[SATLUG] OT: Sunspot activity & Ham Radio

Geoff geofff at w5omr.shacknet.nu
Mon Jun 22 13:47:00 CDT 2009

For those of you who are in a business that requires/depends on solar
activity to maintain communications, or are just plain interested in
solar activity, you might be interested in this.


As a ham radio operator, it got my attention. The higher bands (20m and
higher [17, 15, 12, 10m) depend on solar sunspot activity to provide
long-distance (DX) communication. When the Sunspot activity is at a
peak, talking to stations in Australia or Japan while driving down the
road in your ham radio equipped vehicle is a daily thing.

Speaking of Ham Radio...

Ham Radio "Field Day" is coming up this weekend.
If you're interested in learning more about Ham Radio, go to one of
several Field-Day sites that will be set up in your local area and check
'em out.


What is Field Day?

In a nutshell, Field Day is an annual, nationwide Amateur Radio
emergency communications exercise combined with a contest.

A fundamental purpose of Amateur Radio (also known as Ham Radio) is to
provide emergency communications in the event of a disaster or other
disruption of normal communications. Field Day is an opportunity to
learn and practice skills needed to communicate during floods,
hurricanes, fires, earthquakes and other major disasters. These skills
involve setting up generators and batteries for independent power
sources, erecting an assortment of antennas and configuring radio
equipment for various modes of communications. The idea is to quickly
put together self-sufficient, working stations in affected location.

The other part of Field Day is a competition for participating stations
to contact as many other Field Day stations as possible. The contest
runs for a 24-hour period from midday Saturday until midday Sunday on
Field Day weekend, which is the fourth full weekend of June every year.
Any ham station in North America, whether operating under emergency
conditions or not, may participate.

During the competition, each radio contact to another station counts for
points. Contacts between stations may be made on a number of
communications modes including Morse code, a number of voice and digital
modes and satellite communications. Bonus points may be collected by
using natural (solar or wind) power to run the radio equipment, and by
sending and receiving certain messages. This message handling is
training for operators to handle emergency messages accurately,
efficiently and as and as a team.

Field Day is a sponsored by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL). ARRL
is an organization that represents Radio Amateurs in the United States
and is based in Newington, Connecticut. The ARRL website is
http://www.arrl.org/ . In 2008, Field Day logs were submitted by 2409
clubs, groups and individuals across the U.S. and Canada. These logs
showed participation by more than 35,000 individuals and over 1.2
million radio contacts were reported during the event.

Ham radio clubs and other groups across the continent use Field Day to
demonstrate the communications ability of Amateur Radio in simulated
emergency situations. At sites from Alaska to Puerto Rico, Amateur Radio
brings together its resources to show officials in government and
various agencies what “Amateur Radio can do”.

In the Houston area, there will be several groups setting up. The group
I've assembled together will be at the Huntsville State Park, starting
at 8am on Friday, 27 June.

Now, I just *know* some of you hams are gonna say "Hey, I know what
Field Day is, you moron! Why are you sending me this Field Day stuff?"
Well, because of the cool sunspot stuff attached with it, ya,
knuckleheads! ;-)

73 = Best Regards,
-Geoff/W5OMR (/5 Baja Springyangyang, TX)
[where, if you smoke in bed, you'll wind up in Hot springs!]

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