February 28, 2018 ARRL filed a petition with the FCC to expand Technician class band privileges significantly into the HF band for both phone and digital access. The proposal would open 3.900 to 4.000, 7.225 to 7.300, and 21.350 to 21.450. In addition there would be RTTY and digital privileges on 80, 40, 15, and 10 meters. Maximum power would remain 200 watts PEP.
Take a boat full of hams, gear, helicopters, fuel, and moxie, then push them out of a port in Chile and point them at the most remote island in the Pacific Ocean. That is the 3Y0Z Bouvet Island DXpedition 2018. They have already endured huge storms and a 6.6 earthquake on their journey. They have just arrived at the island and are making preparations for the landing and establishing camp. They should be on the air shortly. You can also check out their Facebook page here.
Set your calendars for December 11, 2017 as that is the kick off for the next <something> On The Air contest! Following the huge success of the National Parks on The Air contest from this past year, this new contest will include clubs from around the US which will operate from 16 NASA centers around the US. You can check out their web site for operational details. This looks like a really fun event. Check it out!
How about a new Field Day challenge? Welcome to Winter Field Day 2018, January 27-28, 2018. All you have to do is set up outside, in January, (If you want the points bonuses, and who doesn’t?) and make contacts that weekend. If you are so inclined, you may also operate from your cozy home shack, but what fun would that be? Check out the rules and points system here.
On Monday August 21st, from 1400-2200 UTC (6AM-3PM local time) there will be a total solar eclipse that will traverse the entire United States from Oregon to South Carlolina. It will cross 11 states at a speeds over 1,000 miles per hour.
A group called HamSCI is hosting the Solar Eclipse QSO Party. The pupose is to gather scientific data for Virginia Tech to study atmospheric propagation during the eclipse. If you are around on Monday, be sure to register your station, collect some QSO’s and turn in your logs.
One interesting aspect of the eclipse is that the sun rises and travels East to West, yet the eclipse crosses the US from West to East, entering the US at Oregon.
One last link is the American Astronomical Society page that has lists of safe and tested solar glasses that can be used to view the eclipse. There are unsafe glasses flooding the market. Do not mess with your peepers. If you do purchase some, make sure they are safe and from a reputable dealer.
Thank you to all that came out to support the MHARS, GVARC, SBCARA combined 2017 Field Day! We had a really great team that helped set up, feed, and operate this past weekend. This was the first year our group ran 24 hours for the event. We had several sleep on-site while others ran stations. The bands were very busy. 20 meters was a non-stop pile-up coast to coast. While we do this for fun, we still managed to wrack up over 300 contacts for the weekend. 20 metes was busy but 80 meters overnight was only slightly behind. Kudos to the overnight 80 meters team.
We ran 4A. Our station captains came well prepared with batteries and solar panels. Our antennas consisted of:
20 meter hex beam on 70 foot portable tower with rotator.
40 meter sloper off 50 foot crank up tower.
15 meter beam on push-up tower with rotator.
80 meter dipole between the 70 and 50 foot towers.
Some tallies for the weekend…
80 M – 107 contacts
40 M – 56 contacts
20 M – 115 contacts (+ about 30 CW contacts) for 135 total
15 M – 15 contacts
Arizona was the busiest state for us with 26 contacts.We covered over 60 sections.
We are already planning how we will improve for next year.
2017 Field Day is here! Join us on June 24-25 in Christmas Hill Park in Gilroy with members from GVARC, SBCARA, and the “We are not a club” club from Morgan Hill for 27 hours of Field Day. We will be operating 4A, with GOTA (Get On The Air).
If you would like to volunteer, please use the Field Day 2017 link and fill in the information for the shifts you would like to operate.
So… if you are new to amateur radio, or would like to find out more about it, stop by. Check out the map for the location in Christmas Hill Park…
HRD Software released a statement Friday that Co founder Rick Ruhl will be stepping down in the aftermath of the product review / blackballed call sign brouhaha that was waged on the internet and in multiple forums and internet sites over the past month. In the statement Rick announces his retirement as co-founders Dr. Mike Carper and Randy Gawtry acknowledge Rick’s contributions to HRD. A new EULA is also announced that should be released shortly. In what may be a record 169 page forum thread on QRZ, the debate has raged on regarding the events that lead up to Rick’s departure. Somewhere along page 37, HRD published an apology for the incident and vowed to review their customer service policies. An apology was also posted to eham, their twitter feed and their Facebook account. All of this has also been tracked in a huge Reddit thread. Let’s hope this can now be behind them and they can get back to fixing bugs. Ham Radio Deluxe is a package of software products to enhance PC based rig control, logging, digital modes, rotor control, and remote operation of your ham shack.
Dr. Michael Carper, WA9PIEA, Owner and partner of HRD, in a very ham-fisted reply, claims that the blackball of the license key was the result of an over-zealous support tech. However, reading his response, it hardly reads like an apology. In fact, it is rather defensive of the incident as a whole where HRD seems to try to explain the behavior as an example of “we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone”. While that may be the case, the fact it was retaliation for a product review may be in violation of the Consumer Review Fairness Act (HR 5111).
The eham review that sparked the controversy seems to speak fairly well to issues other hams have encountered with the product, including myself. N2SUB does not call anyone names, make any false claims, and is frankly a rather tame expression of his frustration with HRD. For HRD to have retaliated in this manner is bizarre.
In the end, it appears that things have been set right with N2SUB for the time being and his license has been un-blackballed. But the incident in general, and the response from the company, was odd. Let’s hope this behavior does not become a trend.
So this showed up today in my news streams. It is a BITX40 7Mhz QRP SSB transceiver. At 7 watts, it has more than enough power to get on the air with a simple SSB radio. It is a “some assembly required” “kit”. The board is fully assembled, and it comes with connectors and other parts, but there is no housing, or speaker. At $45, it is an interesting thought. Check out their website for more details. http://www.hfsigs.com