This web page has been assembled for Radio Amateurs located in the North Central US and Canada who are or would like to be involved in VHF through light, weak-signal communications. With any luck, you'll will find something of use here which will enable you to enjoy our hobby to a greater extent. Below you will find links that will lead you to other sites of interest. Hopefully, they will encourage you to learn more about Weak-Signal Communications, VHF and up Propagation, Microwaves, High Speed CW and Digital Modes for Meteor Scatter and much more.
Are you new to VHF? Have you been operating 2 meter FM and are looking for something different? You may just find it through other modes, in the bands above 50 MHz. There are challenges here that you probably have never thought seriously about; satellites, moon bounce, experimenting with microwaves, to name just a few. You'll find the computer assisted modes such as FSK441, JT44, PSK31 and HELL in use up there as well.
So, what do you need? The time? Ok, here are links to sites offering software that will access a public time server and reset your computer clock and keep it accurate within milliseconds. One is AboutTime , and the other is Dimension 4 . Both are clock setting programs that are gaining in popularity. They are very handy if you are running high speed meteorscatter or just need to check your computer or station clock.
There are clubs here in the upper mid-west involved in vhf through microwave communications to 24 GHz. and above. Check out this website: The Northern Lights Radio Society Here you'll find more information on our activities which include, but aren't limited to, contesting and experimenting with vhf through microwave communicatiions. You'll also find ELMER's, a plenty, ready to give you a hand getting started. We meet monthly for breakfast in the St. Paul/Minneapolis area. The link above will give you information on dates and locations. Additionally, you'll also find that we sponsor AURORA, a Saturday get-together, held in the spring of each year. At AURORA you'll find an antenna range to check out your latest creations, a vhf and up - flea market, an afternoon of talks on subjects of interest to the vhf'r and a test bench and help to measure the noise figure of your preamp/converter or debug your rig.
The Central States VHF Society is an organization for amateurs interested in VHF activity above 50 MHz. covering but not limited to the midwestern United States. The society holds a technical conference the last weekend in July each year which includes technical papers related to vhf, uhf and the microwave bands, an antenna range, flea market and banquet. Amateurs travel from countries worldwide to attend.
Another group here in the upper midwest are the Badger Contester's, a group of like-minded VHF/UHF/SHF weak-signal operators primarily in Wisconsin. However, there are members in Illinois, Michigan, and Minnesota as well. The group was formed initially as a way to enjoy the club competition aspect of ARRL VHF contests. But it has become more than that. It's a friendly group that is helping each other with propagation openings and getting on new bands.
In east central Iowa, there's The Cedar Rapids Microwave Society , a group of active radio amateurs who are doing interesting and creative things in the regions above six meters. Check them out at Godfather's Pizza in the Town & Country Shopping Center at 37th and First Ave. in Cedar Rapids most Friday's at noon, if you're located near them. You'll find they are willing and able to help you, and an enthusiastic bunch to work with. For more info, contact: Steve, NAØIA
Not to be forgotten are our neighbors to the north. From the Ontario VHF Association web page you can contact VE3IEY to access their list server and get more information about the group and their activities. This group is active from 50 MHz. through 24 GHz.
If your club is located in the upper midwest, I'd like to list it here provided that it is VHF+ oriented. Drop me a note with some details.
One of my main interests has been the study of geospace and propagation at VHF and above. Here is a list of web sites and links to some that are favorites of mine. Check them out if you share that interest.
I think you'll enjoy exploring the KG0VL website on aurora. Jeff and his wife Kim have explored the remote Canadian north extensively in search of both visual and radio aurora. Check out his theories on solar terestrial physics, it's very informative.
KC2MHU's Aurora Sentry. Just about everything you might want to know about current auroral conditions. Take some time to explore this website, you'll find it very worthwhile.
NASA has a VERY interesting site titled What is the Magnetosphere? It has an excellent description and graphics of the earth's magnetosphere and it's connection with the sun. Well worth looking over!
Another NASA site has a view over the poles showing the current auroral oval. A 24 hour history is also available as a movie to give you an idea of what has been going on. You can find it at NOAA POES Auroral Activity. For an interesting description of the auroral process, check out the SEC's topic paper. Go to the link at the very bottom of that page.
