Archive for the ‘ham radio’ Category
For the 2019 CQ Worldwide VHF Contest, I did a modest effort on 6 meters and 2 meters using mostly SSB and FT8. I operated from our cabin (DM78av). We had some good sporadic-E propagation on 6m which enabled some long-distance contacts to the east. Then I noticed that 2 meters was also open so I quickly turned my attention to that band. While it’s common to have some sporadic E on 6 meters during July, having it on 2 meters is a lot less common. I was thrilled to snag 5 contacts to the eastern US on 2 meters.
One of the 2m contacts was with Jay/W1VD in Connecticut. Shortly after the contest, I got an email from Jay asking about my exact location for the contact, which I supplied using the 6-character grid locator (DM78av). He told me that it is very difficult to work Colorado on e-skip from Connecticut…the general belief among VHF enthusiasts is that they have to use another propagation mode to work the state. Well, apparently that is not true!
Jay also worked Ken/W0ETT in Parker, CO so this turned into a three-way email discussion. Ken is located about 80 miles to the east of our cabin, so my QSO with W1VD was at a greater distance. Jay investigated the ARRL records and found that these two 2m contacts were notable enough to “make the list” at the ARRL but they are not new distance records. See the ARRL records list here.
Here’s a snippet from the ARRL list, with my W1VD QSO shown as 2793 km (1735 miles). The W0ETT QSO is also shown on the list as 2674 km (1662 miles).
You can see W1VD’s station information on the QSL card above. Obviously, a nice setup. I was using a Yaesu FT-991 driving a Mirage amplifier with 150W output to a 2M9SSB Yagi antenna. My antenna mast is only 25 feet above the ground but I benefit from an excellent radio horizon to the east from 9630 feet in elevation.
73 Bob K0NR
Closing out 2019, here are the top five blog posts at k0nr.com during the year. Some people may see this as a lazy way of creating one more blog post for the year without much work. This may be true, but I still claim it is a worthy effort to take a look at what content got the most attention for the year.
Leading the list is this blog post…a perennial favorite that seems to make the top five each year.
Another popular post that just keeps on going is…
A new post this year about VHF propagation comes in third. I am glad to see some new content getting attention.
A bit of a surprise that this post about two proposals for changes to the FCC licensing scheme is in the number four slot:
This last one was published in December so it didn’t actually make the top five for the year. However, every time I look at this photo, it gives me a chuckle, so I am including on the list as the Editor’s Choice.
Happy New Year!
73 Bob K0NR
“Best regardses” and “Best regards’s”
That’s silly, of course. We who speak and write in the English language know that you should not pluralize a word that is already in its plural form. “Best regards” means, “I wish you the best of regards.” It is implied that there is more than one regard. Perhaps there are a few, perhaps many more. It then is clear that we wouldn’t normally pluralize “regards,” into, “regardses.”
It is also silly to say that the best of regards owns something. How can a regard let alone a group of regards own anything? So, why “73’s” when written?
The usage of “73” comes from early landline telegraph (typically railroad telegraphy landlines). Originally devised in the era of telegraphs, 73 and other numbers were used to speed up the transmission of common messages over landlines by mapping common messages to these specific numbers. And, numbers were quicker to send than the longer messages the numbers replaced.
QST, April 1935, on page 60, contains a short article on the origin of the amateur radio vernacular, 73. This article was a summation of another article that appeared in the “December Bulletin from the Navy Department Office of the Chief of Naval Operations,” published December of 1934.
Here’s a quotation from that Navy article:
“It appears from a research of telegraph histories that in 1859 the [land-line] telegraph people held a convention, and one of its features was a discussion as to the saving of ‘line time.’
A committee was appointed to devise a code to reduce standard expressions to symbols or figures. This committee worked out a figure code, from figure 1 to 92.
Most of these figure symbols became obsolescent, but a few remain to this date, such as 4, which means “Where shall I go ahead?’. Figure 9 means ‘wire,’ the wire chief being on the wire and that everyone should close their keys. Symbol 13 means ‘I don’t understand’; 22 is ‘love and a kiss’; 30 means ‘good night’ or ‘the end.’
