Contacting the Dodecanese islands on FT8.

Last evening I wandered down the hall to the radio room someplace I have not been for about 2 weeks or so. I have been taking advantage of the great weather here to get some outdoor projects done.  There was a shed to level and rebuild and also a deck to level and refinish. Doing those projects during the day left me with no real energy to get on the radio in the evenings. For some reason last evening I just had a nice kick in my step and it was off to the radio room for some FT8 adventures. I found myself on 30m and it was hopping with activity at 0200 UTC. One of my contacts was to the Dodecanese and I had never heard of this location. I looked it up and it is a group of 15 large islands and 150 smaller ones. SV5DKL was from Rhodes which is the capital of the Dodecanese islands. These set islands are a part of Greece but it was very cool to contact this off the beaten path location. Overall I was very pleased with the conditions on 30m and I was on making contacts until 0300 UTC and then my internal clock told me it was time to hit the sack.

Mike Weir, VE9KK, is a regular contributor to and writes from New Brunswick, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

LHS Episode #347: Space Zombies

Hello and welcome to the 347th installment of Linux in the Ham Shack. In this episode, the hosts discuss--yes, that's right--space zombies. They also touch on somewhat <strike>less</strike> more interesting topics like QSO Today's attempt at a virtual hamfest, the new release of Transmission, Electronic Arts open-sourcing some games, the ClearNode Allstar Link pre-built node and much more. Thank you for listening and have a fantastic week.

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].

Weekly Propagation Summary – 2020 May 25 16:10 UTC

Weekly Propagation Summary (2020 May 25 16:10 UTC)

Here is this week’s space weather and geophysical report, issued 2020 May 25 0124 UTC.

Highlights of Solar and Geomagnetic Activity 18 – 24 May 2020

Solar activity was at very low levels throughout the period. No spots were observed.

No proton events were observed at geosynchronous orbit.

The greater than 2 MeV electron flux at geosynchronous orbit was at moderate levels.

Geomagnetic field activity was at mostly quiet levels with isolated unsettled intervals. Solar wind parameters were at nominal levels. Solar wind speed ranged from 289-415 km/s while the total field ranged between 1-8 nT.

Forecast of Solar and Geomagnetic Activity 25 May – 20 June 2020

Solar activity is expected to continue at very low levels.

No proton events are expected at geosynchronous orbit.

The greater than 2 MeV electron flux at geosynchronous orbit is expected to be at normal to moderate levels.

Geomagnetic field activity is expected to be at quiet to isolated unsettled levels through the outlook period.

Don’t forget to visit our live space weather and radio propagation web site, at:

Live Aurora mapping is at

If you are on Twitter, please follow these two users: 1. 2.

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

Spread the word!

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Links of interest:

+ Amazon space weather books:

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:

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Visit, subscribe: NW7US Radio Communications and Propagation YouTube Channel

ICQ Podcast Episode 325 – Maintenance Time

In this episode, Colin M6BOY is joined by Dan Romanick (KB6NU), Edmund Spicer (M0MNG) and Leslie Butterfield (G0CIB) to discuss the latest Amateur / Ham Radio news. Colin M6BOY rounds up the news in brief and this episode’s feature is the Maintenance Time.


We would like to thank Kelly Breed and Nestor Jacovides (5B4AHZ) and our monthly and annual subscription donors for keeping the podcast advert free. To donate, please visit -

- RAYNET Helps Elderly Man - Blind Amateur Radio Operator Promotes Hobby with New Aerial and Morse Code - ARRL Seeks Clarification of Amended Amateur Service RF Safety Rules - Wireless Power Transfer: CIS/B/737/CDV rejected - 2020 State of the Hobby Survey - Director, Vice Director Nominations Invited in Five ARRL Divisions - Judge Approves Retrieval of Titanic Marconi Wireless Equipment

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

How Much Does Emergency Power Cost?

Some folks are criticizing the ARRL for not modifying the Field Day rules in response to the Wuhan virus epidemic. Most of them are looking for a way to operate Field Day from home but still have a club score of some kind. I posted my thoughts here: Don’t Mess With The Field Day Rules.

The Field Day (FD) rules allow for a home station with commercial power to participate in FD as a Class D station. However, Class D stations cannot work other Class D stations for points. If the home station has emergency power (batteries, gasoline generator, etc.), then it is a Class E station that can work all FD stations for point credit.

Emergency Power: Too Difficult?

I’ve heard some hams argue that it is too difficult to set up emergency power for their home station. In many cases, the argument is actually that it is too expensive to do this.  I can see this point if you run out and buy a name brand gasoline generator…a Honda EU1000i costs about $950.

This raises the question of what is the lowest-cost way to equip a home station for emergency power?  Let’s consider the case of a typical 100W HF transceiver such as an IC-7300 or FT-991A. These radios require a 12 V power supply at 22 A maximum on transmit. Receive current is much lower, typically 1 to 2 A. Under FD rules, we don’t need to power our computer or other accessories from emergency power, just the radio. If we assume a 50% duty cycle, this class of radio consumes about (22+2)/2 = 12 A average current. (Yes, you could choose to operate QRP and really stretch the battery but let’s stay with the 100 W scenario.)

