Thursday, October 20, 2016

Science, Technology, Engineering and Math: Education for Global Leadership >>> Amateur Radio YL's

“[Science]“[Science] is more than a school subject, or the periodic table, or the properties of waves. It is an approach to the world, a critical way to understand and explore and engage with the world, and then have the capacity to change that world..."

— President Barack Obama, March 23, 2015

The United States has developed as a global leader, in large part, through the genius and hard work of its scientists, engineers, and innovators. In a world that’s becoming increasingly complex, where success is driven not only by what you know, but by what you can do with what you know, it’s more important than ever for our youth to be equipped with the knowledge and skills to solve tough problems, gather and evaluate evidence, and make sense of information. These are the types of skills that students learn by studying science, technology, engineering, and math—subjects collectively known as STEM.

Yet today, few American students pursue expertise in STEM fields—and we have an inadequate pipeline of teachers skilled in those subjects. That’s why President Obama has set a priority of increasing the number of students and teachers who are proficient in these vital fields.

Projected Percentage Increases In STEM Jobs from 2010 to 2020: 14% for all occupations, 16% for Mathematics, 22% for Computer Systems Analysts, 32% for Systems Software Developers, 36% for Medical Scientists, 62% for Biomedical Engineers
The need

All young people should be prepared to think deeply and to think well so that they have the chance to become the innovators, educators, researchers, and leaders who can solve the most pressing challenges facing our nation and our world, both today and tomorrow. But, right now, not enough of our youth have access to quality STEM learning opportunities and too few students see these disciplines as springboards for their careers.expand/collapse

The goals

President Obama has articulated a clear priority for STEM education: within a decade, American students must "move from the middle to the top of the pack in science and math." The Obama Administration also is working toward the goal of fairness between places, where an equitable distribution of quality STEM learning opportunities and talented teachers can ensure that all students have the chance to study and be inspired by science, technology, engineering, and math—and have the chance to reach their full potential.expand/collapse

The plan

The Committee on STEM Education (CoSTEM), comprised of 13 agencies—including all of the mission-science agencies and the Department of Education—are facilitating a cohesive national strategy, with new and repurposed funds, to increase the impact of federal investments in five areas: 1.) improving STEM instruction in preschool through 12th grade; 2.) increasing and sustaining public and youth engagement with STEM; 3.) improving the STEM experience for undergraduate students; 4.) better serving groups historically underrepresented in STEM fields; and 5.) designing graduate education for tomorrow's STEM workforce.expand/collapse

Supporting Teachers and Students in STEM

At the Department of Education, we share the President’s commitment to supporting and improving STEM education. Ensuring that all students have access to high-quality learning opportunities in STEM subjects is a priority, demonstrated by the fact that dozens of federal programs have made teaching and learning in science, technology, engineering, and math a critical component of competitiveness for grant funding. Just this year, for the very first time, the Department announced that its Ready-to-Learn Television grant competition would include a priority to promote the development of television and digital media focused on science.

The Department’s Race to the Top-District program supports educators in providing students with more personalized learning—in which the pace of and approach to instruction are uniquely tailored to meet students’ individual needs and interests—often supported by innovative technologies. STEM teachers across the country also are receiving resources, support, training, and development through programs like Investing in Innovation (i3), the Teacher Incentive Fund, the Math and Science Partnerships program, Teachers for a Competitive Tomorrow, and the Teacher Quality Partnerships program.

Because we know that learning happens everywhere—both inside and outside of formal school settings—the Department’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers program is collaborating with NASA, the National Park Service, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services to bring high-quality STEM content and experiences to students from low-income, high-need schools. This initiative has made a commitment to Native-American students, providing about 350 young people at 11 sites across six states with out-of-school STEM courses focused on science and the environment.

And in higher education, the Hispanic-Serving Institutions-STEM program is helping to increase the number of Hispanic students attaining degrees in STEM subjects.

This sampling of programs represents some of the ways in which federal resources are helping to assist educators in implementing effective approaches for improving STEM teaching and learning; facilitating the dissemination and adoption of effective STEM instructional practices nationwide; and promoting STEM education experiences that prioritize hands-on learning to increase student engagement and achievement.

WOMEN and STEM>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Learn more

Five-Year Strategic Plan for STEM Education [PDF]
STEM Programs at ED
Green Strides Program
Women in STEM
2015 White House Science Fair
President Obama’s Remarks
Educate to Innovate
Civil Rights Data Collection
College- and Career-Ready/ STEM Access Snapshot [PDF]

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

beverage antennas

here is some more information on beverage antennas w8ji thanx

beverage antennas link

My History With Beverages

I originally began experimenting with long, low, wire antennas in the 1960's. Even though I had a working mostly homebrew station, I now realize I had only a small idea what I was doing, and almost no understanding of what made antennas work.

My entry into Ham radio was from modified broadcast radios, and the very active 160-meter mobile group in Toledo, Ohio. I always thought the longer the antenna, the better the "pickup". was fascinated by the distant AM broadcast, lower shortwave, and 160-meter signals heard with long antennas. My early antennas were nothing more than hundreds or thousands of feet of very thin magnet wire, strung over tree limbs and along telephone poles (which had steel climbing pegs), all through a typical crowded 1950's suburban neighborhood. Unfortunately my early experiments were hampered by lack of room. Thin magnet wire, unwound from early-radio speaker field magnets, strung in the middle of the night through a crowded suburban neighborhood across neighbor's small lots, doesn't stay up long.

In the early 1970's, I moved to a house with several acres of woods. The soil was a very wet, sandy, black loam. A neighbor just north of me, W8FPU (Parker) was actually working a couple of VK's on 160-meters, something very rare at the time. Using information from a series of engineering lectures by John "Jack" Kuecken (now SK) and correspondence with Stew W1BB, I installed my first "real" Beverage antenna. I was delighted to find a large improvement in weak-signal reception from very simple, inexpensive, easy-to-install wire antennas. Eventually, that system evolved from a few long single wires to a two-wire reversible system. The two-wire system used two Beverages, oriented 90 degrees from each other. This gave four direction coverage. That system, with the addition of an in-phase and out-of-phase combiner, evolved into a forced-null system using just two reversible antennas. This was before binocular cores were available, and ferrite beads were just appearing. At the early date, I used a series of 73-mix beads to make my transformers, even publishing a few articles in small newsletters.

I continued to improve or refine my Beverage antennas over the years. Virtually all of my Beverage antennas now are arrays of multiple Beverages, not just single wires. While my large circle arrays of verticals, or broadside endfire arrays of verticals, are about even with two long phased Beverages, the Beverage arrays are simpler systems. Arrays of broadside Beverages remain my primary DX receiving antennas for the lowest bands. There isn't any other receiving antenna that is as simple, as easy to construct and maintain, and as foolproof as a Beverage! The only significant Beverage disadvantage is the long physical length required, and maintenance of a very long antenna. If we want significant directivity, Beverages (like all long wire arrays) require a great deal of space .

