Archive for the 'Fun stuff' Category

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QSO with Ted Randall

I got an email over the weekend from Ted Randall, WB8PUM, who creates the QSO Podcast (available on ITunes). If you’re looking for a ham radio podcast then you’ll love Ted’s podcast which he records from various ham fests around the US. The current podcast has Ted interview a couple of guys about QRP and MFJ products while at the Huntsville Alabama Ham Fest.

BTW Ted’s audio is pretty good. Bet he’s running Heil commercial microphones. Just a guess. Heil mics are hugely popular in the amateur radio community (especially contesters who use his headphone/mic sets) but lots of musicians swear by Heil’s top end commercial mics.

Radioworld Gets Louder – A Lot Louder

I hesitate in blowing any commercial interest’s horn but when I read an email from Jack Summers of Radioworld about a new deal with RF Concepts to handle Alpha Amplifiers and other products as an avid contester I just had to give them a shoutout.

I don’t think there’s much debate in the Amateur Radio world that Alpha amps are the big dogs when it comes to power. These guys are built like battleships. They are expensive – I mean seriously expensive but when you’re going to buy one amp to last the rest of your life and the life of the guy who buys it from your estate sale (that’s pretty grim isn’t it?) then it’s an Alpha you want to have sitting on your desktop. All 76 pounds of it.

Go search on the Internet for the guys running the Alphas and they are always listed at the top of the contest results.

Here’s a link to the Alpha amps on eham.net. Notice the average rating is 4.9 out of 5.

I got start saving my pennies.  Woo Hoo

Stranger than Fiction

Sometimes when I’m reading an article in one of the ham radio magazines it’s so weird that I have to check I’m not reading the April issue and the article is an April Fool’s joke.

I was getting caught up on my reading when I sat that the June 2010 issue of QST had a brief article by editor Steve Ford, WB8IMY on page 98 called Quantum Transistors?

In the article Steve reports on news that for the first time, “physicists have demonstrated that physically separated particles in solid-state devices can be quantum-mechanically entangled.” Okay so what the heck does that mean? Entangled photons split apart continue to act as one. What happens to one happens to the other regardless of distance and when we say distance we don’t mean just across a circuit board but distance measured in lightyears! The report on this phenomena was reported in Physical Review Letters.

So what? Well this could mean we could have transistors that have unlimited on/off switching speeds and a change to one electron could happen in another electron somewhere else. Talk about zero delay in using your remote station transmitter.

Canadians in 15th World ARDF Championship

A five-man representing Canada, four from B.C. and one from Quebec are travelling to Croatia to compete in the Amateur Radio Direction Finding World Championships taking place from Sept. 13 to 18 in Opatia, near Rijeka.

Here’s the team:

G. D. (Joe) Young – VE7BFK – Member of  Friendship Amateur Radio Society Canada

Joe’s been ARDF coordinator for Radio Amateurs of Canada since 2002. He’s been a driving and supporting force in radio sport – ARDF development in Canada and BC. He’s been regarded as an important and valuable member of Radio Amateurs of Canada ARDF. He has also been active in the Friendship Amateur Radio Society Canada and Worldwide.

Les Tocko – VA7OM – Member of Maple Ridge Radio Amateur Club and BCRadioSport

Les was a Czechoslovakian and European champion in multiple categories, as an individual and in team competitions. For more details see Appendix A. He is also an active promoter and teacher of Radio Direction Finding skills in Maple Ridge BC area. His excellent technical building skills have produced high quality equipment for radio direction finding.

Amel Krdzalic – VA7KBA – Member of Burnaby Amateur Radio Club and BCRadioSport

Amel was a national champion of  ex.Yugoslavia and Bosnia in multiple categories, as an individual and in team competitions. He is also a reigning champion from the last International Friendship Amateur Radio Games 2008 in ARDF, in category “men below 45years” (for more details see Appendix A). He is also an active promoter and teacher of Radio Direction Finding skills in Vancouver BC area. He’s been recognized by many radio amateur clubs for development of Radio Direction Finding movement (BCRadioSport) in Vancouver BC region.

John MacConnachie – VE7GED – Member of  Friendship Amateur Radio Society Canada

John is a member of the Friendship Amateur Radio Society Canada and has participated in ARDF competitions hosted by that organization since 1993. He has also been involved in hosting regular practice/demo ARDF sessions in Victoria since that time to the present. Valeri Geuorguiev Valeri has been active in the Montreal Amateur Radio club. He has increased their ARDF activities recently by contributing a design for a 2m ARDF receiver that was then constructed as a club project so that there are now a couple dozen equipped to participate in ARDF. He competed on the European and Region II ARDF levels and had great results.

For more information here’s a link to the BCRadioSport – ARDF Canada blog.

Web sites for further information on Amateur Radio Direction Finding:

Event official web site

Region II ARDF web site

Radio Amateurs of Canada ARDF web site

BC area ARDF announcements

Joe Moell’s (U. S. ARDF Coordinator) web site

World Radio Online & Youth

World Radio Online’s newest edition is available for a free download. This month’s issue if full of great ideas on how to attract young people into Amateur Radio.

