Amateur Radio Newsline Report 1933 August 29 2014

  • A ham radio floater balloon makes two trips around the world
  • IARU Region One official says 23 centimeters is in jeopardy 
  • Moldavia joins the CEPT universal licensing system
  • International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend sets a new record
  • Morse sprint will honor the memory of the late Nancy Kott, WZ8C

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

Alaska’s NDBs Awaken!


This past weekend saw another of the monthly "Co-ordinated Listening Event" (CLE) activities sponsored by the Yahoo ndblist Group and organized by Brian Keyte, G3SIA. This is a group of dedicated low frequency NDB DXers that enjoy hunting down new catches as well as keeping track of NDB activity in general. These low powered beacons make excellent propagation indicators and are always a good measure of one's LF receive capability.
As often happens, the monthly events seem to coincide with poor propagation periods for some unexplainable reason, as was the case once again. As well as the generally poor propagation, North America was plagued with high levels of lightning activity making any weak signals very difficult to hear through the steady din of QRN.

In spite of the poor conditions, two nice catches from Alaska (ELF and TNC) heralded the fast receding midnight-sun in the 49th state and the start of another Alaskan NDB DX season!

The NDB at Cold Bay is 'ELF' and transmits on 341kHz. Cold Bay is located on the Alaskan Peninsula, at the top of the Aleutian chain.


Built as a military airfield in WWII, Cold Bay's traffic is now mostly cargo and its long runway serves as an emergency 'alternate' for flights in the north Pacific.

A search of Google Maps shows the NDB itself is located several miles north of the airport and appears to use a large vertical and an extensive ground system. With the transmitter power listed as 1000W, ELF makes an excellent target for DXers looking for their first Alaskan NDB.


The NDB at Tin City is 'TNC' and transmits on 347kHz. Tin City is located in northwest Alaska next to the Bering Strait and, unlike most places in Alaska, you really can 'see Russia from here!' The airfield is not open to the public but is owned and operated by the USAF and used to support their long-range NORAD radar facility northwest of Nome.

TNC is located right at the airfield, west of the gravel runway. Although the power is not indicated, I suspect it is running more than the typical 25 watts as its signal is often fairly good copy, as heard here early one morning.

Like 'ELF', the antenna appears to be a vertical but possibly of smaller size.

If you are listening for these targets, remember to tune with your receiver in the narrow-filter CW mode and listen for either the upper or lower sideband keyed modulation tone.

For ELF, listen on 342.030kHz or 339.968kHz. The carrier will be on 341.0kHz.

For TNC, listen on 348.034kHz or 345.968kHz. The carrier will be on 347.0kHz.

For a list of all active NDB's in Alaska, complete with accurate frequency-spotting information, visit the beacon-reporting RNA website. Put 'AK' in the 'States' window and pick 'All Results' in the 'Show' window. There are presently at least 60 or more NDBs known to be operational in Alaska.

As mentioned before, please exercise caution should you decide to jump-in...chasing NDBs can quickly become addictive as anyone in the 'ndblist' Yahoo Group will tell you.

On the other hand...Alaska is waiting!

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

10m – quiet here so far today on WSPR

Sunspot count is 82 (disturbed) today and 20-30MHz propagation is forecast to be "poor". It seems unlikely I will see F2 propagation today on 10m, but you never can be sure on 10m. My PC stopped WSPR running around breakfast time (more updates?) and on restarting the software just G0LRD (25km) spotting me so far. Es is always possible.

I may return to 472kHz later today if things stay quiet on 10m.

UPDATE 1950z:  Well, 10m is always a band of surprises! CX2ABP (11127km) was copied several times after tea by N-S F2 and CT1JTQ (1843km) by Es. The PC was off (being swapped) most of the afternoon so I may have missed some of the action on 10m.

UPDATE 2000z:  Will be going QRT on 10m shortly.  472kHz (maybe) tomorrow night.

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

‘CQ Crossband’ – 630m

First 630m contacts
In early May, VE7BDQ (John) was my first contact on our new 630m amateur band! Soon after, I had QSO #2, with VA7JX (Jack), on Vancouver Island. So far there appears to be only one other station in Canada on the band... VO1NA in Newfoundland!
Where are the rest of the Canadians? It's not too late to be the 1st VE6, VE5, VE4, VE3, VE2 or VE1 on the new band!

Hopefully there will be more stations active before the winter DX season gets underway!

In an attempt to keep my own interest level up as well as  trying to get the word out to others about our new band, I've completed crossband contacts with three other VE stations. Two of the contacts were on Vancouver Island....VE7DAY (John) in Campbell River and VA7FC (Perry) in Courtenay. The third station was VE6TA (Grant), near Edmonton, Alberta. A fourth crossband contact was completed when I worked W7WKR (Dick) near Lake Chelan in Washington state. John, VE7BDQ, also completed crossband contacts with VE6TA and W7WKR giving those two stations a 'VE7 two-fer'.

Both John and I would love to do a lot more crossband work, especially with stations in the U.S.A. who presently cannot transmit on the band but may still be very much interested in 630m. A recent overnight beaconing session at 25 watts output clearly indicated that under fairly normal conditions and with a good receiving system on 630m, my normal speed CW signal can cover a wide geographic area during the hours of darkness. Having up to 500 watts of power available for CW, my signals should have good coverage to all of the western and central states at this time of the year.

Such crossband type contacts are perfectly legal between any and all stations in the "amateur radio service" and at one time, this was the only mode available between Europe and North America on the 50MHz band, as this tantalizing review of Cycle 19's amazing propagation explains.

