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Showing posts from June, 2011

KH6JRM's Amateur Radio Blog

Did you survive Field Day over the weekend?  The Big Island Amateur Radio Club held its Field Day at Hilo's Wailoa Visitors Center.  From what I could see during a break from my newsroom duties, the club had a small, but enthusiastic turnout.  Bob, AH6J, the Pacific Section Manager for the ARRL, had a nice public display complete with a grab and go communications system (we call it the "bucket" because all of the radio equipment fits in a padded bucket).  He spent most of Saturday evening talking up amateur radio with the local residents who stopped by for demonstrations and free snacks.  The club conducted FCC tests as well, netting one new General Class and one new Technician Class License.  I submitted a record of the public service announcements KKBG-FM/KHLO-AM aired during the run-up to Field Day.  Also posted was a Field Day article from the "Hawaii Tribune-Herald" newspaper.  I'm confident the club will get its 100 bonus points for public information…

KH6JRM's Amateur Radio Blog

During a brief break from the newsroom this morning I ran across an excellent antenna article by Don Keith (N4KC) in the 21 June 2011 edition of eham.net.  Keith is one of my favorite authors because he mixes a bit of humor with his view of amateur radio.  He never seems to take himself too seriously--which may be a good thing in a world tied to popularity, peer pressure, and political correctness.  His article, "What? You only have ONE antenna?", really strikes home for those of us restricted by space, CCR enforcement boards, and condo HOA groups.  Basically, Keith asks hams to use both vertical and horizontal polorized antennas to get more contacts from your limited radio operating hours.  Keith explains how simple verticals and dipoles can keep your operating productive and rewarding, despite the irregularities of propagantion. I've used both verticals, inverted "vees", and low-level loops to maintain both local and DX contacts.  The best part of Keith's…

KH6JRM's Amateur Radio Blog

The wet, humid weekend is coming to a close on the Island of Hawaii.  As usual, the radio station staff has been busy with remote broadcasts and special events.  The big item was another round of the "Moku O Hawaii" outrigger canoe races on Saturday--always a well-attended affair.  Hawaii Island teams are preparing for the State of Hawaii Canoe Racing Championships which will be held 06 August on Maui. Most of the staff called in reports with their cellphones.  In days gone by, our remote broadcasts were sent to the radio station by small transmitters using business band frequencies near the amateur radio 70 cm (450 Mhz) band.  These units remain in a standby status, since cell phone coverage is quite good in the Hilo and Kailua-Kona area.  The air quality is excellent. If a remote broadcast is out of cell phone or UHF range, we use a TIE line system to send digital signals back to the main station.  Although the TIE line uses convential telephone lines, the air quality is q…

KH6JRM's Amateur Radio Blog

While I was taking a mid-morning break from the newsroom this morning, I ran across today's edition of the ARRL e-newsletter, which is directed to emergency responders and amateur radio operators serving in ARES and RACES groups.  The newsletter usually contains valuable material for those of us that can't devote much time to public service support.  I was especially interested in the response of amateur radio operators to the recent tornadoes and floods which have plagued the mid-west and southern states.  Hams serving in those areas provided valuable communications links for hospitals, police, fire, and civil defense officials.  Some operators are still on the job as volunteers with the Salvation Army SATERN network.  The work of these volunteers was underlined by FCC comments delivered at the recent meeting of VOAD  (volunteers offering assistance for disasters--I believe that's the proper title) groups.  Various communications experts acknowledged the role of amateur r…