The symbol most often used now is 73, which means ‘my compliments’ and 92 is for the word ‘deliver.’ The other figures in between the forgoing have fallen into almost complete disuse.”
We can see, then, that “73” mapped to “best regards” or “my compliments” and was intended as a general valediction for transmitted messages. That’s why it is silly to say, “73s,” as that maps to, “best regardses” – 73s adds the plural to a plural. (And, don’t make it possessive, as in using, “73’s” – a regard cannot own something).
For reference and some more interesting background on this, see http://www.signalharbor.com/73.html
An example of on-the-air conversation (or, QSO—“QSO” is the shorthand Q-code for, “two-way exchange of communications”) illustrates proper usage of 73. When saying your goodbye, you would tap out the Morse code as follows:
TNX FER FB QSO. C U AGN. 73 ES HPY NEW YR.
That is interpreted as, “Thanks for the fine-business chat. I hope to see you again for another chat. Best regards and happy new year.”
This, if you choose to throw around shorthand Morse code number codes when you are speaking, you wouldn’t say, “73s.” You would say, “73.”
My friend, David Edenfield, opined, “This idea is beyond turning into glue from the dead horse it’s beating again. This is so petty to be concerned with this. Even the Old Man Hiram Percy Maxim 1AW used 73s on his QSL cards.”
Well, even Hiram Percy Maxim has been incorrect and incorrectly used grammar. (chuckle)
There is something to be said about teaching new amateur radio operators the best of our traditions, history, skills, procedures, protocols, ethics, and culture. There’s no rational argument that can make a case that allowing these aspects of our service and hobby to degrade over time (by the lack of Elmering) is a good way to see our service and hobby thrive and progress.
I don’t see any slippage from high standards as being a good strategy for nurturing growth, progress, and effectiveness of our service and hobby. Keeping some level of excellence in every aspect of our hobby can only be beneficial.
In this case, how many new hams that learn to repeat ham lingo know anything of the history behind the common “73?” My dead horse turned glue is educational and it is my belief that educating about origins elevates the current.
73 – NW7US
Black Forest, Colorado
Sat Feb 22 and 29
8 AM to 5 PM
Black Forest Fire Station
intersection Burgess Rd. & Teachout Rd.
The Technician license is your gateway to the world-wide excitement of Amateur Radio, and the very best emergency communications capability available!
• Earn your ham radio Technician class radio privileges
• Pass your FCC amateur radio license exam right in class on the second day
• Multiple-choice exam, No Morse Code Required
• Live equipment demonstrations
• Learn to operate on the ham bands, 10 Meters and higher
• Learn to use the many VHF/UHF FM repeaters in Colorado
• Find out how to participate in emergency communications
Registration fee: $30 adults, $20 under age 18
In addition, students must have the required study guide: HamRadioSchool.com Technician License Course Third Edition, effective 2018 – 2022, $22.95 print, $19.99 Kindle
Advance registration is required (No later than one week before the first session, earlier is better, first-come sign-up basis until the class is full.)
To register for the class, contact:
Bob Witte KØNR
Email: [email protected] or Phone: 719/659-3727
Sponsored by the Tri-Lakes Monument Radio Association
For more information on amateur (ham) radio visit www.arrl.org
Download: Tech License Class Flyer – Feb 2020
Twitter is such a wonderful source of knowledge and a great place to pick up amateur radio operating tips. I saw this post from Johnny/W5KV, talking about getting a 146.52 sticker for his truck. (146.52 MHz is the 2m National Simplex Calling Frequency.) I’ve written about these stickers here: Get Your Mobile Frequency Sticker On
These oval stickers originated in Europe, to indicate the country where a vehicle is registered. In general, these oval stickers have become popular for indicating all kinds of things, including country, state, airport code, national park, etc. One of the most common stickers you’ll see has “26.2” on it to indicate the distance in miles of a marathon run. In other words, it means “I ran a freaking marathon” or maybe “I want you to think I ran a freaking marathon.” You’ll also see “13.1” to indicate the completion of a half marathon. Hence, W5KV’s comment about 6 full marathons. You will see other numbers used on these stickers, such as “5.56” for you firearms enthusiasts.
