Archive for June, 2010

This Spewed Out of the Internet #16

Here’s a few things flying by on the internetwebz. 

K3NG announces a new online logging service with some odd characteristics. Quite funny, so check it out.

Now this is really interesting: Mark AF6IM did a parachute jump during the June VHF QSO party and made some contacts during his descent. The ARRL rules do not allow aeronautical mobile contacts for the contest but apparently they consider parachuting to be in a different class. (I call it “jumping out of a perfectly good airplane for no reason” :-)  ) Read the Southgate ARC article for more information. It seems that ham radio plus skydiving is turning into a niche sport (see parachutemobile.org ).  I like this kind of crossover activity for amateur radio!

The technical powerhouse nation of France has decided that D-STAR is illegal in that country. See the article on the Southgate Amateur Radio Club site.  Quoting from that site:

A report on the French digital ham radio website (DR@F) says that the regulator, the ARCEP, has said the D-STAR protocol specifications could allow ham-radio operators to connect their station to Internet and that is prohibited.

 K3NG has something to say about D-STAR: Announcing D-STAR Illegal in the US and Now France.

The FCC recently got the idea that they should update the General Mobile Radio Service rules. They are proposing to remove the licensing requirements for GMRS along with some other changes. This looks to me like the last nail in the coffin for a useful GMRS service. The FCC already screwed up by intermingling Family Radio Service channels with GMRS channels. (An unlicensed service on the same frequencies as a licensed service? Brilliant.) So now the world is filled with these “bubble pack” FRS/GMRS radios used by unlicensed and largely radio-clueless users. I am tempted to file comments on the NPRM but it feels like the ship already sailed.

The new Apple iPhone apparently has a problem with its antenna design. Something about leaving the antenna elements exposed means that the user can detune/obstruck the antenna by holding it in his hand. Gee, who would have thought of that (other than thousands of qualified RF engineers worldwide)?  No worries, it now appears that Apple is looking for a few good antenna engineers. Good idea.

And the rumors pursist that the iPhone is coming to other US mobile phone providers (besides AT&T). USA Today says the iPhone will be on Verizon next January. This seems inevitable to me, but I am not sure I care. The Android phones are coming on strong with a more open system. It’s even possible that my life will continue to be fullfilling without carrying a smart phone around 24/7. Maybe.

  – 73, Bob K0NR

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ARRL Field Day in Monument

This weekend is the ARRL Field Day, the major ham radio operating event in North America. Here in Monument, the Pikes Peak Radio Amateur Association and the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Radio Association will operate from TLMF Station 1. Details are on the PPRAA web site.

The “Get On the Air” station is perfect for new hams that want to try out HF. Everyone is welcome to stop by, operate, chat or just observe.

73, Bob K0NR

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QRP Results in the January VHF Contest

The July issue of QST arrived in the mail recently with an article on the January VHF Sweepstakes results. It always takes about 6 months to have the scores show up in QST, so some people make it a point to share their scores via email and figure out who won. I just submit my log and then forget about it until the scores get published, which means I have usually completely forgotten about the contest by then. It can make for a nice surprise when the article gets published.

This year I reverted back to my “hike up a local mountain and operate QRP” operating style. The past few years I have been more of a slacker, operating from the comfort of our cabin up in the mountains. The backpack portable approach is a lot of fun but does limit how many hours I operate and therefore keeps the score on the low side. I am not about to freeze my behind by spending the night on the mountain in January. It does make for a fun hike, often requiring snowshoes to make it up to the summit (but not this year). My soapbox comments, including a few photos, are on the ARRL web site.

So I opened QST and found that I absolutely dominated the Rocky Mountain Division with my 741 points :-). Here’s the list of Single-Operator Portable scores for the entire contest:

# Call Score QSOs Mult Class Section
1 N3YMS 32,184 260 72 Q DE
2 N8XA 6,864 123 48 Q OH
3 W9SZ 2,268 38 28 Q IL
4 WB2AMU 1,518 63 22 Q NLI
5 K9TMS 1,420 46 20 Q EB
6 K0NR 741 39 13 Q CO
7 W0UC 380 19 10 Q MN
8 N0HJZ 192 12 4 Q MN
9 KC8KSK 138 17 6 Q NC
10 N0JK 80 10 8 Q KS
11 K1EXE 60 12 5 Q VT
12 VA3RKM 56 9 4 Q ON
13 K9PY 50 8 5 Q AZ
14 KD7WPJ 48 6 6 Q UT
15 KB2AYU 45 9 3 Q EPA
16 WA1LEI 39 13 3 Q CT
17 W0DJM 35 5 5 Q MN
18 K7RLL 15 4 3 Q VA
19 W6MDH 12 3 3 Q EB
20 N3RG 8 1 1 Q SNJ
21 WA3WUL 8 1 1 Q SNJ
22 W6CT 4 2 2 Q SCV
23 K2ULR 1 1 1 Q GA

The competition in this category is a mix of activity ranging from very serious efforts (e.g., N3YMS with over 32,000 points) to people that just make a handful of contacts. It turns out I placed 6th overall. I didn’t enter the contest to win, but I have to admit it is nice to know there is a category where the Peanut-Whistle Stations don’t get swamped out by the Big Guns.

If you want to try something different, give VHF QRP a try in one of the contests.

73, Bob K0NR

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