Archive for the ‘ham’ Category
May 1st, 2010 – WGØAT/Steve sent a CQ from Mount Herman in Colorado and thus inaugurated the birth of Summits On The Air (SOTA) in WØ land with 33 CW contacts around the world.
Fast forward to today, Steve is still sending CQs from Mount Herman (WØC/FR-Ø63), and other peaks, almost on a daily basis but he also inspired countless hams (incl. yours truly) to join a growing bunch of people who love the outdoors and combine their hiking activities with their radio hobby.
Some statistics… during the last 10+ years the Colorado Association (WØC) grew from:
- 219 initial (seed) summits to a total of 1797 qualifying summits
- a handful of Activators to ~180
- a few chasers to almost 200
These highly motivated men and women of all ages activated more than 7,400 summits, generated more than 40,000 points and 15 Mountain Goats (MG) – many of them double or even six-fold (thanks KXØR/George).
WØC Chasers worked over 90,000 stations around the world, generated almost 500,000 points and 33 Shack-Sloths.
To celebrate our 10th Anniversary1, WØC-SOTA is organizing a 10-10-10 Event2 with a challenge for Activators and Chasers alike.
Activator challenge: Activate 10 (or more) 10K (or higher) summits (in WØC) within 10 days.
Chaser challenge: Chase Activators on 10 different (or more) qualifying WØC summits (10K or higher) within the 10 days.
Event Date: We will kick-off the event in conjunction with the Colorado 14er event on August 7th, 2021 and conclude on August 16th.
Everybody is invited to participate. Plan your vacations and business-trips to Colorado accordingly. Block off these days in your calendar. Get in shape… repair your antennas and radios. It’s a once in a decade event 😉
There will be a ranking of all participants who meet the challenge. Photographer and new SOTA enthusiast Dan Oldfield (NØOLD) is generously donating a personalized and autographed print from his Colorful Colorado collection to each of the top 3 in both challenges.
For the org. team
1 It’s actually the 11th Anniversary but the COVID-19 Pandemic and historic Wildfires in Colorado interfered in 2020.
2 All SOTA rules apply
The following footprints are of my CW signals on 2021-March-14 at about 04:00 to 04:20 UTC.
Location: EM89ad – Ohio
Antenna: OCD (Off-center Dipole)
Description of Antenna:
This is an off-center dipole, with the two legs running East-East-South (approximately 125 degrees of North), and West-West-North (about 306 degrees on the compass). The westward wire (leg) is approximately 107 feet in length, while the eastward leg is about 95 feet in length.
These legs (an off-center-fed dipole) is directly connected to about 90 feet of 450-ohm ladder line, which is hanging directly below, vertically, the feed point. The feed point is 50 feet above the ground.
The ladder line terminates (at the 12-feet-above-ground point) to a 4:1 current balun. This current balun then connects to a 100-foot LMR 50-ohm coax, which is running into the radio shack. It is connected via an antenna switch to my Icom IC-7610 transceiver. I am transmitting a 100-watt CW signal using an Icom IC-7610, in the following format:
TEST TEST TEST DE NW7US NW7US NW7US
The Reverse Beacon Network reports any spotting of this test transmission. The beta mapping interface, at http://beta.reversebeacon.net/main.php, then maps the resulting spots. To learn more about the RBN, visit http://beta.reversebeacon.net/index.php, or, http://reversebeacon.net/index.php.
I show the 20-, 30-, 40-, 60-, 80-, and 160-Meter band footprints.
I’ve been capturing these CW transmission spots, at different times of the day, today. I’ll get data from several days, at regular intervals, and create a overview of how the antenna appears to be working during this month and under these propagation conditions.
73 de NW7US dit dit
What is the most important aspect of life? Having fun! (Of course!).
Perhaps it is unusual to wax philosophical in an amateur radio forum, but I am going out on a limb to share a perspective that hopefully is refreshingly new and full of life: Systems thinking — an amateur radio approach.
What I’m sharing herein, I find very intense, invigorating, challenging, and motivational! The more I think about amateur radio with this perspective–the Systems Thinking perspective–the more fun I’m able to define, and then accomplish.
In my opinion, this approach to life is REVOLUTIONARY! Why isn’t this knowledge distributed far and wide? Why aren’t these precepts taught in the schools for young children, so that they can be equipped for a life full of accomplished purpose? Perhaps it is due to the deceptive simplicity of approaching life with the perspective of Systems Thinking.
