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The Radio Amateur's Creed

 

The Radio Amateur is:

bulletConsiderate…never knowingly uses the air in such a way to lesson the pleasure of others.

 
bulletLoyal…offers loyalty, encouragement and support to their fellow radio amateurs, their local radio club, and to the American Radio Relay League, through which Amateur Radio is represented.

 
bulletProgressive…with knowledge abreast of science. It is well-built and efficient. Operating practice is above reproach.

 
bulletFriendly…slow and patient sending when requested, friendly advice and counsel to the beginner, kindly assistance, cooperation and consideration for the interests of others. These are marks of the amateur spirit.

 
bulletBalanced…radio is their hobby. They never allow it to interfere with any of the duties they owe to their home, job, church, school, or community.

 
bulletPatriotic…their knowledge and their station are always ready for the service of his country and their community/

Who wrote the Amateur’s Creed?

The Amateur Creed was composed in 1928 by Paul M. Segal – then 9EEA in Denver, and General Counsel of the ARRL. The creed has been updated a few times over the intervening years, to update the text and put it into contemporary terms.

The Amateur’s Creed appears in a number of ARRL publications such as the Handbook, and is just as valid today as it has been for over 80 years.

 

The Rag Chew – The Art of Conversation?

Ask any Ham and they will tell you what their favorite aspect of Amateur Radio is to them. Some are in it for the tinkering and only ask for a realistic readability and a signal strength report,  others are Contesters, others are avid DX-ers.  I could go on and on listing all the different aspects of our wonderful hobby that different Hams prefer above the others.

My favorite has always been “rag-chewing”.  I came to Ham Radio as many did, as a Short Wave Listeners (SWL) as a youth.  Yes, I even put together a crystal radio set once upon  a time. Even today I tend to listen a great deal more than I speak.  I already know what I know, my purpose is more to find out what other people out there in the Aether think about the world. 

I’m sure that anyone who has given a long listen to “conversations” other than the exchange of RS numbers and grid references has bumped into the occasional Ham that thinks that his radio is actually a “soapbox” and promotes his particular world view on the rest of us (many times this is reminiscent of the Chicken Little folk tale “the sky is falling, the sky is falling, cried chicken little”). In Ham Radio (as in “real life”) too many people are more interested in “talking at you” rather than “talking to you”.

Then there are Hams that don’t seem to have anything to really talk about some days.  Their conversations tend to be about the recent local weather and its comparison to local weather patterns for the past 50 years, what they just ate and what they intend to eat later that day and to agree heartily with any cliché you might come out with.  Mobile conversations are full of “well, I’m going to the store” eventually followed by “well, I just left the store”.  I understand that every conversation can’t be substantial and ponderous, but maybe sometimes these guys can throw something else into the mix?

 

Sometimes you just might get what you wished for and realize that you made the wrong wish.  The most detailed conversations I have heard on the Radio are often not a technical discussion on some aspect of Radio Theory, but what has been given the sobriquet “Organ Recital”.  I was taught, as most people, that “Hi! How are you” was a mere rhetorical greeting.  The next time someone passes you on the street with that greeting, try to engage them with a description of your hemorrhoids and the numerous unsuccessful attempts you’ve made to lessen the problem and count on your stopwatch how many seconds it takes them to excuse themselves.  Vague responses to the  greeting are fine, as most responses to “how’s the weather there” (“it’ raining”, people usually don’t offer the projected precipitation at hourly intervals for the next 24 hours).  If you ask “how are you?” to some “private kinds” of people while they’re hooked up to life monitors and have sundry tubes going in and others going out, lying in a hospital bed, they will sometimes reply “fine, how are you?”. I have heard people give their medication list and dosages, their scheduled injections of insulin throughout the day and recommended coverage dosages to guys on the other end of the country. TOO MANY DETAILS. Often after a long description of their ailments they end that chat and engage another Ham on the same frequency and repeat all of the previous details. This is a common phenomenon on Repeaters. We are all sorry you’re not doing too well, but this isn’t a medical consultation, it’s a chat between two people who may not know each other and that will probably only meet “on the air”! Perhaps we should consider ourselves fortunate that the same “organ recital” is not done for the Ham’s pet cat, or dog, or even his pet parakeet.  Perhaps this article shouldn’t give anyone any new ideas?  I think, on the subject of chronic health problems, brevity is the soul of wit. Others may disagree. 

