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Volume 14, Number 7 July 2009

The Nugget

The Newsletter of the Mother Lode DX/Contest Club


When: The July 25th meeting of the Mother Lode DX/Contest Club and the Northern California Contest Club will be at the Old Spaghetti Factory in Stockton at 12:00 Noon

Where: The Old Spaghetti Factory is located at March Lane and I-5. See the club’s website at http://www.mldxcc.org/ and click on “meetings” for more information and map.

What: The JOINT meeting of the MLDXCC and NCCC so we hope all will make a special effort to attend. We all see friends who are only able to attend this meeting. Don’t miss it!! See the club’s website at http://www.mldxcc.org/ and click on “meetings” for more information and map.

From the Prez:

Well, it is July and the weather will be hot for this year’s Joint meeting with the NCCC.

The month finds me rebuilding my station and making antenna plans for fall contests. My 746 is back from the shop and seems to be working well. I’ve rebuilt my operating position so my monitor is up at eye level. I’ve moved out an old computer and am setting up my laptop as the shack computer, using a separate monitor and keyboard.

Field Day up on Martis Peak was fun. I helped with the GOTA station and visitors, and made a few unsuccessful attempts at making a satellite contact. Of course operating HF and the great company were highlights.

I’m preparing to take my daughter to Illinois to finish off her Bachelor degree. We will make a quick side trip to the Tetons, Yellowstone, Mt. Rushmore and a number of lesser-known sites. Road Trip! We will give the TinyTrak4 APRS tracker a workout and may make a few contacts along the way. Amelia is KG6PIU.

The big event this month is the joint meeting at the Old Spaghetti Factory in Stockton (nr March Lane and I-5) at 12:00 Noon. I’ll leave details to Shirley, AA6K. I look forward to seeing you all there.

We did have a sunspot! Good DX?
73 *Rich, NU6T**.*

Below is a photo of Bob Cox, K3EST and his XYL Junko, taken at our June meeting. Bob is the club’s newest member

The photo above was taken at our June meeting (of about ½ of our group) note that it shows the back of our heads! (Nice composure Norm..de ed) Photos by N6JV.


Tube of the Month de Norm, N6JV

In about 1938, Eimac was experimenting with making more powerful tubes by paralleling two or more smaller tubes they already had in production. The variation between tubes was very small so parallel operation wasn’t a problem. The 304T was made from four of the 75T triodes. I don’t think it was a big sales success at the time, but early in WWII with the military need for powerful tubes, mass production of the now designated 304TL had started. Several pieces of equipment used the 304TL, but it made a good pulse modulator for early RADARs and eventually hundreds of thousands of these tubes were made.

After WWII, these tubes flooded the surplus market. Thousands were broken up to get the grid material. In early versions, the grids were made from a platinum alloy. Hams could buy them for less than a dollar to power their KW amps. With the popularity of grounded grid amplifiers in SSB service, the 304TL became the source of many construction articles in ham magazines. The example shown is the earliest version of the 304T.
Channel 13 Analog Transmitters now History On June 18th , Norm, N6JV and I met Bob, W1RH and one of his engineers, Richard Humphrey, N6NAE for lunch and a tour (of the now de-commissioned) Channel 13 analog transmitter site in Locke California. We had great lunch at one of those old places on the levee road. Then we got into some serious scrounging of parts that were in the old transmitters, tubes mostly for Norm’s collection. We shot a few pictures and though you might enjoy seeing what a “real” station looks like.

The “old” Channel 13 candelabra tower in Locke. Now this would be a perfect 160 tower. I wonder what my neighbors would think if I? Nope, I already know! HI HI

The front of one of the transmitter bays.

Now this is what I call feedline!

The driver (left) and Final of one of the transmitters. Yep, they have handles!

Richard Humphrey, N6NAE channel 13 engineer, is shown pulling one of the final tube out of it’s cavity, note the cheater-bar.

