K3NG reposted one of his classic articles Things I Wish I Knew When I Was A Young Radio Artisan. Here’s a few items from the list:
With antennas, it’s not about the feet and inches (or meters), think in terms of wavelength.
Don’t worry about the orientation of a dipole when it’s less than a half wavelength above ground.
When the bands are open any goofy antenna will make contacts. People will think this makes a goofy little antenna a good antenna. Not so.
I don’t agree with everything on the list but it is still worth reading.
73, Bob K0NR
Recently on Google Plus there was a discussion of what qualifies as a separate country in the amateur radio world. The confusion point was that Alaska was showing up in logging software as a “country”. It turns out is is both a country and a state.
The generally accepted countries list is established by the DXCC award. Actually, the correct term is entities, not countries, but in normal conversation people seem to use countries. DXCC stands for DX Century Club, with the minimum award being 100 (Century) countries.
Back to the issue of Alaska — it clearly is one of the 50 United States, so you’ll need to work it to achieve Worked All States (WAS). It is geographically separated from the lower 48 states, so it is also considered a separate country. The same is true for Hawaii — counts as a state and a country.
To find out what counts as a country, you need to study the DXCC Country List. A peek at this list reveals that these US possessions are all considered separate countries for DXCC purposes:
K,W,N, AA-AK# United States of America
KG4# Guantanamo Bay
KH0# Mariana Is.
KH1# Baker & Howland Is.
KH3#* Johnston I.
KH4# Midway I.
KH5# Palmyra & Jarvis Is.
KH5K# Kingman Reef
KH7K# Kure I.
KH8#* American Samoa
KH8#* Swains I.
KH9# Wake I.
KL,AL,NL, WL#* Alaska
KP1# Navassa I.
KP2#* Virgin Is.
KP3,4#* Puerto Rico
KP5# Desecheo I.
So there are 19 countries, just inside US territory.
The DXCC Rules that define a country are complex, a mix of geographical and political considerations. I won’t even try to explain it here. Be aware that as the political boundaries change, countries can be added or deleted from the list.
73, Bob K0NR
There’s lots of information spewing forth from the interwebznet. Here are a few items of interest.
The amateur radio community is buzzing with excitement from the excellent propagation on the HF bands during the CQ Worldwide DX Contest last weekend. For example, see the radio-sport.net post or my post.
One of our local Boy Scouts passed his Technician exam on the Saturday before the contest, showed up in the FCC database on Friday and was working DX on 10 Meters on Saturday. He managed to snag some good ones, including Australia.
The ARRL is reporting that Logbook of the World is having trouble keeping up with the influx of radio logs. Although it would be nice if they could put a little more compute horsepower on the system, I think it is great that LoTW is seeing this kind of volume.
The Interstate Highway Rest Area Society is making a pitch to encourage hams to monitor 146.52 MHz when mobile. I usually try to do this and every once in a while I will stumble onto a great QSO that way. This group is also promoting ham radio activation of highway rest areas. Yes, really, it is not a hoax.
73, Bob K0NR