Archive for the ‘hamfest’ Category
Part 2 of 2: Life-changing Moment and Solar Cycle 25
From the RAIN HamCast episode #57, 2021-XII-25 (used with permission):
RAIN’s Hap Holly/KC9RP spoke with Tomas recently about Solar Cycle 25. This is the second and final excerpt from their discussion.
From the introduction to The RAIN HamCast, Episode #57:
In this episode, we continue our discussion with Tomas Hood/NW7US, the author of many writings about space weather and effects of solar activity the past 20-plus years.
(Part 1 of 2 can be found here: Episode #56, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HnuSOXhFELQ)
Tomas has been a short wave enthusiast since 1973, a ham operator since 1990, and is a United States Army Signal Corps veteran today. He launched the first civilian space weather propagation website, HFRadio.org, in the mid 90’s; HFradio later spawned SunSpotWatch.com; at press time Sunspotwatch.com is being revamped for the new Solar Cycle 25.
Tomas has contributed to the Space Weather Propagation column in CQ magazine for over 20 years, and for The Spectrum Monitor magazine since 2014. A product of the Pacific northwest, Tomas resides now in Fayetteville, Ohio.
RAIN’s Hap Holly/KC9RP spoke with Tomas recently about Solar Cycle 25. This is the second and final excerpt from their discussion.
Here is the second part of the two-part interview:
If you missed part one of this conversation, you’ll find it as RAIN Hamcast #56 both on therainreport.com and on the RAIN Hamcast page on YouTube, as well as here: Episode #56, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HnuSOXhFELQ.
RAIN Hamcast #58 will post January 8, 2022. Hap Holly/KC9RP edits and produces this biweekly ham radio podcast. It is copyright 1985-2021 , RAIN, all rights reserved. RAIN programming is made available under a Creative Commons license ; you are encouraged to download, share, post and transmit the RAIN Hamcast in its entirety via Amateur Radio. Your support and feedback are welcome on therainreport.com. Thanks for YouTube Technical Assistance from Tom Shimizu/N9JDI. I’m Will Rogers/K5WLR bidding you very 73 and 44 from the Radio Amateur Information Network.
KEEP ON HAMMING!
Footnote: Yes, NW7US misspoke about the time it takes sunlight to travel from the Sun to the Earth. He meant that it takes sunlight and radio waves just over 8 minutes to make that trip…
A Different Approach to a New Year: the Ham Systems Think!
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.
Software-Defined Radio: Try Before You Buy? You Might Like It!
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) ..
YouTubers Hamfest 2020 is in the Books!
We had an incredible time with this new venture and I personally think it turned out really well. We’ve already begun talks about making this an annual event, although we won’t be doing it again in May. Likely we will plan something for this Fall or Winter.
The “first annual” YouTubers Hamfest playlist is below. This includes all episodes from every channel that participated. A special thanks to all the moderators of the audience who followed the streams around YouTube that day. Also a HUGE thank you to all of the vendors and presenters who were in one of the streams – we’re hoping to have an even larger line-up for next time!
YouTubers Hamfest Starts TOMORROW! May 23rd
Check the website below for links to the Largest, Online LIVESTREAM Hamfest ever attempted. All of the channels participating in this event are incredibly excited about pulling this off.
Join us at 18:00EDT for a Happy Hour Livestream with all of the YouTubers and lots of guests in the Live Chat.
A HUGE thanks to all of the Brands who will be guest speakers during the event, either Saturday or Sunday morning. Those include:
Ham Radio Deluxe
State Of the Hobby Survey with N8RMA
Ham Radio Outlet
YouTubers Hamfest on May 16th, 2020!
This is going to be the first-ever, largest-ever, YouTube collaborative effort to support ALL Amateur Radio Vendors, personnel, promoters, subscribers and sustainers during the would-be weekend of Hamvention 2020. Join us as we interview and promote all of the great people who make our hobby the best on Earth! 8am EST on Saturday May 16th – this is going to be a BLAST!
Yep, Winterfest Got Their Windfall!
The hamfest held each year in the St. Louis suburb of Collinsville, IL is called Winterfest. I blogged earlier about the hamfest getting a windfall this year in adding to their growing set of Forums and other programs on contesting and so forth by welcoming the Wes Schum Symposium. Here’s how the Winterfest 2020 Chair described this past January’s events:
The St. Louis & Suburban Radio Club Winterfest has added some great events from previous years. We have added floor space to include Education Alley, doubled our forums and increased our operating hours to 4pm. In addition to these changes, Winterfest has been selected as the ARRL Midwest Conference for 2020. The weekend starts on Friday January 24th with the W9DYV Radio Symposium during the day and a DX/ARRL banquet that evening. Saturday January 25th Winterfest kicks off at 8 a.m. with the opening of the sales floor, VE testing, all day topical Forums, and Contest College starting at 1 p.m. with 10 plus hours of contesting forums and discussion hosted by top area contesters. We invite all hams to come to Winterfest for a weekend of Amateur Radio fun.Rebecca Carroll, Winterfest 2020 Committee Chair
Kyle Krieg AA0Z, President of SLSRC, and Rebecca KC9CIJ sent me the numbers from the hamfest. They were up 20 percent from the previous year! Wow! How many local or regional hamfests can report that “windfall” in attendance? I don’t have the numbers for that but I don’t think there’d me too many but it’s unfortunate that we don’t have a national set of numbers on hamfest attendance. Hmm. ARRL, if you’re listening, I hope you find those 30,000 hamfest attendance numbers…too soon, Lol?
Nick Tusa K5FF, who chairs the Wes Schum Symposium each year, sent me a list of pre-registered attendees for that specific part of Winterfest 2020. He said that there were a considerable number of walk-up registrants so his list is an under-estimate of this year’s actual attendance. I’ve prepared a map illustrating the “draw” to the Symposium this year in Collinsville (marked with a + sign). If we ignore the extreme distant pre-registrants, it appears to represent the market potential map I created in my previous blog post about where Winterfest could draw from in the coming years. It’s unfortunate that Winterfest per se does not record the call signs of those paid attendees so we could see where their market draw looks like. Perhaps next year!
The 8th W9DYV’s Amateur Radio Symposium wrap-up with video of the presentations can be found at the Central Electronics website. They are well worth watching! They include (with embedded links to the video):
- A High Performance SDR Receiver for the Ham: Bob Nickels W9RAN
- HF Receiver Performance: Rob Sherwood NC0B
- Understanding of Human Speech Articulation: Dr. Bob Heil K9EID
- Wes Schum (W9DYV) and Central Electronics: Nick Tusa K5EF
- Drake T4XC: Low Power Output and Why: David Assaf W5XU
- AM and the story of the Gates BC-1T: Bob Allison WB1GCM
- Vintage Radio and Homebrewing Adventures: Lynn Fisk K5LYN
Windfall for Winterfest 2020? Yep. A 20 percent bump certainly suggests that. Our public relations contributing to that? Yes, but even though there were a lot of eyes seeing both the AmateurRadio.com syndication and the QRZ.com front page articles, it’s a stretch to make such claims and I do not, at all. But our discussions on what Rebecca and her team had planned as well as what Nick was doing by moving the Symposium to Collinsville, IL certainly did not hurt! The fundamentals are the hard work, ingenuity, and willingness to plan for a hamfest that hams would enjoy should they decide to attend. That’s always the case. But it can help if you wave your arms—or get others to wave theirs on your behalf—and let folks know about what you’re planning. Keep an eye out for the St. Louis & Suburban Radio Club’s website for next year. I hear they’re already at work lining up a terrific banquet speaker!