October is here and for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, days are getting shorter, temperatures are finally cooling down, and fall is almost here. In other words, Radio Nights are here! I love fall and winter for the radio opportunities they bring. Quieter atmospheric conditions mean more signals to hear, more beacons to catch, and more radio activities. Pirates will be on the air toward the end of this month, as Halloween brings out many pirate radio stations. AM broadcast chasing really comes into its own during winter months. On quiet nights you can expect to hear stations
The above image is an award certificate for working South Shetland Islands and RI1ANO at least twice during the months of July through September. Whew! I just made it! I worked the station on 15m and 40m FT8 mode, as indicated from their award lookup page shown below. One of the neatest things about amateur radio and shortwave radio is learning about new lands and some of their history, influence, etc. You may have noticed the award and the log-check page are in Russian. I do not read Russian. Do I care? Nah!! Getting the award is still cool,
With all of the buzz created by our recent Solar Eclipse here in the states, many hams wondered what the effects of such an eclipse would have on propagation. I admit I was mildly curious myself, but did not expect big swings in any direction. Locally the effect was pretty minimal, even with 91% totality. I expected the sky to get much darker than it did here, but in reality, it didn't even come close to a mildly cloudy day. But there has been enough written already about the solar eclipse, and much more will be written. My interest here
I seem to be a man of contradictions. As I look at my "shack" (amateur radio speak for where I keep my radios!) I must be conflicted. I have radios from the 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s, and the 10s. I like radios of every era as each radio is a marvel of technology from the simplest to the most complex. Even radio designs we take for granted today are scientific wonders, and radio is itself, of course, magic! On the same table I use for day-to-day radio fun, I have two modern marvels of technology, and four
I had an interesting experience this evening listening to the Voice of America's digital broadcast (I have mentioned this in previous posts) as Hurricane Matthew pounds the eastern seaboard of the Carolinas. The atmospheric noise tonight was almost like the waves of the ocean crashing in along the beach, receding and coming again with a new wave. When I first tuned into the broadcast on 5.745 MHz I could barely hear the opening theme music or the initial voice introduction. I wondered if I would pick up anything at all. Here's where the beauty of digital modes come in. I
Technology Marches On For the past month or so I have been involved with two major projects (neither of which are finished), and neither are radio related. at least not directly. But I was contemplating things a bit this morning when I realized, yes, they are connected indirectly to radio through the advancements of technology. Allow me to explain. I have been a computer "geek" in the past, going all the way back into the early 80s. Through the 90s I would keep abreast of the developments, have definite opinions on software and hardware (such as AMD vs. Intel chips
13 Colonies operating event runs from 1300Z July 1 – 0400Z July 7 Once again, the 13 Colonies Special Event will take place between 1300z, July 1st and 0400z July 7th. The certificate is printed on heavy card stock. Stations working one state or, as many as all 15, will be eligible for the certificate. A “Clean Sweep” indicator will be affixed, for those lucky enough to “Q” all 15. A special endorsement will be attached for stations contacting their sister operation, WM3PEN, in Philadelphia, PA, where independence was declared. New since 2015, the 13 Colonies have added a second sister event station GB13COL will operate from
A blurb in the QRZ.com News and in the ARRL weekly newsletter caught my attention concerning an interesting reception report involving the ISS (International Space Station). As I have noted in other posts one of my favorite things to do in amateur radio is the send and receive messages using the ISS repeaters, both APRS and voice. I have logged many APRS signals (including several DX stations!), as well as a dozen or more states. I simply find it fascinating to think a signal I send up into space can be heard and repeated by something orbiting our planet and
Raspberry Pi and Amateur Radio For those who may be interested I have added a section in the Interesting Links and Books page with resources for using the Raspberry Pi for Amateur Radio Projects. This is not an extensive list, but some of the links are themselves extensive, and I suspect there is enough there to keep one busy for quite a while! Enjoy! 73, Robert
The extreme ultraviolet flash from today's M6.7-class solar flare. Credit: NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory There is some new and interesting sunspot activity from a large heart-shaped sunspot which has been drawing some attention recently. Here's the scoop from Spaceweather.com: BIG SUNSPOT ERUPTS: Surprise! Quiet sunspot AR2529 isn't so quiet, after all. The heart-shaped active region erupted on April 18th (00:39 UT), producing a strong M6.7-class solar flare and shortwave radio blackouts around the Pacific. Visit http://spaceweather.com for more information. Might wake up some ionization activity, the bread and butter of our radio hobby! 73, Robert
I just read an online story about a Cleveland man who has been a ham since World War II and is still going strong. Jack Goldfarb, W8WGO, lives in University Heights, Ohio and has been a licensed amateur radio operator since 1941. He still uses a Morse Code key he has had for 70 years! His story is well worth the read and may be found here. Folks like this are inspiring to say the least! Thank you, Jack, for making the hobby a great place to be! 73, Robert
Here's an interesting 15 min. video demonstrating the Army Signal Corps using an Hallicrafters SCR-299. While certainly a promotional piece for Hallicrafters, this has great footage and captures a bit of the excitement of radio expanding into new frontiers. There is a discussion of how the radio was modified for military conditions as well as some innovations which were implemented to make such a system mobile. I think what intrigues me most about these types of pieces is the sense of a common purpose -- the nation was at war and everyone was pitching in. Yes, Hallicrafters was a business
