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Thread: Ham radio information needed

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    UK Avalon Member Nick Matkin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ham radio information needed

    Oh... where to start with this Eric Dollard character:

    1) The solar cycles didn't 'start' during the renaissance, that's just when Western science noticed them and started counting.

    2) The 'Dark Ages' had nothing to do with the sun. They refer to a so-called "intellectual darkness" after the collapse of the Roman Empire. There are those who suggest climate change over Europe during this period didn't help, but I don't know if there is any sound evidence for that.

    3) The sun "operating on half power"? Even allowing for hyperbole, is grossly misleading.

    4) Ask an astronomer if it's possible (or was recoded in 1980) for the Earth's orbit to wobble following a CME.

    5) Anyone who knew what they were talking about would never use the words "radio astrology" - even in a slip of the tongue.

    6) Sorry, I couldn't watch any more... It seems this guy has gleaned a few facts, not really understood them, and made a video.

    Yes, this solar cycle has been less active than we are used to. I remember listening to New York taxis on 40-odd MHz in the UK during the peak of cycle 21. That hasn't been possible this cycle - but maybe NY taxis don't use those frequencies now. But ask any HF broadcaster (BBC, VOA, etc,) how the sun's (in)activity has affected them. Not that much.

    There's too much misunderstanding distributed by (well-meaning?) pundits about the sun that is keenly consumed by those eager to be scared by what they don't really understand.

    I was a professional radio engineer. I use amateur radio frequently. I used it to chat to a guy in MASS, USA on 26 Jan and I was only using 10 watts of SSB on 21 MHz. The ionosphere is there and 'working' normally. Yes, really!!

    Meteor-scatter is a bit of an esoteric communications medium, although is (or was) used commercially for low priority, low data-rate communications, and is used by some radio hams. Moon bounce is another, possibly even more esoteric form of communications; it requires very high ERP and very high gain receive antennas. Not something easily done when the mains supply is gone.

    When the mains has been out for a month, and your solar panels and batteries are not working as well as the brochures said they would, get your Morse Key out if you need to communicate!

    Nick

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    Avalon Member norman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ham radio information needed ( an unusual transmission - what is it ? )

    This is a recording of a recent transmission picked up in Virginia.

    Does anyone here have an idea of what it was ?



    Quote In the early morning on 1-26 I came across what sounded like ATC traffic on 5600 LSB. Sounded like the controller was in New York. I am located in Norfolk, Va. I could not find out exactly where it originated and if it was on any air traffic lists. If anyone could give me some insight as to what it was I would be grateful. I have tried on other nights since then to listen to that frequency and I have heard nothing else there. Thanks, M B

    Link to the audio:
    https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B04l...dOU3IxRXc/edit
    .................................................. my first language is TYPO..............................................

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  5. Link to Post #103
    UK Avalon Member Nick Matkin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ham radio information needed

    Aviation traffic, complete with selective call tones. Probably trans-Atlantic where HF is still used when outside VHF range. There are many aviation channels in the 5 - 6 MHz range, and elsewhere.

    Nick

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  7. Link to Post #104
    UK Avalon Member Nick Matkin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ham radio information needed

    I've just read here that Eric Dollard is being hailed as a modern-day Nicola Tesla.

    Perhaps when he made the above video he was having an off day, or perhaps he was just testing - trying to see who's awake...

    Nick
    Last edited by Nick Matkin; 30th January 2013 at 20:45.

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    Default Re: Ham radio information needed

    Quote Posted by Nick Matkin (here)
    I've just read here that Eric Dollard is being hailed as a modern-day Nicola Tesla.

    Perhaps when he made the above video he was having an off day, or perhaps he was just testing - trying to see who's awake...

    Nick

    Some very important questions have been asked about this on the forum - and I am really glad they have been. I am happy you posted this on that thread - so I'll follow the Eric conversation there instead of here.

    My solar panels and batteries have been in use for long enough now I can tell you exactly how well they will perform

    Lets just say, the word SOLAR is a bit of a give away about thier usefulness - the marketing hype is a secondary factor.

    Getting a solar installation up and running properly (ie: fully off grid) is very very expensive.
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    United States Avalon Member Conchis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Essential reading for all Avalonians

    If this is off topic please move this somewhere else. There has been some talk of radio communications and obviously HAM is the choice for long distance. If you are interested in a handheld to communicate with people for shorter distances, just to coordinate activities which might be useful in a small group of organized people. One radio you might want to look at is a Bearcom BC95 UHF radio. It can be modified by the manufacturer to operate in the GMRS frequency ranges and carries a full 5 watts of power. This in not one of those toy walkie talkies but is a genuine piece of equipment. You'll need to get a license (just pay a fee, like everything else in the world) to operate it.

