Friday, October 28, 2011

A contest weekend and other assorted trivia

CQ WW DX SSB contest

I've never been much of a contester.  Before I retired, there just wasn't enough time to fully engage in one of the exciting phases of amateur radio.  There was always something that restricted my time at the old Swan 100-MX.  Now that I've removed myself from the daily routine of getting up at 0230 hrs local time for my news shift at Pacific Radio Group, time has been more generous.  With the CQ WW SSB contest in full swing, I tried my hand at a few pile ups...not too successful, but I did manage a few contacts with my modest station.  Running around 10 watts SSB into an inverted "v" and a homebrew 20-meter vertical dipole surely made for some frustrating moments, but I enjoyed every minute of my limited exposure to the contest.  The October 2011 edition of "CQ" had a nice article on contesting by Geroge Tranos (N2GA), who showed how emergency responders and contesters share many of the same attributes.  This is an article worth reading.  As time rolls along, I'll make changes to my station in the hopes of doing better against "kilowatt alley" and the super stations dominating the bands.  Propagation from Hawaii Island was good on 15-meters from 2200 UTC to 0300 UTC.  Twenty meters was alright but nothing spectacular.

Spectrum defense

The "ARRL Spectrum Defense Matters" newsletter, dated September 2011 contains some interesting material concerning the upcoming WARC-12 conference set for January 2012 in Geneva.  It appears momentum is gathering for a secondary allocation for the amateur service at 461-469- and 471-478 kHz.  It would be nice to have another amateur band, even at these low frequencies.  A quarter wave vertical at these frequencies would be immense--almost 1,000 feet!  Of course, such a stick would be almost impossible for most of us.  None the less, amateurs who have been running experimental stations in the neighborhood of 500k Hz have devised some ingenious, short antennas that most of us could build should that portion of the spectrum become available.  An interesting challenge lies ahead.  Also, the newsletter outlined current negotiations over HF Oceanograph Radar in the 5,250-5,450 kHz section of 60-meters.  Apparently, the United States is the only country pushing for this slice of spectrum--frequencies shared by government and by amateur radio operators on a secondary basis.  Apparently, some of those using CODAR signals have been willing to move down to 4.9 mHz for some of their operations.  The ARRL has made a pitch for funds in order to protect and extend current amateur radio frequencies at the WARC-12 conference.  While I don't support everything the ARRL does, spectrum defense has my support.  I will send a few dollars to ARRL HQ--hopefully this will help our delagation in negotiating an improved position for amateur radio.

A good weekend ahead

That's about all from this side of the central Pacific.  Enjoy the contest.  I'll do my best with what I have.  Have a good weekend.  Get on the air and have some fun.

Aloha es 73 de KH6JRM