The year 2020 has been one strange year. There’ve been times when I thought “up” must be “down” and “left” must be “right”. This is the only way I (“The Other Ken” – KN4DD) could explain to myself how a mostly respiratory disease could cause toilet paper, frozen pizza and bread yeast shortages. And, as I would soon find out, laptop shortages. When I received a broadcast email from John (KG4NXT) back on August 22, asking for ideas on what to do with newly retired XP laptops, I didn’t think I could help. At first, all I could offer was this: maybe some recycler would offer money for the scrap. And so, with the trap set, John sprung it. Would you look into this please? Based on what turned out to be an outdated memory, I agreed. I had remembered… Read more »
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 »
What if I told you that even without any astronauts actively working a radio and making contacts, there was still a reason to point your antenna at the sky when the ISS passes over and throw some RF at it? Well, it’s true, and it’s nowhere near as difficult to accomplish as you might think; in fact the last two nights in a row I’ve successfully sent a radio signal up to the ISS and gotten one in return. How? I’ll tell you! There are a number of objects in orbit that we as amateur operators can actually transmit to. There are a number of low-powered satellites of various modes you can talk through, but the ISS is the most well known of LEO (low earth orbit) objects for obvious reasons; just about everyone knows what it is! While being… Read more »
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 »
The certificates from 13 Colonies special event are arriving. If you get all 13 colonies, it is called a “sweep”. There are also bonus stations for the Liberty Bell and a station in England. Known club members include Al, KB4BHB; Wayne, N7QLK and Ken, KE2N.
My son and I set up a portable operation at Loft Mountain Campground for ARRL Field Day 2020 [FM08PF]. We operated solar/battery powered on 6M/40M SSB S&P, and on VHF/UHF FM Phone. We operated Sat from 6pm to 1030pm EST (shutdown to observe quiet hours), and on Sunday from about 11am to 3pm EST. We logged 64 QSO’s, all voice. The weather was beautiful, especially in the evening when temperatures were 55-60 degrees F overnight with a light 5-10mph breeze. If only we could have brought some of that evening weather back in a jar! The closest storm was north of us in Luray, VA (~30m north). The campground did not have online reservations, we went very early Friday to get a site (first come, first served) and by 1130am the campground was Full for Friday/Saturday. My Tundra pickup truck… Read more »
Due to the damn pandemic, we did not have our usual field day at Nokesville Park. However, many club member did participate in field day activities. Known OVH field day operators include Al, KB4BHB; Wayne, N7QLK; George, K4GVT; Butch, W4HJL; Jay, NQ4T; Tony, KM4KLB; Ron, K3FR; John, KG4NXT; Jeff, K9VEG; Wayne, N4HCR; David KK4ZUU, Kevin, KX4KU; Mark, WA4KFX;, Bill, N4SV; Ron, N4RDZ; and Jim, KM4SXM. If you were missed, let John, KG4NXT know and we will add you to the list. Wayne, N4HCR, wrote an article on field day that was published on the forbes website. This is the link to it: https://www.forbes.com/sites/waynerash/2020/06/30/thousands-of-radio-operators-band-together-to-practice-for-the-worst/ There was a lot of digital operating this year. Three of us did FT8 with auto logging: Wayne, N7QLK; John, KG4NXT and Bill, N4SV. Mark, WA4KFZ worked both Wayne and John and sent us pictures of… Read more »