Category Archives: News

Another CME Earth-bound!

(photo: Spaceweather.com)

Even the Wall Street Journal picked up on the latest solar flare–the biggest in 5 years–which is headed towards Earth:

WASHINGTON—The largest solar flare in five years is racing toward Earth, threatening to unleash a torrent of charged particles that could disrupt power grids, GPS and airplane flights.[…]

“It’s hitting us right in the nose,” said Joe Kunches, a scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He called it the sun’s version of “Super Tuesday.”

The solar storm is likely to last through Friday morning, but the region that erupted can still send more blasts our way, Mr. Kunches said. He said another set of active sunspots is ready to aim at Earth right after this.

But for now, scientists are waiting to see what happens Thursday when the charged particles hit Earth at four million mph. [Continue reading at the WSJ]

And the latest update from Spaceweather:

GEOMAGNETIC STORM UPDATE: A CME propelled toward Earth by this morning’s X5-class solar flare is expected to reach our planet on March 8th at 0625 UT (+/- 7 hr). Analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab, who prepared the CME’s forecast track, say the impact could spark a strong-to-severe geomagnetic storm.

Expect some major geomagnetic disturbances and don’t be surprised if the HF bands are very quiet while we’re being blasted with electrons. On the plus side? If you live in Northern latitudes, look for some awe-inspiring auroras in the night sky.

(Note: This is a cross-posting from my other radio site, the SWLing Post)

Google Doodle honors Heinrich Hertz’s 155th birthday

If you visit Google’s home page today, you’ll notice that their typical logo has been replaced with an animation of an undulating, multi-colored wave.

If you click on the wave, you’ll be taken to sites telling the story of Heinrich Rudolf Hertz.

We should all take a moment today to thank Hertz for his contribution to the radio spectrum. Indeed, it was Hertz who showed that electricity could be transmitted via electromagnetic waves. This laid the groundwork for developing wireless telegraph and radio. In the 1930’s the International Electrotechnical Commission decided that Hertz’s name would become the unit of frequency for our electromagnetic spectrum–the hertz (Hz)–about four decades after the his death.

To read the story of Hertz, I would suggest browsing his Wikipedia entry.

If you missed seeing the Google Doodle animation, check out the video below:

This isn’t the first time Google has honored an influential innovator in our radio world, a few years they had a Google Doodle tribute to Samuel Morse.

If you follow my other site, the SWLing Post, you’ll notice that this is a cross-posting.

It’s official! WRC-12 approves new amateur radio allocation between 472-479 kHz

Time to think of building some new antennas!  This is excellent news out of the ARRL. Kudos to all who worked on getting this passed at the WRC-12.

(Source: ARRL)

It’s official — delegates attending the 2012 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-12) have approved a new 7-kilohertz-wide secondary allocation between 472-479 kHz for the Amateur Radio Service. Agenda Item 1.23 had both its first and second readings in Plenary Session on Tuesday, February 14; to become part of the ITU’s Radio Regulations, each Agenda Item must be read twice in Plenary Session. The new allocation will become official on Friday, February 17 at the close of the Conference.

“This is a fantastic achievement for the Amateur Radio Service,” IARU President Tim Ellam. VE6SH, told the ARRL. “A new allocation for spectrum is always something that should be celebrated. The success on this issue is due to the hard work over the last four years from our IARU representatives, as well as the volunteers from the numerous IARU Member-Societies who have worked within the ITU process on behalf of their national administrations. This is excellent work from our team in Geneva, and from those who have assisted from their home countries.”

Agenda Item 1.23 originally called for a 15-kilohertz-wide spectrum in parts of the band 415-526.5 kHz, taking into account the need to protect existing services. But according to ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ, this was in conflict with the Maritime Mobile Service. WRC-12 delegates approved Agenda Item 1.10, which called for a worldwide exclusive allocation to the Maritime Mobile Service of 495-505 kHz. Discussion of this allocation to Maritime Mobile “has been in the works throughout the conference preparation (i.e. since 2008),” Sumner explained, “and was the reason why the MF amateur allocation could not be made in this band as some amateurs had hoped. That’s why we had to look elsewhere and is what put us in conflict with aeronautical radionavigation.”