I have heard some Hams that were so adept at “interviewing” the other guy in the conversation that they could have done it professionally.I was able to get a sense of who that man was, what his likes and dislikes were, how he saw the world and how he saw himself in that world – it was a mini-revelation. One particular Ham-Interviewer was a Police Detective before he retired and he seemed to have learned a lot more than to play “good cop, bad cop”.  It’s a skill like all things and maybe rag chewers should invest a little effort in honing that skill? 

Perhaps I am expecting too much.  Some people have their radios tuned to Repeater frequencies and use the audio output as background noise through the day, often not really registering what is being said, by whom.  Whatever works for you, eh? 

Just remember to have fun! 

– The (Cranky) Editor –

As appeared on the Kings County Radio club site.

A Short Explanation from the ARRL on How to Ragchew!

Rag Chew - A Long Enjoyable Conversation-

“Rag chewing” is ham lingo for a long, enjoyable conversation. Start with the basics: your name, location, the signal report, and a brief summary of your station (how much power you’re running and the kind of antenna you’re using). Then get the other person to talk about himself. Hams can talk about anything, but there are some topics we try to avoid. Discussions of politics and religion tend to attract controversy and start arguments on the air. If it looks like your rag chew is heading in those directions, use good judgment. Does the other operator agree with your views? If not, will you be offended? Will he (or others) be offended? If you have doubts, it is best to change the subject. Conduct yourself as though anyone in the world might be listening at any time. Whenever you transmit, you’re representing all of Amateur Radio.

 

How to call or answer a CQ

HOW TO CALL CQ

...or even answer one!

Steve Katz, WB2WIK/6

It seems impossible, but it's very true that most new hams don't know how to call CQ. And a lot don't know how to answer one, either!

We're all to blame for that. There just isn't as much “CQing” as there used to be, except during contests. One reason might be that we're mostly using transceivers with VFO control - as silly as that sounds. Here's the explanation: Back in the good old days (for me), we used mostly crystal controlled transmitters with separate, tunable receivers. The odds of having a crystal on exactly the same frequency as someone else who was on the band, and within range, at the same time was pretty slim. So, it was common to call CQ, then tune around, looking for answers.

Well, today, we needn't tune around looking for answers, any answers will be right there on the same frequency we're on. Experienced operators know it's easy to break into an ongoing QSO, if you know how and when it's appropriate to do so. I make a lot of my contacts like that: Just overhear an interesting conversation, wait for a pause, insert my callsign, and join the group. But many newbies, as well as some old-timers, are too shy to do this, or maybe just not very good at it. And it is frowned on by most to break into a conversation when you've absolutely nothing to add to it.

So, I only break in when I do think I have something of value to add. It's also acceptable to break into a non-emergency contact (which is about 99.9% of all QSOs) to simply ask for a report, like, “Hey guys, Steve in L.A. here, with a new antenna. How's the signal?” Nobody with a heart can begrudge another ham a signal report when he's using a new antenna. Ditto goes for a new rig, microphone, or a new almost anything.

Still, tuning the bands reveals a lack of CQs, especially on “phone.” On CW, the common way to garner a contact is still by calling CQ, and it's very common. But on phone, it can seem like everyone already knows each other, everyone's already in a conversation, and nobody's calling CQ. So, how do you make a contact?

Simple. When you don't hear any CQs, call one! Problem is, if you don't hear many good, experienced operators calling CQ, how do you know to do it right? This obviously is a problem, since most newbies calling CQ really aren't doing it right, at all. No sweat, we were all newbies once. Here's a good way to call CQ and actually get answers:

 

  1. Pick what you think is a clear frequency, within your licensed band limits. (Always stay about 4 kHz clear of any band edge (or license subband edge), as using standard bandwidth SSB, it's easy to have sideband energy at least 3 kHz from your “carrier” (center) frequency of operation - there may be no carrier with SSB, but your dial usually reads the frequency where the carrier would be, if there were one.)

  2. Transmit, and ask, “Is the frequency in use?” Stop transmitting, and listen for an answer. If you hear no reply, after about five seconds ask one more time, “Is the frequency in use?” If you still hear no reply, consider the frequency fair game for a CQ. If you hear a reply like, “Yes it is!” or more politely, “Yes, thanks for asking,” tune to another seemingly clear frequency and start again.

