Signal Propagation

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Re: Signal Propagation

Post by Whyperion » 03 Feb 2015, 11:50

Seem to recall that a Pye set we had in the Kitchen had one band marked as MSW ( Medium Short Wave ). Cannot remember what stations were on it. Hilversum still broadcasts, more on the internet than over the air.

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Re: Amateur Radio Homebrew (Shack Culture)

Post by Tizer » 10 Feb 2015, 10:13

Ian, sorry to barge in and hijack your thread temporarily but this seemed the best place to put these pictures. As you know, we collect postcards and we found a few unrelated items yesterday in a local charity shop. One seems to have been put out by a German shortwave radio man called Edgar Huber in the 1970s and the front and reverse are shown below. I'd be grateful for any clarification of what all the numbers and code names might mean. It's all gobbeldegook to me!

Image


Image

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Re: Signal Propagation

Post by PanBiker » 10 Feb 2015, 11:40

Right Tiz, you can see I have moved your post in here as it is actually propagation related.

The card is from a German short wave listener who is asking for confirmation of a contact he heard and requesting a card back.

The cards are known as QSL cards, QSL is the short form morse equivalent of "confirmation of contact". A morse operator would send QSL to ask if the receiving station has copied what he sent. There are a whole range of different Q codes used as abbreviations.

QSL cards are exchanged by amateur radio operators to confirm contacts, many amateurs pride themselves both in the design of their own cards and their collections of the same from contacts made all over the world. Its a bit like personal postcard collecting if you will.

Right, down to the card you have found. The front image has been designed or selected by the German shortwave listener, he is a registered shortwave listener shown by the number on the signpost of the design. DE-A21-17950. the DE prefix is part of the series of letters used by German stations and he has been issued with the suffix letters probably by his national radio society they are unique to him the same as my station callsign is to me. His name and address is shown and then in the bottom left hand corner he has a little pleading man saying "PSE QSL" - As a SWL this means "Please can you confirm that I have heard this contact".

It then says "PSE QSL dr OM! Best 73, good luck!"

Translation is: Please can you confirm contact dear Old Man! Best Best wishes, good luck!"

The reference to Old Man (OM) is again a morse abbreviation and is simply an endearment such as "friend". "73" actually means "Best Wishes" so there is no real need for the preceding "Best".


The back of the card actually holds the details of the amateur radio contact he was listening to and has logged. It's partially in German but is quite easy to follow if you have an idea of what will be on the card. Post card layout for the address etc and then details of the contact:

Worked: DK5GE - this signifies that he heard G3FSH (UK England) in contact with DK5GE (German Amateur)

Date: 13/01/1971

Mez: (time): 23.45

ORG: (Band): 3.5MHz (80M Band)

Mode is on the next line with choices for CW(morse), fone (telephony) an SSB (single side band)

He has crossed out "fone" which I think is his way of indication the mode as it is followed by a signal report (RST) of 5x9 (fully readable with a strong signal strength) if it had been a morse contact there would have been a third number for tonal quality, so the contact is definitely one of the telephony modes.

RX: (receiver) Says he is using a Heathkit receiver, does not give model but these were kit built receivers.

ANT: (antenna) : Looks like a design by an American Amateur W3DZZ, probably a wire antenna design from a hobby magazine, journal or book.

Underneath all the contact information you can see that he is asking politely for a confirmation card in return. He has posted this directly to Edgar (G3FSH) he will have looked up his details in an Amateur Radio callbook which would list his address. He may also have sent the German amateur station a card as well. If everyone plays the game, the amateurs will check in their respective logs and send him their cards.

Many radio amateurs and SWL's decorate their shack walls with cards from all over the world, there are thousands of designs, some home made many more commercially produced, you can even exchange online digital versions of QSL cards all held in central repositories which for me kind of defeats the object. National radio societies operate QSL bureaux generally run by volunteers. They have regional QSL managers to organise distribution.

There is no mandatory requirement to keep a log book in the UK any longer. I log my HF contacts on an online resource which you can populate with your details including your preferences for confirmation of contacts. It acts as both a logbook and a call book so when I hear a station I can look up the details and then log a contact with that station if required. I can even send an E-QSL if I wish.

Try Googling "QSL card design" and you will see what is on offer. Many amateurs pride themselves on their QSL card designs and some are quite popular to collect. When we had Rolls Royce Amateur Radio Club going in Barlick we held the callsign G3RR for the club, our QSL card was a full colour image of an RB211 turbojet engine and was hunted quite well. I have a card somewhere from Dr Owen Garriot who was the first radio amateur to operate from the Space Shuttle, I contacted him on a flypast when I was holidaying in Portpatrick back in the 1980's again quite a good card with the shuttle and flight badge and NASA logos. I have one as well from a Russian robot satellite, (RS1 I think) one of six which they deployed from Soyuz spacecraft. These had automatic morse (CW) transponders on and if you made contact with one it instigated a QSL card for the contact after downloading its data each week. The robot transponder asked you to "PSE QSL P.O.Box 88 Moscow". All written correspondence with USSR amateurs used to go via PO Box 88 which I think was monitored by the KGB. No Russian amateurs were allowed to give direct contact details just general geographic location and how cold it was, "rubber stamp QSO". Stations over there are somewhat happier nowadays.
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Re: Signal Propagation

Post by Tizer » 10 Feb 2015, 15:38

All that information contained on one card, amazing! And so much information provided by you about the QSL cards, marvellous, thank you! Although I've been interested in postcard collecting for some years now, I'd never heard of collecting QSL cards until your reply to my post. I wonder if `Picture Postcard Monthly' has ever done an article on QSL cards, I'm sure their readers would be interested in the topic. I'll have to ask the editor!