SYSTEMS THINKING AND AMATEUR RADIO
What is Systems Thinking?
In a very simplistic sense, a system is any group of parts that make up one complex whole. Each part cannot function as the whole, and each part interacts with other parts, such that this behavior affects that end result which is expressed by the whole.
Think about a motorcycle. Let’s play with that thought: I disassemble my motorbike in your living room. Once the bike completely taken apart and the parts are scattered all over your living room floor, can any one of those parts support my riding it out to the countryside, and back again? No. Only the bike can act, when it is made whole again, as a motorbike. But, even if the individual parts, doing their part well, try to be the bike all by themselves, but fail, in the end realize that the parts are very important. Each part has a place and a job. Each part belongs.
By now, as you think about this, you probably realize that there is a difference between collections, and systems, of course. A bag of rocks is not a system. A motorcycle is a system. A bag of motorbike parts is not a motorbike. The assembly of the motorbike parts does make a motorcycle.
What does this have to do with amateur radio?
The amateur radio service (hobby) is a system, not a collection. There are many parts–and one of the most important component of the amateur radio system is you and me. We interact with each other, exchanging knowledge, reports, friendships; we each function, lending our functioning the the autonomous self, the amateur radio service.
It takes more than one of us to make up the amateur radio service. It would take at least two amateur radio operators, at the most extreme emaciated existence as a public service. It is obvious that one ham, all by herself, does not make the amateur radio service. No one of us is the amateur radio service, by ourselves. We need each other in order to have a ham radio community–the amateur radio service. Ourselves, our radios, antennas, computers, knowledge, schedules, and so on, are all parts of the big system with which we participate in our community.
Let that sink in.
Ponder the long-term repercussions of this revelation: We need each other, and we need our resources (time, skills, knowledge, radios, etc.).
How do we shape our System? What will elevate our System so that it is effective? And, so we begin to do this, SYSTEMS THINKING.
Please read, and ponder these thoughts, as you read through this article:
Additionally, you should check out this video–it is great!
Bonus (not necessary but still VERY good deeper dive):
In my estimation, Dr. Russell Ackoff is amazingly wise, and inspiring!
At the moment, I am studying and trying to implement system thinking. It is the topic I am mostly studying right now.
The following is an introduction to Systems Thinking:
Download this useful paper that helps you understand system thinking:
I would very much like to hear your thoughts on all of this. Seriously. Take your time. But, let’s start wading through this pool of refreshing water…
Happy New Year!
Addendum: I do not necessary agree with every perspective, conclusion, or point made by Dr. Russell Ackoff. Never-the-less, the overarching idea of systems thinking seems valid, and is worth considering.
It might not take as much antenna as you may think would be necessary to make two-way contacts on shortwave radio (as an amateur radio operator putting an HF transceiver on the air). However, often, makeshift antennae are effective enough to be viable–just look at all the contacts many amateur radio operators make with their low-power (QRP) rigs (transceivers) using short, helically-wound, mobile antenna sticks. If they can work magic with such inefficient antenna setups, surely your effort at an antenna would pay off to some degree. Right?
Of course, I want to make a proper dipole out of this example antenna. But, while I wait for the rest of the parts I need to complete this antenna project (pulleys and a ladder, and maybe a potato launcher), I’ve put this makeshift antenna on the air, with it just high enough so that I can enjoy some time on the shortwave bands.
With this antenna, I’ve made successful two-way voice and Morse code contacts (QSOs) with stations in Europe and across North America. I am able to tune it on the 60-, 40-, 30-, 20-, 15-, 17-, 12-, and 10-Meter bands. Reverse beacon detection picks up my Morse-code CW signals, especially on 40 meters (the band on which it is tuned physically).
The bottom line: just get something up in the air and start communicating. Improve things over time. You’ll have much fun that way.
73 de NW7US dit dit
Sure! You don’t need to have a software-defined radio (SDR) before you start learning how to use the technology; there are a few different paths you can take, exploring and learning about SDR.
One way to gain some experience with SDR without spending a dime is to install a free software package for the very popular, non-Linux, operating system (that starts with ‘W’), and give SDR a test drive. If you like it, you might consider getting your own hardware (like the SDRplay RSPdx, for instance), and connecting it up to your computer and running this software, too.