Space Environment Home Page This page provides links to a wealth of solar terrestrial information including current auroral maps and files of maps for previous days. One link [Email Products] will allow you to subscribe to the NOAA Weather Wire which provides alerts, warnings, summaries, K and A index values, sunspot numbers, and other information that changes every hour.
Solar Terrestrial Activity Report This site provides a comprehensive report on solar activity and it's expected effect on the earth and includes a graph of solar flux, sunspot numbers and planetary A index, covering the past month.
The University of Michigan has an excellent site dedicated to a wide range of astronomical subjects including our Interplanetary Magnetic Field. Take some time to explore their site for great information on earth-sun interactions and related subjects.
If you would like to know more about The Anatomy of the Earth's Magnetosphere you will also find this site from the University of Michigan interesting.
Finland's Oulu University has web-published a Space Physics Textbook that you can download chapter by chapter and read at your convenience. The Space Physics text deals primarily with the inner solar system and it's plasma environment. You're going to find a lot of material here covering the solar wind, interplanetary magnetic fields, planets and their magnetosheres and/or ionospheres.
For up to date solar weather information try the Solar Terestrial Dispatch Home Page. You can subscribe to their free service and receive e-mails concerning current solar activity. You can also click on "ADDITIONAL PLOTS" for real-time solar activity, updated every 1 or 2 minutes.
Another NASA website, the Laboratory for Astronomy and Solar Physics offers a variety of information on Solar Flare Theory that should help you understand the physics of aurora to a greater extent. You can jump to an almost endless supply of information on solar flares from here but be sure to check out the Table of Contents at the bottom of the page for a fascinating short course.
Click on the monitor window for a detailed view of current solar data.
If your interest is microwave troposcatter then check out Andy, K0SM's RainScatter webpage for a fascinating program that will point you in the right direction for rain or snow scatter. Optimum bearings can be calculated and displayed on a National Weather Service map to aid you in determining the best path to the station you wish to contact.
For weather radar information, you can try either the Intellacast or the National Weather Service webpages for a quick look at what is happening in your area. These links access radar loops from Minneapolis, but you can link to other cities from here, if you wish.
Check out Palle Preben- Hansen, OZ1RH's webpage for a series of articles on troposcatter, ionoscatter and meteorscatter propagation modes.
With the increased interest in rain scatter on the microwave bands, Tom Williams, WA1MBA has a good article called 10 GHz - A Rainy Day Band that will be of value to you.
Additionally, Uffe Lindhardt, PA5DD, has published Rain Scatter - Where, When, How? on his website. Check it out.
For those interested in tropo, you'll find that William Hepburn's VHF/UHF Tropospheric Ducting Forcast will give you a "heads up" on possible enhanced tropo conditions for the next couple of days. You'll find excellent maps covering most areas of the world here.
Here is the Unisis Current Radar Summary that you should find interesting. Those of you into rain-scatter will find this a good starting place. If you poke around a bit, you'll find a lot more.
If you are interested in lightning scatter then the Bakken Live Lightning Detector centered on the St. Paul/Minneeapolis area and extending out three hundred miles has just what you are looking for. Additionally, Lightning Explorer which covers the continental US will be a fascinating web page for you as well. Lightning Explorer is updated every half hour so be sure to click the "refresh" button to get the latest data.
Volker, DF5AI has a fascinating site dedicated to Amateur Radio Propagation Studies that covers his work regarding 144 MHz long distance propagation, aurora, moonbounce, long delayed echos, radio astronomy as well as many other related propagation phenomena. Take some time to explore his excellent web site.
This is an area that is attracting more and more interest in the amateur community.
As the HF bands become more and more crowded, many hams are moving higher in frequency to take
advantage of the challenge of the microwave bands.
A group of hams have designed a DSP-10 Computer
Controlled Two Meter Tranceiver specifically for weak-sigal work. Check out the
Sept/Oct/Nov 1999 issues of QST for the all-mode tranceiver construction article.
This tranceiver can be used as a basic building block for use on any of the vhf and up, bands.
A parts kit is available through TAPR.
This is K3KGP's site and it's loaded with all sorts of interesting topics for the experimenter.
