Category Archives: Ham Radio

Robert’s reviews and how-tos


Like a few of us contributors here on the SWLing Post, Robert Gulley (AK3Q), writes features for The Spectrum Monitor magazine (TSM).  Robert and I are both passionate supports of TSM–for a mere $24 per year, you get a monthly digital magazine that is simply chock-full of articles covering all aspects of our radio hobby. A phenomenal value indeed!

I’ve just discovered that Robert has published a number of his past TSM articles–reviews and how-tos–on his excellent blog All Things Radio.  Each article can be downloaded as a PDF. Here are the topics:

  • Using Weak Signal Software to Reach for the Sky! (Part 1)
  • Using Weak Signal Modes for Propagation, RFI, and Antenna Analysis (Part 2)
  • Putting My Handheld Antennas to the Test
  • Going Mobile with Software Defined Radio
  • Multipsk Software – A Review
  • TEN-TEC 1253 Build Review

Click here to view and download these articles at All Things Radio.

Thank you, Robert, for sharing these excellent articles with everyone! And many thanks to TSM for allowing its writers second publication rights. Click here to subscribe to The Spectrum Monitor.

Video: TX Factor Episode 18

(Source: TX Factor)

TX Factor experiences what it’s like to be young again with a visit to this Year’s YOTA activity week at Gilwell Park in London. Bob and Pete meet the team behind the event and chat to the young people attending from 15 countries that made this year’s event so successful.

We tempt you with not one but two prizes in our next free-to-enter draw. There’s a copy of the 2018 RSGB Year Book and a Surecom SF-401 Plus Hand-held Frequency Counter from ML&S to win. Good luck!

And, if you’ve ever fancied a go at moon bounce or EME, then see how Bob and a team of amateurs get on when they’re let loose on a 32 metre dish at Goonhilly Earth Station in Cornwall.

Click here to view Episode 18 on TX Factor’s website, or click here to watch on YouTube.

Thanks for yet another excellent and informative episode, TX Factor!

Preparing for Your Next DXpedition – New Videos

Regular readers of the SWLing.com blog will be aware that I am passionate about going portable/mobile with my radio listening hobby. There’s just nothing like communing with both nature and a bunch of electrons whizzing along the wire!

As a follow-up to an article I wrote several years ago, I have now prepared two new YouTube videos entitled Preparing for Your Next DXpedition – Parts 1 and 2.  

Part 1 covers:

– why we should even think about bothering to go portable with the radio

– the goals to consider when undertaking a DXpedition

– planning your listening depending on the time of day and time of year

– the all important decisions regarding location


Part 2 discusses:

– choosing the right radio for portable operations

– your options for powering the radio

– the antennas you could consider including on the trip

– handy auxiliary equipment

– references and notes to take along with you

– the importance of operator comforts while away

– developing a checklist…..so that you don’t forget to take something important!

These videos will be of interest to shortwave radio listeners and new amateur radio operators. Hopefully, they may be able to assist you in further enjoying our great hobby. They are embedded in this blog post below. You can also view these and other videos on my YouTube channel at Rob Wagner’s YouTube Channel

 

As always, thanks for watching and your comments are always welcome. 73 and good DX to you all,

Rob VK3BVW

Rob Wagner, VK3BVW, is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. He also blogs at the Mount Evelyn DX Report.

FCC opens 630/220 meters October 16, pre-registration required

(Source: Southgate ARC)

CQ MF/LF Editor John Langridge, KB5NJD/WG2XIQ, reports that the FCC has authorized amateur radio use of the 630 and 2200-meter bands, effective October 16, 2017, providing registration procedures have been followed and no objections are received within 30 days.

The PLC (Power Line Communications) database is live and hams may begin registering immediately. They may begin operating on 472 kHz (630 meters) and 137 kHz (2200 meters) as early as October 16 if they register today and receive no objection in the next 30 days. Hams may not operate on the bands without going through this process.

The link to the sign-up page is here:
https://utc.org/plc-database-amateur-notification-process/

The effective date for use of the new bands by amateurs was published in today’s Federal Register. The relevant pages are at: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2017-09-15/pdf/2017-19578.pdf

The FCC’s Public Notice is at: http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2017/db0915/DA-17-893A1.pdf

John is asking all amateurs to register, even if they don’t plan to use these bands in the near future, as the FCC rules prohibit UTC (the Utilities Technology Council) from deploying PLC in these bands closer than 1 kilometer from registered stations. Registration now will protect your ability to use our new MF/LF bands in the future.

Click here to read at the Southgate ARC.

Update: SWLing Post contributor, Ron, adds:

Please see this Link for more info on how to register with the UTC (both posts, concerning your lat/long):

http://www.radiodiscussions.com/showthread.php?704837-FCC-Opens-630m-for-Amateur-Use-But

Last week, Earth dodged a powerful X-Class solar flare

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Michael Guerin, who shares this article at CNN by Dr. Don Lincoln, a senior physicist at Fermilab and researcher at the Large Hadron Collider:

Earth dodges a cosmic bullet — for now

Solar flares and related phenomena could cause tremendous damage to the Earth’s electric grids, writes Don Lincoln Read the full story

(CNN) Mother Nature has had a hectic past couple of weeks of hurricanes, an earthquake, wildfires and flooding. But while our attention has been turned to these humanitarian crises, Earth ducked a cosmic bullet the likes of which could have crippled human technological civilization.

Over the last week or so, the sun has experienced a series of solar flares, including the most energetic one in a decade. A solar flare occurs when magnetic energy in the vicinity of a sunspot is released, resulting in a bright spot on the sun that takes place over a time scale of perhaps 10 minutes — or even less.

[…]While solar flares can interfere with satellites, an even more dangerous phenomenon is called a coronal mass ejection (or CME). CMEs often accompany a flare and occur when some of the sun’s highly ionized material is ejected into space. Because a CME consists of matter and not the electromagnetic radiation of a flare, it can take a day or even more to travel from the sun to the Earth. Indeed, last week’s flares were accompanied by a CME, but it didn’t hit the Earth with its full fury.

If a CME happens to be aimed directly at Earth, the ionized particles can slam into the magnetic field that surrounds the Earth and distort its shape, a process called a geomagnetic storm. That’s when things can get dangerous. Moving magnetic fields can induce electrical currents on the Earth’s surface and damage equipment.

In 1989, a CME hit the Earth and knocked out power in Quebec and the northeast United States for nine hours. And in 1859, an enormous CME hit the Earth. Called the Carrington Event, after Richard Carrington, who observed and recorded it, this geomagnetic storm caused telegraph pylons and railroad rails to spark, shocked telegraph operators and was responsible for auroras visible at least as far south as Havana, Cuba, with some claims of auroras being observed near the Earth’s equator.

[…]A report by Lloyd’s of London in 2013 estimated that the damage to the US grid from a repeat of the Carrington Event would be in the range of $0.6-$2.3 trillion dollars and would require four to 10 years to repair.

“The total U.S. population at risk of extended power outage from a Carrington-level storm is between 20-40 million, with durations of 16 days to 1-2 years,” the Lloyd’s report said.[…]

Read this full article at CNN…

Many thanks as well to Mike Hansgen (K8RAT) who also shares the latest space weather news from Tamitha Skov, reiterating how fortunate we were to miss this last barrage from our local star:

Click here to watch on YouTube.

EMP article incoming…

One additional note: I’m currently in the process of writing a lengthy article about how to protect your gear from an EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) emanating from an event like this. In the past two weeks, I’ve had an uptick in inquiries about this, so I thought it best to consult an expert and produce a post. I’ll hopefully have this article published within a week or so. I’ll post it with the tag: EMP.