ICQ Podcast Episode 294 – The Big Three Announcements from Hamvention 2019

In this special edition of the ICQ Amateur / Ham Radio Podcast, we interview the breaking hardware announcements from Dayton Hamvention, Yaesu’s FT-3DR Handheld, FlexRadio Multiplex Software and Elecraft K4.

ICQ AMATEUR/HAM RADIO PODCAST DONORS We would like to thank our monthly and annual subscription donors for keeping the podcast advert free. To donate, please visit - http://www.icqpodcast.com/donate


Colin Butler, M6BOY, is the host of the ICQ Podcast, a weekly radio show about Amateur Radio. Contact him at [email protected].

Go Ahead and Use Phonetics on 2m FM

Sometimes radio amateurs suggest that phonetics are not needed on VHF FM.  (See examples here and here.) Sometimes it even sounds like it’s a bad thing to use phonetics on FM.  It is inefficient and slows things down. I can see the logic behind this because with decent signal strength, demodulated FM audio is usually quite clear and easy to understand.

Here’s what I wrote in my VHF FM Operating Guide, also downplaying the need for phonetics:

The use of phonetics is not usually required due to the clear audio normally associated with frequency modulation. Still, sometimes it is difficult to tell the difference between similar sounding letters such as “P” and “B”. Under such conditions, use the standard ITU phonetics to maintain clarity. Many nets specifically request the use of standard phonetics to make it easier on the net control station.

The FCC Technician exam gives the topic of phonetics a light touch with just these two questions:

T1A03 (D)
What are the FCC rules regarding the use of a phonetic alphabet for station identification in the Amateur Radio Service?

A. It is required when transmitting emergency messages
B. It is prohibited
C. It is required when in contact with foreign stations
D. It is encouraged

And this one:

T2C03 (C)
What should be done when using voice modes to ensure that voice messages containing unusual words are received correctly?

A. Send the words by voice and Morse code
B. Speak very loudly into the microphone
C. Spell the words using a standard phonetic alphabet
D. All of these choices are correct

Use Phonetics

In practical radio operating, there are a number of things that can degrade communication, usually by creating noise sources that compete with the voice modulation. Most of these are a factor even if the RF signal is strong:

  • A noisy environment at the receiving end (e.g., background noise such as road noise in an automobile)
  • A noisy environment at the transmitter (e.g., background noise such as wind noise outdoors)
  • Poor frequency response of the overall system (e.g., high frequencies may be lost in the transmitter, receiver or repeater, making it more difficult to understand the voice communication).
  • Hearing impairment of the person receiving the audio (I’ve heard that we are all getting older)
  • Difficulty understanding the person speaking (poor enunciation, unfamiliar dialect or accent, etc.)

So I say go ahead and use phonetics on VHF FM, especially for critical information such as your call sign. FM communication is not always clear and easy to understand. It suffers from the same signal-to-noise problems as other voice modes. (Perhaps not as bad as SSB on HF, but it’s still a factor.) In most cases, you’ll want to stick with the standard ITU phonetic alphabet (also known as the NATO alphabet).

Graphic courtesy of HamRadioSchool.com

Many nets request that you use ITU phonetics when you check in. Imagine being the Net Control Station for a net and having everyone making up their own phonetics. You would have call signs coming at you with all kinds of random words associated with them.  It is much better to have consistency. However, there are times when you might want to use alternative phonetics. See the HamRadioSchool.com article: Phonetic Alphabets for more insight on that.

73, Bob
Kilo Zero November Romeo

The post Go Ahead and Use Phonetics on 2m FM appeared first on The KØNR Radio Site.


Bob Witte, KØNR, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Colorado, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

LHS Episode #285: Hamvention 2019 Day One

Thank you for tuning in to Episode 285 of Linux in the Ham Shack. In this episode we wrap up our experiences with day one of the 2019 Hamvention in Xenia, Ohio. We would sincerely like to thank our supports who got us here and for everyone who has visited us in our booth at the show. We hope to see everyone before we leave town on Sunday.

73 de The LHS Crew


Russ Woodman, K5TUX, co-hosts the Linux in the Ham Shack podcast which is available for download in both MP3 and OGG audio format. Contact him at [email protected].

