Sunday, December 31, 2017

The Communicator - January 2018

Here is the latest Communicator. In this edition you will find:

  • QRM 
  • The Rest Of The Story—Heinrich Hertz 
  • Back To Basics 
  • Tech Topics—Mobile Installation Basics 
  • What’s Happening This Month In Ham? 
  • News You Can Lose 
  • Club News—SARC 
  • Club News—OTC 
  • Radio-Active 
  • Emergency Comms 
  • Club News—SEPAR Report 
  • Satellite News 
  • News From Clubs 
  • Hardware - The Baofeng UV-5R
  • Tech Topics II  - Antenna Modelling Software
  • Tech Topics III - Programming Chinese Radios
  • Field Day 2017 Reviewed
  • and more... 


You can read or download this edition here


My deadline for the February edition is January 20th. If you have news from your Vancouver area club, events or other items of interest please email them to the communicator@ve7sar.net


Sunday, December 24, 2017

A Ham's Night Before Christmas


A Christmas Classic


Here are the three video versions of A Ham's Night Before Christmas, one of KN4AQ's most popular productions.

First is the standard-definition original, produced in 2010. It's accumulated 62,000 views!.

https://youtu.be/ailFghtEKsc



Second, the Special Edition,is the high-definition remake produced in 2012, watched another 15,000 times

https://youtu.be/E_IEIubbv9k


And finally the live version from 2016 (um, 400 views?*). In the Live version, Gary first describes how he came to write the poem back in 1996 and perform it in person at radio club meetings around North Carolina, then produce the various audio and video versions for YouTube. Then he recreates those radio club live performances — with feeling — over a playback of the video and music track. The Live version was produced for HamRadioNow Episode 283. That episode page has links to a text version of the story and the poem, and audio versions with and without music. You can play the no-music recording on the air (on your club net Christmas eve?).

https://youtu.be/xxJpunNf5WI




Sunday, December 17, 2017

Mobile Transceiver Installation Basics

A Communicator Reprise: March 2011

Mobile installations can be complicated, whether it is for a complex rover rig setup or just a relatively simple two meter FM installation. Here are some lessons that I have learned in that area over the years.

Getting power to the rig:
Connect directly to the battery. This provides a degree of filtration against alternator whine and ignition noise. A direct connection allows you to use your gear without turning the ignition on, though you must take care to turn the radios off or you will end up with a dead battery. Some rigs have an auto-off function that solves this problem.


This is the fuse box installation in my 2005 Toyota Tundra. The box is a small fishing tackle box with some partitions removed. It is affixed to the air filter housing with Superlock® fasteners. The large PowerPole® connectors enable me to unhook the power in an emergency. Note that this container even provides for the storage of spare fuses.
I suggest putting fuses on both legs of the power lines as close to the battery as possible. This protects your equipment and your vehicle if you have a catastrophic short circuit. In addition, you’ll need individual fuses for each piece of equipment. Don’t forget to stock up on extra fuses too. Check out the accompanying photos to see the installation I recently did in my Toyota truck.

Cigarette lighter circuits are light duty and are usually unsatisfactory for radio installations. If you must use one you should reduce power on the rig to limit the current draw. There are several power distribution panels on the market, and nearly all of them use Anderson PowerPole® connectors. They make a much better distribution system than a cigarette lighter socket.


Power panel - This is one of two power panels in the Tundra. The other one is located on the transmission tunnel just forward of the passenger seat. Each will handle 30 amps and has a main fuse plus individual circuit fuses. These panels are available from the nice folks at http://www.dcpwr.com.
Anderson PowerPoles are the national standard for many organizations and a wide variety of accessories using them are available. These panels usually have individually fused circuits and some even provide audio alerts for low voltage. When doing a mobile installation I prefer to put in a power panel to provide for future needs. The panels come in handy for connecting other radio’s, a GPS, a power inverter or other accessories.

