delara news Delaware Amateur Radio Association, Delaware OH   VOL 36 NUMBER 12

Howdy from Joe’s Place!

Joe Papworth, K8MP HO HO HO from Joe’s Place! Yep, it’s that time of year again. The stores are all decorated for Christmas. Folks have their yards and homes looking festive. Early returns in retail sales are looking excellent, giving the economy a big boost. Times are good! (I wish we could give the solar flux a boost that easily) It’s the holiday season for Hams too. We recently had the CQ World-wide DX contests and the ARRL Sweepstakes contests. By the time you read this, the ARRL 160-meter contest will be history. (It’s held over the first weekend in December) The following weekend (December 9-10), we switch to the opposite end of the HF spectrum. That’s when the ARRL 10-meter contest is held. It actually starts at 7 PM on Friday, the 8th. That’s 1900 for any Hams out there. It’s CW and SSB so even if you’re not a CW op you can have fun in this one. The chances of the solar flux getting that aforementioned holiday boost are one in a gazillion. (So yes, I’m sayin’ there’s a chance) In reality, we have a gazillion-to-one chance against such a boost so you’re gonna have to have patience and earn your contacts in this one. Here’s how: 1. Work the “locals”. Delara members are a good place to start. No antenna? Just make a 1/2 wave dipole. Just 16 feet of wire, 3 insulators, and some 50-ohm coax and you’re on the air. No rig? Double up with someone who has one or use the Red Cross station. (Make sure you coordinate with other club members if you want to use it) 2. Despite the low flux levels, there will be some F-skip occurring. It will most likely be a path to the south. (Caribbean islands plus central and south America) Any such openings will likely occur at midday plus and minus a couple hours. 3. There are other forms of propagation to be aware of: A) Sporadic E-skip- It’s best in the summer time but the experts say it happens as we approach the winter solstice too. Let’s keep our fingers crossed. B) Meteor-scatter- The Geminids meteor shower begins around December 4th, peaking on the 13th or 14th. A meteor streaking through the atmosphere leaves an ionization trail. That trail refracts signals back to earth. You have to be quick. They don’t last long. If you hear a signal suddenly pop out of the noise and then disappear, it was probably via meteor-scatter. One thing to keep in mind is that the 10-meter Big Guns will be on for this one. Some of those guys can punch a signal through the worst of openings. Listen for some California Kilowatts during the afternoon hours. Later in December, we have the RAC (Radio Amateurs of Canada) Winter Contest. It’s CW and SSB and begins at 7 PM on Friday, the 29th. There are scads of smaller contests throughout the month (And all year long for that matter) Follow WA7BNM’s contest calendar to find out what’s coming up. Well, that’s about it for this month. To help you get into the Christmas spirit, I have included a bonus Joe’s Place blast from the past. From our household to all of yours, a very Merry Christmas and a safe and healthy 2018. I hope to see you all at the Delara holiday party and the January meeting but if not, then next year, at Joe’s Place.
© DELARA News, the official monthly newsletter of the Delaware Amateur Radio Association, Delaware, OH