Archive for August, 2012

Colorado QSO Party Coming This Saturday

The Colorado QSO Party will be held this Saturday September 1, from 6 AM to 10 PM Mountain Time. This is a fun radio contest where amateurs outside of Colorado try to work as many Colorado stations as possible.

It looks like we will have quite a few counties on the air for this event, so it will be a good opportunity to work any Colorado counties that you might be missing. Complete rules are available here.

Thanks to the Pikes Peak Radio Amateur Association for sponsoring this event.

73, Bob K0NR

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New Transceiver from ICOM: IC-7100

ICOM has shown the new IC-7100 at the JARL show in Tokyo. The interwebz is buzzing with information, including a preliminary data sheet.

My scan of the preliminary datasheet indicates that this radio is in the class of the IC-7000 or even the IC-706. It covers all modes on HF plus 6 Meters, 2 Meters and 70 cm. (It also has the 70 MHz band which is a nice add for the European countries that have that band.) The radio includes DV (D-STAR) modulation capability and has a new touchscreen user interface. The slanted control panel is meant to make the touchscreen more accessible.

A new HF plus VHF/UHF radio always gets my attention (see my plea for an FT-950 with 2 Meters).  I am starting to think that the real benefit of this rig is the addition of D-STAR capability, which would a good but not essential feature to have.

What do you think?

73, Bob K0NR

Update (30 Aug 2012): Universal Radio has the radio on its website.
There’s a good video look at the radio here.

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FCC Says “What Restrictive Covenant Problem?”

From the ARRL web site:

On August 20 — in response to a Spring 2012 Congressional directive — the Federal Communications Commission released its findings on the Uses and Capabilities of Amateur Radio Service Communications in Emergencies and Disaster Relief: Report to Congress Pursuant to Section 6414 of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012.

There was hope that the thousands of comments from amateur radio operators concerning the restrictions that homeowners associations place on the use of antennas would get the FCC’s attention. Maybe the FCC would see that the overall effectiveness of the amateur radio service for emergency use is being limited by these arbitrary, overly restrictive rules? (See a summary of my comments here.)

But, the FCC responded with this simple statement:

Moreover, while commenters suggest that private land use restrictions have become more common, our review of the record does not indicate that amateur operators are unable to find homes that are not subject to such restrictions. Therefore, at this time, we do not see a compelling reason for the Commission to revisit its previous determinations that preemption should not be expanded to CC&Rs.

I am not surprised by this response but still disappointed.

73, Bob K0NR

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Pikes Peak to Mt Sneffels – 160 Miles

Here’s a video of my contact from Mt. Sneffels with Stu W0STU on Pikes Peak during the Colorado 14er Event. The QSO was made on 2M FM with 5W of transmit power on both ends.

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TechDay 2012 – Your Start in Amateur Radio

Come join us on Saturday, September 15th, 2012 (9:00 AM to 2:00 PM) at the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Administration Complex at 166 Second St. in beautiful Monument, CO for a half day workshop aimed primarily at the new Technician Licensees to help them get started in ham radio. While you’re here you’ll learn what it takes to be a ham radio operator, brush up on your DXing skills, test  your own ham radio equipment, check out some sweet mobile radio installations, and ask an Elmer “What’s so cool about 10 meters?”

Getting started in ham radio has never been so much fun!

Presentations

9:30 am – Youth DXpedition to Costa Rica
by Anna Veal WØANT

10:30 am – Mountaintop Operating
by Steve Galchutt WGØAT

11:30 am – Home Station Setup
by Anna Veal WØANT

12:30 pm – Getting On the Air
by Brandon Hippe KDØPWF

1:30 pm – Radio Equipment 101
by Shel KFØUR

* Each presentation is approximately 15 minutes with 5 minutes of Q&A at the end.  Events subject to change

Booths – Open 9AM to 2PM

Get Your Radio Programmed with Local Repeater Freqs by RT Systems
hosted by Kyle Hippe KYØHIP & Cole Turner WØCOL

