Posts Tagged ‘hamradio’
Contest Morse Code, Computers, and an Icom Rig
This past weekend (third full weekend in February, February 15-16, 2020) is the ARRL International CW Contest (ARRL DX CW link: http://www.arrl.org/arrl-dx ). This is interesting to my study of radio signal propagation as a columnist and as an amateur radio operator because of the contest objective: “To encourage W/VE stations to expand knowledge of DX propagation on the HF and MF bands…” This contest is a good way to get a feel for current propagation–though there are caveats.
Speaking of Morse code and the CW mode on our amateur bands: those of you using CW during contests, do you send by hand or by computer? Do you copy the code by head, or do you use a computer for decoding?
In most contests like the ARRL DX CW contest, I copy by ear, and send mostly by rig keyer. If needed, I use a single paddle key with the Icom rig’s internal keyer to answer unique questions and so on.
Below is a quick demo of using the internal Morse code keyer in my Icom IC-7610 transceiver.
V47T, in the Saint Kitts and Nevis Island in the Caribbean, is calling CQ TEST in the ARRL DX CW contest.
Using the programmable virtual buttons, in which I programmed my callsign, NW7US, and other info, I answer and make a complete contest QSO.
In activity like the Straight Key Century Club (SKCC – https://SKCCGroup.com) K3Y special event, it is all manual. I send my Morse code using a WWII Navy Flameproof Signal Key, and decode with my ears. It is contextual for me.
How do you do contesting Morse code? Bonus question: How do you do logging while doing contest operation?
73 es best dx = de NW7US dit dit
How Did You Fare in CQ WW CW Contest Weekend?
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
So, You Want to Get into the Ham Radio Hobby
Come spend some time with me in this ride-along video blog episode, the first in a series that I am doing to help you begin your journey into the amateur radio hobby. This video is an experiment in that I am trying out this format as a type of “chat” in which I share my thoughts and experiences regarding the ham radio hobby, and how you might start out exploring the hobby.
Regarding the experiment: I have tried to edit the sound to reduce the road noise. Please comment on the noise level, and how well you can hear me talking about the topic. Should I ditch the ride-along format? Comments directly on the YouTube channel are better if you leave a comment on the actual video as displayed on my YouTube channel.
73 de NW7US
Thirty Minutes of Dazzle: The Sun in UHD 4K by SDO (NASA)
Take a front-seat view of the Sun in this 30-minute ultra-high definition movie in which NASA SDO gives us a stunning look at our nearest star.
This movie provides a 30-minute window to the Sun as seen by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), which measures the irradiance of the Sun that produces the ionosphere. SDO also measures the sources of that radiation and how they evolve.
SDO’s Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) captures a shot of the sun every 12 seconds in 10 different wavelengths. The images shown here are based on a wavelength of 171 angstroms, which is in the extreme ultraviolet range and shows solar material at around 600,000 Kelvin (about 1 million degrees F.) In this wavelength it is easy to see the sun’s 25-day rotation.
The distance between the SDO spacecraft and the sun varies over time. The image is, however, remarkably consistent and stable despite the fact that SDO orbits Earth at 6,876 mph and the Earth orbits the sun at 67,062 miles per hour.
Scientists study these images to better understand the complex electromagnetic system causing the constant movement on the sun, which can ultimately have an effect closer to Earth, too: Flares and another type of solar explosion called coronal mass ejections can sometimes disrupt technology in space. Moreover, studying our closest star is one way of learning about other stars in the galaxy. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. built, operates, and manages the SDO spacecraft for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, D.C.
Charged particles are created in our atmosphere by the intense X-rays produced by a solar flare. The solar wind, a continuous stream of plasma (charged particles), leaves the Sun and fills the solar system with charged particles and magnetic field. There are times when the Sun also releases billions of tons of plasma in what are called coronal mass ejections. When these enormous clouds of material or bright flashes of X-rays hit the Earth they change the upper atmosphere. It is changes like these that make space weather interesting.
Sit back and enjoy this half-hour 4k video of our Star! Then, share. 🙂
73 dit dit
How-To: Send Perfect Morse Code by Hand (Vintage Video)
What is the proper (and most efficient) technique for creating Morse code by hand, using a manual Morse code key? Ham radio operators find Morse code (and the ‘CW’ mode, or ‘Continuous Wave’ keying mode) very useful, even though Morse code is no longer required as part of the licensing process. Morse code is highly effective in weak-signal radio work. And, preppers love Morse code because it is the most efficient way to communicate when there is a major disaster that could wipe out the communications infrastructure.
While this military film is antique, the vintage information is timeless, as the material is applicable to Morse code, even today.
