Solar Eclipse QSO Party

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The total solar eclipse that traversed the continental United States on August 21 was a golden opportunity to study the effects of the eclipse on  ionospheric radio propagation. A rather new organization, the Ham Radio Science Citizen Investigation (HamSCI), sponsored a QSO Party on that date to collect data to investigate what happens when the sun goes away for a few minutes.

From all accounts, the experiment was a success in that it confirmed the expected outcome – nighttime propagation conditions appeared, and then disappeared, in the middle of the day.

I took the day off from work and participated by setting up a portable station on my backyard deck. Continue reading “Solar Eclipse QSO Party”

Rig control and keying

I recently replaced my shack computer, a Dell Optiplex, with a Dell Precision i7 workstation. I generally buy off-lease computers, since they are only a couple years old, well-equipped and reasonably priced, and Linux runs on them just fine.

For contest logging, I’m slowly working in the N1MM direction (there’s a trick or two to running it well under wine), so I still use a DOS-based logging program that relies on serial and parallel ports for keying and rig control. Continue reading “Rig control and keying”

Boy Scout Radio merit badge updates

January 1st saw some updates to various Boy Scout requirements, including those for the Radio merit badge.

Most of the changes are clerical in nature, such as moving to its own item the requirement to explain how WWV can be used to determine propagation. For the Amateur Radio option, the requirement to have a 10-minute QSO was moved to the end of the item, to put it in more of a logical sequence and imply that the other requirements be done first, in order to give greater understanding to making the QSO. (The requirements can be done in any order, however, and Scouts who are licensed hams can submit evidence of QSOs already made.)

Perhaps the most significant update is the addition of a fourth option for the experiential requirement. Continue reading “Boy Scout Radio merit badge updates”

How about a .radio domain name?

The European Broadcasting Union has been appointed the official distributor of one of the newest Internet top-level domains – .radio. (A top-level domain is the last part of a domain name. You’re probably most familiar with TLDs like .com, .org, .edu and the like.)

One of the provisions in the EBU’s pitch to hold the keys to .radio is that they plan to require some sort of radio affiliation by the party registering a domain under that TLD. One of the affiliations they specifically list is “Radio Amateurs”, which means that soon you will be able to get YOURCALL.radio as a domain. Continue reading “How about a .radio domain name?”