Just A Review of Ionospheric Basics- It's Painless


Dick Bromley







The ionosphere is a layer of the at­mosphere between 30 and 370 miles above the surface of the earth. Solar en­ergy. in the form of ultra-violet light (LV) and x-rays, ionize gases in this area. allowing electrons to float freely. These "ionic" gases exist in all the lay­ers. The major ones being considered here are:


I. F- region (Consists of F1 and F2 layers)


2. E - layer


These two layers have the most pro­nounced effects on the transmission and reception of signals in the bands below 30 MHz and above 5 MHz.


Ionization is affected by the sun. When there is more activity on the sun. there is usually more ionization. If the "noise floor" is low enough, this increased activity improves















communica­tions on many bands. Unfortunately, if the sun is active with solar storms, then the noise floor is increased, diminishing the effectiveness of the increased ioni­zation. In this case, even though the ionosphere is in better condition to propagate waves over long distances, the noise floor sometimes does not al­low the ham to hear some of the weaker signals. Sort of a "catch 22".


Quite simply, the ionosphere "bends" radio signals below' 30 MHz to varying degrees.

However, it is much easier to think of these bends as reflections. A signal goes up and is reflected back down to the surface of the earth. Basically, the reflections occur because the free elec­trons act on the signal in such a way that causes this to take place.

Because the ionosphere is made up of gases, it is free to move about. As a result, conditions are always changing. This constant movement causes a corre­sponding change


See Review page 7












                                                                                   be at the feedpoint of a longwire ante           A balanced antenna (dipole, Yagi,                   
                                                                                   quad) operates independently



Beginner’s, Page 4


Editorial, Page 2


Minutes, Page 6


Mind Twister, Page 5


Nets, Exams, Page 6


President’s Page, Page 3


Review, Page 1


Road Signs, Page 2





























 VOL.  74,  NO.  12








CQ de WA2LQO is published monthly by the Grumman Amateur Radio Club for its members and friends. Send articles and amateur equipment advertisements to:

Dave Anderson

743 Meadow Road

Smithtown, NY 11787

Phone (631) 361-8910



If you want to submit articles or amateur equipment ads via e-mail do the following:

1. For submission direct to editor call him at above number to set up a transfer.

2. For e-mail transfer:

Internet Address

[email protected]





.As Editor of this newsletter I have been very lucky in finding sources for the articles we print every month. Lately the thought has entered my mind, “Am I really giving the readers what they want?”


To answer this question I need to hear from you. If you are happy with the monthly content of the newsletter please let me know.

If there are things you would like to see in the nl please let me know.

If you spot any errors please let me know.

If there are things you don’t like in the nl please let me know about that also.


The more We know about what you want to see in this newsletter the better We can make it.


Have a happy Holiday Season!!


The Editor, KA2FEA














NEWINGTON, Ct (ARNS) - How can you make visitors to your city or town welcome to your club meeting and repeater? And how can you attract newcomers to join the ranks of amateur radio operators?


Take a tip from the Gennessee Radio Amateurs Inc., of New York. As you cross the city line into many communities, you are greeted by a sign that lists all the local service clubs and their meeting place and time. Why not welcome out-of-town radio amateurs the same way?


Contact your local Chamber of Commerce to reserve space on the welcoming sign into your community utilized by service clubs. The C of C can give you information as to the size of the sign permitted. Because of the diversity of signs to do the Job, having It prepared by local signmakers Is recommended.


Giving your club's repeater frequency as a contact point is suggested. This will not only connect the visitor to some of the local hams, but provide the opportunity for that person to get details and dIrections to your local club meeting.


ARRL HQ welcomes photos and reports (as does ARNS) of your club's success in utilizing road signs to attract new attendees to your radio club meeting.


FROM THE ARRL FIELD FORUM, OCT. '90, via the February, 91 issue of the ARNS Bulletin, Lon Smith, WM7E, editor.




















































President                       Pat Masterson          KE2LJ             B38-111          218-6746

Vice President               Gordon Sammis        KB2UB           C63-005          575-1846

Secretary                       Peter Rapelje             N2PYV           Retiree            676-0694

Treasurer                       Ted Placek                 KD2UB                                     

1Yr Board Member       Zack Zilavy               WB2PUE                               667-4628

1YrBoard Member        Dave Ledo                 AB2EF

1Yr Board Member       Hank Neimczyk         W2ZZE          Retiree           

2Yr Board Member       Bill Scheibel              N2NFI                                    924-0126    

2Yr Board Member       Dan Manfre               WA2NDP

Trustee WA2LQO       Ray Schubnel           W2DKM        C31-005          575-5036




Meeting Programs       Contact a Board Member

FCC Exam Coord.         Bob Wexelbaum       W2ILP                                    499-2214



















This is our last newsletter of the year, so we can recap some of the things that have occurred. There have been a few, and only some of them favorable. Recently, we had Elections for new officers. For the most part, the incumbents were re-elected, with the exception that Board member NN2C (Marty) was replaced by W2ZZE (Hank). So, I want to thank Marty for all the help he has provided to us over his many years of service. Marty is still an Officer with LIDXA and QCWA, so he has plenty to do, and could use a little rest.