Member news/feedback/Announcements.

Another very wonderful person has left us. Mary NA6E was a member of MLDXCC for a while; I don't know if NCCC was ever honored with her membership. Few people remember Mary as a contester, but she and hubby Mark WT6P came to Yankee Hill several years ago and won the RU RTTY contest for the Pacific Division. Look it up, I think they used my call. Good enough?

Mary was a top quality person in all respects. We enjoyed their company here so much that Ginny and I often visited Mark and Mary, (who referred to themselves as the M&M twins)at their home in the south side of Sacramento. We learned during one visit that Mary had been diagnosed with some awful form of cancer and was undergoing therapy; Ginny gave her a simple little hat for her bald head. Mary didn't look inward, she hugged Ginny and thanked her profusely. Tears flowed. That was Mary. There's so much more... Mary died peacefully on June 15. Rest in peace my very dear friend. Bill K6KM

After downsizing our big station, the remaining 20M antenna refused to rotate through a full 360 degrees. The problem persisted for 3 or 4 YEARS in spite of numerous tower climbings, re-doing the cable wrap several times, attempts to get help from M2 Et Cetera. This morning we replaced the OR-2800 rotator with a new one and all is good now. In the process of replacing the rotator, the climber noticed a slight off-level rotator shelf and leveled it. We don't know if the rotator was bad or if the shelf was the problem; time and testing will tell. So, we now have two bands up and working (20M plus a high 80M dipole with Tornado tuner). More catch-up work is in progress but as a minimum we'll have these two bands ready for CQP…Bill K6KM

Made 163 contacts in IARU contest. Worked a few openings to Europe on 30 meters (80 meter dipole). Today I cut down a fruit tree that was doing badly and was really in the way of lowering my mast the easy way. Also the ropes supporting the driven element - including the traps for 40 meters - broke and my driven element is sagging. Now that the tree will be cleared in a day or so I can lower the mast and work on my tribander + 40 meter dipole. Next will be my new 80 meter dipole which I will need someone to shoot a line into the trees. Also I will be overhauling my SB-220 linear. All before CQP! 73, Jettie W6RFF

I received, unexpectedly, a certificate for the 2008 IARU Contest - first place single operator phone only low power San Joaquin Valley Section. (there was only one other entry for this classification, but hey, First Place is still First Place.) Bill KI6PG

The unit below is Norm, N6JV’s very nicely (rebuilt) 10GHz rig. He uses an Icom IC-706MKII as the 2M IF. Norm is now setup as portable/rover station, producing 2.5 watts of power into a 34” dish with about 37dB gain.

I would like to sell (or trade) my Alpha 78 HF power amplifier it’s in excellent physical, and 100% operating condition, Anyone out there looking an Alpha 78? I can send photos and you are encouraged to stop come and put it through it’s paces before you buy. de Rick, W6SR Samoian@directcon.net or (530) 672-2885 for more info.

Well it’s been too hot to do much outside, so no antenna work was done here. And, the station seems to work A-OK. The 6M band has been open on e-skip quite a bit, but the other bands have been less than stellar.

During the past month I have taken a lot of the rough edges from the 10GHz transverter project, which I partially described last month. Now, hopefully, I have a reliable unit and am now ready for the up-coming 10GHz contest weekends. They are 15 & 16 August, and 19 & 20 September. The following photo is a close-up view of the completed 10GHz transverter & power amplifier. It consists of a Downeast 5mw transverter kit, followed by a pair of librated tel-com amplifiers that boost the transverter’s 5mw to 2.5 watts. It also contains a low noise (1.5dB) noise figure pre-amp, high stability OCXO, synthesizer and PLL’s by pyro-joe. The antenna is a 30” dish (36 dBi gain) for 10KW ERP. , I use a IC-706MKIIG for the 2M IF. See the photo below for a close-up of the electronics:

On July 10 thru the 12th Karen and I took a trip with the Cameron Park Corvette Club (to Grants Pass Ore) we participated in the Southern Oregon Corvette Club’s Rouge River weekend. The weather and food were great, and we took a fun ride on the Hellgate jet boat. What a blast!