For example, how many ham radio clubs in Canada organized a Youth Day demonstration at a local library or community hall in the last 12 months? I bet the number is zero!!!

Email me if I’m wrong :) and I’ll post your comments here.

Who is involved in RAC’s Youth Education Program? Let us know what you’re doing.

Let’s get fired up about getting youth involved.

Weird and Silly

This is going to be the weirdest post ever and you MUST watch this video. I have no idea what it is about but here’s what’s in it.

There’s music – sort of. The event takes place at what looks like a night club or conference dinner. Everyone is dressed up.

There’s kind of an orchestra involved and a conductor.

Oh year, the whole piece is done in CW. (That’s Samuel Morse in the photo.)

Really! CW? (I’m sure I heard CQ being sent in the pileup.)

Go to this You Tube five-and-half minute video. It’s really to strange for words.

Things That Go Dit In The Night

CW enthusiasts will love this video that comes to us from the ARRL Letter.

The presentation is by Antique Wireless Association Curator Emeritus Ed Gable K2MP who does a great job talking about the history of code.

Here’s the link to “Morse Code, Keys, Paddles and Thing That Go Dit In the Night.

WRTC – the video

I’m not suggesting that you’ve not got better things to do but here’s a link to the entire 24-hour WRTC-2010 contest as worked by R34P. Here you can hear what it sounds like to be in control of contest-quality station in full flight. The audio, provided by K5ZD and W2SC who were referees, is pretty good and it’s really quite educational if you’re an up-and-coming contester.

Maybe it’s just me but I found the recordings pretty exciting. :)

The WRTC-2010 web site also has a link to photos taken during the contest and WRTC volunteer Oleg Beov, UA6LP, has posted a video of the setup for one of the stations. The raising of the tower with beam attached shows one way how to do it.

Remember this is contest took place during a period of low and uncertain solar activity.

WRTC-2010

The World Radio Team Championship 2010 being held in Russia is going online big time this year. The WRTC pits equally qualified teams of two against other equally qualified teams working from pre-setup contest stations all in the same region of the same country. This year there are 48 teams.

The event begins on Thursday, July 8th with contestants arriving in Russia. On Friday there are competitors’s and judges’s meetings with the contest starting on Saturday, July 10 at 1600 Zulu and ending at 1600 Sunday, July 11.

You’ll know the contestants by their special call signs  that start R31…R32…R33…R34,,,R36…R37…R38…R39…with each of the prefixes followed by a single letter (R31A, R31D…etc.).

All amateurs worldwide are encouraged to get on and work the contestants who will be on CW and SSB.

Here’s a link to the rules.

Scores will be posted online as the contest progresses.

Online video will be streamed here. And photos from the event will be posted here.

This year from Canada Yuri, VE3DZ and Yuri, VE3XB are competing as are Lee, VE7CC and Dale, VE7SV who will be joined by John, VE3EJ and Jim, VE7ZO who are defending their world championship 2006 win.

Fox Hunting

No not the fox hunting done with dogs and horses but fox hunting where somebody hides a transmitter and then there’s a race to find it. I’ve participated in a few of these over the years and a well-placed transmitter can be really hard to find. Most of the fox hunting I’ve done has been on two meters and the transmitters were homebrew units capable of transmitting a CW identifier signal every few minutes. If somebody duct tapes one of these boxes, that are virtually invisible until you practically step on them, to a bridge abutment or hangs one from a tree in a valley following the signal can result in a lot of driving and walking around.

In Europe fox hunting is often done on 80 meters using very different techniques and equipment. We got a note about the preparations for Amateur Radio Direction Finding contest (ARDF is apparently different from fox hunting according to an article on the RAC website)

Preparations for ARDF World Championships Sept. 13 to 18, 2010 in Croatia.Preparations for ARDF 2010 in Croatia – June 10, 2010 interim report.

FARSC continues to have twice-a-month practise sessions, and we have also participated in an ARDF event held in Surrey May 1 hosted by Surrey Amateur Radio Association. At that event, our participation included an outreach program where we were paired with novice hunters to show them how the game works.

Also at Surrey, we met another person with experience in ARDF who is joining the Canadian Team–Les Tocko, VA7OM. His addition has just been accepted by the Croatian organizing committee.

This past weekend, June 7, the Victoria group hosted an 80m hunt for 4 visitors from Vancouver, including Amel and Les of the Canadian team. So far, the Vancouver groups have not got a set of 80m gear, but we have loaned them one Tx and a receiver for demos/practice. Les has built his own 80m receiver and proved its effectiveness last Saturday.

ARDF is a strenuous sport but I see that the international committee has just announced two new categories of competition. The first for YLs over 60 and the second for OMs over 70 so there’s time yet to build your 80 meter receiver and get into shape.