Army-Navy Crossband

Yesterday's mail brought an official - looking envelope from the U.S. Army! It contained a very nice letter from Fort Huachuca, Arizona, thanking me for participating in the '66th Military-Amateur Crossband Test' as well as three QSL's for the Army-affiliated contacts that I had made back in May.

During the activity, I was able to work Army stations AAZ (AZ), WAR (Pentagon), WUG-2 (TN) ... all on 20m via the crossband mode as the military stations transmitted outside of the band.

In addition to these three, two Navy stations were worked ... NWVC (IN) and NPD (TN) but it appears that 'Army' has beaten 'Navy' ... at least when it comes to QSL'ing!

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

156th Anniversary

It was this time of year, from August 28th to September 2nd, 1859 that the Earth experienced what was to be known as The Carrington Event. On September 1st, a sloar flare was observed by two British amateur astronomers, Richard Carrington and Richard Hodgson.

This was a coronal mass ejection that occurred during Cycle 10. It was a solar storm of such great intensity that reportedly, people as far south in Florida and Cuba were reporting that were able to see aurora. In the Rockies, gold miners woke up in the middle of the night and started preparing breakfast because they thought it was daybreak. The aurora was so bright here in the northeast, that people outside were able to read newspapers by the aurora's glow.

Telegraph stations (our forerunners) were hit particularly hard. It was reported that some telegraph poles threw sparks into the air. Telegraph operators reported that not only did they receive shocks when they tried to operate, but that they were also able to continue to operate their telegraph apparatus after disconnecting it from the power supply.

I can only imagine the damage that would occur today if we suffered a direct blast from the sun as we did in 1859. I'm pretty sure that not only would the power grid be very badly affected, but that telephone and radio communications of all types would probably be non-existent, and much, much more.

Here are some interesting links:

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Larry Makoski, W2LJ, is a regular contributor to and writes from New Jersey, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

2m Big Wheel

Steve G1KQH has requested that I blog this to say how it performs.

As my health is still not good I bought mine from Wimo in Germany, but with some aluminium tubing, some insulating material and a little skill, making your own should be straightforward. Being in the EC, imports from Germany already have VAT applied and there was no import duty. However the Wimo big-wheel, although well engineered, was not cheap. As purchased, it comes partly assembled for 2m but the 70cm version is sold ready made. The well packed antenna arrived from Wimo in Germany in about 7 days. There were instructions in German and English.

My 2m version had to have the elements attached. It is very easy to miss the screw holes and not assemble it correctly. There were no instructions for the mounting bracket, but this was straight forward enough. Overall, even with my poor health assembly took about 10 minutes

When first installed on my temporary mast my SWR (as indicated on the FT817) was rather high. Carefully bending the elements and adjusting the orientation of the matching stub brought this way down and I left it with 1-2 blobs showing on the FT817. The gain is claimed as around 3dBD horizontal.

In use it proved great: I worked all the stations I had previously worked on the halo (and others) with better reports in last night's 2m UKAC session. Best DX was 181km. In 52 minutes I worked 10 SSB stations. I was using 5W pep from the FT817. The antenna is fed with a length of RG213 (9mm diameter) coax. Not having to rotate the antenna is a great advantage. I received stations in Belgium and Holland, but did not work these in the short time I was "on air". I am sure that a lot more squares would have been worked had I stayed on for longer.  What was nice was being able to hear the activity all around and not having to turn the antenna at all. Ideally it should be used in conjunction with a beam, but the big-wheel suits my style of casual operating well.

Would I recommend a 2m big-wheel? Yes!

Roger Lapthorn, G3XBM, is a regular contributor to and writes from Cambridge, England.

The Spectrum Monitor — September, 2015


Stories you’ll find in our August, 2015 issue:

AFN: The Biggest Network You’ve Never Heard or Seen
By Richard Fisher KI6SN

Originally begun as Armed Forces Radio Service (AFRS) in 1942 and intended to provide news and entertainment from “back home” to US service personnel stationed in the war zones of World War II, the American Forces Network (AFN) now provides 12 music, news and sports audio services, seven TV services and a program guide to US bases globally. Over the years, AFN’s mission has evolved along with the technology used to deliver the programming. With headquarters in Riverside, California, Richard Fisher took a tour of AFN facilities that produce programming seen only by those in uniform and discovered close connection between AFN and Hollywood.

Ultra-light Radio: Doing more with Less
By Gary Donnelly KC8IQZ

Many shortwave listeners scoff at low-ticket, shirt-pocket sized, no-frills portable radios as inadequate at best for the job of DXing the AM and HF bands. But, a loyal group of adherents to Ultra-light Radios (ULR) are finding that these insignificant seeming radios deserve space in any listening post. Gary shows us the ins and outs of ULR DXing and how these diminutive receivers can deliver surprising results with and without modifications.