  3. Call CQ. Always include your callsign and your location in the CQ. And always make a CQ last at least 20 or 30 seconds. Enunciate clearly, and use phonetics at least once or twice. Although it seems silly, it's common to also announce the band you're on when calling CQ. This really isn't so silly when you think about it: You're actually calling “the band,” since you're not calling any station in particular. So, don't laugh when, on 20 meters, you hear someone calling, “CQ 20 meters.” It makes sense. Here's a good CQ format, for general purpose work. (Note: None of this pertains to contesting.)

“CQ, CQ, CQ calling CQ 20 meters. This is WB2WIK calling. Whiskey Bravo Two Whiskey India Kilo, WB2WIK in Los Angeles calling CQ 20 meters. Hello CQ, CQ, CQ 20 meters. This is WB2WIK calling. Whiskey Bravo Two Whiskey India Kilo, WB2WIK in Los Angeles calling CQ 20 meters and standing by for a call.”

Perfect. That CQ takes exactly 30 seconds for me to say crisply and clearly, not too fast and not too slow. It announced my callsign six times, including twice phonetically. It announced my location twice. There should be little question, for anyone who tuned across my signal, who I am or where I am.

It's important to give your location during a CQ, unless you happen to be in, for example, a very small country. If I were operating from Liechtenstein, and had a local call there, I probably wouldn't bother announcing my town or city - it's a small place, and the same beam heading for anyone, anywhere, regardless of what town I'm in. But operating from the U.S. or Canada, or other large country (China, Russia, Brazil come to mind), the distance between one town and another can be thousands of miles, and require vastly different beam headings. Another reason to announce your location: Many hams tuning the bands are County Hunters, or looking for a new State for WAS, or whatever. The more information you provide with your CQ, the more likely you are to receive an answer - period.

On the VHF bands, weak signal enthusiasts (using SSB) call CQ, and usually include their grid square in lieu of other location data. This is because the grid square tells anyone listening all they need to know about your approximate location, and whether they “need” your grid or not, for an award or contest point, or whatever. Because 4-digit grid squares are quite large (1° latitude by 2° longitude) and VHF antennas quite sharp, when I call CQ on VHF or UHF, I include not only my grid square but other location information as well, to help a station hearing me weakly determine which way to turn his antenna to hear me better. It helps.

Important note: Repeat Step (3) above if you receive no reply to your CQ! If, after five or six tries (CQ calls) on the same frequency, over a period of a few minutes, you still have no replies, try tuning up or down the band a little bit, and try again. It sometimes happens that even though the frequency sounds perfectly clear to you, and no one answered your “frequency in use?” call, the frequency may indeed be busy for listeners in other areas, and might be tied up by a very strong signal emanating from a station too close for you to hear via sky-wave (and too far to hear any other way).

Now that I've taught you how to call CQ, do you really know how to answer one? Many hams evidently don't, as I can tell by the answers I receive when I call CQ, myself!

How to answer a CQ: First, use the callsign of the station you're calling. Follow that by your own callsign, and your approximate whereabouts. If the station you're calling is very strong, just once will do. If he's very weak, you might double up the call. If you're calling in a pileup, timing, frequency and articulation are more important than signal strength. I'll explain.

Typical call:

“WB2WIK this is K2OWR, Kilo Two Oscar Whiskey Romeo in New Jersey calling.”

Bingo! Perfect. He told me his call, twice, once phonetically, and also where he is. Can't ask for more than that. His call took six seconds, and gave me all the data I need.

If I didn't hear him well, I might say, “QRZ? Is someone calling me? Try again please; this is WB2WIK.” And he could try again, maybe twice this time, that is, doubling up on the call, like this:

“WB2WIK, this is K2OWR, Kilo Two Oscar Whiskey Romeo, K2OWR in New Jersey calling. Copy now?”

That takes about 2-3 seconds longer, but repeats the call once more. If his signal's weak or I have a high noise level or other distraction, that should still be sufficient.

I might not hear him because I'm beamed towards the Pacific, and poor K2OWR's off the back of my beam. So I'll usually say something like, “This is WB2WIK in Los Angeles, beaming Pacific. Weak station, where are you?” To which he should reply, “New Jersey, New Jersey, New Jersey, New Jersey, QSL?” or something like that, to advise me that I'm beamed the wrong way.

