Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Handiham World for 5 January 2011

Welcome to Handiham World!

Pat, WA0TDA, at the Handiham booth in Dayton.

You know how people seem to be drawn to making resolutions at this time of year? Losing weight, balancing the checkbook (if you even use one anymore), keeping the house clean, and all the usual things that seem to be hard to get done and awfully easy to leave until tomorrow - those are the usual New Year's resolutions. Well, on New Year's Day I was listening to National Public Radio, and I heard a discussion of resolutions, and I thought that they came up with a brilliant suggestion. Since making and keeping resolutions seems to be so difficult, why not quit making resolutions for yourself and instead just make them for other people?

Now, THERE'S an idea! Since I am so lousy at keeping my own resolutions, I will instead tell YOU what you should do. Not only will it be easier for me, you will benefit by my great wisdom and while I sit and drink coffee and eat donuts, YOU can be the one working out at the gym and eating celery. What could possibly go wrong?

So here are my New Year's resolutions for you:

You will get on the air every day, if you possibly can. I call this idea DOTA, which stands for "Daily On The Air". Not only is this a good way to stay in touch with your friends, it is also a necessity if you want to be familiar with your equipment. I was discussing this with Linda, N7HVF, recently in an email exchange. We both agreed that it is hard to remember how to use some of the feature on your equipment if you don't get on the air regularly, preferably every day.

You will follow the Amateur's Code to the best of your ability. The Amateur's Code appears as regularly as clockwork in each new edition of the ARRL Handbook. It was written by Paul Segal, W9EEA, in 1928, and it is as good a set of guidelines today as it was then. To refresh your memory, the amateur is considerate, loyal, progressive, friendly, balanced, and patriotic. In the months ahead, we will be looking at each of these guidelines individually and discussing each in more depth. I will be happy to have my brand-new 2011 ARRL Handbook available to help us as a reference. It's an awesome book, and the entire contents - every bit of text - is searchable in PDF on an accompanying compact disk. I'm sure they still have a good price on the Handbook at in case you want to pick one up.

You will attend your local radio club meetings and do something to participate, whether it is writing an article for the club newsletter, taking a leadership post, being part of an ARES group, volunteering to plan or run an operation on Field Day, helping another club member with a project, or maintaining the club's equipment, repeater, or website.

If you are not a member of a radio club, you will find one and (hopefully) join up.

You will be an ambassador for Amateur Radio by welcoming questions from non-hams about our hobby and by stepping up to the plate to showcase ham radio whenever you can, whether it is at a trade show, school classroom, or through a media outlet.

You will resolve to give back as much as you get out of ham radio. Get in the habit of saying "yes" when someone asks you to serve, participate, help, whatever. One good way to do this is to be a net control station when someone asks for help covering their net session.

If you are a member of the Handiham Radio Club, you resolve to participate in the Handiham nets as much as you can, and also help by suggesting club activities and then participating.

Finally, you will practice good operating skills, and you will start by always using your callsign correctly and never saying "73's" instead of the correct "73" when you finish a QSO.

I hope these New Year's resolutions keep you busy. If anyone has resolutions for me, I am holding my hands over my ears right now and saying, "Nyaa, nyaa, nyaa, I can't heeeear you!"

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Handiham System Manager

Shortwave America - alive and growing in 2011

Plugged in cartoon robot

October 21st, 2008 - That's the day Shortwave America was born. Several inspirations take responsibility for this now popular web publication coming to life, along with necessity being the mother of invention and the sharp mind of a seasoned writer in possession of a dream.

Dan Hensley, KC9NCF, has been an avid lover of radio communications since he was young. His father and mother were both licensed in the radio service long ago, and his father moved on to amateur radio in the 80s. It was in the late 80s that Dan was exposed to commercial radio by Doug Zelden; otherwise known as "Rabbi Doug" who was his grade school teacher and also a semi-regular character on the "Kevin Matthews" show back when WLUP AM - 1000 was still on the air. Doug was responsible for introducing Dan to Kevin and the gang at AM 1000. Ed Tyll then noticed Dan and had him in the studio twice, and then as a regular guest during his late night show via telephone.

