Posts Tagged ‘Space’

Three Tips for 2m FM SOTA

Bob/K0NR operating from unnamed summit W0C/SP-094.

I do a lot of SOTA activating using 2m FM and have developed a few operating habits that can really make a difference. These may seem obvious but might be overlooked by operators new to the game. To get an overview of using VHF for SOTA, look at this article: How to Do A VHF SOTA Activation.

Here are three operating tips when using 2m FM for SOTA:

1. Upgrade Your Antenna

A handheld radio is commonly used for SOTA operation because it is a self-contained, compact radio. These radios always come with a rubber duck (electrically-short monopole) antenna. These antennas vary in quality but they are universally poor performers compared to a half-wave radiator. I’ve measured the effectiveness of many rubber duck antennas on 2 meters and they are somewhere between 8 and 12 dB worse than a half-wave radiator. So an easy upgrade is to use a half-wave telescoping antenna. Another popular option with a half-wave radiator is the roll-up J-pole (often called a “Slim Jim” antenna). An even better choice is a small 3-element Yagi such as the 146-3 from Arrow antenna,  which is about 6 dB better than a halfwave antenna. Keep in mind that the Yagi should be held vertically-oriented for FM operating.

2. Open Your Squelch

The squelch circuit in an FM receiver requires the signal to be large enough to flip the squelch open. When operating at weak signal levels, the squelch may mask a signal that is actually readable. A recommended technique is to just open up the squelch control and let the FM noise come through. This maximizes the opportunity to pick out that weak signal out of the noise.

3. Point Your Antenna Everywhere

If you have a directional antenna, make sure you methodically point it in a variety of directions when calling CQ. For example, with a 3-element Yagi, you should divide up the 360 degrees around you into 45-degree sections. Point north, make a call, point northeast, make a call, point east, make a call, and so forth. Also be aware that the direct path to another station may not be the strongest path. This is especially true if you have tall summits around you that can block or reflect your signal. Many times I’ve pointed in the “right direction” to work another station but then found that the signals were strongest with the antenna pointed away from the direct path. So the secret is go ahead and try different antenna orientations to maximize the signal strength, even when you know the physical direction to the other station. Sometimes the radio waves decide to take another path.

Those are my three tips for today.
Do you have any to add?

73 Bob K0NR

The post Three Tips for 2m FM SOTA appeared first on The KØNR Radio Site.

SOTA W0C 10-10-10 Challenge Report

Joyce/K0JJW climbing London Mountain, with Mosquito Peak in the background (right).

We had a great time going after the W0C 10-10-10 SOTA Challenge. (See 2021 Colorado SOTA and 14er Event ) For activators, the objective was to activate 10 summits higher than 10k feet in 10 days. It turned out that some previous commitments would not allow us to do 10 days of activating, so we smushed 10 summits into 6 days. With careful choice of summits and doing multiple summits in a day, we put together a plan.

Bob/K0NR and Joyce/K0JJW on Puma Peak.

Saturday and Sunday started off with the Colorado 14er Event, so we opted to do Pikes Peak on Saturday and Mount Evans on Sunday. These are both drive-up summits, so not a lot of hiking. As previously reported, we had some good luck with 1.2 GHz from those summits. Then, on Monday we hiked Puma Peak and Little Puma, two 11k summits in South Park. On Tuesday, we did three summits on one day: Dicks Peak, 10090 and 10715. These three hikes were not particularly difficult but doing all three made for a full day.

Map of the ten summits that were activated.

On Wednesday, we took the Jeep up to Mosquito Pass and hiked two 13ers: Mosquito Peak and London Mountain. We had previously activated those two summits in 2018. Finally, on Thursday, we did our tenth summit with Walt/W0CP and Jerry/K0ES, one of our favorites: South Monarch Ridge. Walt and Jerry worked the HF bands while we did VHF/UHF. That was a slacker day, because we rode the tram up from Monarch Pass.

