Get on air and make some noise!

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    Layne AE1N
    Layne AE1N

    In his latest podcast, Episode 104, Onno, VK6FLAB, has a very interesting take on not making excuses for not getting on the air!    AE1N Layne

    Foundations of Amateur Radio

    There’s a phrase that I use quite often, “Get on air and make some noise!”

    In terms of Amateur Radio that makes people think that I mean that they should turn on their radio, pick a band and call CQ, for hours. I can tell you now, if you’re a QRP station, this is going to be a frustrating experience unless you’re lucky or happen to be located in a place where other Amateurs want to talk to you, like an uninhabited island, or a low-tide reef, or some other place on the DXCC most wanted list.

    I liken operating a low power or QRP station to fly-fishing. To get a fish takes patience, skill and persistence. Would you start fishing in an industrial sewer in the hope that you catch something, or would you attempt to learn something about the fish that you’re trying to catch, before seeking out its hiding place and throwing out a bait?

    Operating your Amateur Station should be more of the baiting and less of the industrial sewer.

    So what does this look like in your day-to-day operation of your station?

    Well, for starters you’ll need to figure out where all the other Amateurs are. You can do that by listening for other stations, or by finding automatic beacons and seeing if you can hear them. That takes care of the first problem, is it at all possible to catch anything here?

    The next challenge you’re faced with is when to find these stations. You’ll need to do some reverse investigation. If you’re trying to contact the other side of the globe, it’s likely that the station you’re looking for is going to be asleep when you’re awake. So, calling a station during your lunch break is likely to mean that it’s midnight over there. So, pick a time when they’re likely to be awake, the beginning or the end of their day, which happily coincides with the grey-line, when the sun is just on the horizon, when radio propagation goes through some magical transformations.

    If you call on a Wednesday, it’s likely that they’re also in the middle of their work week, so think about how to plan for this. If it’s a public holiday, check to see if they have one too, or plan for operating during the public holiday at the other end. If there is a large Amateur Radio contest at the other end, you might find that your station is desirable as a contact, or the opposite might be true, so check that out.

    Of course, I’m not able to cover all the variations of this and it will be specific to your station, so spend some time planning and learning about what a contact might look like.

    Now, if you take this advice to the extreme, you’ll end up never getting on air and calling CQ, which means that you’ll never get a serendipitous contact, nor will you capture the exception where an insomniac operator is trolling the bands to talk to someone, which would be a shame, so, do your homework, learn about when and where to operate and in the mean-time, get on air and make some noise!

    I’m Onno VK6FLAB 



    Layne AE1N

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