Friday, March 4, 2011

Ham Radio - News March 4, 2011

Photos Available** Coast Guard responds to disabled sailboat west of the Florida Keys (United States Coast Guard)
The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Ocracoke responded Saturday to the 37-foot Canadian-flagged sailboat named Emanuel with seven people aboard that became disabled after one of their masts was damaged Friday.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Ham Radio - News March 3, 2011

SkyWarn training teaches how to spot severe weather (WECT-TV Wilmington)
Several SkyWarn training sessions will be offered in the next 2 weeks to help officials, ham radio operators and weather enthusiasts identify severe weather.
Harvie E. Schwartz Jr. (Darien News-Review)
Harvie E. Schwartz Jr., formerly of Dairen, died Thursday, Feb. 24, in Stamford.
lowSWR 2011 (Inte Archive)
Another podcast for the radio amateur. low SWR is a randomly produced 1/2 hour or so podcast about amateur radio.

ARLP009 Propagation de K7RA

ARLP009 Propagation de K7RA

Propagation Forecast Bulletin 9  ARLP009
From Tad Cook, K7RA
Seattle, WA  March 4, 2011
To all radio amateurs

ARLP009 Propagation de K7RA

Solar activity is rising again, but average sunspot numbers and
solar flux are down compared with last week. This week the average
daily sunspot number declined over 14 points to 50.9, and average
daily solar flux was off 7 points to 96.8. Average daily planetary A
index rose from 6.1 to 9, and the average mid-latitude A index was
about the same, declining from 5.4 to 5.1.

You can see daily sunspot and solar flux numbers, updated after
0230z at
Geomagnetic indices are updated 8 times per day at Our weekly data
reports at the bottom of this bulletin run Thursday through
Wednesday, so at the above links you can see that yesterday
(Thursday, March 3) the planetary A index dropped from 17 to 12 and
the daily sunspot number went from 83 to 71.

The most active day for geomagnetic indexes was March 1, with a
planetary A index of 31. The planetary K index rose as high as 6 on
that day. Polar propagation paths were disturbed, with the College A
index (measured near Fairbanks, Alaska) for March 1-3 at 53, 43 and

NOAA and USAF predict solar flux of 120 on March 4-11, 110 on March
12-15, 105 on March 16-17, and 100 on March 18-21. Planetary A index
is forecast at 12 on March 4-5, and 5 on March 6-13, 7 on March
14-15, and 5 on March 16-21.

You can get the daily NOAA/USAF prediction for solar flux and
planetary A index at The forecast
is usually updated by 2130z daily.

Geophysical Institute Prague predicts unsettled geomagnetic activity
March 4-5, quiet to unsettled March 6, quiet March 7, quiet to
unsettled March 8-9, and quiet again on March 10.

It looks like good conditions for the ARRL International SSB DX
Contest this weekend, or at least much more interesting than the
past few years, due to increased solar activity. Along with this
comes the greater risk of geomagnetic disruption from solar flares,
coronal mass ejections and gusts of solar wind. I received some
comments from 80 and 160 meter DXers during the recent minimum
noting that they loved the absence of solar activity, because
everything was so quiet and stable.

For this year's DX contest we are seeing sunspot numbers in the
range of 20-100, but for the first ten days of March 2010 the
average sunspot number was 20.1, for 2009 it was 2.4, 2008 it was
3.7, 2007 it was 14.9 and 2006 it was 14.1.

The monthly average of sunspot numbers for December 2010 through
February 2011 was 22, 32.2 and 53.5, reflecting the rise in solar
activity. The three-month moving average of sunspot numbers centered
on January (an average of all daily sunspot numbers for December
2010 through February 2011) was 35.3. The three-month moving average
of daily sunspot numbers centered on each month of 2010 was 22.4,
25.7, 22.3, 18.5, 16.4, 20.4, 23.2, 28.9, 33, 35.6, 31, and 30.1.
The average centered on January 2011 is back up to the level it was
in November 2010, 35.6.

Big news this week was about the solar model explaining the deep
solar minimum we've just experienced. Thanks to all the readers who
sent emails about this. See the story at,,

Johnathon Ballard, KI4UKF lives in Stokes County, North Carolina,
less than 10 miles south of the Virginia state line. On Wednesday,
March 2 at 1655z (just before noon local time) he heard Claudio
Costa, LW2ECC (Argentina) calling CQ on 2 meter FM, on 144.48 MHz.
KI4UKF was using a Moxon wire antenna tacked to a wall, and said the
signal was steady for several minutes at about S6, then faded away.
He emailed Claudio, who confirmed the transmission. Claudio was
using three 5/8 wave verticals and 160 watts.

John Shew, N4QQ of Silver Spring, Maryland was in Curacao for the
ARRL DX CW Contest and operated at PJ2T. He had some interesting
observations about trans-equatorial propagation on 6 meters into
South America.