Bob/K0NR standing next to the Jeep with Mosquito Peak in the background.

The weather was consistently fantastic, with no thunderstorms in sight. The smoke from western wildfires was thick at times and can be seen in some of the photos.

The Bands

As usual, we operated above 50 MHz, focusing on 2m, 70cm and 23cm FM operation. Most of the contacts were on 2m FM but we had significant activity on the other bands. The 1.2 GHz work was really fun: Using 1.2 GHz in the Colorado 14er Event. I made 162 contacts and Joyce made 94, for a total of 256 for the week. Not bad!

Thanks to all of our chasers and fellow activators:  AC0FT, AC0FY, AC0V, AD1CT, K0AVU, K0BEJ, K0EHR, K0ES, K0FYR, K0GPA, K0GPA, K0MGL, K0MOS, K0REW, K0SJP, K0TRD, K1DDN, K5RHD, K6TUY, K7ASB, KA4EPS, KB0KQI, KB6VHF, KC0PBR, KC3BHI, KC5CW, KD0MRC, KD0VHD, KD0YOB, KD8EQA, KE0BTX, KF0DGK, KF0FOG, KG5APL, KJ4DER, KL7GLK,

Challenge Results

The results for the W0C 10-10-10 Challenge have been posted, for both activators and chasers. Here are the Activator results:

W0C 10-10-10 Activator List

Six activators met the challenge of doing at least 10 summits during the event. That was our goal…not pursuing the top of the list but we did want to get 10 summits done. I am fifth on the list and K0JJW came in at sixth. We had the same number of SOTA points because we did the same summits. I had more QSOs though.

It was a fun event and we were happy to be able to activate 10 summits. Fortunately, the weather was good, otherwise we might have gotten rained out on the longer days.

73 Bob K0NR

The post SOTA W0C 10-10-10 Challenge Report appeared first on The KØNR Radio Site.

LHS Episode #182: You May Experience Browsiness

In this breathtaking episode of Linux in the Ham Shack, your quasi-intelligent and always goofy hosts discuss new Boy Scout merit badges with a ham radio twist, sending balloons into space, Hamvention, Web browser you may not have heard of, a bunch o' Linux distros, upcoming cons, pineapples, great new music, Scotch and more. Thank you for tuning in and Happy New Year for 2017.

73 de The LHS Crew

Stunning Ultra-HD View; Sun Timelapse 2015 NASA/SDO

This video is ten minutes of coolness.

This cool time-lapse video shows the Sun (in ultra-high definition 3840×2160 – 4k on YouTube) during the entire year, 2015. The video captures the Sun in the 171-angstrom wavelength of extreme ultraviolet light. Our naked, unaided eyes cannot see this, but this movie uses false-colorization (yellow/gold) so that we can watch in high definition.

The movie covers a time period of January 2, 2015 to January 28, 2016 at a cadence of one frame every hour, or 24 frames per day. This timelapse is repeated with narration by solar scientist Nicholeen Viall and contains close-ups and annotations. The 171-angstrom light highlights material around 600,000 Kelvin and shows features in the upper transition region and quiet corona of the sun.

The first half tells you a bit about the video and the Sun, and you can see the entire year 2015 rotate by.  The second half is narrated by a NASA scientist.  It is worth watching all ten minutes.  And, then, sharing!

The sun is always changing and NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory is always watching.

Launched on Feb. 11, 2010, SDO keeps a 24-hour eye on the entire disk of the sun, with a prime view of the graceful dance of solar material coursing through the sun’s atmosphere, the corona. SDO’s sixth year in orbit was no exception. This video shows that entire sixth year–from Jan. 1, 2015 to Jan. 28, 2016 as one time-lapse sequence. Each frame represents 1 hour.

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.

During the course of the video, the sun subtly increases and decreases in apparent size. This is because 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.

A blending of an entire year, 2015, of the Sun as seen by NASA SDO at EUV 171 Angstroms

A blending of an entire year, 2015, of the Sun as seen by NASA SDO at EUV 171 Angstroms

Why This is Important

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.

