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  #101 (permalink)  
Old 12-30-2017, 11:08 AM
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It may be that the present conditions aren't quite hopping enough to break into the valley where I live, or the latitude may also present a difference, as WA state is almost 15 degrees farther north than Central and Southern Cal. The auroral zone may be mucking with reception here more than it does in the southern belt of states.

When you hear a lot of these QSO's, are you hearing guys from the North much? (i.e., PNW, Canada, etc.).
Sorry, somehow missed this.

Yes, pretty much every morning I hear the PNW . I hear more TX / NM / AZ / CA / etc, but the PNW is generally well represented also.

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  #102 (permalink)  
Old 01-03-2018, 7:32 PM
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Even for someone like me who is probably a introvert Iíve found stuff to do in Amateur Radio. I donít want to avoid all conversation but most stuff that happens on voice over the radio I do. Way too much drama and political banter. I keep my mic in the box. You can find posts all over the internet where people get into Amateur Radio and are quickly bored because of this. Its especially true for techs starting out on repeaters.

I enjoy the jt modes and ft8. I know these are often criticized but I enjoy sending and receiving signals around the world with a simple exchange. I donít want to be a awards chaser but would like to get was and dxcc while I still can. Maybe I will try learning cw after that.

Which bring me to my next concern as many of you are already discussing. Even in the news Iím hearing reports about how we could be going into a mini ice age and a lot of amateurs think a maunder minimum type event is possible. Everyone just says I will stay with 40 and below. What about qrm getting worse and what about newer operators with limited antenna space? Iím just a new guy but I think this could have quite the impact on this hobby. I think it would be cool to see people on the higher bands using digital modes or cw just trying to see how far they can go. For the most part its just boring repeaters.

A lot of the shortwave listening has dried up and even scanner listening since a lot of places are now encrypted. Amateur Radio seems to be about the only radio hobby left. I sometimes hear others talking about other technical hobbies like playing with arduinos and such but not ham radio.
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  #103 (permalink)  
Old 01-03-2018, 9:08 PM
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I think it's a lot like drugs. People got introduced into it by others. Then they have friends to talk to. With Youtube and the internet many people can start from scratch though. If I scan through 2 meter, 10 meter, and CB there's no one there. Too many distractions now a days. Here's an interesting video because of the subject but you can grab the screen and rotate the 3d video to look around. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMjAwuVV5ic Listen to this on a weekend. https://www.broadcastify.com/listen/feed/14747/web
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  #104 (permalink)  
Old 01-25-2018, 10:56 PM
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Hopefully when the sunspots reappear there is more activity. Usually I prefer the lower bands to monitor HF but right now the way everything is I miss the sunspots.

Tonight the ham frequency with the most solid activity has been the garbage channel on 3840 kHz. Two other channels had semi-readable activity. But the busiest channel, with the strongest signals from the NW and California was the one with a lot of 'n' words, anti-Semitic epithets, cuss words of every stripe. 40 had maybe one CW QSO that was remotely readable. the JT65 channel was busy though.

If there were SDR's as recent as the 1990's the entire 40m band would be plastered with yellow and red, even at this hour (I don't have an SDR, but I'm going by what I remember being on the band, vs. SDR screenshots here on the forums).

I know we all try to remain positive, but it's difficult to stay positive about the portent for the future. The internet is where everyone is at right now. Distractions, as Scanmanmi said. I myself am not a ham. I just monitor, and have monitored the ham bands since the 1980's. Right now I don't see the expense and bother of getting a license making it worth pursuing. When I had the most interest I had no money. Now things are slightly better, but I don't feel the urge to go through the hoops to tune through mostly static.

And I myself am losing interest in the monitoring aspect of the HF listening hobby. Even the utility bands are less active than they were, because everything is going digital or satellite. I know there is stuff out there on good days: I heard a maritime land station's CW marker a week and a half ago from China on my DX-398 and 25 ft indoor, second story wire.

