Monthly Archives: February 2008

REPOST: Checking for Spots – Effective use of DX Clusters – Part I

DX spots are real time reports of distant radio contacts made on various frequencies by various stations, which aggregated show propagation conditions into these areas.

Basically they are reports by amateurs of the DX they just worked, share to help others understand what propagation is at the moment and to encourage other stations to work the DX station.

The exact formats vary, but the components are DX Callsign, Time, Frequency, Reporting Station Callsign and Comments

These reports are shared by telnet, internet and packet radio.

An example is this screen shot of a quiet DX moment:

DX Spot Screen Shot

Some sample links to internet DX Spots are:

DX Summit
eHam DX Spots
N5IN DX Spots Resource Page

Pay particular notice to comments that say things like:

Up 1 – (means the DX is working Split and is listening 1 up from his transmission frequency)
QSX – also means the DX is working Split
200-210 – means the DX is listening to stations calling between those frequencies (Split again)
QRT – the station just stopped transmitting
QSY – the station moved frequencies or bands
CQing or cqn – the DX station is calling CQ
CQ NA – the DX station is calling CQ for specific areas, countries or numbers
6,7’s – the DX station is taking QSOs from US stations by callsign number, and is currently taking 6’s and 7’s
List – the DX station periodically asks for stations to call, forms what is heard into a list and works the QSOs in list order
Net – the DX station is participating in a DX net, and the net periodically takes calls for a list
WWDX, Sprint, BARC – the reported stations is working a contest – the name could be any one of hundreds of contests
test – the reported station is in a contest
via callsign – the QSL route is through the callsign in the comments
simplex – the DX is now transmitting & receiving on the same frequency (usually after working split for a period)
RTTY, Hell, PSK31 – the DX is working in that digital mode

There are many more, watch spots for a while and you will get the feel.

Unfortunately the comments section is sometimes used to editorialize or complain about other stations.

So how does one use Spots?

Check back for “Checking for Spots – Effective use of DX Clusters – Part II”



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REPOST: On the Bounce – Propagation Studies Primer by AE4RV

Billed as “A Simple HF Propagation Primer” Geoffrey Noles AE4RV has done an excellent Flash Media on-line quick course in propagation.

AE4RV Propagation Primer Screen Shot

All the major topics are clearly explained and drawn!

Well done!




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Heat to Electricity to Radio – Thermocouple Electrical Power Generation?

GlobalTEG Thermo Electric Generator

Electrical Power Generation From Heat – not far fetched, as isn’t that how a steam plant works? 

But what about Direct Electrical Power Generation From Heat?  That seems a bit more a task.

At my favorite coffee shop, The Red Cup on Washington Island, I noticed a self-contained electric fan.  It used a thermocouple type of set up to generate enough power to run a small electric fan.

 Very cool!

SO what about powering a radio this way?

Seems it has been done.  England and Russia both had commerical offerings well into the 1950’s for Kerosene powered generators for radios!

Here is a website with several featured:

In the modern market place these themogenerators are available and mostly used commerically:

Now whether a small system would work for an amateur radio station needs to be worked out.

Certainly if buffered by a battery bank it would work.

Watching eBay for one of these vintage Thermo Electric Generators to give it w a whirl!



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Shiver & Moan – Ready for Spring at K9ZW

It continues to be either silly cold or over the top with snow here in Northeastern Wisconsin. 

Temperatures have seldom gone too much below -10F (-23c), but they have been there often and for lengthy periods.  The National Weather Service has declared it the snowiest winter they have recorded for Wisconsin.

Equipment is starting to show signs of winter fatigue.  Quite a number of cable-ties used to tidy-up the tower have snapped in the cold.   My anti-climb guards have part fallen away (one must be under the 2 foot of snow out there) as a result. 

The heavy layer of ice fortunately came from rain on top of snow, so the wire antennas were ok.  Getting out to check them is a bit of a slog, and I enlisted one of my sons to put on shoeshoes to run around the property checking things over.

Ready for Spring here!



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Calling CQ – Jeff KE9V Returns to Writing Online

Jeff KE9V of Long Delayed Echos fame has returned to writing about (mostly) amateur radio in his new Weblog “Calling CQ” at

His popular “Long Delayed Echos” podcasts are also available for download at his site.Welcome back!



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AmQRP’s “NUE-PSK Digital Modem” Reviewed in QST and QEX

AmQRP’s  “NUE-PSK Digital Modem“ which I have written about before, is again in the press.

This time it is in the ARRL Magazines QST and QEX

PDF copies of the Articles are at:

Check out the articles!

I am eagerly awaiting the unit I’d ordered to arrive!



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