Monthly Archives: April 2008

NASA Offers “4D” Live Model of Earth’s Ionosphere – Propagation Study Aid

NASA is offering a major Ionosphere Study Aid – their 4D Live Model





Today, NASA-funded researchers released to the general public a new “4D” live model of Earth’s ionosphere. Without leaving home, anyone can fly through the layer of ionized gas that encircles Earth at the edge of space itself. All that’s required is a connection to the Internet.

“This is an exciting development,” says solar physicist Lika Guhathakurta of NASA headquarters in Washington, DC. “The ionosphere is important to pilots, ham radio operators, earth scientists and even soldiers. Using this new 4D tool, they can monitor and study the ionosphere as if they’re actually inside it.”


Very neat – builds off Google Earth – check out their (NASA) website for a demo and links!



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Hamic – The Ham Intelligent Calculator

Hamic is an interesting program designed to solve many of the mathematical problems a Ham might research.

Hamic Screenshot

To quote:

Hamic – The Ham Intelligent Calculator


The Ham Intelligent Calculator, also called Hamic, is a program designed to simplify a number of calculations commonly used by Hams. It is designed for the Ham radio hobbyist, but may be useful to others as well. Hamic has a simple to use, but powerful graphical interface that allows solving simple circuits such as resistors in series or parallel, or more complex circuits such as L networks or T networks. As well, other calculations such as SWR, reactance, resonant frequency, inductance of an air core coil, and antenna impedance are supported. One of the more powerful features of Hamic is to solve for almost any unknown variable in a circuit; Hamic can even solve L networks without having to use Smith charts. Also, Hamic can easily convert between a number of different units. Once you have finished your work, your calculations can be saved to a worksheet and retrieved later. People interested in working with circuits or antennas should check this program out!


Here is a list of the calculations Hamic currently supports:

  • Resistors in series or parallel
  • Capacitors in series or parallel
  • Inductors in series or parallel
  • Impedances in series or parallel
  • Reactance with capacitors
  • Reactance with inductors
  • L Networks (2 possible configurations)
  • Pi Networks
  • T Networks
  • SWR calculations
  • Unit Conversions
    • Length/Distance
    • Area
    • Volume (Dry)
    • Volume (Fluid)
    • Weight/Mass
  • Wavelength/Frequency Conversions
  • Length of a Half-Wave Dipole
  • Resonant Frequency
  • Antenna Impedance (using Autek RF1 or other instrument)
  • Inductance of an Air Core Coil

There is of course a person’s option to directly manipulate the math, but Hamic looks like a slick way to put structure & error checking to a Ham’s calculations. 

Hamic can be run for a period as trial-ware and then a modest fee is due.  I’m giving the program a whirl as I do some antenna farm planning.  The registration fee seems a bargin compared to miscutting a bunch of tunning stubs because I flubbed the math.


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Differing Opinions – The Field Day Control Operator (and at Other Times)

It is always something I enjoy, receiving and reading the newspaper “World Radio” publication.

Never fail to find something of interest in it.

One column that has left me puzzled though, is John johnston W3BE’s “Rules & Regs.”

So often the opinions offered in that column are completely at odds with the interpretations of the FCC, ARRL, OOs and about every amateur out there.

The May 2008 issue offers a rash of opinions – mind you “opinions” – on Control Operators, Club Stations, Field Day Stations and the like which are skewed enough, whether exploring special cases or full of logical fallacies based on unstated conditions assumed, as to be impossible to use as a guide.

The motives of creating such confusion or misrepresenting a very narrowly held ultra-restrictive view of FCC rules as broadly accepted FCC practice is most likely an editorial decision we will never really get an insight into.

But the questions covered are serious, deserving accurate interpretation & guidelines.

The ARRL has a great summary FAQ on the Control Operator question:

Who’s in Control of Your Station?

The ARRL expands on a whole group of common FCC questions at:  

Regulatory Frequently Asked Questions

Topics covered include:


  • Amateur Operation in International Waters FAQ
  • Application Filing FAQ
  • ARES® vs RACES FAQ: Two Flavors of Amateur Radio Emergency Operation
  • Bandwidth Proposal
  • Club Station License FAQ
  • Equipment Authorization FAQ, FCC
  • FCC Amateur Communications and Operations FAQ
  • FCC Duplication and Call Sign Research Contractor
  • Local Government Zoning Restriction “How To” Chart
  • Prospective Amateur Radio Operator FAQ
  • Reciprocal Licensing FAQ
  • Repeaters, Auxiliary Stations, and “Remote Base” FAQ
  • Special Event 1 X 1 Call Sign FAQ
  • Vanity Call Sign FAQ, ARRL
  • Vanity Call Sign FAQ, FCC
  • Voice over the Internet Protocol and Amateur Radio FAQ
  • Who’s in Control of Your Station?
  • 60 Meter FAQ
  • So there is no need to worry about what a single individual reinterprets the FCC rules as, when you have access to the actual FCC rules and “plain text” from the ARRL to guide you.