But it's all slowly going away. Very few phone patches, maritime SSB -- I know it's out there, but it's much less plentiful and harder to dig up than it was even 5 years ago.

Maybe I'll regain my interest again. I'll be erecting another 100 foot wire this Spring, so perhaps that will make a difference.
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  #105 (permalink)  
Old 01-26-2018, 1:31 PM
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"Hopefully when the sunspots reappear there is more activity......"
.

They will, return, Boom- its the When that's hard to say- In the time line of the universe they will be here tomorrow- in our lives that timeline gets a bit murky, doesn't it?
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So much of the work I do is centre'd around auroras and their effects that I have to keep my finger constantly on the sunspot pulse. My experts tell me there has been a lull in their activity, Clever observation, Sherlock! ... ..... but they continue; in the Earth's overall history this is very common and cyclical. I won't even approach the politically charged arena of 'climate change'- but I will use two dirty word- Ice Ages. I personally don't loose sleep worrying about getting out my snow machine (aka snow mobile) preparing to flee south**

----- But our Sun effects everything ! and her spots are a major part of her theatre for us. For those tuned into such things, another nightmare word 'interglacial' should send chills (literally) down your spine. Ours has been an overly long run and we have used up the clock. Personally I am glad to have the 'warming'- the sunspots role in this?... Smiles-
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Meanwhile, until the Spots return, what to do to make the radio hobby interesting....?
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If your passions lie in the direction of HF DX'ing this might be a challenge- but as others have taken it up- there is still a lot of long distance communicating going on with the new digital below- the- noise techniques.
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Low sunspots actually favor the 160 metre band... there is a CQ contest there next month- I and a friend are planning a cameo appearance there, --maybe- all things permitting. Its a neat band- and some surprising DX is possible. If nothing else, listening to the activity may be highly encouraging.
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I have mention'd in previous posts my radars. Back at my home in the mountains I have two- they don't 'Do' anything -- except I find them a lot of fun. My C-Band, with its open 8 foot rotating array can 'see' out over a hundred miles. My nieces and friends have fun watching it track approaching weather fronts and following the aircraft that fly overhead.
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SWL'ing the HF bands has waned a lot with those sunspots, and the shift to digital modes. But if you like to tune in far away places (like 24,000 miles) with rather interesting techniques, - thought of the geo-sync satellites? One summer not long ago one of those aforementioned nieces had heard about FTA satellites (free-to-air.) I told her that we'd play with them when she came out for the summer. I put up a 40" 12 Ghz dish and she did the rest.
Not familiar with FTA? Oh, it can get quite addiciting.... On Ku - the 'small dish' band- I can sweep the sky picking up myriad transponders (I have a certain affinity for the Mexican service Sat's- Telenovelas are my weakness... )
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Two years I put up a 24 Ghz 'Parrot' at a commercial mountaintop microwave site. This repeater 50 mw's into its little dish antenna looks down on my ranch from 30 miles away- line of sight. I use it to play with assorted little homebrew'd transceivers, funny little antenna- and to hear myself talk as the Parrot repeats me back. I joke that the nice thing about a Parrot repeater is you've always someone to talk to... I've put them on other bands as well.
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Want a real ham radio challenge? try the new 630 and 2200 metre bands, I have post'd enuff on those to exhaust the subject- but if you love radio, there is plenty challenge there to take anyone's mind off the sunspot cycles.
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I fear to continue this will become a lecture- what I want'd was to point out a few esoteric areas open in this wonderful hobby. Maybe, just maybe- others will find there is really plenty of ham life beyond the current Sun Spots.
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...................................CF
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** want to watch a chilling movie?-- "The Road" .................. you don't want an ice age......

Last edited by Coyote-Frostbyte; 01-26-2018 at 1:57 PM..
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  #106 (permalink)  
Old 01-26-2018, 2:08 PM
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60 something years ago there were no repeaters, very little VHF beyond 6metres and that was all experimenters. On the HF ham (and BC) bands you couldn't get a word in edgeways, it was packed morning, noon and night. Now it's just the same number of people, but we're spread very thinly over all the bands and all the systems, but we're still having fun, aren't we?

