Category Archives: Ham Radio

Mark Your Calendar: PI4VBD Special 150th Anniversary Station, February 14 & 15, 2024

Many thanks to Ton & Klaas-Jan who share the following announcement:

On 14 & 15 February we (the royal netherlands army signal regiment) will celebrate our 150th anniversary.

We will be on air for 36 hours with a all kind of historical and in-service radio’s on all bands in SSB and CW with cadets, servicemen, amateurs, veterans etc.

Would you share our special station among the amateur-radio world?

Thanks in advance!

73

Ton & Klaas-Jan
PI4VBD
Royal Netherlands Army signal regiment radio club

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SolderSmoke: 7J6CBQ on Okinawa — And a Translation of a Science Fiction Novel about Ham Radio in China

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Bill Meara who shares the following article from the excellent SolderSmoke Podcast:


7J6CBQ on Okinawa — And a Translation of a Science Fiction Novel about Ham Radio in China

The article about Sergeant Malik Pugh USMC on Okinawa brought back memories from the 1990s. David Cowhig was 73 Magazine’s Hambassador on Okinawa — I had the same “position” in the Dominican Republic.  David and I were both in the Foreign Service;  we joked that 73 had afforded us our only chances to be ambassadors of any kind.  David’s Okinawa QSL and the opening from his initial report to 73 magazine appear above.  You can see more here:

https://archive.org/details/73-magazine-1992-12/page/82/mode/1up

https://archive.org/details/73-magazine-1993-06/page/76/mode/2up

https://archive.org/details/73-magazine-1993-07/page/82/mode/2up

https://archive.org/details/73-magazine-1993-08/page/78/mode/2up

https://archive.org/details/73-magazine-1993-11/page/84/mode/2up

https://archive.org/details/73-magazine-1993-12/page/78/mode/2upmode/2up

A couple of my own “dispatches” as Hambassdor to the Dominican Republic appear here:
https://www.gadgeteer.us/DRDISP.HTM

Back in the 90’s David sent me an old QST Magazine.  I wrote about this on the SolderSmoke blog:
https://soldersmoke.blogspot.com/2015/07/been-there-done-that-he-begged-his.html

Later, I learned about another “Hambassador” who was still active as a radio amateur: Ron Gang 4X1MK:
https://soldersmoke.blogspot.com/2017/10/ron-gang-4x1mk-on-qso-today-podcast.html

Finally (and this is really cool):  David Cowhig has been putting his language skills to good use, translating Chinese written material.  He sent me his translation of the opening chapters of a Chinese science fiction novel about ham radio.   Readers of the SolderSmoke Daily News will like this:


 
https://gaodawei.wordpress.com/2021/12/18/chinese-sf-ham-radio-web-novel-we-live-in-nanjing/


Check out this article and much more on the SolderSmoke podcast blog!

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Radio Waves: BBC Emergency Service for Gaza, FCC Bolstering Amateur Radio, and Crowdsourcing the Ionosphere

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Welcome to the SWLing Post’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Andrea Borgnino, Paul, and Dennis Dura for the following tips:


BBC World Service announces Emergency Radio Service for Gaza (BBC Media Centre)

It will provide listeners in Gaza with the latest information and developments as well as safety advice on where to access shelter, food and water supplies

BBC News Arabic has today (1 November) announced an Emergency Radio Service for Gaza in response to the conflict in the region.

The emergency service – Gaza Daily – will broadcast vital news daily to the people of Gaza during this time of urgent need.

It will provide listeners in Gaza with the latest information and developments as well as safety advice on where to access shelter, food and water supplies.

Produced in Cairo and London and broadcast on medium wave, the service will initially run one programme a day at 1500 GMT from Friday 3 November. A second daily update will be broadcast at 0500 GMT from Friday 10 November.

The BBC World Service has a history of responding to emergency situations globally. Most recently, in May 2023 during the conflict in Sudan BBC News Arabic began an emergency radio service. In February 2022, the BBC News Ukraine service began extended TV bulletins following the invasion of the country. The BBC also previously launched a service for Gaza in 2014 following a summer of conflict.

