ISSUE NO. 69, March, 1989
Scanned, OCR'ed, and proofed by Bob "Bacon" Bruhns WA3WDR

The Year Without A Winter and Contests

1988-89 may go down in history as being the "year without a winter." Not only was the snowfall far below normal for Middle Tennessee, there were frequent thunderstorms throughout December and January, following a very stormy November during which I grounded the antenna for lightning more than all last summer combined. The static level on 160 more or less stalled at the early November level and remained throughout December and January. Finally, in February we did get a few days of real winter, and the arctic air quenched the lightning static during most of the month. We even had our first significant snowfall on the 27th of February. I have been active on 160 since the early sixties, and this has been the worst winter radio season I can ever remember.

Not only North America has been blessed (or cursed) with an unusually mild winter, so has Europe. Reports from across the Atlantic have indicated an unusually mild but dry season -- no snow and very little rain. European ski resorts have been hit especially hard this winter. It has hardly rained at all in London (only 22% of normal rainfall). Moscow had the warmest month of January (average -2 C.) in over a century, and Swedish temperatures have been as much as 20 C. above normal. Certain animals were even reported to have forgotten to hibernate This warm winter has brought more attention to the "greenhouse effect" but weather experts insist that this winter still falls within the normal range of yearly climatic variations, and that "greenhouse" warming will not seriously affect our climate until well into the next century. If and when that warming trend becomes reality, if amateur radio is still around, the 160 and 80 metre bands may become essentially useless year round, if this past winter was any indication of what we might expect from a warmer earth.

Finally, the static did drop to near normal levels during most of February, and we were able to enjoy a few good weekends on 160. February 24-26 gave us especially good band conditions, but unfortunately this was the weekend of the CQ WW DX 160-metre SSB Contest. >From early Friday evening onward, the entire band from 1800 to about 1910 khz was filled with "CQ Contest" QRM. Listening across the band, I managed to make some interesting observations. During the CW contests, operation is generally contained within the frequency baud of 1800-1850 khz. Above 1850, phone operation is more or less undisturbed, with no contest QRM from the CW stations. (Of course, if you desire to work some CW, it is virtually impossible to find a CW station on the band not participating in the contest.) The SSB contest types do not extend the same courtesy to the CW operators. On SSB contest weekend, SSB stations dominated the band all way down to 1800 khz, completely wiping out GW activity which normally takes place on the bottom end of the band. 160 has no FCC-sanctioned phone and CW subbands; the modes are normally separated by "gentlemen's agreement". I decided to try working some CW down on 1805 khz, and managed to work a couple of stations through the QRM. These operators shared my observations and sentiment.

Later on in the evening, I noticed that the 1885 khz "AM window" was obliterated with SSB contest QRM. I managed to squeeze into a slot near 1885, running the 1 KW plate modulated AM transmitter to the full size quarter wave vertical with radial ground system. I called a LONG CQ; this works rather well since contest operators are always in a hurry and will simply QSY rather than wait around for a long CQ to end. When I stood by, the frequency was quiet, and a station in Chicago, running 20 watts from a Yaesu came back. We QSO'ed for about 45 minutes. Then another station running a Viking II called in, and our QSO lasted for over two hours, with almost solid copy. As the low power AM stations transmitted, the channel would gradually become cluttered with contest QRM, although the excellent features of the 75A4 allowed me solid copy. Each time I made a transmission with high power AM, upon standing by I noticed the band would be completely clear of contest QRM-for about 3.5 khz each side of the carrier frequency! The low power stations would come back with clear channel readable signals, until the contest types gradually began to move back in on the frequency, to be swept away in the next QRO AM transmission.

When my AM QSO ended, I decided to listen some more. Above 1925, I found the band practically deserted, except for the normal AM activity up at 1985-1995. Maybe there were a few more AM stations than usual at the top of the band, as some AMers who normally operate around 1885 moved up to get away from the contest chaos. There was no SSB QRM; very little SSB activity above 1925 suggested that most SSB operators were down below, shouting "CQ contest". All told, this was an excellent weekend for operating AM at the high frequency end of the band, with good band conditions, no QRN and no SSB QRM.

This whole episode made me wonder what is the purpose of the 160 m. SSB contest. Signal reports? The contesters always, without exception, exchanged 5-9 reports, no matter how much difficulty they had getting the callsign/QTH data across. In fact, the only real data exchanged in contest QSOs was the callsign and state/province/country. "You're 5-9 in Ohio...." How effective is this as practice to sharpen communicating and operating skills? I seem to recall only a few years ago when contests, both phone (they weren't called "SSB" back then) and CW, required the exchange of a series of data reports: signal report (they were real signal reports; not everyone was 5-9), QTH (state/province/country), NR (each contact was numbered in sequential order and stations were required to exchange numbers), and sometimes other data as well. Reports went something like this: "You're number 250, 4-7 in Pennsylvania." The data exchange was supposed to simulate an actual message preamble and was supposed to increase one's skills in copying CW and handling message traffic. This inanity of spending hours on the radio listening to the QRM only to exchange hundreds of times "You're 5-9 in (QTH)" has to be about the most boring way a person could spend an entire weekend.

