Archive for the ‘Articles’ Category

Where in he World is . . . Market Reef (OJ0), CQ Zone 15 ITU Zone 18, IOTA EU-053

September 10th, 2018 Comments off

It is cold and uninhabited. Barely 6 degrees of latitude below he Arctic Circle

It’s not an island really, basically consisting of about 8 acres of rocks. Located in the narrow part of the Baltic Sea between Sweden and Finland, the island guards the strait to the Gulf of Bothnia. In the summer, the Baltic Sea washes over it and in winter drift ice pushes against it. Nothing grows here. The Market Reef lighthouse is located low to the sea, where waves can wash over the entire DXCC entity. At high tides, it can only be safely approached by helicopter or zodiac boat.

The island is shared by both countries – and it is the smallest island thus divided between two nations. Market Reef was formally divided between the two sovereignties at the Treaty of Fredrikshamn in 1809 which defined the border between Sweden and Finland, then part of Imperial Russia.

Read more about Market Reef here

Reporting from the Dark Side,

Ron Litt K5HM

Categories: Articles

Ever thought about Q Signals? – Ron K5HM

September 10th, 2018 Comments off

In today’s amateur world, VHF/UHF repeater communications are commonplace but the use of Q signals in repeater communications is sadly diminished.

The use of “Q” signals is an amateur radio practice that goes back as early as 1915. When Morse code was the exclusive means of communicating, Q signals were a handy way of shortening common sentences into three letter groups.

Q signals have changed with time but are still widely used in voice communications as a kind of shorthand, especially on the HF bands. QSX originally meant, “Shall I change my spark frequency?” Now we use QSY instead.

In the world of repeaters, we don’t QRM people; we “double”. We don’t use QSB or QSA. Instead we say you have full quieting or white noise or bacon frying (ugh!). We rarely are at a QTH where we can QRT or QRV. We are usually at home, work or some other place. We no longer QRX, QSY or QRZ. In the D-star world, we use R2D2 to describe when a signal loses intelligibility.

Q codes are an important aspect of amateur communications. I use them liberally when there are non-hams visiting. It helps to create curiosity about ham radio. Usually, something like, “What the heck did you say?”

QSO’s on repeaters tend to have a lot more local and personal content. In order to revive the use of Q Signals on VHF/UHF, what we need is a set of Q codes more appropriate for this mode of communication.

Some Unique Q Signals for Repeater Use

QWK Going to work. Are you going to work?

QHO Are you headed for home? I’m headed for home.

QTF Is traffic is bad? Traffic is terrible!

QBQ Know a good BBQ place? I know a good BBQ place

QCF I am going for coffee. Are you going for coffee?

QGA I am stopping for gas. Are you stopping for gas?

QHG Did you just pass gas? Phew!

QBR I need a beer. Me too!

QHD Going to Home Depot (Lowes, Ace Hardware, Radio Shack)?

QLT Are you late? I am way late!

QTO Are you on the way to breakfast? QSL.

QNW No way! Way!

QDT Done that. Been there (Interchangeable with QBT)

QBT Been there. Done that (Another way to QDT).

QDW That Doesn’t Work. Yes it will.

QWW That Won’t Work! (QDW with emphasis).

QHF Going to the hamfest? I am/am not going.

QIX XYL is in the car. Don’t mention what I bought at the hamfest. QSL?

Reporting from the Dark Side,

Ron Litt. K5HM

Categories: Articles

Where in the World is . . . Mongolia (JT-JV) CQ Zone 23 ITU Zone 32, 33

August 22nd, 2018 Comments off

Where in the World is . . .

Mongolia (JT-JV)

CQ Zone 23 ITU Zone 32, 33

The thundering Mongol Horde rolled out of the Great Asian desert in the 13th and 14th centuries. Lots of Hollywood royalty played the great Khan on the screen. Led by John Wayne as Temujin, later Genghis Khan; then Orson Wells, Omar Sharif, Jack Parlance Stephen Boyd, or even Murvyn Vye, playing second banana to Richard Widmark as a sad sack Mongolian tribal chief in Destination Gobi; caught up in the backwater of WW II.

The Mongols rode in search of plunder and grazing for their animals. The Mongol horse is purported to be largely unchanged since the time of Genghis KhanNomads living in the traditional Mongol fashion still hold more than 3 million animals, which outnumber the country’s human population. Despite their small size, they are horses, not ponies. In Mongolia, horses live outdoors all year, dealing with temperatures from 86 °F in summer down to −40 °F in winter, and they graze and search for food on their own. Some animals are slaughtered for meat. Other than that, they serve as riding and transport animals; they are used both for the daily work of the nomads and in horse racing.

Learn more here

Categories: Articles

Where in the World is Baker Island (KH1)?

July 23rd, 2018 Comments off

Where in the World is Baker Island (KH1) CQ Zone 31 ITU Zone 61 IOTA OC-089

by Ron Litt, K5HM

Approaching from a distance the island, barely 26 feet above sea level resembled the back of some fabled sea monster of 15th century sea tales. Covered with low lying scrub vegetation, Baker Island is less than a mile wide and slightly more than a mile long. Its population of seabirds makes their presence known on anything that offers a perch.

Its terrain is sandy. Along with its neighbor only 42 miles NNW, Howland Island they form the Baker Island National Wildlife Refuge. Not exactly your favorite bird watching spot, the islands lie almost halfway between Hawaii and Australia. Barely north of the Equator and east of the International Dateline, by this odd quirk of geography, they are last pieces of U.S. territory that experience the new day.

Find out more here

Categories: Articles

DMR Facebook Pages

March 14th, 2017 Comments off

Brandmeister TalkGroup 3148 (Texas) –

Houston Digital Radio –

TYT MD 380 –

DVMega BlueDV –

DVMega BlueStack –

BlueDV iOS –

BlueDV Windows –

BlueDV Android –

OpenSpot –

TYT Radios –

Check for files that are available on most of these sites.  I am sure there are many other sites.  Don’t forget YouTube for lots of DMR information and demonstrations.

Categories: Articles

DMR Information

March 14th, 2017 Comments off

For those of you who have an interest in DMR, here is some additional reading.


Amateur Radio Digital Hotspot Comparison

DMR Radios 8 30 16

Brandmeister – you can monitor TalkGroups here even without a DMR radio.

Categories: Articles