April 29, 2012

The Dayton Hamvention® 2012 "Internationally Connected"

Mark your calendars.  The Dayton Hamvention® 2012 "Internationally Connected" event will be held on May 18-20 2012 at the Hara Arena in Dayton, OH.

Since 1952 Hamvention® has been sponsored by Dayton Amateur Radio Association (DARA). For many years it has been the world's largest amateur radio gathering, attracting hams from throughout the globe.

Interested in learning more about the Hamvention® experience? Check out this collection of Hamvention® resources on the internet.

April 28, 2012

FCC Amateur Radio Technician Class License

An FCC Amateur Radio Technician Class License provides privileges that include all VHF/UHF amateur bands as well as limited operations in certain HF bands (80, 40, 15m bands using CW and 10m CW, voice, and digital modes). 

Some of the activities that Technician licensees enjoy:
  • Using a small 2 meter band hand-held radio to communicate with other hams in and around their local area.
  • Operating with different modes such as FM voice, digital modes with computers, television, single-sideband voice, and Morse code.
  • Making international radio contacts via satellites.
  • Making contact with astronauts on the international space station.
  • Building and using radio equipment - DIY.
  • Experimenting with antennas, radios, modes, ...
  • "Fox hunting" which is a sport where participants use radio direction finding equipment to locate hidden transmitters.
  • Setting up a location reporting radio (APRS) which uses a radio and GPS.
  • Volunteering with local emergency response organizations to provide radio communication services.
  • Having access to communication and information sharing capabiltiies during times of disasters and infrastructure outages.  See our article: Prepper Essentials: Communication and Information
  • Having fun on the air!
In order to obtain an FCC Amateur Radio Technician class license, you must first pass a 35-question multiple choice examination known as "Element 2".  Morse code is no longer required for any of the FCC Amateur Radio licenses.  The FCC Technician License exam covers basic regulations, operating practices and electronics theory, with a focus on VHF and UHF applications.

If you are interested in becoming involved with the great hobby of amateur radio (or ham radio) studying for and then taking the FCC Amateur Radio Technician Class License Exam is your ticket.  The ARRL offers many excellent resources for those interested in the hobby.  The hobby is seeing record high numbers of license holders.

NJ2X.com posts a free "FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day" every day to help people learn about the test questions, test answers, and get ready to earn their ticket.  If you know of someone studying for the exam be sure to share our link with them.

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By Michael Maher (NJ2X)

© Michael W. Maher and NJ2X.COM, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Michael W. Maher and NJ2X.COM with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

April 27, 2012

Ten-Ten Spring Digital Contest - April 28, 0001Z to April 29, 2359Z

Time for some 10m fun under excellent conditions.  The average daily sunspot numbers more than doubled over the previous week's average, rising 73 points to 144.7. Average daily solar flux
was 133.9, an increase of nearly 29 points.  10 meters should be great fun this weekend.
Ten-Ten Spring Digital Contest--Digital, from Apr 28, 0001Z to Apr 29, 2359Z. Bands (MHz): 28. Exchange: Call, name, county & S/P/C, 10-10 number. Logs due: 15 days. Rules

April 25, 2012

Guglielmo Marconi's Brithday April 25, 1874

Guglielmo Marconi's was born this day on April 25, 1874 and changed the world forever with his groundbreaking work in radio.

Guglielmo Marconi, 1908

April 21, 2012

Prepper Essentials: Communication and Information

One of the top 10 most important assets to have during a crisis is communication and the information that can be acquired through communication.  Communication can make the difference between life and death in some situations.  It is easy to recognize the high level needs for communication:
  • Communicate with your family and friends
  • Coordinate with people that can help you
  • Acquire information about what is happening in your immediate area
  • Acquire information about what is happening nationally
  • Obtain information from alternative sources (not just the official channels)
We are entirely too dependent on infrastructure and services in our daily life and take continuity for granted.  Each new disaster demonstrates that "essential" infrastructure and services are surprisingly fragile and go down when we seem to need them most.
  • Mobile phones
  • Internet
  • Electrical grid
  • Natural gas
  • Public water
  • Sewage treatment
  • Public transportation
  • Fire
  • Police
  • Local broadcasting (TV and radio)
Being well-prepared for a disaster means having the ability to live independent from infrastructure and public services.  When it comes to communication and information, shortwave radio and amateur radio can provide people with capabilities without reliance on complex and fragile infrastructure.

Emergency communications antenna

At a minimum, every prepper needs to own at least one shortwave radio.  A shortwave radio provides access to information outside of your immediate area including broadcasts originating outside the country.  Many people consider having alternative to official Government information source to be very valuable in some scenarios.  Most shortwave radios also allow reception of the local AM broadcast band which can be extremely valuable (when still operating) during a disaster (evacution routes, traffic conditions, shelter locations, ...).

Here are some minimum features to look for:
  • Battery operated and portable
  • Receives the AM broadcast band
  • Receives the HF frequency range (1.8 Mhz through 30 Mhz)
  • Supports AM, LSB, and USB modes
  • Can be connected to an external antenna
A shortwave radio is a great investment and one you will want in advance of a disaster.  Local stocks of shortwave radios will certainly be cleaned out very quickly when real disaster strikes.  A shortwave radio isn't a difficult device to operate; however, it is something you must use and familiarize yourself with before you needed it.  There are some excellent resources on the Internet to help you locate stations and frequencies to listen to.

Remember, a failure to plan is planning to fail.

Happy listening.

See other related articles on NJ2X.COM:

April 19, 2012

ARRL Frequency Measuring Test - April 19, 2012

The next Frequency Measuring Test is scheduled for Thursday, April 19, 2012, beginning at 10 PM EST (0200z, April 20, 2012). Transmitting sites are operated by K5CM, W8KSE, W6OQI and WA6ZTY. The frequencies are near 3575, 7055 and 14055 kHz.  The data entry site for the April 2012 FMT can be found here.  More information on FMT measuring techniques can be found on the K5CM website.

April 14, 2012

RMS Titanic Sank 100 Years Ago Today

RMS Titanic

100 years ago today, the RMS Titanic sank in the North Atlantic Ocean on April 15, 1912 after striking an iceberg during its maiden voyage from Southampton, England to New York City, USA.

Starting at 12:15 AM Morse code distress signals were sent via radio by Jack Phillips from the Titanic (call sign MGY) including the Marconi standard CQD, "— · — · — — · — — · · " and the German standard SOS, "· · · — — — · · ·". 


April 11, 2012

Jack Tramiel - Founder of Commodore International

We were saddened to learn that Jack Tramiel, founder of Commodore International recently passed at the age of 83 years.

Commodore played an important role in development of our interest in computers.  We had the pleasure of working with the early Commodore PET and later the Commodore Amiga 2000.