Thursday, July 11, 2019

Revised frequency list for Night of Nights XX

The heroic True Believers of KPH have made some more transmitting antennas active after the damage last winter. Here is the revised frequency list for Night of Nights XX, which begins tomorrow (US time) at the traditional 0001 UTC. That's July 13 on the Prime Meridian, but still July 12 (local time/date) in North America, including at the station location in Point Reyes National Seashore.

The time is traditional. It is when commercial Morse operation was discontinued by Globe Wireless, the last US holdout.  KPH (also using the KFS call sign by permission of its current owners) is a triumph of the human spirit, defiantly taking to the same frequencies (still allocated by the ITU) at this time every year.

WLO is not participating this year because it no longer exists. The Coast Guard is not participating this year either. KFS has one frequency active. This is 12695.5 . The rest are KPH.

Here's the latest list, with an addition, and the latest correction:

KPH:  426, 500, 4247.0, 6477.5, 8642.0, 12808.5, 17016.8, 22477.5 .

500 kHz is still the MW calling frequency, and QSY after contact is to 426. Ships call KPH and KFS on ITU maritime channel 3. This is:

4184.0, 6276.0, 8368.0, 12552.0, 16736.0, 22280.5  .

The ships are good catches.  Several call and pass traffic every year.

K6KPH is also active, and anyone who can handle heavy-duty commercial Morse can sit the circuit, since control ops with ham licenses are present.  Similar procedures are used, such as sending "DE" for a station to call again. QRY and a number means that other stations are waiting, and that's your turn.  Pilots know how this works (for takeoffs) only too well.

Everything is CW, of course.

Several of these frequencies are restored vintage "heavy iron" transmitters, and they sound great.  The rest, presumably, are the Henry transmitters which were installed at Bolinas High Power when it ceased commercial operation.
Those in the area can visit the receive building, which also houses the National Seashore office, and is reached by one of the best "tree tunnels" in the country.

Full details and links to maps to the receive building are at the MRHS web site.

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Will hams lose two meters?

That is the question, and the answer will come at this year's WARC-19 and the future WARC-23. The re-allocation of the entire two meter band was not widely opposed at a European meeting, when France brought up a Thales proposal to use it for some kind of commercial airband cellular service.

As we know only too well, governments consider corporations to be more important than people, and they make their decisions accordingly. At some point, however, someone's got to raise a stink.  I probably join most of the readers here in going WTF at the prospect that ham radio would lose what's probably its most popular band.

Amateur groups are expected to fight this tooth and nail.

From DF2ZC, DARC Frequency Manager:

If this proposal in its current version is endorsed at the next meeting of the CEPT Conference Preparatory Group in August it is highly likely that it will appear on the agendas of WRC-19 and WRC-23 where a final decision will be made. At least 10 of the 48 CEPT countries have to be in favour of this proposal while not more than 6 must be against this.

During the recent Meeting of the CEPT Project Team A in Prague this proposal by France was being discussed for the first time. Only the German delegation made it clear that they are against this proposal including 144-146 MHz.  [That's as high as it goes in Europe. The frequency range in question would include the whole band worldwide. -Hugh]

The main reason for that little opposition might be that the 2 m band was included in the revised version of that French proposal only few days before the deadline for the Prague meeting. Consequently most other European countries had no time for internal discussions let alone formulating their position.

IARU, being supported by regulatory experts of their member associations (RSGB, DARC, VERON etc) is intensively working on executing their influence within the current process and trying to keep the 2 m band as it is now. By the way, the cost of this activities is covered by the funds resulting from the contributions of the IARU member societies. So those who left their county's amateur radio society should perhaps reconsider their decision. Without the commitment and the funds the amateur radio community would have little influence in that process, let alone could be present at the relevant meetings.

Most importantly, amateur radio should speak with a single voice only. So I would like to ask everybody to refrain from using maybe good personal contacts to your government or the EU. This would weaken our position and take away power and vigour from the systematic approach by IARU and country amateur radio societies. This particularly applies for online petitions in the WWW, which by the way do not even base on a correct facts background.