According to Colin Thomas, G3PSM, CEPT Coordinator for Agenda Item 1.23, WRC-12 delegates moved forward early in the Conference with what he called a “compromise proposal” for the new allocation. “Progress was made with a compromise proposal on Agenda Item 1.23, drafted to take into consideration the views of those for and those against an Amateur Service allocation around 500 kHz. This proposal suggests a 7-kilohertz segment between 472-479 kHz, very close to the CEPT position of 472-480 kHz.”

The new allocation calls for a worldwide secondary allocation to the Amateur Service at 472-479 kHz, with a power limit of 1 W EIRP. A provision has been made, however, for administrations to permit up to 5 W EIRP for stations located more than 800 km from certain countries that wish to protect their aeronautical radionavigation service (non-directional beacons) from any possible interference. Footnotes (see below) provide administrations with opportunities to “opt out” of the amateur allocation and/or to upgrade their aeronautical radionavigation service to primary, if they wish to do so. In addition to these protections for aeronautical radionavigation, the Amateur Service must avoid harmful interference to the primary maritime mobile service. Quite a few additional administrations — mainly in the former Soviet Union and the Arab states — added their country’s names to the Footnotes prior to the Agenda Item’s consideration in Plenary.

More than 3000 participants — representing more than 150 out of the International Telecommunication Union’s 193 Member States — are attending the four-week conference. About 100 Observers from among the ITU’s 700 private sector members — along with international organizations, including the International Amateur Radio Union — are also in attendance. A number of WRC-12 delegates are radio amateurs, with many of them operating at 4U1ITU, the Amateur Radio station at ITU Headquarters. The station has been using the call sign 4U1WRC throughout the duration of the Conference. [Continue reading…]

Ten-Tec announces availability of three new products

The new Ten-Tec RX-366 adds a contest-grade sub-receiver to the original Orion or Orion II (Photo: Ten-Tec)

Last year, Ten-Tec announced several new products at the 2011 Ten-Tec Hamfest. Three of these products are now available for purchase (see full announcement and photos below):

For the Orion/Orion II owner who loves DX and contesting, the new Model RX366 High Performance ASR Sub-Receiver ($639 US) will be a serious upgrade to the existing sub-receiver (read John Henry’s description below). The Model 717 ($119 US) will allow you to connect new dynamic microphones to older rigs that required a higher microphone input level such as from an electric mic element. While the Model 318 Amplifier Key Interface ($89 US) may not appeal to the QRPer, it certainly will be of benefit to folks who want to hook up an old linear amplifier to one of TT’s newer rigs.

Please find the full product announcements below with added photos:

(Source: Ten-Tec)

Back at the 12th annual Hamfest, TenTec announced several new products that we would have in production, for sale, late 2011 and early 2012.

Today, I am pleased to announce that we have met our goals on the following:

Model RX366 High Performance ASR Sub-Receiver for the Orion Model 565 and Orion II Model 566. This is a new contest grade second receiver for the 565 and 566 Orion series of transceivers. This new second receiver uses ASR (Advanced Signal Reception) technology like what is already a proven winner in the Eagle to provide a great enhancement to the rig. The RX366, requires the new V3 Orion 565 and Orion II 566 firmware. With V3 installed and the RX366 installed, the Orion(s) now have vastly superior performance to the original sub-receiver in terms of immunity to interference from adjacent strong signals and immunity to overloading from very strong signals present on the band. Your Orion 565 and Orion II 566 have never worked so well before.
Price = $639.00
(1 2.4kHz filter included)

Ten-Tec Model 717 Microphone Equalizer / Audio Interface (Photo: Ten-Tec)

Model 717 – Microphone Equalizer / Audio Interface. The 717 will allow you to connect new dynamic microphones, such as the Regal Model 707 Desk Microphone to older rigs that required a higher microphone input level such as from an electric mic element.
The unit works with Icom, Yaesu, Kenwood as well as older Ten-Tec transceivers using 4 or 8 pin circular microphone connectors. Now you can use the rally cool Regal Model 707 Microphone with an older Ten-Tec rig such as an OMNI-VI. You can tweak the actions of hi and low frequencies to meet your needs.
Price = $119.00

