ham license preparation
The W1UL method is a ham cram on steroids.
Ham Cram

Company settles charges of operating cellphone jammers
An Alabama company has agreed to pay $20,500 in civil penalties to settle charges that it illegally operated cellular phone jamming devices on its premises, in violation of FCC rules.

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.

CLE 206 Results

courtesy: http://www.solarham.net/

Propagation for last weekend's CLE activity was much better than anticipated. I had resigned myself to a weekend of poor propagation after reading gloomy reports of an impending coronal hole stream about to disturb the geomagnetic field once again. The image on the left came with storm warning alerts beginning on the 23rd, the first night of the CLE.

As I usually do, I retuned my inverted - 'L' close to the CLE frequency range and set up my Perseus SDR to make overnight recordings every hour.

I capture two-minute files on the hour and during the best propagation times (usually from midnight to dawn), every half hour as well. The next day I review the files, tuning through the band to see what has been captured overnight. As you might imagine, this can take some time but it allows me to take advantage of any propagation peaks that I might have missed had I been listening in real time for just an hour or two. It also allows me to get a good night's sleep!

Conditions were noisy, on all three nights, with lightning activity over the western states ... but for the most part had cleared up nicely after midnight. The last night (Sunday) saw the best overall propagation, even with a K index of 2. A very nice, but short-lived opening towards the east, brought an additional 18 more catches that had not been heard on the first two evenings, along with some nice NDB signals from Ontario.

23 07:30 198.0    DIW     Dixon, NC, USA
23 07:00 200.0    YJ         Victoria, BC, CAN
23 07:00 200.0    UAB     Anahim Lake, BC, CAN
23 07:00 200.0    5M        Sparwood, BC, CAN
23 07:00 201.0    ZWN    Winnipeg, MB, CAN
25 09:30 201.0    YKX      Kirkland Lake, ON, CAN
25 09:00 201.0    GL         La Grande Riviere, QC, CAN
23 10:00 203.0    ZKI       Kitimat, BC, CAN
23 10:00 203.0    YBL       Campbell River, BC, CAN
25 11:30 203.0    TCY       Tracy, CA, USA
25 09:30 203.0    AB         Aberdeen, SD, USA
23 10:00 204.0    ZQR       Regina, SK, CAN
23 10:00 205.0    COR       Corcoran, CA, USA
25 09:00 206.0    XBE        Bearskin Lake, ON, CAN
24 12:00 206.0    SOW      Show Low, AZ, USA
25 09:00 206.0    IIB          Independence, IA, USA
23 10:00 206.0    EF          Castlegar, BC, CAN
24 05:00 207.0    YNE       Norway House, MB, CAN
23 04:00 207.0    PY          Fort Chipewyan, AB, CAN
25 07:30 208.0    YSK       Sanikiluaq, NU, CAN
25 10:00 209.0    ITR        Burlington, CO, USA
23 07:00 209.0    IB          Atikokan, ON, CAN
23 12:00 209.0    CYT      Yakataga, ALS
23 06:00 211.0    HDG      Gooding, ID, USA
23 06:00 212.0    YGX       Gillam, MB, CAN
25 09:00 212.0    MPZ       Mount Pleasant, IA, USA
23 12:00 212.0    CGL        Juneau, ALS
23 06:00 214.0    LU          Abbotsford, BC, CAN
23 10:00 215.0    ZAB       Edmonton (Intl Apt), AB, CAN
25 09:00 215.0    AT         Watertown, SD, USA
25 08:30 216.0    YFA       Fort Albany, ON, CAN
23 07:30 216.0    GRF        Fort Lewis, WA, USA
23 07:30 216.0    CLB        Wilmington, NC, USA
23 12:00 217.0    EC           Enoch, UT, USA
24 07:30 218.0    RL           Red Lake, ON, CAN
23 12:00 218.0    PR          Prince Rupert, BC, CAN
23 07:00 219.0    ZRS        Regina, SK, CAN
23 07:00 221.0    QU         Grande Prairie, AB, CAN
23 07:00 221.0    9A          Hanna, AB, CAN
23 07:00 222.0    WY         Wrigley, NT, CAN
25 09:00 223.0    YYW       Armstrong, ON, CAN
23 07:00 223.0    YKA        Kamloops, BC, CAN
23 12:00 223.0    AFE         Kake Apt, ALS
25 09:00 224.0    MO          Moosonee, ON, CAN
23 07:30 224.0    DN          Dauphin, MB, CAN
23 07:00 225.0    X5           Vegreville, AB, CAN
23 12:00 225.0    LWG       Corvallis, OR, USA
25 09:00 227.0    YAC        Cat Lake, ON, CAN
25 11:00 227.0    MHM      Minchumina, ALS
23 07:30 227.0    CG           Castlegar, BC, CAN
23 07:30 227.0    9X           Brooks, AB, CAN
23 12:00 229.0    AKW      Klawock, ALS
23 09:30 230.0    YD           Smithers, BC, CAN
23 09:30 230.0    VG           Vermilion, AB, CAN
23 09:30 230.0    BI            Bismarck, ND, USA
25 09:00 233.0    QN          Nakina, ON, CAN
23 07:30 233.0    OKS        Oshkosh, NE, USA
23 09:00 233.0    BR          Brandon, MB, CAN
23 12:00 233.0    ALJ        Hinchinbrook Island, ALS
24 07:00 236.0    ZHT       Winnipeg IAP, MB, CAN
23 07:00 236.0    YZA       Ashcroft, BC, CAN
25 09:30 236.0    JB           Whitehorse, YT, CAN
24 07:30 236.0    FOR        Forsyth, MT, USA
23 10:00 238.0    MPA       Nampa, ID, USA
23 05:00 239.0    OJ           High Level, AB, CAN
25 10:30 239.0    BBB        Benson, MN, USA