Routing cables:
Getting cable through a firewall can be a hassle, but it can done. Most vehicles have holes in the firewall that are sealed with plastic or rubber plugs. Once you have determined that you can get to both sides of the plug, pull it out and punch an appropriate size hole through it using a gasket punch. Use a hole that provides a snug fit to the cable. Inexpensive gasket punches are available at Harbor Freight, item 6770-9VGA. This gives you a clean hole for your cable and will prevent the grommet from splitting. Once the cable is in place, seal around the cable opening with RTV or silicone caulk. This will reduce drafts, engine noise and the possibility of carbon monoxide entering the cabin. When running cables inside the engine compartment, be sure to avoid hot exhaust component and moving parts such as the steering linkage. Likewise, if you are routing cables under the dashboard make sure that they do not rub against or interfere with moving parts such as heater control cables, brake cables, etc. Installing cables inside the vehicle can require some effort.


You can usually lift trim panels on the door sills by removing screws. If you are lucky, there will be a cable trough under the panel. An electrician’s snake can be handy for pulling wires, especially under carpet or between the headliner and roof. If you route cables under carpet do not route under heavy wear areas.

Where to put the rig:
The placement of the transceiver is critical. It should be ina convenient location for operation and should not interfere with vehicle controls. Many mobile rigs have remote control heads which makes installation a lot easier. The only downside to remote heads is that the speaker is in the main body of the radio and it may be hard to hear. This problem is solved by installing a small mobile speaker. If possible,place the rig and control head where it cannot be readily seen from outside the vehicle. This will reduce the chances of theft.
Mounting the control head – Here’s a view of the control head for my IC-706MKIIG mounted on the dash of the Tundra. I was able to snake the remote cable under the dashboard and out through a gap by the windshield. The mounting bracket is bolted to an aluminum mount that is affixed to the dashboard with Velcro. The Velcro on the top of the control head is to affix a sun shield. This shield is necessary to keep the unit from overheating in direct sunlight. It extends over the defroster vents and directs cold air to the control head.

I prefer to have the microphone cord routed so it comes from behind me and has tension on the cord when I am using it. This allows me to drop the microphone without it getting tangled in the controls. I learned this lesson the hard way when I wrapped a mike cable around the steering wheel and ended up in the ditch! Securing the microphone can be a distraction when driving, so you might wish to use self-adhesive Velcro rather than the catches that come with the gear. I like to put the scratchy side of the Velcro on the dashboard or console so I can feel it with the backs of my fingers when I am stowing the microphone. I also use Velcro to secure brackets for control head mounts. Radio Shack sells Superlock Fasteners that are a lot like Velcro, but much heavier and stronger. It is not cheap, but it allows you to mount gear without drilling holes in the car if you have a clean flat surface.

Mounting an antenna:
Antenna mounts can be tricky, especially with newer cars. If you are willing to punch a hole in a fender or the roof, use a Greenlee punch or a metal-cutting hole saw. This gives you a nice clean hole that is easier to weatherproof. If you own a pickup, consider the GeoTools pickup stake hole mounts. 
Their web page is at: http://www.geotool.com/antmount.htm. I’ve used two of them on my 2005 Toyota Tundra. They are beautifully made and it is easy to make a clean installation with them. You should take care when routing antenna cables. They also must be kept away from moving parts, exhaust parts and sharp edges. Consult your auto dealer to determine the location of on-board computers and give them a wide berth for fear of interfering with vehicle electronics.

Do yourself a favor and tag your antenna lines at the radio end. This is especially important if you have more than one antenna. If the antenna connections on the rig are not easily accessible, you might consider running a piece of coax to a more easily accessible location and installing an antenna splitter switch there. This will enable you to switch to a portable antenna should the need ever arise.

The next step is to check the continuity between major body parts such as the roof, fenders, trunk lid and hood. If you do not have continuity between these parts it will affect the antenna ground plane and reduce ignition noise shielding. Fortunately, it is usually easy to bond these components with
small pieces of ground braid.