Originally, CQ magazine began the 160 m. CW contest back in the 1960's to help us hold on to the band, which had been reduced to skeletal proportions. There was no phone contest when the entire band was only 25 khz wide. The purpose of the contest was to encourage amateurs to set up working 160 metre stations, jury rigged or whatever. It was hoped that a few hams who set up for the contest would like the band enough to continue using what little there was left of it, after going to all the trouble to get a functioning antenna and transmitter. At that time practically none of the commercial equipment being manufactured included 160; "all-band" meant 80 through 10 metres to most manufacturers. In those days there were a lot of homebrew transmitters on 160, and AM was still the dominant voice mode long after SSB had "taken over" the HF bands.

160 did manage to survive LORAN-A, thanks to a few hardy souls who held out and maintained active interest in "top band". The CQ 160 m. CW contest became institutionalized, and may have been responsible for some of the amateur interest that remained during those hard times. By the time 160 was fully returned to amateurs in the early eighties as a result of the WARC-79 agreements, most commercial equipment included this band and the amateur community took a more active interest now that the full power limit was restored and amateurs could operate the entire 1800-2000 khz band without geographical restrictions.

It would appear that the restoration of amateur privileges on 160 would have rendered the 160 m. contest somewhat anachronistic, although being such a well established institution, it would not likely have been discontinued. Instead, the opposite happened; several additional 160 m. contests came into being, including at least two SSB contests! During the winter months to-day, we no longer need contests to keep a little activity going on top band. Sometimes the congestion (and poor operating practices) seem to rival 75 metres. So what is the purpose of special "160 m SSB" contests which fill the band with QRM throughout one or two of the limited number of weekends throughout the year when this already congested band offers good, QRN-free conditions?

Since activity on 160 pretty much disappears from April throughout September during the summer static season, why not reschedule all the 160 m. contests for July and August when this band becomes a real challenge? Now that would separate the adults from the cry-babies! Besides, this activity might ward off the temptation for some commercial interest to grab the FCC's attention during the summer months to say, "See, the amateurs aren't using this band. Give it to us, so we can put some more beacon signals on the air."

K4KYV, Editor

Court Rules FCC Jurisdiction Beyond U.S. Sovereignty

The Commission now has sweeping new powers to keep pirate radio signals from being heard in the United States.

In granting an FCC requested injunction against the further operation of pirate commercial station Radio New York international, US District Judge John J. McNaught has concluded that the First Amendment does not give anyone the right to broadcast by radio unless a grant to do so is issued by the government agency whose directive it is to oversee such licensing.

In making his decision, McNaught held that Section 2 of the Communications Act "expressly extends coverage of the Act to all transmissions by radio which originate and / or are received within the United States. Jurisdiction under the Act is therefore extended beyond places over which the United States has sovereignty."

Radio New York International came to life in July, 1987 as an unlicensed station operating from the ship Sarah which was anchored 4-1/2 miles off the Long Island, New York coast in what its owner operators contended were international waters and not subject to FCC regulation. The FCC forcibly halted the operation of RNI and went into court in August, 1988 to prevent its return to the air. Nonetheless, the station resumed operation on October 14, 1988 operating on 1620 kHz in the medium wave broadcast band.

Represented in court by the American Civil Liberties Union, their attorney argued that the spectrum being used by RNI was unoccupied and that First Amendment rights precluded the FCC from curtailing their broadcasts.

Judge McNaught disagreed and not only granted the FCC motion for a permanent injunction, but also gave the Commission new enforcement powers to handle this and future cases.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This report was originally released by Federal Communications TechNews and was reported to the amateur radio community by WESTLINK REPORT.

I was delighted to learn that U.S. District Judge McNaught has made the world a little safer for democracy by granting the FCC sweeping new powers to keep radio signals from being heard in the United States. Noting that Section 2 of the Communications Act "expressly extends coverage of the Act to all transmissions by radio which... are received within the United States (and) jurisdiction under the Act is therefore extended beyond the places over which the United States has sovereignty," I suggest that Congress immediately provide the FCC with the necessary funding to once and for all clean up the mess which now exists on the airwaves. However, rather than waste limited FCC resources on such trivial matters as "hobby" radio pirates, the number one target for enforcement of the law should be the "Russian Woodpecker". Let the FCC present the U.S.S.R. with an ultimatum: immediately shut down the Woodpecker, or else FCC agents will enter the Soviet Union and close it down forceably and confiscate all transmitting equipment. If necessary, the U.S. Armed Forces will be prepared to back up the FCC with the full force of their nuclear arsenal, in case the Russians refuse to cooperate.