The whole world is as big as your imagination.
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  #107 (permalink)  
Old 01-26-2018, 4:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Coyote-Frostbyte View Post
I have mention'd in previous posts my radars...

I put up a 40" 12 Ghz dish...

Two years I put up a 24 Ghz 'Parrot' at a commercial mountaintop microwave site...
How come you're not one of the big guns out doing EME, or 76 GHz moonbounce, or 10 GHz long haul terrestrial rain scatter?

You already know how much fun it would be. =)
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  #108 (permalink)  
Old 01-26-2018, 5:17 PM
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The whole world is as big as your imagination.[/QUOTE]


Love that statement, Martin.
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  #109 (permalink)  
Old 01-26-2018, 5:52 PM
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"They" that say amateur radio is dying, are generally ill informed, often because their interest or involvement is too narrowly focused. A human lifespan is usually too involved with activities, obligations and responsibilities, to allow for adaquate time to explore all the facets. Amateur radio isn't dying, and outside of vhf/uhf repeaters, it requires no infrastructure. Amateur radio is much more about the "mechanics" of communications, rather than the content. Cell phone users seldom understand that distinction.
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  #110 (permalink)  
Old 01-26-2018, 8:28 PM
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Bravo, WA4DOU...
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__________________________________________________ _______--


"How come you're not one of the big guns out doing EME........ "

.
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Ah !, ZZ -- this is not to say that I haven't thought of it- or done it in the past- but I haven't the resources (or energy) to pursue such ambitious projects.... or do I ?... well, read on....
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In my list, above, I was going to mention Moon Bounce--- its not beyond the means of many hams- but it requires a real dedication to cutting edge technology to be successful - at least at amateur power levels. Only the most diehard'd will be successful on 2 metre's (don't even think it on 6- yet it has been done !) Construction of a steerable Az-El antenna system is quite beyond the average ham's resources and abilities, even at the higher frequencies (I pick'd on the VHF's since that is where so much EME has been done.)
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But I did say I have played with it, No ?
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As a graduate student I and some fellow truble makers had access to a university/government 'space probe' facility. That translated to a 30-something metre dish with a transmitter in the 900 Mhz range - a phethora of signal modes- into a linear amplifier; the power levels far and beyond beyond any in ham radio.
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What we were supposed to be doing with this, we did -- most of the time..... what we did with it at the other times?... Smiles.... The moon's coordinates are really easy to program.....
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"Pinging" the moon with such a setup is a 'piece of cake.' Using an analogue signal to listen to your hauntingly echo-ish return voice is not hard either (but it needs much higher power for the wider bandwidth.) ***
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Your tax dollars at work...
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Once I've had chances to play with such equipment, anything I could do on my own, at home, say-- seems pathetic in comparison. And my work allows me plenty of opportunites to play...
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BUT !....this is not to discourage others-- Hey Guys!-- if this bug bites you, you may well be hooked for life.
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This recalls a ham experiment my father told me he did years ago. I would have to ask him again for the specific details- but it involved very elementary EME. Maybe some of you older fellows remember it ?
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Years ago some hams (probably much like me and my fellow grad students) had a temporary access to the giant dish at Arecibo, PR. They schedule'd and publish dates for their operation to bounce high power'd 432 Mhz signals off the moon. The return signals were calculated to be at such a level that anyone on earth, with a small handheld beam should be able to receive them.... they were using SSB, if I remember correctly.
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My father, with a small handheld beam, one of the first transistor 'low noise' 432 preamps, and a tube (Nuvistors-- remember those?) converter- to an HF receiver IF--- heard their signals ! This was something he talk'd about to his ham buddies for years thereafter.
__________________________________________________ _________
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Hmmmmmm... I've a graduate student who has her ham license- maybe I can interest her in 'pinging' the moon..... we could free up one of our dishes for a evening or two-- we'll need a Cassegrain- something design to be fed by a 432 amp.... Oh, this could be fun!
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..................................CF
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__________________________________________________ __________
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***This was my most memorable example of the speed of light, for it takes over 2 seconds for the return signal... plus the distortion- the 'echo' quality of the signal-- caused by the differences in the return times from the moon's centre as compared to the longer paths from its poles
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  #111 (permalink)  
Old 01-26-2018, 9:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Coyote-Frostbyte View Post

