Category Archives: Websites

Paul’s updated RF Exposure Calculator

Many thanks to Paul Evans (VP9KF), who writes:

Yes, after a couple of years of regulators trying to bring their new rules into effect, the new RF Exposure Calculator is available at:

http://hintlink.com/power_density.htm

v2.0 denotes that the new rules to be introduce on 2021-05-03 are included.

There are a number of follow-on documents yet to follow from FCC,ARRL, Ofcom and RSGB in order to fully correct the documents which have covered amateur radio ‘exemptions’ in the past. There are now no exemptions except for 0 dBm (1 mW) or less for ANY service under the FCC (not just the amateur radio service). The new rules both sides of the Atlantic are different but cover all RF emitters. The only not fully finalised are the wireless high power, low frequency chargers intended for electric vehicles (a daft, inefficient way to charge them).

If you have questions, use the Help page indicated (‘CHANGES’). This is still untidy because it has grown into coverage of USA, UK and EU regulations, including some that are not technically in effect until 2021-05-18 in the UK by Ofcom. EU transition, when you see how it’s already done, is a mess.

Multiple sources are not included. There are differing views on this subject, some of which may yet be amended and have certainly been over-complicated by the regulators.

The biggest thing to note is that in the USA and the UK practically all radio amateurs must now do an assessment of their RF Exposure levels with virtually NO exemptions. The UK rules are more onerous in some ways, with everything over 10 W requiring examination and with portable and mobile stations needing (somehow) to justify their results. Imagine being on a public hilltop with your transceiver for HF or 10 GHz?

Both sets of rules include exposure limits for technically trained professionals and for members of the ‘public’; with 6 minute and 30 minute power averaging. They assume that members of a ham’s household are ‘trained’. If somebody else wanders over your property, they are not.

The massive FCC document (169 pages) makes for hard reading and either contradicts itself in some places or leaves some questions un-answered. However, it is a ‘final’ document and not a draft and comes into force on 2021-05-03. If you have an existing station you can wait 2 years to comply by calculation. If you have a new station or you change anything, you need to comply by calculation after 2021-05-03. Put up a new dipole on 80 m? You’ll need to comply.

Move house? You’ll need to comply. Go out on Field Day? You’ll need to comply. How it gets policed by the FCC is anybody’s guess. In the UK, Ofcom can monitor your signals undercover and knock on your door and ask you to produce your calculations from 2021-05-18 onwards (no two year grace period!).

Enjoy your new 5G maniac induced RF Exposure regulations, even when a huge distance away in the RF spectrum.

73 Radio Row: A retailer with QRP goodies

73RR Logo - B

(Source: 73 Radio Row press release)

A new website designed for radio amateurs, SWL’ers, CB’ers and all communications hobbyists has launched on the Internet recreating the atmosphere of the famed Radio Row in New York City.

According to its founder, Richard Fisher, KI6SN, “’73 Radio Row’ takes its cue from an era when New York’s legendary radio district bustled with communications fanatics shopping for surplus and used gear along Cortlandt Street in Lower Manhattan.” 73 Radio Row’s Web address is: http://www.73RadioRow.com

The site features used radio receivers, transmitters and transceivers, as well as unbuilt kits, new/old stock antennas, Morse instruments and station accessories of all kinds.

“We are crazy about radio, the same as everyone else,” Fisher said. “RETRO is NOWtro.” For complete details, visit: http://www.73RadioRow.com or write to: 73RadioRow@gmail.com. Call (951) 395-1923.

I discovered 73 Radio Row right after it launched–I ordered a portable ER TiCK Deluxe Keyer for the very affordable price of $26 US shipped.

IMG_20160507_073723040-001

The keyer was dispatched immediately and I received it within a couple of days.

I just noticed, this morning, that Richard has listed an American Morse Equipment Precision Straight Key for $35.

KK1+-+A

I know Richard Fisher (KI6SN) quite well and can certainly vouch for his integrity. In fact, he’s even giving a portion of 73 Radio Row proceeds to Ears To Our World–what a nice guy!

W1SFR offers an array of products for the QRPer

The KX3 helper non-slip pad.
The KX3 helper non-slip pad tilts your KX3 at an optimum angle for operation.

Steve Roberts (W1SFR) has recently informed me about his new website, KX3helper.com where he sells an array of products for QRPers.