Liliane Landor, Director, BBC World Service, says: “BBC News Arabic are extremely well-placed to offer this vital service for the people of Gaza at a time of greatest need. Their expertise and specialist knowledge of the region alongside the BBC’s reputation as the most trusted news provider, means we can reach civilians in Gaza with the information they need.”

RM3

Notes to editors: The Gaza service will be broadcast on MW 639kHz for morning and evening episodes.

FCC Wants to Bolster Amateur Radio (Radio World)

Commission will vote in November on plan to remove outdated technical restrictions

FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel says the FCC plans to “incentivize innovation and experimentation in the amateur radio bands” by getting rid of outdated restrictions and providing licensees with the flexibility to use modern digital emissions.

The commission at its November meeting is expected to take action on a Report and Order that would eliminate the baud rate limitation and establish a bandwidth limitation in the amateur radio bands below 29.7 MHz.

The order being circulated for tentative consideration by the commission would remove the baud rate limitation — the rate at which the carrier waveform amplitude, frequency and/or phase is varied to transmit information — for data emissions in the amateur radio bands, the FCC says. The current baud rate limits were adopted in 1980.

The order would implement a 2.8 kilohertz bandwidth limitation in place of the baud rate in amateur radio bands. The 2.8 kHz limitation is consistent with the commission’s treatment of other wireless radio services, the FCC says.

The current rules limit the baud rate for high-frequency amateur radioteletype/data transmissions to 300 baud for frequencies below 28 MHz (except in the 60-meter band), and 1200 baud in the 10 meter (28-29.7 MHZ) band. [Continue reading…]

Ham Radios Crowdsourced Ionospheric Science During Eclipse (EOS.org)

Amateur radio operators who study space physics and the upper atmosphere probed the ionosphere’s response to the 2023 annular solar eclipse using shortwave transmissions.

On 14 October, millions of people in North, Central, and South America peered through safety glasses and other viewing aids at the partially obscured Sun. Simultaneously, thousands of folks experienced the annular solar eclipse in a different way: through transmissions sent and received over amateur radios.

Before, during, and after the eclipse, ham radio operators pinged signals off the ionosphere and connected to people hundreds or thousands of kilometers away. The experiment, part of the Ham Radio Science Citizen Investigation (HamSCI), is gathering hundreds of thousands of those contacts to investigate how the ionosphere responds to the temporary loss of sunlight during an eclipse. [Continue reading…]


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Radio Waves: SWL Contest, Shortwave Modernization Concerns, Still Need AM, and ARRL Asks for Comments on 60M Rulemaking

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Welcome to the SWLing Post’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Dennis Dura and Wayne Davis for the following tips:


SWL Contest With Nice Prizes Open Worldwide: November 1th – December 31th 2023 (YouTube)

Click here to watch on YouTube.

Hams Worry About Shortwave Proposal (Radio World)

The U.S. Coast Guard also is concerned about petition from the Shortwave Modernization Coalition

Numerous commenters have told the FCC that a proposal to “modernize” the shortwave band is a threat to amateur radio operators in the United States and possibly the end of ham radio as we know it. And hams are just one source of opposition to the idea.

The FCC inquiry was prompted by a request from the Shortwave Modernization Coalition for a rulemaking to amend the Part 90 rules.

SMC believes there is underutilized spectrum in the high-frequency bands. The coalition wants to use 20 kW transmitters for the transmission of time-sensitive data from fixed stations. It wants the FCC to allow these fixed, long-distance, non-voice communications in multiple bands between 2 MHz and 25 MHz.

Ham opponents worry about interference. One also characterized the coalition as being “packed with special interest groups that harbor little interest in shortwave modernization beyond their own needs to getting faster financial market information.”

