My Most Recent QSO's

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Great Ride

It’s not often I see such a perfect example of my favorite mode of communication. I almost expected to see the NAQCC banner or a big telegraph key beside these big letters. My first thoughts about the paint job on this vehicle was my love of Radio.

But these are actually the call letters of a local television station. (WQCW)
I was riding the bike around town when I discovered it sitting behind their business office.

I assume this vehicle will fast approach it’s useful life and be replaced by another shiny new model in just a few years. Someone with a good eye and artist brush skills could turn this into a great radio car.

You might be able to replace the big guy in the picture, with a picture of yourself and your own Ham radio station.

It would make a dandy of a vehicle for a CW operator!

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Same 'ol Shtick

While driving from the airport in Des Moines Iowa, I tuned into their local AM radio station on the car radio. They have a big 50,000 watt station that can be heard in my home city. They’re around 700 miles from Charleston, and during the night hours, I can hear them loud and clear.

Clear Channel Communications owns this station and is the largest owner of high power AM and FM radio stations in the United States. A few years ago, they owned 1200 stations, and in addition to these, they now own and operate 12 satellite radio (XM radio) channels.

That troubles me.

The framers of our constitution saw great dangers, when power was concentrated in the hands of a few powerful people, and went to great lengths to establish a system of checks and balances to guard against monopolies in our capitalistic economy and our legislative process.

Critics claim large radio corporations like this one have abused their market position.

When I hear these super stations, I hear a constant barrage of the same programming. It’s “coast to coast” on the AM radio band every night. Sort of like the same song played over and over on a broken record player.

As some would say, the same shtick, on a different station, but still the same old shtick.

I’m not picking on this station. It’s just one of many with the same programming every night. I’m picking on the system that allows this kind of mundane programming. I find little variety and little opposing opinion. It’s no wonder that some broadcasters are desperately trying to create a different format.

If you haven’t read the current issue of “Monitoring Times”, you’re missing a great article about “Pirate Radio” written by Ken Reitz (KS4ZR). It’s a brilliant piece of writing.

Pirate radios broadcasters all have one thing in common.

They believe in “freedom of speech”. They also believe that “freedom of speech” is denied when the limited number of frequencies on the AM, FM (and the shortwave bands) are owned and operated by the same company.

As the problems of monopolistic owners become a greater problem every year, I can see more of these stations appearing on the bands.

The FCC is really going to have their hands full trying to control them.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

New NAQCC Banner

As anyone realizes, that has read this blog for very long, I'm a strong advocate of learning and using Morse Code. I have a microphone, somewhere in the house, but I'd have to look for it if I decided to use it again. I might drag it out to make a contact with a "special event station" but if given the choice between a CW contact and a SSB contact, I'll go for the "key" just about 99% of the time. I'm not into the "digital" modes either. To each their own, but I just LOVE Morse Code. Communicating with another operator with a "good fist" is like listening to a good Symphony to me.

It's SO simple and SO efficient and the satisfaction and camaraderie that exists between CW operators is something difficult to put into words. I get an enormous sense of accomplishment when using the "dots and dashes" to communicate.

I've been a member of the North American QRP CW Club for several years now. They've created a new "banner" to express their enthusiasm for CW.

I like it!

There's a link to the club on the right side of this blog. They promote communications with QRP power, and of course, CW.

Check out the web site.

Read the free monthly newsletter.

There's no membership dues.


Learn CW and join in the fun!