So I posted this photo of the back of my truck. My 146.52 is actually a magnetic sign, not a stick-on label but the intent is the same.
But of course, radio amateurs are always innovating to find new ways of doing things. Michael/K2MTS posted this photo of his vehicle with a dust-enabled 146.520 indicator on it.
Like many brilliant innovations, I immediately realized the advantages of using vehicle dust to indicate operating frequency:
- No cost to implement
- Flexibility: the frequency can be easily modified
- Text messages can be appended, such as “CQ CQ” or “Call Me”
One disadvantage is that it requires your vehicle to be dirty but that seems like a minor obstacle, easily overcome by a short drive down a dirt road.
73 Bob K0NR
Last night, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Amanda/K1DDN on the popular TWiT TV show Ham Nation. We discussed my book, VHF ham radio and SOTA. You can watch the whole episode here or view just my segment below.
There’s also a “photo appearance” by Stu/W0STU.
Man, lots and lots of Morse code on the ham bands, this weekend. The CQ Worldwide CW Contest weekend was hopping with signals!
How did you do this weekend? How were conditions on the various contest bands?
Comment here and your report may make it into the propagation column in an upcoming edition of the Radio Propagation column in CQ Amateur Radio Magazine.
Here are a few moments as heard at the station of the CQ Amateur Radio Magazine propagation columnist, in Lincoln, Nebraska (yeah, that’s me, NW7US).
Here are the results of my dabbling with the Icom rig and this contest:
NW7US's Contest Summary Report for CQ-WW Created by N3FJP's CQ WW DX Contest Log Version 5.7 www.n3fjp.com Total Contacts = 55 Total Points = 8,979 Operating Period: 2019/11/24 10:23 - 2019/11/24 22:51 Total op time (breaks > 30 min deducted): 3:58:46 Total op time (breaks > 60 min deducted): 4:45:17 Avg Qs/Hr (breaks > 30 min deducted): 13.8 Total Contacts by Band and Mode: Band CW Phone Dig Total % ---- -- ----- --- ----- --- 80 8 0 0 8 15 40 7 0 0 7 13 20 25 0 0 25 45 15 15 0 0 15 27 -- ----- --- ----- --- Total 55 0 0 55 100 Total Contacts by State \ Prov: State Total % ----- ----- --- 52 95 HI 3 5 Total = 1 Total Contacts by Country: Country Total % ------- ----- --- Canada 6 11 Brazil 5 9 USA 5 9 Argentina 3 5 Costa Rica 3 5 Hawaii 3 5 Bonaire 2 4 Cayman Is. 2 4 Chile 2 4 Cuba 2 4 Japan 2 4 Mexico 2 4 Aruba 1 2 Bahamas 1 2 Barbados 1 2 Belize 1 2 Curacao 1 2 Dominican Republic 1 2 French Guiana 1 2 Haiti 1 2 Honduras 1 2 Martinique 1 2 Montserrat 1 2 Nicaragua 1 2 Senegal 1 2 St. Kitts & Nevis 1 2 St. Lucia 1 2 Suriname 1 2 US Virgin Is. 1 2 Venezuela 1 2 Total = 30 Total DX Miles (QSOs in USA not counted) = 151,407 Average miles per DX QSO = 3,028 Average bearing to the entities worked in each continent. QSOs in USA not counted. AF = 83 AS = 318 NA = 124 OC = 268 SA = 137 Total Contacts by Continent: Continent Total % --------- ----- --- NA 32 58 SA 17 31 OC 3 5 AS 2 4 AF 1 2 Total = 5 Total Contacts by CQ Zone: CQ Zone Total % ------- ----- --- 08 13 24 03 7 13 09 7 13 07 6 11 11 5 9 13 3 5 31 3 5 04 2 4 05 2 4 06 2 4 12 2 4 25 2 4 35 1 2 Total = 13