Weak-Signal Amateur Radio Communications from WØLCP
Radiating from EN35lj - Stacy, Minnesota
This site last updated on 02/28/14
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 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, Computer Assisted Communications and much more.
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 communications. 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 ham 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 that 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, 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. 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.
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. You can also click on "ADDITIONAL PLOTS" for real-time solar activity, updated every 1 or 2 minutes.
For a quick check on the current auroral situation, try "OVATION Aurora". This site has detailed info that is really spectacular.
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.
Solar Activity Monitor
Updated at 10 minute intervals.
Click on the monitor window for a detailed view of current solar data.
Weather and Tropospheric Propagation Info
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.
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.
For those interested in tropo, you'll find that William Hepburn's VHF/UHF Tropospheric Ducting Forecast 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.
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 Transceiver specifically for weak-signal work. Check out the Sept/Oct/Nov 1999 issues of QST for the all-mode transceiver construction article. This transceiver 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.
for microwave components? Check out these sites for kits
and components. Down
East Microwave has a wide variety of kits and components for 50 MHz. and
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.
Computer Assisted Communications
PSK31 has been around for a while and 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 you've tried PSK31, then WSJT is definitely your next step! Have a look at K1JT's WebPages for a head start in WSJT. Joe has created excellent software for moonbounce, tropo and auroral communications.
Another site that will be of value to you are: NØUK's Ping-Jockey, a Meteor-Scatter Chat Server where you can observe and/or participate in current activity.
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 let's see, where was I....