Hello everybody and welcome back to the Everything Ham Radio Podcast! In this episode we are going to talk about DX Beacon Network, we talk about some upcoming events/contests and hamfests over the next two weeks and wrap it up with some news from around the hobby!
Facebook Question of the Week:
What time and Frequencies are some good HF nets on?
Tech Corner – Northern California DX Foundation
- What is the Northern California DX Foundation?
- How did it get started?
- What is it’s purpose?
- What is the International Beacon Project?
- What is a beacon?
- Beacons sends xmit 10 sec Callsign then 4 dashes on cw@22 wpm 100w-10w-1w-100mw
- Transmits on 14.100, 18.110, 21.150, 24.930, 28.200
- Beacon design by N6DK
- What is the network for?
- How is it used?
- How did it get started?
- Started in W6ISQ 1964
- How can the listeners make a contribution
- What make a dxpedition eligible to funded
- Programs/software someone can use
- Cycle 25 Project
For a list of current dxpeditions needing help
Do You Need Some QSL Cards? Check out KB3IHF QSL Cards. When you place your order make sure you mention that you heard about him on the Everything Ham Radio Podcast. If you do I will get a small commission on your purchase.
West Mountain Radio
I would like to thank my sponsor, West Mountain Radio! For those of you that don’t know who they are, they make some awesome equipment that I have had the pleasure of using over the past 15 or so years. They make several pieces of equipment that are so well built and are so useful. Things like the RIGBlaster, RIGrunner and the DC-to-Go Boxes. I talked a little bit about the RIGblaster in my last episode and I’ve talked about the RIGrunner several times in previous episode but today I wanted to tell y’all about their DC-to-Go Boxes.
These are neat cases that you can put a battery in to protect your station’s floor from an unfortunate battery accident, however, they are so much more than that as well. These boxes have a Super PWRgate PG40 and a RIGrunner 4007U or 4008 built into them as well.
The PWRgate provides you an uninterruptible power supply in case you lose AC power it will automatically switch to the battery in the box. This is a perfect solution for a repeater backup and/or event like the upcoming Winter Field Day!
The RIGrunner 4008 provides you with 40 amps of D.C. Power plug over 8 slots while the 4007u gives you 40 amps across 7 slots but it has some extra feature like a digital load meter and USB charging port as well as a solid state push button on/off switch and an automatic shutoff for high or low voltages!
Both of these are mounted to the side of the battery box. All you have to do is drop a battery inside and hook up the leads and you are ready to roll!!
Here are the links for the premade versions of the DC-to-Go boxes. It you can also Custom make one to your own choices!
- DC-to-GO Battery Box w/RIGrunner & Super PWRgate (sku#58513-1381), $249.95
- DC-to-GO Battery Box w/RR4007U & Super PWRgate (sku#58513-1577), $269.95
- Custom make your own!
Ham Blog Spotlight
Ham Radio Concepts
Bluestack micro+ DVmega hotspot Dstar/DMR/Fusion
|15-Meter SSTV Dash Contest||0000Z, Apr 1 to 2359Z, Apr 2|
|LZ Open 40m Sprint Contest||0400Z-0800Z, Apr 1|
|Missouri QSO Party||1400Z, Apr 1 to 0400Z, Apr 2 and 1400Z-2000Z, Apr 2|
|Mississippi QSO Party||1400Z, Apr 1 to 0200Z, Apr 2|
|SP DX Contest||1500Z, Apr 1 to 1500Z, Apr 2|
|EA RTTY Contest||1600Z, Apr 1 to 1600Z, Apr 2|
|North American SSB Sprint Contest||0000Z-0400Z, Apr 2|
|ARS Spartan Sprint||0100Z-0300Z, Apr 4|
|SARL 80m QSO Party||1700Z-2000Z, Apr 6|
|JIDX CW Contest||0700Z, Apr 8 to 1300Z, Apr 9|
|QRP ARCI Spring QSO Party||1200Z, Apr 8 to 2359Z, Apr 9|
|Texas State Parks on the Air||1400Z, Apr 8 to 0200Z, Apr 9 and 1400Z-2000Z, Apr 9|
|New Mexico QSO Party||1400Z, Apr 8 to 0200Z, Apr 9|
|Georgia QSO Party||1800Z, Apr 8 to 0359Z, Apr 9 and 1400Z-2359Z, Apr 9|
|Yuri Gagarin International DX Contest||2100Z, Apr 8 to 2100Z, Apr 9|
|International Vintage Contest HF||0700Z-1100Z, Apr 9 and 1300Z-1900Z, Apr 9|
|Hungarian Straight Key Contest||1500Z-1700Z, Apr 9|
*Information taken from the WA7BNM Contest Calendar
- April Fools’ Fest – Noble, IL
- Columbus (Indiana) Hamfest – Columbus, IN
- Hanging Judge Hamfest – Fort Smith, AR
- LARCFest – Longmont, CO
- Lincoln Trail ARC’s 38th Annual Hamfest – Elizabethtown, KY
- MRAC/MAARS Swapfest – Milwaukee, WI
- Portsmouth Radio Club Hamfest – Portsmouth, OH
- Oklahoma Section Convention (Green Country Hamfest) – Claremore, OK
- OzarkCon QRP Conference – Branson, MO
- CFARC 63rd Annual Hamfest – Cuyahoga Falls, OH
- Gulf Coast Amateur Radio Club Annual Hamfest (NEW DATE) – Hudson, FL
- Memphis FreeFest – Bartlett, TN
- Mobile Hamfest – Mobile, AL
- PCARC Seacoast Flea Market – Hampton, NH
- Yakima HamFest – Selah, WA
*Information taken from the ARRL Hamfest Calendar
NVIS Research Paper Available
A thorough and fully annotated discussion of Near Vertical Incidence Skywave (NVIS) is available in the research paper, “Radio Communication via Near Vertical Incidence Skywave Propagation: An Overview,” by Ben A. Witvliet, PE5B/5R8DS, and Rosa Ma Alsina-Pagès.
