DXplorer from Sotabeams – website now live

DXplorer™ is a unique web-based system providing facilities for on-air antenna system testing and comparison as well as real-time HF propagation analysis.

DXplorer™ is available for all radio amateurs to use but has been designed to be used with the new Sotabeams WSPRlite™ product..

WSPRlite (pronounced whisper-lite) is a low power transmitter designed to act as a standalone WSPR beacon on 30m (10 MHz) or 20m (14 MHz). Using a simple computer interface, you program the WSPRlite with your callsign, QTH locator. Once set up, the WSPRlite does not need the computer to operate. Just connect it to a USB power supply (e.g. mobile phone charger), press the “sync” button at the start of any even minute, and off it goes! WSPRlite will make regular transmissions that are automatically received by stations around the world.

WSPRlite™ users gain conditional access to additional features through DXplorer Premium™ which provides enhanced reporting features as well as a powerful real-time antenna system comparison feature.

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Homebrew and Old Time Equipment Party – Sunday 20th Nov

the Homebrew and Old Time Equipment Party is organized by Lutz DL1RNN.

It may be fun to try and see if you can work anyone by calling CQ HOT
Sunday 20th November 2016
1300 to 1500 UTC – 40 meters – 7010 to 7040 KHz
1500 to 1700 UTC – 80 meters – 3510 to 3560 KHz.
Once a year homebrewers and enthusiasts of oldtime-equipment together are
introducing their creations on the HOT-PARTY. A taste of chirp is in the air
and switching from transmitting to receiving may last a little
longer...Skilful revived museum pieces are giving signs of life as well as
brandnew constructions around ICs and SMD. Loving restored and maintained
commercial radio equipment meets rigorous homebrewing.

You don't need a complete homebrewed station or a complete "line".
An old RX or a homemade TX "stand alone" is sufficient for your entrance.
No "taboos" like a 5W-QRP-limit narrows down the freedom of this meeting on
the air.

More information at http://www.qrpcc.de/contestrules/hotr.html

Special Event GB2ZE Ardrossan Scotland N1BCG Greenwich USA – 11 December 2016

In 1921, a faint signal from experimental amateur radio station 1BCG, originating from a small shack in a field off North Street in Greenwich, Connecticut, USA was heard in Ardrossan, Ayrshire, Scotland, marking the first successful transmission of any radio signal across the Atlantic using short wave frequencies

To celebrate the 95th anniversary of the first successful transatlantic short wave transmission, on 11th December 2016 the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), the Radio Club of America and the Radio Society of Great Britain will be operating special event stations in Greenwich USA and Ardrossan, Scotland.

In Greenwich, CT USA, the special event station will be located very near the original site at Greenwich Country Day School using the call sign N1BCG.

The Scottish station, GB2ZE will be operated on or close to the original site where American Paul Godley set up his receiving station in a seaweed covered field just outside Ardrossan (the seaweed was brought from the shore and laid on the field to fertilise and sterilise the soil for the next years potato crop).

The event and these stations commemorate the 95th anniversary of this radio transmission that pioneered global communications and set the groundwork for technology widely used today.

Details of bands, modes and hours of operation of N1BCG will be published in the ARRL newsletter, QST, and other publications and news services. Follow ARRL on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

In the USA the event will run from 1200 to 0000Z (7:00am to 7:00pm EST) at the Greenwich Country Day School, 401 Old Church Road in Greenwich. (There is a monument to the original event and located at the Clapboard Ridge Road intersection.)

In Scotland GB2ZE will be operational on the day of the main event but also at various other times throughout the month of December.

Because of both the historical and technological significance, Connecticut ARRL is teaming up with the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) to recreate the event using both vintage and modern radio transmitters and receivers ranging from a 1950’s-era radio transmitter owned by American rocker Joe Walsh to the latest in software defined radio (SDR) operating CW, AM, and SSB.

Operating frequencies will be:-

N1BCG operation will be on AM on 75 and 40 meters; CW and SSB on 40 meters, CW on 30 meters, and CW and SSB on 20 and 17 meters.

Approximate frequencies are 3.880 (AM), 7.290 (AM), 7.235 (SSB), 7040 (CW), 10.112 (CW), 14.280 (SSB), 14.040 (CW), 18.125 (SSB), and 18.088 MHz CW.

Licensed Amateur Radio stations around the world are welcomed to make contacts with the event stations in Greenwich (N1BCG) and Ardrossan (GB2ZE). Commemorative items will be awarded to all who participate in this global social networking event that will span all continents, countries, and cultures. Details of bands, modes and hours of operation will also be published in the ARRL newsletter, QST, and other publications and news services. You can also follow ARRL on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Paul Godley’s original equipment included a Paragon regenerative receiver, an Armstrong superhet receiver and a Beveridge antenna. For the antenna 1,300 feet of phosphor-bronze wire was stretched 12 feet above the ground on ten poles spaced equally along the full length of the wire which was earthed at the far end through a non-inductive resistor. This was the first Beverage type receiving array ever erected in the United Kingdom. Before the actual tests took place the length of the wire was reduced to 850 feet.. More historical  information on the original tests can be found here.

More Information

ARLS010 EO-79 FUNcube-3 Now Available for Amateur Radio Use

ARLS010 EO-79/FUNcube-3 Now Available for Amateur Radio Use

The EO-79/FUNcube-3 satellite has transitioned to Amateur Radio
service, now that its primary mission has been completed. AMSAT-UK
and AMSAT-NL have announced that the FUNcube U/V transponder on the
2U CubeSat QB50p1 has been activated with a regular schedule.

