I’ve been known to
whine complain comment about the prohibition against using 146.52 MHz during ARRL radio contests. For example, see The One Frequency You Should Never Use on Field Day and Mt Herman: SOTA plus VHF Contest.
During my presentation on Mountaintop VHF for SOTA at the Central States VHF Society Conference in Denver today, I mentioned this is an issue. Basically, I pointed out that Summits On The Air (SOTA) operators often default to the 2m fm calling frequency, which is prohibited for use in the ARRL contests. This gets in the way when mountaintop stations do a combination SOTA and VHF Contest operation.
During my presentation, Brian Mileshosky N5ZGT, ARRL Director of the Rocky Mountain Division, reported that the ARRL has decided to remove the prohibition of 146.52 MHz in VHF contests. It will take some time for this to work its way into the actual rules, so stayed tuned for further developments.
This is great news…a cleanup of an unnecessary impediment to VHF contesting. Now, will the CQ Worldwide VHF Contest do the same?
73, Bob K0NR
Bob Witte, KØNR, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Colorado, USA. Contact him at [email protected].
Back then, the world was a very different place. The Beatles were still in the future. We lived under the constant fear of all out nuclear war (I was terrified in the 1962 Cuba crisis) and most amateur DX was by CW or AM. Although RTTY was around, most digital modes were not. Magazines like Practical Wireless, Radio Constructor and Short Wave Magazine were filled with goodies I drooled over, but could not afford. Even now I do not like parting with money for amateur gear unless there is a good chance of getting very many years of good service from it.
Roger Lapthorn, G3XBM, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Cambridge, England.
Six meters delivered a mid-afternoon surprise yesterday, with a brief opening between the west coast and Japan. It was one of those openings that would have been missed entirely, a few years ago.
At around 2300Z, JE1BMJ (Han), announced via the ON4KST 50MHz chat page that he would be CQ'ing towards North America on 50.090KHz. I was working at the bench with the receiver running in the background and took a moment to turn my 4el yagi towards Japan and put the receiver on frequency. Nothing was heard for several minutes when, as if a switch had been thrown, the frequency became alive with CW sending "... DX K". About 20 seconds later it started again, a CQ DX from JE1BMJ. It is amazing how often the band or a path will appear to suddenly open, in this case, at just the tail end of Kas's CQ ... not a whisper of anything before the very tail end. As I listened, his signal built from the initial 559 to 579 at which point I called and we exchanged signal reports.
I moved down the band and called CQ DX and was immediately called by several loud JA stations. Over the course of the short opening (just 15 minutes from start to finish), I worked the following stations in Japan:
As mentioned earlier, this was an opening that would probably have been missed a few years ago, for several reasons. One factor is the growing use of the Internet to spot activity or stations that are actually on-the-air in real time. Another reason is the very short window of opportunity. Without stations looking, thanks to Han's QRV announcement, it is probable that nobody would have been pointing towards Japan at that time of the day ... but, more likely, the biggest reason is the exploitation of the SSSP path between NA and Asia that has become somewhat of a regular occurrence over the past several summers.
SSSP or Short-path Summer Solstice Propagation is the mechanism uncovered by JE1BMJ in 1999. In that year he discovered that his signals could be heard almost daily in many parts of Europe by transmitting on a regular evening schedule. He then turned his attention to North America, in the morning, and found much the same thing. Han continues to this day on a regular schedule each day and more often than not, works several stations in North America ... from both coasts and everything in between. He has even worked into Central America on SSSP.
SSSP is a summertime-only event in the northern hemisphere and relies on the scattered ice crystals found in the Polar Mesospheric Summer Echo region (PMSE), located about 88km above the ground, very near the same height as the E-layer.
Signals travel through the polar region and never touch the ground until the far end of the path is reached. In all probability, this is the same mechanism that west coast stations are able to work transpolar-Es into Europe during the summer. The season is short-lived (June/July) and openings can have weak rapidly fading signals or, as in yesterday's case, strong steady signals during the course of the opening. Openings can last from just a few minutes to several hours. Thanks to the Internet and real-time chat, most of these openings are no longer being missed.
Stations being worked via SSSP seem to be, for the most part, running high-power and / or large antenna systems. It is rare to work many of the 100 watt stations, although under good conditions, it does happen.
|JR2HCB's 6m Yagi Stack|
Steve McDonald, VE7SL, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from British Columbia, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].
ARRL Board approves dues hike
The ARRL Board of Directors has approved a $10 increase in the League’s annual dues rate.
My first SOTA Activation
It’s OK to screw up. After all, I’m sitting on a slab of granite, with a 5-watt radio, tapping out code on a straight key, on a fricking mountain!
Working DL8DJM aeronautical mobile
Aeronautical Mobile contacts are pretty rare and the team in the gazebo fell silent as Johannes DL8DJM/AM told us that he was flying from Edinburgh to South Italy, about 100km from Amsterdam at 43,000ft.
[PDF] The RF telecommunications system for New Horizons
This paper describes the design and development of the RF telecommunications system for the New Horizons mission, NASA’s mission to Pluto.
The Johns Hopkins University
USA Ham Radio License offered in UK
A group of ARRL certified Volunteer Examiners (VEs) will be hosting a USA ham radio exam night.
In 1969 Larry Baysinger independently detected signals from the Apollo 11 astronauts on the lunar surface.
Jefferson Community & Technical College
Ham fined $22,000 for malicious interference
Operator fined for causing intentional interference with other Amateur Radio communications and for failing to identify.
PSAT PSK31 experimental software
Software allows your transmitted signal to drift exactly opposite to uplink Doppler effect.
Pentoo: Linux distro with GNU Radio and HackRF support
Pentoo is a Linux distribution with full support for the HackRF software defined radio and GNU Radio
Near Vertical Incidence Skywave is an ionospheric skip operating technique that directs the strongest signals from a station vertically, or upward, rather than toward the horizon.
Ham Radio School
EME on a budget
Moonbounce for the rest of us introduces EME and highlights operational basics and propagation.
Budget APRS mapping solution and portable battery box
This is one of several “homemade” APRS rigs that I cobbled together over the last year.
Getting started with the HackRF SDR
Shannon starts up the HackRF to show some of it’s capabilities. Follow along and learn about this new software defined radio peripheral capable of transmission or reception of radio signals!
Amateur Radio Weekly is curated by Cale Mooth KK4HSX. 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.
Join us live on Saturday July 25th at 7:00 PM CDT, 0000 UTC on www.live.amateurlogic.tv for the next Ham College.
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].