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Re: Signal Propagation

Post by PanBiker » 10 Feb 2015, 15:56

I'll see if I can dig a few of mine out from when I used to exchange cards.
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Re: Signal Propagation

Post by Tripps » 10 Feb 2015, 16:00

Sorry, I'll have to mention it - you once told me that AT's never used the term 'best 73'
Looks like this one did. :smile: Wonderfully comprehensive reply though -I can see Tizer taking it up. Interesting that Germans put the town on the first line of the address, then the street. Logical I suppose.
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Re: Signal Propagation

Post by PanBiker » 10 Feb 2015, 19:30

Tripps wrote:Sorry, I'll have to mention it - you once told me that AT's never used the term 'best 73'
Looks like this one did. :smile:
Yes, a point I reiterated above. It's one of those little things that oyns me when on the air and difficult to correct with an operator without sounding pompous. The other thing is many will pluralise by adding an apostrophe and an s on the end which again is incorrect, 73 = "Best Wishes" nothing else required. Many operators now also give the other stations callsign last when passing transmission back which does not correctly identify the transmitting station as required by the licence.

I think some of this comes from the new stepped licence regime where Novice licence holders are given full access to the bands and the temptation to jump straight in without due regard to, or practice in correct operating procedure. This should not really happen as the licence training is given through clubs and should really nail the basics before being let loose on the bands.

It could be a whole new ballpark for Tizer and certainly not unattainable. I have never heard of anyone taking up the hobby purely for the QSL cards though.
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Re: Signal Propagation

Post by Tizer » 10 Feb 2015, 19:41

I don't need any `new ballparks', I've got too many hobbies as it is! But I'm sure there will be postcard collectors out there who would jump at the chance of another `topic' to give them an excuse to collect more cards. They're an acquisitive and inquisitive bunch and find excuses to collect cards on just about anything you and I could think of. Then they write articles for the magazine about their cards and their interests and reveal great knowledge of whatever the topic is. There was one recently which was about wolves, soldiers and the Eastern Front during the war; how wolf packs followed the soldiers and would eat the dead and injured if they got a chance. The soldiers would send out shooting parties to kill wolves and the Germans and Russians even called temporary truces when it got too much and they needed more time. The article was illustrated with postcards where the soldiers were showing off their wolf kills. Postcards were published on all sorts of things in the early 1900s!

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Re: Signal Propagation

Post by PanBiker » 10 Feb 2015, 20:04

I have just checked the GB callsign on Tizers card and it is actually G3FSA not FSH as first thought, the station is still listed on the callsign database QRZ.com. Reg had his callsign issued sometime in 1946/47 so if he is still alive he is probably well into his nineties now. I say if as the QRZ database is not always updated when a callsign holder dies. The database still list him at the same address as in 1971.
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Re: Signal Propagation

Post by Stanley » 11 Feb 2015, 04:16

In a word... fascinating....
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Re: Signal Propagation

Post by PanBiker » 17 Mar 2015, 17:52

Lancaster University Aurorawatch has been reporting enhanced auroral activity today. It was a Yellow alert (52nT) around midday enhancing to an Amber warning by 13.00 (184.4nT). It tailed off later in the afternoon but is climbing again, currently at Yellow back up at 93nT at 18.00. You can check current status here:

Aurora Watch UK

Worth having a look to the North when it comes dark.
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Re: Signal Propagation

Post by PanBiker » 18 Mar 2015, 08:54

The Auroral index continued to climb last night peaking at 376.3nT which is extremely high and was off the scale of Lancaster's graphing utility. This level equates to 10 on the K index which is "severe magnetic storm" this kind of level forces the Northern Auroral disk down to 51 degrees which encompasses Northern UK.

I had a look out on two occasions around 21.00 when the level was at 227.5nt and later around midnight when it hit the peak. I went out onto the moors above Elslack but cloud cover was sufficiently thick to obliterate all but the brightest stars. Others had more luck over on Embsay moor. I saw Aiden Wellocks photo that he put up on Facebook last night. David has copied it over on to the What Attracted thread.

This was a major event and one that may have a knock on in around 28 days time when the solar disk rotates and presents the same face. If the trigger was sunspots and coronal holes they may well still be active in a month. Its still worth looking out over the next few days especially if we get any clearer night sky.
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Re: Signal Propagation

Post by David Whipp » 18 Mar 2015, 14:03

Thanks Ian. I went up Brogden Lane without any success.