Due to power budget constraints, the transponder cannot be
operational 24/7, and an orbit-specific schedule has been developed.
The transponder will commence operation 27 minutes after the
spacecraft enters sunlight and remain active for 25 minutes. This
schedule may be modified in the weeks ahead, as experience dictates.

The transponder frequencies are: Uplink: 435.047-435.077 MHz (LSB);
Downlink: 145.935-145.965 MHz (USB). The output power of the Amateur
Radio payload is about 400 mW.

Qb50p1 was launched in June 2014 as a precursor spacecraft for the
QB50 mission. The satellite’s primary function was to test a number
of systems and science payloads.

Commemorating 110 Years of the 500kc/s Distress Frequency – 13 Nov 2016

In Berlin in 1906 representatives of 29 nations attended an International Radiotelegraph Conference in Berlin which made 500 kc/s the International Distress Frequency. The
conference produced the International Radiotelegraph Convention, the
forerunner to the ITU Radio Regulations.

On Sunday 13th November Stateside station will activate a 630 Meter Berlin Treaty Commemorative Special Event.

Participants in the ARRL WD2XSH 630-meter experiment, Canadian radio
amateurs, and members of the Maritime Radio Historical Society
(MRHS) will join together for this special event operation on 630 meters

US Part 5 Experimental licensees will operate in the 472-479 kHz
band, using CW for two-way contacts and beacons with commemorative
messages. There may also be some operation on 500 kHz.

“Canadian amateurs will also engage in QSOs in the 472-479 kHz
band,” said ARRL 630-Meter Experiment Coordinator Fritz Raab, W1FR.
“They will also participate in cross-band QSOs with amateurs
operating on 160, 80, and 40 meters.”

Canadian radio amateurs gained 630-meter privileges in 2014. A
proceeding that would grant similar privileges to US Amateurs is still
awaiting FCC approval.

The Maritime Radio Historical Society will activate the KSM/KPH
transmitter in Bolinas, California, for a mini “Night of Nights,”
with special messages and bulletins.

KPH will be on the air on 500, 426, 4247.0, 6477.5, 8642.0, 12808.5, 17016.8 and 22477.5 kHz.

K6KPH will guard the following frequencies for calls and signal reports: 3550, 7050, 14050, 18097.5 and 21050 kHz.

Confirmed Canadian participants include:

VA7MM (Mark) CN89 Coquitlam, British Columbia
Time: 0400-0800 UTC (Sunday, November 13 UTC)
TX Frequency: 475.0 kHz
RX (QSX) Frequency: 1,801 kHz, 3,574 kHz, 7,062 kHz

VE7BDQ (John) CN89 Delta, British Columbia
Time: 0300-0700 UTC (Sunday, November 13 UTC)
TX Frequency: 474.0 kHz
RX (QSX) Frequency: 3,555 kHz

VE7CNF (Toby) CN89 Burnaby, British Columbia
Time: 0300-0800 UTC (Sunday, November 13 UTC)
TX Frequency: 476.5 kHz
RX (QSX) Frequency: 1,836 kHz, 3,558 kHz, 7,031 kHz

VE7SL (Steve) CN88 Mayne Island, British Columbia
Time: 0200-0700 UTC (Sunday, November 13 UTC)
TX Frequency: 473.0 kHz
RX (QSX) Frequency: 3,566 kHz, 7,066 kHz

VE7CA (Markus) CN89 North Vancouver, British Columbia
Time: 0200-0700 UTC (Sunday, November 13 UTC)
TX Frequency: 477.5.0 kHz
RX (QSX) Frequency: 1,820 kHz, 3,550 kHz, 7,048 kHz

VO1NA (Joe) GN37 Torbay, Newfoundland
Time: 2130-0130 UTC (Saturday, November 12/Sunday November 13 UTC)
TX Frequency: 477.7 kHz
RX (QSX) Frequency: 3,562 kHz

VE3OT (Mitch) EN92 London, Ontario
Time: 0000-0400 UTC (Sunday, November 13 UTC)
TX Frequency: 477.0 kHz
RX (QSX) Frequency: 3,563 kHz, 7,058 kHz

GM0HCQ/MM VP8CMH/MM VP8DPJ and Rothera Island

Mike, GM0HCQ has rejoined the RRS James Clark Ross ZDLP following a recent crew change.

When in Antartic and Falkland Island waters Mike operates as VP8CMH/MM and has been today been on 10MHz using that callsign.

The ship is heading south, initially to open the summer only base at Signy Island (part of the South Orkney Island group). Unfortunately Mike will not be able to operate from this island.

There will then be a science cruise across the Drake Passage and followed by a run south into Antarctica and the first call of the season to Rothera Base, located on Adelaide Island IOTA AN-001. It is hoped there will be a short period of operating at the end of November from Rothera Base.

The current schedule for RRS James Clark Ross is as follows but is subject to change:-

Arrive Signy 13th Nov
Depart Signy 17th Nov
Arrive Rothera 27th Nov
Depart Rothera 30th Nov
Arrive Stanley, Falkland Islands 5th Dec
Depart Stanley 10th Dec
Arrive Stanley 15th Jan

Updates on the position of ZDLP can be found here.
Updates on GM0HCQ/MM and VP8CMH/MM operations can be found here.

Alan VP8DPJ will be the Winter Comms Manager at Rothera Base for the 2016/2017 season and hopes to be active when time permits.

Rothera Base has an operational 10m beacon VP8ADE on 28.285 which can assist in predicting propagation to/from the region.