Testing and Comparing Antennas

I work a little different than many or most people when experimenting, always A-B testing and comparing antennas over time. This is partly because a newer, bigger, or better looking antenna always feels better. Even before something is used, especially if the "something new" involved effort or expense, we can "like" it and become emotionally invested in it. We want something new to work better, so we look for everything "good".

I credit a 7th and 8th grade science teacher for educating students about this phenomena. Early in school, a science teacher at Olney middle school in Northwood, Ohio demonstrated how easily and often false conclusions are reached, based on feelings about results or past performance memory. One year of science with Mr. Kohler, when I was 12 or 13 years old, changed how I look at many things in life. Because of Mr. Kohler, I almost always retain a reference or control, try to use direct measurements of what I actually want to know, and use multiple methods when possible. Mr. Kohler demonstrated how easy it was to reach false conclusions, unless we use valid measurements.

Most antenna myths and misconceptions, many making it into print in articles, come from repeating feelings or unsubstantiated claims, or are based on improper measurements or models. I've seen comparisons years apart, going on memory of how signals were on some other antenna that was long gone!

I presently have a great deal of room, with wiring in place to install multiple antennas, and reasonably good test equipment. This allows installation of multiple antenna systems at the same time, which allows direct comparisons over time, as well as measurements. I constantly refine antenna systems by comparing systems against each other for extended periods of time, usually more than a year.

there are more pictures and documents please go to link above

Monday, October 17, 2016

wanna do some Ham Radio homebrewing.. check this out

here is a site with any homebrew project you could ever think of.

it is a great place for people to go through with GIRL or Boy scouts
or even a training class..

here is the home brew link

73 ka1uln

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Ada Lovelace Biography

Mathematician, Computer Programmer (1815–1852)


NAME Ada Lovelace
OCCUPATION Mathematician, Computer Programmer
BIRTH DATE December 10, 1815
DEATH DATE November 27, 1852
PLACE OF BIRTH London, United Kingdom
PLACE OF DEATH London, United Kingdom
AKA Ada Lovelace
Countess of Lovelace
NICKNAME Enchantress of Numbers
MAIDEN NAME Augusta Ada Byron
FULL NAME Augusta Ada King
A gifted mathematician, Ada Lovelace is considered to have written instructions for the first computer program in the mid-1800s.

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The daughter of famed poet Lord Byron, Augusta Ada Byron, Countess of Lovelace—better known as "Ada Lovelace"—was born in London on December 10, 1815. Ada showed her gift for mathematics at an early age. She translated an article on an invention by Charles Babbage, and added her own comments. Because she introduced many computer concepts, Ada is considered the first computer programmer. Ada died on November 27, 1852.

Early Years

Ada Lovelace, born as Augusta Ada Byron, was the only legitimate child of the famous poet Lord George Gordon Byron. Lord Byron's marriage to Ada's mother, Lady Anne Isabella Milbanke Byron, was not a happy one. Lady Byron separated from her husband only weeks after their daughter was born. A few months later, Lord Byron left England, and Ada never saw her father again. He died in Greece when Ada was 8 years old.

Ada had an unusual upbringing for an aristocratic girl in the mid-1800s. At her mother's insistence, tutors taught her mathematics and science. Such challenging subjects were not standard fare for women at the time, but her mother believed that engaging in rigorous studies would prevent Lovelace from developing her father's moody and unpredictable temperament. Ada was also forced to lie still for extended periods of time because her mother believed it would help her develop self-control.

From early on, Lovelace showed a talent for numbers and language. She received instruction from William Frend, a social reformer; William King, the family's doctor; and Mary Somerville, a Scottish astronomer and mathematician. Somerville was one of the first women to be admitted into the Royal Astronomical Society.

Babbage and the Analytical Engine

Around the age of 17, Ada met Charles Babbage, a mathematician and inventor. The pair became friends, and the much older Babbage served as a mentor to Ada. Through Babbage, Ada began studying advanced mathematics with University of London professor Augustus de Morgan.

Ada was fascinated by Babbage's ideas. Known as the father of the computer, he invented the difference engine, which was meant to perform mathematical calculations. Ada got a chance to look at the machine before it was finished, and was captivated by it. Babbage also created plans for another device known as the analytical engine, designed to handle more complex calculations.

Ada was later asked to translate an article on Babbage's analytical engine that had been written by Italian engineer Luigi Federico Menabrea for a Swiss journal. She not only translated the original French text in English, but also added her own thoughts and ideas on the machine. Her notes ended up being three times longer than the original article. Her work was published in 1843, in an English science journal. Ada used only the initials "A.A.L.," for Augusta Ada Lovelace, in the publication.

In her notes, Ada described how codes could be created for the device to handle letters and symbols along with numbers. She also theorized a method for the engine to repeat a series of instructions, a process known as looping that computer programs use today. Ada also offered up other forward-thinking concepts in the article. For her work, Ada is often considered to be the first computer programmer.

Ada's article attracted little attention when she was alive. In her later years, she tried to develop mathematical schemes for winning at gambling. Unfortunately, her schemes failed and put her in financial peril. Ada died from uterine cancer in London on November 27, 1852. She was buried next to her father, in the graveyard of the Church of St. Mary Magdalene in Nottingham, England.

Personal Life

In 1835, Ada married William King, who became the Earl of Lovelace three years later. She then took the title of Countess of Lovelace. They shared a love of horses and had three children together. From most accounts, he supported his wife's academic endeavors. Ada and her husband socialized with many of the interesting minds of the times, including scientist Michael Faraday and writer Charles Dickens.

Ada's health suffered, however, after a bout of cholera in 1837. She had lingering problems with asthma and her digestive system. Doctors gave her painkillers, such as laudanum and opium, and her personality began to change. She reportedly experienced mood swings and hallucinations.


Ada Lovelace's contributions to the field of computer science were not discovered until the 1950s. Her notes were reintroduced to the world by B.V. Bowden, who republished them in Faster Than Thought: A Symposium on Digital Computing Machines in 1953. Since then, Ada has received many posthumous honors for her work. In 1980, the U.S. Department of Defense named a newly developed computer language "Ada," after Lovelace.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2016

need a time sync tool (when running digital modes)?

here is the ultimate time sync tool when running digital modes:

see ya on FELD HELL 10.141 10.142

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Ladder Line - LOW LOSS - LOW LOSS

this Information is specifically about ladder line.

here is an example of a dipole with ladder line


here is a typical dipole design

Spacing of the wires in ladder line (and their relative diameter) sets the impedance of the line.

advantages of ladder line
LOW LOSS, less expensive, easy to make, perfect for dipole or loop

disadvantages of ladder line
should not touch almost anything, (house, leaves, metal, trees, etc)

if you know of more tips to help other hams please forward your information to



Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Is your HF rig Calibrated?

