Conditions on 80 meters are completely different that they were 24 hours ago and I wish I understood why.
Lowband propagation is less influenced by sunspot numbers and other published solar values than 10-30 meters but something is certainly at work to make such wide variation in characteristics in such a brief period.
Yesterday evening, the guys at TJ9PF were barely discernable. I tried working them but was half-hearted about it, knowing I wouldn’t be able to. I listened to them off & on for a while but conditions never improved. Continue reading 'TJ9PF and 80m propagation'»
G1A making log corrections for CQWW 1610
The Maunder Minimum began roughly 30 years after William Shakspeare’s death. But, being climatic, its boundries had rough edges, ill defined – and probably overlapped decades before and after its claimed lifespan. If Young Billy had been a ham, not only would he have been a QRPer (his most popular character wasn’t named “Hamlet” by mere coincidence), he no doubt would have faced peculiarities of propagation during this time of minimal solar activity. Continue reading 'Propagation, why dost thou mock me?'»
FT840 & dipole, QRP for 2nd QSO
Bas PE4BAS recently posted a link to a handy Google app that quickly shows you the exact opposite side of the planet of whatever point you select.
As kids here in the US, we were always told that if we dig deep enough, we’d end up in China but thanks to Bas and Google, I now know that my antipode is in the Indian Ocean, just a few hundred miles east of 3B9 Rodrigues Island.
What surprises me about this is that conventional wisdom might have us believe that this would be the most difficult location to work via radio. I used to think that and it may indeed be a fact for some locations. After all, it is the other side of the planet – no other point on Earth is further away. Continue reading 'Degree of DX difficulty – more than distance, pile-ups and ham population'»
With recent forays into VHF territory, I’m logging QTH’s in terms of grids rather than states, provinces or countries. Contest exchanges include grid squares and I’m left after the contest to tediously look up which states I worked.
I’m not complaining ‘cuz I see the benefit and the reason for such exchanges. In short, they add more variety to locations to be worked on bands that are often difficult to achieve much geographical diversity.
Thanks to this hobby, I can picture in my imagination the location of any state in the country – but I can’t do that with grid squares.
Bertrand Zauhar VE2ZAZ has come up with a nifty little (470KB) program named WorkedGrids to just that. In short, you import an ADIF or Cabrillo file into WorkedGrids and it displays a map of locations worked that are color-coded on a per band basis. Continue reading 'Handy program for graphical representation of grids worked'»
Last week, I worked 34 states on 6 meters during a very casual effort in the ARRL VHF Contest. Much to my surprise, no one called the next day to interview me on television – not Oprah, not Bono, not even The View - and soccer fans rudely failed to serenade me with those beautiful-sounding vuvuzelas. The very nerve.
Now I know why.
Those 34 states had nothing to do with skill and everything to do with the luck of the draw. I really knew that all along but Saturday’s (June 19) conditions on 6 meters illustrated to me once again the role that luck and nature play in amateur radio.
We like to think of radio as a technical hobby where, with an ingredient of skill, we are able to divine from the æther those minute electromagnetic fluctuations and convert them into meaningful dialog (I use the term “meaningful” lightly). Continue reading '6-meter oddities and organic towers'»
I guess it’s to be expected that in an age of sound-bites, infomercials and Oprah-addicted housewives that a once-respected agency has to resort to hype in order to be heard above the din.
NASA’s solar weather prediction reads like something from HG Wells:
“A century-class solar storm, the Academy warned, could cause twenty times more economic damage than Hurricane Katrina.” Continue reading 'A “century-class solar storm”?'»