April 3, 2017

According to Wikipedia, April Fools’ Day is celebrated every year on April 1 by playing practical jokes and spreading hoaxes. The jokes and their victims are called April fools.

The Internet has certainly embraced the practice, and with so much of it swirling around, it’s easy for real news to get caught in the prop wash. Such was the case when a couple of important (real) ham radio news items broke on Friday. Many were left wondering and asking if these were pranks. After checking and double-checking, I think it’s safe to report that the following are factual news items…

Midway and Kure Islands (KH4 and KH7) are now deleted DXCC entities. This deletion being triggered by some very specific (picky) rules of the DXCC program, and by a governmental change last year that expanded national lands in Hawaii. Based on the rules, Midway (KH4) had been an entitiy because it was goverened by a separate administration. With the expansion of national lands, this is no longer the case. Kure Island (KH7) is an uninhabited bit of land separated from Hawaii by Midway Island. That was good enough to make it a separate entity for DXCC purposes, but the change in Midway status changes Kure and both are now officially deleted entities.

The other big news item from Friday was new bands for US radio amateurs. The FCC (finally) adopted rules that will allow secondary Amateur Radio access to 472–479 kHz (630 meters) and to 135.7–137.8 kHz (2,200 meters), with some conditions.

As to when this rule change will become effective, ARRL news reports:

The fact that the new rules contain a new information-collection requirement — notification of operation to the UTC — makes it difficult to guess at an effective date. The FCC R&O says the Office of Management and Budget (under the Paperwork Reduction Act) must first approve the information-collection requirements (in §97.303[g][2]). Once that happens, the revised Part 97 rules sections will become effective after the FCC publishes a notice in The Federal Register “announcing such approval and the relevant effective date.”

For those who enjoy the Tomfoolery of the season, there was plenty being peddled throughout hamdom last week. Like the development of a new DX Pileup Defeating Technology or this study that found peculiar anomalies with amateur radio operators. K1NSS reported that the ARRL flagship publication QST was being rebranded The New Porker with an individual copy price of $73.73. Then there’s this new “true” dual-band handheld and this impressive bit of wearable technology.

I could go on but you get the picture. Heck, I might have even got in on the nonsense with You’ve Been Warned - unless it’s true. What color are the caps on your milk bottles?

CW Geek Dan Romanchik, KB6NU recently wrote about a local radio club in his area (ARROW) who sponsors an annual bus ride to the Dayton Hamvention. It’s an affordable and convenient way to visit the big show. In this case, it’s Ann Arbor, Michigan to Dayton and back in a single day. If you’re interested in attending Hamvention this year, contact radio clubs in your area to see if they’re offering a similar arrangement. Many do. And as someone who has taken a group bus trip to Dayton, let me tell you that the camraderie of the long ride made it a memorable experience!

Check out this interesting short video that shows an automated system for cable cutting and preparation by ABR for Ham Radio Outlet.

I attended a local QRP club meeting this weekend where one of the presenters showed off his 30-foot field mast system. All fiberglass (aluminum available) in a very rugged, easy to setup kit from from Go Vertical USA. Word on the street is that this vendor attends Dayton regularly and usually has a special deal for Hamvention attendees. Dayton is less than 50 days from now.

I’ve often thought (dreamed) about a SteppIR system, but only just noticed their SteppIR UrbanBeam. It’s a two-element beam for 40–6 meters with a 15.5 foot turning radius. Have this high on the list to see at Dayton.

Own an SDRplay RSP1? Checkout this upgrade project for it.

Another new video from Randy, K7AGE. This one the first in what is expected to be a series on the Arduino.

In a note to the QRP-L mailing list this week, Wayne Burdick, N6KR wrote:

"The KX2 and KX3 have a new menu entry that lets you specify ATU DATA set 1 or 2. Typically you’d use set 1 for home/fixed location, and set 2 for portable outings. This way, the new ATU settings you use with field antennas each time won’t overwrite the ones you use with fixed-location antennas. The same menu entry also provides a way to obtain the L, C, and network values presently in use. If you have a KX2 or KX3 with the antenna tuner option installed and would like to test this feature, please email me directly (n6kr at elecraft dot com).

Ten Clicks


This issue is getting long so I’ll skip the usual commentary and let you get on with having fun on the air. HF band conditions were goosed by a rise in the SFI recently so you need to get in on some of that while it lasts.

As always, feel free to forward this letter to a friend. Even better, encourage them to sign-up for their own free subscription.

Stay safe and make it a great week!

73, Jeff