I was curious to know if what I was seeing on my HF radio display was what I was hearing
or when someone gives me a frequency would my radio be spot on?

we here is the answer: YES of course it is has a superhet.
but the other way is TUNE TO WWV 15.000 OR 10.000

this told me my radio was spot on.

for more information about this please
HF calibration

thanx so Ria N2RJ for more information on this. She is full of ham radio information


Saturday, September 17, 2016

Amateur Radio Q-Codes

here is an excellent list and explanation of Ham radio Q-CODES.

If I may ask if we (ham radio operators) could use these as much as possible.


here is a sample thanx for w5www

The Amateur Radio Q-Code Signal Question Answer, Advice or Order QRG Will you indicate my exact frequency in kilocycles?

Your frequency is ... kc.

QRH Does my frequency vary? Your frequency varies.

QRI How is the tone of my transmission? The tone of your transmission is ... 1. Good. 2. Variable. 3. Bad.

QRJ Are you receiving me badly? Are my signals weak? I cannot receive you. Your signals are too weak.

QRK What is the legibility of my signals (1 to 5)? The legibility of your signals is ... (1 to 5).

QRL * Are you busy? I am busy (or busy with....). Please do not interfere.

QRM * Are you being interfered with? I am being interfered with.

QRN * Are you troubled by static? I am troubled by static.

many many more please check out the link KA1ULN

here is another link for qcodes >>

(please confirm all qso's)

Thursday, August 11, 2016

ARRL The Doctor is In Podcast .. IS HERE

ARRL The Doctor is In Podcast

Welcome to the home of the bi-weekly ARRL The Doctor is In podcast -- a lively discussion of all things technical! The Doctor is none other than ARRL's Joel Hallas, W1ZRDoctor_is_In_Podcast_Icon_2.jpg, who has been answering questions about Amateur Radio in the Doctor Is In column in QST since 2006.

Hosted by ARRL Publications Manager Steve Ford, WB8IMY, ARRL The Doctor is In podcast is a twice-monthly, 20-minute podcast that answers YOUR questions about Amateur Radio's technical challenges.

You can subscribe to the podcast in Apple iTunes or on Stitcher.

Archived episodes will be available here.

Do you have a question for the Doctor? Click here to e-mail your question and we may answer it in a future podcast!

Download the arrl the doctor is in

taken from

Friday, August 5, 2016

Try WSJT for weak signal contacts

I've done quite a few things in amateur radio, but one of the things I absolutely enjoy is DXing. I also enjoy pulling out the weak ones from a pileup or working weak signals in general.  But on traditional modes it can be a bit frustrating, especially on fickle bands like 6 meters. Enter the WSJT modes.

First things first, if you're looking to have a nice long chat with a friend, look elsewhere. The mode is not for this kind of stuff. Rather, you are getting a basic signal report and grid square exchange. You may exchange a short text message but only 13 characters maximum (move over, Twitter!) Secondly, you do not need to or want to run high power in most cases. This is great news for those who like to operate QRP. 

About the mode, history and origins

The mode was developed by noted Astrophysicist and Nobel Prize Laureate, Joe Taylor, K1JT. Joe's extensive resumé includes discovering pulsars using the NRAO radio telescopes in West Virginia. Prior to that he had worked with Jocelyn Bell, who had discovered the first pulsars. He first started out in amateur radio as a teenager and this fueled his interest in radio astronomy. One can clearly see how his love for "weak signal work" goes well beyond amateur radio or the solar system, for that matter. 

The mode can allow one to work signals that are not audible to the human ear, many dB below the noise floor. It does this by repetition and slow transmission. This is why you can't rag chew with it, but it is great for working DX and new grid squares.

It is used extensively for moonbounce (EME) where signals are reflected off the moon. However EME operators often use 500+ watts to compensate for path loss. Prior to the WSJT modes you'd see EME enthusiasts with stacks and stacks upon stacks of yagis pointing at the sky, and 1.5kw on 2 meters. They'd run CW and sometimes SSB. They'd send Ts to verify the signal and make skeds on HF or internet. While much of that is still done today, it is now possible to point at the moon and CQ with just one or two yagis and a few hundred watts. It is also possible to make contacts on supposedly dead bands like 6 meters. It is also possible to work DX on HF with small wire antennas.

Software setup

So how do you get cooking with JT modes anyway? We'll do a simple JT65 setup here. This is a very basic guide to get you started. 

You'll need:
  • SSB capable radio and your antenna
  • Sound card interface - external sound card interface like a SignaLink or some newer radios (like the Elecraft K3S or IC7300) have it built in and accessible via the USB port.
  • PC or Mac with WSJT software (JT65-HF or WSJT-X usually)
  • Internet synchronized PC clock (very important).
  • Patience and quick reaction time.

Once you get all of those together, you can then configure the software. I'll keep it simple as I use JT65-HF. WSJT-X is supposedly better but I've had better luck with JT65-HF. However, JT65-HF hasn't really been maintained since about 2013. But it still works very well. 

I use Windows for my shack PC but you can use any OS including Linux and Mac OS X. WSJT software and the protocol are all open source so you can compile it for any OS. 

A note about time sync: JT65 is a timed mode, meaning that everything fires off at certain times. Therefore your PC clock must be in sync. You can use software like Dimension 4 or Meinberg to do that. Unfortunately the built in time sync feature in Windows doesn't seem sufficient. You may need administrator privileges on your PC to do this.

Once you get the time sync portion straightened out and you've installed JT65-HF, you can set it up easily like this. Most important is the audio device (USB sound card) and your callsign and grid:

Make sure you have PTT and optionally, rig control (for band changes. It supports OmniRig and Ham Radio Deluxe, or serial port control. Note: if you have a SignaLink it uses VOX so there's no need to configure PTT in that case. But some sound card interfaces require it.

This is the main window:

You generally set your radio to USB (upper sideband) mode. Set power to low power (maximum 25-35 watts, many use 5 watts or less). Turn off speech compressor/processor. You can use the mode anywhere on the digital sub-bands but most people use the JT65 window. Here are the frequencies. Note that these are the dial frequencies in kHz you set your radio to:

  • 160m - 1836-1838
  • 80m - 3576
  • 40m - 7076
  • 20m - 14076
  • 30m - 10138
  • 20m - 14076
  • 17m - 18102
  • 15m - 21076
  • 12m - 24917
  • 10m - 28076
  • 6m - 50276
My favorite hangouts are 6m and 40m. I have worked many grids on 6m using JT65.

How a typical JT65 QSO works:

0001z  At the top of the minute a station will transmit "CQ <callsign> <grid square>" 
0002z  The responding operator will send her callsign and 4 digit grid square.
0003z: The CQing operator (who she has now answered) will send a signal report. 
0004z: The responding operator will send a "R" (roger) and her signal report
0005z: The CQing operator will send "RRR"
0006z: The responding operator will send "RRR"
0007z: The CQing operator will send "73"
0008z: The responding operator will send "73"

Yes, that is 8 whole minutes!

QSO is logged using the "log QSO" button. The signal report is in dB and is generated automatically. You can put in your transmitter power if desired. 

Most people take a shortcut and can cut that down to 6 minutes by omitting the RRRs from minute 5 and 6 and simply send 73s. 