For those who don't have beams, remember it usually takes 60 seconds to rotate a beam all the way around, and 30 seconds to go 180 degrees. If you make your transmissions too short, we'll never be able to peak you. Those with Fluid Motion SteppIR beams can change directions 180 degrees in about five seconds, but the rest of us take longer.

Now, in a pileup, as often occurs on any “rare” station (DX, or maybe not even DX, but a special event station, rare IOTA island, whatever), it is very poor practice to make a long call. So poor, in fact, that if you are actually heard by the rare station making a too-long call, he might “blacklist” you, to be sure to never work you the entire time he's operating, just as punishment for your crappy operating. Don't be blacklisted.

Many pileups operate “split,” of course, and I won't go into a whole seminar on working DX and split frequency operation. But assuming you're able to transmit on a frequency where the DX (or rare station) is listening, timing and articulation are everything, and certainly more important than signal strength in most cases. Your call must be timed precisely to when the other station's listening. Make your call very short and sweet, don't use any fancy phonetics, and although many successful DX operators use “last two” for a callsign, this really isn't good practice and I wouldn't suggest it. (“Last two” means saying only the last two letters of your callsign, omitting everything else, just to get through; for example, if your call is KG1ABC, you'd sign “BC.” Don't do it.)

When calling in a pileup, your transmission should be very short, but properly timed. The average call that actually “gets through” and makes a successful contact is probably in the 1-2 second range. Practice saying your call articulately (very clearly) in just one or two seconds. Crispness counts. If you use phonetics to make a longer call because it seems that's what everyone else is doing, use appropriate phonetics. If you're calling a DX station who has an accent (sounds like he's from a non-English speaking country), try “international” phonetics, rather than the common American ones. International phonetics are often the names of cities or countries: W1ABC might be W1 America Brazil Canada. J is Japan, and Y is Yokohama, especially if calling a Japanese station! I is always Italy when calling an Italian, and G is always Germany when calling a German. Make it make sense.

Great practice: Use a tape recorder, or a digital voice recorder, and listen to yourself. Only when doing so will you know how you really sound. Most people don't sound nearly as good as they think they do. Which is why many people cringe when they hear their own voices played back!

When calling in a pileup, follow a few simple rules:

 

bullet

Be really sure you can actually hear the station you're calling! It makes no sense to call someone you can't hear.

bullet

If it's a split operation, be sure you have the split frequencies tuned in or programmed properly, so you're really calling the station where he's listening, or approximately so.

bullet

Become adept at listening to both the DX station causing the pileup, and the pileup itself. If you have “dual receivers,” perfect. If not, use the “A/B” switch on your rig to switch quickly between the DX and the pileup, trying to hear the last station the DX worked and getting a feel for whether the DX station is sticking with just one receive frequency, or tuning around. If he's tuning around, you might note a trend, like, “Hey, he's tuning up the band, and every station he works is 200 Hz higher than the last guy.” Follow the trend, and beat others to the “new” frequency.

bullet

Follow the protocol that seems to be working for others, but by all means remember that a 2-way contact is only made when you and the other station exchange callsigns and another piece of data, such as a signal report. Considering the contact complete because you think you heard the DX utter your callsign suffix is lunacy.

Get really good at it, and you don't need to have the strongest signal in the pileup. Having a moderate signal with great articulation, no background noise and no distortion will get right through, if you time your call right.

So, there you have it. How to call CQ, and how to answer one. Simple, eh?

Now go practice it! See you on the bands.

WB2WIK/6

 

Check here for list of Rag Chewing nets

Amateur Bands

Download ARRL .pdf file frequency chart

 

Band Plans

Be a courteous and knowledgeable operator by knowing
what activities should be taking place in which part of the band.
This ARRL page will prevent you from being clueless!
 