The commission’s Office of the Managing Director sought comments on its proposal this summer. The petition, RM-11953, drew more than 800 comments. [Continue reading…]

Do we still need AM radio? (Farm Progress)

Automakers say no, but motives are complicated.

Many of us hold fond memories of listening to AM radio in the car. But these days, drivers are just as likely to listen to satellite radio, Spotify, audiobooks or podcasts. Good ole FM radio is still around too. That’s led many people to question if AM, America’s oldest broadcast medium, still has a future?

Not many people noticed when Tesla removed AM from new vehicles a few years ago. Ostensibly, they did so because the frequency interferes with electric vehicles. Never mind that older Teslas previously had functioning AM/FM radios. Or that the Federal Communications Commission has rules to limit electrical interference. Seemingly no one questioned Tesla’s decision.

In the past couple of years, other manufacturers including Ford, Audi, Volvo, BMW and Porche began removing AM receivers from new models or announced plans to do so. This elicited a more passionate response from AM listeners, particularly those in rural areas. For them, the frequency is more than just entertainment. They say it’s a lifeline for those in remote areas who otherwise wouldn’t have access to emergency information. It’s also one of the last places where they can get hyper-local news and entertainment. [Continue reading…]

Letters: AM in Cars, HD in Cars (Radio World)

Readers comment about matters of the dashboard

It’s Just Too Late to Save AM in Cars (Radio World)

It has been with great interest that I’ve read about carmakers dropping AM reception capability in new cars, particularly EVs, and about the introduction of the “AM for Every Vehicle” Act.

The reason most often cited by makers of electric vehicles is interference from on-board systems to AM band reception. The truth is we have ourselves to blame.

The assault on AM band purity predates the popularity of electric vehicles by decades. The onslaught of cheap switching power supplies in consumer electronics, RF noise-producing computers and personal devices, and the absolute lack of any care given to protecting the spectrum are incompatible with AM quality.

For far too long, consumers, manufacturers, the NAB and even the FCC did not fight to protect the band. It seemed nobody cared whether new fluorescent lights (remember those?) caused so much noise that they even affected reception in neighbors’ homes. Nobody took up the fight to keep the band clean and make noise-free AM reception even somewhat possible in high-density housing areas. Nobody seemed appalled at this complete disregard for the usefulness of the band in the future. [Continue reading…]

How to comment on the 60-meter rulemaking (ARRL)

ARRL  The National Association for Amateur Radio® is asking that all radio amateurs urge the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to continue the existing use of the 60-meter band. A public comment period is open until October 30, 2023. ARRL encourages expressions of support to the FCC for the current 100 W ERP power limit (instead of reducing the power limit to 15 W EIRP) and continuing secondary access to the current channels.

Click to enlarge image.

To submit a filing of your comments for the FCC’s consideration in the rulemaking process:

Go to the FCC web page for the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking’s (NPRM) Docket Number 23-120 at https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/search/docket-detail/23-120.

If you wish to directly enter your comments, select the button labeled SUBMIT AN EXPRESS FILING.

If you are uploading a document that contains your comments, select SUBMIT A STANDARD FILING.

When submitting your comments, be sure the correct proceeding’s docket number, 23-120, is included on the form. Your name and comments will be entered into the official public record of the proceedings and will be viewable by anyone who visits the docket web page.

While radio amateurs are encouraged to include any comments they would like in their submissions, they’re especially encouraged to draw upon their personal experiences using the 60-meter band for public service purposes and for its location between the amateur 80- and 40-meter bands, which is critical to ensuring signal propagation to certain geographic areas during variations in time and the solar cycle.

Some of the main points to comment on for this NPRM are:

  • Urging the FCC to keep the four existing channels allocated to amateur radio on a secondary basis.
  • Urging the FCC to keep the 100 W power limit for the four existing channels and the new 15 kHz subband.

ARRL Public Relations and Outreach Manager Sierra Harrop, W5DX, underscored the importance of commenting, urging members to speak up. “ARRL members make up the strongest voice in matters of amateur radio spectrum defense,” said Harrop. “Your membership and participation in the rulemaking process both ensure ARRL continues to make the difference when our band privileges are threatened. Please join us in effort to protect our 60-meter band privileges.”

