November 30, 2012

DX Code of Conduct

  • I will listen, and listen, and then listen again before calling.
  • I will only call if I can copy the DX station properly.
  • I will not trust the DX cluster and will be sure of the DX station's call sign before calling.
  • I will not interfere with the DX station nor anyone calling and will never tune up on the DX frequency or in the QSX slot.
  • I will wait for the DX station to end a contact before I call.
  • I will always send my full call sign.
  • I will call and then listen for a reasonable interval. I will not call continuously.
  • I will not transmit when the DX operator calls another call sign, not mine.
  • I will not transmit when the DX operator queries a call sign not like mine.
  • I will not transmit when the DX station requests geographic areas other than mine.
  • When the DX operator calls me, I will not repeat my call sign unless I think he has copied it incorrectly.
  • I will be thankful if and when I do make a contact.
  • I will respect my fellow hams and conduct myself so as to earn their respect.

November 29, 2012

Christian Doppler - Birthday November 29, 1803

Today, we remember the mathematician and physicist Christian Doppler who was born on this day November 29, 1803.  Doppler proposed that the observed frequency of a wave depends on the relative speed of the source and the observer.  The Doppler effect occurring with sound waves was verified in 1845 by Buys Ballot.

Christian Doppler

Amateur radio operators encounter the Doppler effect (or Doppler shift) when working with satellite transmissions.  Satellites travel at very high speeds relative to a terrestrial observer -   The Doppler shift is particularly pronounced at the higher VHF and UHF bands.  The Doppler shift in satellite communications is also a function of the flight path.  An approaching satellite is shift higher in frequency.  As the satellite passes directly over the observer the frequency shift is zero.  Then as the satellite moves away from the observer the frequency shifts lower.

November 20, 2012

Happy Birthday Joe (WB6ACU)

Joe Walsh (WB6ACU) was born this day November 20, 1947.  Happy Birthday Joe!

November 17, 2012

EPC PSK63 QSO Party - November 18, 2012

The objective of the EPC PSK63 QSO Party is to establish as many contacts as possible between radio amateurs around the world by using the BPSK63 mode. Starting time is at 00:00 UTC, and ending time is at 24:00 UTC on Sunday 18 November, 2012.

EPC members should send signal report plus EPC membership number (example – 599 EPC00001). Please make sure that you don't separate «EPC» from the «Number», and you don't use any characters between. Please make sure that your EPC number consists of 5 digits. Other stations should send signal report plus QSO number, starting 001 (example – 599 001).

Mode BPSK63 should be designated in the report as PM and in any way differently! All times must be in UTC. All sent and received exchanges are to be logged. The Contest Committee accepts logs in the Cabrillo format ONLY. Name your Cabrillo file as your call sign (for example - mm0epc.cbr, mm0epc.txt or mm0epc.log). You should send your log upload via the Web interface: The contest name in the Cabrillo header must be «EPC-PSK63». All logs must be sent no later than 15 days after the contest (23:59 UTC 3 December 2012).

MixW statistics files by R3BB for PSK63 QSO Party:

November 16, 2012

Gunsite / Yavapai Radio Club Observe NRA Birthday November 17, 2012

Celebrate NRA's 141th birthday on November 17, 2012 as the Yavapai Amateur Radio Club operates a special-event broadcast station from the famed Gunsite Academy in Arizona. This FCC-licensed amateur station, using the call sign, K7NRA, will operate from 8AM to 5PM MST on the following frequencies: 7.250, 14.050, 14.250, and 21.335 MHz.  All amateur radio stations, especially those operated by NRA members and Gunsite alumni, are urged to participate. A unique NRA/Gunsite certificate will be sent to stations contacted for the event. For more info, visit:

November 13, 2012

Bad Behavior

The pileups on PT0S (DX Expedition to Saint Peter & Saint Paul Rocks) this weekend were a mile tall.  A friend jokingly referred to it as a, "pigpile".  Maybe "pachyderm pile" would be more descriptive.  It was huge at times.

Anarchy reigned at moments with unruly lids running wild while the "radio police" attempted ad-nauseum to clear the DX frequency with shouts of "up up" or "get it together" or "he is working split tuner-upper" or "shut up" or "why the heck do you guys call on frequency?" or "split expletive-deleted".  Do the radio police interfere more than the hams that call the DX on his frequency?  There are three steps to avoiding the transgression of calling a DX station working split:  listen, listen, and then listen.

There was an unusually high degree of malicious ankle biter interference.  It didn't amount to much and tended to be weak, feeble, and ultimately impotent.  The DX kept tossing out calls and "599" and the hams just kept dropping their calls into the cacophony.  The whole DX operation ran like a big machine right over the top of the malicious ankle biters.