Next, the FCC should go after those illegal broadcasters who disrupt amateur radio operation in the 40 metre band by broadcasting in the international amateur exclusive allocation on 7000-7100 khz, and who intentionally beam programs to North America in the Region 2 amateur allocation at 7100-7300 khz. Another suggested target for FCC action would be the mysterious "numbers" stations which pop up in the amateur bands and other parts of the spectrum. More than likely the FCC knows where these transmitters are located, as rumours have persisted for years that the FCC has more information on these stations than it will admit to the public.

With this sweeping new power in the hands of the FCC, U.S. broadcasters need no longer fear Cuban retaliation for Radio Marti in the form of programs beamed to the U.S. to deliberately jam U.S. stations in the AM broadcast band. Thanks to the wisdom of Judge McNaught, the FCC can now simply send its field operations personnel to Cuba to take those stations off the air. Let's put the whole world on notice that any attempt by one country to jam another country's international broadcasts will receive the full wrath of the FCC and will be firmly dealt with accordingly.

To keep matters under control, maybe the U.S. government should require FCC licenses for all radio transmitters worldwide, because of the possibility that their signals could conceivably penetrate U.S. borders. Congress can even reinstate license fees to cover expenses incurred by the FCC in administering this program. The cash flowing across the borders of all the nations of the world to the FCC would have the incidental effect of making a substantial dent in the U.S. balance of payments deficit. Such a program would end international chaos on the airwaves and demonstrate to everyone that, once again, the United States of America reigns supreme among the nations of the world.

ARRL Board Votes To "Study" 10 m. FM Packet

The issue of 10 metre packet came up at the January 20-21, 1989 annual meeting of the ARRL Board of Directors. 10 metre AMers will recall that an FM AFSK packet station operating under the callsign K3AF/7 appeared several months ago on 29.050 mhz, causing widespread disruption of AM operation in the traditional 29.0-29.2 mhz "AM window". The station was located in Arizona and operated at 1200 baud, producing a signal some 20 to 30 khz wide. The station was forced to shut down when it was determined that the FCC rules contain no specific authorization for that mode at that frequency in the to metre band, and no Special Temporary Authorization has been granted by the Commission.

The station was moved to 28.205 mhz, 1200 baud FSK. Packet is legal only on frequencies authorized for RTTY emissions, 28.000-28.300 in the 10 metre band. Tests indicated that the 28.205 FSK circuit gave the packet station 6 db improvement over the 29.05 mhz FM circuit. Nevertheless, there is apparently strong interest in 10 metre FM packet operation, and packet operators were urged to make their desires known to their Division Directors, noting the upcoming Board meeting.

Item number 86 of the minutes of the meeting (see p. 62, March '89 QST) reports that it was VOTED that the following resolution be adopted:

"WHEREAS, FM packet operation is not permitted on 10 metres above 28.3 MHz by FCC regulations, and

WHEREAS, a large interest exists in the US for this type of authorization, as authorization exists in Canada and other countries, and

WHEREAS, FCC action would be required to permit such access, now therefore

BE IT RESOLVED that the Membership Services Committee is directed to study the feasibility and spectrum-management impact of such authorization, with a report to the Board at the 1989 Second Meeting."

Also, minute number 26 reads "... it was VOTED that the Membership Services Committee is requested to study the appropriate frequencies and other necessary considerations for automatic packet-radio operation in the 160 to 10-metre bands and report its recommendations to the Board at its second 1989 meeting."

AMers who are League members are urged to contact their Division Directors and the Membership Services Committee and let them know that, while there may be room on 10 metres and other HF bands for packet, due consideration must be given to existing activity, including the long established "AM windows". The second Board meeting will occur sometime in July, 1989.

Mike Koch, WB2KPH

As I'm sure you're all well aware, we (AMers) have spent a lot of time defending our right to operate AM or, the ham bands, so much so that some of us are out of breath. It seems rather odd then that recently when ever I turn my receiver on I often hear AMers complaining about other AMers operating practices much like the "sidebanders" do. You would think after all we've been through together that we could find better things to do, or is it that the only time we become united is when AM is under fire? I happen to know one rather belchful AMer whose operating practices have been questioned in the past who is responsible for more enthusiasm on 75 meters AM than anyone else I can think of, and despite the fact that I may not agree with all of his operating practices, it becomes obvious after awhile that complaining about it attracts as much unwanted attention as the oddball antics do.

I'm most often accused of not turning on the filaments and plate voltage of my AM transmitter often enough, it houses four large glass tubes which are something akin to 200 watt light bulbs, a pair of 808s modulated by a pair. Rightly so I'm afraid, I have been temporarily side-tracked by domestic activities, etc. Not three feet away from my circa-1935 amplifier tubes sits an IBM PC, which is up and running on two meter packet. For those of you who were not aware, the talk these days among almost all circles of ham operators is the NO CODE amateur license. Yes, I said NO CODE.


