My subscription to Life expired, but I still have a subscription to Mad.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

TAPR's packetRADIO


After returning home from Hamvention 30 years ago, I wrote the following for ARRL's packet radio newsletter Gateway:
TAPR UNVEILS packetRADIO AT DAYTON
The Tucson Amateur Packet Radio (TAPR) booth at the Dayton Hamvention was buzzing with the unveiling of a number of new packet-radio products including prototypes of the TAPR "packetRADIO," a low-cost (approximately $250) two-stage VHF transceiver designed exclusively for packet-radio applications. TAPR's packetRADIO features 9600 baud FSK and 1200 baud AFSK 2-meter operation with 25 watts output, five crystal-controlled channels and a transmit-receive turnaround time of less than one millisecond (ms).  
The working prototypes displayed at the Hamvention were the result of a six-week crash project by TAPR. Beta-testing will begin soon with the radios expected to be available to the general public in approximately six months.
TAPR's packetRADIO generated a lot of excitement at Hamvention in 1989, but the project was never completed and was eventually cancelled to the disappointment of many packeteers including myself.

Fast-forward 30 years...

While cleaning out the TAPR warehouse, John Koster, W9DDD, found the packetRADIO prototype and brought it to the TAPR board meeting for show and tell. I ended up with it and brought it home to add to my collection of vintage packet radio TNCs.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

AM Radio at Dawn on I-80


The second leg of my drive home from Hamvention began at 6 AM, about 5 minutes before sunrise on Monday morning in Hubbard, Ohio. Since nighttime propagation was still in effect, I was curious as to what the AM flamethrowers on the East Coast sounded like in the Midwest.

First, I tuned to 880 to listen for WCBS. My favorite news station was in and out vying with an unidentified religious station.

Next, I tuned to 1010 to listen for WINS, my other favorite news station. I was surprised to find 1010 completely dead.

I tuned up to 1080, the home of WTIC, my local flamethrower and it was loud and clear with no sign of another station on frequency. I was impressed.

1700 was my next target. Hoping to hear WJCC – not a flamethrower, but a 1 kW FLA station I heard mobile in Connecticut. Instead, I found the reborn WRCR with a weak, but solid signal.

I tuned back to 880 to see how WCBS's signal behaved as the sun rose. For nearly a half hour, WCBS hung in there. Most of the time, it was very weak, but occasionally, it was solid for a minute or two. It finally dropped out of sight at about 6:45. I did not hear WCBS again until I was in Eastern Pennsylvania four hours later.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

First Es at KA3JAW

WSMR RDS on KA3JAW's Sony HD XDR-S3HD Receiver Display

Mike Schaffer, KA3JAW, reported his first 2019 'in-season' FM-DX reception via Es.

On Friday, May 10, from 10:55 AM to 12:14 PM EDT, Mike heard and saw (RDS text) classical station WSMR on 89.1 FM in Sarasota, Florida, from 1,023 miles distance to Easton, Pennsylvania, via Sporadic-E.

Prior to the reception of WSMR, at 9:35 AM EDT, the MUF was 77 MHz over Maidenhead grid square FM07 (Lynchburg, Virginia) when he was hearing Alabama, Florida and Georgia on the Citizen Band Radio Service (27 MHz/11 meters).

At 11:30 AM EDT, 88.3 WPOZ in Orlando, Florida, also with RDS was received via Sporadic-E.

At 11:59 AM EDT, the MUF rose to 95 MHz above FM06 (Roxboro, North Carolina).

KA3JAW's antenna is an outdoor Antennacraft Y526 designed for VHF-low band TV that is only 114 inches (9.5 feet) off the ground, just 4 inches past the peak of his backyard shed roof, aimed south-southwest. This proves you do not need a high antenna on a tower to receive FM-DX via Es as the signal path is coming in on a low radiation angle.

Mike has posted a couple of videos on YouTube documenting Friday's DX, here and here.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Hamvention Bound

This time next week, I will be in Ohio to attend Hamvention.

I will be making a short presentation at the TAPR Forum, which starts Friday morning at 9:15 AM in Room 1. Also, I will be staffing TAPR's booths (Building 5, booths 5001-5003) throughout the weekend and attending the TAPR-AMSAT Annual Banquet Friday evening.

If you will be attending Hamvention, I hope to see you there!

Monday, April 29, 2019

PSR #141 is Available

The Spring 2019 issue (#141) of TAPR's quarterly newsletter, Packet Status Register (PSR), is now available for downloading here.