Previous coverage:

Comment Deadlines Set on Propose 60-Meter Band Changes
ARRL News | 10/04/2023

ARRL Advocates for Radio Amateurs as FCC Proposes Changes to 60-Meter Band
ARRL News | 4/28/2023

World Radiocommunication Conference Approves Global 60-Meter Allocation
ARRL News | 11/18/2015


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Announcing DXtreme Monitor Log 14!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor and supporter, Bob Raymond with  DXtreme who shares the following product announcement:


Product Announcement 

DXtreme Monitor Log 14™ 

DXtreme Software™ has released a new version of its popular logging program for radio and TV monitoring  enthusiasts: DXtreme Monitor Log 14. Its familiar, uncluttered, industry-standard Windows® interface lets  listeners and DXers log the stations they’ve heard using features that enhance their monitoring enjoyment.

New Features in Version 14 

Signal Modes, Transmission Modes, Grid Square Tracking 

  • We added a Signal Modes field to let users specify the signal mode their receiver is tuned to (for example,  AM, CW, FM, LSB, USB, RTTY, etc.) plus a Transmission Modes field to let users specify the transmission mode  the station is transmitting (for example, CW, FAX, FT8, HFDL, MIL-STD-188-141A, SSB, STANAG 4285, etc.). And we added Signal and Transmission Mode modules to let users maintain tables of signal and transmission  modes.
  • We added a Transmission Mode Details box to allow users to type free-form information about the  transmission mode received, such as baud rate, bandwidth, etc. (for example, 1200bps/L). New Log Variables enable users to share Signal, Transmission, and Detail mode information so readers (and users) can  reproduce the monitoring environment and log (or relog) the stations. Here are two  examples: “1200bps/L STANAG 4285 crypto tfc on USB” and “MIL-188-110A/B continuous mode idle on LSB.” 
  • We added support for tracking Maidenhead grid squares, which is useful when monitoring/logging stations  not located in traditional countries, like aircraft and ships operating in international airspace and waters. Grid  squares are calculated from specified latitudes and longitudes. Both Performance and Stations reports let you  track grids. Search functions let you find log entries for viewing or editing based on their grid squares.

Verification By Improv Imaging 

Similar to the legacy Verification By Audio feature, where the presence of an audio file in a log entry designates  the station as “Verified By Audio,” we added a Verification By Improv Imaging feature which counts the station as  “Verified By Improv Image” if the Shows ID check box on the Improv Imaging tab is selected, indicating the  presence of an ID on the window of a captured digital software application (such as PC-HFDL).  Performance, Stations, and Log Entries reports let you track verifications by traditional QSLs, presence of Audio  files, and presence of Improv Images for which the Shows ID check box is selected.

Schedule Checker Monitoring Advice and Tuning 

  • When Schedule Checker advises users to monitor a station for a new or verified Country, it does so now for  the Class (SWBC, Ute, Ham, etc.) and QSL Type (Verified By QSL, Audio, or Improv Image) selected in Properties. The foreground and background colors that indicate the Schedule Checker’s monitoring advice can be defined by users in Properties. The colors appear in an upgraded legend on the Schedule Checker.
  • Users can now tune their radios to the schedule item’s signal mode and frequency by selecting the desired  signal mode in the Signal Mode list box and double-clicking the schedule item.

Solar Indices Enhancements 

  • Acquisition of current solar indices has been improved on the Monitor Log and Schedule Checker windows. • Editing of solar indices has been added to the Monitor Log window for when NOAA is down.
  • We restored historic solar indices adjustments based on date and time changes made on the Monitor  Log window provided users have downloaded historic solar indices from the NOAA FTP site into the Solar subfolder. An interface is provided on the Edit menu of the Monitor Log window for this FTP activity.