Once everything is in place, check the SWR and make appropriate adjustments. An antenna analyzer is the ideal tool for this, but you can also use a SWR bridge that registers in the appropriate frequency range.


Find the original article at https://goo.gl/3vE9RR in the March 2011 Communicator





Sunday, December 10, 2017

Better VHF/UHF Performance




A Communicator Reprise: September 2010 (2)

There is more to your radio than just your radio; and just because you can bring up a repeater with a click of your PTT button, doesn’t necessarily mean you will have a full quieting signal sufficient enough to actually get whole words out.  

I hear far too many stations, be it hand held, mobile or base who consistently try to check into a net or have a conversation with poor quality signals or audio issues.

Here are 6 tips to better VHF/UHF Performance
  1. Use the correct coax cable.  You may be losing transmission efficiency if you’re using coax that’s too small for long cable runs.  Here is a rule of thumb: For runs under 20 feet you can get away with RG58 A/U cable.  Avoid using RG-174 for handheld jumpers.  For runs longer than 20 feet, use RG8 or RG213 or better yet, LMR400.  Over 100’ LMR600.  Use the right connectors too.  You can get away with a good quality PL-259 (UHF) connector up for 144 or even 220 Mhz.  But for 440 MHz you need to start using N-Connectors.  Not only for better low loss characteristics, but because the PL-259 does not present a consistent 50-52 ohm impedance above 300 MHz.  Use the best quality you can afford as the quality of the connector will severely affect your performance.
  2. Stop corrosion with lubrication. Your antenna cables and hardware are extremely susceptible to moisture.  Check the ends and lubricate them with marine or silicon grease and use coax seal or splicing tape for wrapping connections.  You can expect a 10-15 year life span out of your stainless steel or anodized aluminum antenna. Far less for uncoated copper or unprotected aluminum.  Scotch 33 or 88 is the best electrical tape over the layer of splicing tape or coax seal for added protection. [see also http://www.nsarc.ca/tech_archive/Articles/PL-259_Weatherproofing_Article.pdf]
  3. Mount your antenna as high as possible. VHF/UHF communications is determined by line of sight, and the higher you mount your antenna, the further your transmission will carry.  Dense trees, lots of metal in and on buildings will diminish your transmit and receive signals.
  4. Get a higher gain antenna! You’re stuck to 5 watts on a hand held with a rubber antenna that offers negative gain (a loss).  ¼ wave antennas are unity gain or NO gain.  Antennas come in 3, 6, 9-10 or higher DB gain.  Even a 3db antenna on a hand held is going to effectively increase your ability to transmit and receive by a factor of 2 (or twice).  6db is twice as good as a 3db antenna.   You can’t use the repeater as a crutch for a poor signal. Bad in, bad out...
  5. Check your antenna mounting location.  If your antenna is mounted within 3 feet of a parallel metal surface, it will “de-tune” your antenna system and your radio will lose efficiency.  If it’s mounted low on a bumper, next to your AM/FM antenna on your car, or you are using the wrong antenna for the installation – e.g. a 5/8th on the mirror mount, where a ½ wave is a better choice.
  6. Don’t yell into your microphone!  This is FM, not SSB or CB… Get your radio tuned properly, use the original mic or at least one with the same input impedance and don’t over deviate by yelling.  If you have a wide band FM radio, and you are trying to work into a narrow band FM repeater, your audio will sound terrible and yelling only makes it worse.  If you are next to each other or a car length away, then fine… 500 mW is good, you annoy fewer people, the rest of the time use adequate power to have a good signal.




Friday, December 8, 2017

A Call For Your Opinion...


What Direction To Take?


Calling members of SARC and our readers worldwide to participate.  Our hobby has seen changes over the last century, from nothing through significant DIY, to sophisticated computer-radio combinations.   How will our current membership enhance this legacy; how do our current “Elmers” see the future; what changes at the club level will best move this knowledge into the future.

Myself, as with many hams, employment and family building put radio into the background only to come alive as the nest empties.  This 25-year break opened my eyes to the huge differences; when I left transceivers were just coming in and being cautious of interference was between my station and the public.  That has reversed.

