Tag Archives: Ham Radio

Radio Waves: Margaret Iaquinto’s Conversations with Cosmonauts, Why AM Stations Power Down at Night, PEI Ham Radio Surge, and Calls on Flights Allowed

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!


The unlikely story of an American ham radio amateur and her conversations with cosmonauts in space (PRI’s The World)

In the 1980s, Margaret Iaquinto was an amateur ham radio operator who communicated with Russian cosmonauts in space. She talked to them for over a year. Iaquinto died in 2014. But her son Ben Iaquinto remembers the friendships she developed with the cosmonauts. Marco Werman speaks to Ben Iaquinto about his mom’s hobby and the conversations she had with these Russian cosmonauts.

Radio Stations Shut Or Power Down At Night, Because Of The Laws Of Physics (IFL Science)

If you’re a radio fan, or have merely been stuck in a car as day transitions into night, you may have noticed that you don’t get quite as clear signal in the hours of darkness.

Before you assume that it’s a plot by reverse vampires (possibly in conjunction with the saucer people) in order to make radio listeners go to bed, you should know that it’s actually the result of a requirement by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to power down or turn off at night, and the FCC in turn are required to do this by the laws of physics.

It all has to do with wavelengths and the ionosphere. During the daytime, AM signals primarily propagate close to the ground (known as ground wave propagation) and follow the curves of the Earth. In the daylight hours, AM signals sent by radio stations can cover around 162 kilometers (100 miles) before you will struggle to hear the signal.

As good as this is, at night the ability of long waves to propagate large distances becomes a problem, thanks to the ionosphere. Between 80 and 600 kilometers (50-373 miles) above the Earth, particles in the Earth’s atmosphere are bombarded with Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) and x-ray solar radiation, ionizing them as they do so. The ionosphere grows and shrinks (on your side of the planet) depending on the time of day.

At night, the layer reflects AM radio signals (known as “skywave” propagation) to a much greater degree than during the day, allowing the signal to be carried for hundreds of miles further than during the day. While this may sound like good news, it is what’s known as a “pain in the butt” for any communication regulators out there, or people who want to listen to anything other than an indiscernible mess of static.

“Because of this change in signal propagation from daytime to nighttime, if every AM station kept its daytime operating power at night, massive interference would result,” the FCC explains on their website. [Continue reading…]

Islanders’ interest in amateur radio surges because of COVID-19 and Fiona (CBC)

‘The sky’s the limit. There’s just so many different things that you can learn’

The amateur radio community on P.E.I. is growing, thanks in part to the COVID-19 pandemic and post-tropical storm Fiona.

Stratford resident Brent Taylor has been a ham radio operator for 38 years, in New Brunswick and P.E.I. He goes by the call sign VY2HF.

“It’s been absolutely fantastic. We have been so thrilled with the number of people that have come forward, and now that we’re getting them on the air,” Taylor said.

“Probably because of COVID, and maybe because of Fiona, there’s been a more of an interest, I think, in people wanting to be able to maintain their connections with each other, even from their own homes.”

Taylor said a dozen people started the 12-week training program in the fall, and eight passed their exams and are now licensed operators.

“The most diverse I’ve ever seen. And I’ve been teaching off and on this course for 35-plus years. To see the number of women in the course, for one thing, is just tremendous,” Taylor said.

“Also, cultural diversity and a wide range of ages from as young as 12 years old.” [Continue reading…]

No more airplane mode? EU to allow calls on flights (BBC)

Airline passengers in the European Union (EU) will soon be able to use their phones to full effect in the sky.

The European Commission ruled airlines can provide 5G technology on board planes, alongside slower mobile data.

This could mean flyers will no longer be required to put their phone on airplane mode – though the specifics of how it will be implemented are unclear.

The deadline for member states to make the 5G frequency bands available for planes is 30 June 2023.

This will mean people can use all their phone’s features mid-flight – enabling calls as well as data-heavy apps that stream music and video.