Ah !, ZZ -- this is not to say that I haven't thought of it- or done it in the past- but I haven't the resources (or energy) to pursue such ambitious projects.... or do I ?... well, read on....
It's definitely not for the faint of heart, or cheap of wallet.

Quote:
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Only the most diehard'd will be successful on 2 metre's (don't even think it on 6- yet it has been done !)
The JT modes have put EME within reach of just about everybody. It's being done on 6m with 100 watts and 6 elements. Pretty cool stuff. But still not quite like doing it the old fashioned brute force method!

Quote:
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As a graduate student I and some fellow truble makers had access to a university/government 'space probe' facility. That translated to a 30-something metre dish...
The Big Dish at Stanford, and Caltech's 40 meter dish at OVRO have both been used in amateur EME experiments. Suddenly 1296 sounds like 20 meters on field day, at least during the EME contests, and on 10GHz, you get to pick and choose which crater you want to bounce off of.

Ham radio isn't dead! There's sooo much neat stuff to do.
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Old 01-26-2018, 11:49 PM
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Earlier tonight I heard the 160 meter contest -- there were quite a few CW signals and short QSO's on 160 meters. I also heard some CW activity on 80, including at least one '1' call (although he/she may have been anywhere in the country) -- so I realise that ham radio isn't necessarily dead.

It was great to hear, even on my 25 footer and DX-398. I just with there were more of it the rest of the time, not necessarily during contests. Perhaps a longer antenna will help.

Enough of my observations... Carry on. Interesting convo about the higher bands. Great hearing all of your input.
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Old 01-27-2018, 1:20 PM
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CF, you enjoy sharing amusing anecdotes, so you'll undoubtedly smile at one of mine...

Back in the early sixties when I was eleven, I decided to build a portable transceiver in a briefcase. Of course this was still the 'tube era' so I had to source all sorts of things, including a battery to supply plate voltage. It was particularly difficult since my late father was stationed in Tehran, Iran as part of USAID. He was on a "contract loan" from the FAA where he was an Electronics Engineer.

My closest friend Morris and I trawled the bazaars in Tehran for months locating all the parts I needed. Eventually I gathered all the stuff and proceeded to build my briefcase transceiver, and entered it into my school's Science Fair! I was so excited.

When the judges reached my display, they were very impressed and asked lots of challenging questions to convince them that I had indeed done all the work on my own, which I truly had. All my dad ever did was smile enigmatically whenever he and I discussed the project.

Alas, they finally asked the one question that totally crushed my young sprit and brought the entire world crashing around head...

"Does it work?" they asked innocently.

"Um, er... I honestly don't know since I only built this one and don't have anyone to talk to." I replied, blushing furiously.

I did end up winning the 1st Prize for the event despite my inability to test the transmitter, because at least the receiver worked (mostly).
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  #114 (permalink)  
Old 01-27-2018, 5:33 PM
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Originally Posted by majoco View Post
60 something years ago there were no repeaters, very little VHF beyond 6metres and that was all experimenters. On the HF ham (and BC) bands you couldn't get a word in edgeways, it was packed morning, noon and night. Now it's just the same number of people, but we're spread very thinly over all the bands and all the systems, but we're still having fun, aren't we?

The whole world is as big as your imagination.
You might say the same thing about 11 meters. In the '60s through '80s, you could find 20 CBers on in a 1 mile radius! It was 24/7 nonstop conversations and activity. Cell phones and the internet certainly seem to have had an effect on that band!
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Old 01-28-2018, 1:19 AM
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The JT modes have put EME within reach of just about everybody. It's being done on 6m with 100 watts and 6 elements.
There's a report in this month's Practical Wireless about a UK Foundation licensee working a DL7 on 70cm via EME using 10W to a 17-element Yagi - via JT65.

