The 'Co-ordinated Listening Event' might more aptly be called the 'Cursed Listening Event' as once again the same large coronal hole (shown above) that has been present for several solar rotations seems to be more disruptive than ever. The subsequent higher than normal solar wind speeds causing widespread auroral conditions and elevated K indices have pretty much made a mess of MF and HF radio for the past several days.
NDB-band recordings made with the Perseus SDR for the three-night event turned up very little activity other than a few strange hot-spots. Both 'OIN' in Kansas and 'CC' in California were strong on all three nights! Nothing from eastern Canada was heard and one of Alaska's strongest signals, 'ELF', was barely detected. Only the following few stations were logged:
23 08:00 341.0 ELF Cold Bay, ALS
22 06:00 338.0 ZU Whitecourt, AB, CAN
22 06:00 343.0 YZH Slave Lake, AB, CAN
22 04:00 344.0 YC Calgary, AB, CAN
22 12:00 338.0 RYN Tucson, AZ, USA
22 04:00 344.0 XX Abbotsford, BC, CAN
22 12:00 335.0 CC Concord, CA, USA
22 10:00 344.0 FCH Fresno, CA, USA
22 08:00 341.0 OIN Oberlin, KS, USA
22 04:00 344.0 BKU Baker, MT, USA
24 08:00 335.0 BK Brookings, SD, USA
22 04:00 347.0 PA Prince Albert, SK, CAN
22 08:00 338.0 K Port Angeles, WA, USA
22 04:00 348.0 MNC Shelton, WA, USA
22 05:00 341.0 DB Burwash, YT, CAN
I suspect the this same coronal hole will be with us for several more rotations ... perhaps it's time fool Ol' Sol and stagger our CLE's 28-day cycle so it doesn't continue go sync-up with poor band conditions but somehow I think that Murphy might not be so easily duped!
Steve McDonald, VE7SL, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from British Columbia, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].
|Starting out on my cool walk|
|CHA P-Loop antenna|
Mike Weir, VE3WDM, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Ontario, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].
After last weekends disappointment I had purchased a new Baofeng UV-82L dual band for the princely sum of £27 from eBay to replace the suspect UV-5R. It certainly seems more sensitive when receiving and the transmit audio is loud and clear.
With the 'flower-pot' antenna in the rucksack I spent the walk monitoring the local repeaters (and could hear the regular idents) as well as the calling channels. I was putting out the odd call (with little success) when we stopped to allow the wife to search for the geocaches.
|One man and his dogs|
I had been spurned on to have a go at an activation after watching a video of Michael Sansom's (G0POT) presentation on the SOTA scheme for the Chertsey Radio Club. The video is available online here and Michael has written an excellent companion introduction to SOTA on his website http://peanutpower.co.uk/sota
|View across to radar station on Normanby Top|
|Saw some spectacular jumping skills|
|Section of the 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map|
To the South of the summit is a road with an air-traffic control radar station. We parked up near this impressive structure to have some very late lunch (time had flown by)
|Radar Station on Normanby Top|
I had a friendly chat with him and he was fully aware of what I was doing and had no issues having met other activators in the past. He also gave me permission to walk across his land up to the trig-point if I wanted to. As I've mentioned it isn't on a public right of way but said he is more than happy for people to go to the trig-point providing they ask at the farm before hand and take home all their rubbish, unfortunately he has some recent problems with inconsiderate litterers.
I decided to decamped and following his instructions to a gap in the fence and set off to the trig-point which was a little bit further away and a little steeper than I thought, but it didn't help I was carrying a half made up antenna, poles and a bag full of kit and my not inconsiderate bulk! Anyway I got there but due to us running already behind schedule and my change of location it was getting late in the day and was nearly 5pm.
|Trig-point and radar station behind|
I had taken my Yaesu FT-857D, two 7Ahr SLA batteries, fibreglass pole, antennas for 20m/40m HF, 2m SSB and 2m/70cm FM. Yes I'd travelled light! Having some lovely clear views all around I decided to try some 2m 'line of sight' contacts.
I put up the Sandpiper Delta Beam for SSB (horizontal) and my 'flower-pot' dual band for FM (vertical) on a fishing pole. The wind had started to pick up and I'd not got any proper bungee cords (doh!) so I lashed it up using guy ropes around the pillar.
|It was straighter than this before I went to take photo|
|View North (Humber to the top left)|
I really enjoyed myself but wished I'd allowed myself more time, this was in part because it was a late decision in the week to tack the 'summit' on the end of a day out walking and changing my mind to actually go to the summit given the chance but it was nice to do that for my first SOTA but I really need to get the hang of travelling light.
|Back down and met by the wife who wanted her shopping bag back|
"Geocaching is like a high tech Easter egg hunt. People hide caches – waterproof containers containing a logbook and maybe some little trinkets – and then post the GPS coordinates to a Web site like geocaching.com. Others will search the site for caches in an area of interest, then use their own GPS (and intuition and woodcraft skills) to try to find them. Anyone who finds a cache signs the logbook, may take one of the trinkets and/or leave a new one, then goes back to the Web site and reports that they found that cache. There’s quite a community of geocachers, and it’s been going on for over a decade."
Andrew Garratt, MØNRD, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from East Midlands, England. Contact him at [email protected].
In a rare moment of rashness I decided to not do any building work today on the summer house. Partly because its nearly finished and partly because Mrs g7kse was sent to the builders yard for 5off sheets of 22m ply and came back with 10 bags of gravel. So as punishment she had to do something construction-like with it. I on the other hand spent a few hours /p in a new venture I’m calling ‘summat on the air?’ There are a few rules to follow.