Below are a couple of photos, in the first we in our car prior to the show & shine, and the second is a shot as we are preparing to start our jet boat ride.

Enough for now, CU all the 25th. de Rick, W6SR
July 2009 Treasurer’s Report

Balance June 1, 2009: $874.34
Income: Donation: N6TNX Estate 1230.00

Dues: K3EST and NU6S 30.00


Expenses: Liability Insurance 320.00
Balance June 30, 2009: $1814.34
Carolyn Wilson K6TKD, Treasurer


June 13, 2009

Call to order

President Rich Hill, NU6T, called the meeting to order at 12:20 PM. The meeting was held at Colima Del Oro restaurant, in Shingle Springs.

Moment of Silence

President Hill asked for a moment of silence in memory of the following silent key:
Ed Andress – W6KUT

Secretary’s Report

It was moved to approve the Secretary’s minutes of the January 24, 2009, meeting and the Treasurer’s report. The motion was seconded. The vote was unanimous.

Committee Reports

There were no committee reports.


Donation to MLDXCC

Shirley and Dick – The family estate donated to $1,000 to MLDXCC.

Carol (K6TKD) – Additional $263 from the sale of donated equipment went to the Club.

Suggestions on how to use the donation


Ray – Consider a donation to the Lupus Foundation in honor of Shirley.

Rich – Suggested a scholarship fund.

Jack – Perpetual contest trophy.

Contest Log Submission

Dick – Watch the reflector to know which logs go to NCCC and which to MLDXCC.

Shirley – Mentioned that the newsletter needs to mention the contests every month including which club to assign the logs to.

Rick (W6SR) – Will insert this in every newsletter. Contest chairman needs to send him a monthly update.

Dick (K6LRN) – Mentioned that MLDXCC cannot be classified as a small club because of the distance between members.

Rich (NU6T) – Will write something in the for the NCCC newsletter listing MLDXCC contests.


Rich (NU6T) – Extensive discussion on bylaws changes. Proposed bylaw changes were discussed. The Bylaws were modified and prepared for a vote.

Meeting Locations

Rich (NU6T) – Joint NCCC/MLDXCC meeting will be in Stockton on July 25th.

Dick (K6LRN) – The September meeting will be in Shingle Springs on the 19th.



Dick (K6LRN) - Has changed log submission deadline from 30 to 15 days.

New Member

Bob Cox, K3EST, was voted in as a new member.

Field Day

WX6V – Gave an update.

New NCCC Meeting Location

Jack – Mentioned that NCCC has added Livermore as one of the meeting locations to make it easier for Valley members to attend a meeting.
Meeting closed at 1335 hours.
Presentation followed: Bob Hess (W1RH) – Tall Towers








Carolyn Wilson


Omo Ranch




Dick Wilson


Omo Ranch




Richard E Hill


Fair Oaks




Brandt Woodward





Scott Lieberman


Los Gatos



Jack Morgan






Jim Venneman






Rick Samoian






Norm Wilson






Peter Bauer


Carson City, NV


Gary Stilwell


Fair Oaks




Ken Anderson


Pine Grove




Kay Anderson


Pine Grove




Jettie Hill






Ginny Snider


Yankee Hill




Bill Snider


Yankee Hill




Bob Cox






Shirley Rose






John Larson






Ray Parker


Sutter Creek




Bob Hess





No 950 *** 4 2 5  D X  N E W S ******* DX  INFORMATION  **** Edited by  I1JQJ & IK1ADH Direttore Responsabile  I2VGW

5B - Alan, 5B4AHJ will participate in the IOTA Contest as P3J  from  his home  QTH on Cyprus (AS-004). Expect him to operate SSB and  CW  on all bands. QSL via 5B4AHJ. [TNX 5B4AHJ]

