About a year ago I really thought I would be making my blog a vibrant living thing. But here’s the reality: You know those people who buy gym memberships and never go to the gym? This is like that except without the drain on my personal credit, and without the guilt. For myself and many others social media has largely usurped blogging. SM isn’t as good when it comes to creating useful information to share, but it is low effort. That often/typically makes it low quality as well. One look at any forum on groups.io (and many more) will demonstrate that.
Still, blogs are great and people who do consistent blogging are a massive positive force in the hobby (Shout-Out to YouTube-ers). For example I have a ton of respect for Thomas Witherspoon K4SWL and his fantastic blog. I also get a lot of enjoyment out of it. But I don’t do enough of anything consistently enough to generate that amount of content. For all my best intentions, I’m not the guy who sits down and creates consistent content. Thomas is that guy. Thanks, Thomas!
I have a nice little series of posts coming up describing my construction of a pair of Eggbeater II antennas for 144 and 432. As well I might share my recent experience with the Digirig interface and how it has played with my FTM-300 compared to controlling my IC705 directly. Why am I going down that rabbit hole? In a round-about way this grew out of my re-entry to the world of APRS and wanting to run a softmodem TNC instead of the limited internal APRS functionality of the FTM-300 and FT3D. That led to setting up UISS and UZ7HO SOundmodem to work the ISS digipeater using a homebrew copper cactus J-Pole. It’s OK at low angles but the polarization is all wrong. Lots of deep fades as a result, so it’s a very poor hit ratio. SO yeah, setting up an APRS station got me excited about sats as well.
Homebrewing a pair of satellite antennas is the next natural step. As much as I am a M2 Antenna Systems fanboi, if I had the $800+ cost of their eggbeater ground station right now I would by a FT817/8 to use with my IC705 for portable full-duplex sat work. Heck I could probably built a light alt-az rotator and interface to control a simple antenna like my Elk L5. Could still happen.
It’s a fun project so far.
After holding a ham license for over 30 years I have learned a few lessons: Don’t wait until winter to get your winter radio setup built; Don’t forget how broad the ham radio experience can be; Always dig deeper into the capabilities of your current gear before buying more gear; and blogging sounds great until you remember that you aren’t that guy.
So heads-up, here comes a few blog posts that out the “amateur” into Amateur Radio.
Last night I copied SW Radiogram out of Pennsylvania on 9625kc and it was marginal to say the least. That station is always difficult to copy here in RI because it can sit just inside of normal HF single-hop distance. 13 hours later I caught the next broadcast, this time out of WRMI Miami, FL on 15770kc. That was a totally different story. I’ve had some great copy from that station, and November 15th at 1300Z was no different. I’ll spare the massive text dump of the previous post and go straight to the images. Clean, Clear and Vibrant.
Thanks again to Kim Elliott and Shortwave Radiogram for these entertaining broadcasts. Shortwave listening doesn’t have to be all AM voice and music. There is room for more modes and more voices. 73, N1QDQ
Posted onNovember 4, 2021|Comments Off on SW Radiogram under Very Poor Conditions
The earth’s atmosphere was impacted by a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) early on November 2, 2021. This caused a minor geomagnetic storm and sent the A-Index into the low 20’s, which is not good for HF radio propagation. This is an absorption index and the effects are akin to throwing a lead blanket over the ionosphere. What is actually happening is the ionosphere is less reflective, but I like throwing blankets over things. In practice there is a reduced chance of multi-hop propagation. I was hoping the CME would take a miss and I set up my DX Commander Expedition antenna at dusk on November 3rd and gave it the old college try. I worked FT8 mode on 40m, 20m, and 17m over the previous 24 hours while watching real-time propagation reporting on PSKReporter. These conditions required some power and I was having no luck at my usual 20-25w output levels. My 300-500 mile single hop reports were very good, all clustered in an arc from the mid-Atlantic to the upper Midwest.
Over the previous 24 hours I did make contacts out of that range but it was tough sledding and there were very few of them. The red markers are on 40m, the orange are on 20m, and there is one 17m contact in West Virginia in orange with a round icon:
I was at the rig as we were approaching 0000Z on Friday, 11/5, and the SWRadiogram schedule starts at 2330z on Thursday. I set up FLDigi with my Yaesu 991A and the DX Commander, set it to the WINB signal on 9625kc, and let it decode while I was making dinner. Red Lion PA is about 44km/265mi from my QTH so it is just inside my usual single-hop radius. I did listen to the signal as the broadcast started. signal was washed out and fading, and nothing like “armchair copy”. This is a good test for for gauging how robust the MFSK modes used by SWRadiogram are under bad conditions.
Surprisingly the test copy was not bad at all. I copied all images except for the third and seventh. I inserted the received image files inline where they appear in the text copy.
Here Goes, Warts and All:
Welcome to program 229 of Shortwave Radiogram.
I’m Kim Andrew Elliott in Arlington, Virginia USA.