So it would be something like this:

0001z - CQ KA1ULN FN41
0002z - KA1ULN N2RJ FN21
0003z - N2RJ KA1ULN -08
0004z - KA1ULN N2RJ -09
0005z - N2RJ KA1ULN 73
0006z - KA1ULN N2RJ 73

I hit "log QSO" button and I'm done. 

Note that each transmission lasts 47 seconds and you have to make your decision in 13 seconds what to transmit next. It's sort of like playing 5 minute lightning chess where you press the clock after each move, except that each move is timed. You will see the waterfall stop and a red line where you're supposed to transmit. You'll also see the decoded messages in the window. Messages sent to you are red. General CQs are green. If you have your headphones on you'll hear when the other side's transmission.

I wish there was a way to substitute 88 or 33 in the protocol but from what I gather, 73 is hard coded in the protocol. 

By the way, each transmission is basically brick on key for 47 seconds! This is one big reason why most people do not run high power as their rigs would overheat and their finals would burn up. 

But I was this close to working that rare grid on 6!

JT65-HF generates a log file in ADIF format that you can import into your log software. The log file is located at C:\Users\<your_username>\Appdata\JT65-HF\.  I prefer to consolidate my logs into Ham Radio Deluxe so this works perfectly for me. Then I can upload to LoTW and other systems. 

A word about QSLing

The final courtesy of the QSO is the QSL, and it isn't finished until the paperwork is done! The good news is that most JT65 users use LoTW.  Many also use eQSL and logbook. This saves the time and expense of sending for QSL cards. With LoTW you can apply toward VUCC, DXCC, WAS and other awards quite easily. With eQSL you can apply for their own eAwards or CQ magazine awards such as WAZ or WPX. QRZ has their own awards system as well. 

And that's it! Now you can make a simple JT65 QSO and work the rare grid squares with low power and a compromise antenna. 

Until next time! CUAGN on my waterfall.

Ria, N2RJ

PS - I'm new here and will be writing from time to time. Niece has graciously allowed me to contribute to her blog, so we can have a source of knowledge for YLs (and anyone, really) to enhance their experience in the hobby. My info is on if you'd like to contact me. 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Grounding, Radials, counterpoises, rods and ribbons, etc

here are the notes from the May 21 presentation

session May 21, 2015 echolink 8 pm Yl NFarl-r

Grounding (RODS and Ribbons)
May 21, 2015 YLRL echolink net

An effective ground system is necessary for every amateur station.
The mission of the ground system is twofold. FIRST, it reduces the possibility of electrical shocks if something in a piece of equipment should fail and the chassis or cabinet become “HOT.” If connected properly, three-wire electrical systems ground the chassis. A ground system to prevent shock hazard is generally referred to as “DC GROUND.”

The second job the ground system must perform is to provide a low-impedance path to ground for any stray RF current inside the station. Stray RF can cause equipment to malfunction and contributes to RFI problems. This low-impedance path is usually called “RF GROUND.”

The first step in building a ground system is to bound together the chassis of all equipment in your station. Ordinary hookup wire will do for a dc ground, but for a good RF ground you need a low-impedance conductor, COPPER STRAP sold as 'flashing copper,” is excellent for this application, it maybe hard to find. Braid for coaxial cable is popular choice; it is readily available, makes a low-impedance conductor, and is flexible. You see this on roofs in south and west.

Grounding straps can be run from equipment chassis to equipment chassis.1/2 copper water pipe runs entire length of operating bench. A thick braid from RG-8 cable runs from each piece of equipment to a clamp on the pipe.

After equipment is bonded to common ground bus the ground bus must be wired to a good earth ground. This run should be with heavy conductor (braid – I CALL RIBBON) should be short and direct as possible.

Drive one or more grounds rods into earth where conductor leaves the house. Ground rods-8 to 10 feet can be acquired from electrical supply house (home depot or lowe's or the like) steel with heavy copper plating.

Once rod is in ground clamp the conductor from the station ground bus to it with a clamp that can be tightened securely and will NOT RUST. Copper-plated clamps made specifically for this purpose can be found and electrical supply stores. If possible solder the connection.

ANOTHER popular station ground is the COLD (not hot) water pipe system in the building.
Length of of ground wire should be multiple of ¼ wave.

Ground noise:
Noise in ground systems can affect sensitive radio equipment. It is usually related to one of three problems:
1. Insufficient ground conductor wire
2. Loose ground connections or
3. Ground loops

liberal use lock washer and star washers is highly recommended
Ground noise can affect receive and transmitted signals

The antennas that we mount are affected by the presence of ground. At times, the ground is a reflector and at other times, it is an absorber.
The ground around the base of a quarter wave vertical antenna needs considerable help in the form of radials, if this type of antenna is to perform well.
When an antenna that is a near ground radiates, some of the energy will strike the ground and some of the energy will be reflected. The reflected energy will bounce back to the antenna and effect the pattern of current distribution in the radiator, and thus effect the pattern and the feedpoint impedance of the antenna.

After antennas, station grounding is probably the most discussed subject in amateur radio and it is also the one replete with the most misconceptions. The first thing to know is that there are three functions served by grounding in ham shacks: 1. Electrical Safety 2. Stray RF Suppression (or simply RF Grounding) 3. Lightning Protection. Each has it's own set of requirements, but not all station setups need every kind of ground. In fact, some setups don't use a ground at all! The articles on this page will help clear up some of the myths and mystery surrounding this popular topic.

Grounds fulfill three distinct functions. The best ground for one function isn't necessarily the best for another. The three are:
a. Safety ground. This protects you from a shock hazard if one of the mains or high voltage power supply wires contacts the chassis due to some kind of fault. The requirements for this ground are spelled out in your state's electrical code. I believe that most states adopt the National Electrical Code (NEC). The safety ground conductor in your wall sockets should be connected to ground according to this code, and your rig's chassis should be connected to the safety ground.

b. Lightning ground. The requirements for a ground for lightning protection are much more stringent than for a safety ground. The topic has been discussed in this group many times, and there are numerous resources available for learning how to make a ground system for lightning protection. (See the TIS Page on Lightning Protection)

c. RF ground. This is required only for certain types of antennas-- ones which require current flow to ground to complete the antenna circuit. An example is a quarter-wave vertical. One wire of the feedline connects to the base of the antenna, and the other connects to ground. The connection to ground has to have a low RF resistance, or you'll expend too much of your power heating the ground. A few radial wires will provide a moderately low loss connection. A ground rod will help a little, but the RF resistance will be high, resulting in quite a bit of loss. Chapter 8 of the ARRL Antenna Book shows the approximate trade between resistance and number of radials. If your antenna is much shorter than ¼ wavelength, you'll need many, many radials to get reasonable efficiency. If it's longer, you can get by with fewer. A ½ wavelength base-fed vertical needs only a very modest ground, and a ground rod is adequate. The requirements for various other end-fed antennas depend on their length. If you use a "complete" antenna like a dipole or a ground plane (that is, one that doesn't require your feedline to connect to ground), you don't need a RF ground, as long as you keep common-mode currents off your feedline. A "current" or "choke" balun is most commonly used for this.