Now, about driving that legacy: “What direction should a club take to guide/drive our future?”  Here are a couple of thoughts upon which comments are invited/appreciated.


In BC over half of the population live in Strata aka HOA areas with accompanying by-laws relating to outside structures – Read that as no towers, masts, or dropping wire off your 20th floor balcony.
  • A local, country and world-wide effort to invalidate these big telecom supported by-laws such as FCC 98-273
  • Publicity to educate (propaganda?) that ham radio towers are insurance against natural disasters (e.g. After several disasters Japanese towers are a neighbourhood plus)
  • Ensure remote (internet) operation is part of the planning process and encourage participation
  • “Your suggestions here”
Our executive is heavily HF biased; not by design but that’s the way it worked out.  This means that direction often follows that same bias.
  • Suggestions for direction and legacy building is needed, neigh mandatory, from experienced VHF operators
  • Much public services involve VHF (parades, cycling events, car rallies) yet the local emergency services group has limited involvement.

There is so much more that cannot fit in this column.

We would like to hear from the Amateur community. Comment below, or better yet, PLEASE SEND SUGGESTIONS including what you, or your local club, are or would like to see happen.  Send to president@ve7sar.net and we will publish a summary in an upcoming Communicator.

Have a happy holiday season, 73

Stan Williams VA7NF
SARC President


Thursday, December 7, 2017

The Inverse Square Law Of RF Signal Strength


A Communicator Reprise: September 2010


The Inverse Square Law when referring to RF signal strength can be expressed from both the transmitted signal and the receive signal end in the following ways;

With an identical antenna at both the transmit site and the receiving station, regardless of whether the antenna is an omni-directional or highly directional antenna, if it took 1 watt of Effective Radiated Power to talk to a station 1 mile/kilometre away, then applying the I.S. Law would mean you need 4 watts for 2 miles, 9 watts for 3 miles, 16 watts for 4 miles, 25 watts for 5 miles... 100 watts for 10 miles/kilometres away.  So if you had 1000 watt ERP output to a no-gain antenna, that would only give you 31.625 miles – line of sight communications.  But that does not take into consideration any propagation, reflections, or the fact that the receiver is generally a lot more sensitive to weak signals… This I.S. Law is saying, for a given amount of signal strength to remain the same at each of the distances above, that is what you’d have to increase the ERP [by distance squared] to accomplish this.


At the receive end, you can look at it this way;  For a given [fixed] ERP at the transmit end, let’s say for example, 100 Watts; The strength of the signal at the receive antenna would be ¼ of that at  2 miles distant [25 watts] , 1/9th  of that at 3 miles [11.1 watts], 1/16th [6.25 watts]  at 4 miles, 1/25th at 5 miles [4 watts], 1/100th at 10 miles [1 watt], 1/1000th at 31.625 miles [100 milliwatts]… ad infinitum…


And that doesn’t take into account, atmospheric and reflective/refractive absorption,  and other losses, such as coax cable losses… this is just in AIR!

So with this in mind, three things come to light.
  • The difference between a transceiver with 100 watts output isn’t going to increase the signal strength much more than a 200 watt transceiver and not really that much more for 1000 watts, when you have to consider dollars spent to get the power increase through amplification. Ok 1000 watts and 100 watts will yield a S-unit increase of maybe 10 units… or 10 db over S9… but at what point over S3 [or the noise floor] could you understand the conversation?
  • Antenna gain, even just 3db is enough to almost double the signal strength – at both ends. So you’d be better off spending the money on better gain antennas, than power amplifiers.  Consider antennas with 3, 6, 10, or 20dbd with a 100 watt transceiver.  What is your ERP at each of those decibel gain figures?
  • It’s absolutely amazing that taking into account this Law, we can hear, under ideal conditions, a 5 watt HF signal half way around the world!



Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Communicator - December 2017


Here is the latest Communicator. In this edition you will find:


  • QRM
  • The Rest Of The Story—The Russian Marconi 
  • The Contest Contender 
  • Back To Basics 
  • Radio-Active 
  • What’s Happening This Month In  Local Ham? 
  • News You Can Lose 
  • Club News—SARC 
  • News—OTC 
  • Emergency Comms 
  • Emergency Program News—SEPAR Report 
  • Digital Radio Modes 
  • Amateur Radio News 
  • Tech Topics 
  • Amateur Radio Satellites 
  • RAC News 
  • QRZ
  • and more... 


You can read or download this edition here

My deadline for the January edition is December 18th. If you have news from your Vancouver area club, events or other items of interest please email them to the communicator@ve7sar.net



Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Power-Off Time Delay Relay Circuit


A Communicator Reprise: August 2010
For the original article: https://goo.gl/4KZw9z

The two circuits below illustrate opening a relay contact a short time after the ignition or light switch is turned off. The capacitor is charged and the relay is closed when the voltage at the diode anode rises to +12 volts. The common collector or emitter follower has the advantage of one less part, since a resistor is not needed in series with the transistor base. However the voltage across the relay coil will be two diode drops less than the supply voltage, or about 11 volts for a 12.5 volt input.

The common emitter configuration offers the advantage of the full supply voltage across the load for most of the delay time, which makes the relay pull-in and drop-out
voltages less of a concern, but required an extra resistor in series with the transistor base. The common emitter is the better circuit since the series base resistor can be
selected to obtain the desired delay time – I’ve added a variable trim pot for the task to make the delay somewhat adjustable.

The common collector time delay would require changing the capacitor or an additional resistor in parallel with the capacitor to alter the time delay. The time delay for the common emitter will be approximately 3 time constants or 3 x R x C. The capacitor and resistor values can be worked out from the relay coil current and transistor gain. For example, a 120 ohm relay coil will draw 100 mA at 12 volts and assuming the transistor has a gain of 30, the base current will be 100/30 – 3 mA. The voltage across the resistor will be the supply voltage minus two diode drops or 12-1.4 = 10.6 volts. The resistor value will be the voltage/current = 10.6/0.003 = 3533 or about 3.6K ohms. The capacitor value for a 15 second delay will be 15/3R = 1327 µf. You can use a standard 1000 µf capacitor and increase the resistor proportionally to get 15 seconds – thus the convenience of a variable trim pot.

This circuit is handy if your APRS tracker is turned off with your ignition switch. Keeps the tracker on long enough to send its last ‘posit’ before shutting down. In hybrid vehicles, the accessory battery does not drop in voltage quickly [or at all] so a tracker that is waiting for a substantial voltage drop to turn itself off or detect a vehicle at rest, will never sense the required voltage drop in the battery... so a power-off timer is put in line
to make sure the tracker has enough time to send a ‘at rest’ posit and then shut down until the vehicle is started.








Monday, November 27, 2017

The December Communicator...


On its way December 1st


It’s been a good year for the Surrey Amateur Radio Club. Improvements to the Operations & Training Centre, a Gaming grant and many successful events have raised our profile in both the Amateur and non-Amateur Community. 


We look forward to the year ahead. In the meantime our best wishes for a happy holiday season ahead. The new issue will be posted December 1st.



Sunday, November 26, 2017

Digital Modes Are Gaining Popularity

An Introduction To FT8 Mode


Richard Jannes, PD3RFR

FT8 is a new digital mode, introduced in July 2017 and developed by K9AN (Steven Franke) and KJ1T (Joe Taylor). FT8 stands for "Franke and Taylor, 8-FSK modulate".  It’s similar to JT65, with one big difference. The transmissions duration is only 15 seconds instead of 60 seconds in JT65. This mode was developed especially for contacts where large fluctuations in signal strength occur, QSB for example. A disadvantage is that the sensitivity is 10dB less than JT65. FT8 decodes signals to-20dB.