MultiPSK: A Digital Diamond in the Rough
By Robert Gulley AK3Q

There are many digital programs available for amateur and shortwave radio listeners, from individual modes to all-in-one packages, but with MultiPSK, Robert has found a real treasure. He calls this a “diamond in the rough” because, for many folks, the initial configuration and program screens seem, at best, awkward. We have become used to very glamorous graphical user interfaces, with ribbon bars and lots of bells and whistles. By comparison, MultiPSK seems rather barren but, Robert tells us, nothing could be further from the truth!

Outernet: Bringing Free, Global, One-way Internet Content to the World via FTA Satellite
By Kenneth Barbi

Calling itself “Humanity’s Public Library,” Outernet is an ambitious public service project designed to provide free access to information to those not served by extensive Internet infrastructure. To do so, Outernet founder, Syed Karim, has implemented a global data delivery system using existing Ku-band geosynchronous satellites. He says, the concept is a repurposing of existing computer and Free-to-Air (FTA) satellite technology—“a mix between modern day shortwave radio and BitTorrrent from space.”

Summer Radios and Some are Not
By Cory GB Sickles WA3UVV

A few new digital-capable 2-meter/70-cm transceivers have made their debut this summer, but Cory finds that there is more than one way to get into digital voice on amateur radio, including a mash up of various low cost digital devices you might already have around the house. He also makes sense of the alphabet of digital voice modes: DMR, LMR, D-STAR, NXDN, NXREF, WIRES-X and the use of DV Dongles.

Scanning America By Dan Veenaman
Maine’s Statewide MSCommNet

Federal Wavelengths By Chris Parris
Navy Enterprise System in the Pacific Northwest

Utility Planet By Hugh Stegman NV6H
This isn’t your Father’s COTHEN

Digital HF: Intercept and Analyze By Mike Chace-Ortiz AB1TZ/G6DHU
Listening in to US Embassies and Consulates on HF Radio

HF Utility Logs By Mike Chace-Ortiz and Hugh Stegman

Amateur Radio Insights By Kirk Kleinschmidt NT0Z
The Great Equalizer

Radio 101 By Ken Reitz KS4ZR
The $80 E-reader/Ham/SWL Decoder, that comes with a Free Camera

Radio Propagation By Tomas Hood NW7US
Let’s Talk about this Hot Sun

The World of Shortwave Listening By Jeff White, General Manager WRMI
Another One Bites the Dust: International Radio Serbia closes its doors for good, but is shortwave really doomed?

The Shortwave Listener By Fred Waterer
Radio Tirana, Radio Serbia Remembered

Amateur Radio Astronomy By Keith Baker KB1SF/VA3KSF
Yet More Flight Opportunities

The Longwave Zone By Kevin O’Hern Carey WB2QMY
Comings and Goings

Adventures in Radio Restoration By Rich Post KB8TAD
A Classic Pair of Heath Hi-Fi Twins Part 2: The AA-151 Amp

The Broadcast Tower By Doug Smith W9WI
More on WOWO; New FMs and Coax

Antenna Connections By Dan Farber AC0LW
Stealthy Green Jolly Loop: At Last

The Spectrum Monitor is available in PDF format which can be read on any desktop, laptop, iPad®, Kindle® Fire, or other device capable of opening a PDF file. Annual subscription (12 issues, beginning with the January 2015 issue) is $24. Individual monthly issues are available for $3 each.

Ken Reitz, KS4ZR, is publisher and managing editor of The Spectrum Monitor. Contact him at [email protected].

August came and went…

Somehow, I managed a month without any real Amateur radio activity, the MDT kit remains unbuilt!

August is always a month when we have to entertain our youngest daughter, keeping her active during the school holiday proves harder each year as she gets older, especially when it doesn't seem we have had any real Summer to help us along.

The best day out was a trip up to Blackpool, we do this trip every year,  taking the train from Stafford, and heading North, changing at Crewe, and on to Preston.


We like it up here spending the day walking the Golden Mile, the people are always friendly and the food great! There are lots of interesting little shops not just on the sea front, but also in the back streets which we like to peruse at our leisure. I know there is Amateur Radio activity up here from the front sometime close to the water, but I didn't see any sign of anyone.

Getting back into Amateur routine along with other chores the Autumn approaches and the MDT kit has to be built during the next few weeks.  I have no planned visits to any rally in the next few months, so I decided to make a little purchase from Martin Lynch & Sons  the Wouxun KG-UV8D, Handheld, 2.5K step version has been dropped in price making it a very attractive purchase for £69 including FREE shipping to UK. This beats any best ebay price I have seen, and makes it easier should it have to be returned under warranty. I ordered one at the weekend, I expect it will arrive about Wednesday, as today is a Bank holiday here in the UK when most take a rest, or extend their weekend break, as it is the last Bank holiday now before Christmas.

I look forward to making a few tests with the Wouxun comparing it with one or two other handhelds,  taking it out on location.

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

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