National Parks On The Air: Activating PK01 this weekend (August 28)

The QRP Ranger (left) and LNR Precision LD-11 transceiver (right)

The QRP Ranger (left) and LNR Precision LD-11 transceiver (right)

After two months in Canada and one month spent catching up on work, I’m pleased to make some time this weekend to activate PK01 (the Blue Ridge Parkway) for the ARRL National Parks On The Air (NPOTA).

I’ll be joined by my good friend, Vlado (N3CZ) on August 28–we plan to set up at the Folk Art Center on the parkway around 11:00 EDT and be on the air by 11:30 EDT (15:30 UTC).

I plan to use the LNR Precision LD-11, QRP Ranger and EFT Trail Friendly Antenna combo. Vlado will either use his Icom IC-7000, Kenwood TS-480 or my Elecraft KX1.

Look for us on the following frequencies:

  • CW: +/- 7031, 14061 kHz
  • SSB: +/- 7286, 14286 kHz

Life has been so hectic after having been on the road for two months–I’m pleased to finally have a moment to play radio in the field again!

HAARP Open House this weekend

HAARP

(Source: University of Alaska Fairbanks via Andrea Borgnino)

OPEN HOUSE AUGUST 27, 2016

9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at HAARP, 11.3 mile Tok Cutoff Highway, Gakona, Alaska

Facility tours, mobile planetarium, permafrost exhibit, science demos and talks, and BBQ.

Free and suitable for all ages!

open-house-flyer-2016-4-2_0ALSO: Science lecture Friday August 26, 7 p.m. at the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park Visitor Center Auditorium, mile 106.8 Richardson Highway, Copper Center, Alaska.

“Radio Modification of the Ionosphere, and Who Uses This HAARP Thing Anyway?” by Dr. Chris Fallen

Free, in partnership with the Wrangell Institute for Science and the Environment (WISE)

For more information on either of these events, download the flyer by clicking on the image above, or email UAF-GI-HAARP@alaska.edu.


The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program, or HAARP, is a scientific endeavor aimed at studying the properties and behavior of the ionosphere. Operation of the research facility was transferred from the United States Air Force to the University of Alaska Fairbanks on Aug. 11, 2015, allowing HAARP to continue with exploration of ionospheric phenomenology via a land-use cooperative research and development agreement.

HAARP is the world’s most capable high-power, high-frequency transmitter for study of the ionosphere. The HAARP program is committed to developing a world-class ionospheric research facility consisting of:

  • The Ionospheric Research Instrument, a high power transmitter facility operating in the High Frequency range. The IRI can be used to temporarily excite a limited area of the ionosphere for scientific study.
  • A sophisticated suite of scientific or diagnostic instruments that can be used to observe the physical processes that occur in the excited region.

Observation of the processes resulting from the use of the IRI in a controlled manner will allow scientists to better understand processes that occur continuously under the natural stimulation of the sun.

Scientific instruments installed at the HAARP Observatory can also be used for a variety of continuing research efforts which do not involve the use of the IRI but are strictly passive. These include ionospheric characterization using satellite beacons, telescopic observation of the fine structure in the aurora and documentation of long-term variations in the ozone layer.

Click here to download event flyer.

Video: Elecraft KX2 daytime shortwave AM performance

ElecraftKX2

After publishing the post this morning regarding the AM mode addition to the Elecraft KX2, SWLing Post contributor Ivan Cholakov (NO2CW) created the following video comparing the KX2’s daytime shortwave reception with that of the Kenwood R-2000:

Click here to view on YouTube.

The Elecraft KX2 now has AM mode!

Elecraft-KX2-6

The Elecraft KX2 at the 2016 Hamvention

Many thanks to a number of SWLing Post readers (including, Eric, Dave, Jim and Greg) who shared the following message from Wayne (N6KR) on the Elecraft message boards:

We added AM mode to the KX2 today, both transmit and receive. Its primary purpose is for SWL (short-wave listening), i.e. copying commercial AM stations. (Remember that the KX2’s sensitivity drops off rapidly below 2 MHz due to protective high-pass filtering, so it wouldn’t be your first choice for AM brodcast-band DXing.)

AM transmit is far less efficient than SSB, so it would typically be used only if the target receiver can’t demodulate SSB, or for special applications. For example, there’s some AM activity and experimentation in the ham bands, notably around 3.870 kHz at night. I’ll have to drop in with 10 watts (carrier + sidebands) and get a report 🙂

While the KX2 was optimized for SSB, AM mode sounds fine, and of course is easier to tune than when using SSB modes with AM. In AM mode, the operator can select 1, 5, 9, or 10 kHz steps for course tuning using the VFO CRS menu entry. (Yes, some countries use 9 kHz intervals between stations.)

If you’re interested in testing AM mode on the KX2, please email me directly.

73,
Wayne
N6KR

On Sunday, I ordered a KX2 (with ATU, rechargeable battery pack, quick charger and paddles)–it should arrive next Monday. First thing I’ll do is upgrade the firmware so it’ll have AM mode.

Many thanks to Wayne (N6KR) for putting this KX2 upgrade at the front of the (long) line of requests.  I’ll be reviewing the KX2 for the November issue of The Spectrum Monitor magazine and, as an avid SWL, AM mode adds an important dimension to my evaluation. (Truth is, I know that Wayne has a soft spot for SWLing too.)

Elecraft-KX2-Data-SheetClick here for a previous post with more information and photos of the Elecraft KX2.

Click here to view the KX2 on Elecraft’s website.

The “Hidden Den” of Pirate Radio

NYC-NewYork-Brooklyn-Map

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Martin Kraft, who writes:

Where’s the hidden den of pirate radio? The Caribbean? The South China Sea? Nope, according to RadioWorld, it’s the New York City metro area:
http://www.radioworld.com/article/nybsa-76-pirates-stations-in-new-york-northern-nj/279213

NYSBA: 76 Pirate Stations in New York, Northern N.J.

A number of pirate stations are operating throughout New York City and Northern New Jersey, according to a recent engineering survey that was recently unveiled by the New York State Broadcasters Association.

According to the survey, 76 stations are currently operating without an FCC license in four primary locations. There are 19 unauthorized stations in the Bronx, N.Y.; 29 in Brooklyn, N.Y.; 13 in Newark, N.J.; and 15 in Paterson, N.J. Brooklyn saw a 58% increase in the number of pirate stations compared to a similar survey conducted in 2015.

The survey does observe that it has likely underestimated the number of pirate stations in the area, and that the total number could be more than 100.

“Like our previous studies, the new survey provides compelling evidence that the FCC needs to address this problem,” said David Donovan, president of the NYSBA. “Last summer, the entire New York Congressional delegation asked the FCC to fix the problem. While the FCC has published an Enforcement Advisory, it needs to devote the manpower and resources to increase its enforcement efforts. Moreover, Congressional action will be important to assist the FCC in these efforts.”

The potential harms associated with pirate stations include: interference to Broadcast Emergency Alert Services; interference to FAA frequencies; and failure to comply with RF radiation rules of licensed broadcast stations.

The survey was conducted by engineering firm Meintel, Sgrignoli and Wallace. The full study can be found here.

Thank you, Martin!

When I visit my buddy David Goren in Brooklyn, I’m simply amazed at the diversity of the pirate radio scene on the FM band. When David isn’t surfing the shortwaves, he’s logging local pirate radio stations. Check out his Facebook page: Flatbush Pirate Decoder. David most recently presented a program on the NYC pirate scene at the 11th HOPE conference–you can download a recording of the presentation here.