He wrote, "Thursday evening around 8 PM (0000z February 19) W9VA and
I decided to check 6 meters looking south for TE propagation. The
equipment at PJ2T is a Yaesu FT2000 and a M2 5-element at 70 feet
with a clear shot over water to South America. Much to our joy the
band was full of LU beacons at S9 strength. At 0015z we tuned up to
50.110 MHz and I called CQ using the call PJ2/N4QQ. Over the next 15
minutes I worked 16 stations in 14 grid squares. Signal strengths
were S7-S9 plus. Stations included:

PY4LH GG68   PY4OY GG78   LU4FW FF97   PP5XX GG53   LU2NI FG72

"We kinda worked the band empty after 15 minutes but it was still
open, but there were no more stations calling us so we moved back
over to the HF bands.

"It was a great thrill for me to experience TE propagation for the
first time after reading about it many times in the ARRL VHF column
over the last 50 years. Signals sounded slightly hollow, but were
quite strong with no obvious QSB. The band appeared to open to all
areas at once, with no obvious flashlight effect, experienced during
E-skip. I plotted the grid squares I worked and they fall in a band
about 600 miles deep between 2700 and 3300 miles to the south,
crossing the entire South American continent. The plotted skip zone
appears to slightly skew from southwest to northeast, with stations
to the west farther south than those to the east.

"As I have no experience with TE I don't know if this propagation is
common for this time of year or if it occurs throughout the year or
if it is enhanced by recent solar events. (Solar flux peaked
somewhere between 115-125 during our time in PJ2.) With our
attention focused on the DX contest we didn't have a lot of time to
check 6 meters, but the few days we did check it appeared open to
the south from 0000 to at least 0200z.

"It was my impression that TE is a very reliable mode of
communication to the south from the southern Caribbean this time of
year in the early evening. I have been checking 6 meter spots for
the last week and the PYs and LUs have been having a field day
beaming north in the late afternoon and early evening, with numerous
contacts with KP4, TI, FM, YV, P40, etc. PY5XX and others have also
worked EA and CT in Southern Europe and EA8 in Africa. In fact, I
think now I understand one reason why 6 meters is so popular with
the southern PYs and LUs. From PJ2 it appears there are only 5
countries we can work on TE -- PY, LU, CX, ZP, and CE. I worked all
but one in less than 15 minutes. Maybe 4 or 5 more countries can be
worked from PJ2 via TE if one counts islands with DXpeditions like
Juan Fernandez, Trindade, etc. On the other hand PYs and LUs see in
their regular TE skip zone maybe 25 countries with active 6 meter
populations; the countries include the northern coastal South
American countries, much of Central America, the Yucatan, and most
of the Caribbean from Puerto Rico south."

Thanks, John for a fascinating report!

If you would like to make a comment or have a tip for our readers,
email the author at,

For more information concerning radio propagation, see the ARRL
Technical Information Service web page at For an explanation of the
numbers used in this bulletin, see An archive of past
propagation bulletins is at Find more good
information and tutorials on propagation at

Monthly propagation charts between four USA regions and twelve
overseas locations are at

Instructions for starting or ending email distribution of ARRL
bulletins are at

Sunspot numbers for February 24 through March 2 were 23, 31, 49, 44,
54, 72, and 83, with a mean of 50.9. 10.7 cm flux was 88.9, 88.2,
90.2, 90.4, 95.8, 110.5 and 113.4 with a mean of 96.8. Estimated
planetary A indices were 3, 3, 4, 2, 3, 31 and 17 with a mean of 9.
Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 0, 1, 2, 1, 2, 18 and 12 with
a mean of 5.1.

ARLD009 DX news

ARLD009 DX news

DX Bulletin 9  ARLD009
From ARRL Headquarters
Newington CT  March 3, 2011
To all radio amateurs

ARLD009 DX news

This week's bulletin was made possible with information provided by
CO8TW, KC2LSD, NC1L, The Daily DX, the OPDX Bulletin, DXNL, INDX,
Contest Corral from QST and the ARRL Contest Calendar and WA7BNM web
sites.  Thanks to all.

EAST MALAYSIA, 9M6.  David, VO1AU is QRV as 9M6/VO1AU until March
15.  He will participate in the ARRL SSB DX contest and the upcoming
BERU contest.  QSL via VO1MX.

CUBA, CO.  Juan, CO8TW will be QRV as a Single Op/Low Power/Single
Band entry on 20 meters in the ARRL SSB DX contest.  QSL via HB9SVT.

SABLE ISLAND, CY0.  Operators N0TG, K8LEE and N1SNB plan to be QRV
as home calls/CY0 from March 7 to 15.  Activity will be on 160 to 6
meters using CW, SSB and RTTY with three stations active
simultaneously.  QSL all calls via N0TG.

MARTINIQUE, FM.  Dim, UT5UGR is QRV as FM/KL7WA until March 8.  He
will be active as TO7A in the ARRL SSB DX contest.  QSL to home

COLOMBIA, HK.  Cody, KC2LSD is QRV as HK3/KC2LSD from Bogota until
March 17.  Activity is on 40 to 10 meters using all modes.  This
includes an entry in the ARRL SSB DX contest.  QSL to home call.

HONDURAS, HR.  Operators HQ2DMR, HQ2JCM and HR2DMR will be QRV as
HQ2W in the ARRL SSB DX contest as a Multi/Single entry.  QSL via

ITALY, I.  Special event station IO4UI is QRV until September 30 in
celebration of the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy.
QSL via I4JEE.