9A - Jane/S57L, Goran/S52P,  Vinko/S53F,  Brane/S56UGB  and  Silvo/S50X, will be active as 9A8ZRS from Vela Palagruza (EU-090)  from  20  to 31 July, IOTA Contest included. They plan to operate CW, SSB and PSK31 on 80, 40, 20, 15 and 10 metres, plus 6  and  2  metres.  QSL via operator's instructions. [TNX F5NQL]

9A - Gert, OE3ZK  will operate CW, SSB and RTTY  as  9A/OE3ZK  from  the island of Korcula (EU-016) on 21-30 July, including an entry  (CW) in the IOTA Contest. QSL via home  call, direct or bureau.  [TNX OE3ZK]

A4 - A team from the Royal Omani Amateur Radio Society will participate in the IOTA Contest as A43SI from Suwadi Island (AS-112). QSL  via A47RS. [TNX A41MA]

CE - The Radio Club Rancagua (CE4RG, formerly as Radio  Club of  Chile) was  established on  22  July  1936. Celebrating their 73rd anniversary, club members will operate with special event callsign CE73RG for 73 days starting on 22 July. Expect activity on 80, 40, 20, 17, 15, 12 and 10 metres SSB, CW and PSK. QSL via CE4WJK.

CT9 - Twelve operators from Portugal and Madeira will be operate SSB,  CW and digital modes as CR3D  and  CR3R  from  Chao  Island  (AF-046), Madeira 24-26 July. Part  of  the  team  will  focus  on  the  IOTA Contest (with two stations), while the rest will concentrate on 30, 17 and 12 metres, plus  6, 4  and 2 metres.  QSL direct to CT1BOL.  Further information at http://www.qrz.com/db/CR3D  [TNX CT1BOL]

EI - A combined team from the South Dublin Radio Club and  the  City  of Belfast Radio Amateur Society will participate in the IOTA  Contest as EJ0GI from Inis Oirr, Aran Islands  (EU-006).  QSL  via  EI2SDR. Some team members may be active under their home calls  before  and after contest between 23 and 27 July: one of them  will  be  David, EI3GKB (GI8SKN), who will operate as EJ3GKB on  80-6  metres.  [TNX EI3GKB]

EA8    - Celebrating the  opening  of  the  Gran  Telescopio  Canarias,  the largest optical telescope in the world (http://www.gtc.iac.es/en/), special event callsign AO8GTC will  be used from the observatory at Roque de los Muchachos on La  Palma Canary Islands (AF-004) on 25-26 July. Expect activity on  CW,  SSB and digital modes by four stations. QSL via EA8RCP. [TNX EA8NQ]

EA9 - Look for JR1AIB  to be active as EA9/DJ1AIB from Melilla  on  22-26 July. He will operate SSB, CW, RTTY and PSK on  160-6  metres.  QSL via JR1AIB. [TNX NG3K]

ES - ES1LS, ES1QV, ES2EZ, ES2DJ and ES2QN will participate in  the  IOTA Contest (25-26 July) as ES0U from  Saaremaa  Island  (EU-034).  QSL via ES2DJ, bureau preferred.
F - On 25 July 1909 Louis Bleriot became the  first  person  to  fly  a powered aircraft across the English Channel from Calais  to  Dover. Commemorating the centenry of that historic flight, the Radio  Club of Cambrai (F8KGN) will be active as TM1LB until 27 July.  QSL  via the REF bureau. [TNX F8REF]

F - Ed, GW3SQX will be active as TM7O from Oleron  Island (EU-032) on 25-27 July, including a CW only entry in the IOTA Contest. QSL  via GW3SQX, direct only. [TNX www.rsgbiota.org]

F - Jan, ON7JA will be active as F/ON7JA  from  Ile de Noirmoutier (EU-064) on 25-27 July. QSL via home call, direct or bureau. [TNX www.rsgbiota.org]

G - Commemorating Louis Bleriot's historic flight, the  Dover  Amateur Radio Club (http://www.darc.org.uk/) will operate  special  event station GB100LB on 25-26 July. QSL via operator's instructions.