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  13. Link to Post #107
    Avalon Member Operator's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ham radio information needed

    Quote Posted by Conchis (here)
    If this is off topic please move this somewhere else. There has been some talk of radio communications and obviously HAM is the choice for long distance. If you are interested in a handheld to communicate with people for shorter distances, just to coordinate activities which might be useful in a small group of organized people. One radio you might want to look at is a Bearcom BC95 UHF radio. It can be modified by the manufacturer to operate in the GMRS frequency ranges and carries a full 5 watts of power. This in not one of those toy walkie talkies but is a genuine piece of equipment. You'll need to get a license (just pay a fee, like everything else in the world) to operate it.
    I bumped into this by accident yesterday:

    BAOFENG UV3R Handheld Mark II UHF VHF Dual Band FM 2M 136-174/400-470Mhz Radio
    I saw one on Amazon for sale for only US$ 35 ...

    It might go against some 'American' feeling because it is Chinese made. But hey, for that
    amount you can buy a couple of them. They are also 2 Watts 'only'. That is probably
    sufficient though (I had a 2 Watt handheld for the 2 meter band once).

    I don't know what GMRS is (possibly similar to CB?) But it might be in the range of 400-470Mhz.

    Does anybody have experience with this type of handheld? I am curious what the quality is.
    Last edited by Operator; 9th February 2013 at 18:30.

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  15. Link to Post #108
    UK Avalon Member Nick Matkin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ham radio information needed

    I have a mate who bought one of these. For the price he says they are very good. (They work even without a ham radio licence - don't tell anyone!)

    But bear in mind they only have a range of a few miles in open country, and much less in built-up areas.

    Nick

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  17. Link to Post #109
    Avalon Member Operator's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ham radio information needed

    I bumped into this link by accident: http://websdr.ewi.utwente.nl:8901/

    Wow, what a great web interface ... it has been built at the Twenthe University in the Netherlands.

    It's a shortwave receiver that can be remotely controlled by multiple users !! (112 at the time I used it).
    I have been listening on 20m USB and it was great. Sensitivity, might be a bit low because they use a mini whip antenna.

    Especially the waterfall function us great. You can quickly jump from QSO to QSO

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  19. Link to Post #110
    UK Avalon Member Nick Matkin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ham radio information needed

    It's good isn't it? I use it when testing antennas or transmitters in the UK. Depending upon propagation conditions when I make adjustments I can and SEE and HEAR the effects. It's a bit disconcerting using it to listen to your own Morse signals as the propagation through the internet can be a second or two.

    There are others here: http://www.websdr.org/

    Many new ham transceivers have some sort of spectrum display these days, so you can look for gaps, strong signals, etc. in the band you're operating on. (Sort of takes the magic out of it if you ask me!)

    Nick

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  21. Link to Post #111
    Moderator (on Sabbatical) Harley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ham radio information needed

    I used spectrum analyzers for years, mostly in EMC/EMI research, and I think it really cool that the cost of the tech has come down enough now where they can incorporate it into off the shelf ham equipment and most hams can afford it. It's a great tool for just everyday operating or an amateur scientist!

    But I also still get much enjoyment working with the old school basic stuff too. It's just plain fun!
    Harley

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  23. Link to Post #112
    Avalon Member Operator's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ham radio information needed

    Quote Posted by Harley Hawkins (here)
    I used spectrum analyzers for years, mostly in EMC/EMI research, and I think it really cool that the cost of the tech has come down enough now where they can incorporate it into off the shelf ham equipment and most hams can afford it. It's a great tool for just everyday operating or an amateur scientist!

    But I also still get much enjoyment working with the old school basic stuff too. It's just plain fun!
    I've worked with professional spectrum analyzers too 30+ years ago when I worked for a cable television company.
    They are so convenient, especially when you need to adjust filters in order to suppress harmonics etc.

    It also showed why you shouldn't use SWR meters all of the time but only for short measurements: the diode to
    rectify the signal works as a tripler (and further). My 2m signal was almost as strong on 70cm en 23 cm !

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  25. Link to Post #113
    UK Avalon Member Nick Matkin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ham radio information needed

    Just spotted this:

    US Ham Radio Operators and Government Test HF Communications

    For conspiracy theorists it's just more evidence that FEMA is preparing for some "Big Event". For the rest of us it's just another prudent exercise to test how well modern ham radio (amateur radio) equipment operates in difficult conditions and to smooth out the technical and logistical problems.

    Nick

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  27. Link to Post #114
    Scotland Avalon Member panpravda's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ham radio information needed

    Interesting re FEMA and Hams, Nick ... thanks.

    Here in the UK, as I gather from posts elsewhere you already know, the "equivalent, government body", perhaps GCHQ or some "cover entity" controlled by them, would need to coordinate a similar exercise with RAYNET (Radio Amateurs' Emergency Network). I wonder if you or anyone else here knows if that's been suggested or done?

