Whew, the last week or so has shown changes in the regular morning HF propagation. At 1200Z I usually check into the Waterway Radio and Cruising Club net on 7268kHz. During the winter WA6CCA near Washington, DC (~44km away) is usually loud but now I haven’t been able to hear him at all. ND7K down in Marathon, Florida is now the strongest shore station on the net at a distance of ~1618km.
I’m not sure I’ve taken notice of a condition change on 20-meters but W5WAZ, roughly 1985km away, on 14300kHz usually has a pretty good signal into Maryland during his shift on the Intercon net.
We’ll have to see how things change as we move into the Summer months.
Cross post with Sparks’ Linux blog.
In the past I’ve been frustrated by a lack of Linux-supported software for programming my amateur radios. Sure, the Kenwood software that they gave you to use would kinda work under Wine but it’s Wine and who wants to operate under that? Last year I discovered a project that aimed to solve my problem. CHIRP is an open source alternative to other pieces of software that allow you to program your radios. Supporting many of the current radio models, this software allows you to create your channel list and then use that on every radio you own.
Last year when I tried the software it wouldn’t program frequencies in the 70-cm band correctly. That bug has been fixed and many features added as well. There are even static lists of frequencies one might want to include on their radio including the FRS channels, 60m channels, NOAA weather radio channels, and others. The software even interfaces with online frequency repositories making it easy to program repeaters into your radio when you are traveling to a new area.
The software is available for Linux, Mac, and Windows and is currently available in the Fedora software repositories (sudo yum install chirp).
The SWLing Post ran a post on a Monitoring Times article about the VOA transmitter facility in Greenville, NC. The article featured a friend of mine, Macon WB4PMQ, and provides a good summary of what you’ll find at Site A. I hope my readers will enjoy reading it as well.
Voice of Russia QSL Card
In a recent rash of shortwave QSLs being received the Voice of Russia was not to be left out. They sent me a nice QSL honoring their 50 years of manned space flight, 1961 to 2011. I have been a listener of VOR for a number of years and in this particular case I confirmed receiving their broadcast on 9800kHz as well as 9665kHz.
They have some interesting programs, like Red Line, that give an interesting view on the world. As always, I listen for the music of which they do have several programs for that.
I’ve found that shortwave stations really do want you to provide signal reports and will happily add you to their mailing list. I usually receive schedule and frequency updates a couple of times a year and maybe some stickers or other items displaying the radio station’s logo. And it’s always neat to see their QSL cards, some of which change monthly.
Last night I ventured out to the greater Davidsonville area to meet some of the people I’ve been talking to on the local repeater and to join the club. I’ve always felt that it was important to support the local club financially as well as with my time. The members of the AARC made me feel right at home by showing me club shack and the club repeaters, also hosted from the same building. They seem like a very active group so I’m excited to be a part of the club.
Now if I can just remember everyone’s name and callsign…
QSL from 7X4AN
I received confirmation for my August contact with 7X4AN, today. Most excited to receive another “new one” I confirmed receipt of the QSL. Mohamed is one of those courteous CW operators that will happily slow down for you if you aren’t ready to receive at ~32 WPM.
He also used two very nice stamps that I will happily add to my collection.
QSL from NMN
I checked the mail, yesterday, and was surprised to see a whole box full! Not much in the way of junk mail but I did receive two radio-related mailings. First was an envelope from “Commanding Officer, U.S. Coast Guard CAMSLANT…” and the second was from “Radio Romania”.
I couldn’t imagine why I would be receiving something from CAMSLANT but when I saw the QSL card inside I remembered sending them a signal report after seeing such a request on a NAVTEX broadcast. I wasn’t really expecting a QSL from NMN but it’s always great to receive one!
Likewise, I sent Radio Romania a letter thanking them for their continued broadcasts on the shortwave bands and commented on a program I had heard. They sent me back a nice QSL, broadcast schedule, calendar, sticker, and a letter. I always enjoy hearing broadcasts from Europe as they seem to take great pride in their transmissions. It’s unfortunate that two of my favorite stations, Radio Ukraine International and Radio Bulgaria, are now both off the air.
I love to use my little Grundig shortwave receiver to tune in the world, at night, in hopes of tuning in traditional music from lands I’ve never visited. With fewer stations on the air it’s becoming more difficult to find these stations. I thought I’d share one station that continues the tradition of news, current events, and music.
Radio Taiwan International can be heard on 5950kHz and 9680kHz each night in North America. On Wednesday mornings (UTC) a signature program, Jade Bells and Bamboo Pipes, is broadcast. The program is great and brings the sounds of the orient right to your home. It is an award-winning program that should entertain your ears.
Radio Ukraine International used to broadcast several classical music programs before their transmitters went dark. Radio Bulgaria was also an excellent station that was worth tuning in before it went Internet-only (not much radio in the Internet).
If anyone knows of any other good stations please post a comment and I’ll include them.
Today I boxed up my radios, rolled up the coax, and removed all my antennas from their heights. This is all in preparation for our move to Maryland in a few days. We have almost completely packed up everything we own and either moved it to the boat, into storage, or given it away. Once we completely move onto the boat I’ll be back active on HF using an Icom M-802 and a vertical antenna.
I’m hoping to be back on the air on a regular basis very soon. Hope to hear you there!
Today I received a QSL in the mail from 8R1Z in Guyana, South America. I worked Lennox on 14 August 2012 and was quite pleased to have a return QSL from him in a month’s time. Contact was made on 20-meters SSB when conditions were good and the confirmation represents my 120th DXCC entity confirmed.
Just last week I worked UA2FR in Kaliningrad on 17-meters CW and received an electronic QSL via LoTW yesterday. Valentin’s contact and confirmation represents my 119th DXCC entity confirmed.
Conditions on HF certainly haven’t been great but there is DX to be had. I’ve been quite pleased to run into several ‘new ones’ on the bands and see quite a lot of activity on the DX-cluster. I’m hoping conditions continue to improve.