Hey C-F - have you ever tracked satellites with your radars?

Some time back I lived on and worked at an airport, on which there was a weather station. Four times per day they used to launch a weather balloon with a radar target underneath, then jump into a cabin with a dish attached (see pix) and furiously adjust the dish's AZ & EL to acquire the balloon. Sometimes they locked onto overflying aircraft, and on very rare occasions, a satellite.

When they noticed antennas going up at my place and I explained my interests, on one such occasion the day after one of these tracks, they wondered if I'd be able to identify the satellite. They gave me the times and AZ/ELs and using a popular tracking program of the time (can't recall the name) running on my PC/XT clone we did identify the satellite - one of the NOAA series
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  #116 (permalink)  
Old 01-28-2018, 1:06 PM
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Some time back I lived on and worked at an airport, on which there was a weather station. Four times per day they used to launch a weather balloon with a radar target underneath, then jump into a cabin with a dish attached (see pix) and furiously adjust the dish's AZ & EL to acquire the balloon. Sometimes they locked onto overflying aircraft, and on very rare occasions, a satellite.


Where is this radar and is it still there? That radar obviously has its genesis from the World War II German Wurzburg radars, but is not one. That is a very aged design, and I am very interested in learning more about it. Kind of like a Busmans holiday, radar history is something I really like.

As for tracking sats and other objects in space, both Earth orbit and not, yep, been there, done that.

T!
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Old 01-28-2018, 1:56 PM
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WXTrack is an excellent programme for satellite tracking. Setup needs quite a bit of info from the user but once that's done, downloading Keplers is a press of the button.
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Old 01-28-2018, 5:55 PM
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Quote:

Where is this radar and is it still there? That radar obviously has its genesis from the World War II German Wurzburg radars, but is not one. That is a very aged design, and I am very interested in learning more about it. Kind of like a Busmans holiday, radar history is something I really like.
Well I'm air traffic control not a weather guy, so that pix was plucked off the web because the unit looked the same as what was used by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology at many stations up till the late 1980's.

Theirs was a model WF-something, but I don't know if that was theirs or the manufacturer's designation. In the late 1980's they were decommissioned when the BoM installed radiosonde tracking gear combined with weather radar at all their stations that still had those units.

When I was doing my ATC course in 1978 we went to a BoM station and took turns sitting in one of these while a balloon flight was being tracked by one of their guys. I recall it had a circular CRT display and you had to turn a couple of wheels to keep the target (just an ever decreasing in size blob) centered. Every minute you'd read out AZ & EL from a display and write those down with the time. When the balloon finally burst or went out of range the flight data would be sent to their HQ along with that from all the other stations around the country, who did flights at exactly the same time. The data would then form part of the national wind profile model.
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Old 01-28-2018, 6:40 PM
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The weather balloons used to send their data back on or about 75MHz - not much info, temperature, humidity and altitude. The ground tracker was to find the upper atmosphere winds. The insulated polystyrene box held all the bits and a small battery - transmitter only put out a few milliwatts into a trailing wire and also dangled a radar reflector. ISTR that there was a $5 reward for sending the box back to Met Office if you found one. Flights went every six hours from 0000 UTC.
Nowadays I guess it's got GPS tracking of position which goes into the data stream.
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Old 02-04-2018, 4:59 PM
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Originally Posted by bill4long View Post
Does this look like ham radio is dying?

http://www.arrl.org/files/media/News...ats%202014.jpg
And 2008 is around the time the cheap Chinese radios so many look down upon started flooding the market.
So it seems baofeng and the like are actually saving the hobby by creating a lower(cheaper) barrier to entry.

my fathers rig cost him a pretty penny back in the 70's even buying cheaper(at the time) Japanese gear and it continued to get more expensive and decline until the cost of entry dropped in recent years.
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