Author Archives: Jeff Fuller

Armed Forces Day

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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 »

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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.

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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 »

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It seems our recruiting efforts have been paying off with several new members joining the club recently. When you see them at a meeting or club function, please take a minute to introduce yourself and welcome them to OVH. Club recognition has definitely helped our recruiting. So, as spring approaches with Hamfest and other activities, this would be a good time to order your club nametag and polo, if you don’t already have them. Nametags may be ordered from: http://www.thesignman.com/clubs/ovhcart.html I have club polos in stock which can be customized locally with your name and callsign.      Email me your size. This month in radio history … A February 1902 Scientific American article on building a simple wireless station[1]is credited with bringing the first amateur radio to the U.S.[2]               This year’s Virginia QSO Party,… Read more »

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As we enter the new year, I’m reminded of a quote my faculty adviser kept posted on his wall: “We are surrounded by insurmountable opportunity.” Opportunities abound at OVH. Here are some of them for the coming year. How about a position on the OVH leadership team? We’ll put together the slate at this month’s meeting with voting to follow in February. Or, come join your fellow club members in providing event communications for the Mini Triathlons held on the George Mason campus:         Enjoy the beauty of rural Virginia while  supporting a veteran’s charity bike ride.       Help support the club’s annual fund raiser, Manassas  Hamfest. Join us for the next Hamfest.  Planning Committee meeting on January 28th.                 Want to learn more about the microwave mesh… Read more »

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The approaching holiday season and year’s end are traditionally a time for reflection and giving thanks for our many blessings. This Veterans Day, let’s take a moment to express thanks to our veterans – the young ones who are in harm’s way today defending our freedoms, and those who have gone before, sometimes giving all.   I know my fellow vets and I have had those occasional days when we felt like just a small cog in a big machine and wondered if we were making a difference. In honor of Veterans Day, here’s a story about a young service member who made a difference by using his ham radio skills as a springboard to help create one of America’s WWII war winning capabilities. Young Radioman Harry Kidder took an interest in ham radio while stationed with the U.S. Navy… Read more »

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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 damped waves occupying lots of spectrum. Q. Was the original Morse code the… Read more »

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As we begin National Preparedness Month, Hurricane Dorian devastates much of the Bahamas and begins its sweep up the east coast of the U.S. Fortunately, it looks like northern Virginia will escape most of its wrath. We may not be as 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 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. The resulting power outages can last for days. Do you have backup power for your radios and essential items? If you plan to rely on batteries, please be sure… Read more »

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