More about Morse code, at my website: http://cw.hfradio.org
Thank you for watching, commenting, and most of all, for subscribing. By subscribing, you will be kept in the loop for new videos and more… my YouTube Channel: https://YouTube.com/NW7US
See my Video Playlist for related Morse code vidoes:
Our Amazing Sun and HF Radio Signal Propagation
Space Weather. The Sun-Earth Connection. Ionospheric radio propagation. Solar storms. Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs). Solar flares and radio blackouts. All of these topics are interrelated for the amateur radio operator, especially when the activity involves the shortwave, or high-frequency, radiowave spectrum.
Learning about space weather and radio signal propagation via the ionosphere aids you in gaining a competitive edge in radio DX contests. Want to forecast the radio propagation for the next weekend so you know whether or not you should attend to the Honey-do list, or declare a radio day?
In the last ten years, amazing technological advances have been made in heliophysics research and solar observation. These advances have catapulted the amateur radio hobbyist into a new era in which computer power and easy access to huge amounts of data assist in learning about, observing, and forecasting space weather and to gain an understanding of how space weather impacts shortwave radio propagation, aurora propagation, and so on.
I hope to start “blogging” here about space weather and the propagation of radio waves, as time allows. I hope this finds a place in your journey of exploring the Sun-Earth connection and the science of radio communication.
With that in mind, I’d like to share some pretty cool science. Even though the video material in this article are from 2010, they provide a view of our Sun with the stunning solar tsunami event:
On August 1, 2010, the entire Earth-facing side of the sun erupted in a tumult of activity. There was a C3-class solar flare, a solar tsunami, multiple plasma-filled filaments of magnetism lifting off the stellar surface, large-scale shaking of the solar corona, radio bursts, a coronal mass ejection and more!
At approximately 0855 UTC on August 1, 2010, a C3.2 magnitude soft X-ray flare erupted from NOAA Active Sunspot Region 11092 (we typically shorten this by dropping the first digit: NOAA AR 1092).
At nearly the same time, a massive filament eruption occurred. Prior to the filament’s eruption, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) AIA instruments revealed an enormous plasma filament stretching across the sun’s northern hemisphere. When the solar shock wave triggered by the C3.2-class X-ray explosion plowed through this filament, it caused the filament to erupt, sending out a huge plasma cloud.
In this movie, taken by SDO AIA at several different Extreme Ultra Violet (EUV) wavelengths such as the 304- and 171-Angstrom wavelengths, a cooler shock wave can be seen emerging from the origin of the X-ray flare and sweeping across the Sun’s northern hemisphere into the filament field. The impact of this shock wave may propelled the filament into space.
This movie seems to support this analysis: Despite the approximately 400,000 kilometer distance between the flare and the filament eruption, they appear to erupt together. How can this be? Most likely they’re connected by long-range magnetic fields (remember: we cannot see these magnetic field lines unless there is plasma riding these fields).
In the following video clip, taken by SDO AIA at the 304-Angstrom wavelength, a cooler shock wave can be seen emerging from the origin of the X-ray flare and sweeping across the sun’s northern hemisphere into the filament field. The impact of this shock wave propelled the filament into space. This is in black and white because we’re capturing the EUV at the 304-Angstrom wavelength, which we cannot see. SDO does add artificial color to these images, but the raw footage is in this non-colorized view.
The followling video shows this event in the 171-Angstrom wavelength, and highlights more of the flare event:
The following related video shows the “resulting” shock wave several days later. Note that this did NOT result in anything more than a bit of aurora seen by folks living in high-latitude areas (like Norway, for instance).
This fourth video sequence (of the five in the first video shown in this article) shows a simulation model of real-time passage of the solar wind. In this segment, the plasma cloud that was ejected from this solar tsunami event is seen in the data and simulation, passing by Earth and impacting the magnetosphere. This results in the disturbance of the geomagnetic field, triggering aurora and ionospheric depressions that degrade shortwave radio wave propagation.
At about 2/3rd of the way through, UTC time stamp 1651 UTC, the shock wave hits the magnetosphere.
This is a simulation derived from satellite data of the interaction between the solar wind, the earth’s magnetosphere, and earth’s ionosphere. This triggered aurora on August 4, 2010, as the geomagnetic field became stormy (Kp was at or above 5).
While this is an amazing event, a complex series of eruptions involving most of the visible surface of the sun occurred, ejecting plasma toward the Earth, the energy that was transferred by the plasma mass that was ejected by the two eruptions (first, the slower-moving coronal mass ejection originating in the C-class X-ray flare at sunspot region 1092, and, second, the faster-moving plasma ejection originating in the filament eruption) was “moderate.” This event, especially in relationship with the Earth through the Sun-Earth connection, was rather low in energy. It did not result in any news-worthy events on Earth–no laptops were fried, no power grids failed, and the geomagnetic activity level was only moderate, with limited degradation observed on the shortwave radio spectrum.