In the early 2000's, John and Jeff of "The John & Jeff Show" got to work with Dan for a short while. It was December of 2006 when Dan got his FCC Technician license, then following up with his General Class License at the last Handiham California Radio Camp in 2008.

Since that October day in 2008, Shortwave America has seen continued growth and has served the mission of keeping radio alive through station loggings, radio related observations, silliness and sarcasm. Mix all of this together with interviews of popular radio personalities, creative flow, ingenuity, hard work, devotion, and what you get is a recipe for success.

This past year, Shortwave America has been featured twice on the longest running short-wave radio show known to mankind; "The Happy Station Show" which was revived by Keith Perron at PCJ Radio. Shortwave America also saw the following highlights in 2010: The creation of a Numbers Station Monitoring Resource that became popular with everyone at Enigma2000 and the Spooks List, a focus on Communications Freedom In Iran that saw Canadian radio host, Shabnam Assadollahi as both an interview subject and a special guest with her interview of Dr, Mehrdad Emadi who is the Senior Economic Adviser to the European Union. As part of that communications freedom focus, Shortwave America also interviewed Mehrdad Emadi and Homayoun Mobasseri of NEDA For A Free Iran.

Pam Mark Hall, a popular Christian Contemporary Music Musician from long ago even promoted that three part series and became a fan of Shortwave America. There was a special focus on RadioReference in the context of their live audio feeds, a piece that went viral involving an 1800 foot tall radio tower climbing video, daily increasing international readership, and a piece that inspired a viral spoof of DXer's Unlimited host, Arnie Coro.

Shortwave America has become popular with the users of a popular internet HF radio forum called HF Underground and its owner, Chris Smolinski; who also owns the Spy Numbers Database. Shortwave America has seen praise from the likes of Mr. Fahey who was responsible for uncovering and discovering the transponder used by the Chinese Government for operating what is known as "Firedrake" and then isolating the audio channels. That piece was done when it was publicized that the China Radio International Censor tape was publicly released. Other praise has been given by a veteran cryptographer, Pirate Radio Weekly, The Southgate Amateur Radio Club who featured Shortwave America in a piece about residents of Peoria, Illinois becoming upset about a ham who is building several towers in the area, Lisnews, and a list of other sources.

An important piece for Shortwave America that contributed to its growing popularity was "History Of The California Repeater Wars - Part 1" that included audio captured directly by Dan during one of the more disgusting skirmishes on the W6NUT repeater in Los Angeles. During the production of this piece, WA6ITF of Amateur Radio NEWSLINE was interviewed and generously provided some information as part of the focus of that work.

Shortwave America has become so wildly popular that it now has over nine thousand loyal readers and is looking to expand by way of an official website, an on-line product store, and will start giving access to six or more popular radio shows focusing on amateur and short-wave radio. Shortwave America has recently added two listening galleries that readers can use to listen to short-wave stations on-line and will soon feature an amateur radio listening gallery. The first listening gallery is devoted entirely to Radio Netherlands Worldwide. All listening galleries are located at the top of the Shortwave America homepage.

Shortwave America plans more interviews, a podcast, the possible addition of an international liaison team to assist in language translation and relations with readers from across the world. Shortwave America has recently added a reader's hotline where readers, the general public, and members of the radio community can leave messages about anything that is radio related from breaking news stories to questions, comments, criticism, ideas, discoveries, and any other radio subject matter. You can call the Shortwave America hotline at: 1-206-666-8235.

Eventually, the hotline will become a toll-free 800 number if there is enough interest in it. A reader's poll was just recently closed, and the stats there will be calculated to determine what the readers want to see, what can become a reality and how best to achieve those goals. Shortwave America is quickly becoming competitive with the most popular mainstream sites such as, RadioReference, hamisland, and will hopefully rival QRZ and E-Ham.

(Information from Shortwave America)