Besides one lead from inside the shack, the others go to several other well spaced ground rods, a lead to the tower base (which has it's own ground system), and finally, the power company ground, which is only about a foot away.

K9WN Jake
picture is taken from k9wn

Youtube video showing how to drive a 10 foot ground rod into the ground with water.


Is Your Radio Equipment REALLY Grounded?

You may believe your radio equipment, antenna and tower are well-grounded. After all, you drove the ground rods into the earth yourself and connected the ground wire to the rods with heavy-duty clamps.

With an ohmmeter, I measured an open circuit from the ground wire to its grounding clamp! This was true for both the equipment ground outside my radio room and for the ground at the base of my beam antenna.

I do understand that contact points oxidize and their resistance increases. But the ohmmeter's needle didn't move even on the instrument's X 1000 range! I had no grounds that worked!

military handbook on grounding, bonding and shielding: A PDF download

any questions contact KB4GQN or KA1ULN


what kind of grounding do you have for your station?

Do you know what grounding is used for?

Please add your comments below about YOUR ground installation.

on May 21, at 8:00 EST come hear a understand Antennas part 3
GROUNDING: radials, counterpoises, rods and ribbons

Hope all of you can make it this week! We’ll be back on Echolink Node 560686 NF4GA-R repeater or locally on 145.47MHz PL100Hz (-) offset. It’s going to be a fun and exciting net! We are looking forward to everyone participating in the fun! Here’s how

thank you

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

KG5BHY YL blog

here is another Blog by a YL



Friday, June 3, 2016

Incredible Amateur Radio Operator's Story on becoming a ham! - TA2AZP

1999 Earthquake victim

Zeynep Pirim
hi ladies, i want to tell more about myself, (forgive me for my bad english im trying to improve it, because i want to talk with you,)
i have lots of problem about being ham, firstly as you know turkey is developing country, and patriarchal, im very unhappy. also im student, im unemployed, im not able to buy hf radio and antenna etc. but i love my hobby, it changed my life. i have never sleep well before being ham, because, maybe you can remember, in 1999 İzmit earthquake occurred on 17 August, i was 11 years old, my friends died, everybody died. i lived bad things. you know..
there was only one (1) ham in yalova in 1999, so nobody could help us, 4 day later he could call the others for help. it was too late.
i wanted to be ham for this reason. but then, i noticed its also wonderful hobby. you can meet new people, new cultures, but only if you have money and if you are 'man' =)
so i decided to search for ladies, i found you, its unbelievable! i surpised and shocked. its big change for me. im reading your diyalog and trying to understand, improve my language, and one day when i will be resarch asistan in university i can buy my hf, i can find what i need to build antenna, and i can talk with you. i know its big dream but i believe. =)
thanks for help, thanks a lot. i'm proud of each one of you. loves, Zeynep / ta2azp , 33!"

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

anyone want some FELD HELL? BANDPLAN

Frequencies Segment/Net name Mode Comments Website
3559 Feld Hell Digital
3575 Feld Hell Digital
3582-3589 Feld Hell Digital
7030-7040 Feld Hell Digital
7067-7069 Feld Hell Digital
7075-7082 Feld Hell Digital
10135-10145 Feld Hell Digital
14063 Feld Hell Digital Feld Hell watering hole
14063-14069 Feld Hell Digital Common Feld Hell range
14068 Feld Hell Digital
14073 Feld Hell Digital Feld Hell watering hole 2
14075-14082 Feld Hell Digital
14075-14082 Feld Hell Digital This is the old Feld Hell range, no longer in use
18101-18107 Feld Hell Digital
21063-21070 Feld Hell Digital
24920-24925 Feld Hell Digital
28063-28070 Feld Hell Digital
28100-28110 Feld Hell Digital

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

What are Amateur radio DIGITAL MODES? with DOWNLOADS

What is an Amateur radio DIGITAL MODE?

Digital Modes are a means of operating Amateur radio from the computer keyboard. The computer acts as modem (modulator - demodulator), as well as allowing you to type, and see what the other person types. It also controls the transmitter, changes modes as required, and provides various convenient features such as easy tuning of signals and prearranged messages.

In this context, we are talking about modes used on the HF (high frequency) bands, specifically chat modes, those used to have a regular conversation in a similar way to voice or Morse, where one operator talks for a minute or two, then another does the same. These chat modes allow multiple operators to take part in a net.

Because of sophisticated digital signal processing which takes place inside the computer, digital modes can offer performance that cannot be achieved using voice (and in some cases even Morse), through reduced bandwidth, improved signal-to-noise performance and reduced transmitter power requirement. Some modes also offer built-in automatic error correction.

Digital Mode operating procedure is not unlike Morse operation, and many of the same abbreviations are used. Software such as Fldigi makes this very simple as most of the procedural business is set up for you using the Function Keys at the top of the keyboard. These are easy to learn.

note: this is taken from

AMTOR is an FSK mode that is hardly used by radio amateurs in the 21st Century. While a robust mode, it only has 5 bits (as did its predecessor RTTY) and can not transfer extended ASCII or any binary data. With a set operating rate of 100 baud, it does not effectively compete with the speed and error correction of more modern ARQ modes like Pactor. The non-ARQ version of this mode is known as FEC, and known as SITOR-B by the Marine Information services.
To hear what an Amtor signal sounds like, click the sound iconsound_icon

PACTOR is an FSK mode and is a standard on modern Multi-Mode TNCs. It is designed with a combination of packet and Amtor Techniques. Although this mode is also fading in use, it is the most popular ARQ digital mode on amateur HF today and primarily used by amateurs for sending and receiving email over the radio. This mode is a major advancement over AMTOR, with its 200 baud operating rate, Huffman compression technique and true binary data transfer capability.
To hear what a Pactor signal sounds like, click the sound iconsound_icon

G-TOR (Golay -TOR) is an FSK mode that offers a fast transfer rate compared to Pactor. It incorporates a data inter-leaving system that assists in minimizing the effects of atmospheric noise and has the ability to fix garbled data. G-TOR tries to perform all transmissions at 300 baud but drops to 200 baud if difficulties are encountered and finally to 100 baud. (The protocol that brought back those good photos of Saturn and Jupiter from the Voyager space shots was devised by M.Golay and now adapted for ham radio use.) GTOR is a proprietary mode developed by Kantronics. Because it is only available with Kantronics multi-mode TNCs, it has never gained in popularity and is rarely used by radio amateurs.
To hear what a G-TOR signal sounds like, click the sound iconsound_icon