    I've been a licensed Amateur for 42 years, but instead of operating on the air, which of course I have done and enjoyed, especially using morse, my own focus has been on construction, digital modes, weather satellites, and radio astronomy ... amateur radio being what it is, a vast range of possible involvements with so many of our existing technologies, experimental modes, and areas of science research. Don't get me wrong, I'm no expert in any of these areas, I've just had a very satisfying, long-term interest, one which has led many other things.
    "We should not surrender our judgement to others, we must reclaim our ability to doubt and think for ourselves."

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  29. Link to Post #115
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    Default Re: Ham radio information needed

    Hi panpravda,

    Well I know of no "equivalent government body", but I do know that certainly in the 1980s there were numerous Home Office civil defense exercises coordinated from various local-government bunkers throughout the UK.

    The equipment was EMP proof, so this meant much of it was ancient electro-mechnical teleprinter (Creed 7Bs) and 332 baklite phones with manual exchanges.

    I understand that in at least one region, RAYNET were invited to participate, but were considered unprofessional and brought inappropriate, over-complex equipment. I hope this wasn't reflected across the whole country!

    I too have had a license for almost as long as you, and it seems we share some common interests.

    Some of my friends laugh at the pointlessness of my ability to send and receive Morse, but I tell them that when the lights go out and Tescos closes, us 'hams' with solar panels and QRP equipment will be amongst the key players in re-establishing national and international communications. But this is usually just met with an in-comprehending shrug...

    Nick
    Last edited by Nick Matkin; 6th June 2014 at 10:55.

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    Scotland Avalon Member panpravda's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ham radio information needed

    FB, Nick ...

    I looked again at what I wrote and saw that I had probably given the impression I am currently "capable" using Morse ... I'm not, I don't have much proficiency now. However, my previous enjoyable time with it was around 40 years ago after I passed my RAE when I made my first contacts. It was soon after that when I pretty much left the Telephony/Morse side and began following the other paths I described. In these later years, however, as a result of digs from mates at the local club, and considering the practical challenge of my own failing hearing, I've been toying with the idea of brushing up on the old Carrier Wave and have actually taken a step by looking out my old straight key. We'll see what happens, as I have so much going on in other areas as well. Further, I am significantly beholding to Morse, as my then Morse Tutor, to whose house I would go for lessons, eventually turned into my father-in-law!

    Okay on the past activities of the Home Office's civil defence folks; you jangled some memories by mentioning that, as I was somewhat aware of but not much interested in those events at the time. And it's true, there's not much that's EMP proof these days. I remember the old Creed 7B which an older amateur friend used to get me interested in data modes way back then; it worked as a machine and as a ploy!

    Fine on your RAYNET comments ... I choose to hope they're a tad more professional these days!?! I know that with good leadership and organisation, we can be ... Lockerbie, for instance.

    And let your friends laugh ... for we know who'll have the last laugh!

    73s ...
    "We should not surrender our judgement to others, we must reclaim our ability to doubt and think for ourselves."

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  33. Link to Post #117
    Europe Avalon Member scanner's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ham radio information needed

    The equivalent in the UK is , The Emergency planning office . They are responsible for all the Emergency events in the UK . They work along side the Police , Fire service and Ambulance . They use RAYNET as an back up system and other sources if an event were to take place . All councils have an EPO (emergency planning officer ) They are the highest authority on the ground and have many powers to evacuate , detain, and yes imprison you if need be .


    If you want an EMP proof radio ,buy the older valve sets, they're still around and will take alot more stick than the Chinese solid state radios that are out there on the market .
    Last edited by scanner; 6th June 2014 at 12:45.
    Am I one of many or am I many of one ? interesting .

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    Default Re: Ham radio information needed

    Fine, Scanner, you, too, have jogged my memory of things I've heard in the past but to which I never paid that much attention. Between yourself and Nick, I now consider my self updated! Yes, there are some old tube-based rigs still available, but it's normally a seller's market, so the decent stuff, so I hear, can be rather expensive. I'm not in the market, anyway. I've got my little Chinese box here, ready for when things go dark !!
    "We should not surrender our judgement to others, we must reclaim our ability to doubt and think for ourselves."

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  37. Link to Post #119
    UK Avalon Member Nick Matkin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ham radio information needed

    Yup, valve sets are orders of magnitude more EMP proof than most modern gear, but military equipment must be hardened against EMP as it's solid state.

    Years ago I mentioned "Tempest Testing" (a specification of hardening solid-state equipment against EMP) at work once; heads turned and I was met with aggressive "How the hell do you know about that?"

    "Er... someone at Racal told me. It's not a secret..." Well maybe it was back in 1986!

    Anyway, perhaps I'm giving too much away...

    Valve/tube gear is great. No complex menus, all analogue and you can actually fix the stuff. Trouble is it's a lot more difficult to operate (but not impossible) without mains electricity.

    73,

    Nick

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  39. Link to Post #120
    Avalon Member Operator's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ham radio information needed

    Quote Posted by scanner (here)
    The equivalent in the UK is , The Emergency planning office .
    ...
    How convenient, in the UK they actually 'plan' the emergencies ? ...

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