If anyone, anywhere (both U.S. or VE), would be interested in attempting a crossband CW QSO, I would love to try! Please contact me via the comments section below or via e- mail.

I would also be interested in hearing from any Canadians who are planning to get on the new band as I am trying to keep track on my website's LF page.

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

Did you participate in Field Day 2014

and submit a log to the ARRL?

You can check to make sure they received it, and if there were any discrepancies with the class/category that you claimed.

Go to:

Scroll way down to the bottom of the page and download the PDF.

Even though we got an e-mail confirmation when our log was submitted, I double checked to see if the log for NJ2SP was there. You can call me paranoid, but I just wanted to make sure our inaugural Field Day effort gets counted amongst the masses.

It's there.

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].

Yaesu FT-991 KW/50/144/430 MHz Stations Transceiver

Yaesu FT-991 KW/50/144/430 MHz Stations Transceiver

We are pleased to announce the launch of an exciting new product, The FT-991 HF/50MHz/VHF/UHF Base Station Transceiver. The Yaesu FT-991 Transceiver is capable of operating SSB, CW, AM, FM, Packet and System Fusion C4FMDigital. The legendary tradition of Yaesu design is a legacy of excellence-established decades ago, providing quality, stability and durability. The Yaesu FT-991 is designed for the most competitive operating situations, with a suite of new features to enhance the experience. Whether you primarily operate at home, mobile or in the field, the FT-991 will provide outstanding fundamental performance and an inviting expansion into a full featured base station.


Nick Palomba, N1IC, is a regular contributor to and writes from Florida, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

Master Control for the CW Operator

If you’re an avid CW buff like me, you have accumulated a collection of paddles, bugs, hand keys and keyers. You like to switch off keys and keyers when operating CW. However, it’s such a pain to pull gear off the shelf to plug-unplug keys and keylines.

Here’s a neat solution that only requires hooking everything up once. Using a stereo source selector box (about $30) you connect up four paddles, bugs, hand keys, and keyers to one or two rigs. You can connect one key at a time or all four at once. You can even patch one or all four keys to both rigs simultaneously.

You can appreciate the convenience this offers. Select one of four paddles, keys, or keyers and start sending CW. You can change from one to another just by moving your hand.

Here’s how it’s done. Phono Preamps offers the TCC TC-716 6-Way Stereo Source Selector:

TC-716 Front

TC-716 Front

TC-716 Back

TC-716 Back

The selector has a row of six push buttons on the front. On the rear are two mini 3.5mm (1/8″) stereo phone jacks and four pair of RCA phono jacks. Any combination of rigs and keys/keyers can be plugged in. I used simple 6-inch “Y” cables with 2x RCA male plugs to 1x 3.5mm stereo female jack for “Audio 3 through 6″. The selector box and y-cables are available here:

Locate the selector box centrally on your desk as you’ll use it often.

73 de Jim KM5M

Jim Sheffield, KM5M, is a special contributor to and writes from Texas, USA.

Nick Builds a 2 Meter Copper J-Pole (portable & collapsible)

Nick KE0ATH working 2 meters 
Now that my son Nick (KE0ATH) has his ticket, he is putting together a 2 meter "Go Box".  First on the agenda was a nice J-Pole antenna.

He did some searching and found a J-Pole design that collapses down to about 20" long.  The 1/2" copper pipe segments are held together with a bungee cord run internally.

Nick found a couple different designs and combined them to meet his needs.  He plans to use this while camping, etc.

When you watch the video, check out his smile at about the 4:00 minute mark when he makes the first contact on his new antenna - priceless!

(if it doesn't play just click here:

We had a blast building this together, and Nick learned several new skills - so it was a great success!

If you have any questions, be sure and give me a shout.  You can also see my other videos on YouTube here:  N0HYD YouTube Channel

73 - Burke

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

Bonus Episode: Huntsville 2014

Huntsville Bonus Episode is On-The-Air ...

AmateurLogic.TV Huntsville Bonus Episode is now available for download.

George and Wayne make their yearly pilgrimage to the Huntsville Hamfest. We visited with some old friends to find out what they’ve been up to and got some great stories you’ll enjoy.

1:11:47 Southern Amateur Fun


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].

Good lunchtime DX session

When I left the house this morning for work, it was all of 52F (11C), which is very cool for New Jersey this time of year.  Also, I noticed on the drive in that many of the trees already have leaves that are turning yellow and orange, and many trees have started dropping their leaves. Again, that is something we are accustomed to seeing at the end of September, not August.

But the day heated up, and by lunchtime it was 84F (29C). Quite a warm up!  And fortunately, it wasn't only the air temperature that had gotten hot. 17 and 15 Meters were hopping and hot - well, maybe not as hot as a few months ago, but hotter than just a few weeks ago. The sunspot number had risen to 128 making conditions better than they have been in days. I'll take it!

I worked 9Y4/AI5P on Trinidad/Tobago, RI4CWC/3 in Russia and PI4DX in the Netherlands, all on 17 Meters.  The thought then occurred to me that if 17 Meters was working so well, then 15 Meters might be worth looking at.  It was, and after switching over, I worked OQ4U in Belgium and SP2GUB in Poland.  All the stations on both bands had excellent signal strengths and I got decent reports back, the lowest being 559.

I don't know how long these good band conditions will be able to maintain themselves. The way the Sun is throwing fits and starts, it may not be for that long.  But if you get a chance, get on the air and make hay while the opportunity presents itself!

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].

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