Believe it or not, it was not all that long ago when computers were new and amateurs started to integrate computer technology into their shacks. Fast forward 30-40 years and most amateurs have a computer somewhere in their radio room. Or at least I am guessing this is the case. I am not so sure that I would bet the family farm on this statement. Perhaps better to say I presume such is the case. I bring this up because I see a great deal of hesitation for folks to try new things, particularly when it comes to computers, digital
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 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
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
Suspected pirates surrender to crew members of the CGC Boutwell. (U.S. Coast Guard photo) Thanks to Mario Filippi (N2HUN) who has graciously allowed me to re-post this excellent piece here. It originally appeared on the SWLing.com Blog (ed. note: make sure to click on the images for a larger view so you can read the captured text - it is fascinating, and I am green with envy! - Robert) Tracking High Seas Pirates on Shortwave Radio by Mario Filippi (N2HUN) (All photos taken by author–click to enlarge) Ahoy! After spinning a radio dial for over a half-century, shortwave listening still
Multipsk Software - A Review Here is a link to a review of the digital mode software MultiPsk (~3.5 meg PDF file) which I wrote for The Spectrum Monitor published in the September 2015 issue. I highly recommend either the free or the registered version of this software because it can decode almost anything on the airwaves. The registered version is about $45 as I recall, and it is the best money I have ever spent for software, and I have been around computers and software for a long time!! The free version will do a lot, in fact much
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
I was surprised and honored when Kim Andrew Elliot contacted me about mentioning this blog on the weekly Voice of America (VOA) Radiogram with regard to my recent post about Russia's attempt to shut down the Internet. The VOA Radiogram has been an ongoing experiment in sending digital mode text and images using the Edward R. Murrow transmitting station in North Carolina. The idea behind this is to have a backup means of getting emergency communications out around the world to folks who might not be able to receive voice transmissions during difficult propagation times. The digital modes can be
Readers of this blog will know I am keenly interested in promoting shortwave radio as both an important information source and a means of defense against government-controlled media access. A recent report in the British publication The Telegraph revealed there have been several tests run by the Russian government to see if the Internet could be shut down should a political need arise. This should not really come as a surprise since China has done the same thing in the past, but it does point once again to the limits of any system dependent on wires. I realize the majority
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"
I have been into computers for a long, long time. I will resist the urge to regale you with tales of computer exploits back in "the good old days" of DOS, Amiga, and even earlier days with my TI-99 /4A with cassette deck. Over the years I have used and abused some really excellent software, and there have certainly been programs which stood out from the crowd and made you simply say "Wow!" So with all this experience you can imagine not many programs cause me to turn my head, drop my jaw, or gush over their capabilities. In the
BBC Looking To Increase Russian Presence This is an excellent article posted by Kim Andrew Elliott concerning the BBC's desire to expand its reach into Russia. The full article is available at: USC Center on Public Diplomacy and it discusses in more detail the issues of maintaining an Internet presence and the challenges of Satellite broadcasts. The excerpt posted here is a good discussion on the improved reliability of shortwave radio to provide low-cost and reliable communications for those in Russia, and enhanced opportunities for those with computers able to run one of the many free digital mode programs available.
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