Ten-Tec Model 318 Amplifier Key Interface (Photo: Ten-Tec)

Model 318 Amplifier Key Interface. The 318 will allow you to dial in a delay when you connect older linear amplifiers to your transceiver. This will be useful if the amplifier is not designed for full break-in. An excellent seamless add-on for Eagle users who want to adjust the transmitted output to work with older amplifiers. Adaptable to almost any transceiver.
Price = $89.00

Note: V3 firmware for the 565 and 566 is in the process of getting bundled up and placed on the internet. Estimate for V3 release and posting is by 5pm EST Tuesday.

Best Regards,
John Henry
TenTec Inc.

41dB Step RF Attenuator Kit

Hendricks QRP Kits has just added a new 41dB step RF attenuator kit to their product line. Read Doug Hendricks announcement, via QRP-L, below:

We have added another test equipment kit to the lineup at Hendricks QRP
Kits. Ken LoCasale has used the step attenuator circuit in the ARRL
Handbook as the basis of a 41dB step attenuator. The kit comes in a custom
case, and is complete with all parts needed to finish, including a
commercial quality double sided, solder masked and silk screened pc board.
The attenuator uses a pi net work of 2W resistors, and will handle 5 W.
Attenuators are great to use to work low power, and are the easiest way to
make very low power contacts. Check out the manual at www.qrpkits.com.
Kits are in stock and ready to ship. The price is $50 plus shipping and
handling. Thanks, Doug

Click here for Hendricks QRP Kits.

The Coldest QRP Event of the Year: FYBO

Get your winter gear on! The FYBO (Freeze Your B___ Off) Winter QRP Sprint, sponsored by the Arizona ScQRPions, is being held Saturday, February 4, 2012, from 1400Z-2400Z.

The rules are simple, and you even get multipliers for your (low) temperatures. Lots of fun, lots of QRP.

Read the full set of rules at the Arizona ScQRPions QRP Club website.

First photo of the Kenwood TS-990S?

UPDATE May 8, 2012: Want to see the real photo of the TS-990S? Check out this post.

The image above has been floating around the Internet for a couple of months as the concept for the Kenwood TS-990S. Is it the real thing? No. Absolutely not.

It is, without a doubt, a Photoshopped image. I ran an image error level analysis to see what parts were Photoshopped–see results below and follow this link to the full anaysis.

This analysis shows where Photoshop cuts and pastes were made--notice the areas highlighted in pink.

We will post TS-990S images when they become available from Kenwood. [UPDATE: see our most recent post with photo.]

Update: Ten-Tec should take orders for the Model 539 QRP transceiver at Dayton

Prototype of the Ten-Tec Model 539 QRP transceiver at the Ten-Tec 2011 Hamfest.

I just received the following from Ten-Tec:

We are progressing along per our schedule for having the 539 ready for orders at Dayton of 2012.

I have a hunch the Ten-Tec booth will be busy at the Hamvention this year.

Morse “encoded” National Guard building in Milan, Illinois

Dave Mayfield noticed a pattern in the bricks of this Milan, Illinois National Guard building.

(Source: WQAD)

If you have trouble viewing the embedded video above, please click this link to view on WQAD’s website.

Ham Radio Magazines now also available as a free download

Image source: VE3WGX

Just after we announced that 73 Magazine was available on archive.org as a free download, Ham Radio Magazine (1968-1990) is also now available. [Thanks to John AE5X (via QRP-L) and Eric WD8RIF for the tip!]

I cannot underscore the treasuretrove of information that you can mine out of these two publications. Both 73 and Ham Radio Mag have numerous articles related to home brewing, antenna design and low power operation.

What are you waiting for???  Christmas is here early! Go grab your copies of Ham Radio Magazine!

[UPDATE: It appears Ham Radio Magazine has been removed from Archive.org. Has anyone noticed if they’re still available somewhere online?  Please comment!]

Be sure to check a full index of article by topic at Bill VE3WGX’s website.