And we are quite happy to have Hank back on board. But, two of our Board members (WA2NDP and N2NFI) have moved far enough away that they are no longer capable of attending any meetings. They have sent me letters of resignation. So I will be naming some replacements for these positions real soon. We had a successful Field Day, and I was pleased with the outcome of that operation, more so than the one we did in 1999. As always, we could have done some things different, and hopefully, will do so in 2001. On the down side, we are having almost insurmountable difficulties with the Company on the subject of relocating our trailer and tower from Plt 5. First they said that it would all be done. A work order was cut to move us to Plt 14, but they later decided it cost too much to do. Even though they have a few million to spend on the whole Plt. 5 project. It was put on hold, and we are hoping it will get back on track. Initially, it was because of a belief that we need  aircraft warning lights on the tower. I sent a request for an analysis to the FAA Office in NYC, and am awaiting their decision. Later, I was told that pouring concrete for the tower was the problem, due to needing an outside contractor. So, if we don't get resolution soon, I will offer to have the tower erected by volunteers (us) without the use of concrete. But, I still need them to move the trailer and connect the wiring. So, we still have a ways to go on that issue.  Our other issue is what to do with the 146.745 repeater now sitting on top of Plt 5. My request for space on the new water tower was denied, and I have passed that one off to an Oyster Bay Town Councilman for help. Nothing back from him yet. I hope to have some good news for you on these subjects early next year.

We have actually picked up a few new members this year, and at least one was a fellow who visited our Field Day operation and was enthused enough to want to become a member. And Dick, KF2GU, continues to do Ham Radio demonstrations at various schools during the year, thus showing the younger people what Ham Radio is like. Without doing demos for the young people, we have no hope of recruiting them as members.

Finally, our Holiday Party will be at Plt 5 as usual, on December 20th, but at 5PM, not 6:30. I hope to see you all there. -Pat KE2LJ




Beginner’s Bulletin

Edited By

Vic Black,AB6SO




PAARA has member education responsibilities. This is a new column to help new hams and "I knew but can't remember so well days". If you have a question, others probably just haven't got around to asking the same. Send questions to Vic, or PAARAgraphs. We will try to find an answer. Please remember this is for beginning ham level)


Q. In a magazine article about satellites, the author used letters to describe various types of operating "modes". What do those letters mean?


A. "Mode" is used not only to describe modulation types, such as AM, FM, SSB, and CW, but also to describe operating frequency bands on satellites. Some amateur satellites are single channel FM repeaters only, but many use transponders, which receive an entire band of frequencies and repeat them back on another part of the spectrum. To simplify describing transponders, a series of letters has been assigned to indicate the frequency bands in use.


Dual-Band Modes

Mode A: Uplink 2m, Downlink 10m

Mode B: Uplink 70cm, Downlink 2m

Mode J: Uplink2m,  Downlink 70cm

Mode K: Uplink 15m, Downlink 10m


Mode L: Uplink 23cm, Downlink 70cm

Mode S: Uplink 70cm, Downlink 13cm

Mode T: Uplink 15m, Downlink 2m


Single-Band Modes

Mode V: 2m  (145 MHz)

Mode U:7Ocm (435MHz)

Mode L:23cm (12GHz)

Mode S:13cm (24GHz)

Mode C:6cm (5.6GHz)

Mode X:3cm (10GHz)

Mode K:l.5cm(24GHz)


Example: If you're using a dual-band mode A satellite, you must talk on 2 meters and listen on 10 meters

Some of the modes are duplicated in the two lists. The words "Single-Band" or "Dual-Band" will generally prefix those modes, such as Single-Band Mode S, for instance: In addition, some satellites operate in more than one mode, such as Dual­Band Mode KA indicating uplink 15m, downlink 10m, as well as uplink 2m, Downlink 1Om. Modes are being worked out now, for the launch of Phase 3D satellite. This ambitious project will accommodate uplinks on 15m,12m, 2m, 70cm, 23cm, 13cm, and 6cm. Downlinks will be on 2m, 70cm, 13cm, 3cm, and 1.5 cm. In addition, both analog, and digital sub-bands are planned for all bands except 15m and 12m, which will be analog only.