GI - John/EI4GK, Pete/EI4GZB, Joe/EI7GY,  Declan/EI9HQ and Pete/GI4VIV will participate in the IOTA Contest from Rathlin Island (EU-122). They will operate as GI0MPG from Rathlin East Lighthouse. QSL via GI0MPG. Prior to the contest some of the operators may  be active using MI/homecall. [TNX EI4GK]

GM - Doug, GM0ELP (CW) and Simon, M0GBK (SSB) will  be  active  as  MM3T from the Isle of Skye (EU-008) on 25-26 July for the IOTA  Contest. QSL via eQSL only, as "we do not have paper QSL  cards"  (but  IOTA chasers will be able to claim credit online once the  contest  logs are uploaded to www.rsgbiota.org in 2010). [TNX www.rsgbiota.org]

GM - Paul, M3KBU will participate in the IOTA Contest as  MM3KBU/p  fromthe Isle of  Mull  (EU-008).  He  will  also  be  visiting several islands in  either  the  Inner  (EU-008)  and  the  Outer  Hebrides (EU-010) on 1-16 August. Please check  MM3KBU  at  www.qrz.com  for updates. QSL via M3KBU. [TNXwww.rsgbiota.org]

HB0 - David, ON4DN will be active as HB0/ON4DN/p from  Liechtenstein  on24-26 July. He will operate holiday style on 40-10 metres  SSB  and digital modes, with a focus on 30m. QSL via home  call,  direct  or bureau. [TNX ON4DN]

HL - Han/DS2GOO, Yang/DS4CDA, Ryou/DS4NYE, Rocky/HL1VAU and a few other guest operators will be active as  homecall/4 from Pigum  Island (AS-060) on 25-27 July. They will have two complete  stations  with a dozen of verticals near saltwater, and will operate CW,  SSB  and digital modes on 80-10 metres; if the  band  is  opend,  they  will also give 6m a try. QSL via home calls.  During  the  IOTA  Contest they will use D93I (QSL via DS4NYE). [TNX HL1VAU]

IS0 - Massimo, I0PNM will participate in the IOTA  Contest as IM0/I0PNM from San Pietro Island (EU-165).  He  will  operate  SSB  on  40-10 metres. In the following weeks, and  especially  on  15-16  August, expect him to operate from the lighthouse at  Capo  Sandalo  (ARHLS SAR-018) on 40-10 metres SSB and PSK31. QSL  via  home  call.  [TNX I0PNM]

IS0 - Emiliano, IS0BRQ says he will be  active from  Ferraglione Island  (EU-024, IIA CA-033) for part of the  IOTA  Contest.  He  plans  to operate QRP starting early in the morning of 26 July.
LZ - Gabriele/IK3GES, Boyan/LZ1BJ and Lyuben/LZ1ZC  will  be  active  as LZ/IK3GES, LZ1BJ/1 and LZ1ZC/1 from the island of Sveta Anastasiya (EU-181) on  24-27  July. They  plan  to  run  100  watts  into  a 10-element log-periodic on 20, 17, 15, 12 and 10 metres, with  some possible activity on 40, 30 and  6  metres.  QSL  via  home  calls, bureau preferred. [TNX LZ1BJ]

OZ - Jakob, OZ7AEI will be  active  as OZ7AEI/p  from  Bornholm  Island (EU-030) on 19-26 July. He plans to operate on 20  and  40  metres SSB from a few lighthouses (updates on activations to be posted  at http://www.oz7aei.dk). QSL via home call, direct  or  bureau.  [TNX OZ7AEI]