For more information about New Features, click https://www.dxtreme.com/monitorlog_whatsnew.htm.

Standard Features 

Logging Stations 

Monitor Log 14 lets users log all kinds of stations: radio, television, broadcast, utility, Amateur Radio, military,  etc. across the radio spectrum.

Finding Stations to Monitor 

The Schedule Checker lets users import schedules from Aoki, EiBi, and FCC AM web sites and display broadcast  schedule data according to the filter criteria they specify. Users can filter schedule information by band,  frequency, station, country, time of day, language, and more. EiBi schedules also include utility stations.

For each schedule item, Schedule Checker queries the Monitor Log 14 database to let users know – through user-defined, foreground and background display colors – whether they need to monitor a station for a brand new or verified country. The colors appear in a legend on the Schedule Checker window. When Schedule  Checker advises users to monitor a station for a new or verified Country, it does so for the Class (SWBC, UteHam, etc.) and QSL Type (Verified By QSL, Audio, or Improv Image) selected in Properties.

Reporting Reception 

Users can create customized paper and e-mail reception reports for sending to stations plus log entry data  shares for reporting catches to clubs and magazines. Using the Script Editor window, users can create and edit  scripts that format reception reports, eReports, and shares to their liking. The software prompts users to select  the script they want to use. Dozens of scripts come with Monitor Log 14. Users can also send eQSL requests to  hams automatically via the popular https://www.eqsl.cc site and update their databases with downloaded  eQSL.cc Inbox records.

Imaging 

Improv Imaging lets users associate ad hoc images with log entries using Capture, Scan, and Clipboard  functions. Captures of stations received on digital applications, waterfall displays, facsimile and Amateur TV  pictures are popular. The Improv Imaging tab and Application let users view images anytime, and an Improv  Image Explorer lets them peruse their entire collection and display associated log entries. A QSL Imaging facility  functions the same as Improv Imaging for associating QSLs.

Other Features 

  • Rig Control — Retrieves the frequency and mode from supported radios and permits tuning from the  Schedule Checker and Direct Tune. Rig control is provided through integration with Afreet Omni-Rig  (http://www.dxatlas.com) and CAT for SDR applications like SDR Console (https://www.sdr-radio.com) and SDRuno (https://www.sdrplay.com).
  • Audio Archiving — Lets users maintain an audio archive of stations heard.
  • Reporting and Searching — Produces Performance, Stations, and Log Entry reports that track the  performance and progress of the user’s monitoring station and provides criteria-based log entry searches.
  • Documentation — Context-sensitive Procedural Help, Field Help, and Microhelp are accessible on every  window to provide instructions quickly. Installation Instructions and a Getting Started Guide also included.

Supported Operating Systems, Pricing, Contact Information 

DXtreme Monitor Log 14 runs in 32- and 64-bit versions of Microsoft® Windows® 11, 10, 8.1, 8, 7, Vista® XP.  Retails for $94.99 USD for Internet distribution (discounted pricing for upgrades available). Product support by  Internet e-mail. For more info, visit (https://www.dxtreme.com) or write [email protected].

SWLing Post readers should note that DXtreme was one of our first company supporters. Their ad revenue helps bring the SWLing Post to you daily. Thanks, DXtreme!

Click here to check out DXtreme Monitor Log 11.

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Radio Waves: Eclipses and Radio Waves, Radio World’s Letters, Eifel Radio Days Special, and AM Radio for Every Vehicle Act

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Welcome to the SWLing Post’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Andrea Borgnino, Dennis Dura, ______ for the following tips:


Eclipses do odd things to radio waves. An army of amateur broadcasters wants to find out why (BBC Future)

It’s the huge tower in his back yard that gives Todd Baker’s hobby away. Bristling with antennae, the 30m (100ft) structure is taller than many of the mature trees nearby. Baker, an industrial conveyor belt salesman from Indiana, goes not just by his name, but also his call-sign, the short sequence of letters and numbers that he uses to identify himself over the air: W1TOD. He is a member of the amateur radio, or ham radio, community.