PACTOR II is a robust and powerful PSK mode which operates well under varying conditions. It uses strong logic, automatic frequency tracking; it is DSP based and as much as 8 times faster then Pactor. Both PACTOR and PACTOR-2 use the same protocol handshake, making the modes compatible. As with the original Pactor, it is rarely used by radio amateurs since the development of the new PC based sound card modes. Also, like GTOR, it is a proprietary mode owned by SCS and only available with their line of multi-mode TNC controllers.
To hear what a PactorII signal sounds like, click the sound iconsound_icon

CLOVER is a PSK mode which provides a full duplex simulation. It is well suited for HF operation (especially under good conditions), however, there are differences between CLOVER modems. The original modem was named CLOVER-I, the latest DSP based modem is named CLOVER-II. Clovers key characteristics are band-width efficiency with high error-corrected data rates. Clover adapts to conditions by constantly monitoring the received signal. Based on this monitoring, Clover determines the best modulation scheme to use.
To hear what a Clover signal sounds like, click the sound iconsound_icon

RTTY or "Radio Teletype" is a FSK mode that has been in use longer than any other digital mode (except for morse code). RTTY is a very simple technique which uses a five-bit code to represent all the letters of the alphabet, the numbers, some punctuation and some control characters. At 45 baud (typically) each bit is 1/45.45 seconds long, or 22 ms and corresponds to a typing speed of 60 WPM. There is no error correction provided in RTTY; noise and interference can have a seriously detrimental effect. Despite its relative disadvantages, RTTY is still popular with many radio amateurs. This mode has now been implemented with commonly available PC sound card software.
To hear what a RTTY signal sounds like, click the sound iconsound_icon

PSK31 is the first new digital mode to find popularity on HF bands in many years. It combines the advantages of a simple variable length text code with a narrow bandwidth phase-shift keying (PSK) signal using DSP techniques. This mode is designed for "real time" keyboard operation and at a 31 baud rate is only fast enough to keep up with the typical amateur typist. PSK31 enjoys great popularity on the HF bands today and is presently the standard for live keyboard communications. Most of the ASCII characters are supported. A second version having four (quad) phase shifts (QPSK) is available that provides Forward Error Correction (FEC) at the cost of reduced Signal to Noise ratio. Since PSK31 was one of the first new digital sound card modes to be developed and introduced, there are numerous programs available that support this mode - most of the programs available as "freeware".
To hear what a PSK31 signal sounds like, click the sound iconsound_icon

HF PACKET (300 baud) radio is a FSK mode that is an adaption of the very popular Packet radio used on VHF (1200 baud) FM amateur radio. Although the HF version of Packet Radio has a much reduced bandwidth due to the noise levels associated with HF operation, it maintains the same protocols and ability to "node" many stations on one frequency. Even with the reduced bandwidth (300 baud rate), this mode is unreliable for general HF ham communications and is mainly used to pass routine traffic and data between areas where VHF repeaters maybe lacking. HF and VHF Packet has recently enjoyed a resurgence in popularity since it is the protocol used by APRS - Automatic Position Reporting System mostly on 2 meter VHF and 30 meter HF.
To hear what a packet signal sounds like, click the sound iconsound_icon

HELLSCHREIBER is a method of sending and receiving text using facsimile technology. This mode has been around along time. It was actually developed by Germany prior to World War II! The recent use of PC sound cards as DSP units has increased the interest in Hellschreiber and many programs now support this new...well I mean, old mode. The single-tone version (Feld-Hell) is the method of choice for HF operation. It is an on-off keyed system with 122.5 dots/second, or about a 35 WPM text rate, with a narrow bandwidth (about 75 Hz). Text characters are "painted" on the screen, as apposed to being decoded and printed. Thus, many different fonts can be used for this mode including some basic graphic characters. A new "designer" flavor of this mode called PSK HELL has some advantage for weak signal conditions. As with other "fuzzy modes" it has the advantage of using the "human processor" for error correction; making it the best overall mode for live HF keyboard communications. Feld-Hell also has the advantage of having a low duty cycle meaning your transmitter will run much cooler with this mode.
To hear what a Hellschreiber signal sounds like, click the sound iconsound_icon

MT63 is a new DSP based mode for sending keyboard text over paths that experience fading and interference from other signals. It is accomplished by a complex scheme to encode text in a matrix of 64 tones over time and frequency. This overkill method provides a "cushion" of error correction at the receiving end while still providing a 100 WPM rate. The wide bandwidth (1Khz for the standard method) makes this mode less desirable on crowded ham bands such as 20 meters. A fast PC (166 Mhz or faster) is needed to use all functions of this mode. MT63 is not commonly used by amateurs because of its large bandwidth requirement and the difficulty in tuning in an MT63 transmission.
To hear what a MT63 signal sounds like, click the sound iconsound_icon

THROB is yet another new DSP sound card mode that attempts to use Fast Fourier Transform technology (as used by waterfall displays). THROB is actually based on tone pairs with several characters represented by single tones. It is defined as a "2 of 8 +1 tone" system, or more simply put, it is based on the decode of tone pairs from a palette of 9 tones. The THROB program is an attempt to push DSP into the area where other methods fail because of sensitivity or propagation difficulties and at the same time work at a reasonable speed. The text speed is slower than other modes but the author (G3PPT) has been improving his MFSK (Multiple Frequency Shift Keying) program. Check his web site for the latest developments.
To hear what a Throb signal sounds like, click the sound iconsound_icon

MFSK16 is an advancement to the THROB mode and encodes 16 tones. The PC sound card for DSP uses Fast Fourier Transform technology to decode the ASCII characters, and Constant Phase Frequency Shift Keying to send the coded signal. Continuous Forward Error Correction (FEC) sends all data twice with an interleaving technique to reduce errors from impulse noise and static crashes. A new improved Varicode is used to increase the efficiency of sending extended ASCII characters, making it possible to transfer short data files between stations under fair to good conditions. The relatively wide bandwidth (316 Hz) for this mode allows faster baud rates (typing is about 42 WPM) and greater immunity to multi path phase shift. A second version called MFSK8 is available with a lower baud rate (8) but greater reliability for DXing when polar phase shift is a major problem. Both versions are available in a nice freeware Windows program created by IZ8BLY.
To hear what an MFSK16 signal sounds like, click the sound iconsound_icon

is intended for extremely weak but slowly-varying signals, such as those found on troposcatter or Earth-Moon-Earth (EME, or "moonbounce") paths. It can decode signals many decibels below the noise floor, and often allows amateurs to successfully exchange contact information without signals being audible to the human ear. Like the other digital modes, multiple-frequency shift keying is employed. However unlike the other digitalmodes, messages are transmitted as atomic units after being compressed and then encoded with a process known as forward error correction (or "FEC"). The FEC adds redundancy to the data, such that all of a message may be successfully recovered even if some bits are not received by the receiver. (The particular code used for JT65 is Reed-Solomon.) Because of this FEC process, messages are either decoded correctly or not decoded at all, with very high probability. After messages are encoded, they are transmitted using MFSK with 65 tones. Operators have also begun using the JT65 mode for contacts on the HF bands, often using QRP (very low transmit power usually less than 5 watts). While the mode was not originally intended for HF use, its popularity has resulted in several new programs being developed and enhancements to the original WSJT in order to facilitate HF operation.
To hear what a JT65 signal sounds like, click the sound iconsound_icon

Olivia was developed by Pawel Jalocha and is a ham radio digital mode designed to work in difficult (low s/n ratios plus multipath propagation) conditions on HF bands. The signal can be decoded even when it is 10-14 db below the noise floor (i.e. when the amplitude of the noise is slightly over 3 times that of the signal). It can also decode well under other noise, QSB, QRM, flutter caused by polar path propagation and even auroral conditions. Currently the only other digital modes that match or exceed Olivia in sensitivity are some of the WSJT program modes that include JT65A and JT65-HF which are certainly limited in usage and definitely not true conversation capable.

