Posts Tagged ‘HF Communications’

For something different

September 14, 2012

Well I was supposed to go out and play radio for a few hours today but when it rained it just did not seem worth the effort…  I decided to sit in the shack and just spin the dial….

The dial ended up on 14.300 and I checked in with NF5B who was the NCS for the Maritime Mobile Service Net for the hour…  After checking in with the NCS I heard a station asking for a relay and was saying that he was low power and portable…

I asked the NCS if I could relay and after getting permission I was able to relay KG4LMW who was in Knoxwille TN into the net.  He mentioned he was operating 5w…

Now thats something different for me…  Usually I am the person who is sitting in the park getting checked in while I am operating QRP and today I got to check someone in who was the QRP station instead…

It was kinda neat…

73bob

According to the QRZ website the distance between us was 775 miles which would make his contact 155 miles per watt or my contact with him at 7.5 miles per watt as I was using 100w at home with the FT 450.

 

For those of you who monitor “Utility Freqs”

January 14, 2010

I got this in an email yesterday (Thanks Bob) and was waiting for a good time to cycle it in to your reading material.  Yesterday would of been information overload so here it comes today…

A few more mil frequencies to monitor if and when the US Military get involved.

Freqs that may be worth monitoring (all USB) especially on the east coast and south east USA:


4070 Khz
7653
9025
9.0054 Mhz
11.1145 Mhz
these will likely be used IF U S military responds with aid.

It also goes without saying to those of us who are monitoring HF freqs that if you are in North America you will be hearing daytime traffic most likely in the 10 mhz to 16mhz area and nightime anything above 2 mhz to 9 mhz

Actually you might be able to hear relief and general utility comms anywhere either side of an existing amateur band.  Military, Aviation and some land based communications all take place in parts of the  HF Spectrum…

Happy Listening

73bob

Some answers to the questions

June 3, 2009

After yesterdays posting the media is starting to ask some questions and now we are getting some of the answers….

RADAR-  (I didn’t know this one) Ocean crossing planes often fly out of the range of land based radar.  I thought this was the exception rather than the rule but…  Now I know…

VHF Radio- VHF is “Line of Sight” and even at 35,000 feet the line of sight is fairly limited.  Thats why they use HF Radio for the long hauls.  Like I mentioned in yesterdays posting most of us have talked to a bored pilot at one time or another when he dials in to one of the amateur bands (assuming he has the callsign to go with the equipment)

This does not give us some answers though such as why no Mayday…  But thats the same question that everyone is asking.

One question I do have is…  If Air France could receive an automated message saying that there are some electrical problems they must of had some sort of COMM Link for data.

If thats the case then why not keep the link open and forward data from the plane to a receiver in real time?  Cost issues come to mind but….at least some (of the many)  questions could of been answered…

But as of today and most likely for a long time to come all we will have is questions… Questions with no answers…

On an amateur related side of things I received a blurb from one of the newsgroups I subscribe to stating that an Amateur in Brazil is helping the Brazilian Military with their search efforts.  He is coordinating (or assisting to coordinate) the HF Communications being used in the search.  Without giving out any state secrets try listening between 8mhz and 14 mhz, but with the propagations we have recently you could be listening to static.  So far even though my noise level is good on 40m and 20m all I have heard so far is not related to the incident.

73bob

73bob

Air France Disaster- Questions will be asked

June 2, 2009

Yesterday morning we awoke to the news that an Air France “Heavy” was “missing and presumed lost.”

What I find really strange is the absolute lack of communications from the aircraft to any ATC Center.  I am honestly amazed that there are still areas in this world of ours where there is no radar coverage.  Less strange but questionable never the less, is that at with an antenna at 35,000 feet (the aircrafts estimated altitude) the missing aircraft did not get any tranmissions out on any of their normal hf frequencies.  I can understand being out of range for VHF COMMS but I was under the impression thats when they switched to HF COMMS.  In the past I have monitored various ATC Centers talking to flights over the Atlantic Ocean on HF.

With your antenna up at 35,000 feet the groundwave on any frequency should of been rather large…

Until the mystery of this disaster has been solved there will be much discussion/debates on this tragic loss.  There is not doubt that the lack of communications will be mentioned many times in this discussion.  You, being the amateur radio operator, the expert in all matters that pertain to communications will be expected to know all about the topic of aviation communications systems.

It might be a good idea to do a bit of background reading on the topic.  I think most of us have talked to a bored pilot who happened to have his amateur ticket at one time or another but do you really know what frequencies they use (VHF and HF) when they are flying and more importantly how they use them?

The group at the coffee shops, the water coolers all are going to have questions and they will most likely be directed at you because you are the radio/communications expert…  At least thats what you told them…

This might be a good time to do a couple of “Google” searches and get some basic information so when the questions start coming you might be able to answer a couple of them.

The only thing worse than no information is the wrong information….

My Prayers go out to the families of the missing…

73bob

ONTARS 37th year anniversary Thursday

January 6, 2009

ONTARS NET

ONTario Amateur Radio Service Net

This Thursday is the 37th anniversary of the ONTARS Net.  If you follow the link to their website you will find some links to the various net managers and controllers they have had over the years. 