Steve’s product line includes:

  • KX3/KX1 Helper: A foam stand lined with non-slip material to hold the KX3 at a high angle (also other rigs with the controls display on the top surface such as: KX1, HB1-B, TenTec 40/ series, and PFR).
  • QRPad: A foam stand lined with non-slip material for rigs with front-facing controls such as MFJ, OHR, Weber, and Open QRP.
  • FistRest: Neoprene mat covered with non-slip material to provide support when using keys.
  • EndFed 40-6m Antenna: 31 feet long and made with genuine “Wireman” 18 ga Silky Antenna wire. The 9:1 UnUN weighs 3.92 oz. The Antenna wire and lug weigh 3.12 oz. Total weight about 7.34oz.

I’m impressed that Steve tries to source all of his products and materials locally and that his items are quite affordable.

Check out Steve’s site by clicking here.  Many thanks to Graham (G3ZOD) who also informed me about KX3helper.

QTH.com offers a warning about classified scams

I have used the excellent QTH.com classifieds site for many years to buy and sell radio equipment. I think it’s a great alternative to eBay.

I subscribe to the QTH.com classifieds newsletter and, this morning, Scott (KA9FOX) sent the following warning, which I am publishing to help spread the word. In summary, QTH.com is still a great place to buy/sell equipment, but they, along with other classifieds sites, have seen an increase in scam activity. Know the signs:

Dear QTH.com Ham Radio Classifieds user:

We’ve seen an alarming increase in the number of scammers utilizing our website (and it seems most other ham radio classified sites, too, based on reports coming in). I wanted to take this opportunity to explain what some of these scammers are doing, in hopes it will better protect you from them, when you are selling equipment on the QTH.com Classifieds at http://swap.qth.com.

Common scammer traits:

1) They will use some else’s callsign, and they will create an email address that contains that callsign, usually with a free email provider like gmail, yahoo, hotmail, etc. They sometimes pose as foreign callsigns (especially UK and Spain) but recently have been using USA callsigns.

2) They will sometimes post “For Sale” ads, but also will sometimes answer “Wanted” ads. Usually the prices are a little too good to be true.

3) They will use pictures of equipment they have found on the Internet (they don’t really own the equipment).

4) They seem to like payments via Western Union (no protection for the buyer), but will also use PayPal (hoping to drain their account before the buyer realizes they have been scammed).

5) They seem to know ham radio jargon. For all we know, these scammers are hams, but we can’t be sure.

6) They are sophisticated enough to use “proxy servers” so their IP address cannot be easily detected. This makes it difficult for us to block the scammers. We are constantly tweaking our filters to block these guys when possible, but it is a constant cat and mouse game.

What can you do to protect yourself?

* Ask for a phone number and call the person before agreeing on any deal. This is probably the #1 way to expose the rats.

* Check to see if the email address they used matches what is listed for that person on their QRZ.com profile. It could be a red flag if there is a mismatch.

* Be especially cautious of dealing with foreign hams. Not all foreign hams are scammers, of course! Just be extra careful!!

* Never use Western Union. Be very cautious of using Money Orders and Cashier’s Checks. PayPal and Credit Cards seem to be the best option, as far as having any buyer protection. Money Orders & Cashier’s Checks are perfectly acceptable if you are absolutely sure who you are dealing with.

* Read all of my “Safe Trading Tips” at http://chat.qth.com/viewtopic.php?t=12

About 100,000 ads are placed each year in the QTH.com Classifieds, and only a tiny, tiny fraction wind up being fraudulent. I do not want to scare you into thinking that it is unsafe to trade online. Rather, I simply want to arm you with knowledge, so that you will be able to sniff out the bad guys, and stay safe.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me directly at ka9fox@qth.com.

73 – Scott KA9FOX
QTH.com Ham Radio Classifieds
http://swap.qth.com

Black Friday at Hendricks QRP Kits: Free domestic and international shipping

Wow–a Black Friday event I can certainly get my head around!

From Doug Hendricks via QRP-L:

Friday is known as “Black Friday” because most of the stores have big sales to attract the shoppers on the day after Thanksgiving. I thought about this and decided to do a QRP version. Here is the announcement.

Hendricks QRP Kits will have a Black Friday Sale from 12:01 AM Thursday to Midnight Friday (0801 GMT to 0800 GMT). During this sale, if your order shipped to a US address is $50 or more, you will get free shipping. And, if your order shipped to a DX address is $150 or more, your shipping will be free. All kits are included, nothing is held back. I have all kits in stock and ready to ship. Kits will ship starting Monday, Nov. 28th. When you place your order via paypal, I will refund your postage. If you order via US mail, the order needs to be postmarked Friday, Nov. 25th. Please do not include shipping and handling if you are ordering via mail. I have never had a Black Friday sale, but thought it might be fun to do. This is your opportunity to “Save the Shipping” on your Christmas orders. 72,
Doug

Check out what’s available at Hendricks QRP Kits!