Construction, Astronomy and News are just a few areas
covered on this great site.
If you have a copy of the March 2002 QST or are an ARRL member, you can access a fine article dealing
with the theory behind Gunplexers
online. Tom Williams, WA1MBA's piece delves into the inner workings of the Gunnplexer
and provides the reader with some great resources to draw on.
If you are interested in Gunnplexers on 10 GHz. then download Kent Brittian, WA5VJB's article,
Just About As Cheap As You Can Get 10 GHz.
It's a "must read" for the neophyte 10 GHz. op.
Looking for microwave components? Check out these sites for kits and components.
Downeast Microwave has a wide variety of
kits and components for 50 MHz. and above. If you are looking for gunnplexers for a 10
or 24 GHz. wideband FM project, try
SHF Microwave Parts Co. for a variety of parts.
Another source of microwave kits downunder, is
VK5EME's Mini-Kits. web page.
You'll find a wide variety of interesting projects here.
W1GHZ has a website full of interesting microwave
information. He has also written an online book on microwave antennas that should be of
value to anyone contemplating work at these frequencies.
For additional information regarding
Parabolic Antennas & Their Feeds, you can
have a look at N3AOG's page on the Mt. Airy VHF Club website.
Check out their technical articles section while your at it.
A group of hams have designed a DSP-10 Computer Controlled Two Meter Tranceiver specifically for weak-sigal work. Check out the Sept/Oct/Nov 1999 issues of QST for the all-mode tranceiver construction article. This tranceiver can be used as a basic building block for use on any of the vhf and up, bands. A parts kit is available through TAPR.
This is K3KGP's site and it's loaded with all sorts of interesting topics for the experimenter. Construction, Astronomy and News are just a few areas covered on this great site.
If you have a copy of the March 2002 QST or are an ARRL member, you can access a fine article dealing with the theory behind Gunplexers online. Tom Williams, WA1MBA's piece delves into the inner workings of the Gunnplexer and provides the reader with some great resources to draw on.
If you are interested in Gunnplexers on 10 GHz. then download Kent Brittian, WA5VJB's article, Just About As Cheap As You Can Get 10 GHz. It's a "must read" for the neophyte 10 GHz. op.
Looking for microwave components? Check out these sites for kits and components. Downeast Microwave has a wide variety of kits and components for 50 MHz. and above. If you are looking for gunnplexers for a 10 or 24 GHz. wideband FM project, try SHF Microwave Parts Co. for a variety of parts. Another source of microwave kits downunder, is VK5EME's Mini-Kits. web page. You'll find a wide variety of interesting projects here.
W1GHZ has a website full of interesting microwave information. He has also written an online book on microwave antennas that should be of value to anyone contemplating work at these frequencies.
For additional information regarding Parabolic Antennas & Their Feeds, you can have a look at N3AOG's page on the Mt. Airy VHF Club website. Check out their technical articles section while your at it.
High Speed CW for Meteor Scatter is becoming increasingly popular now with many hams having one or more computers around the shack. W8WN's Site, has a lot of news and information regarding what's going on in the high speed cw meteor scatter world.
The latest weak-sgnal software project to arrive on the amateur scene is WSJT, written by K1JT, a four tone, frequency - shift keyed program used with your computer sound card. This program will dig down to retrieve and decode a signal that is just audible to the ear. If you've tried PSK31, then WSJT is definately your next step! Three sites that will be of value to you are: NØUK's Ping-Jockey, a Meteor-Scatter Chat Server where you can observe and/or particiate in current activity and DigitalOnSix a Yahoo egroup for meteor-scatter enthusiasts, as well as W8WN's site listed above.
PSK31 has become quite popular lately. An excellent source of information can be found at The PSK31 Home Page. Check it out for a wide range of software and hardware links. A weak signal software product designed for PSK31 that I found there, and have used myself, is DigiPan. The reflector for PSK31 can be very helpful in getting started in this mode.
If it fits within the framework of what I think the site should contain, I'll use it.
This webpage is dedicated to my long-suffering spouse who believes that I spend entirely too much time in front of a mike or at the keyboard, talking to people who are almost as weird as I am.
She's probably right. Now lets see, where was I....