Thierry Breton, EU Commissioner for the Internal Market, said the plan would “enable innovative services for people” and help European companies grow.

“The sky is no longer a limit when it comes to possibilities offered by super-fast, high-capacity connectivity,” he said. [Continue reading…]


Do you enjoy the SWLing Post?

Please consider supporting us via Patreon or our Coffee Fund!

Your support makes articles like this one possible. Thank you!

Spread the radio love

Alexander’s POV: Community disaster preparedness favors ham radio in Germany

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Alexander (DL4NO), who writes:

A Message from Germany: Growing Disaster Preparedness favours Ham Radio

For a long time most radio amateurs in Germany found themselves in the defensive: Building regulations, combined with EMC standards, heavily restrict antenna possibilities. Neighbors fear “dangerous” radiation, often going to court without any legal reasons. Emergency services got a much improved digital communication systems (TETRA), removing many of the artificial borders where they sometimes used ham radio to build bridges.

This could be quite different, as you can see in Austria. If radio amateurs organize a congress about emergency traffic, even the federal government and the Austrian army send competent representatives.

But the political turmoil and the connected energy crisis change attitudes in quite some branches of administrations:

The county of Soest urges citizens to buy license-free PMR handheld radios so they can reach the “light houses” that the county of Soest is creating all over its area.

The county of Ebersberg, east of Munich, is well known for its initiatives. Recently they invited the regional chapter of DARC, our German ham radio society, to discuss the build-up of a resilient data net for the county. In normal times, this data net could be used as part of HAMNET, our part of 44net. The county and towns would help to get access to suitable positions, including power supply. Some of the stations, for example on town halls, might be dormant most of the time. But as soon as power goes out, local radio amateurs are to activate the emergency net. The first application is to be VoIP, i.e. a independent phone service.

The county of Freising, a few km to the north, is also interested in working together with radio amateurs. We are just building a task force for this.

These activities are quite different from traditional emergency traffic. The most important difference: We work as enablers, not as radio officers. Our task will be to maintain the system, make it operational in case of an emergency, and introduce the officials to its use.

This is critical as we do not have enough radio amateurs to get the messages, send them over our system, and hand them down to the respective officer: Multply 2 radio amateurs by 3 shifts per day by a new crew every second day by the number of sites.

And in normal times, we can enjoy a much improved HAMNET coverage. Until now, most radio amateurs only had to access 44net through VPNs over the Internet.

Please comment!

Spread the radio love

In search of the unique, the weird, the unusual . . . a reader participation post

By Jock Elliott, KB2GOM

There is a richness in human experience, and I want to sample it.

When I worked the world on the HF ham bands, I considered myself a “conversation hunter.” I wasn’t content to simply make a contact, exchange signal reports, and move on; I wanted to talk to people in foreign lands, to chat with folks who did unusual things, to hear things you would not normally hear otherwise.

Here’s a quick sampling:

  • I spoke with a ham in England, a falconer, who flew the birds for the movie “Lady Hawke,” and who had a side business of manufacturing tiny transmitters that falconers could use to track their birds.
  • The chief groundskeeper for a major university in Ohio once explained, on ten meters, the difference between commercial and consumer lawn mower engines (the commercial units are designed to be rebuilt quickly and easily).
  • Recently, on 2 meters I heard a ham explain how he used VHF/UHF crossband repeat to provide coverage for a special event.

Similarly, I enjoy hearing the unusual on the AM, FM, or shortwave broadcast bands. For example, one evening years ago, on shortwave I heard “Radio Peace and Love” from somewhere in the Caribbean, followed (on another frequency) by “Mark from Michigan” extolling the militia movement. On another occasion, I heard a story on Radio New Zealand about a Maori weaver’s collective.

So, bottom line, I am interested in the unique, the unusual, the weird (could be all three!) . . . and I prefer stuff that is NOT syndicated across a bunch of stations. Marion’s Attic comes to mind as I write this.

So, now it’s your turn: what’s your favorite programming that is off the beaten path? Please respond, and be sure to mention the time and frequency when it might be heard.

