Monday, February 23, 2015

Backwoods Amateur Radio Net: U.L. Rohde, Paperless, and EchoLink!

We had 19 checkins last night on the Backwoods amateur radio net.  We had 16 checkins that were short-time or mobile, and 3 stayed to chat a bit in our ragchew segment.

We had quite a VHF propagation enhancement last night, no doubt a result of warm, moist air next to the ground.  We had a checkin from an amateur about 60 miles northeast of us, up in Georgia.  It happens that way sometimes; to know the conditions, you have to listen frequently.

We also discussed one of our local hams creating an EchoLink node, with a transceiver on our repeater's input and output frequencies.  This allows hams who are out of the area, and who are on the "whitelist" to use their iPhone or Android phone to talk on the repeater.  I look forward to using this to listen to our local repeater when I am behind our RF-blocking metal walls at work!  We do have internal Wifi, which will make EchoLink work.

In the net's amateur radio headlines segment last night, I noted that one of our own club members had placed in state rankings in the ARRL 2014 September VHF Contest.  Also, I noted that the FCC's "Paperless" Amateur Radio License was now in effect.

From the ARRL website:
Starting February 17, the FCC no longer routinely issues paper license documents to Amateur Radio applicants and licensees. The Commission maintains that the official Amateur Radio license authorization is the electronic record that exists in its Universal Licensing System (ULS). [...] 
The FCC will continue to provide paper license documents to all licensees who notify the Commission that they prefer to receive one.
The article did not say how to contact the FCC to get a paper license, although it did say you could print one off their ULS website.

And finally, I just had to read some news about an amateur radio operator and professional engineer who has been an Elmer to me, and a lot of other RF engineers.  His books and receiver design have taught me a great deal, and nearly daily in my job, I use equipment that bears his name, particularly spectrum and RF network analyzers.

Ulrich Rohde, N1UL, Wins Second Prestigious IEEE Award

Ulrich Rohde, N1UL, has been named by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) to receive the prestigious I. I. Rabi Award for 2015. The award recognizes outstanding contributions related to the fields of atomic and molecular frequency standards, and time transfer and dissemination. The author of some 200 scientific papers and books, including several [articles in amateur radio journals] QEX and QST [...]
Rohde was cited specifically for “intellectual leadership, selection, and measurement of resonator structures for implementation in high-performance frequency sources, essential to the determination of atomic resonance.”   [...] 
Rohde is the chairman of Synergy Microwave Corporation and President of Communications Consulting Corporation.  [...] 
“I am really in disbelief and overwhelmed by this totally unexpected honor close to my 75th birthday,” Rohde said in thanking [the Awards Chair]. “Not even in my wildest dreams would I have assumed to deserve this important scientific award. Since the age of 16, I have been fascinated with oscillators as well as their performance and their influence on atomic standards. Some of the results of my research are still the basis of all really high-performance oscillators.”
 Rohde and I have several things in common, including becoming interested in oscillators as a teenager, and working as RF receiver design engineers.  But this man is my great mentor; I do not think I could ever approach his intellect or his achievements.  Still, he is an inspiration.

If you are interested in amateur radio, and the great traditions we have, please go to to learn more.

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