Author Archives: Jeff Fuller

VP’s Corner

      No Comments on VP’s Corner

Cooler temperatures of fall will soon be here and, along with them, the beginning of the holiday season. I’m sure your family, like mine, has some holiday traditions which have been passed down over the years. We carry them on, not necessarily for practical reasons, but as a means of bonding and connecting with past generations. Learning to communicate using Morse code or “CW” is one such tradition in the amateur radio community. I’m happy to see several of our new hams accepting the challenge. Here are some interesting Morse factoids to encourage you in your studies. Q.  Why do hams call it CW? A.  CW stands for Continuous Wave, meaning a sine wave produced by an electronic oscillator. The first radio signals from spark transmitters were known as “damped waves” and occupied lots of spectrum.   Q. What is… Read more »

2020 National Preparedness Month

VP’s Corner

      No Comments on VP’s Corner

WB6UIE   As we begin National Preparedness Month, Hurricane Laura has devastated portions of Louisiana and spawned systems of severe storms as it swept inland. Northern Virginia was fortunate to escape most of its wrath. We may not be so lucky next time. Now is a good time to check your emergency supplies. Do you have enough food and water for you and your family to last several days?   You can find information about recommended emergency kit contents at https://www.ready.gov Are your radios ready to go and programmed with local repeater frequencies? You can find this info along with the local ARES op plan and training schedule at http://pwcares.org/ In addition to the damage caused by their high winds and wind driven water, hurricanes often spawn tornadoes and systems of violent thunderstorms extending many miles inland from the eye…. Read more »

VP-2020-08-An amateur radio operator, Yvette Cendes, KB3HTS, at station W8EDU, 2005-Wikipedia

VP’s Corner

      No Comments on VP’s Corner

As 5G and other new commercial wireless systems deploy, competition for scarce radio spectrum will become intense. As stewards of a good chunk of that spectrum, it will be up to hams to justify our allocations. Some are saying that new technology will make our traditional emergency communications role obsolete. So, what else do we bring to the table? How about our long and proud history as a springboard for youngsters who went on to landmark careers as engineers, Nobel Laureates and astronauts? Here are some examples. Edwin H. “Howard” Armstrong, W2XMN Armstrong grew up in suburban New York at the turn of the century and was fascinated by wireless technology. By age 14 he had filled his bedroom with wireless gear and erected a 125 foot antenna on his parents property (no HOAs in those days). He was soon… Read more »

USCGC Eagle (WIX-327), formerly the Horst Wessel and also known as the Barque Eagle, is a 295-foot barque used as a training cutter for future officers of the United States Coast Guard. - Wikipedia

VP’s Corner

      No Comments on VP’s Corner

Hope everyone had a safe and happy Independence Day as we celebrated our nation’s birthday. August marks another important birthday – that of the U.S. Coast Guard, tasked with protecting our shores from smugglers and terrorists. As we honor that anniversary, here’s a sea story about one of that service’s epic battles. It began 100 years ago this year with the passage of the 18th Amendment.     Popularly known as Prohibition, the new law forbade the import or manufacture of alcoholic beverages in the U.S. Predictable results followed its opening kickoff. British and Canadian distilleries ramped up to full production and the smuggling race was on. Seagoing smugglers loaded up motherships for rendezvous with small speedboats just outside U.S. territorial waters. The Coast Guard’s task was a daunting one. A limited number of cutters had to cover thousands of… Read more »

A local wireless telegraphist operator operating an AWA 3BZ teleradio at Segi Coastwatchers station, British Solomon Islands

VP’s Corner

      No Comments on VP’s Corner

June brings sweltering heat to northern Virginia and a chance for hams to adapt to a new version of Field Day. This month’s ham radio history takes us to the steaming heat of the WWII Solomon Islands and the story of a young ham who used every bit of his Field Day skills to keep his gear up and running while reporting on enemy forces and dodging Japanese patrols.               Sydney, Australia native Paul Mason became  interested in amateur radio during his school days, becoming proficient at Morse and building his own transmitter in 1936 [1]. Thanks to his work as a plantation manager before the war, Paul had good knowledge of the Solomons and their inhabitants. His background made Mason a perfect candidate for a program set up by Australian Naval Intelligence in… Read more »

Armed Forces Day

VP’s Corner

      No Comments on VP’s Corner

As we commemorate both Armed Forces Day and Memorial Day this month, lets take a moment to recognize some of the contributions made by our fellow hams in uniform. For this month’s vicarious escape from cabin fever, we’ll explore a fascinating but little covered corner of radio history – the role of Joan and Eleanor in WWII OSS secret agent communications. OSS (Office of Strategic Services) entered service as America’s national intelligence agency during the dark days of WWII on 13 June 1942. In addition to its traditional collection and analysis missions, OSS was responsible for covert action against Axis forces. That meant inserting agents behind the lines in Axis occupied territory to link up with partisan resistance groups. Reliable and secure communications with these groups was essential for receiving their reports, scheduling supply drops, and coordinating their tasking. Deployed… Read more »

VP’s Corner

      No Comments on VP’s Corner

As we hunker down in isolation during the current health crisis, many of us are finding our hobby a welcome way to connect with others. Not surprisingly, the press has reported increased public interest in amateur radio.  And OVH is receiving new membership applications. Looks like some opportunities for online Elmering may be on the way. How about some other activities to distract from cabin fever? Antennas. A traditional spring sport for hams in keeping with that classic quote “If your antenna stayed up last winter, it wasn’t big enough”. Tell us about your latest design, how well it worked and how you managed to hide it from your HOA. Or, how about your wackiest encounter with an HOA.   Exploring new bands. Could we maintain comms across the local area without the repeater? Want to try 6 or 10 meters?… Read more »

Members of the Virginia Defense Force conduct training on multiple communications systems.

VP’s Corner

      No Comments on VP’s Corner

This week we’re experiencing a few days of spring like weather and the ionosphere is teasing us with occasional HF openings into Europe and hopes for an increase in the sunspot number. Speaking of HF, this spring marks another anniversary in radio history. In spring of 1956, Air Force General Curtis LeMay led a flight of several aircraft half way around the world while maintaining continuous HF SSB communications with several Strategic Air Command (SAC) ground stations. Why? As commander of SAC’s newly minted nuclear bomber force, LeMay needed a way to guarantee continuous command and control of his forces. Smaller fuselage designs of faster jet bombers meant smaller crews and no room for a Morse operator. AM’s noise vulnerability and poor talk power weren’t going to hack it. What to do? SSB (single sideband) offers a big improvement in… Read more »

1 2 3 5