For us radio enthusiasts, the study of the Sun helps us understand the dynamics of radio signal propagation.  And, that aids us in communicating more effectively and skill.

Thanks for sharing, voting, and watching.  More information and live Sun content can be accessed 24/7 at

You can also get the Space Weather and Radio Propagation Self-study Course at


New Satellite (Fox-1A/ AO-85) is Operational

amsatCongratulations to AMSAT for the successful launch and initial deployment of the Fox-1A amateur radio satellite.This bird has been designated AO-85 and has an FM transponder on board (435.180 MHz uplink, 145.980 MHz downlink).

I have not heard or worked this satellite yet but early reports indicate that it has a strong signal on the downlink. So start out by trying to hear the bird on 145.980 MHz. To find out when it will be overhead, use the AMSAT pass prediction page or your favorite satellite tracking software.

Download the Special Issue of the AMSAT Journal to get the full story.

73, Bob K0NR

The post New Satellite (Fox-1A/ AO-85) is Operational appeared first on The KØNR Radio Site.

Five X-class (Major) X-ray Flares in a Row (plus more!)

Well, thankfully, this is not happening during this contest weekend: one of the largest sunspot regions during this Sunspot Cycle 24, and one of the biggest in several decades, gave us quite a show, back in October 2014.

Five major X-class (very strong) and a number of moderate and “mild” solar x-ray flares erupted from a single sunspot region – this video covers the time period of October 19-27, 2014, as captured by NASA’s SDO spacecraft. This is from what has been one of the biggest sunspot regions in a number of decades.

Between October 19 and October 27, 2014, a particularly large active region on the Sun dispatched many intense x-ray flares. This region, labeled by NOAA as Active Region (AR) number 12192 (or, simply, NOAA AR 12192, and shortened as AR 2192), is the largest in 24 years (at that point in Solar Cycle 24).

The various video segments track this sunspot region during this period (Oct. 19 – Oct.27, 2014), during which we can see the intense explosions. There are five X-class flares during this time, and NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), which watches the sun constantly, captured these images of the event.

Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth’s atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground, however — when intense enough — they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel.

When referring to these intense solar eruptions, the letter part of the classification, ‘X’, means, ‘X-class’. This denotes the most intense flares, while the number, after the classification letter, provides more information about its strength. For example, an X2 is twice as intense as an X1, an X3 is three times as intense, and so forth.

Solar Images Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center & SDO ~

73 de NW7US

Watch stunning highlights, last 5 years of the Sun

We rely on the Sun for HF radio communication propagation. For the last five years, we have an amazing front-row seat: the SDO spacecraft. Here is a video with highlights of the last five years of solar activity as seen by NASA and the SDO AIA spacecraft. This is worth seeing on a larger monitor, so try to view it full screen on something larger than your palm. The music is pretty good too. It is worth the 20-some minutes of stunning viewing. Be sure to 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.

Please visit my channel on YouTube, and subscribe ( ).

— Twitter:
— Facebook:
— Web:
( Data feed Twitter )


Music Via YouTube “Free-for-use” Creation Tools

Video clips of the Sun are from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/SDO which are in the Public Domain

By the way, this is an example of what I am trying to produce on a more regular basis, once I launch the space weather YouTube channel that I have started. If you wish to help, here is the GoFundMe link:


Subscribe FREE to's
Amateur Radio Newsletter

We never share your e-mail address.

Do you like to write?
Interesting project to share?
Helpful tips and ideas for other hams?

Submit an article and we will review it for publication on!

Have a ham radio product or service?
Consider advertising on our site.

Are you a reporter covering ham radio?
Find ham radio experts for your story.

How to Set Up a Ham Radio Blog
Get started in less than 15 minutes!

  • Matt W1MST, Managing Editor

Sign up for our free
Amateur Radio Newsletter

Enter your e-mail address: