October 25, 2014

Massive solar flare disrupts worldwide HF radio communication

Hams worldwide were having a great time today in the CQ WW SSB Contest (2014.10.25) on HF until about 17:00 UTC when a massive X-class solar flare caused radio blackout worldwide.  The sound of all the HF bands closing down was remarkable.  The only HF communication remaining active was via ground wave propagation.  The HF radio blackout started to lift about 18:30 UTC with the re-opening of the 10m and 12m bands and then the other bands over time.

X-class solar flare erupting 2014.10.25
Photo by NASA/SDO

Full disk image in orange color tones of the sun showing a massive X3.1 solar flare
Massive X3.1 Class Solar Flare 2014.10.24
Photo by NASA/SDO

So what does X3.1 solar flare mean?  Solar flares are classified as A, B, C, M or X according to the peak flux in watts per square meter (W/m2) X-rays near Earth, as measured on the GOES spacecraft.
ClassificationPeak Flux Range picometre (W/m2)


A< 10−7
B10−7 - 10−6
C10−6 - 10−5
M10−5 - 10−4
X10−4 - 10−3
Z> 10−3
Within each class there is a linear scale from 1 to 9.n (apart from X), so an X2 flare is twice as powerful as an X1 flare, and is four times more powerful than an M5 flare.  X class flares up to X28 have been recorded.

Good DX and 73, NJ2X

Written by: NJ2X, Michael Maher

October 24, 2014

Inventions have been the product of experiment and work based on physical reasoning...

Anyone who has had actual contact with the making of the inventions that built the radio art knows that these inventions have been the product of experiment and work based on physical reasoning, rather than on the mathematicians' calculations and formulae.  Precisely the opposite impression is obtained from many of our present day text books and publications. — Edwin Armstrong
Drawing of Edwin H. Armstrong
Edwin H. Armstrong

Edwin H. Armstrong invented the regenerative circuit, superheterodyne circuit, superregenerative circuit, and FM radio. 


Written by: NJ2X, Michael Maher

October 17, 2014

Simplicibus...

Simplicibus itaque verbis gaudet Mathematica Veritas, cum etiam per se simplex sit Veritatis oratio. (So Mathematical truth prefers simple words since the language of truth is itself simple.) — Tycho Brahe
Portrait of Tycho Brahe
Tycho Brahe



Written by: NJ2X, Michael Maher

October 12, 2014

Phonetic Alphabet Viewer iPhone app for learning the international phonetic alphabet

There seems to be an app for nearly everything.  Are you working on learning the international phonetic alphabet?  Well it turns out there is an app for that too - the Phonetic Alphabet Viewer available on the iPhone.  This is a very simple app that provides the student with an interactive visual method of learning.  Simply touch a key to see the phonetic equivalent spelled on the screen instantly.  The price is right too - FREE.  The app also has solid customer ratings which is often a good indicator of product quality.

Go through the alphabet in sequence saying the phonetic equivalent in your head.  Then press the letter to check if you have it correct.  When you find a letter that you struggle with pause for a moment to repeat the phonetic three times while focusing on the word.

You will be speaking the international phonetic alphabet in no time.  Practice, practice, practice, ...

Phonetic Alphabet Viewer screen shot



Good DX and 73, NJ2X
Written by: NJ2X, Michael Maher

October 10, 2014

Light consists in the transverse undulations...

We can scarcely avoid the inference that light consists in the transverse undulations of the same medium which is the cause of electric and magnetic phenomena. — James Clerk Maxwell


Written by: NJ2X, Michael Maher

October 3, 2014

From failure to failure...

Success is going from failure to failure without the loss of enthusiasm. -- Winston Churchill


Photograph of Winston Churchill looking pensive while wearing an overcoat, tophat, and bowtie
Winston Churchill


Written by: NJ2X, Michael Maher

The first baby monitor

The first baby monitor was the "Radio Nurse" in 1937.  This device was inspired by the Lindbergh tragedy.  It is a beautiful design by Isamu Noguchi though technically the design was prone to problems (distortion and interference).

Photograph of the Radio Nurse define produced in 1937 this was the first baby monitor
Radio Nurse circa 1937


Good DX and 73, NJ2X
Written by: NJ2X, Michael Maher

California QSO Party


The California QSO Party
1600 UTC October 4, 2014 to 2200 UTC October 5, 2014


Please see http://cqp.org/ for all the rules and details.  Hope to work you during the event.

From California, Good DX and 73, NJ2X
Written by: NJ2X, Michael Maher

October 2, 2014

October 7-8, 2014, the Draconids

Be sure to take a look at the night sky.  The Draconids meteor show will return to visit October 7-9, 2014.

Good DX and 73, NJ2X
Written by: NJ2X, Michael Maher

September 28, 2014

Visually Learning Aid - International Phonetic Alphabet

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words.  Pictures are also a great way to help learn the international phonetic alphabet.  Word association and visual images help promote retention in long-term memory.  Have fun!

International Phonetic Alphabet
Alphabet Phonétique International




Good DX and 73, NJ2X  (November Juliet 2 X-ray)
Written by: NJ2X, Michael Maher

September 26, 2014

Be courageous...

Be courageous. I have seen many depressions in business. Always America has emerged from these stronger and more prosperous. Be brave as your fathers before you. Have faith! Go forward! -- Thomas A. Edison

Thomas Edison

Written by: NJ2X, Michael Maher

September 19, 2014

Seeming to do is not doing

Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing. -- Thomas A. Edison
Thomas Edison

Written by: NJ2X, Michael Maher