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 on: Yesterday at 09:50:50 PM 
Started by K3NRX - Last post by W2IRT
...right now, in early 2014, we appear to be in a golden age for #1 HR.  But, we won't know we are in a #1 HR drought condition for 10 or 20 years after.  We could already be in one right now for any number of reasons.  We'll never know "prospectively" that we are.  And so, we could all be fooling ourselves about #1 HR's achievability even today, when things look good.

I think that era has just about closed. Of the "decades-since-last-activated", the most recent ones in that category were VU4 and VU7. Once VU7 got a good activation, I believe that was the end of the golden era of #1s being easily achievable. Unless you were an active DXer from about 1999 or before, the chances of ever hitting HR#1 are very slim, especially if you missed Kingman Reef. I suspect it will be an extremely long time before we ever see Peter 1, Turkmenistan, Johnston, maybe Baker-Howland, or Kingman back on, and for anybody who just missed Amsterdam, you have my condolences if HR#1 is your goal.

Anything's possible, of course, and with strides for Navassa and P5, the increasingly-likely happening of Heard and a few other rumours involving TAAF I think hitting 335-338 will certainly be possible if you've been on since about 2000. But I think we're entering a period where certain places will be off-limits for decades to come, either because costs will be too high (Peter 1, maybe Bouvet), environmental nonsense (KH3, KH1, maybe ZL9 again for a long while) or political unrest (YK, 5A, 7O, EZ, etc).

 on: Yesterday at 09:44:27 PM 
Started by NN4ZZ - Last post by KA4POL
I have been told by more than one testing expert that testing Direct Sampling SDRs using the testing methods used previously is not valid and can no longer be used.

In summary, it's my understanding that new ways of testing are being explored.

The future of testing may likely change and the way we review and then measure performance.

You are right, see:

 on: Yesterday at 09:30:12 PM 
Started by K3NRX - Last post by AA6YQ
The last time we had this conversation, Larry, you were arguing that "Top of the Honor Roll" should be made easier to attain so as not to be discouragingly beyond reach. I disagreed, on the grounds that this goal has never been easier to attain. That position in no way alters the paragraph above.

Sigh.  I had so hoped you would leave this alone.  I did not want this to be about you or about you and me, for that matter.

I assume you are talking about the idea (which I did not originate, it originated years ago, but an idea I supported in the discussion) for some notion of 'suspended' entities.

As a matter of fact, in the first post I made, I expressed indifference as to whether a notion like "suspended" should be an addition or a straight up change at the outset of the discussion.

As the discussion progressed, we all tended to ignore the "addition" part, and treated it as a straight up change.  Though as a practical matter, an "addition" would be how it would be proposed in the real world.  I admit to still being indifferent as to which might be proposed.  But, formally, I am not as gung ho on a straight up change as you suppose, though you could have easily missed that bit.

Moreover, while you are of course correct that right now, in early 2014, we appear to be in a golden age for #1 HR.  But, we won't know we are in a #1 HR drought condition for 10 or 20 years after.  We could already be in one right now for any number of reasons.  We'll never know "prospectively" that we are.  And so, we could all be fooling ourselves about #1 HR's achievability even today, when things look good.  The numbers will look good well into a drought, too, because some of us have whatever is in drought now.  But, we'll still be effectively cheating many out of a fair shot at #1 HR.  Just as we did while Albania was off limits.

To me, that's the real problem.  We can go into very long droughts and only know about them after the fact.  That seems to me a bad thing for an award as important to so many as #1 HR.  For the discerning, at least, who can figure this out (and so be indifferent to #1 HR), we should hold up something achievable at all times.  Something that can reliably motivate hams at any time.  I don't care if it is "easier" or not.  It may not actually be easier (we do have many more entities than we once did).  I just want one that is fairer and one which reliably motivates everyone.  Maybe we just settle for regular HR for that role.  Maybe we put something in-between with the "suspended" concept.  Maybe we just change #1 HR's rules.  But, the fairness question is an issue at any time, even right now.

But, if you are part of that large and reliable group that don't actually care about that and only want DX to be as hard as possible (including actually impossible for many, as you have conceded before), you're entitled to your opinion. 

There are, however, other things to consider besides whether something is harder or easier.  That's just not as important to me as it is to you, I think.

However, I hope you are not among the group that thinks everyone proposing a change is primarily motivated by "making things easier".  I have met such hams.

Award sponsors should be "objective stewards" that make occasional course corrections as required. Introducing the concept of "suspended entities" to DXCC seems more violent than a course correction, an action likely to fundamentally change the nature of the award family. DXCC has survived multi-decade stretches when entities were unworkable, so I think it's premature to make such a change now. There are plenty of other attractive DXing awards around for those interested in pursuing them, e.g. the CQ WAZ family. The CQ DX Marathon is particularly attractive because it's an annual award rather than a lifetime award, eliminating the "longevity advantage" that you cited in your post; everybody has access to the same set of active DX stations. I chased this award a couple of years ago, and enjoyed it.

Ops whose QTHs limit them to wire antennas or attic antennas and seek a "fair" competition would be well served by the introduction of new award categories. There's a DXCC QRP award; why not set up a DXCC wire antenna award? The CQ DX Marathon introduced such a category this year: "Formula Class antennas, option 2: Antennas for operators choosing the 100 watt option must be either simple verticals or wire antennas lacking significant gain.  No arrays are allowed, whether vertical or horizontal.  Wire antennas, regardless of type, may not exceed 130 feet or 40 meters in length, may not be higher than 65 feet or 20 meters above ground at any point of the antenna and may be tower supported at only one point.  The tallest point of vertical antennas used may not be higher than 65 feet or 20 meters above ground.  Yagis, quads and rotatable dipoles may not be used in this category.   There is no limit on the number of antennas that may be used as long as each antenna meets the above criteria."

I hope there will come a point where LoTW makes it easy for awards sponsors other than the ARRL to obtain confirmation information. That might stimulate the creation of some interesting new DXing awards.


            Dave, AA6YQ

 on: Yesterday at 09:27:46 PM 
Started by AB9DF - Last post by KD8GEH
I agree with BYU (and have built quite a few).  Get it up as high as you can for 80 and expect near navs performance.  I have one at 40 feet that works pretty good, my best experiances are with the ends elevated (not v) flat topped.

Just do the best you can in the end and prune to the lowest swr Smiley

73 and GL  Dave  KD8GEH

 on: Yesterday at 09:24:49 PM 
Started by KD8MJR - Last post by W2IRT
I, too, am disappointed at the direction the League has taken in the last few years and I would agree that they're very old-school in their approaches to modern realities. I would like to see some changes on the BoD, which, in my opinion, has somewhat calcified and is more interested in what worked a long time ago than the realities of the 21st century.

That said, I'm not so sure about a huge and probably expensive push to get kids interested. I've seen that tried at the local level since I myself was a yoot in high school. I became a ham because I was fascinated by radio, not because I was recruited. I've seen outreaches to young people, even back in the 70s, and it was a complete disaster. If they got one 'kid' (i.e. under 18) interested every year it was heralded as a success. In 1978-ish, most of the people in my ham classes were in their 40s through their 60s. Sound familiar? Sitting behind a radio working DX or contesting is fun if that's how you define fun, which we here do. To a 10 year old, "fun" will involve playing video games for the most part. To a 16 year old "fun" will involve playing video games, learning to drive, trying to meet girls and studying to get into a good school because their lives will depend on it far more than it did for our generation. I personally think the best time to be recruited as a new ham is when your kids are in high school or just starting college, your job and marriage are secure and you have some free time to really sink your teeth into things. I'd wager that's when an awful lot of other hobbies start, too. Boating, golf, building things, etc.

But getting back to the League, I hope that someday the Board will be composed of some strong forward thinkers who aren't afraid to rip the building down to the joists and rebuild for the modern era. My division director (Mike, N2YBB) is just serving his first term as director and is doing an awesome job -- HR4969 is his baby -- and Mike's said that there are a few other firebrands who are waiting to make some noise in Newington. We can only hope.

 on: Yesterday at 09:11:44 PM 
Started by VK3FANT - Last post by WB6BYU
I ran some numbers based on the ham radio article to see what it would take to
get to 100'. Sorry these are all in Imperial units, those are the tables provided.

I could get close using "standard" pipe if the pivot point is around 13 feet off the ground.
It turns out that most sections were limited to about 12 - 14 feet by the weight of the
upper sections, assuming a tilt-up without guying or the use of a derrick / gin pole.

I started with 1 1/2" pipe for the upper section, then 2, 2 1/2, 3, 3 1/2, 4 and 5 inch
diameter sizes.  Total weight is around 800 pounds.  This was designed to hold a small
6m beam and rotator, a total load of 23 pounds and 2.5 square feet.  The exact details
will make a difference, as the curves I was working from had a fairly steep slope in places.

Given the leverage of the tower, it likely will require 2000 pounds of downward force
on the bottom of the mast to tilt it up.  Lowering the pivot point will shorten the bottom
lever arm and increase the required force.

This was more of a feasibility study than anything else.  You will need the specifics
of your available pipe sizes and your intended load to develop a specific design.

 on: Yesterday at 08:47:53 PM 
Started by WW7KE - Last post by WW7KE
China is still on 9690 at 0300, but in Chinese rather than their normal English service (9790 from Havana is CRI in English with their usual weak audio).

 on: Yesterday at 08:45:18 PM 
Started by AB9DF - Last post by WB6BYU
Forget the X value - that is transformed by the length of the coax and isn't useful
for tuning the antenna (unless you correct your measurements to account for it.)

Just find the frequency where the SWR is minimum, assume that is the resonant
frequency, and prone the wire accordingly.

 on: Yesterday at 08:44:10 PM 
Started by VK3FANT - Last post by W9WQA
i dont want to be within 150 feet of it!!

 on: Yesterday at 08:28:06 PM 
Started by KE2TR - Last post by KE2TR
Hi Hans, I have owned many amps and I have to say this is one sweet KW amp, Alphas has nothing on the Acom's, there both top shelf, low noise amp in the shack is nice, easy to tune, very well protected, Acom did an excellent job and wow a clean KW on 160 to 6 meters.
Before I bought this amp I did check out your  site, lots of info and thank you.

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