Why I Dived Into SDR
I have always loved radio, ever since the early 1970s, when I discovered shortwave radio. In the last couple of years, I’ve had an increasing interest in the world of SDR. When I am working, but away from home (remember those days, before Covid?), I want to sample news and programming from around the world, but through shortwave. The way to do that, I found, is by using the various SDR options which allow a person to tune a remote receiver, and listen.
I also find working with the waterfall of a typical SDR-software user interface rewarding because, instead of blindly searching for signals in a subband, I can see all of the received signals on the scrolling time representation of a slice of frequency. Simply select that signal on the waterfall, and the radio tunes right to it.
I often connect to different SDR radios around the world, to catch all manner of shortwave signals, from maritime, military air, trans-oceanic air, or coast guard radio traffic, or other interesting HF communications including amateur radio CW and SSB signals. Occasionally, I also check out VHF and UHF signals from around the world. All of that, while instead an office building that is not suited for shortwave radio reception.
I’ve now decided to give back to the community; I’ve added my SDR receiver to the collection of receivers located around the world on the SDRSpace network of SDR radios.
My new SDRplay RSPdx software-defined radio receiver is live, via http://www.sdrspace.com/Version-3, using the SDR Console software (Version 3).
The receivers are online whenever I am not transmitting and when there are no local thunderstorms.
Antenna Port A is connected to a wire antenna (a horizontal 100-foot wire that runs out from my house’s chimney to a tall tree; about 10 feet of that wire is oriented vertically, where the wire passes through a pulley and then is weighted down so it can move with wind-driven tree movement), while Antenna Port B is connected up to a VHF/UHF discone.
Both antenna systems have an AM Broadcast band notch (reject) filter reducing local AM Broadcast-Band radio station signals by about 30 to 40 dB. I need to use these because the very close KLIN transmitting tower is just miles away and those signals overwhelm the receiver. When I use the signal filters, the local AM Broadcasting signals no longer overwhelm the receiver.
In the following video, I first explain my SDR setup, and in the second half of the video, I tune around the radio spectrum, using the software to control my SDR receiver.
A Couple of Questions
After watching this video, WO9B wrote an email to me. Michael asked of me two questions, summed up as:
1. Your SDR window has the IF screen on top. How is that accomplished?
2. Your AM Broadcast filters; more info, please. I live in the area of mucho broadcast stations and that looks like something I could use.
In the following video, I demonstrate how I changed my layout of the SDR Console software. And, I mention the AM Broadcast Filter for SDR Receivers (the hardware filter is found here: https://g.nw7us.us/3kU5SJN).
To Use My Receiver
Download the latest version of SDR-Console from https://www.sdr-radio.com/download – there is a 32-bit and a 64-bit Windows installation package.
The 64-bit installation package may be downloaded from one of these three sources:
1. Google: https://g.nw7us.us/3auBq44
2. DropBox: https://g.nw7us.us/310ooIG
3. Microsoft: https://1drv.ms/u/s!AovWaZDu7Hrd3U-yqK1bs3wuaFw2?e=o4nKeh
The 32-bit installation package can be downloaded from one of these three sources:
1. Google: https://g.nw7us.us/3iLasrZ
2. DropBox: https://g.nw7us.us/3g4VcVc
3. Microsoft: https://1drv.ms/u/s!AovWaZDu7Hrd3U4mJiiRtI9lm70s?e=HDG4ZX
Install the SDR Console package according to the directions given. Once you have the software installed, you will want to add my server. It takes some work to get familiar with the software, but there are online FAQs on how to begin.
One guide on how to add a server to the list from which you can pick may be found, here:
I worked on getting all of the bugs worked out of my installation before making the video. It did take some work, and reading up on things. But, the software is solid and a good contender against SDRuno, and HDSDR, and, this way I can share it online with you.
My server is known as, ‘0 NW7US‘ — it will be online when I am not using my antenna systems for transmitting. It will be offline during thunderstorms, or during times when I must use the systems for transmitting.
Software-defined radio is a great way to hear all sorts of communications, from local AM broadcast stations, FM stations, VHF Air Traffic, to shortwave radio stations including amateur radio HF communications.
Thank you for watching, commenting, and most of all, for subscribing; please subscribe to my YouTube Channel: https://YouTube.com/NW7US Also, please click on the bell, to enable alerts so that when I post a new video, you will be notified. By subscribing, you will be kept in the loop for new videos and more.
73 de NW7US
.. (yes, this is an expansion of an earlier post… forgive the redundancy… thank you) ..