courtesy: https://www.google.ca/maps/
One of the signals I did not expect to hear at this time of the year was MHM, Minchumina, Alaska, on 227kHz. This one is only heard once or twice per season, and propagation to Alaska has to be much better than normal for MHM to be heard.

Hopefully you can jump in for next month's CLE activity. The CLE 206 listening results for all North American listeners and those outside of Europe can be found here.

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

Just the medicine for lowering impedance

Pill bottle balun

Jack-WD4E is a fellow NAQCC member and he sent me one of his QRP creations that I just had to share.

If you are staying on your meds you probably have the perfect enclosure for a QRP Balun.

If I could save RF in a bottle...
Jack encloses his home-brew wound toroids in pill bottles.  
The child and arthritis proof cap keeps the goods away from young and old alike...

Just what the doctor prescribed...

So re-purpose your medicare paid goodness and put it to work for you

Sorry all you entrepreneurs, Jack told me that he's already applied for the patent so you won't be competing with Facebook with this product idea.  He owns it.

That's all for now

So lower your power and raise your expectations


Richard Carpenter, AA4OO, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from North Carolina, USA. Contact him at [email protected].


As I have been documenting on the blog I have really been having fun using a straight key and chasing other SKCC members on the band.  Right now I have worked 78 members, I just need 22 more to get my Centurion award.

On the way to this achievement I was able to work enough unique call prefixes to earn the PFX award.  The basic way this works is that each unique call sign prefix is equal in points to their SKCC number.  For example my SKCC number is 8033, so my N0 prefix would be worth 8,033 points.
For this first award you need to collect 500,000 points - which I have been able to do.
If you enjoy CW and want to work a bunch or really nice guys, and great operators you really need to get involved with this club.  It is FREE to get involved with.  Just visit http://www.skccgroup.com and get your number! 

Burke Jones, NØHYD, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Kansas, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

Music To My Ears

In my 'other' life, before retiring, I taught high school for 35 years. I soon became tired of doing my nightly lesson preps and marking of papers on the kitchen table so I built a large oak roll-top style desk, but without the 'roll' part.
It had lots of drawers, both big and small, slots and cubby-holes, and made the nightly homework very much more enjoyable.

The left end of the desk was occupied by my Sony ICF -2010 and above it, on the desk's top shelf, was a small amplified and tuneable ferrite loop antenna. The Sony was tuned to the 500kHz international MF 'distress' frequency, which was mainly used as a CW calling frequency for ships wishing to work the coastal traffic handling stations. Once contact was established, stations would move to the 'QSS' working frequency used by the coastal, so that the distress frequency was not tied-up.

As I sat at the desk doing my nightly prep, the silence would be broken every few minutes with the sound of a CW caller, either a coastal or a ship. It was music to my ears.

On a normal night, the numerous coastals could be heard with their periodic traffic lists interspersed with ships up and down the coast calling with traffic or weather reports. However, on a really good winter night, the frequency was almost constantly abuzz with CW. Ships, as well as the coastals, could be heard from the Gulf of Alaska down to the Gulf of Mexico ... as far west as the Hawaiin Islands and on really rare nights, along the eastern U.S. seaboard. On those nights, 500kHz would sound like 20m CW, even on my little Sony and desktop loop.

Thanks to the forethought of those that had the good sense to record some of those amazing sounds, you can step back in time and listen to what '500' sounded like back in its prime ... recorded somewhere in western Europe.

The most recent 630m crossband activity brought back these pleasant memories of what the band could sound like at times, with several very strong VE7's and a few weaker U.S. experimental stations to the south, all busily calling CQ at the same time on various frequencies. I consider it a huge privilege to be able to operate on this much revered part of the radio spectrum ... one steeped in such great CW tradition.

I think it won't be too long before 630m will sound much like its old glory days again ... and wouldn't that be a wonderful thing.

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

Subscribe FREE to AmateurRadio.com's
Amateur Radio Newsletter

We never share your e-mail address.

Do you like to write?
Interesting project to share?
Helpful tips and ideas for other hams?

Submit an article and we will review it for publication on AmateurRadio.com!

Are you a reporter covering ham radio?
Find ham radio experts for your story.

How to Set Up a Ham Radio Blog
Get started in less than 15 minutes!

  • Matt W1MST, Managing Editor

Sign up for our free
Amateur Radio Newsletter

Enter your e-mail address:



Allham and no !