ANTARCTICA.  Lars, SM4TUV is QRV as 3Y8XSA from the Troll station on
Dronning Maud Land, IOTA AN-016, until the end of 2011.  QSL to home

LUXEMBOURG, LX.  Look for LX2A to be QRV as LX7I as a Single Op/All
Band entry in the ARRL SSB DX contest.  QSL to home call.

ARUBA, P4.  Andy, AE6Y will be QRV as P49Y in the ARRL SSB DX
contest.  QSL to home call.

SINT MAARTEN, PJ7.  Operators Massimo, I8NHJ and Pier, W1NA are QRV
as PJ7DX until March 7.  Activity is on the HF bands using mostly
CW.  They will also be active in the ARRL SSB DX contest.  QSL
direct via I8NHJ.

SURINAME, PZ.  Serge, RX3APM will be QRV as PZ5P in the ARRL SSB DX
contest.  QSL via UA4LU.

TURKEY, TA.  Hartwig, DL7BC will be QRV as TA7/DL7BC as a Single
Op/All/Band/Low Power entry in the ARRL SSB DX contest.  QSL to home

ICELAND, TF.  Siggi, TF3CW will be QRV as TF3W in the ARRL SSB DX
contest as a Single Op/Single Band on 20 meter entry.  QSL via

COSTA RICA, TI.  A group of operators are QRV as TI8M.  Activity is
on all bands.  In addition, they will be active in the ARRL SSB DX
contest.  QSL via TI2KAC.

ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA, V2.  Bob, W4OWY and Mark, W9OP will be QRV as
V25WY and V25OP, respectively, from March 8 to 18.  Activity is on
160 to 6 meters using CW, SSB and RTTY.  QSL to home calls.

BELIZE, V3.  Ken, N2ZN is QRV as V31AM until March 8.  Activity is
mostly on the newer bands using CW and various digital modes.  He
will also be active in the ARRL SSB DX contest.  QSL to home call.

NAMIBIA, V5.  Gert, ZS6AYU will be QRV as V5/ZS6AYU from March 6 to
16.  Activity will be holiday style during his late afternoons and
early mornings on 30 to 15 meters using CW.  QSL direct to home

ALBANIA, ZA.  A group of operators will be QRV as ZA/I2GPT from
March 9 to 13.  Activity will be on 40, 30, 20 and 17 meters using
CW and SSB.  QSL via I2GPT.

NEW ZEALAND, ZL.  John, 9M6XRO will be QRV as ZL/GD3OOK from Waiheke
Island, IOTA OC-201, from March 7 to 11.  Activity will be on the HF
bands.  QSL direct via M0URX.

THIS WEEKEND ON THE RADIO.  The ARRL International SSB DX Contest,
Wake-Up. QRP CW Sprint, Open Ukraine RTTY Championship and DARC
10-Meter Digital Contest will certainly keep contesters busy this
weekend.  The RSGB 80-Meter Club Data Championship is scheduled for
March 7.  The ARS Spartan CW Sprint is scheduled for March 8.  The
QRP CW Fox Hunt, AWA John Rollins Memorial DX CW Contest and the
CWops Mini-CWT Test are scheduled for March 9.  Please see March
QST, page 86 and the ARRL and WA7BNM contest web sites for details.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Ham Radio - News March 2, 2011

Lake County prepares for severe weather (News Sun)
CLC students and staff members enter a staircase and head to the shelter of the first floor during a tornado drill.

Only A Drill...
Only A Drill... (Times Observer)
The drill on Tuesday morning included a string of tornadoes that wiped out dozens of homes, six fatalities, flooding, power outages, mudslides, a hazardous material spill, and animals trapped in a collapsed barn.
Clandestine, Gunaz Radio schedule update (MT Shortwave Central)
Welcome to the Shortwave Central blog. Here you will find broadcast, amateur radio, clandestine and pirate information including loggings, QSLs tips, and last-minute news.
Local students recognized for efforts in earthquake preparedness (Daily Dunklin Democrat)
Amateur Radio operator Larry Ford, right, was assisted by Kennett radio club members Beth TIbbs, center, and Jill Niemeier, left, as Caruthersville participated in a state wide communications drill to test for preparedness should a 7.7 magnitude earthquake strike along the New Madrid fault.
County participates in training exercise in communication (Emery County Progress)
Sinbad Desert Amateur Radio Club, Boarderline Radio Club and Skyline Radio Club volunteers were invited to participate in the Seven Eastern Utah Counties mock disaster exercise.
AITI Steps Up Checks On Unlicensed Radio (BruDirect)
The Authority for Information Technology Industry , together with the Royal Brunei Police Force, has upped the ante in their control on the usage of amateur radios in the Sultanate.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Ham Radio - News March 1, 2011

Sixth-grader becomes licensed ham radio operator with perfect score (Coshocton Tribune)
DRESDEN -- It's difficult for even those with experience on a ham radio to become licensed, but Dresden Elementary School sixth-grader Ryan Harris did it on the first try.