As in all other digital modes (JT65, PSK31, SSTV etc.) you need to have an audio interface between the transceiver and the computer's sound card. For this I use the MicroHam USB Interface III. Of course you need software that supports this mode, in this case that is WSJT-X version 1.80. This software can also control your transceiver and runs on many versions of Windows (including Windows 10), and is also available for other platforms.

It is very important that your computer clock  is synchronized to the hundredth of a second with the station you are contacting, otherwise you’ll miss a piece of the transfer. For years I’ve used the synchronization of the Meinberg Network Time Protocol. Another option is NetTime, which is easier to get working by a layman.

Here is an example of a QSO as it is intended with FT8, where PA1TEST (fictitious call) responds to my CQ call:

"CQ PD3RFR JO22″ CQ call from PD3RFR (JO22 is the grid square location)
"PD3RFR PA1TEST AB12″ PA1TEST responds to the CQ with its location AB12
"PA1TEST PD3RFR-08″ PD3RFR responds with a signal report
"PD3RFR PA1TEST R-12″ PA1TEST responds (replies) with a signal report
"PA1TEST PD3RFR Rahman" PD3RFR says reception report received
"PD3RFR PA1TEST 73″ PA1TEST says ‘with best regards'
"PA1TEST PD3RFR 73″ PD3RFR says 'with best regards'

Although this passage has lasted only 7x 15 seconds, it seems to be too long for some amateurs. In actual practice, I have regularly seen the following method, in which the actual QSO only takes 60 seconds.

"CQ PD3RFR JO22″ CQ call from PD3RFR (JO22 is the Location)
"PD3RFR PA1TEST-08″ PA1TEST responds with a signal report
"PA1TEST PD3RFR R-12″ PD3RFR responds (replies) with a signal report
"PD3RFR PA1TEST Rahman" PD3RFR says reception report received
"CQ PD3RFR JO22″ PD3RFR goes on to a new general call

It’s handy to use the online PSK Reporter Tool so you can see where your FT8 signal is received with your particular transmitter and antenna setup. Then you don’t need to unnecessarily call stations that you see, but who do not hear you.

On the screenshot of the  WSJT-X program [right] I was in a QSO with an Amateur in Scotland. As with JT65, there is a ‘Waterfall’ display which shows several QSOs. After tuning to an FT8 frequency, you see the received stations every 15 seconds in the ‘Band Activity’ box . If you see an interesting station, click on a CQ message (pink lines) to respond. If you receive an answer, you will see the response in the ‘RX Frequency’ box on the frequency where you send and receive. The colours are set in the software preferences but I just left them at the default. Unlike JT65, the advantage of this software is that it goes through the whole process/QSO by itself. So just click once and the QSO is completed when your contact station responds. If you send out a CQ call, then you can have this answered automatically.

Logging a QSO to an ADIF file is easily done by the program itself. An ADIF file can be opened in settings, or the contact can be imported to another program like HRD Logbook. Of course it’s cumbersome to paste one file into another every time and then also forward it to, for example, LoTW or eQSL. Therefore it’s useful to install an extra piece of software JTAlertX [from version 2.10.1 shown below]. This program allows you to automatically forward an entry to your preferred logbook/application, for example HRD. You can also permit this program to alert you to DXCC and calls that you would like to work in your log.


FT8 is used on different shortwave bands in upper sideband mode. For the novice that is on 10 meters at 28.074 MHz, 20 meters 14.074 MHz, and 40 meters 7.074 MHz.


Because radio amateurs like to unite themselves in clubs, there is a new FT8 Digital Mode Club created through an initiative of two Austrian Amateurs. I’ve joined, you never know what it may be useful for ;-). I received membership number 608, an indication that there are quite a few who have adopted this new mode already.





~ Richard, PD3RFR
   Reprinted with permission
   Translation by Google and VE7TI

For more information and other interesting articles check Richard’s website www.pd3rfr.nl






Thursday, November 16, 2017

A 6m Loop Antenna

A Communicator Reprise: July 2010

For the original article:  http://tinyurl.com/SARC10-07


This weekend project is inexpensive,  yields  good  SWR  and works well with an auto tuner. Tune it  for  50.125  and  enjoy  some  DX Fun.