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    FCC’s Blind Love of BPL Shot Down in US Court of Appeals Decision

    The ARRL’s contention that the FCC was in violation putting BPL interests ahead of Licensees (including Amateur Radio) was support by the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in a landmark decision.

    From the ARRL Press Release:

    Court Finds FCC Violated Administrative Procedure Act in BPL Decision (Apr 25, 2008 ) — The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit today released its decision on the ARRL’s Petition for Review of the FCC’s Orders adopting rules governing broadband over power line (BPL) systems. The Court said, “We grant the [ARRL’s] petition in part and remand the rule to the Commission. The Commission failed to satisfy the notice and comment requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA“) by redacting studies on which it relied in promulgating the rule and failed to provide a reasoned explanation for its choice of the extrapolation factor for measuring Access BPL emissions.”

    The decision of 38 pages of legalese can be found at:

    Expect a “plain language” summary in the next few days from the ARRL.  EDIT – Here is the full ARRL Write-Up:

    Well done to the league as the interests of licensed Radio Amateurs everywhere have been solidly reaffirmed.


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    Amateur Radio Military Appreciation Day 2008 – May 24th 2008



    PRESS RELEASE (as a Veteran I simply HAVE to post this!):
    Amateur Radio Military Appreciation Day 2008

    ARMAD 2008 is approaching. ARMAD is Amateur Radio Military Appreciation Day.

    It is an event that allows the people from our communities to give messages of support and appreciation to our Troops, Veteran’s, Military Retired, and First Responders over Amateur Radio.

    ARMAD is always held on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. In 2008 it falls on May 24TH. It is a Special Event, and can be an individual effort, or the joint effort of your local Amateur Radio Club. The main goal of ARMAD is to generate publicity for our hobby while providing a great public service to our local communities, our military members; and their families.

    ARMAD also encourages Military Support Groups, and Veterans organizations to be involved in the event. It can be a small event or a community affair with as much activity such as entertainment, speakers, and other participation as each ARMAD location or individual venue wants to organize.

    ARMAD was founded in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and we have a full program, bands, children’s activities, displays, Soldiers, and First Responders on location to give the people that attend something to do while also learning about Amateur Radio. We encourage third party QSO’S, and the passing of traffic during the event.

    Although the main event is held in Fort Wayne, Indiana, we invite all Amateur Radio Operators Worldwide to participate. We operate on HF, VHF, PSK31, VOIP, and APRS. It is up to each individual or club how they run the event, and what modes they use. We encourage each location to QSO each other, and to check in with the host Station in Fort Wayne. ARMAD has no operating rules and is meant to be a fun event that gives the people of our communities a chance to see our hobby at work, and also gives the public hands on experience with the hobby.

    A list of the main operating modes and frequencies are listed at however you may operate anywhere in the ham bands. The ARMAD web page can be found at

    How do you get involved with ARMAD? Mainly by just getting on the air and calling CQ ARMAD. This can be done as an individual at home, mobile, or as an Amateur Radio Club effort. We invite you to check in with the host ARMAD location in Fort Wayne, and with other stations that are involved on air during the event. We encourage you to set up at public venues, such as parks, VA Hospitals, Military Bases or other Memorial Day Events. We have found out that people like the idea of helping to support those that serve our Country, and want to learn more about Amateur Radio.

    Why participate in ARMAD? ARMAD helps us promote Amateur Radio to the general public. It also provides a public service that is for a good cause. Our Troops, and Veterans need our support. Many of them are serving as Reserves or in the National Guard so they have a unique connection to our communities. Many are our sons, daughters, relatives, and neighbors. Many of our States have large numbers of these men and women deployed. ARMAD gives us, and the people of our communities a way to share messages of support and gives military families a chance to see that support in action.

    Let’s ‘Ham It Up For The Troops’ this Memorial Day Weekend. Fill the bands with positive messages of thanks and appreciation for those that sacrifice to keep this nation free.

    ARMAD also includes all Coalition Forces.




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    Hiberling PT-8000 – On Show at Dayton 2008

    PT-8000 block diagram

    Hiberling PT-8000 Block Diagram (click for full sized version)

    The Hiberling PT-8000 should again be on show at the Array Solutions booth during the Dayton Hamvention.

    Jay has said that they should be in the position to get serious about the product as the finishing touches are put into it.

    The lineup has been expanded (or I missed this one at first) with an exceptionally pure output signal 10w version.  This could make the basis for a “Reference Grade” station, provided the PT-8000c is teamed with a high quality amp.

    More on this radio from Dayton in a few weeks!

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