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School Amateur Radio Club Network
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SARCNET Shortwave Listener Awards

SARCNET
Published by Julie & Joe in Radio · 24 August 2019
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. If you e-mail us your log book we'll send you a certificate!

How does it work? Simple: Just come along to the School Amateur Radio Club at lunchtimes or download your free logbook in docx or pdf format. Tune your 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 NOTES
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?


1 comment
Bob
2019-10-30 00:44:31
We are almost at the bottom of the 11 year solar cycle so propagation is very poor. If you look at this site http://wsprnet.org/drupal/wsprnet/spots You can get a bit of an idea when a propagation path is open and between which countries. The trick is to know the prefixes for the various countries. There are prefix maps available on the internet. Happy hunting.

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