Tag Archives: Ham Radio

TX Factor Episode 11

ISS

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Eric (WD8RIF) and Mike (K8RAT) who remind me that TX Factor episode 11 is online:

“In this special edition, we follow the progress of a Devon School in their attempt to be one of the ten lucky UK schools to link up with Tim Peake aboard the International Space Station.”

Click here to view on YouTube.

Amateur Electronic Supply (AES) to close

aes-logoMany thanks to a number of SWLing Post readers who sent in this news tip via CQ Magazine:

Amateur Electronic Supply (AES) has announced that it is ceasing operations as of the end of July, 2016.

The Milwaukee-based retailer has four locations around the country, including Milwaukee; Cleveland (Wickliffe), Ohio; Las Vegas, Nevada and Orlando, Florida. It has long been the nation’s second-largest ham radio dealer, after Ham Radio Outlet. No reason was given for the decision to close the business.

Click here to read on CQ’s website.

At time of posting, there is no mention of AES going out of business on their website, but I assume their various stores may begin the process of liquidating inventory soon..

Icom IC-7300: Field Day reports?

Icom-IC-7300-Front

I’m curious: any Post readers use the new Icom IC-7300 on Field Day?

While I gave Icom’s new transceiver a very positive review, it was based on operation at my home QTH. There were no significant contests in progress during my review window.

Field Day has, arguably, some of the toughest receiver conditions out there.  If a transceiver/receiver performs well during Field Day’s dense signal environment, without overloading or distorting, it’s a good receiver.

I’m very curious if anyone tested the IC-7300. I assume someone took it out to play on Field Day!

Please consider commenting with your report!

Some scientists believe sun may be crossing into “magnetic middle age”

 (SILSO data/image, Royal Observatory of Belgium, Brussels)

(SILSO data/image, Royal Observatory of Belgium, Brussels)

I just received the following link to a Forbes article from my buddy Charlie (W4MEC).

If this research turns out to be correct–and time will only tell–it could mean very low solar activity from here on out (let’s hope not!):

(Source: Forbes Magazine via Charlie W4MEC)

The Sun has likely already entered into a new unpredicted long-term phase of its evolution as a hydrogen-burning main sequence star — one characterized by magnetic sputtering indicative of a more quiescent middle-age. Or so say the authors of a new paper submitted to The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Using observations of other sunlike stars made by NASA ’s Kepler Space Telescope, the team found that the Sun is currently in a special phase of its magnetic evolution.

At time of posting, the Sun has no Sun spots at all. The sun is blank--no sunspots, which means very low solar activity. Credit: SDO/HMI (Click to enlarge)

At time of posting (June 28, 2016) the Sun has no Sun spots at all, which means very low solar activity. Credit: SDO/HMI (Click to enlarge)

Heretofore, the Sun was thought to have been just a more slowly rotating version of a normal yellow dwarf (G-spectral type) star. These results offer the first real confirmation that the Sun is in the process of crossing into its magnetic middle age, where its 11-year Sunspot cycles are likely to slowly disappear entirely. That is, from here on out, the Sun is likely to have fewer sunspots than during the first half of its estimated 10 billion year life as a hydrogen-burning star.

“The Sun’s 11-year sunspot cycle is likely to disappear entirely, not just get less pronounced; [since] other stars with similar rotation rates show no sunspot cycles,” Travis Metcalfe, the paper’s lead author and an astronomer at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo., told me.[…]

Continue reading the full article at Forbes online.

It’s Field Day weekend 2016: find a local event, have fun

2016 Field Day Logo

If you live in North America and have an interest in becoming a ham radio operator, this is the weekend to check out what amateur radio is all about, and meet local radio enthusiasts.  

It’s Field Day!

What is Field Day?  I’ll quote from the ARRL, who sponsors the event:

“ARRL Field Day is the single most popular on-the-air event held annually in the US and Canada. On the fourth weekend of June of each year, more than 35,000 radio amateurs gather with their clubs, groups or simply with friends to operate from remote locations.

Field Day is a picnic, a camp out, practice for emergencies, an informal contest and, most of all, FUN!

It is a time where many aspects of Amateur Radio come together to highlight our many roles. While some will treat it as a contest, other groups use the opportunity to practice their emergency response capabilities. It is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate Amateur Radio to the organizations that Amateur Radio might serve in an emergency, as well as the general public. For many clubs, ARRL Field Day is one of the highlights of their annual calendar.

The contest part is simply to contact as many other stations as possible and to learn to operate our radio gear in abnormal situations and less than optimal conditions.”

GOTAMany Field Day sites have a GOTA (Get On The Air) station where non-licensed individuals are welcome to play radio. It’s a fantastic way to try your hand at transmitting with a little guidance and encouragement from the more experienced. Indeed, even if there is no GOTA station, you will often be invited to try out the mic.

You’ll find that ham radio operators are very welcoming on Field Day–after all, spreading the word about the fun of amateur radio is what it’s all about. Indeed, I’ve shown up unannounced to a number of Field Days over the years; once I even got some serious radio time with the Charlotteville Amateur Radio Club while on vacation in Prince Edward Island, Canada.

This year, I’m joining the Québec Amateur Radio Club (Club Radio Amateur de Québec) and I’m looking forward to it very much!

Keep in mind that there are many shortwave listeners among the amateur radio community; indeed, many hams became interested in the hobby through SWLing.

The ARRL has made it quite easy to find registered Field Day locations in your region. Click here to find a local Field Day event near you–and have a great Field Day!