Get A Battery

So what is the cheapest way to get this done? Let’s take a look at using a deep-cycle battery. Walmart has an RV/Marine battery for $75, rated at 101 AH. Assuming 12 A of current, this battery would support about 8 hours of radio operating. This is going to be way short of the 24 hour operating period of FD but it might be enough to support a less intense operation.  We could also do some things to stretch out the battery life, such as reducing our transmit power. Dropping to 50 W would roughly double the operating time to 16 hours, which should be enough for a single-operator station.

Of course, another option is to double the battery capacity by using two batteries. These amp-hour ratings on batteries are always a bit idealistic and our transmit duty cycle might be more than 50%. Let’s assume we buy two batteries to give extra margin and allow us to run 100W. We will also need a simple charger, which costs about $25. So there you have it, 2 x $75 plus $25 = $175 for a decent emergency power source.  (If we decide to use only one battery, the cost drops to $100.)

Now $175 is a significant investment and only you can judge how well your ham radio budget can support this. For many people, this is affordable and the real question becomes is this how you want to spend my hard-earned cash.

This is my best shot at a low-cost emergency power source. Do you have a better idea?

73 Bob K0NR

The post How Much Does Emergency Power Cost? appeared first on The KØNR Radio Site.

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

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
SDR Play
Bioenno Batteries
DX Commander
Heil Sound
Chameleon Antennas
Bridgecom Systems
Ham Radio Outlet


Jason Johnston, KC5HWB, is a regular contributor to and writes from Texas, USA. Contact him at [email protected].


As the cloud of pandemic descended over the planet, we all became witnesses to how quickly our way of life could be transformed. And with no vaccine or reliably tested antidote yet available, we will continue life in a suspended state of perpetual caution for an indeterminate period. Eventually, this virus will either be eliminated or controlled in such a way that we successfully manage to live with it. But shockwaves from this disruption will continue to be detectable for many generations.

Given that this space is devoted to amateur radio, and that it is one aspect of our lives, we would do well to consider the impact already made on our hobby, and briefly speculate on the way it might reconfigure our future.

First, the cancellations. Hamfests, conventions, DXpeditions, club meetings, the bi-weekly club breakfast, even Hamvention and Field Day haven’t been spared. When “social distancing” first became a thing there were jokes about the solitary nature of ham radio and how isolation was our “normal” state. But just sixty days on we’ve discovered that was nonsense. It’s been refreshing to see the overnight growth of health and welfare nets on the air as we try to look after one another, but it’s no substitute for eyeball QSO’s. The camaraderie of our frequent social gatherings cannot be completely replaced with on the air contact.

Still, the cancellations were warranted. Where the Black Death (1346-1353) killed folks equally in every age group, this present strain of virus seems to prefer its victims a bit more seasoned. Older men, especially those with certain underlying health conditions, appears to be a sweet spot for COVID-19. It also describes a large segment of the ham radio population so our gathering in groups at this time feels like a recipe for bad outcomes.

It’s not difficult to imagine smaller hamfests folding up and not returning at all. In fact, it’s not all that tough to imagine the same thing happening to the larger shows. What if Hamvention is canceled again in 2021 or what if it opens but only a fraction of the normal crowd attends out of lingering health concerns?

The sudden advent of online testing took many of us by surprise. When you can’t gather in groups for license testing you can safely gather online. Whether or not this is a good thing for our hobby depends on who you ask, but I’m certain this will become a permanent feature long after the virus is no longer a problem. Eventually, this task will be completely removed from local groups and be vested in a national organization and all ham radio licensing will be administered remotely.

Where video conferencing existed mostly in the workplace pre-pandemic, it now invades everything, including amateur radio. The recent all-day Contest University seminar conducted via video conference was incredibly successful and well-received. Like it or not, a sizable chunk of similar events will move online. And other than the fatigue that comes from experiencing more of life through pixels on a screen, it provides many advantages. Going forward, I can imagine a speakers bureau of notable ham radio presenters available to entertain and educate aggregate groups via video chat, assuming they figure a way to monetize it.

Along with online testing this will drive a few more nails into the coffin of local radio clubs who will have to find new ways to add value to survive. One solution might be to make the local club radio station available for use remotely by its members but even this begs the question, what is a “local” radio club if everything about it can be accessed remotely from anywhere on the planet? There’s a good chance that all local radio clubs will fall away and a dozen or so regional clubs will take their place. This was probably going to happen eventually but the pandemic will likely speed that timeline.

The immediate future of DXpeditions seems very much up in the air. It’s one thing for a restaurant in Poughkeepsie to re-open after a few months, it’s a whole other thing for governments around the globe to lift restrictions on “outsiders” traveling to their domain without quarantines, etc. Perhaps the desire for income from tourism will overcome that resistance, but if so it may happen first in regions that aren’t on the Most Wanted list.

Amateur radio has always managed to adapt to change and challenge. The shutdown of the radio service during World War II being one notable example. Ham radio continuously evolves but that evolution typically happens at a slow, steady pace. But every now and then something big comes along that quickly shakes off the old and ushers in the new. It’s difficult to imagine something that would impact so many aspects of the hobby more quickly than what we’ve seen from this current pandemic.

Jeff Davis, KE9V, is a regular contributor to and writes from Indiana, USA.

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