So, you've been bitching and complaining about AM operating practices, have you?? Well, what do you think of an amateur license that requires no Morse code proficiency? The packet bulletin boards and mailboxes are ablaze with the rumblings and grumblings of the prospect of a no-code amateur license in the U.S. A large portion of the activity on VHF and UHF are from technician class licensees, many of whom despised the code from day one. Not surprisingly, there is much support for a no-code license "up here" among the high tech modes of communication. There is strong opposition to the no code license as well, particularly among the "old timers" who believe in the tradition of cw. My local packet BBS must have two or three new messages on it every day from some group, organization, or well known person who is in support of a no-code license. Why? The reasons are many: changing technology, lack of amateurs who are involved with new technology, etc. There is not enough room in the entire Press/Exchange to cover all of the reasons why to be for it or against it. The fact of the matter is - it's here, or, it will be soon. Should AMers be concerned as a group? No, I think not. For the most part those in favor of a no-code license are interested in accessing the VHF/UHF/microwave regions of the allotted amateur bands. A former FCC official has said that if we had a no-code license sooner and were using 220 Mhz more heavily, we never would have lost a 2 Mhz portion of it.

Also, those in favor of the license are also in favor of retaining mandatory Morse code requirements for the hf bands. At this point we need not worry about the hf bands becoming a free-for-all. While the inevitability of a no-code amateur license is certain, not all has been said about what the eventual requirements will be, aside from no Morse code requirement. I suspect that the ARRL will have a say in what the requirements are, so if you belong to the ARRL, now is the time to let them know what you think should be included as license requirements. The FCC will be listening too, I assume.

Maybe a no code amateur license is no concern for the AM community. On the other hand, maybe we need something to take our minds off some of the day-to-day grumblings for a while that I've been hearing, or hearing about. One thing is for sure, whether or not you are an AMer, people on both sides of the issue feel very strongly about the no-code license. I'm not trying to stir up comments either for or against a no-code license, or even open up debate of it here in the Press/Exchange. It is, however, something to think about. So, if you haven't caught your breath yet from fighting for AM and you feel very strongly one way or the other about NO-CODE, well, then, I guess it wasn't safe to come out of the woods yet.

73 to all, Mike WB2KPH

open forum

While tuning around 75 meters the other night, I was prompted to write this letter. Specifically, what incited this letter was the disrespectful and gratuitous QRM, zero beat to an AM QSO on 3885 kcs that I was listening to, by an inconsiderate individual in the fifth call area district, who insists on using SSB in the AM window.

This person has enjoyed cavorting with some AMers, while constantly on sideband, for over five years that I know of. Lately, his operations have attracted more and more slopbucketeers to the AM window, and have corrupted those who normally run AM into being lazy and using their shoe box rigs, as well.

AMers are constantly defending their "windows" on the various bands, (like the ten meter "packet racket" that used to be, and the phony DX net around 7160 kcs) while "enhancement" and easier exams attract more "appliance types" to these frequencies. As far as I am concerned, this individual causes almost as much harm to the AM community, in his own little way, as Stankus' anti-AM petition and similar anti-AM behavior on the 17 meter band!

AMers should strive to operate the mode they love, which is the ONLY mode that gives us FREE PUBLICITY, AND LEGAL RECOGNITION on the various bands. The shoe box mode should only be used occasionally, or as a back-up.

If this person really likes AM, he should either operate the mode, or have the common decency to QSY out of the AM window!! He should realize this more than the average SSB operator, not as familiar with AM issues.

Maybe a little peer pressure would turn this renegade into a happily harmonious AM operator. I'm sure he would enjoy using a bona-fide AM rig much more than a "telephone." This would make him happier, also!!

Please! Someone out there give this guy a Ranger or Elmac, and help him connect it to his linear! If RFI is his excuse, maybe someone can show him how to modify the VFO to operate NBFM! Thank you.

Rick Miczak, K8MLV/0

AM Forever!

AM Tidbits...

Harris Unveils 50 KW Digitally Modulated AM Transmitter

Model DX-50, the third and largest of a series begun in 1987, has an overall efficiency of 86 percent and provides good signal transparency with virtually no audio overshoot, tilt or ringing. A patented digital modulator consists of 128 identical rf power amplifiers and applies audio to an ultra-fast analog-to-digital converter. Digitized audio and a carrier level control signal go to the modulation encoder which controls each power amplifier. Power amplifiers turn on and off with modulation and a master rf combiner totals their output. The DX-50 modulates at 140 percent at 50 kW.