- You have to be /p – Its best if you walk up a nice hill that may or may not be a summit, hump, lump, fell or other such designation.
- Take a radio and antenna. Set this up in the usual manner.
- Tune about for around an hour, call CQ a few times but in general the idea is that you don’t have a QSO. Or if you do it needs to be with a contest station who is rattling off CW as if it was some kind of percussive attack.
- Enjoy the view, this is imperative.
- Go home and question if you’ve broken something in your rig / antenna / key / brain etc
Here’s a few photo’s to remind me of today’s events. I’m sure you’ll agree that St Bees head is a nice place. There’s an old wartime lookout post (which must have been miserable) and a nice view towards the Isle of Man to the wets and the Lakeland fells to the south and east.
A little postscript….
The Cumbrian dialect has many variations. To the outsider they all sound a bit similar so to help the Cumbrian Dictionary will help you understand. So I have taken this from the dictionary to help:
summat1.(noun. summert) something, e.g. There must be summat wrang, he can normally mek it ower yon yat easy = I think something is amiss as he is usually able to jump that gate with ease.
My favourite word is ‘dookers’ if you were interested….eh?
Alex Hill, G7KSE, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Cumbria, UK. Contact him at [email protected].
|New IC chip installed|
|With added volume and headphone jack|
Mike Weir, VE3WDM, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Ontario, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].
Low-Cost 10 GHz SSB Receiver
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Tracking North Korean Numbers
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Apollo 16, 45th Anniversary Special Event
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Mastr 3 UHF Low Pass Filter Testing
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Morsum Magnificat available for free download
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Packet Pad app
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Installing A Mag Mount On A Fiberglass RV Roof
The Motorhome Ham Station starts to come along.
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.
Joyce (K0JJW) and I were driving back to Colorado from Texas on Highway 87 that goes right past Capulin Mountain in the Capulin Volcano National Monument. Capulin is a dormant volcano with a large crater on top, a great place to visit if you ever in the area. Oh, and it’s a Summits On The Air (SOTA) peak, too (W5N/SG-009). Obviously, I thought it was a great opportunity to activate it for SOTA. There’s only one problem: this summit is out in the middle of nowhere so making some contacts on 2 meters was not going to be easy. (Yeah, I have been doing SOTA activations only on VHF.) In many locations, I just put out a call (or many calls) on 146.52 MHz and I eventually get my 4 QSOs to qualify for SOTA activation points. This works near populated areas and places where there is significant tourist traffic.
Capulin Mountain is in NE New Mexico, about 150 miles from Colorado Springs, 200 miles from Denver and about 190 miles to Albuquerque. These distances are all workable with a decent weak-signal station on 2 meters. But I was going to be operating at QRP power levels and a small 3-element yagi antenna. I concluded that this activation was still possible but it depended on getting some of the weak-signal VHF guys on the air so I had someone to work. So I put the word out to some of the VHF enthusiasts in the Rocky Mountain area asking for help. I received a good response which was encouraging so I published a schedule for Tuesday afternoon, starting at 19:30 UTC, 1:30 pm local.
The national monument is easy to access, just a few miles from the highway. I have an annual national parks pass, so we did not have to pay an entrance fee. This satellite photo of the monument, shows the crater and the access road that winds around it. The parking area is visible on the west side of the crater (zoom in).
The parking lot is not within the SOTA activation zone, but an easy hike up the ridge got us to the summit. For VHF, I wanted to be as high as possible anyway with a 360-degree view. There is a trail that goes completely around the crater rim, also crossing the summit. It is a short hike on a paved trail, a bit steep in spots but nothing difficult. We did encounter some extremely annoying gnats that swarmed around us the entire time.
We got to the summit earlier than planned, around 17:30 UTC, started calling on 146.52 fm and 144.200 ssb without much luck. Finally, I caught WE7L in Elizabeth, CO (DM79) on 2m cw at 19:05 utc. He was weak but very readable. I think I was pointing the antenna a little too far east…later he came in stronger when I directed the antenna further west. After that I worked Arne N7KA (DM65) near Albuquerque and K9VSW (DM76) near Taos. Once I got my antenna zero’d in on K9VSW, I was able to work him on ssb. Some time later, I heard Lou K0RI calling from the Colorado Springs area. He was loud enough that I heard him off the side of the antenna, still pointed at Albuquerque. Lou was running 160w to a 17-element 2M5WL yagi at 75 feet.
I heard some other stations but was not able to work them. The challenge was quite clear: most VHF enthusiasts are running 150W or more of RF power, while I had the FT-817 max’d out at 5W. This is quite an imbalance, easier for me to hear them than they could hear me. Clearly, cw saved the day, punching through with minimal signal levels.
My best DX for the day was N7KA at 229 miles. Actually, this is an all time best distance for me on 2m while doing a SOTA activation. I recently worked W9RM from Mount Herman at 170 miles and was pretty happy with that. We had signal to spare that day, so I figured I could do better. Also, I had previously worked 160 miles using FM between two Colorado 14ers. See
Pikes Peak to Mt Sneffels – 160 Miles.
I really, really, really appreciate the hams that got on the air to try and work me on Capulin. I could not have activated the summit without those skilled radio operators and their capable VHF stations.
73, Bob K0NR
Bob Witte, KØNR, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Colorado, USA. Contact him at [email protected].