Radio Scouting Adventure


The Jamboree-on-the-Air, or JOTA, is an annual Scouting event that uses amateur radio to link Scouts around the world, around the nation, and in your own community. Held on the third full weekend of October each year, this worldwide jamboree requires no travel, other than to a nearby radio amateur’s ham shack. Many times the hams will come to you by setting up at a Scout camporee, or perhaps they already have a ham shack at your council’s camp. There are many ways to get your Scouts involved in JOTA.

I look forward to monitoring IRLP reflector 9091 for JOTA traffic all day.

Filed under: Ham Radio Tagged: irlp, jota

Jeff Davis, KE9V, is a regular contributor to and writes from Indiana, USA.

Amateur Radio Newsline Report 1940 October 17 2014

  • Ham radio is first responder as cyclone batters India coastline
  • Russian over the horizon RADAR interfere with the 15 meter band
  • Hams on stand-by for severe weather in the Caribbean and the Pacific
  • UK Full license class holders get access to more spectrum on 2 meters
  • Ham radio moon orbiter to head into space on October 23rd
  • Guess what’s keeping a radio relay station in Hawaii from being repaired

Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF, is the co-founder and producer of Amateur Radio Newsline. Contact him at [email protected].

Perseus Video Recording

After viewing so many interesting YouTube videos of various Perseus DX catches, I realized that my present method, using just my I-pad, had to change.

I asked a few of the folks that had been posting high-quality captures, what method they were using, and learned a bit about "screen recording" software. These programs allow you to capture, in reasonable definition video, exactly what is appearing on your computer this case, the Perseus user interface.
I ran across several freeware offerings, all requiring downloading and installation but reviews of most showed problems ranging from excessive malware along with the software, embedded viruses and glitchy performance issues.

I then came upon an online screen recorder called "Screenr" which required no downloading, no sign-up and had rave reviews from several sources. Screenr allows you to capture up to five minutes of video per file and then to either save it on your own system in .mp4 format for editing, upload it to a host of social media sites or directly to YouTube.

I fired-up Perseus and then Screenr to gave it a try. The first thing that popped-up was an adjustable frame that allows you to size your video so that just the wanted subject is visible and any additional screen clutter is not included.

As a test, I made two recordings and uploaded them to YouTube. To my delight, it all worked quickly and seamlessly although it seems that I need to do further experimenting with my audio level settings.

The first video shows two new broadcast band catches that were logged this week, using the new loop pointed to the east. KRJO in Monroe, Louisiana (1 kW) and CHTO in Toronto (1 kW) both in the top-end of the band.

The second video shows my two favorite NDB-band propagation indicators... AA (365 kHz) near Fargo on the ND/MN border as well as little 25-watter, YLJ (406 kHz) in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan. Either of these make fine prop indicators for the 630m as well and can be heard from both the east and the west parts of the country.

The bottom line is that Screenr seems to work extremely well and is an excellent way of saving some of your SDR catches for web or blog site posting. As well, it could be used for making voice-narrated instructional videos limited only by your gets a 5 out of 5 from me!

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


Just a reminder. I will be on the air tonight (Wednesday) and tomorrow night (Thursday) as N2A, the NAQCC Special Event Station from 0000 to 0200 UTC on or about 7.040 MHz.  That's the plan, anyway. Mother Nature might have other plans as a cold front is about to march through our area. I am hoping that the thunderstorms they are predicting are a "no-show".  Sooooooo, listen for me on 40 Meters and I will hand you NAQCC #1100 and a short QSO.

On Friday night, from 0000 to 0300 UTC, I will be on 80 Meters on or about 3.560 MHz.  I hope to be busy for the whole time - sending CQ over and over without any responses is about as exciting as watching grass grow or paint dry.  I will spot myself on QRPSPOTS. So please, keep me company if you can.

I will schedule some time Friday afternoon as it becomes available.

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].

Ever wondered what I&Q are?

I was after a really good explanation of what the I & Q were when talking about SDR. These are better tan anything I could come up with. Thanks W2AEW!

Alex Hill, G7KSE, is a regular contributor to and writes from Cumbria, UK. Contact him at [email protected].


Congratulations are in order to fellow QRPer and blogger, John N8ZYA. In an e-mail this morning from the President of the NAQCC, Paul Huff N8XMS, it was announced that John has been selected to serve as the new Vice-President of that fine organization.

A most appropriate and deserving choice!

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].

AmateurLogic 71: Our 9th Anniversary

Episode 71 is On-The-Air ...

AmateurLogic.TV Episode 71 is now available for download.

It’s ALTV’s 9th Anniversary. We give away the IC-7100 complete mobile outfit.
Tommy talks about Dynamic DNS and when to use it.
Peter prepares for his balloon flight.
George presents his CheapoDuino scaled down Arduino Uno clone.
Plus what we’ve been up to…



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].


This week, from October 13th to the 19th, the North American QRP CW Club (NAQCC) is celebrating the 10th Anniversary of its founding.  There will be N#A stations on the air - N1A, N2A, N3A - all the way through N0A.

Yours truly will be on the air as N2A as follows:

October 16th - from 0000 to 0200 UTC on 7.040 MHz  (Wednesday evening EDT)
October 17th - from 0000 to 0200 UTC on 7.040 MHz  (Thursday evening EDT)
October 18th - from 0000 to 0300 UTC on 3.560 MHz  (Friday evening EDT)

Coincidentally, I will be taking a vacation day from work this Friday, October 17th - so after some chores, I will probably get on during the day to try and work some of the higher bands.