The above was from BME Feb. '89. The next time anyone tells you that AM is "ancient," this ought to give 'em something to think about! Notice the overall efficiency! And the modulation percentage at full output! There are a few stations here in the northeast that are already on the air utilizing some of the same principles as the DX-50! How about YOU? Care to share your experience with others? The AM PRESS EXCANGE is the place!

PARTS... PARTS... Where to get them? Here are a few of sources that I currently use.

MOUSER ELECTRONICS: 3 locations.. (o.e.m. supplier) 1-800-346-6873 caps. res. semis. pots. xfmrs. all new stuff, some brand names.

DIGI-KEY: same as above, more discrete components. Electret mic elements, some small tools. HEXFETS. 1-800-344-4539

HOSFELT ELECTRONICS: Misc. items of electronic interest... new surplus stuff, meters, fans, (Drake L.P. filter) $5.00, semis, caps, coax connectors... This catalog will remind you of going to a flea mkt. to "get some small parts." Their prices are even better than some of the "vendors" that usually show up. 2700 Sunset Blvd., Steubenville, Ohio 43952 / 1-800-524-6464

ELMIRA ELECTRONICS: 1-607-734-6114 / l-800-847-1695 Tubes & semis. ECG type replacements, (T.V. service oriented). Caps- 22mfd 450v 95 cents. 100mfd 450v $2.45...

The last two suppliers will most likely be of most use for fixing up older equipment. Call them, ask for catalogs ...then stock up!

73, Mike - 'MTZ


A feature of the AM Forum at the Dayton Hamvention on April 29, 1989 will be a "Meet the AMers" Slide Presentation. If you would like to share a view of your station with the rest of the AM community, please submit a 35mm slide of you and your station to:

Dale Gagnon, KW1I

9 Dean Avenue

Bow, New Hampshire 03301

Please include a brief description of the equipment in the slide. If you do not have 35mm slide capability, slides can be made from prints for $1.50-2.00. Inquire at your local photo shop. Photos and slides will be returned after the Hamvention.

Include several slides, if you can't fit all the interesting gear in one picture and make sure that you are in one of the pictures!

Docket 20777 Canadian Style?

The Canadian Department of Communications has been making quite a bit of news in amateur radio circles these days. They have expressed a strong determination to pass the proposal to limit the rights of hams to build their own equipment by requiring the lower grade licensee to use "commercially manufactured" equipment (however that will be defined). Their rationale is that they want only "technically qualified" persons to put homebrew transmitters on the air because of their potential to cause harmful interference. They have also stated that under the new licensing structure, the exams will be based on the activities permitted under the license; the lower grade exams will put emphasis on operating, therefore the certificate will only permit "operating" type of activities, while the more advanced certificate will more thoroughly examine technical knowledge and therefore allow technical experimentation with transmitters.

In other words, the new licensing structure will institutionalize the division between communicators and experimenters, and create a permanent class of "appliance operators".

Another proposal, completely unrelated to the one mentioned above, was released in a notice in the February 18, 1989 Canada Gazette (the Canadian version of the U.S. Federal Register), according to a report in W5YI Report. This latest Canadian proposal is to do away with all sub-band allocations in the Canadian amateur service. What will determine the emissions authorized in the various ham bands will be solely maximum bandwidth. So-called digital/telegraphy sub-bands will no longer exist in Canada at all.

On 160 through 10 metres, the maximum bandwidth allowed would be 6 khz. On 6 and 2 metres a 30 khz bandwidth would be authorized. At 220 mhz, a 100 khz bandwidth would be allowed, and a 6 mhz bandwidth is proposed for the 430/902/1240 mhz bands. Comments close in mid-April on the proposal.

This proposal is remarkably similar to the infamous U.S. bandwidth Docket 20777 which proposed to "deregulate" AM out of existence by imposing a 3.5 khz bandwidth limit on all emissions below 28 mhz. Fortunately, as a result of the massive response by the AM community, that proposal was eventually killed. It differed from the Canadian proposal in that "bandwidth" sub-bands, corresponding to the existing phone/cw sub-bands, would have been retained. Also, readers are reminded that the Canadian proposal would not, in theory, impose any new restrictions on AM operation, since the Canadian regulations already limit the maximum bandwidth of AM to 6.0 khz.


Pete, W1VZR

Chuck, WA1EKV and Tim, WA1HLR

Photos were taken at Deerfield in 1987 by Ed, WA3PUN


Copyrighted, 1988, by George A. H. Bonadio, W2WLR, Watertown, NY 13601-3829

Part 5

Bonadio's Chart of Antenna Signal Strength vs. Elevation

This does "take the rag off the bush". Now you can calculate how many dollars to spend for how many dB. Antenna elevation dBs are much cheaper than big bucks gear dBs, and elevation helps receiving, also, which big bucks gear can not help.