KH6JRM's Amateur Radio Blog

This week has begun wet and windy--the sort of weather Big Islanders normally see in January and Februray.  The rain is welcome, since most places in the 50th state are experiencing periods of prolonged drought.  Even in rainy Hilo (135 inches per year), total rainfall is only 50% of normal.  Even with that in mind, antenna work has been a damp and breezy affair now that the trade winds have returned.  It was a good thing I erected the inverted "v" before the current showers began.  There have been a few thundershowers sprinkled throughout the day, so antenna work will be put aside until the weather clears.  Storms in the past few weeks have left a nice snowpack atop Mauna Kea, but most of that is gone to damp and drizzly weather on the summit of the 13,000-foot mountain.  The weather hasn't affected telescope operations much and exploration of the heavens continues unabatted.  A trip to the mid-level facility to take in a night of stargazing is quite a treat.  Just be s…

KH6JRM's Amateur Radio Blog

The news day is just about over at KKBG-FM/KHLO-AM.  A truly busy day was had by all.  The arrival of direct United Airlines service to Hawaii Island began Thursday night--an event covered by our radio station.  Hilo hasn't had consistent direct service to Los Angeles and San Franciso since 1983, so this is a big deal for those of us on Hawaii Island.  In the past, those traveling to the U.S. mainland from Hawaii Island had to fly first to Honolulu and get a connection from there--adding more time and delay to the entire process.  I hope the service can continue for a while--our visitor industry needs a boost, now that Japan's troubles have put a real dent in our tourist industry.  For an island that has few industries, any "burp" in visitor arrivals can ripple through our fragile economy.  In years past, we had an extensive sugar and cattle industry, but most of that is gone--a victim to cost and intense foreign competition.  So, anything that keeps our visitor indu…

KH6JRM's Amateur Radio Blog

I had an interesting experience on Saturday (04 June 2011) that proves that I'm not as smart as I thought.  Following a long day at the radio station news room, I looked forward to some relaxation at the amateur radio station.  Afterall , there is just so much "doom and gloom" one can stand in the news business.  Anyway, before I left, I picked up a flash flood watch and thunderstorm warning for Hawaii Island, something that occurs frequently from April to June around here.  Since the weather radar showed my Laupahoehoe QTH out of the danger zone, I figured I would squeeze in a few hours of relaxed cw until the storms were due to hit around 1900W.  Wrong...when I arrived home, I figured there was sufficient time to work the rig and still attend a small graduation party for one of neighbor's daughters at the Laupahoehoe Gym.  So, in my haste, I disconnected all cables, feedlines, and rigs just in case the QTH lost power due to wind and rain (that happens frequently he…

KH6JRM's Amateur Radio Blog

The weekend is fast upon us.  Hopefully, that means a reduced newsroom schedule and an early voyage home to the amateur radio station.  After this week of economic doom and gloom, I need a break to recharge the ole batteries.  There's so much negativity one can take, especially with those supposedly in charge totally clueless as to what to do.  Anyway, if my amateur radio station falls short, I have no one to blame but myself.  I'm looking forward to a few hours of conversation, DX, and antenna work over the weekend.

The ARRL Field Day is coming the weekend of 25/26 June and thousands of ham operators will take to the "field" in one of the largest emergency communications events conducted in North America.  The event combines contest, emergency communications, and survival aspects into one frantic weekend.  Nothing goes totally according to plan, and that's part of the allure of Field Day.  Because of work requirements, my participation with the Big Island Amateu…

KH6JRM's Amateur Radio Blog

Now that the Memorial Day festivities are over, it's time return to the "real" world and all of its troubles.  For a newsperson, strife and uncertainty are the basis of continuing employment.  Sad to say, good news really doesn't amount to much in world focused on immediate gratification, irresponsibility, and power.  I suppose this trend is not new--human foibles have been used for centuries to advance all kinds of political, social, and religious agendas.  Once in a while, I will include a humorous "kicker" in some of my newscasts to break the doom and gloom that seems to dominate the current news scene.  After shifting through 10 to 12 hours worth of generally negative stories, it's a real pleasure to run into an uplifting tale. 

I ran across such a story when I read an ariticle by Jim Key (NT2 F) entitled "Q signals for Baby Boomers".  The story can be found in the 02 June 2011 edition of eham.net.  I enjoyed the article, although some of…