The standard Olivia formats (bandwidth/tones) are 125/4, 250/8, 500/16, 1000/32, and 2000/64. However the most commonly used formats in order of use are 500/16, 500/8, 1000/32, 250/8, and 1000/16. This can cause some confusion and problems with so many formats and so many other digital modes. After getting used to the sound and look of Olivia in the waterfall, though, it becomes easier to identify the format when you encounter it. About 90% of all current Olivia activity on the air is one of the 2 formats : 500/16 and 1000/32.
To hear what an Olivia 500/16 signal sounds like, click the sound iconsound_icon
To hear what an Olivia 1000/32 signal sounds like, click the sound iconsound_icon

DominoEX is a digital mode using MFSK (Multi-Frequency Shift Keying), used to send data (for example, hand-typed text) by radio. MFSK sends data using many different tones, sent one at a time. Each tone element ('symbol') can carry several bits of data. Most other digital modes uses each tone to represent only one bit. Thus the symbol rate is much lower for the same data rate when MFSK is used. This is beneficial, since it leads to high sensitivity with good data rate and modest bandwidth. More importantly, low symbol rates are less effected by multi-path reception timing effects.

Therefore MFSK is ideal for HF operation since it has good noise rejection and good immunity to most propagation distortion effects which adversely affect reception of other modes. MFSK is already used on HF by modes such as MFSK16, ALE, THROB and Olivia, but DominoEX improves on the MFSK types of modes by employing an Incremental Frequency Keying strategy. DominoEX is also a reasonably narrow-band mode along the lines of MFSK16 or RTTY.

A narrow-band application of MFSK presents some challenges. The main problem is that radio transceivers with high stability and tuning accuracy are usually required, since very small frequency steps are used for example when ompared with RTTY. MFSK is also prone to interference from data arriving from different ionospheric paths, and like many modes, it is prone to interference from fixed carriers within the data passband. Forward Error Correction (FEC) can be deployed to reduce errors, but such modes can become slow and difficult to operate or the modes consume an excessive an excessive amount of bandwidth. With DominoEX, a different approach was taken, concentrating on perfecting the design for best Near Vertical Incidence Signal or NVIS reception without requiring FEC. All the inherent MFSK problems are also avoided or much reduced.

DominoEX uses a series of new techniques to counter the general limitations of MFSK. To avoid tuning problems, IFK (Incremental Frequency Keying) is used, where the data is represented not by the frequency of each tone, but by the frequency difference between one tone and the next, an equivalent idea to differential PSK. An additional technique, called Offset Incremental Keying (IFK+) is used to manage the tone sequence in order to counter inter-symbol interference caused by multi-path reception. This gives the mode a great improvement in robustness.

Like Olivia above, there are several variations of the DominoEX mode: DominoEX4, DominoEX5, DominoEX8, DominoEX11, DominoEX16 and finally DominoEX22. The higher the number the faster the speed of transmission so difficult conditions it may be wise to use the slower speed, while good conditions might allow for faster speeds.
To hear what a DominoEX8 signal sounds like, click the sound iconsound_icon
To hear what a DominoEX16 signal sounds like, click the sound iconsound_icon

Contestia is a digital mode directly derived from Olivia but not quite as robust. It is more of a compromise between speed and performance. It was developed by Nick Fedoseev, UT2UZ who is also one of the key developers of the MixW Mult-digital mode software application used by many hams. Contestia sounds almost identical to Olivia, can be configured in as many ways, but has essentially twice the speed.

Contestia has 40 formats just like Olivia. The formats vary in bandwidth (125,250,500,1000, and 2000hz) and number of tones used (2,4,8,16,32,64,128, or 256). The most commonly used formats right now seem to be 250/8, 500/16, and 1000/32.

So just how well does Contestia perform under very weak signal conditions. Surprisingly well as it handles QRM, QRN, and QSB very easily. It decodes below the noise level but experience has shown that Olivia still outperforms Contestia depending on which variation of the modes are used. However, Contestia is twice as fast as Olivia on a given variation of each respective mode. It is an excellent weak signal, conversational, QRP, and long distance digital mode. When using it for keyboard to keyboard conversation under fair to good conditions, it can be more preferable to many hams than Olivia because of the faster speed.

Contestia get it's increased speed by using a smaller symbol block size (32) than Olivia (64) and by a using 6-bit decimal character set rather than 7-bit ASCII set that Olivia does. Because it has a reduced character set and does not print out in both upper and lower case. Some traffic nets might not want to use this mode because it does not support upper and lower case characters and extended characters found in many documents and messages. For normal digital chats that does not pose any problem, but also because of these limitations, Contestia has not seen much use and is more of a novelty mode.
To hear what a Contestia signal sounds like, click the sound iconsound_icon

"WB8NUT helps write article on Digital Modes for World Radio Magazine
In early 2013 I assisted in writing an article on digital modes for World Radio Magazine titled Diving into the Alphabet Soup. A copy of the article in pdf format can be downloaded by clicking this link. It was published in the April 2013 edition of the on-line magazine."

Download Digital Mode Soundcard Software

Digipan - Great PSK31 Software (Freeware)
FLDigi - Great Multi Mode Application and it runs on Windows, MAC OSX, and Linux. Plenty of add-ons and a messaging package (NBEMS) which is very useful for emergency communication (Freeware)
Hamscope - PSK31, RTTY, ASCII, MFSK, Packet and CW (Freeware)
IZ8BLY Hellschreiber - All popular Hell modes (Freeware)
MixW - The soundcard based software that does all the modes! (Shareware - Reasonable)
Stream by IZ8BLY for MFSK (Freeware)

Need an Interface between your Transceiver and the Computer?
WB8NUT recommends the Donner Digital Interface - Simple, Affordable, Easy to connect!
Works First Time - Every Time
Visit Donner Digital Interfaces by Clicking anywhere on this text!