First look in any commercial radio engineering handbook. In it you will see pages of tables of dB, all compared for easy usage. Now look in any Amateur Service handbook to find any convenient dB table. If the publisher also sells advertising space to big bucks station gear, then do not be surprised to not find any convenient table. If they wanted you to make dB comparisons, they would have given you the dB tables.

You may have seen patterns of radiation from antennas at different elevations above "perfectly conducting earth" - which does not exist. However, if you have installed your Bonadio's Soil Shunts, or whatever we call them, then your antennas will perform much more like those sketches than do other antennas over very lossy soil.

First let us consider you operating over flat earth on a prairie farm. If you double the (average) elevation of your antenna, you will gain about +3dB (doubling everyone's effective wattage) in your high angle sky wave transmission and reception.

If you double your elevation, you will gain about a +6dB (quadrupling everyone's effective wattage) in low angle DX. This elevation doubling effect holds well up through about 120' of elevation. Then certain elevations may have nulls at useful angles.

As decibels add up, then were you to twice double your elevation, say, from 10' to 20' to 40', then you should expect a DX improvement of +6dB, +6dB = +12dB (about a 16x effective power/wattage gain), in and out. Besides, getting your antenna further from house wiring does reduce line noises, too.

However, were you to be living, as most of us do, within City Clutter, then the DX ratios are more like +10dB, in the above doublings, rather than only +6dB. The high angle city clutter case will only be about +4dB instead of about +3dB.

In other words, the city clutter is a DX handicap to all operators, and quite high elevations are needed to overcome this DX problem. Yet, in City Clutter, with a Bonadio's Earth Shunt under your flattop, you can work short range sky wave about as well as in wide open spaces without Bonadio's Earth Shunt Wires (See Part 2).


Low-Angle DX   Elevation   High-Angle Local Skip
Open Farm
2:1 = 6dB
  City Clutter
2:1 = 10 dB
  Wire Above Ground
Use any ONE
Vertical Scale
  Open Farm
2:1 = 3 dB
  City Clutter
2:1 = 4 dB
Watts dB   Watts dB   Feet Feet Feet   Watts dB   Watts dB
100 0   100 0   256' 128' 64'   100 0   100 0
50 -3   32 -5   180' 90' 45'   70 -1.5   63 -2
25 -6   10 -10   128' 64' 32'   50 -3.0   40 -4
12.6 -9   3.2 -15   90' 45' 23'   35 -4.5   25 -6
6.4 -12   1.0 -20   64' 32' 16'   25 -6.0   16 -8
3.2 -15   0.32 -25   45' 23' 11'   17.5 -7.5   10 -10
1.6 -18   0.1 -30   32' 16' 8'   12.5 -9.0   6.3 -12
0.8 -21   0.03 -35   23' 11' 6'   8.7 -10.5   4.0 -14
0.4 -24   0.01 -40   16' 8' 4'   6.2 -12   2.5 -16

This table shows you what to expect. The City antenna at 8 feet high will be useless for DX, at 0.01 watt, compared to 100 watts if at 128 feet above ground. If raised from 8' to 16', the resulting +10dB gain brings it to 0.1 watt. However, to increase a 100 watt station to 1,000 watts would cost real big bucks.

Continuing, raising from 16' to 32' produces another +10dB. As decibels are addable, this nets us +20db (100 to 1 of effective wattage) of improvement. We may hear and work some DX, at 32'. However, if we stayed at 8', we would need 100 x the wattage power to be equal for DX, as we were at 32'. That is, 10 watts from the City at 32' elevation, is like 1,000 watts from the City at 8' elevation, for DX. Likewise, going to 64' elevation, a 1 watt signal is equal to 1,000 watts at 8', a difference of 30 dB (1,000 to 1) for DX, from the City.

There is no way that big bucks can buy you legal wattage to equal your 100 watts at 128' if big bucks stays at 32', in the City DX comparison above. Money for elevation is much more productive.

Get your pencil and paper going. Figure out where you are now in near-in-skip and DX. Figure out how much money, time and effort you can spend on antenna elevation increases. And remember: "If you can not hear them, you can not work them."

Your increased antenna elevation will improve your reception of these signals at the same rate as it improves the transmitting ERP. However, big bucks you spend on better gear will have almost no effect on better reception.

Let's take an example. Say that you have $1,000 into your station, all told, and it runs 100 watts ERP. You want to go +10dB to 1,000 watts ERP, for DX. You can spend (a bargain counting everything) $1,000 for an amplifier, heavier tuner, power supply, a new A.C. line (and circuit breakers) back to the meter, and so on. Now your ERP is +10dB, but your reception is still 0dB.

If you had spent that much money on raising your City antenna systems, to twice as high, you would have gained +10dB on transmitting and +10dB on receiving DX, and you will run up smaller electric bills, need less air conditioning, less big tube replacements, less insurance, and you can brag more on how you work the DX easily on "low power".