I believe that over the years this net has given the most back to me as an amateur service net.  I can remember in my younger years checking into the net from many various locations across eastern Canada and the North Eastern United States.  The net was a good starting location to find friends from home when I was travelling more than I am  now. 

I can remember checking into the net as VA3RCS/w3 as I was driving through Baltimore Maryland and then chatting with friends and getting all the news from home.  When one is living out of a suitcase and Howard Johnson motels news from home is a good thing…

I should menton in all fairness that at the time I was doing this the TP Net on 7.055 was still going strong but unfortunately if you are in the states the net is in the CW portion of the American Bandplan and therefore not a place for me to be trying to check in via voice.    Although I could hear the NCS stations in Ontario I could not check in when mobile as my CW on the best day would be concidered bad…   Its hard enough just trying to drive and talk let alone trying to drive and send… or receive CW…

The nets on whatever frequency serve a need…  And that need is to have someone at the other end of the radio…  You never know (especially during these funny propagation cycles) where someone is who might need to talk to someone.  Sometimes when I monitor 20m  on the Maritime Mobile Service Net on 14.300 I might not hear the NCS but I can hear a few stations checking in.  One of those stations would be able to relay me in to the Net in case of emergency. 

 Remember there are still areas of North America that do not have dependable cell phone service.

Net frequencies are like meeting places.  A place where you can go to find a friendly voice. 

In some cases the ARRL Propaganda such as “When all esle fails…Amateur Radio” is true…  Try taking a cell phone into Northern Ontario and drive off the corridors on HWY 17 or 11 and see how long you keep service…

ONTARS has been doing this quite well for 37 years now.   Lets just hope the propagation lets them continue for at least another 37 years.

73bob

Reflections on the road trip…

January 4, 2009

As mentioned in the earlier posting (Gananoque Road Trip) Saturday was spent for the most part travelling between Ottawa and Gananoque and then Gananoque and Ottawa.  I was “radio active” for the trip on both VHF and HF but I must admit HF was very dissapointing…

I spent at least 90 minutes in total monitoring 7.055 in the 40m band and although I did hear some signals none of them were voice.  There was some digital stuff and lots of CW but the CW was calling CQ…

What I did not hear was anyone trying to check into the Trans Provincal Net.  I made a couple of general calls but no replies other than the digital squawks and as I can’t copy squawk…. did they reply???

I did hear some W4’s up on the ECARS Frequency of 7.255 and some W9’s on 7.258 with MIDCARS but no VE/VA/VY stations down on the TPN Frequency of 7.055… 

Has the new bandplan sounded the death knoll for the TPN?  Is it time to move the net up into the recommended Voice Portion of the 40m band?

If the 40m band ever returns to what I would call normal will we have “lost” our frequency to the bandplan designated users???

Just some things for you to thinkabout while waiting for conditions to improve…

73bob

Sunday was a radio day…

November 24, 2008

After having limited luck with the Ontario Swap Shop on 40m I jumped over to 20m and was able to check in with the Trans Canada Net on 14.140.  I left the dial there while building my TAK-Tenna portable antenna.

I heard several VE4’s and VE7’s while the construction project was ongoing.  After the net closed I headed over to ONTARS and listened on 3.755 for a while.

I then went outside and took down the dual band beam I had used for the last balloon flight as I will need the masting for the Tak-tenna project…

Well the TAK-Tenna is now built and so far so good…  The next step is to get it outside on the newly freed up mast and see if my FC-40 Auto-Coupler will tune it up.  The tuner has been giving me great results with the longwire and I hope it likes the Tak-Tenna as well…

After taking a close look at the TAK-Tenna I think it should work out fine.  Its just a shortened dipole being fed with twinlead and that just about what my 88 foot doublet is and that works great… Now to be fair to the good people at TAK-Tenna I did not exactly follow all their instructions with this one…  Amateur Radio is an experimentation hobby so I took the basic idea and changed it slightly from their directions…  If it works…great and if it does not then I take it down and rebuilt it to specs… and try again…

If the weather permits I hope to have the testing done before the weekend… I guess I should also say if the band conditons permits as well….

More on this later

73bob

The days radio activities so far….

November 23, 2008

Well after getting home after a “Dads Taxi” Run in where I took Erika to work as she missed her bus I retreated into the shack to play some radio.  80M was good with a quick check in on ONTARS just before 0900.  At 0900 I joined the North Bay Net on 3.768.  This net runs every Sunday Morning and gets a good crowd from Northern Amateur Community and one old phart from Ottawa…  At 1000 I joined the Ottawa Valley Mobile Radio Club’s  80m Pothole Net on 3.760.

At 1100 I took a break for brekkie and then came back to the shack just before 1200 hrs.  The goal this time was to check into the Ontario Swap Shop and look for either an open tracker or a tiny track for APRS Work.  This seems to be a lost cause as the band seems to be leaving and the great signal I had from Nick VE3NJG at noon is fading at 1210.

More later but with the cold weather in Ottawa its a play in the shack day

73bob


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