 

Local Operating Events

The club owns and operates repeaters W8TQE on 145.370,- 85.4 PL or 537 from your touch tone pad and 444.675, 123 pl

Local Area 2 Meter Net and 10 Meter Chats

Sunday 9:00 p.m. The ARES Net on 145.370 - Cletus, K8TLT -Net Control

Tuesday and Thursday 10 Meter CW Chat at 8:00 p.m. on 28.050 +/- QRM

Tuesday and Thursday 10 Meter SSB Chat 9:00 p.m. on 28.325 +/-QRM

Local Area Repeaters

W8TQE 145.370 - 85.4 pl Adrian, Michigan

W8TQE 444.675 + 123 pl Adrian, Michigan

K8ADM 443.375 + 107.2 pl Adrian, Michigan

K8ADM has access to Echo Link

Learn Code, Pass Exams

Amateur Radio Exam Practice:

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AA9PW Practice Pages

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eHams - All Exams

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Ham Exams and GROL Tutor

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Hamtest Online Tech Gen Extra

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HamExam - Tech Gen Extra

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HamUniversity - Exam Generator

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QRZ Radio Practice Exams

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RadioExam.org Practice Exams

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Tech Pursuit --study for your Tech Exam with this Trivial Pursuit-like game!

Online Code Theory and Practice

bullet AA9PW
bullet ARRL Files
bulletFabian, DJ1YFK (Name: w8tqe, P.W.: aarc) to try it out.
bullet Just Learn Morse Code - Software
bullet Understanding Morse Code

Field Day 6/23-4/2018

Field Day 2018 is past, we had a great time!  Look this over because we will most likely be doing it again next year.       

The club hasn't done Field Day for several years.  We are sort of starting from scratch, with an informal effort, and with the emphasis on FUN!  Mark Orzechowski, KE8EKF, is the Field Day chairman this year.  Field Day combines elements of an emergency preparedness exercise, perhaps some elements of a contest, and the fun of working a pile of other stations all over the world who are operating under all kinds of conditions.

We will be operating, for sure, two stations in the Radio Room of the Civil Air Patrol building at the Lenawee County Airport.  We will be operating with emergency power with a big generator provided by Norm, W8TTH.  Emergency power can be provided to stations working in other parts of the building or out in the parking lot, but if you plan to join us you need to bring all of your own equipment, antennas, extension cords, Etc.  We have invited members of the Chelsea ARC to join us this year...the more the merrier! 

All stations will use the Adrian ARC club call, W8TQE.  The club is authorized to operate with Extra Class privileges.  This means all operators can operate with these privileges so long as an operator with an Extra Class license is in the vicinity to "monitor the emissions".  Most field day stations operate in the General Class part of the band to maximize participation.  This is a good opportunity for those members with Technician Class licenses to get experience on all of the HF bands.  You can operate even without a license so long as a licensed operator is with you to "control the emissions".

Presently, we will be using paper logging at the club station.  It would be more convenient and reduce the problem of duplicate contacts on the same band if we could network stations over Wi-Fi which is available at the CAP building.  If someone would like to take this task on, it would facilitate the logging of contacts.  Otherwise we will make due with paper (which may be more like conditions under a real emergency operation). 

Details:

The rules governing Field Day operation are here.

Field Day--June 23rd.  Mark O. is in charge of it, Set-up is at noon. Ginny will unlock the clubhouse at 10:00AM.  Call or text Ginny W8TTX (517-902-6275) if you want to arrive earlier.  You can even come the night before.  Potluck dinner is at 5:00PM.  Mark is bringing pulled pork and baked beans.  The club is furnishing buns and condiments, paper plates and plasticware, coffee, pop, and water.  Please bring a side dish.  We need to know about how many people plan to attend the Potluck in order to have enough food  Please click here and tell Mark if you are coming and how many people are coming with you (wives, significant others, kids, interested friends, Etc.).  Also, use this email link if you have any questions.


The Chelsea ARC has been invited join us.  Some of us will be contesting, and some will be making more casual contacts.  Those who are contesting, please bring your own laptop for logging.  Those who are bringing your own rigs, please bring an  extension cord, too.  Norm will bring his crank-up "poof-ty" tower and generator.  Denny may bring his solar-power rig.  We have a 40/80 m. antenna and a 10/15/20 beam antenna that will be used with the club tranceivers.  Scott says we should have headphones there (bring your own head phones!).  Dr. Bob says we have filters to eliminate interference between the two radios in the club shack.  Barbara will contact WLEN for Field Day to be in their Community Spotlight segment.  We get extra points if we have members of the public stop by to see what we are doing.

Field Day at Adrian ARC has always been fun.  Don't miss it!


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