WB4IUY's Random Blog

I've been in Amateur Radio since 1974, and still find new and interesting things to do. I like to build, restore, and operate on the air. This is a blog of various info about my Ham Radio operations and activities, projects, and opinions. Visit www.WB4IUY.net for the lowdown at WB4IUY.

Monday, May 24, 2010

10m PSK31 Active this evening!

I made my first PSK31 contact on 10m today, on 28.120. Once I made the contact, I posted it on the DX Cluster and at www.HamSpots.net . Next thing I knew, there were loads of signals up on 10m PSK31. The band is in pretty condition, and perfect for a few digital QSOs. It sure is great to see 10m coming back alive in this sunspot cycle!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Lack of respect for "Windows" on different bands...

There are gentleman's agreements and suggestions by the ARRL for various "windows" to be used by certain modes or activities. These include things like the "DX Window" found on many bands, call frequencies like 50.125 on 6m, and mode windows like the PSK31 window and the AM window. Many of these "windows" have been around for decades and are well documented in practically every amateur radio publication and all across the internet.

To preface this...I collect vintage Amateur Radio gear. There are lots of people like me, who collect older amateur radio equipment, restore it, and enjoy operating it on occassion. Many of these old rigs are crystal controlled and have been locked to these frequencies for decades, especially since these frequencies were widely known as the frequencies to operate AM on. Most of these rigs operate on AM.

The "AM Windows" have been around since before I became a ham in 1974. One such example of windows are the two frequencies 3.880 & 3.885 mhz in the 75 meter band. There are only a handful of such frequencies in the entire HF portion of our allotted amateur radio spectrum. AM has a typical bandwidth of at least 6 khz, and most of the older receivers were designed to accept this bandwidth for proper reception and reproduction of transmitted audio.

I'm always amazed at the number of people who tune either just outside of the window (or right smack in the middle of the window!) and operate SSB. Their arguements are often "I don't hear the AM'ers" or "I was here first and _they_ can move". I guess either they don't understand the design of their own receiver including it's more narrow passband and ability to null carriers from the oppsite sideband, don't understand that many of the AM Vintage rigs can't move to another frequency, or they simply just don't care where the window is.

AM'ers, for the most part, stay in the windows to enjoy the company of other collectors, experimenters (many AM ops build and/or modify their own gear), and others with similar interests. There are lots of us...the numbers are quite large. There are publications, businesses, and even entire hamfests dedicated to this facet of the ham radio hobby. We don't _HAVE_ to stay in these tiny slivers of spectrum called the AM Windows, but we choose to do so out of respect for the other modes scattered across the bands (among other reasons). We can operate anywhere those of you who operate SSB can operate...but we don't. We keep to ourselves and try to minimize our interference to others by operating in these widely known and universally understood "AM Windows".

Imagine if all SSB operations were be herded into a few tiny slices of spectrum called "SSB Windows", while AM operations ran across the entire phone bands. Imagine if AM'ers decided to "take back" a fair amount of spectrum and began having AM contests, calling CQ, holding nets, etc on AM all across the phone bands with our wider signals. Now imagine if those of you who operate SSB actually behaved as most of us do and gave AM a little "elbow room" around the windows so your SSB signals (and many of them are quite wide as well!) didn't jam the few frequencies that we relegate our own selves to.

I started typing this on this Saturday morning while working (or rather, trying to) the AM Military net on 3.885. A group of hams in the southeast US constantly obliterates operations on 3.885 Am by operating on 3.888 LSB. Their lower sidebands splatter all the way down to below 3.880. One of the guys is regularly heard on a rants that he will jam AM anytime and anywhere he hears it, simply because _he_ doesn't like it. This happens all the time, and is a perfect example of what this blog is about: People who either don't know or don't care how their operations in and around the windows impacts a much larger group of people who are operating in a manner as to minimize their impact on everyone else.

Please folks...stay out of and away from (by few khz) the AM windows with your SSB signals, so AM'ers can also enjoy their favorite part this awesome hobby!

Monday, May 17, 2010

10m Roaring into NC!

Wow... just onto 10m tonight after dinner, and found hams from all over South America on the air and blasting into NC. It's now 7pm, and with a full day of rain and cool temps, I really didn't expect to see quiet conditions and nice E-Skip openings.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Bands not too good today...

I made several contacts on 10m & 20m today, though nothing that was very long haul. European Russia was booming in on 20m for a while this afternoon, and the bands went short and PR was dominating 10m. Oh well, it was still a lot of fun making contacts around the US and Europe!

Monday, May 10, 2010

10m conditions improving...

10m open to Hawaii from NC at 10:45pm! Propogation is getting steadily better on the upper bands as the sunspot cycle improves. C'mon sunspots!

Just worked FO4BM in French Polynesia again on 10m at 28.4198 mc, which is 6000 miles from my location. Yep, things are looking up!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

HV0A QRV 20m

HV0A in the Vatican on 14.1794 qsx +5-10 kc, nice sigs into NC today. I worked him QSX +8.6kc .

RTTY Volta Underway...

The RTTY sub-bands are filled with activity this weekend, with the RTTY Volta contest. It's a great time to make RTTY contacts and pick up some new countries, even if you're not a contester. The exchange is simple... RST-your contact#-your CQ zone...

Example: If I were working you and you were my 30th contact in the event, my exchange with you would be: 599-030-05 (I'm in CQ zone 5). You can find your CQ zone at: http://www.mapability.com/ei8ic/maps/cqzone.php . You can also learn more about this event at: http://www.contestvolta.com/

Have fun!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

7x9 ??????

Holy smokes.... I just heard a person on 28.400 giving out 7x9 reports. Hahahahahaha....This is too funny. When did signal reports move beyond 5 for readability? They must have been REALLY STRONG, c'mon.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

10m open again tonight...

Working a 10-10 net right now out of Tx. Lots of big sigs coming from TX tonight! 28.488 is the freq for this net.

UPDATE... WOW!!! Just worked Tazmania & Australia on 28.425 (VK7ZE & VK4LS) at 10pm local tonight. 10m is finally playing good!

Monday, May 3, 2010

FO4BM on 10m!

FO4BM on MOOREA Island in French Polnesia was just worked on 28.470 from NC, almost 6000 miles! 10 meters is finally waking up!

10m Open on Monday night...

Beautiful sigs coming from Mexico and most southern and central U.S. states.

Screaming band opening on 6m!

Just worked into Daytona Beach Fla EL99 from FM05 at 6:30pm. Lots of sigs on 6, get on the air!

VHF Hot on East Coast!

I don't know what's going on with these strong openings, but I'm glad to see them! 2m SSB is running strong again this morning from Va to Fla on the east coast. Get'm while you can!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

10m Opening...

10 meters is now open onSunday night around 9pm...weird!

2M WIDE Open on east coast!

Holy smokes...look at the VHF propogation map at http://www.mountainlake.k12.mn.us/ham/aprs/path.cgi?map=na ...the whole east coast of the US is red hot for 2m ssb action!