The Predominate USA HF Digital Frequencies

160 Meters
1.838.150 PSK31,
1.890 SSTV

80 Meters
3.580 to 3.620 Data (RTTY, PSK31, Hellschreiber, MFSK16)
3.620 to 3.635 Packet
3.845 SSTV

40 Meters
7.035.150 PSK31
7.037 Hellschreiber, MFSK16
7.076 JT65
7.080 RTTY
7.171 SSTV

30 Meters

10.130 PSK31
10.130 to 10.140 RTTY
10.137 Hellschreiber
10.140 to 10.150 Packet, APRS

20 Meters
14.063.5 Hellschreiber
14.070.150 PSK31
14.070 to 14.095 RTTY
14.076 JT65
14.080 MFSK16
14.100.5 to 14.112 Packet
14.230 SSTV
14.233 SSTV

17 Meters
18.100 to 18.105 RTTY
18.103 Hellschreiber
18.105 MFSK16
18.105 to 18.110 Packet

15 Meters
21.063 Hellschreiber
21.070 to 21.100 RTTY
21.070.150 PSK31
21.076 JF65
21.080 MFSK16
21.100 to 21.110 Packet
21.340 SSTV

12 Meters
24.920 to 24.925 RTTY
24.925 to 24.930 Packet
24.929 MFSK16

10 Meters
28.070 to 28.150 RTTY
28.076 JT65
28.080 MFSK16
28.120.150 PSK31, Hellschreiber
28.680 SSTV
28.690 SSTV - some SSTV repeaters on this Frequency
28.700 SSTV

6 Meters
50.276 JT65
50.680 SSTV

2 Meters

145.500 SSTV - National SSTV Simplex Frequency for FM
145.550 PSK31, Hellschreiber, MFSK16

this was taken from

for all digital mode software please use :
thanx to Craig AC4M

Thursday, January 28, 2016

ARRL January VHF Contest is here

This coming weekend is the January VHF contest.  Unlike HF contests that fill the bands with stations upon stations, to those who do not participate in the VHF contests these contests go virtually unnoticed as they take place mostly out of site from FM repeater operation that most think of when it comes to VHF.

For those who do weak signal work on VHF, these are weekends the VHF bands, from 6m thru light come alive!!

Many folks don't think they even have the right equipment to get involved or even help out their local VHF operators, but access to the VHF contest may be easier than you think.

Many (if not most) HF rigs these days include 6m.  The 6m band is the lowest of the VHF bands and on 6m you can join in with the VHF excitement!

You can also find some FM operation so your 2m or 70cm mobile rig or HT is sufficient to make contest contacts.   There is actually a FM only class of operation which is trying to encourage more participation.

My favorite class is operating as a rover where I move from grid square to grid square and every time I change a grid I can work stations over again from the new grid.

January VHF contest information can be found here:

You can read about where I will be during the upcoming contest here
If I will be passing someplace near you I would love to work you.  You can track my location here during the contest to find when I am in your area.  Be aware that is a static page so you need to manually refresh to see my position update.

I hope to catch you on the VHF airwaves this weekend!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Amateur Radio RST System

Readability - Strength - Tone: RST Signal Reports

Numeric Value Readability - R Strength - S Tone - T (cw only)

1 Unreadable Faint signals, barely perceptible Sixty cycle a.c or less, very rough and broad
2 Barely readable, occasional words distinguishable Very weak signals Very rough a.c., very harsh and broad
3 Readable with considerable difficulty Weak signals Rough a.c. tone, rectified but not filtered
4 Readable with practically no difficulty Fair signals Rough note, some trace of filtering
5 Perfectly readable Fairly good signals Filtered rectified a.c. but strongly ripple-modulated
6 Not used Good signals Filtered tone, definite trace of ripple modulation
7 Not used Moderately strong signals Near pure tone, trace of ripple modulation
8 Not used Strong signals Near perfect tone, slight trace of modulation
9 Not used Extremely strong signals Perfect tone, no trace of ripple or modulation of any kind


Select the signal's most consistent characteristic from each of the R, S, and T columns in the chart. Select the number from the R-S-T Numeric Value (left) column which corresponds to each characteristic chosen. This R-S-T sequence of numbers becomes the RST signal report.

If the signal has the characteristic stability of crystal control, the letter X may be added to the end of the RST report.

Use the letter C to indicate a chirp on the signal.

Use the letter K for key clicks.

"RST is 599" - means that the morse code cw signal being assessed is Readability 5 (perfectly readable), Strength 9 (extremely strong signal), Tone 9 (perfect tone). This is the ultimate (or "perfect") cw signal.

This reporting system may also be used for phone operation by leaving out the Tone (T) portion of the report. For example, a signal of "5 9" means that the phone signal is Readability 5, and Strength 9; a perfectly readable and extremely strong signal. The term "S-9" is also used to report a Strength 9 for an extremely strong signal. If an S-Meter is being used as a basis of the signal report, an S-9 is the notation for 9 (S-Units) on the meter.

thanx for Maxwell at buffalo edu for some information


RSQ system for Digital QSO's

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

If you build it they will come

That is the radio signals and contacts will come.

For the new ham getting on HF, putting up an antenna can become an obstacle that stands in their way.  HF antennas take space and some bands taking lots of space. There are all sorts of opinions of what is best.  There are all sorts of technical detail such as insulators, wire type, baluns, feedline, etc.  And then there is the problem of where to put it and how to support it.

Often this can cause a sort of paralysis.

So where to start?

A good place to start is to recognize that there is no perfect antenna and that any antenna is better than none.  Also recognize that it can be fun to try something and change it for something else.  The basic construction materials for antennas (wire, feedline, rope) can always be re-purposed from one under performing antenna experiment into another hopefully better antenna.

Also recognize that for basic HF operation with 100 watts, there isn't a need to go overboard with insulators, baluns, etc.  A piece of wood or a PVC plumbing fitting with a couple holes will suffice for a center insulator.  A nylon rope will provide enough insulation at the ends. 

When looking at where to put the antenna keep in mind that dipoles are very tolerant of bends.  When running 100 watts, if you use insulated wire, the wire can be looped over tree branches.  There is no need to make it sit out in completely open space between supports and strait runs don't make much difference.  You will be amazed at what antennas will tolerate.

Don't worry about getting it in the best position getting it highest.  Get something, try it, and improve on it next time.  Inverted V antennas are a great alternative to dipoles as they only require one support.

Don't worry about making an antenna work for all bands.  Focus on one and like 40m which is a good band for some day operation and some night operation.  20m or 15m for more distance although more daytime oriented.  20m or 15m also can be easier because of their smaller size.

The ARRL Antenna book can be a great source of ideas as well as technical reference.

Commercial antennas, while perhaps not as much fun as building your own, can let you get started and some models are multi-band.

Those magic boxes called antenna tuners can also be helpful, but a word of caution here.  While they can match an antenna and make your rig happy, as well as being used in many circumstances without significant degradation, they can also be mis-used.  If used the wrong way such as correcting very high mismatch when using coax can result in most of your power ending dissipated in the tuner and feedline rather than radiated.  For the beginner it is best to use a tuner with commercial antennas designed to work with a tuner such as the (G5RV) or only use the tuner match to antennas that are mismatched no more than 5:1.

In the end though, you can't work them if you don't put up an antenna.  So don't angst over what is best, just put something up to start with, use it, and improve upon it.

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