Friday, 13 January 2017

630m Thriving

Fritz Raab, the ARRL's 600-Meter Experimental Group coordinator, recently released his quarterly report, with highlights being reported in the ARRL News.

In it, Raab tell us:

"Band activity has been very high, and there are often more WSPR stations — more than 110 stations — on 472 kHz than on 80 or 160 meters!"

"In a sense, 630 meters has become a mainstream ham band, in spite of not being authorized in the US".

"The paths to VK and JA have remained good. This was not the case last year, so perhaps it is an effect of the coming solar minimum. Many reports have been received for WSPR transmissions with relatively moderate power. There have been a number of polar and high-latitude openings to LA2XPA from North America. Many long-time operators say that they have never seen anything like that. There have also been a number of openings from the US west coast deep into Europe."

The ARRL's full report can be read here.

Also touched upon was the upcoming "Midwinter 630m Operating Activity", the second such February event ... this year to be held February 4-5th.

Stay tuned here for further details. Highlighting the event will be another opportunity for U.S. and Canadian amateurs to attempt CW crossband contacts with six Canadian stations operating on specified frequencies in the 630m band. Canadians will listen for callers on specified frequencies within the 160, 80 and 40m bands. Previous events have had much success, with Transcontinental and Transpacific CW crossband contacts being completed by many stations.

A detailed schedule of frequencies and times will be published as the event draws closer but in the meantime, see if you can keep February 4th (Saturday night) open for some 630m crossband excitement!

Sunday, 8 January 2017

See You In The 'Linc'!

courtesy: WØVLZ
This coming week will provide two great opportunities to fire-up your older radios and enjoy some pleasant CW exchanges with other like-minded vintage radio users!

The Antique Wireless Association's (AWA) annual roll-out of the Linc Cundall (W2LC) Memorial CW Contest takes place this coming Wednesday and Saturday. Activity starts at 2300Z on both days and continues for 24 hours. Linc Cundall was one of the the three founders of the AWA, back in 1952, along with Bruce Kelley (W2ICE) and George Batterson (W2GB).

Over the decades, the AWA has been one of the chief proponents for the preservation of radio history, in all of its forms ... including the restoration and active use of vintage radio equipment. The AWA celebrates vintage amateur radio with several 'on-air' events each year including the premier event, the '1929 Bruce Kelley Contest'.

The annual 'Linc' CW party encourages all amateurs, including non-AWA members, to utilize their pre-1950 radios ... those designed and built before 1950 as well as homebrew reproductions of popular pre-'50's designs. Participants are encouraged to call 'CQ AWA AWA' on 160, 80 or 40m CW... suggested 'window frequencies' are outlined in the rules page which can be found here. Active discussion and promotion regarding the upcoming event may be found on Yahoo's AWAGroup reflector.

If you have an older radio (receiver or transmitter) that qualifies ... this includes any of your WWII surplus! ... hopefully you can spark-up for the event.

No older gear? Don't let that stop you from getting in on the fun, as modern rigs can be used as well, with the object of working as many AWA vintage stations as possible ... no excuses!

The above photo illustrates some of the beautiful homebrew work being done by Neil, WØVLZ, who was the chief inspiration for my own involvement in '29 activity. It will be hard to visit his amazing pages without getting hooked, so you have been warned!

My present 'vintage on-air' shelf beside the main operating table has been occupied now for several years by my Tri-Tet-Ten but with the likely demise of further 10m work, it's time to exchange it with something that I can use more often.

I hope to set up my homebrew 'Longfeller', shown below, inspired by the original design published in July, 1946 QST. My Longfeller operates on all bands from 160-10m, and should be ideal for the upcoming activity nights.

Please do consider getting on the air for this annual event, no matter what radios that you have ... it's especially nice to hear the sounds of these old radios that are fast disappearing. Events like this keep these great sounds alive.

See you in the 'Linc'!

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

David's Time Machine

A quick read of the latest postings on the excellent "The RadioBoard Forums" revealed a recent donation, by RadioBoard regular Graeme Zimmer, of his extensive collection of scanned vintage radio books to The American Radio History website. For those not familiar with this site, it is a superb and extensive archive of radio-related magazines and publications developed and maintained by the very dedicated David Gleason. There are probably very few radio or electronic magazines of the past that you could name that won't be found on David's website.

Graeme's donation was extensive enough to garner its own page listing and many of the book titles will ring-nostalgic to a lot of us baby-boomers that were grabbed by the magic of radio while still in our formative years.

I was delighted to see one particular author's name in the list of publications, Alfred P. Morgan ... a name that many of you might recall with fond memories. I remember checking out many of his 'Radio For Boys' series of books from the top-floor school library when still in elementary school. I longed to construct some of the simple radios but at the time I was really too young to gather the needed resources and components to put something together. I had yet to develop any of the needed skills, other than the yearning desire to learn as much as I could about these complex-looking one-tube receivers ... but it was already too late I think, and like thousands of other young 'radio boys', Alfred Morgan had planted the seed that continues to flourish some sixty years later. Thanks to Zimmer's donation of over 100 different titles from various authors, many of those hypnotic publications can now be found on David Gleason's amazing time machine!


Thursday, 29 December 2016

CQ - 630m Crossband Anyone?

A very beautiful QSL arrived in the mail last week, confirming my 630m crossband contact with Harry, WØLS, in Minnesota.

According to Harry's card, this was the first time he had ever listened on 630m and was very surprised to hear me, let alone complete the two-way contact.

Harry was transmitting on 80m CW while I was transmitting on 630m, on 473.00 kHz. It really does not take too much to be able to hear signals on 630m, especially if you are not overwhelmed with a high noise floor ... most low band wire antennas will hear pretty well down there, when pressed into service.

This week, the card from Jeffrey, KGØVL in Iowa arrived. This one also confirmed a 630m crossband contact. Both of these QSO's were made during the November's 630m activity night.

Jeffrey was transmitting on 160m while listening to my signal on 473.00 kHz with his 160m inverted-L.

It's not really necessary to wait for another activity night to have some fun, so ... if you would be interested in trying a crossband CW contact, I would be more than excited to give it a shot.

I can listen on 160, 80 or 40m for you, if you can listen on 630m for me! If we can arrange a sked, I could probably talk a few of the other local 630m VE7's into tagging-along so that you end up with a double or triple-header of VE7's in the logbook.

Please e-mail if you would like to try... ve7sl at