Spread the radio love

Radio Waves: AU2JCB Special Event, 1 Million Watt FM Tower, 3ZZZ Breaches Rules, Australia Calling, WWII KGEI, and EV Charger QRM

Icom IC-756 Pro Transceiver Dial

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!


AU2JCB Special Event Station (Nov 25 – Dec 13, 2022)

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

AU2JCB is a special event call-sign to commemorate the birth date (30 NOV) & to pay homage & to tell about the great INDIAN scientist Acharya JAGADISH CHANDRA BOSE who is recognized as the “Father of Wireless Communication” by the scientific community of our world &IEEE.

I, VU2DSI, have been operating with this call sign for the last 17 years since 2005 & operate AU2JCB from 25 NOV 2022 to 13 DEC 2022.

The Details of operation —-

Period: 25 NOV 2022 to 13 DEC 2022

Frequencies:

  • 10 M: 28545, 28510,28490
  • 21 M: 21235, 21310, 21350
  • 20M: 4210, 14250, 14310
  • 40 M: 7040, 7150
  • 80 M: 3710
  • 6M in FM mode 50800, 51500
  • 10 M: 29700

Preferably the operation will be on higher bands according to propagation conditions.

QSL— Direct to VU2DSI, “SURABHI” MEHERABAD. AHMEDNAGAR.414006. INDIA.

FOR DX STATIONS PLEASE SEND 2IRC’s—–IF POSSIBLE— as many many DX stations are requesting QSL’s.

I will appreciate the GOOD number of used postal stamps instead of IRC as I love collecting stamps.

About

Aacharya J.C.Bose is well known as the “Father of Wireless Communication”.

Acharya Bose’s demonstration in 1895 & 1897 predates all.

Bose transmitted wireless signals to a distance of a mile. Popova in Russia was still trying remote signaling at this time & the first wireless experiment by Marconi was not successful until May 1897.

Bose is a pioneer in microwave optics technology.

Bose’s invention of 1-centimeter to 5 millimeters radio waves is being used in radars, satellite communication& remote sensing.

Bose’s concepts from his original 1897 papers are now incorporated into a new 1.3 mm multi-beam receiver on the NRAO (National Radio Observatory) 12 Meter Telescope.

Bose anticipated the use of P-type& N-type semiconductors & hence 60 years ahead of his time. Bose developed the use of GALENA crystals for making receivers.

In Bose’s presentation to the Royal Institution in London in January 1897, he speculated on the existence of electromagnetic radiation from the sun. This radiation from the sun was not detected until 1942.

Video: Exploring a 1 MILLION Watt FM Tower (YouTube)

My Dad and I took a road trip to tour the 1 MW FM community tower in Crestwood, MO, serving the entire St. Louis metro area combining 10 FM radio signals into two antenna systems.

Special thanks to the Audacy engineers who allowed us to take a peek at their (very clean!) transmitter rooms and equipment!

Click here to view on YouTube.

3ZZZ breaches community radio broadcast rules in its coverage on Ukraine (ACMA)

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has found Melbourne-based community broadcaster 3ZZZ in breach of community broadcasting rules in its coverage of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Continue reading

Spread the radio love

Radio Waves: QSL Book, Ham Radio in Taiwan Civil Defense, Radio Silence in Venezuela, and ARRL Handbook 100th Edition

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!


New Book: QSL? (Do You Confirm Receipt of My Transmission?) (Standards Manual)

A collection of over 150 “QSL cards”, QSL? chronicles a moment in time before the Internet age, when global communication was thriving via amateur, or “ham”, radio operators.

Discovered by designer Roger Bova, the distinctly designed cards follow the international correspondence of one ham, station W2RP, who turned out to be the longest-standing licensed operator in The United States.

Click here to read more.

