Jim's GAZETTE #116


N3DQU@...
 

Jim's GAZETTE
Newsletter #116
20 February 2002

Please feel free to forward this newsletter to any and all interested
parties, or to reproduce it in
any other publication. All we ask is that you give credit where it is due.

SHORT NOTES: The WPX contest drew a crowd. The highest score I've seen came
from 3Z0WPX. This special callsign was based in Poland. Four operators in a
multi/2 transmitter setup (Chris SP7GI provided the antenna farm and rigs),
made over 2500 Q's and 4.7 million points. That's a genuine WOW! It doesn't
look like
that short CW Sprint hurt this bunch of guys!

3Z's result lends credence to AA5AU's claim as to the total number of RTTY
operators around the world. Don made 11,660 Q's in 2001 with 3306 unique call
signs. That's a bit high because it counts KI6DY and KI6DY/0 as two stations.
1312 of these were US/VE, 1984 were DX. Interesting numbers!

Troy W4AJJ took me to task about Pactor. Hi! He asked me to tune to 7080
daily at 3-5 PM where I'd find half a dozen Pactor stations hang out for
QSO's in both
I and II. (See more about
Pactor below).

Bryan G3GOT thinks PSK is the 'second childhood' mode (as opposed to
Kindergarten!). 'PSK creates a great feeling of nostalgia among those of us
who are old
enough to have been there before,' says he. And, adds, 'It's good to know
there are still people in ham radio who can type more than 599 TU 73.' Bryan
is just one
of many old-timers who returned to their rigs after long absence because of
PSK's basic appeal. I saw this on the screen moments ago, ' . . . PSK created
a real
revival in my ham radio interest level.'

Don't miss this historic event! Bill NA2M reminds us of a happening the likes
of which has not taken place for 1001 years. At 8:02PM EST on 20 February,
the
time/date will be in perfect harmony-20:02 20/02 2002. Don't wait up for the
next one (1001 years down the road)!

Here's a good propagation education site. K9LA, who does the ARRL propagation
bulletin has a website at www.arrl.org/tis/info/k9la-prop.html.

KG4DX (Guantanamo) will be active 22-27 February. Op will be Bill W4WX. HR3
(Honduras) will be very busy 16 February-3 March. KB0CY, KB9DPF and
W3QA will be on as time allows while involved in a medical mission. PSK, CW
and SSB 40-10 meters. QSL home callsigns.

The 21st Annual ARRL/TAPR Digital Communications Conference will be 13-15
September in Denver. Papers must be submitted by 5 August. Details at
www.tapr.org/dcc.

I don't understand why the VP8 group risked their lives to go to S. Sandwich
and S. Georgia, but despite all that nature could throw up against them, they
made
70,428 QSO's in about eleven days on air activity.


There has been a mass of comment about two dimensions of the contest logging
problem. The first problem is not new. Fact: too few of the participants in a
contest
file a log. All the heavy-hitters do, of course, but to the casual contester,
there is little if any incentive to file. Unlike one's income tax return,
there is neither penalty nor
reward attached to the filing process. Most simply pass it by. Thus the
inventory of check-logs is small and insufficient to the task. Phil GU0SUP
points out that in
ANARTS only three G-stations submitted logs, a tiny fraction of those who
played in the contest.

It's an uphill battle, for two reasons. First, the same small group of
super-stars wins most of the prizes, over and over again. They love it and
deserve it, but their
dominance demotes most of the entrants from the 'I want to win' category to
the 'I just want to play' group. So they have a little fun and go on about
their lives.

The second reason is equally serious. John VK4CE writes, 'It's no wonder that
submission rates are down. I've had my WPX 2002 log returned by the robot two
times, so far. The frustration of having to do this over and over will lead
me to join the ranks of those who do not bother.' Ah, the price of progress.
John suggests that
the robots get thrown overboard! Shelby K4WW chimes in with a comment about
the famed robot, suggesting that 'it' doesn't know what 'it' means. HI Sadly,
a
string of Emails will solve that problem NOT! As they say, 'back to the
drawing board!'

Peter G3PLX strikes again! His habit of reprocessing old ideas and technology
and dressing them in new clothing led to very significant progress in our
digital arena.
AMTOR was one example, PSK31, the latest and perhaps the most significant.
Now he enters a brand new field and, though it relates directly to a current
digital
development, it has broad application to the entire amateur spectrum.

I found out something of this quite accidentally. First, Fred OH/DK4ZC
Emailed some comments about Pactor II and the rumored III. Pactor and its use
is a
controversial issue in DL, to say the least. In any event, the next thing I
knew he forwarded a copy of a memo between G3PLX and Les VK2DSG. Les had
recorded the sounds of Pactor III on 20 meters and sent them to Peter, who by
coincidence had been watching the same 2.4 kHz-wide signal pattern on 80
meters.
Interesting.

As soon as I had read the note, I contacted Peter for permission to reprint
his remarks. He responded generously and added additional commentary. He
argues,
simply and logically, that we have erred in allocating frequencies by mode
name. This method has been overtaken by technology and its various
applications. Here,
then, is Peter's Law of Allocation. BROADER BANDWIDTH CAUSES MORE QRM THAN IT
SUFFERS-thus, any band plan should put modes of similar
bandwidth in the same space. This is THE NATURAL LAW of allocation.

This would place Pactor III, along with SSTV, in the SSB portion of any band.
Any new mode, and there will no doubt be several, would go above, below or
within
the existing digital allocation depending entirely upon the width of the
signal.

Don't miss reading the entire article. Find it at
www.n2hos.com/digital/peter.html. Your comments are welcome and will be added
to the string.

Oh, it's nice to be back on the air. The new rig finally made it from Ten-Tec
and I wasted no time in hooking up the Jupiter. It's merely a Pegasus with a
traditional
front-end. I found the knobs and dials so forbidding that I immediately
exercised the option to put all the controls on my laptop computer. Hi! Back
when I first
received the Pegasus, I was really confused by the thought that I would not
touch the transceiver except to turn it on or off. Now, habit hath reversed
itself-and I'll
never use the front-end hardware again.

Mario IZ1AVA was the first contact. Then, old faithful 4X6UO was on 20 meters
to welcome me back. Arie, regardless of conditions, booms into this area most
evenings at about 00:30 GMT onwards.

Within two days I had worked three new countries, so now I'm up in the
stratosphere with 103 in PSK mode. I might even catch up with my RTTY count
some day.
Whenever it happens, I will have enjoyed the chase!

Note: This letter is a bit early because of travel requirements.

73 de Jim N2HOS jem@n2hos.com
http://www.n2hos.com/digital

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