Of course, if you have high power, and you raise your antennas, and you do these other systematic signal improvements, you will be the conspicuous signal on the band. You may have to appoint someone in your family to handle the Short Wave Listener's Mail.

Quote me as saying that, "It is not watts that count, it's dBs; so spend your ham money for dBs, not for watts."

Miscellaneous Ramblings, Boring Tirades and Keyhole Commentary...

or the Definitive KINGSTON Report

by Master Jeff, WA1MBK

DON'T SHOOT THE MESSENGER, but feel free to nuke the National Weather Service. "Light, scattered showers tonight followed by clearing skies early Saturday" was the forecast on WCRB-FM as the MBK Escort made its way northeast through Massachusetts. Ah... the Friday afternoon drive to the Fall 1988 installment of the biannual Hosstrader's Flea Market in Kingston, NH, formerly known as and held at Deerfield. Good wife Pam, KA1QVE, cast an optimistic look my way from the navigator's seat as sleet peppered the windshield.

Hell's Bells -- the weather was probably all MY fault. I had fully intended to take pictures of the northeast clan for use in the AM Press Exchange. The only difference THIS time was that I actually remembered to pack the camera, so naturally it just HAD to rain! Therefore, any of you rain soaked participants of Kingston that are still looking for a scapegoat: BLAME ME!

Even though the deluge had the ultimate potential to severely dampen not only electronic goodies but spirits as well, a good time was had by all. Impromptu technical discussions, joke exchanges and meet-and-greet sessions were going on, perhaps shorter in duration than normal due to the weather conditions, but they went on just the same. On my way back to Hartford, I couldn't help feeling great while thinking of all the smiles and laughter in the seemingly defiant face of persistent rain in Kingston.

Okay, okay -- so I'm romanticizing. Yup, the weather stunk and Kingston sure as hell ain't Deerfield, but I'm fairly certain that I am not the only one who had a good time. Now it seems only fitting to announce some unofficial awards that will hopefully lighten, brighten and dry out our wet memories of Autumn 1988 Kingston.

LONG HAUL AWARD is a tough call. The Long Island and New Jersey delegations are going to have to compare odometer records before a winner can be named. The finalists are KB2APE, WG2T, WB2CAU, WA2RQY, WA2YBG and WA2CYT.

HOP, SKIP AND A JUMP AWARD gets shared by Tom, N1BEC, and Matt, WB1GIT, who both somehow managed to dig down real deep and muster up the courage to brave that 15 minute drive all the way from Exeter to Kingston. Tom drove with Matt at-the-ready in standby mode in the event of primary driver fatigue.

BUFFOON OF THE CENTURY AWARD goes to the unidentified, drunken dreg whose idea of fun was to wait for some unsuspecting woman to enter a portatoilet and once the hapless victim was seated inside, he would proceed to rock the fiberglass outhouse back and forth. Thank goodness those poly-potties seem to defy the basic laws of physics!

BEST DRESSED HAM AWARD is shared by Bob, WA1HVD, and Eric, WB2CAU, who both proved once and for all that denim jeans, a sweatshirt and sneakers are NOT the universal uniform of the AM community. By the way, Eric, I STILL can't find the Flamingo Motel.

MOST PAGED AWARD goes once again to the one and only Timtron, WA1HLR. His name and callsign were quite frequently heard throughout the compound over the public address system. Although desperately seeking anonymity, the kindhearted Henry-Yell-Are is rumored to have personally autographed the forearm cast of an awestruck YL SWL. Anyone ever heard this before: "Oh Timmy... I listen to you ALLLLLLLLLL the time!"

ODDEST HAM FLEAMARKET PURCHASE AWARD goes to Mary, N7IAL/1. I had spied an AC cord and what initially appeared to be an elephant's trunk being dragged around a corner through the mud and upon further investigation determined that the cord and trunk belonged to a VACUUM CLEANER that Mary had just bought. She proudly displayed the vac, all the while standing ankle deep in a puddle, and exclaimed, "this sucks!" I'm still not sure if that comment was to describe the basic operation of the aforementioned vacuum cleaner or an astute opinion on the weather conditions.

COOL HAND LUKE AWARD goes to Corky, K1GWT. He managed to make the rounds about the grounds without the benefit of ANY rain gear -- not even a hat, although trying to communicate the intricacies of an equipment deal with shiver-induced chattering teeth was apparently a bit of a trick!

GOOD SAMARITAN AWARD goes to Frank, WA1GFZ, who while on his way back home had stopped to help out a fellow amateur who was experiencing automobile problems on the Interstate. A tip of the hat to you, Frank.

SPURIOUS EMISSIONS AWARD goes unclaimed this time, as to the best of my- recollection there was NOBODY who puked half digested sirloin tips into a campfire this go-around.