Bob Heil’s new show Ham Nation on Leo Laporte’s TWiT network

As a big fan of ham radio and an avid listener of the TWiT network, I’m pleased as punch that Leo Laporte has asked Bob Heil (K9EID) to host a show called Ham Nation.

I spoke with Bob about the new show at the 2011 Dayton Hamvention.  He has many ideas and a lot of enthusiasm and energy to put into Ham Nation.

His first line up? None other than Joe Walsh WB6ACU and Dave Jennings WJ6W. Bob also has plans to use future shows to give Leo Laporte radio lessons so he can obtain his Tech License.This could be a first for ham radio and leveraging the listenership of the TWiT network, could bring a lot of newcomers into the hobby.

Click here to go to Ham Nation’s home page.

Subscribe to Ham Nation via iTunes.

The Das DereLicht QRP transmitter–A bright idea

Make Magazine’s blog recently featured the Das DereLicht–a QRP transmitter made almost entirely from the electronic components found in within a CFL Bulb. The transmitter, was designed by Michael J. Rainey (AA1TJ) who was inspired while changing a defective CFL bulb in his kitchen.

For some reason, I began to wonder if it would be possible to build a QRP CW transmitter using the electronic components salvaged from this derelict lamp.

Indeed, I’m pleased to report that a perfectly serviceable transmitter may be constructed! The only additional components required were the quartz crystal, and four of the five components needed for the output lowpass filter. The resulting transmitter produces up to 1.5 watts on 80m.

Michael, thanks for creating such a cool, simple, little QRP project. I’m ready to (carefully) tear into an old CFL bulb and give it a try!

How to learn morse code (CW) for free!

QRPers know that the best mode to get the biggest bang out of the lowest amount of power is with morse code, (a.k.a. CW).

If you haven’t learned CW yet or are looking to improve your speed, you’re in for a treat. A new website by Fabian Kurz (DJ1YFK) called LCWO (Learn CW Online) has been launched. Features of this site include:

  • The ability to learn via web browser (no software to download)
  • The proven Koch method CW course
  • The site remembers who you are and your stats
  • Hey, it’s free!

Some thoughts and advice on CW

I had been intimidated by CW for a long time and only started learning it a year ago. I had forgotten almost all of the CW I had learned to pass the 5 WPM Novice Exam in 1997.

With the use of some old CW training tapes and a little time set aside each morning in my living room, I was able to re-learn the alphaphet and numbers in a couple of weeks. In fact, the moment I had learned all of the characters and numbers, I picked up the phone and called my friend, Mike Hansgen (AA8EB), and told him to meet me on the air in 5 minutes. It was tough–and I was way outside of my comfort zone–but I made it through the QSO and felt great.  Mike was probably working me at 3 words per minute–a speed that was, ironically, taking him outside of his comfort zone!

I found out that, once you know the characters, you can begin having QSOs immediately. Speed comes naturally with on-air practice. To help me along, Mike and my good friend Eric McFadden (WD8RIF), began having a daily CW sched with me. The results? In only a couple of months I was comfortable listening to CW at 15 WPM! And trust me, I’m not a quick learner.

The thing that held me back all of those years was the fear of getting on the air and not understanding the operator’s code on the other end. Do you feel that way too?  Keep reading…

I was lucky to have friends (or Elmers) that were willing to help me gain ground with code. Indeed, not only were they willing to work with me, but they were actually excited to be given the opportunity. Think this is rare? Think again!

FISTS – “When You’ve Worked a FIST, You’ve Worked a Friend”

The International Morse Preservation Society (FISTS) sponsers the amazing “code buddy” program.  FISTS will put you in touch with a ham radio operator, a “code buddy”, that will meet you on the air and work with you to learn/improve morse code.  You don’t even need to be a member of FISTS and it’s a totally free service driven by hams with a passion for teaching others CW. This will give you a venue not only to learn CW in a comfortable, on air, environment, but you’re also sure to make a friend in the process.

So what are you waiting for?

Take these three steps to learn morse code:

  1. Go to the LCWO website, create an account, and start learning CW online.
  2. The moment you know all of the characters, either call a friend and get on the air, or sign up for FISTS’ Code Buddy program.
  3. Practice and have fun–speed and comprehension wil come naturally