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Re: Signal Propagation

Post by PanBiker » 18 Mar 2015, 14:41

The news coverage today gave the cause as a massive CME (solar flare) erupting from the surface a few days ago. Current status is back to green with no significant activity. Worth monitoring though. You can register for mobile alerts on the AuroraWatch site or download an app if you have a smart phone. There are a number of Facebook sites (Including Lancaster) that are dedicated to monitoring for events.

It was too cloudy last night up above Elslack
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Re: Signal Propagation

Post by PanBiker » 08 Jun 2015, 11:26

Lancaster Aurora Watch went into Orange alert this morning at 7.00am (117.9nT), the norm being 20 - 30nT. There have been odd peaks just up from normal Green to Yellow over the last couple of days. It dropped back down to Yellow at 8.00am and is now back to Green. I have the mobile app so will get further alerts if it climbs again.

Later: Been back up at Yellow 10.00 then 12.00 - 14.00 and it looks like 15.00 to 16.00 may be the same, this may develop later this evening.
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Re: Signal Propagation

Post by Stanley » 09 Jun 2015, 03:46

Wonderfully esoteric. I haven't the faintest idea what the aurora is!
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Re: Signal Propagation

Post by Tizer » 09 Jun 2015, 10:35

I wonder if it's just coincidence that my alarm clock/radio, which gets its time signal hourly through `the ether' went on the blink several times - literally on the blink, counting up in seconds instead of showing a time.

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Re: Signal Propagation

Post by Stanley » 10 Jun 2015, 03:46

I have one as well Tiz and it's the most unreliable clock in the house!
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Re: Signal Propagation

Post by Tizer » 10 Jun 2015, 10:27

Don't know where to post this but it should interest Ian!
`TV signals used to track aircraft as alternative to radar' (BBC)
"Research carried out by the air traffic control provider Nats and its partners suggests that existing TV signals could be used to track aircraft, providing a cheaper alternative to radar. TV signals use different parts of the radio spectrum to radar, but both bounce off solid objects. Using special receivers, researchers said they were able to track up to 30 planes simultaneously flying at altitudes of up to 10,000ft (3km)."....LINK

I noted this near the end of the report: "But the idea behind the project is far from new. In 1935, radar pioneer Sir Robert Watson-Watt successfully bounced a radio wave from a BBC short-wave transmitter off a Heyford bomber, indicating the technology worked."

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Re: Signal Propagation

Post by Stanley » 11 Jun 2015, 04:16

Am I right in thinking that Sir Robert Watson-Watt was one of the first people caught speeding by radar? I have an idea it was in Canada.....
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Re: Signal Propagation

Post by PanBiker » 23 Jun 2015, 07:25

We are being battered at the moment by solar radiation. Lancaster Aurora alert went red yesterday between 6.00pm and 8.00pm still too light to see any visible Aurora. Intensity dropped off towards midnight returning to amber alert through 1.00am - 3.00am. At 4.00am the levels hit red again at 368nT, 312nT and 207nt by 6.00am. These are exceptionally high levels by any means and should have resulted in visible Aurora almost anywhere in the UK. Current level is still at 134.5nT which is Amber alert level which will give possible Aurora in Scotland, Northern England and Northern Ireland. Don't know the cause yet, there is one large sunspots on the face of the solar disk with another just showing on the side, it could be sunspot but levels such as these are more likely to be from a massive CME event.

Quick check: Confirmed on Aurora Watch UK Alert Page on Facebook - Coronal Mass Ejection

Aurora Watch UK - Facebook

Aurora Watch UK - Graph
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Re: Signal Propagation

Post by Tizer » 23 Jun 2015, 08:50

Blimey. Add to that the weather forecaster's warnings of very high levels of UV and pollen today and you feel it should be a day for staying in bed!

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Re: Signal Propagation

Post by PanBiker » 23 Jun 2015, 09:00

Exceptionally high levels Tiz, higher than the event earlier in the year. There are odd photos of visible aurora from the South coast from the early hours. Problem of course is that the sky is not particularly dark at mid summer. Northern Scotland especially hardly reaches darkness at this time of the year.
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Re: Signal Propagation

Post by Stanley » 24 Jun 2015, 03:38

That's what broke my parting tools yesterday and knocked my mouse out.....
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Re: Signal Propagation

Post by PanBiker » 11 Aug 2015, 11:36

Tizer refers to the Perseids meteor shower in his Science News thread, this is one of the peak times for MS (Meteor Scatter) propagation on the amateur radio bands. This propagation method is based on reflecting signals from the brief ionized trails of meteors entering the atmosphere. Signals although extremely short bounce off the trails at obtuse angles and can be reflected over great distances. To cater for the extremely short duration of the signal bursts, East West and then West East transmissions are made on alternate minutes, one way going on the odd minutes and the other on the even minutes. Within the various sections of the band plan there are international agreed spot frequencies for MS propagation. Everyone calls and listens on the same frequency. Many simultaneous contacts can be made on the same frequency as signal separation is afforded by the different angle that each arrives and leaves the ionized trail. Directional beam antennas are used to target the radiant point of the shower. Most contacts will be made using high speed Morse or via digital data modes. it can take multiple exchanges on the odd and even minutes to complete a full QSO, (contact).
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