Check Your Radio Performance
hosted by Bob Witte KØNR

See an HF Station
hosted by Dan Scott WØRO & Stu Turner WØSTU

Ask Any Question – The Elmer Booth
hosted by Paul Swanson AAØK & Shel KFØUR

Understand Mobile Installations
hosted by James Bucknall KDØMFO & Ethan Bucknall KDØMFP

Getting Your Ham Radio License
hosted by Brandon Hippe KDØPWF & Eric Hippe NØHIP

Ham Radio & Public Service
hosted by Randy Meadows KNØTPC

Sponsors

Tech Day 2012 is proudly sponsored by the WØTLM Amateur Radio Club and the  Pikes  Peak Radio Amateur Association.

Get the one page flyer in pdf format here.

Direct any questions to Bob KØNR

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A Great Day of Mountaintop Radio

Here is the report on the Colorado 14er Event operation from Mount Sneffels. Joyce K0JJW and I drove our Jeep up to the “upper trailhead” for Sneffels, arriving at 6 AM. The 14ers.com web site describes the trailhead and route.
On paper, the climb is not that difficult but there is quite a bit of loose rock that you have to navigate…annoying on the ascent and very tiring on the descent. We reached the summit at 9AM and fired up the radio gear.

Mt Sneffels (and the other peaks in the San Juans) is a long distance from many of the fourteeners. Take a look at the fourteener map on 14ers.com. Previously, I had operated from Pikes Peak where you hear tons of stations calling and Mount Antero which is centrally located so you can easily work all of the 14ers. Operating from Mt Sneffels is different — kind of like you have fallen off the edge of the earth.

We soon found that the omnidirectional antennas were not that effective at pulling out the other 14er stations and that the Arrow II yagi antenna was the way to go. I’ll so some more analysis on this later.

Most of the contacts were made with the Yaesu FT-817 but we also used a pair of HTs. Note that we used both FM and SSB.

I had my Yaesu VX-8GR burping out APRS packets for the upper half of the hike but it appears they only made it to an IGate when we were on the summit.

The weather was awesome so we stayed on the summit until 11:40 AM. After we finally worked Pikes, we decided to head down. The clouds were building but we did not expect it to amount to much. But the storm moved in quickly and we did get snowed on while hiking down.

Radio Log

Local
Time  Freq        Callsign  Location    Comments
 0934 144.200 USB   N0KE    near Silt   Phil, 100 miles away
 0949 432.100 USB   N0KE    near Silt
 0954 147.420 FM    W0NX    Quandary    Keith, strong signal
 1006 147.420 FM    WE7C    near Cortez Glen, 70 miles away
 1018 147.510 FM    WO9S    Mt Evans    Jon
 1049 147.450 FM    KM5TY   Huron       Strong signal
 1058 147.435 FM    KD0EGE  Lincoln
 1100 147.420 FM    KC0VFO  aeronautical mobile
 1110 147.420 FM    KT0AM   Shavano     Mark, strong signal
 1115 147.420 FM    KI6ASW  Blanca      Strong signal
 1130 144.200 USB   KB0SA   Pikes Peak  Eric
 1132 144.200 USB   W0STU   Pikes Peak  Stu
 1135 147.480 FM    W0STU   Pikes Peak  Stu

Joyce ended up logging for me and pointing the antenna, so she only worked Glen WE7C on 147.42 MHz. She also got to explain to the other hikers what the heck we were doing. People seemed genuinely interested and when we told them we just talked to Quandary or Evans, they’d say “that’s cool.”

This was a Summits On the Air activation, the first ever for Mount Sneffels (W0/UR-001). All in all, a good day playing ham radio in the mountains.

Thanks to everyone that came out to play.

73, Bob K0NR

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Colorado 14er Event This Weekend

Just a quick reminder that the Colorado 14er Event is happening this Sunday. I am going to try to make it up Mt Sneffels down in the San Juan range and operate 2 Meters and 70 cm. This will also be a SOTA activation (W0/UR-001).

For more information, see http://www.k0nr.com/wordpress/2012/07/colorado-14er-event-now-with-sota/

73, Bob K0NR

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