An apparently disgruntled ham came on the frequency (3.780 MHz) to complain about being interfered with on a nearby frequency.  This ruse was of course designed to get a response and create a feedback loop of interference.   It did seem to draw in a few and a useless shouting match ensued.  For many, it was embarrassing to listen to their own countrymen behaving so badly.  The DX station never missed a beat while dishing out a rapid fire stream of signal reports through the entire episode.

The correct response to malicious interference of any kind is to ignore it completely.  Malice driven interference runs on an ego-powered AAA-battery.  Starved of attention the egoist and his petty interference withers and fades away.

What does all this bad behavior mean?  If you are in the glass-is-half-empty camp then perhaps this is yet another indicator of the steady decline of our civilization.  However, if you are a glass-is-half-full person then perhaps you enjoy the challenge of cracking such a chaotic pileup.  If you are in the glass-is-all-full-because-it-is-full-of-air-too camp then you perhaps recognize the incredibly superb job the PT0S DX Expedition did.

Nothing says thank you to a DX Expedition more than a donation to fund the costly endeavour.

Good DX and 73,


© 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.

November 7, 2012

JT-65 Calling Frequencies by Amateur Radio Band

JT-65 Calling Frequencies by Amateur Radio Band

Band Frequency (USB)
6 meters 50.276 MHz
10 meters 28.076 MHz
12 meters 24.917 MHz
15 meters 21.076 MHz
17 meters 18.102 MHz
20 meters 14.076 MHz
30 meters 10.139 MHz
40 meters 7.076 MHz
80 meters 3.576 MHz
160 meters 1.838 MHz


November 6, 2012

Scientifically Verifiable Fact: Best Antenna for Amateur Radio Use

We hams are tough customers when it comes to antennas (also known as the great interface to the universe or GITTU).  It is often the case that the superior performing antenna is the one you would like to put up next and the under-performer is the one you put up last.  Simply put, a ham is never satisfied.  For many, that is part of the attraction to radio.  A station can always be improved, modified, enhanced, augmented, tweaked, repaired, ... until the bank account is minus-zero or we are SK.

From time-to-time it is helpful to remind ourselves that the GITTU we have is better than the one we don't.  The scientifically verifiable mathematical proof of this is that you can make contacts with the GITTU you have and you cannot make contacts with the GITTU you don't have.  So get on the air and give your GITTU a workout.

Good DX and 73, NJ2X

NJ2X Note:
Gentle reader, you may be wondering why we used the 5 letter acronym, "GITTU" when the generally accepted acronym practice (known as GAAP) is a TLA or Three Letter Acronym?  In our age of ever inflating bigger badder government, taxes, spending, deficits, and entitlements, the lowly TLA alphabet soup is simply passe.  The world needs 66% more of everything so the 5 letter acronym (or FLACC) is the new normal.

November 2, 2012

Project: Morton Salt Box Crystal Radio Repair (Part 1)

The October 2012 Frankenstorm Sandy brought rain, hail, snow, and high winds to Western Pennsylvania.  We decided to ride the storm out in the workshop to work on a father and son project - to return a crystal radio to use.

Frankenstorm Sandy October 29

We had built a crystal radio and revived an antique headset a few years ago as a school science fair project.  We built the crystal radio on a breadboard and included an air variable capacitor, a 1N34A germanium diode, and fahnestock clips.

Fahnestock Clip

The Fahnestock clip was invented in 1907 is a classic simple wire connector that is both perfectly functional and looks great in a crystal radio breadboard project.

The 1N34A germanium diode starts to conduct around 0.1 volts.  This makes it a very good choice for use as a detector in crystal radios.

Diode Schematic Symbol

The breadboard was repurposed from an old sports award.  We used a belt sander to remove the finish and engraving.  The process yielded a breadboard with an attractive two-tone appearance.  This is a great way to save money too.

The air variable capacitor has an adjustable capacitance from 0 to 365 Pf.  These are not easy to find.  This type of air variable capacitor is worth searching for since they work very well and dress up the appearance of the breadboard.  They can also be salvaged from vintage junk radios.  The more common miniature tuning capacitors will work fine, though they don't looks as nice in an open breadboard project.

Variable Capacitor Schematic Symbol
With the passage of time, our home-brew crystal radio had fallen into disrepair after being packed, stacked, and moved around.  A crystal radio on a bread board is somewhat delicate and so it was no surprise that it was in need of a little TLC.

A crystal radio is a relatively simple device which makes it easy to troubleshoot.  To repair it, KC2VSR reconnected a few broken connections with a soldering iron.  We attached the radio to an antenna and ground and we were able to tune in a couple of strong local stations.

Crystal Radio and Vintage Headphones

Crystal Radio

In part 2, we experiment with the radio.

Good DX and 73, 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.