Eric over at QSO Today has posted an interview with Bob Heil K9EID, the genius behind Heil Sound microphones for both amateur and professional audio use. The interview is really Bob just talking about how he got into amateur radio, how his amateur radio background influenced his incredible career(s), and how amateur radio really needs BUILDERS and ELMERS! I found the whole thing fascinating as well as motivating. I could almost say it was life-changing, but maybe that is just me. Anyway, I hope you give a listen. Here is the info from the QSO Today site: Bob Heil, K9EID,
As I sit here listening to radio broadcasts from around the world on Free-to-Air Satellite I am reminded again of the great gift that is Radio. If you will forgive a little bit of personal nostalgia, radio has been for me a true gift, ever since I was a boy. I will not go into my past too much (we all have our stories), but when I was 8 years old I got my first radio on Christmas. It was a General Electric clock radio with a big AM dial, circa. the late 1960s. I spent many, many hours seeking
There was a short article in the Make Newsletter yesterday about how to decide if you need Arduino or Raspberry Pi, and I thought it might be interesting to others as well. The basic question is "How much computer processing do I need?" In very simplified terms, an Arduino micro controller is good at running one or two tasks - they use the illustration of monitoring a moisture probe to determine if your plants need watering. The Arduino could be programmed to check moisture content and send a Tweet to let you know it's time to water the plants. The
Here is a post from the great Spaceweather.com site talking about current aurora activity which might produce unsettled RF conditions. This can also mean some unusual propagation opportunities could exist for extended HF and VHF due to high ionization of the upper atmosphere. While such activity makes most HF listening difficult, sometimes 10 meters and above actually open up, however erratically, and contacts can be made that would not normally be possible. If using some of the digital modes such as weak-signal modes, even more contacts can be logged. Might be worth a try . . . . "URBAN AURORAS"
As I look around my shack I find it interesting the many different radios and facets of the hobby represented here, and I admit I have a rather modest shack. It occurred to me there is a lot of knowledge (and much more to learn) involved in operating these radios and associated equipment. Often modern hams are accused of being mere "appliance" operators because we do not build our radios from scratch. I would love to build a radio from scratch, and if I could afford it, I would find a Heathkit radio still in the box and build it.
I just received a beautiful certificate from the ISS Fan Club site (www.issfanclub.com) confirming my reception of SSTV images during the July 2015 celebration of the Apollo-Soyuz mission in 1975. While my images were not as good as I would have hoped (local conditions were a bit iffy), I was thrilled to get them nevertheless. I also received SSTV images back in April celebrating Yuri Gagarin's mission into space, and believe me I could hardly contain myself. I am not sure what that says about me, except perhaps I am still just a kid at heart, but I'll take it!
I am fascinated by the history of radio and its significance to events in the world, particularly as it relates to WWII. I confess to being somewhat envious of those teens who were called into active civilian duty as Radio Monitors. Some time back I heard an actual Public Service message as it had been broadcast during the war years recruiting boys 12 years and up for monitoring service. (An excellent Internet streaming broadcast is the UK 1940s Radio Station - they play music and programs of the era, as well as actual speeches and Public Service messages, and even
Another "Golden Age" of Radio? I will be the first to say I regret terribly missing out on the 60s and 70s era of radio, not only for the stories I hear told about the propagation conditions, but also on the ability to build kits and work with some of those now-classic radios. Since boat anchors are still plentiful I can recapture a bit of that time, but of course I did not live through it as an amateur radio operator. Perhaps I am the eternal optimist when it comes to radio, but in many ways I feel as though
There have been several interesting radio articles in the news lately, and I find that heart-warming to say the least! And since a couple of articles dealt with radio in space, I was particularly excited, and a bit jealous! I just saw a post in the British News about a local ham who made contact with the International Space Station for approximately 50 seconds (lucky devil!). The articles can be found here. I appreciate the fact that his station is a typical one, being described as a "garden shed." Like this gentleman I have been trying hard for several weeks
This weekend was a special event for the ISS with transmissions of SSTV images commemorating Apollo and Soyuz missions 40 years ago. Having successfully received images from the Russian celebration of Yuri Gagarin some months back I had great anticipation for this event. As luck would have it, several things went wrong, but several things went right, so it all balanced out. First, what went wrong. The best flyover for me produced no images because there was no audio accompanying the carrier. The carrier was strong, but no SSTV modulation. Bummer! Those would have been some great images! Second thing
Welcome to my new blog on All Things Radio. I thought it fitting to write about my recent International Space Station reception and recording as my first entry into the blogosphere. For the last few weeks I have been setting up my dual-band Kenwood radio to send and receive APRS data using the ISS beaconing system. For those who may not be aware, APRS is a digital mode which uses either a computer or a TNC (terminal node controller - a type of modem) to send information between amateur radio operators. It can be used for location services, messaging, information,