This “Solar Tsunami” is actually categorized as a “Moreton wave”, the chromospheric signature of a large-scale solar coronal shock wave. As can be seen in this video, they are generated by solar flares. They are named for American astronomer, Gail Moreton, an observer at the Lockheed Solar Observatory in Burbank who spotted them in 1959. He discovered them in time-lapse photography of the chromosphere in the light of the Balmer alpha transition.
Moreton waves propagate at a speed of 250 to 1500 km/s (kilometers per second). A solar scientist, Yutaka Uchida, has interpreted Moreton waves as MHD fast-mode shock waves propagating in the corona. He links them to type II radio bursts, which are radio-wave discharges created when coronal mass ejections accelerate shocks.
I will be posting more of these kinds of posts, some of them explaining the interaction between space weather and the propagation of radio signals.
For live space weather and radio propagation, visit http://SunSpotWatch.com/. Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel: https://YouTube.com/NW7US.
The fourth video segment is used by written permission, granted to NW7US by NICT. The movie is [email protected], Japan. The rest of the video is courtesy of SDO/AIA and NASA. Music is courtesy of YouTube, from their free-to-use music library. Video copyright, 2015, by Tomas Hood / NW7US. All rights reserved.
Stunning Video of the Sun Over Five Years, by SDO
Watch this video on a large screen. (It is HD). Discuss. Share.
This video features stunning clips of the Sun, captured by SDO from each of the five years since SDO’s deployment in 2010. In this movie, watch giant clouds of solar material hurled out into space, the dance of giant loops hovering in the corona, and huge sunspots growing and shrinking on the Sun’s surface.
April 21, 2015 marks the five-year anniversary of the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) First Light press conference, where NASA revealed the first images taken by the spacecraft. Since then, SDO has captured amazingly stunning super-high-definition images in multiple wavelengths, revealing new science, and captivating views.
February 11, 2015 marks five years in space for NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, which provides incredibly detailed images of the whole Sun 24 hours a day. February 11, 2010, was the day on which NASA launched an unprecedented solar observatory into space. The Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) flew up on an Atlas V rocket, carrying instruments that scientists hoped would revolutionize observations of the Sun.
Capturing an image more than once per second, SDO has provided an unprecedentedly clear picture of how massive explosions on the Sun grow and erupt. The imagery is also captivating, allowing one to watch the constant ballet of solar material through the sun’s atmosphere, the corona.
The imagery in this “highlight reel” provide us with examples of the kind of data that SDO provides to scientists. By watching the sun in different wavelengths (and therefore different temperatures, each “seen” at a particular wavelength that is invisible to the unaided eye) scientists can watch how material courses through the corona. SDO captures images of the Sun in 10 different wavelengths, each of which helps highlight a different temperature of solar material. Different temperatures can, in turn, show specific structures on the Sun such as solar flares or coronal loops, and help reveal what causes eruptions on the Sun, what heats the Sun’s atmosphere up to 1,000 times hotter than its surface, and why the Sun’s magnetic fields are constantly on the move.
Coronal loops are streams of solar material traveling up and down looping magnetic field lines). Solar flares are bursts of light, energy and X-rays. They can occur by themselves or can be accompanied by what’s called a coronal mass ejection, or CME, in which a giant cloud of solar material erupts off the Sun, achieves escape velocity and heads off into space.
This movie shows examples of x-ray flares, coronal mass ejections, prominence eruptions when masses of solar material leap off the Sun, much like CMEs. The movie also shows sunspot groups on the solar surface. One of these sunspot groups, a magnetically strong and complex region appearing in mid-January 2014, was one of the largest in nine years as well as a torrent of intense solar flares. In this case, the Sun produced only flares and no CMEs, which, while not unheard of, is somewhat unusual for flares of that size. Scientists are looking at that data now to see if they can determine what circumstances might have led to flares eruptions alone.
Scientists study these images to better understand the complex electromagnetic system causing the constant movement on the sun, which can ultimately have an effect closer to Earth, too: Flares and another type of solar explosion called coronal mass ejections can sometimes disrupt technology in space as well as on Earth (disrupting shortwave communication, stressing power grids, and more). Additionally, studying our closest star is one way of learning about other stars in the galaxy.
Goddard built, operates and manages the SDO spacecraft for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, D.C. SDO is the first mission of NASA’s Living with a Star Program. The program’s goal is to develop the scientific understanding necessary to address those aspects of the sun-Earth system that directly affect our lives and society.