First investigated in the 1920s, NVIS propagation was rediscovered during World War II as “an essential means to establish communications in large war zones such as the D-Day invasion in Normandy,” the paper notes, adding that the US Army subsequently sponsored a lot of NVIS field research, especially between 1966 and 1973. More recently, NVIS has become a popular means to enable close-in communication on Amateur Radio HF bands between 3 and 10 MHZ. NVIS can be used for radio communication in a large area (200-kilometer radius) without any intermediate manmade infrastructure, and it has been found to be especially suited for disaster relief communication, among other applications, according to the paper.
“A comprehensive overview of NVIS research is given, covering propagation, antennas, diversity, modulation, and coding,” the Abstract explains. “Both the bigger picture and the important details are given, as well as the relation between them.” As the paper describes it, in NVIS propagation, electromagnetic waves are sent nearly vertically toward the ionosphere, and, with appropriate frequency selection, these waves are reflected back to Earth.
“The great reflection height of 80 to 350 kilometers results in a large footprint and homogeneous field strength across that footprint,” the paper says. “Due to the steep radiation angles large objects such as mountain slopes or high buildings cannot block the radio path.”
As for NVIS antennas, the paper stipulates that important parameters are antenna diagram, polarization, and bandwidth. “As only high elevation angles contribute to NVIS propagation, optimizing the antenna diagram for these elevation angles will increase the effectively transmitted power and improve the signal-to-interference ratio at reception.”
Mayors, Commissioners of Clark County, Nevada, Salute Amateur Radio
Nevada mayors Carolyn Goodman of Las Vegas, John Lee of North Las Vegas, and Andy Hafen of Henderson have joined the Clark County Board of Commissioners in proclaiming March 26 to April 2 as “NVCON Week,” recognizing the ARRL Nevada State Convention (NVCON), March 31-April 2.
The community leaders encouraged the citizens of their respective localities to pay tribute to the area’s Amateur Radio operators. Nevada radio amateurs will convene in Las Vegas for the NVCON. The state is home to more than 7,600 radio amateurs, many of whom provide communication support during emergencies, disasters, and public events.
Featured speakers at NVCON will be noted youth activities program creator and mentor Carole Perry, WB2MGP; Amateur Radio educator Gordon West, WB6NOA, and FEMA Individual Assistance Division Director Christopher Smith. Local TV meteorologist and kids’ author Kevin Janison also will speak.
The Sunnyvale Ham Radio Outlet signed off for the final time Wednesday after 26 years as a hub for Silicon Valley’s amateur radio community.
Due in part to rising rent in the city, the outlet at 510 Lawrence Expressway chose to close its doors and merge operations with its Oakland location, according to shop employees.
Steve Gilmore, national sales manager for Ham Radio Outlet, stated on the store website that changes needed to be made to its Northern California locations.
“Some of the costs associated with operating in the Sunnyvale location have absolutely skyrocketed, and the traffic and parking availability in our current Sunnyvale location has become seriously problematic,” Gilmore’s statement read.
Store manager Jon Kelly told this newspaper that the rising minimum wage in the region also factored into the decision to consolidate stores.
Kelly said the shop was a destination for radio enthusiasts locally and from around the globe. Business came from locals, but plenty of visitors in the area for job training or business trips at nearby tech companies would often drop in.
“We have a lot of regulars that come in. It’s nearly as much of a clubhouse as it is a store, which is okay sometimes and less okay other times,” Kelly said.
On the store’s last day a printed sign by the door read, “Hey guys, your wife called and said you can buy anything you want!” with “and you better hurry” scrawled under it in pen.
Ham radio, also known as amateur radio, is a popular hobby that often involves the building of radios and broadcasting over “amateur band” frequencies to talk with other ham radio users. The radios are useful in times of disaster when other types of communication channels may not be available. Operators need to obtain a license to operate on amateur bands above 30mhz, according to the National Association for Amateur Radio.
Aside from selling radios, parts and instructional materials, the shop also assisted in getting hobbyists licensed.
Gregg Lane, a regular customer and president of the Santa Clara County Amateur Radio Association, said he will likely still purchase parts and radios via mail from the Oakland location, but the in-person expertise found at the Sunnyvale shop will be difficult to replace.
“What’s wonderful is that they had radios set up so if you were thinking of buying one you could try it out, play with them, and there were always a few people who were experienced that could talk to you and help you so you could get some experience,” he said.
The store inventory will be packed up and sent to Oakland. Employees have been offered jobs there, but Kelly said none have accepted an offer yet.
“This is depressing. It’s like the end of an era. It’s like your best friend moving away,” Lane said.
According to the business’s website, the first Ham Radio Outlet was opened in Burlingame in 1971 by former California Highway Patrol officer Bob Ferrero. In 1991 that location closed and was replaced by the Sunnyvale shop. From there, the chain expanded to 14 additional locations across the United States. It continues to be family owned.
The Oakland location is at 2210 Livingston St.
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Until next time…
73 de Curtis, K5CLM