LHS Episode #285: Hamvention 2019 Day One

Thank you for tuning in to Episode 285 of Linux in the Ham Shack. In this episode we wrap up our experiences with day one of the 2019 Hamvention in Xenia, Ohio. We would sincerely like to thank our supports who got us here and for everyone who has visited us in our booth at the show. We hope to see everyone before we leave town on Sunday.

73 de The LHS Crew


Russ Woodman, K5TUX, co-hosts the Linux in the Ham Shack podcast which is available for download in both MP3 and OGG audio format. Contact him at [email protected].

Well the news is out!

Elecraft has added some “eye candy” to Dayton the Elecraft K4! My email inbox has gone from an average daily count of about 25 emails to a new high of 80 to 100! The Elecraft reflector being the  new leader for my inbox. I’m not going to get into the specifics as that has been all over the internet and blogs.  It’s nice to see Elecraft enter this new phase in their product line.....am I going to rush out and purchase a K4.......nope. I am happy with my Elecraft KX3 and the Icom7610. For those of you out there who were considering an Elecraft rig now may be the time as I assume there are going to be those who are selling their K3 or K3S to get cash for a nice new shiny Elecraft K4.

Mike Weir, VE3WDM, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Ontario, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

How Low Can They Go!

courtesy: Roger, G3XBM



For the past few years several amateurs in Europe and along the east coast of North America have been experimenting on the ‘dreamers band’, 8.7 - 9.1 kHz.








Some rather surprising distances have been covered on these frequencies in spite of the dreadfully poor efficiencies realized with backyard antenna systems.

Previous 'earth-mode' backyard experiments on VLF by Roger, G3XBM, are well documented on his website along with details on his simple homebrew gear used to send signals across town using the earth. Following Roger's steady progression via his previous blog spots makes for fascinating reading ... there is some really great stuff here making it difficult to not jump in and take the plunge yourself.

This experimental field presents the ideal opportunity for a couple (or several) local amateurs to work together at exchanging signals on these low frequencies with simple home built equipment.

A major contributor to the present state of the ‘VLF / ULF amateur art’ is Stefan, DK7FC and a posting this week to the old RSGB's (blacksheep) LF reflector makes some of his earlier work pale by comparison as he announced the reception of his 270Hz signal (the 1110km band!) at a distance of  177 km!

Just a note from a recent experiment at 270.1 Hz.

On Sunday morning, 2019-05-12_10:34,+150m, I've done a carrier transmission on my ground loop antenna again. I did not expect more than, hopefully, a detectable spectrum peak in 57.6 km distance, i.e. at my tree site. The tree receiver site was listening and recording data using vlf-rx tools.
One E field antenna and two orthogonal loops were listening. The loops have been improved recently! They consist out of a single circular turn of 1.2 m diameter using 10mm diameter copper tube (about 25 mm^2). It is a closed loop, non-resonated, with an impedance matching transformer. This transformer previously had 1:100 turns. Now it (they) has 2:240 turns, i.e. two turns primary (out of 14mm^2, AWG6). This improved the sensitivity below 2 kHz significantly ( abt. 4...5 dB).
Furthermore the TX antenna length and angle has been improved, resulting in about +3 dB more signal strength on the RX site!

In a previous experiment at 270.1 Hz, some month ago, there was no result at all, not the weakest trace, despite excessive tweaking of all parameters. So the question was, will the improvements result in a detectable signal now?

Several things went wrong in that experiment. I forgot a bag containing important equipment such as the power supply for the netbook that generates the carrier signal. Also the output power was not as high as planned, just about 380 W, giving 2.2 A antenna current (I measured 64.7 V at 1 A DC). Anyway i managed to improvise so the experiment was started, but with some hours of delay which meant i higher QRN background level. Then, on the WLAN link to the tree, there were several interruptions of the stream (i'll move to 5 GHz very soon!). I even got some QRM from my battery charger for some short time periods (forgot to disable the charger remotely). So there were several factors that could have been improved or avoided. And the middle of May is not the ideal time anyway.

Well, 270.1 Hz, that's the 1110 km band! The far field begins at 177 km distance, i.e. i am clearly in the near field here. Thus, from a 'magnetic' TX antenna, we would expect that the signal is mainly detectable on the H field, i.e. the loop antennas.
The first interesting results is that this expectation is actually confirmed. There is nothing detectable on the E field but the carrier S/N in the H fields is close to 10 dB in the first run. Mixing the H fields and tweaking the filters rises the carrier S/N to 10.7 dB, see attachment.

