April 27, 2021

Last Man Standing Special Event March 2021 Certificate!

My Last Man Standing Special Event March 2021 certificate arrived today!  Fun!  A big THANK YOU to the show and hams for putting on wonderful event.

Good DX and 73, 

April 10, 2021

Amateur Radio Wilderness Protocol

Radio amateurs spending time in the backcountry with their radios are asked to follow The Wilderness Protocol to potentially help someone in an emergency.  Communication capabilities in an emergency situation are extremely important.  Backcountry locations are often without mobile phone service and out of reach of amateur radio repeaters.  

Light-weight low-power amateur radio transceivers (handy-talkies) are easy to carry and provide the possibility of simplex communication in an emergency situation.  However, amateur radio in the backcountry is useful for summoning help only when there is someone listening.  The Wilderness Protocol is described in the ARRL ARES Emergency Resource Manual encourages radio amateurs to listen:
The Wilderness protocol calls for hams in the wilderness to announce their presence on, and to monitor, the national calling frequencies for five minutes beginning at the top of the hour, every three hours from 7 AM to 7 PM while in the back country. A ham in a remote location may be able to relay emergency information through another wilderness ham who has better access to a repeater. National calling frequencies: 52.525, 146.52, 223.50, 446.00, 1294.50 MHz.
The above frequencies are FM simplex calling frequencies in the the US.  It is a good idea to listen on all the prescribed frequencies that your radio is capable of receiving, even if your radio doesn't necessarily transmit on those same frequencies.  You may intercept a call for help and be able to relay it to another station on a frequency your radio does transmit on.

The Wilderness Protocol schedule of listening times are all local times.
  • 7:00 AM to 7:05 AM
  • 10:00 AM to 10:05 AM
  • 1:00 PM to 1:05 PM
  • 4:00 PM to 4:05 PM
  • 7:00 PM to 7:05 PM
California backcountry

It is also a good idea to transmit your call sign once or twice so that others will be alerted to your presence.  Someone experiencing an emergency may hear your transmission and be prompted to respond by asking for your help.
The Wilderness Protocol is simply a recommendation that those outside of repeater range monitor standard simplex channels at specific times in case others have priority or emergency calls. -- FM & Repeaters”, June 1996 QST, p. 85.
As radio amateurs, we can make a difference by using our radios, knowledge, skills, and The Wilderness Protocol.  Now that you know about The Wilderness Protocol, be sure share this information with others including your family, your ham friends, your child's scout troop, your fellow amateur radio club members, and others in your circle.

Good DX and 73, NJ2X

April 2, 2021

500th contact toward the ARRL DXCC Challenge Award

I have been chasing DX for more than a decade now on HF with nothing more than a 100w transceiver, a length of coaxial cable, and some wire slung up in the trees.  I enjoy the thrill of making new DX contacts in far away places.  The magic of radio never gets old.

I recently crossed a major milestone with my 500th DXCC contact toward the ARRL DXCC Challenge award.  This award requires 1000 unique contacts in a combination of band and DXCC entity.  This is indeed an aptly named award.  It is my goal finish it while I am above ground and able to enjoying the hobby.

I was positively delighted to have my 500th contact be with Antarctica 9153 miles from my QTH in California.  Now that is what I call DX!  I managed to complete one other contact with Antarctica many years ago which also happened to also coincide with the solar minimum.  Antarctica has remained one of my most memorable contacts since.  It was wonderful to have Antarctica be my 500th DXCC contact.  Achieving this 50% milestone has renewed my commitment to earn the DXCC Challenge award.  Hope to make many more contacts with Antarctica on my way to the 1000th DXCC contact.

A big THANK YOU to Felix, DP1POL for the contact on 30m.  DP1POL is located at the German research station Neumayer III in Antarctica, which is about 1,300 miles North of the South Pole.

Penguins in Antarctica

Good DX and 73, NJ2X