Six metres has some interesting openings.  Sunday evening I worked W7RN in Virginia City Nevada with a crystal clear 59+  signal on USB… was my first DM09 grid square on six metres.  My antenna, a simple horizontally polarized ½λ dipole made with ½” aluminum tubing mounted low on the side of my roof.  I was delighted to say the least.  AND my 6 metre J-pole turns out to work wonderfully on the 10 metre band and I was able to take a New Caledonia QSO this weekend as well.  Ham heaven for those of us not running a lot of power or fancy multi-element antennas on 70 foot towers.  All my antennas barely clear the peak of the roof, and I am amazed every time I make a DX contact.

So,  if you wanted to get on 6m and don’t have  room for, or the permission to install, a  large multi element antenna, here is one that will – when conditions are right – allow you to get on 6 and experience the “magic band.”

The  antenna  is  not  hard  to  build  [assuming  basic  metalworking  tools]  and  takes  basically  one  piece  of aluminum plate and one aluminum ‘strap’ which you can find at Metal Supermarket, ABC Traders or MetalMart, and one 1” dia. piece of ABS or PVC tubing with caps, a SO-239 and 17” of #12 solid copper wire.  The strap is slotted  to  allow  major  tuning  for what 500 KHz of bandwidth you want to work.  It’s a loop, so its hi-Q and thus narrow band. But it’s small(ish) and works horizontally or vertically.





If these are too small, open the original http://tinyurl.com/SARC10-07







Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The first 'nation in space' has officially left Earth!


Asgardia, a self-declared nation, is now floating above us, drifting toward the International Space Station... and perhaps destiny.


Eric Mack - CNet News

An odd but intriguing experiment in technology, diplomacy, governance and space exploration, among other things, has officially begun its journey.

After being delayed one day, an Orbital ATK Antares rocket carrying a cubesat named Asgardia-1 launched from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia early Sunday. The milk carton-sized satellite makes up the entirety of territory of the self-proclaimed "Space Kingdom" of Asgardia.

"Asgardia space kingdom has now established its sovereign territory in space," read an online statement.

Over 300,000 people signed up online to become "citizens" of the nation over the last year. The main privilege of citizenship so far involves the right to upload data to Asgardia-1 for safekeeping in orbit, seemingly far away from the pesky governments and laws of Earth-bound countries.

But if you really dig down into Asgardia's terms and conditions, you'll find that those privileges are still subject to earthly copyright laws -- they're set up under the laws of Austria.

As of now, Asgardia's statehood isn't acknowledged by any other actual countries or the United Nations, and it doesn't really even fit the definition of a nation since it's not possible for a human to physically live in Asgardia.

For now, though, Asgardia is a tiny satellite inside a Cygnus spacecraft set to dock with the International Space Station Tuesday morning. There, Asgardia-1 will patiently wait while Orbital ATK completes its primary mission to resupply the ISS.

After about a month, the Cygnus will detach and climb to a higher altitude where the nation-in-a-box will be deployed into orbit.

We'll see if the activation of Asgardia-1 heralds the beginning of a new era of extra-planetary citizenship, or if it slowly fades into obscurity with each trip around our planet and its nearly 200 more conventional nations.



Tuesday, November 14, 2017

DKARS Magazine


Some English Content... Excellent Articles


The Dutch Kingdom Amateur Radio Society (DKARS) is a foundation to defend the interests of Radio amateurs within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. They publish an excellent monthly magazine which is mostly in Dutch, but with a few English articles. Many of the articles are technical. It is not difficult to cut text from the .PDF file and paste it into a translator like Microsoft or Google so anyone can read it.



The Editor writes:

DKARS does not copyright and you may freely send this link to as many radio-friends as possible. DKARS Magazine normally appears every month and we appreciate any contributions that are radio amateur related.