Q. I'm really confused after reviewing the charts for satellite modes. I thought letters like x, K, and Ka had something to do with police radar detectors.


A. In the early days of microwave electronics, some bands were issued letter designators. These are somewhat standardized, but by no means are they fully standardized It's unfortunate That satellite modes using microwave bands could end up using the same letter combinations to indicate different things. A good source of information regarding frequency designators is at http://www.advantix.com/neuhaus/fccindex/letter.html. There you'll find Three different, but similar, charts. Still others exist as well. Amateur radio operators would normally use the RSGB standards, which include some overlaps. To avoid confusion, it's best to refer to the amateur bands by frequency, such as 1.2Ghz or by wavelength, such as 13 cm.


See Beginner’s page 5




Beginner’s from page 4


band Designation        Frequency (MHz)

            L          1,000 - 2,000

            S          2,000 - 4,000

            C         4,000 -8,000

            x          8,000-12,000

            Ku        12,000-18,000

            K          18,000-26,500

            Ka        26,5000-40,000

            Q         33,000 - 50,000

            U          40,000-60,000


Q I just received my new call sign and bought a two meter HT. I can't figure out how to use the HT for Single Side Band

A Most handie-talkies are FM only. The weak signal modes (SSB and CW) require radios designed specifically for those modes.  There are a few HT's, such as those made by Tokyo Hy­Power, which are used in Japan for High Frequency (HF)SSB, and CW. However, those are made in small quantities and are not imported into the United States.

From the May, 2000 issue of "PAARAgraphs", newsletter of the Palo Alto Amateur Radio Association, Inc. Wally Porter, K6URO, ed.








The meeting was called to order by Pat at 6:40 PM.

All present introduced themselves.



The treasurer was absent so there was no report.



Gordon, KB2UB

There has been some jamming activity on the Hauppaugue Repeater. Everyone was reminded that the best way to deal with jammers is to ignore them.



Bob, W2 ILP

There were no applicants. Four VE’s were available at the session.



Bob, W2FPF

No Activity. Bob reported that the QCWA president was petitioning the ARRL to push for only two classes of license, Technician and Extra.




Pat reported that he had a discussion with Councilman Leonard Simons from the Town of Oyster Bay concerning the possibility of using the water tower for our repeater antenna. Councilman Simons is a ham and also oversees the Bethpage Water District. Pat sent him all the pertinent info and is waiting for his reply.

It appears that Northrop Grumman does not want to spend any money on moving the trailer to the Plant 14 area. In particular they are balking at pouring concrete for the tower base and guys. We might be able to work around this.


Pat has submitted the necessary form to the FAA to determine if a light is necessary on the tower. A reply indicates that the case is under advisement.

A question was asked about the status of the Hauppaugue Tower. The company has not been able to sell the tower and property because the land is contaminated. Also an engineering evaluation of the tower was made that indicates that it cannot withstand the present requirements of 85 MPH winds and 2 inches of ice. This will further detract from its ability to be sold.



Discussed the Holiday Party that will be held at the N/G cafeteria at 5:00 PM on December 20. It will be catered by the N/G cafeteria staff who will charge $7.75 per person. The club will subsidize the party so that members and guests will be charged $5.00. A motion to authorize paying $310.00 to the N/G caterer was approved.



Bob, W2FPF was the election chairman. The following slate was elected for the year 2001:

President – Pat Masterson, KE2LJ

Vice President – Gordon Sammis, KB2UB

Treasurer – Ted Placeck, KD2UB

Secretary – Peter Rapelje, N2PYV

Two Year Board Members:

Zack Zilavy, W2PUE

Dave Ledo, AB2EF

Hank Niemczyk, W2ZZE





By Pete, N2PYV










Marty, NN2C gave an interesting presentation describing his trip to England to attend the meeting of the


Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) and the Islands on the Air (IOTA).



 Forty Meters:   7.289  at  7:30 AM EST Sundays.

20 meters: 14.275 at 12 noon Wednesdays.
Two Meters:    146.745 at  8:30 PM EST Thursdays.

145.33 at 8:45 PM Thursdays

145.33    at  9:00 PM EST

Mondays (ARES/RACES)



For information on new VE Exams see write up by Bob, W2ILP in February newsletter, page 2.