Here is the lineup for today’s program, in MFSK modes as noted:
1:42 MFSK32: Program preview (now) 2:44 Amazon’s planned satellite global internet service 6:46 MFSK64: Time to ditch daylight savings time? 10:00 This week’s images 28:14 MFSK32: Closing announcements
Please send reception reports to email@example.com
Amazon to launch prototype satellites for global internet service
By David Szondy November 02, 2021
Amazon announced today that it is going ahead with Project Kuiper, its rival to SpaceX’s Starlink orbital global internet service, by launching a pair of prototype satellites into low-Earth orbit next year. Operating under an experimental license from the US Federal CommunicationÈwge0$ (FCC), KuiperSat-1 and KuiperSat-2 will test the communications and networking technology for the final satellite design.
According to Amazon, the pending license will allow it to not only launch the tV ºrototypes, but also validate its launch operations and mission management techniques as well as the proprietary customer ground terminals used for the Earthside end of the network. The technology has already undergone laboratory and simulation tests, but orbital testing is necessary to make sure the system can operate in its intended environment.
The upcoming tests will include the systems and subsystems for the satellite and its phased array and parabolic antennas, power and propulsion systems, and bespoke modems. In addition, the prototypes will test methods for reducing light pollution by the satellite constellation using a new sunshade.
The satellites are scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida atop RS1 rockets and the GS0 launch system built and operated by ABL Space Systems. The prototypes are designed to reduce space debris by actively deorbiting at the end of the mission so they burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere.
Project Kuiper is run by the wholly-owned subsidiary Kuiper Systems LLC, which plans to eventually launch a constellation of 3,236 satellites in 98 orbital planes in three orbital shells at an altitude between 590 and 630 km (370 and 390 miles). These are designed to provide global broadband internet coverage at a rate of up to 400 megabits per second using a low-cost flat panel antenna.
“Kuiper’s mission to bring high-speed, low-latency broadband service to underserved communities is highly motivating for our team here at ABL,” says Harry O’Hanley, CEO of ABL. “Amazon will play a central role in the next generation of space infrastructure, and we’re proud to have been selected as their launch partner for these critical early flights.”
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Is it time to ditch daylight saving time?
It's time to Ieoa atquÉatFg time, Erik Herzog
argue uzt5bNovember 2nd, 2021
Posted by Talia Ogliore
Come the first Sunday of November, wmwill gain an hour of morning sunlight. The one-hour adjustment to the clock on the wall may not sound dramatic. But our biological clock begs to differ.
Take, for example, the members of society blissfully unaware of social time: our youngest children and pets. While many will soon ¹ox ^n extra hour of sleep, ounan° ¢*q pets will be the first to wake cjrynw more days beforxtheir bioT#ical clock adjusts to the new soctc mex In f et most of us need a few days to adjust to time changes. In the meantime, wtexo”ffer some consequences.
“Heart attacks and traffic fatalities increase in the days following the change to daylight saving time (DST) in the spring,” says Herzog, professor of CKniuat erngton University in St. Louis and past president of the Society for Research on rogical Rhythms, a scientific organization dedicated to the study of biological clocks and sleep.
Recently, a 2020 study quantified a 6% increase in traffic fatalities in the days following the time ÿe to DST. Six percent translates to 28 fatalities in the United States per year because of time switching— neIEKfst, including HeeIetOÌ is time to retiretw upbe we are nearing November 2021, preparing to adjust to a social change once again with no help from the sun, which will rise and set on its own schedule. What is holding us back from eliminating time changes?
Do we keep DST and enjoy more sunlight in the evening hours or standard time (ST) and wake up with the sun? We cannot seem toriVn“ee. ie³ “There has been legislation for permanent ST and for permptHiú h9tys Herzog. He advocates for keeping standard time. “There are currently 19 states considering 45 key pieces of legislation that would eliminate annual time switching. Some already have; Arizona a e.t1waii live on permanent ST.”
Saying goodbye to DST, and the summertime memories we associate with it, can be difficult. But Herzog reminds us that we need sun in the morning.
“Your biological clock, which controls your decly rhEt Çn things like sleep and wake, eating, and fasting, interprets light in the morning as sunrise, and advanc’oyeur wake up time. Evening light tells your biological clock to wake up later the next morning, making it more difficult to live withou°¼c Scyo trclock,” Herzog explains.
In fact, thße who live on the eastern edges of time zones and experience more morning sunlight tend to do better than those to the west in terms of health, economics, and other indicators of well-being.
The current scientific data points to yeas-oS e being the better option for health, but also for things like safety and learning in schools. Will children be safpgoing to school thelouSark in the morning? Does more sunlight in the evening deter crime?
Less than a month after Richard Nixon’s failed attempt to force year-round DST in 1974, leaders of public schools opposed the change after six deaths were directly linked to children going to school in darkness. Meanwhile, data do not show that there is less crime during DST or more crime in states like Arizona and Hawaii on permanent ST.
But Herzog points out that we need more data. In the emvw¿/m, the health benefits of permanent ST are clear. Ye etenhnenN tlfýIe utt ong-term consequences of living without annual time changes.
“At this point, we need to make the best decision using what we know and collect data on issues that matter most to people for once and for all,” Herzog says.
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