On behalf of the Dutch Kingdom Amateur Radio Society I wish you a lot of reading pleasure after you click on the link below:


Link to the December issue.

Would you rather download a PDF to browse the Magazine on-line? If so, go to this link:



on behalf of the DKARS

Peter Dan

PJ4NX and PA3CNX
Secretary DKARS




Sunday, November 12, 2017

CQ WW [SSB] Contest (2)

Canada 150 and VE7RAC Made It Special


As mentioned in a previous post, a number of Surrey Amateurs worked the CQ WW [SSB] contest a few weeks ago. I was fortunate enough to be one of the operators at VE7IO's excellent station. We were using the call VE7RAC as part of the RAC Canada 150 celebration.

Here is a brief recap video




Friday, November 10, 2017

The Science of World War I: Communications


Amateur Radio Matured That Decade

The rapid expansion and even "mania" for amateur radio, with many thousands of transmitters set up by 1910, led to a wide spread problem of inadvertent and even malicious radio interference with commercial and military radio systems. Some of the problem came from amateurs using crude spark-transmitters that spread signals across a wide part of the radio spectrum. In 1912 after the RMS Titanic sank, the United States Congress passed the Radio Act of 1912, which restricted private stations to wavelengths of 200 meters or shorter (1500 kHz or higher). These "short wave" frequencies were generally considered useless at the time, and the number of radio hobbyists in the U.S. is estimated to have dropped by as much as 88%. Other countries followed suit and by 1913 the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea was convened and produced a treaty requiring shipboard radio stations to be manned 24 hours a day. The Radio Act of 1912 also marked the beginning of U.S. federal licensing of amateur radio operators and stations. The origin of the term "ham", as a synonym for an amateur radio operator, was a taunt by professional operators. But the restrictions of the Radio Act of 1912 spurred Amateur Radio forward and Hams experimented, developing new technology to use the restricted frequencies that were first believed to be useless. These innovations passed into the commercial sector and radio use made significant strides in the years that followed.

World War I is frequently referred to as "the first modern war," since a number of technological inventions made their debut during the war, which lasted from 1914 to 1918. Nowhere was this more true than in the realm of communications — the recent introduction of electricity- and radio-based communications revolutionized the art of war, joining other advances such as military airplanes, tanks, machine guns and chemical weapons.

Despite these new technologies, many military leaders were slow to take advantage of them and continued to wage war as if it were a cavalry-based affair. Their reluctance (or inability) to adapt to new methods of warfare has been cited as one reason World War I was such a bloody affair, resulting in more than 17 million civilian and military deaths. 

A portable radio transmitting station in Germany, 1919
World War I had put a stop to amateur radio. In the United States, Congress ordered all amateur radio operators to cease operation and even dismantle their equipment. These restrictions were lifted after World War I ended, and the amateur radio service restarted on October 1, 1919. Many Amateur Radio operators are veterans, some got their start in radio communications while serving. 

Please take a moment tomorrow, November 11th, to remember the many who sacrificed for our freedom in military operations.

To read the entire story above, click:
https://www.livescience.com/45641-science-of-world-war-i-communications.html


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The November 2017 Communicator


Here is the latest Communicator. In this edition you will find:


  • The Rest Of The Story—Lee De Forest 
  • What’s Happening This Month In Ham? 
  • News You Can Lose
  • Back To Basics
  • Club News—SARC
  • Radio-Active
  • Club News—SEPAR Report
  • Emergency Comms—NVIS Antennas
  • JOTA—Scouts On The Air
  • Club News—North Shore ARC
  • Club News—Richmond ARC
  • Tech Topics—Hamstick Dipole Follow-up
  • SARC Course Update
  • and more... 

 Nov 2017
Two Enthusiastic JOTA Participants

You can read or download this edition here

My deadline for the December edition is November 20th. If you have news from your Vancouver area club, events or other items of interest please email them to me at communicator@ve7sar.net



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