If China declares war, these ham radio enthusiasts could be crucial (LA Times)

TAIPEI, Taiwan — On Tuesday nights, BX2AN sits near the Xindian River, motionless but for his thumb and middle finger, rhythmically tapping against two small metal paddles. They emit a sound each time his hand makes contact — from the right, a dit, or dot; from the left, a dah, or dash, the building blocks of the Morse code alphabet.
“Is anyone there?” he taps.

The replies come back in fits and starts: from Japan, then Greece, then Bulgaria. Each time, BX2AN, as he is known on the radio waves, jots down a series of numbers and letters: call signs, names, dates, locations. Then he adjusts a black round knob on his transceiver box, its screens glowing yellow in the dark.

There can be no doubt that this is his setup. That unique call sign is stamped across the front of his black radio set, scrawled in faded Sharpie on his travel mug and engraved in a plaque on his car dashboard. On the edge of his notepad, he’s absent-mindedly doodled it again, BX2AN.

In the corporeal world he is Lee Jiann-shing, a 71-year-old retired bakery owner, husband, father of five, grandfather of eight and a ham radio enthusiast for 30 years. Every week, he is the first to arrive at this regular meeting for Taipei’s amateur radio hobbyists.

[…]The self-governing island, about 100 miles east of China, is weighing wartime scenarios in the face of growing military aggression from its vastly more powerful neighbor. If cell towers are down and internet cables have been cut, the ability of shortwave radio frequencies to transmit long-distance messages could become crucial for civilians and officials alike. [Continue reading…]

Radio silence grows in Venezuela as government shutters dozens of stations (Reuters)

CARACAS, Oct 26 (Reuters) – In July officials from Venezuela’s telecommunications regulator entered the Moda 105.1 FM radio station, in the northwestern state of Cojedes, accompanied by members of the national guard and demanding to see all the station’s licensing.

Hours later they stopped it broadcasting – making Moda one of at least 50 stations in Venezuela’s interior which have been closed so far this year by the Conatel regulator because it says they lack valid licenses.

The accelerated closures are a new step in efforts by the government of President Nicolas Maduro to control information and give state media hegemony over communications, journalist guilds and non-governmental organizations say, continuing a policy begun under his predecessor Hugo Chavez. [Continue reading…]

The ARRL Handbook for Radio Communications100th Edition (ARRL)

We have arrived at a milestone. The 100th edition of The ARRL Handbook for Radio Communications is here: Handbook 100. How do you celebrate the most widely used one-stop reference and guide to radio technology principles and practices? By continuing to fill the pages of another edition with the progress and achievement of radio amateurs. Handbook 100 is written for everyone with a desire to advance the pursuit of wireless technology. Here is your guide to radio experimentation, discovery, and innovation.

What’s Inside

Each chapter is filled with the most up-to-date knowledge representative of the wide and ever-expanding range of interests among radio amateurs. There are practical, hands-on projects for all skill levels — from simple accessories and small power supplies to legal-limit amplifiers and high-gain antennas.

Key topics:

  • Radio electronics theory and principles
  • Circuit design and equipment
  • Signal transmission and propagation
  • Digital modulation and protocols
  • Antennas and transmission lines
  • Construction practices

Updated with new projects and content, including:

  • An all-new chapter on radio propagation covering a wide range of bands and modes
  • New and updated sections on electronic circuit simulation
  • New cavity filter and high-power HF filter projects
  • New coverage on digital protocols and modes
  • New material on RFI from low-voltage lighting and other sources
  • Revised sections covering new RF exposure limits
  • New content on portable station equipment, antennas, power, and assembly
  • New material on ferrite uses and types
  • New section on how to use portable SDR to locate sources of RFI …and more.

Click here for more information and to place an order.


Do you enjoy the SWLing Post?

Please consider supporting us via Patreon or our Coffee Fund!

Your support makes articles like this one possible. Thank you!

Spread the radio love

Sometimes the right tools lead to agreeable results

By Jock Elliott, KB2GOM

Listening to the HF ham bands can be a lot of fun. All you need is a shortwave receiver capable of receiving single sideband (SSB) transmissions and a chart of the amateur bands. You can find downloadable PDF charts of the United States Amateur Radio Band Plan here or a detailed explanation of the band plan here.

