QRZ Logbook

Monday, July 29, 2019

Not one but TWO Meteor Showers tonight!

I went up to the Foothills Parkway last night and saw over 50 meteors in about a 4-hour span. And it wasn't the peak!
Two meteor showers—the Delta Aquarids and the Alpha Capricornids—are both reaching their peak tonight and into Tuesday morning. And with a moon that will be just 6% full, the dark skies could be the perfect stage for quite a meteor show.
Neither of these showers alone is especially strong; Delta Aquarids is more visible in the Southern Hemisphere and Alpha Capricornids only produces up to five meteors per hour. But two showers peaking on the same night together, in combination with a dark sky, bodes well for good views. Together, the showers could produce 20-25 meteors per hour.
Read more here - http://bit.ly/2MqBacq

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Ham Radio 2-Meter Band Threats Popping Up

A recent proposal at a recent CEPT conference may pose a threat to the popular 2-meter band in Amateur Radio.

In June, France presented a proposal to make part of the band (144-146 MHz) part of the Aeronautical Mobile Service with Primary allocation. French defense contractor Thales is requesting that they have primary use of the bands, with amateur radio having secondary use.

Even though the proposal will not appear until the World Radiocommunications Conference in 2023, already Amateur Radio organizations in neighboring places like the UK and Portugal are voicing strong objections with it. While it's going to be an uphill battle for any entity to try and overtake the allocation of the amateur radio bands in any country, the fact that it is being proposed and considered is a sobering reminder that hobbyists' contributions to the world of communications are still secondary to everything else occupying the spectrum. No matter how useful ham radio is in regards to community service, weather spotting, experimentation, scientific studies, etc., we are given the access to the ham bands at the mercy of governing bodies such as the the ITU, and if an agency with a need, and money, wants to come in and try to overtake the bands, they will certainly try.

While I'm not screaming that the sky is falling, I am saying that we need to continue to show that we need our amateur radio bands around the world. 2 meters is arguably the most popular band in VHF, if not the most popular overall, offering new hams a chance to break in and get their feet wet with ham radio. Amateur radio repeaters are all across the band, so that you can talk on an HT from your car, or on a hiking trail, or on the side of the road, and reach somebody in another city or county whether it be for emergencies or just to pass the time talking with a friend or a complete stranger.

I've touted the benefits of SKYWARN and emergency services such as ARES, but other services benefit from 2 meters. Clubs will coordinate with community organizations to provide communications for events like triathlons, road cycling tours, and other public events. Nets are held on many 2 meter repeaters (and simplex) for a variety of clubs and topics. There's also other modes of communication used as well, such as APRS. 2m is a good place to test out new modes of communication and on occasion talk to the International Space Station!

In short, 2 meters is not something I see being given away anytime soon, but as long as businesses and governments are thinking that ham radio is "old tech" and "ancient" the best way to show them that it is far from the case will be to use these bands and use them constantly, consistently, and with the best intentions that ham radio has to offer.

Ahhh, Nature!

Another hobby I have picked up is photography.  While I'm not going to be making a career of it anytime soon, I do like to take pictures worth a damn!

Below are some from a recent trip to the Smoky Mountains:

Small rainbow to right of a rain cell moving through Wears Valley

Rain cell in Wears Valley

Rain cell over Cove Mountain (from Foothills Parkway "missing link")

The Sinks

Rain cell south and west of Foothills Parkway (near Look Rock)
Sunset from overlook
Sunset from overlook

Sunset from overlook
Sunset from overlook
Sunset from overlook

Sunset from overlook

An end to a beautiful day in East Tennessee!

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Drones and Storms

I've been struggling to find places to fly my drone, so sometimes I just take it to my cul-de-sac and just throw it up and let it hover while things occur, such as 4th of July Fireworks, a recent Recycling plant fire, and this one of storms that were in the area. 

During a break in the rain I sent it up about 150'-200' and let it take some shots of lightning at night, and I got a few cool shots.

Last 4th of July, I took it up for some fireworks shots. It's amazing how many people were shooting off fireworks. Those aren't fireflies!

On May 1st there was a fire at Ft. Loudon Recycling facility in Knoxville. I sent up the drone to get some shots and captured a thunderstorm as it approached the fire.

I'm hoping to be able to fly in other areas but it may be easier to ask for forgiveness rather than permission. Can't fly in State or National Parks, so that rules that idea out as well...

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Where have I been?

Sometimes life just gets in the way and you forget that you have websites to keep up with.

So where to start? 

Well one of my recent hobbies has been drone flying. I received a DJI Phantom 3 Standard (P3S) as a Christmas gift in 2017 and have been flying it whenever I can. I'll post some videos below.

I've flown it mainly over family property or over my house. I went to Cove Lake State Park and got chewed out royally by a Park Ranger (turns out State Parks were off-limits). I am hoping to fly it over a few places in the future but getting permission seems to be very much an act of Congress these days...

Ham radio has been somewhat on hold as we've installed new flooring over the winter and with my mother moving in, space has been very cramped and so setting my HF equipment back up has been secondary to everything else. I've still been running SKYWARN nets along with several great friends and ham radio aficionados. Fortunately the weather has not been as severe in this area as it has been in years past, so I can focus on other priorities.

Regarding work, my company's changed in the last couple of years. I was working for Scripps Networks, Interactive, now I work for Discovery, inc. Scripps was acquired by Discovery starting in October 2017, and finalized the following March.

Really, other than that, not much groundbreaking news. But hopefully that will change. I plan to be updating this page more often now that I have some things to focus on.

Stay tuned!

Apollo 11 Anniversary in Real Time

Relive the Apollo 11 landing in real time, it's as if you're in Mission Control in Houston: