Loss of Balance – All Zoomed Out

Like many of us the meetings I would have attended for work and for family have largely gone virtual. Zoom, Teams, FaceTime, Teleconference, or any variety of synthetic meeting systems replaced face to face events.

Zoomed Out and Bloodshot!

Or what would have been done in person has been reduced to a text, email or just gets skipped.

You hobby is facing the perceived need to hold its usual hamfests as virtual events for a second year.

Discussing in email, telephone and on-air exchanges whether one intends to buy a ticket and attend, several of us have decided that we are “all zoomed out” intending to give the events a pass.

Often mentioned is the lack of camaraderie of virtual substitutes and the reality that you can time-shift anything you did want to watch to a personally more convenient time slot.
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Non-Radio – 3D printed Medium Format Camera

Decided to return to a bit of conventional Film-Based photography and as I would eventually like to return to developing my own B&W film, I decided to return to the medium format film size, as I found that the larger contact prints of the medium format film substituted for an enlarger in a pinch.

My photography history is both legacy and practical.  One of my grandfathers had a commercial photography studio, and from young on I was sent out with an Argus C-3 with a bulk-loaded cartridge of Kodax Tri-Ex to take pictures.  My films were developed and contact prints made right at the studio, and Grandpa Sig would go over the contact sheets with constructive advice.  We would print off the worthwhile shots, including much darkroom finagling.  Cropping, shading, and every sort of adjustment were part of his lessons.

My the end of elementary school I was developing film in a black bag, and eventually had a mini-darkroom sans enlarger in the basement.
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Why a long lossy feed line masks true SWR

Locally members of our ham community have long though that long feed lines of indifferent/generic/almost-like feed lines are the bee’s knees.

During Field Day there has been times where really long feedlines were deployed as the trusty old MFJ SWR meter reported a good match. Yet the setup was nearly mute and while it appeared to hear better it was more deaf than expected.


Because the long lossy feed line does do stuff, including somewhat masking the true situation.

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Thinking Ahead – Will you be White-listed, Black-list or Grey-listed through Emcomm as an Amateur Radio Operator

Another in the Thinking Ahead series started with https://k9zw.wordpress.com/2019/09/10/im-a-ham-or-am-i/

It has been a while since I continued this series, but current affairs seem to make it worth exploring again.  Suggest that the reader check out at least some of the initial batch of posts in the “Think Ahead” series.

In previous posts I discussed about “lists.”

Here I’d like to explore what are White, Black and Gray Lists, how you might find yourself on one or more, and what it might mean to you as an amateur radio operator.

Recap, what are lists?  While taught doctrine uses “White, Black and Gray” as labels more exact labels would be “Good Guys,” “Bad Guys,” and the “Unknowns.  Before anyone gets uptight about the taught labels, the were drawn from popular use in Western Movies and Books.

Who maintains the lists? The lists are arbitrary creations by the users.  They create the criteria and place people into their lists.  This means that while you might be “White Listed” for one agency, an agency that doesn’t know you will likely put you into a “Gray List.”

Who can see the lists? They are seldom published, with the exception of public listings that declare a label (“Domestic Terrorist” is one such “Black List” label we are seeing in the news right now).  For the most part you will usually only be able to infer which list you are one unless the list creator tells you or publishes your status.

Recap on what they mean:

White List – “Good Guys” like the cowboys wearing the white hats in the movies.  The ones you believe you can trust.
Black List – “Bad Guys” like the cowboys wearing the black hats in the movies.  The ones you know are untrustworthy.
Gray List – “Everyone Else” like the background people in the cowboy movies.  The people you don’t have enough information to classify into the White or Black List.

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Amazon Starting to Pay Attention to the non-FCC Approved merchandise being offered

It seems that some Amateurs are mistaking the new Amazon rules for sellers as Buyers Rules – https://forums.qrz.com/index.php?threads/amazon-will-require-proof-of-fcc-certification-for-radios-that-are-being-sold.747681/

Sometimes this sort of forum thread drift happens when people doesn’t read the references and jump to conclusions.  Sometimes it is unfortunately bored posters “spicing up the discussion” with conjectures and posts intending to get a rise out of others.

First it is worth checking out what Amazon really said. Amazon’s links:
Radio Frequency Devices (for sellers) https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/external/help.html?itemID=GHXJGN6T5K8HGGWW
Action Memo (for sellers)https://sellercentral.amazon.com/forums/t/action-required-for-radio-frequency-device-listings-on-amazon-com/781188

Now set aside the unfiltered comments and ready just what the Amazon memos say.  Remember that in no case will someplace like Amazon even tacitly give as much as a wink-wink approval to products they know are illegal.

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Preaching to the Choir – An FCC Scold to the Wrong Team

I wanted to let this silly ARRL and FCC thing simmer a while before pointing out that these folks are “preaching to the choir.”

In case you missed this when they put it out:

Dear ARRL Central Division Member,

I have received a number of inquiries asking why the statement from ARRL HQ titled ” The ARRL on the Purpose of Amateur Radio”
had been sent this afternoon. The online web version can be seen here;


Please take a look at the other news piece that was posted today on the ARRL.org Website. The attached link has the Enforcement Advisory posted by the FCC today, Sunday 17Jan21.
Hopefully this will provide the context for the letter sent today from the ARRL HQ.


73, Kermit Carlson W9XA


Here is a direct link to the original FCC scold – https://www.fcc.gov/document/amateur-personal-radio-users-reminded-not-use-radios-crimes

This whole thing is silly and misses the point that FCC-Licensed and ARRL-affiliated hams should be considered to always be “wearing the white hat.”  Hams=Good Guys, not the problem.

The scold should have reserved for non-licensed activists openly carrying HTs while doing social mischief.  These activists appeared to be using Chinese HT’s and web sources suggest that these HTs were reprogramed to obscure their unlicensed use.

And the licensed ham should have been encouraged to use their capabilities to monitor and if possible record/identify/locate those misusing Amateur and other frequencies.

Our amateur radio community basically self-polices itself for the FCC, largely self-administrates its testing process, and has a century of goodwill working with the government.

Remember that is a government we elect and fund – a government drawn from the people including Radio Amateurs.

It usually is counterproductive to punish, which includes shaming, the innocent.

Wiser would have been to have engaged the Radio Amateur community to assist in solving the problem.

It is very curious that the ARRL rolled-over rather than pushing back and on its own encouraged a positive ham participation in solving the problem.  As a group we directly pay to represent our hobby they fell short of expectations.  It seemed like the ARRL response was mostly about liability reduction than stepping up be a positive influencer.

I think we can do better – so let’s go for it.  Taking cue from the OO (Official Observer) concepts of the past, it is time to monitor and report to the FCC and law enforcement the interlopers.



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