As you can see from the table, I was on 20 Meters last night. It was dead - deader than a door nail! So towards the end of my shift, I checked with the Reverse Beacon Network to make sure that there were no N2A stations on 80 Meters and I shifted over there. It was better. Not much, but I did manage to make a few QSOs.

For all the information about the NAQCC's Anniversary celebration, you can go to  All the QSL information is there. To see a list of activity that's already been planned, go to  Keep in mind, this is activity that has been pre-scheduled to this point. More will be added as operator's personal time permits. I know that I probably won't be able to add my additional Friday or Saturday daytime operating time until relatively close to when it's actually going to happen. In addition, I'm not sure that I will operate from home or perhaps the local park. So check the schedule often as it will most likely be amended - a lot!

As I mentioned before, another good tool to check for NAQCC Anniversary activity is to simply go over to the Reverse Beacon Network and simply plug in the N#A call for any, or perhaps the particular district your interested in QSOing with. For example, just enter N2A where it says "search spot by callsign" under the map. That will tell you where WA2NYY, WK2T, K2YGM or myself happen to be at any particular moment.

Oh, and if you try to work me as N2A, please be patient! I am trying to make these QSOs just a tad more than "TNX UR 599, 73 DE N2A". Not ragchews, per se, but definitely more than get-it-done-with-quick. 

UPDATE: Thanks to the following, who kept me company during lunch and got in a QSO with N2A (me) in the process - Steve AB0XE, Andy KD4UKW, Anthony KK4VAU,  Van N4ERM - all on 20 Meters - 14.060 MHz. Oh, and Van ..... not sure what you were using as far as rigs go, but your signal almost made my earbuds pop out - 599 +++!  Great signal from North Carolina!

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].

Reaching the halfway point

At the conclusion of tonight's SPARC Technician License course, we will have reached the halfway point.  Four sessions down with four to go and then the exams on the night of November 18th.  There is soooo much to cover and so many questions to answer.  Each session is supposed to end at 9:00 PM but except for one, they have all gone over.

In between classes, our students are supposedly doing their reading and we advised them to really begin with the online tests, if they haven't already.  They know enough by now, that they should be able to at least get a 50%. I have also been e-mailing video links to them, giving them You Tube videos to watch that hopefully might augment the material we covered in class the previous week.

All this makes me wonder how useful are those HamCram classes that you read about.  I've been a VE at a couple and they seem successful enough.  I am told that the way it is supposed to work is that the students study the license manual and do all the reading on their own for 8 weeks prior to the cram session. Then the all day (or two day) cram session winds up being a "super review" session where the material is gone over, reinforced, and any questions or unclear concepts are made crystal.

I'm not sure that would have worked for me back in the day when I became a Novice. I liked the fact that there was a licensed Ham that I could go to each week to have as a resource to answer the questions I had  - and there were plenty. Plus the fact we had to learn Morse, we needed that weekly encouragement with that, also.

Even though our students are sharp, they still have questions. We clear them up the best we can, so they can move on to the next batch of material without unsettled concepts lurking around in the back of their minds. I'd hate to think of how I'd spend a day (or two) answering 8 weeks worth of unanswered questions!

I suppose if you're a real disciplined, self-starter type that doesn't need the occasional nudge, then a HamCram might work well for you.  I am happy with our format, though. I like the idea of getting to know our students over the 8 week period and helping them feel like they're being welcomed into the Amateur Radio community.  I am hoping that these students will become way more than that, that they will become my friends who I will get to know even better, and share laughs and Amateur Radio adventures with in the years to come.

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].

Planting New Radials

With the return of cooler weather and a few overnight rainy periods, the brown summer-lawn has suddenly turned green and is growing far too fast once again. I find this time of the year, as well as early spring, the best time to plant any new radials that I like to continuously add to my vertical antenna systems. My large inverted 'L' for 2200/630m as well as my half-slopers for 160, 80 and 40m, all have a common base, which lets all of the antennas benefit from the radials laying just beneath the lawn.

The procedure I follow is fairly easy but does take time and I usually just add four or five each year. Although I haven't kept an accurate count, I know the system now has fifty or more radials varying from 30' to 70',  fanning out in various directions from the base of my main tower.

The terminated end of the radial is first pinned-down using a U nail or a longer 3 1/2" galvanized finishing nail that has been bent over in the vise, with the height of the grass determining which one I use. Shorter grass lets you get away with the smaller U nails, which can be found in most building supply stores.

Once pinned, the grass is parted using a stick, knife or awl, to produce a shallow gap for the radial to sit in. I try and do a 3-foot section at a time before placing the wire into the opened-up area. Another way that is effective, especially if the grass is short and the soil dry, is to run the blade of a knife through the grass to actually slice a shallow slit which the wire can be pushed into. This allows the wire to be almost completely buried immediately. Both methods require pinning, with the nails, every few feet.

Once pinned in place, the grass can be quickly ruffled back into place, covering the radial. When done in the fall or in the spring, the grass will very quickly completely overgrow and incorporate the radial into the lawn, never to be seen again.

An interesting product that I have recently learned of may also be of interest - "Ground Staple Pins" by RossRadio. Details may be viewed at their website.

It really is very little work for the immediate payback realized by lowering system ground losses and increasing your antenna efficiency and overall ERP, especially on LF.

With the winter DX season just around the corner and the pleasant fall weather, it couldn't be a better time to plant a new crop of radials in the backyard!

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

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