Tuning around to hear what people are talking about can be enlightening.  You might hear hams chatting about ham radio equipment, house repair projects, religious discussions, news and views or the state of the country, disaster response communications, or almost anything.

Recently I was tuning through the 80 meter ham band when, at 3605 LSB, I encountered a group having a conversation. I couldn’t tell if this group had a formal “Net” name, but I did get the impression that they met regularly in the early morning on that frequency, so I made a note to revisit the frequency.

Yesterday, I did so. With the horizontal room loop hooked to my Grundig Satellit 800, all I could hear was noise. The same with the whip antenna on the Satellit 800.

But when I engaged the MFJ 1886 loop antenna I could clearly hear the group talking above the noise . . . but the noise was still pretty bad. So I tried bringing the MFJ 1045C active preselector online, to no avail. The 1045C did not make the conversation easier to hear.

The noise was like a hum, not a nice gentle hum like a bumble bee flying by; no this was a nasty, raspy hum, like a circular saw trying to get purchase on a particularly tough piece of wood. Listening to the chat group on 80 meters with that noise under it would be tiring on the ears.

Soooo, what to do? Then I plugged in the BHI Compact In-line Noise Eliminating Module into the headphone socket of the Satellit 800 and then plug headphones into the BHI device.

Turning on the BHI module, I adjusted the level of noise reduction, and – tah dah! – the noise just melted away. I could hear the conversation clearly, and all that was left of the noise was the trickling water sound that is an artifact of the noise reduction algorithm.

Sometimes, the right gear just works.

Spread the radio love

Radio Waves: BBC Centenary, RNZ Continues DRM Investment, Hurrican Ian Help from a Ham, and Philips 353A Restoration,

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!


BBC centenary marked at first national radio transmitter (BBC News)

The BBC’s 100th anniversary has been marked in the town that enabled it to make nationwide radio broadcasts.

Opening on 27 July 1925, the Daventry Transmitter was the world’s first long wave transmitting station.

Known as 5XX, it was on Borough Hill in the Northamptonshire town and its first transmission was with the a poem called “Daventry Calling…”.

Sophie Good from the town’s museum said: “Daventry has got a strong affiliation with the BBC.”

The BBC chose the position so the transmitter could cover the maximum land area.

It brought the total audience within listening distance to 94% of the population.

When it opened, the poem by Alfred Noyes was followed by speeches from the postmaster general, external and the mayor of Daventry, introduced by Lord Gainford, BBC Chairman.

The then Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin sent a message, published in the Radio Times, which said he saw “Daventry as another milestone on the road to the social betterment of our people”. [Continue read at the BBC…]

The BBC is celebrating its 100th birthday (NPR / AP)

LONDON — The British Broadcasting Corp. marked 100 years of broadcasting on Tuesday, a century after a group of wireless manufacturers founded the company and began filling the airwaves with its first daily radio service.

The BBC was founded on Oct. 18, 1922, in London and daily broadcasting began a month later. The broadcaster is marking its centenary with a series of special programs, including a guest appearance from King Charles III on The Repair Shop, a program featuring expert craftspeople restoring antiques.

Actress Jodie Whittaker will make her last appearance as the Time Lord on a special episode of Doctor Who on Sunday, before Ncuti Gatwa takes over the role. [Continue reading…]

DRM Member Ampegon Wins a New Shortwave Transmitter Contract with RNZ (DRM Consortium)

In September 2022, Ampegon Power Electronics AG and RNZ (New Zealand public broadcaster) signed a contract to supply a new TSW2100-V4 100 kW shortwave transmitter to New Zealand. The transmitter will broadcast the RNZ Pacific service to millions of people living across the Pacific with high reliability and energy efficiency: Ampegon wins a new Shortwave Transmitter Contract with RNZ – Ampegon.

Continue reading

Spread the radio love