So far not really an undoubtedly detection but it is a candidate for optimism! With a few less problems during the experiment there is a chance for 14 dB SNR. Also, there is quite much sideband QRM around 300 Hz which makes 270 Hz a bit harder to work on.

73, Stefan


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

Weekly Propagation Summary – 2019 May 13 16:10 UTC

Weekly Propagation Summary (2019 May 13 16:10 UTC)

Here is this week’s space weather and geophysical report, issued 2019 May 13 0226 UTC.

Highlights of Solar and Geomagnetic Activity 06 – 12 May 2019

Solar activity was at low levels on 06, 07, and 09 May due to C-class flare activity from Region 2740 (N08, L=307 class/area Dho/280 on 05 May. The largest of the flares was a C9.9/1N at 06/0510 UTC. Mutliple eruptions were observed in coronagraph imagery, but only the halo CME from 06 May was geoeffective. The assymetric halo CME was first observed in SOHO LASCO C2 imagery at 06/2348 UTC. Additionally, a partial halo CME was first observed in LASCO C2 imagery at 12/2036 UTC and is determined to be Earth-directed and arrive at Earth on 17 May. Solar activity was at very low levels for the remainder of the summary period.

No proton events were observed at geosynchronous orbit.

The greater than 2 MeV electron flux at geosynchronous orbit reached high levels on 07, 11, and 12 May. Normal to moderate levels were observed throughout the remainder of the period.

Geomagnetic field activity reached active to G1 (Minor) storm levels on 11 May due to the arrival of a CME from 06 May. Impact was first observed by the DSCOVR spacecraft at 10/1655 UTC. Total reached a peak of 12 nT and Bz reached a maximum southward deflection of -11 nT. Solar wind averaged near 350 km/s throughout tranient passage. G1 (Minor) storm levels were observed during the 11/00-03 UTC synoptic period, with several active periods during the remainder of the UT day. Quiet to unsettled levels were observed for the remainder of the period.

Forecast of Solar and Geomagnetic Activity 13 May – 08 June 2019

Solar activity is expected to be at very low levels, with a slight chance of C-class flares throughout the period.

No proton events are expected at geosynchronous orbit.

The greater than 2 MeV electron flux at geosynchronous orbit is expected to be at moderate to high levels on 13-23 May, and 29 May – 08 June. Normal to moderate levels are expected on 24-28 May.

Geomagnetic field activity is expected to reach G1 (Minor) storm levels on 15 and 17 May due to CME arrival. Active conditions are expected on 29 May due to the influence of a recurrent coronal hole high speed stream. Quiet to unsettled conditions are expected for the remainder of the period.

Don’t forget to visit our live space weather and radio propagation web site, at: http://SunSpotWatch.com/

Live Aurora mapping is at http://aurora.sunspotwatch.com/

If you are on Twitter, please follow these two users: 1. https://Twitter.com/NW7US 2. https://Twitter.com/hfradiospacewx

– – – – – – – – – – – – –

Be sure to subscribe to our space weather and propagation email group, on Groups.io

https://groups.io/g/propagation-and-space-weather

Spread the word!

– – – – – – – – – – – – –

Links of interest:

+ Amazon space weather books: http://g.nw7us.us/fbssw-aSWSC
+ https://Twitter.com/NW7US
+ https://Twitter.com/hfradiospacewx

Space Weather and Ham Radio YouTube Channel News:

I am working on launching a YouTube channel overhaul, that includes series of videos about space weather, radio signal propagation, and more.

Additionally, I am working on improving the educational efforts via the email, Facebook, YouTube, Tumblr, and other activities.

You can help!

Please consider becoming a Patron of these space weather and radio communications services, beginning with the YouTube channel:

https://www.patreon.com/NW7US

The YouTube channel:
https://YouTube.com/NW7US

..


Tomas Hood, NW7US, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Nebraska, USA. Tomas is the Space Weather and Radio Propagation Contributing Editor to 'CQ Amateur Radio Magazine', 'The Spectrum Monitor', and 'RadioUser UK Magazine'.

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