AMers (and their "relatives") who decided to "go public" at the Fall 1988 Kingston were:



KA1QKD Kathy

N1EXI Greg

N7IAL/1 Mary







WA1GFZ Frank

SWL Tony


K1GWT Corky

KA1MKH Wayne




WG2T Frank

WA1HOD Chris

KA1SI Steve


LOOSE CABOOSE. In closing, I would like to extend my apologies to any fellow AMers who were at Kingston yet were not mentioned in the attendance listing above. The roster was compiled in a damp and musty smelling Ford Escort barreling down Route 495 South at 55 MPH. Readers are cautioned NOT to try this stunt at home. This KINGSTON REPORT has been brought to you by the WA1MBK Radio News Service -- all rights reversed. Please address any correspondence to 43 Huckleberry Lane, West Hartford, CT 06110. -73-


APRIL 28,29,30 1989


(Names removed - past copy.)

WANTED: Lafayette Comstat 23 or 25 series CB transceivers. Will trade for six foot equipment rack with back door.

WANTED: NC-300 National receiver in fair condition. Also need S meter for NC300. Need two solid state replacements for 816.

FOR SALE: Transmitting tubes 100TH new $15, 813 $20, 805 $20, 803 $15, 4E27 $10, receiving tubes 7 and 9 pin miniatures $1 each. Octals and loctals $2 each. 2AP1 $10, 2BP1 $10, inquire on others. Components high voltage transformers etc inquire.

WANTED: Harvey Wells TBS-50A (or any series) transmitter with tubes in good physical condition (not required to operate) Meissner Signal Shifter, Model 9-1077/80 (plug-in coils type) in good physical condition (not required to operate).

WANTED: Audio transformers U.T.C. LS-49 and Chicago BD-2.

WANTED: Amplifier that covers 160-10 or 80-10, like Johnson Thunderbolt, Viking Courier, Heath HA-10, Warrior, etc. Also HQ-110 or HQ-110AVHF. Looking for 500 pf air variable Millen 16500 or equivalent for 160 m. transmatch.

WANTED: Collins 180S-1 antenna tuner. Collins 2.1 khz SSB filter for 75A4 receiver. Collins book "The First 50 Years, History of Collins Radio".

FOR SALE: Collins 30K Model 5.

WANTED: Any Pre-WWII Collins radio transmitters. I will pick up anywhere. Wanted modulation transformer UTC VM-5 or Chicago CMS-3, Collins 310A exciter, 30K1 xmtr.

FOR SALE: Johnson Viking II all restored to good operating condx - good tubes, new low voltage bias supply filters, new bleeder resistor and drive control pot. Also have Heath VF-1 VFO, plugs into Viking acc. socket. Manual for Viking. All for $125 plus UPS.

WANTED: M-1 meter and SW5 meter switch for Viking Navigator or will accept the whole unit, does not have to operate.

WANTED: Old Regency ATC-1 converter for car. Also need an S-meter for a Hallicrafters SX-25 receiver.

FOR SALE: Modulation transformer I need to get rid of. Needs a good home.

WANTED: Gonset # 3350 12 v.d.c. mobile power supply.

FOR SALE: Thordarson multimatch 500 watt modulation transformer with literature $75 shipped. 2-810's $25, 3-803's $25, 304TL with socket $55, 1625's $5 each new. Many other old tubes send list.

WANTED: Hallicrafters SX-88 General coverage receiver, R46-A speaker. Sam's SD-13 service manual that covers the Bearcat 210 scanner.

FOR SALE OR TRADE. Heathkit HA-10 Warrior 10-80 amp, 1 kw. 4 811-A's (new) antenna and cutoff bias relays installed. Needs some work - 100 lbs. Will trade for 6 metre amplifier or ??? I can box it for motor freight shipment.

WANTED: Johnson SIGNAL ENTRY no 250-25 in good mech/aesthetic condx w/documents.

WANTED: AM transmitter, Globe King 500 or Globe Champ 300 or other.

WANTED: Receivers R7 and National NC-240D.

WANTED: Transformers. Acrosound TO 330, TO 340, TO 350. Stancor A 8053, A 8056. UTC LS 6L4, S 17.

WANTED: Manual for Heath TX-1 Apache. Also faceplate, must have no scratches. Will pay for postage.

This is the AM PRESS:

An amateur radio publication dedicated to Amplitude Modulation.

This is the AM EXCHANGE:

Offering FREE ADVERTISING to enhance the availability of AM equipment and parts.

DISPLAY ADVERTISING: Rates upon request.

Edited and published by Donald Chester, K4KYV

NOTICE: The purpose of this publication is the advancement of Amplitude Modulation in the Amateur Radio Service, and there is no pecuniary Interest. Therefore, permission is hereby expressed for the use of material contained herein without permission of the publisher, with the exception of specifically copyrighted articles, provided that The AM Press/Exchange is properly credited.