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Showing posts from April, 2011

KH6JRM's Amateur Radio Blog

This has been a week of ups and downs in the radio station news room.  I was saddened by the loss of James McLaughlin, WA2EWE/T6AF, who was killed by an Afghan pilot on Wednesday, 27 April 2011, at the Kabul, Afghanistan Airport.  The "ARRL Letter" dated 28 April 2011 has the details.  Although I didn't know James, I was familiar with his DX and MARS activities.  Many dusty years ago in another liftetime, I grew to appreciate the service MARS operators rendered to the families of service personnel in far-flung areas of the world.  My experience in the Air Force actually encouraged me to get my amateur radio license back in 1977, a move I never regreted.  I was involved in communications work before that (both in the service and in commercial broadcasting), but my duty tours made me appreciate the efforts of MARS operators in the days before the internet and cell phones.  James will be missed.  'Kinda makes you wonder why this country wastes its human and material res…

KH6JRM's Amateur Radio Blog

This has been a very busy week at the radio station news room with not much time to pursue amateur radio matters.  With the arrival of the Easter Holiday this past weekend, I was kept busy at the Hilo Drag Strip, where the Big Island Auto Club and the Big Island VW Car Club held a combined points meet and trophied car show.  The turnout was excellent with many exciting events.  The weather was superb and the action was non-stop from gate opening at 0700 to closing at 1830 on Saturday and Sunday.  I am the tower announcer and and work with a dedicated crew of IT folks, spotters, and safety personnel.  Our system is computer intensive, and, even if the arrangement is not exactly ham radio related, the amount of communications equipment and computers used is impressive.  Most of our track communications rely on Family Radio Service frequencies in the 400 mhz range.  The range of the small Handi Talkies is a little over a mile, which is adequate for most track communications.  Our crew al…

KH6JRM's Amateur Radio Blog

This week's news cycle is coming to a close.  Two short weekend shifts will wrap up a good, productive week in the newsroom.  Unlike previous weeks, most of the crises have retreated a little more into the background.  That means I can at last spend some time at the amatuer radio station and destress from the week's activities.  I found several useful antenna articles on the 15 April 2011 edition of http://www.eham.net/.  These articles can give you some good "skywire" ideas and several ways to operate successfully from restricted home locations.  K2ZS's article entitled "An indoor HF stealth antenna" is a nice read.  The antenna is a loop fed by ladder line attached to a SGC-230 matching device.  I've used similar antennas in the past.  They do work, considering the space limitations.  Apparently K2ZS has accumulated over 1500 QSOs using this arrangement.  You might want to try his indoor loop if you find there is no space to erect a decent outdoor…

KH6JRM's Amateur Radio Blog

The shift at the KKBG-FM/KHLO-AM news is just about over...and none too soon.  With another 7.4 earthquake in Japan and the eleventh-hour negotiations over extending the federal government's spending authority, it has been an exciting week in the radio business.  Hawaii received some good news on the tsunami front--President Obama has declared the state a federal disaster area, thus enabling local businesses and state agencies to some relief from the $30 million in damage from the 11 March tsunami.  Kailua-Kona's business district along Alii Drive was torn up badly; the main pier sustained damage;  at least 12 homes were damaged; and one major resort was closed until further notice.  Two other hotels suffered various degrees of damage, but they stayed open.  Compared to Japan, we got off lightly.  Japanese amateur radio operators continue to provide valuable communications and relief support to Norhern Honshu which has suffered greatly in the loss of lives and property.  Accor…

KH6JRM's Amateur Radio Blog

For the first time in almost a month things are quiet
in the KKBG-FM/KHLO-AM newsroom.  The
earthquake/tsunami recovery effort in Japan and
the ongoing Middle East crisis have dominated
the news cycle for weeks.  Eventhough these
topics are still in the daily news, other topics are
beginning to lower the priority of March's disasters.
Like many communities across the nation, fund
raising efforts continue for Japan on Hawaii Is-
land.  The support will be needed for months, may-
be years as the situation develops.  Japanese hams
are doing an excellent job of filling in communications
gaps or coordinating recovery efforts where required.
Hawaii Island is rebuilding, too.  Most of the tsunami
damage has been cleared from business and residential
areas.  The state has applied for federal disaster relief
funds to cover some of the $14 million in estimated
tsunami damage.  Whether Hawaii gets any of the
requested funds is unknown, given the current economic
condition of the country.

Whi…

KH6JRM's Amateur Radio Blog

Hawaii is observing Tsunami Awareness Week with
a variety of educational and public service campaigns
sponsored by local and state organizations.  In light
of the 11 March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in
Japan, this week has special significance for those
of us living on Hawaii Island, which is attached
firmly to the "ring of fire."  Back in 1946, an April
Fool's Day tsunami took out much of the Hilo
bayfront with a huge loss of life.  And in 1960, a
tsunami struck the city again with large losses of
property and life.  So, all of the curent uncertain-
ty surrounding the Japanese tsunami, earthquake,
and nuclear power plant problems resonates strongly
here.  Hawaii escaped with only property damage
from the 11 March incident.  Even that was serious
enough to prompt a disaster declaration from Gover-
nor Neil Abercrombie.  One can't afford to be com-
placent these days.

Eversince the last tsunami, local residents have regained
a sense of urgency and preparedness I th…