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The LOWDOWN This Month In the Feb 2018 issue of the club publication:
"DX Downstairs" Kevin Carey presents members' LF and VLF loggings, now including Amateur Radio Service activity.
"On The Air" Experimenters operating on the 160-190kHz and lower bands... and...
"The Top End" MedFER and HiFER beacon lists, and..
"Operator Contact List" Our most thorough update in years... and...
"The LF Notebook" Conducted by John Davis. News from, for and about LWCA members. This month, the real story behind what's being called "quantum" or "magnetic radio;" and the phantasy physics of the AMEBA mechanical ELF/VLF transmit antenna project.
"Natural Radio" by Rick Ferranti. Analysis of some popular whistler receiver designs.
"600 Meter Snapshot" Excerpts of the latest WD2XSH quarterly report by Fritz Raab.
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LF-MF Ham Rules in Effect Many amateurs have received operating approval.
The Federal Communications Commission rules for the 630 and 2200 meter ham bands, are outlined in the FCC's recent Report & Order, were published in the Federal Register as of June 12, but the new rules did not take effect after the usual 30 days because coordination arrangements still had to be worked out on procedures for the required PLC frequency coordination with Utilities Telecom Council. The Office of Management and Budget has now approved the plan. Details can be found in this post by W1TAG. Other posts in the Message Board detail hams' experiences dealing with the UTC PLC database folks, and in getting on the air. Most of the new activity, as expected, has been at 630 meters.
In addition to these two new WRC bands, the Docket 15-99 proposals will relieve HiFER hobbyists of CODAR interference in a few years, elevate the status of amateur operation between 1800 and 2000 kHz, and impact experimentation below 9 kHz as well, because radio spectrum is now formally allocated down to 8.3 kHz.
LW Resources & Additional Topics
Related Longwave Sites
William Hepburn's DX Information Centre has probably the best online list of aero and marine beacons based on official license information, plus lists of time signals and numerous resources for other types of DXing as well.
The searchable RNA database of LF beacons...not compiled from official sources, but a digest of signal reports from experienced listeners in North and Central America. It's a great tool for identifying those unknown signals. It won't always be up-to-date regarding decommissioned beacons, of course. This might somewhat limit its usefulness in targeting specific beacons to listen for, but it's still helpful if you pay attention to the most recent reported date for a given beacon.
LF/MF Amateur Radio Sites. Now that the 2200 and 630 meter bands are finally available in the US to amateurs, not just Part 5 licensees, there's even more interest in websites about ham operation. We'll be adding more links soon, but for now we'll begin with:
- John Langridge's Site including 630 m QSO List - www.500kc.com Ralph M. Hartwell W5JGV documents (mainly the history of) the WD2XSH Part 5 license and its participants.
If you know of more ham sites that should be included, or find broken links, please advise us at email@example.com ASAP.
Radio Waves Below 22 kHz Renato Romero's eclectic collection of topics pertaining to both manmade and natural radio signals from near DC to the upper end of audibility. Includes the VLF Open Lab, and articles by many contributors...some fairly orthodox, and some not. Visit: www.vlf.it Not viewable online but a resource which can be ordered there...Michael Oexner's North American and European NDB Handbooks, now updated for 2017 (click link for info in PDF form).
QRSS and WOLF Software
Rik Strobbe's QRSS software (for transmitting extremely slow CW) and Rik's other useful software at the ON7YD download page.
Continuing Development of Argo. Alberto di Bene posts the latest version of Argo, a receiving tool for displaying slow CW, that performs FFT spectral analysis and displays it in ways optimized for QRSS. Many of the transoceanic LF amateur records were set using Argo at the receiving end. Argo has somewhat similar performance to Spectran, but interacts better with the user's soundcard and is customized for QRSS modes.
WOLF. Stewart Nelson devised this unique mode, a variant of BPSK. See his announcement of the MS-DOS version for more details. Now, a GUI-based version by Wolf Büscher continues to increase the mode's popularity. Find the new software at the DL4YHF site.
Spectrum Lab, at that same link, is another of Wolf's creations. In conjunction with your computer's sound card, not only is it an especially advanced spectrum analyzer, but it's also a filtering and sound processing tool, and can serve as the demodulator part of a software defined receiver.
Slow CW for Linux. Claudio Girardi (IN3OTD) has released Slow CW software for users of the Linux operating system, currently v 0.42. The program (called glfer) contains both transmit and receive capability, the latter including an FFT-based spectrum analyzer somewhat similar to those found in popular Windows Slow CW programs.
As with much open-source software in the X-world, you have to compile the C source code yourself. Users will also need additional code libraries. Links to those, plus downloadable source code, can be found at Claudio's glfer page.