“You name it, I’ve been in it,” he says, referring to different radio systems, including citizens band, or CB radio, that he has dabbled with over the years. “Communications were just plain-o cool to me.”

Now, he dabbles in celestial citizen science, too. On 14 October, he and hundreds of other amateur radio enthusiasts will deliberately fill the airwaves during an annular solar eclipse, as it crosses the Americas. They’ll do it again next April, when a full solar eclipse becomes visible from Newfoundland to Mexico.

Why? Solar eclipses are known to affect radio transmissions, and Baker is planning to take part in a giant experiment designed to monitor how cosmic events affect radio broadcasts. [Continue reading…]

Letters: AM’s Future, Shortwave’s Past and More (Radio World)

[…]Shortwave radios don’t tell tales
Several points of interest regarding shortwave broadcasting. Although I have been retired from Voice of America as a Foreign Service Officer and field engineer for over a decade, several points are still worth noting.

In my experience of living and working around the world for 20 years, most radios sold overseas are a combination AM/FM and shortwave. So there are radios available to the general public.

Second is the beauty of shortwave. Broadcast can be sent over large distances and be highly effective at reaching the desired audience. AM broadcasting can only reach a smaller listener area and without extremely high power must be in rather close proximity to the intended audience. FM broadcasting has even greater limitations in respect to closeness to the intended listener.

As we have adopted new technology such as the global internet, we don’t seem to have a grasp of its inherent limitations. I witnessed this firsthand in the Middle East where websites or information deemed inappropriate are easily blocked or deleted from a country’s internet stream. Proxy servers and other VPN methods do little for the individuals striving for freedom of information. Information regarding using and searching for these services is easily gathered by internet service providers and can be used to intimidate or prosecute.

Shortwave radios don’t tell tales. Frequency memories can be deleted easily, and there is no way to tell what broadcast were being listened to, especially on analog scale radios.

We need to reevaluate our strategic thinking and remember that shortwave works effectively and has for many years. People around the world have relied on SW broadcast for years as a source of reliable news and information that their host countries did not want them to hear.

— Walter Konetsco

[Click here to read the entire article with other reader letters to the editor…]

Eifel Radio Days Anniversary Broadcast

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Gérard Koopal, who shares the following announcement: 

On October 29, 1923, the first “entertainment broadcast” broadcast went on air in the Vox House in Berlin. The first regular radio broadcasts began.

The Eifel Radio Days will celebrate this unique anniversary from October 27th to 30th, 2023.
Of course again live and in mono from the studio in the former alternative headquarters of the NRW state government.

facebook.com/EifelerRadiotage
twitter.com/EifelerRadioTag

https://www.eifeler-radiotage.de/[email protected]

Gérard Koopal

S. 1669, AM Radio for Every Vehicle Act of 2023 (Congressional Budget Office)

S. 1669 would direct the Department of Transportation (DOT) to issue a rule requiring that AM broadcast stations be accessible in all passenger motor vehicles manufactured in, imported into, or shipped within the United States. (Passenger motor vehicles are those designed to primarily carry their operator and up to 12 passengers; the definition does not include motorcycles.) The bill would require DOT to issue the rule within one year of enactment and to report to the Congress at least every five years on the rule’s effects.

Additionally, S. 1669 would require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study the role AM broadcasts in passenger vehicles play in disseminating emergency alerts through the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System. That study would need to be completed within 18 months of enactment.

Using information on the cost of issuing similar rules and studies, CBO estimates that implementing the bill would cost DOT and GAO a total of $1 million over the 2024-2028 period. Any spending would be subject to the availability of appropriated funds.

Additionally, S. 1669 would authorize DOT to assess civil penalties on manufacturers that fail to comply with the new rule; such penalties are recorded as revenues. CBO estimates that any additional revenues collected would total less than $500,000 over the 2024-2033 period because the number of violations would probably be small.

Click here to download the full report.


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