Communications, callsigns, codes and contests with Amateur Radio.
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Have you been keeping a log book?
Did you know that SARCNET SWL Awards are open to anyone who can tune in and log a station using shortwave or High Frequency (HF) radio.
How does it work? Simple: Just come along to the School Amateur Radio Club at lunchtimes. Get your free logbook. Tune the Amateur Radio around the shortwave bands and listen for any stations having a QSO (that is an on-air contact). When you hear some, all you have to do is write down the date, time, band, frequency, mode, their call signs, names and signal reports and you are well on the way to getting a Short Wave Listener (SWL) certificate.
Here is an example: One lunchtime, Ciara was tuning around and she heard two stations talking: She immediately wrote down the call signs in her log book: One was "VK5PAS", booming in, but the other station's call sign she couldn't quite make out because it was pretty week. Then she heard the callsign being read out using the International Radio Alphabet: "Victor Kilo Three X-Ray Victor", wow that's VK3XV!
Then she checked the clock: The time was 11am on Wednesday November 2, but Ciara remembered that all radio stations use Universal Time so she looked up the "proper" date and time on her smart phone before writing it down in her logbook. So 11am in Melbourne is 2200 hours on Tuesday November 1, yes, it really is the day before in merry-old Greenwich, England: That is where Universal Time is measured from.
Now looking at the display on the radio (a nifty little Yaesu FT-817 transceiver) she quickly noted down the frequency, band and mode: 7144kHz (kilohertz), that's in the 40-metre Amateur Band and LSB which means Lower Side Band. Another glance gave her some help with signal strength reading. The s-meter (signal strength meter) was saying S8 for the stronger signal and only S2 for the weaker one. She wrote down the combined readability and signal strength report as 58 and 32, meaning perfectly readable and barely readable, respectively.
The two operators seamed to know each other quite well, but she never heard them say their names. No worries, Ciara just typed in their call signs into an on-line database listing information about all Amateur Radio stations. So VK5PAS is Paul in South Australia and VK3XV is Tony in Victoria. She wondered why the Victorian station was weaker than the one further away. Good question Ciara! We'll figure that out one day when we do Radio Propagation.
Here is Ciara's log book entries:
DATE TIME BAND FREQ MODE CALL NAME SENT RCVD
20171101 2200 40m 7144 LSB VK5PAS PAUL - 58
20171101 2205 40m 7144 LSB VK3XV TONY - 32
Wow. She did a really great job. Only three more entries to go and Ciara gets her first SARCNET SWL 5 Certificate. Besides that, a log book is always useful to figure out who is likely to be on the air and at what times. And for contests it is a must to have record if you want to win awards.
So why not post your own logs in here and we'll see what we can find out about the stations you can hear?
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