General Meetings of the GARC are held on the third Wednesday of each month, at Melville, at 6:30 PM. All who are interested in Amateur Radio are invited to attend. Board meetings are held eight days before the General Meeting and GARC members are invited to attend, but please call Pat Masterson, KE2LJ, at 218-6746 to confirm place and time of meeting

            Directions and a map for getting to the Melville meeting site are available on the Club Web site, www.qsl.net/wa2lqo.




Review from page 1


In the “bending” characteristics of the ionosphere. For example. a station in Crystal River may be
talking to New York one minute and then 5 minutes later find a station from Ohio more readable. It is not because the station in Ohio is more readable, it is because the propagation shifted to change the different concentrations of ionized gases causing a change in the "skip zone". The higher in frequency (below 30 MHz the more one finds this "shift" occurring.                                             

The F - region is the very thickest region of thc ionosphere, which makes the F region special. It is the only layer of the
ionosphere that is subdivided into two parts, the F I layer and the F2 layer. During the day the F region ionizes at different rates, due to it's thickness. As a result, two characteristic changes occur: 1 ) during the day, the region splits up and 2) at night the two layers slowly recombine. The F2 layer is the most important of the
two. During the daylight hours, the F2 layer forms. The F2 layer is on top of the Fl layer (making it situated closer to the
sun). As a result of being closer to the sun, it comes into contact with more of the UV and X ray energy. Because of this, the F2 layer becomes more ionized than
the F 1 layer. When night settles in, the F 1 layer quickly loses its energy while the F2 layer loses its energy much more slowly--
usually at the lowest point right before sun-up.


It is the F2 layer of the ionosphere that provides the capacity of the ionosphere to reflect radio energy (this is why the F2 layer is more important to HF communi­cations.). Some of the properties of the F-2 layer include reflecting radio signals up to distances of 2500 miles (single hop) and extend to globe-circling "long-path" communications. F-region ionization is al­ways greatest when the sun is directly overhead (as are all Ionospheric layers). F2 radiation is also directly related to UV radiation: thc greater the UV, the greater the ionization (note that this means the greater the UV above the cloud cover, and is irrelevant when considered at a "ground level"). Thus, in the summer F region propagation is greatest and in the winter it is least.


The F layer is not very important. for most practical purposes. It can be very effective when it occurs though. On the V H F bands F-layer propagation, better known as F-skip, provides excep­tional communication range and clar­ity. For instance, a station in Inverness may be speaking on a local simplex frequency when all of a sudden a station from Boston, Mass. comes in over the local station. Sometimes during thc summer months, a local repeater could experiences interference from a Connecticut repeater--some 900 to 1200 miles away! F-skip is very exciting and occurs on frequencies ranging from around 10 meters (29 MHz) and up... very rarely as high as 70cm (432 MHz). F- layer ionization is not as long-lasting, nor as energetic as F-region ionization, except in the case of F-skip. Somehow, within the F- layer, a "super ionized" cloud forms which provides this fantastic propagation, not to be con­fused with extended tropospheric propa­gation. This form of signal enhancement ("trope")

usually is caused by a temperature inversion where the normally cooler temperatures aloft are warmer than those below.)


D Layer


The D layer is not very interesting. During the daylight hours it serves to absorb most energy belowr about 7 MHz. During the night hours, it totally disappears, making 80 meters (3.5 MHz) once again useable. It quickly reaches full ionization soon after sun-up, and almost immediately loses its energy after the sun goes down. It does nothing in the way of reflecting signals--as far as science knows.


(from "Share Tales," newsletter of the Sky High Amateur Radio Club Newsletter, Peter Holmes-Ray, KA4TDK,  ed.)













RACINE, WI. (ARNS) - Married or single, the wise ham of every age could help his/her family and/or heirs in the event of his/her demise by having an inventory of the ham shack and instructions for disposal of the shack Especially where there is not another ham in the family, the death of a ham radio operator can leave the widow(er) and/or heirs In a fog of grief about what to do with all that gear.


So don't put it off. Make up your Inventory, and leave your family or friends some clear instructions. I've asked a friend to sell my gear, with some of the proceeds to go to my radio club and the rest to my wife. You might want to help

the ARRL Foundation or the Courage Handi-Hams or some other ham groups. Make your death mean something. A form you can use is printed on this page. Use it as a model for your own forms.


To be certain that your wishes for the disposal of your station and related equipment are respected and followed, those instructions should be written Into your will. A letter of Instruction form should be filled out and attached to your will.


Remember, to be of any use, the inventory form must be updated on a regular basis.