PA - PD5CW, PE1OPM and PE1OXV will be  active  from  Schouwen  Duiveland (EU-146) on 24-26 July, IOTA Contest included.  Look  for  activity on 80-10 metres SSB and CW. [TNX www.rsgbiota.org]
SM - John, G3LAS will operate SSB and CW as SM5/G3LAS from Fogdo  Island (EU-084) on 23-27 July, IOTA Contest included. [TNX The Daily DX]

SM - Kent, SM5ELV and Leif, SM5FWW will  be  active  as  SM5ELV/5  and SM5FWW/5  from  Aspoja  Island  (EU-177)  for  the  IOTA   Contest. Non-contest activities will include  PSK  and  6  metres.  QSL  via bureau. [TNX SM5ELV]

SV - Cliff, SV1JG and George, SV1RP will be active as  SX8M  from  Milos Island (EU-067) on 24-27 July,  including  an  entry  in  the  IOTA Contest. QSL via SV1JG, direct or bureau. [TNX SV1JG]

TA - Special event callsign TC21BSR will be on  the  air  from  Istanbul until 20 July for the 21st annual Bosphorus Race. QSL  via  TA1HZ. [TNX TA1HZ]

UA - A team of Russian operators will be active as UE1CBB from  Bol'shoy Berezovyy Island (EU-133) on 22-27 July. They will  participate  in the IOTA Contest as RI1AA.  QSL  for  both  callsigns  via  UA1AIR, direct or bureau. [TNX UA1AIR]
VE     - Ken/W8ND, Butch/N8CHS and Kelly/K8MCN will be  active  as  W8ND/VE1 from Big Tancook Island (NA-081) on  23-26  July.  QSL  via  K8MCN, direct or bureau. [TNX VA3RJ]

VE - Frank, VE7DP and Heinz, VA7AQ will take part in  the  IOTA  Contest from Taxeda Island (NA-091). [TNX VA7AQ]

VE - Cezar, VE3LYC plans to operate as  VY0O  from  the  Ottawa  Islands (NA-230, new one) for three  full  days between  25  July  and  10 August. Specific island's name and exact dates are not available at this time, but they will be announced a few days id  advance of the operation. This will be Cezar's  most  difficult operation  to date.  The  islands are  12-14  hours  away   from shore and transportation  requires  a  large boat.  Traditionally   unstable weather pattern, unknown local landing conditions, high  seas,  the presence of ice chunks in Hudson Bay, potential presence  of  polar bears, all these  and  other  logistical  aspects  make  this  trip extremely  challenging.  At  this  time  Cezar  seeks  group    and individual donors who understand and appreciate the  difficult  and expensive task ahead and are willing to be  part  of  this  effort. "Past support from  EU  stations  has  been  disproportionate  withtheir QSO demand (45% of QSOs but only 25% support for  VY0A)",  he says, but hopefully this situation will improve. [TNX VE3LYC]

VE - VE1VOX  and  VE1AOE  will  be  active  as  VC1W  from  Welsh Island (NA-154) on 12-16 August (depending on  weather  conditions). They will have two stations and  more operators might join the expedition. QSL via VE3EXY. [VE1VOX]

W - Steve, W3RFA  and  Bob,  KB3NYX will  operate from  Smith Island (NA-140) on 25-26 July  for  the  IOTA  Contest. This will  be a micro-expedition with limited equipment, as  they  are  getting  to
         the island by sea kayak. [TNX
YJ - Chris, VK3QB plans to be active  (requested  call  YJ0QB)  from Vanuatu on 20-27 July. He will operate  holiday  style  during  his afternoons and evenings on 40 metres CW, with possible activity  on 30, 20 and 15 metres if the bands are open. [TNX The Daily DX]
*** 4 2 5  D X  N E W S ***

****  GOOD TO KNOW ****

425 DX NEWS MAGAZINE The latest issue (June 2009) is now  available  at http://www.425dxn.org/monthly/index.html. Articles and  pictures  should  be sent to Nicola Baldresca, IZ3EBA.

QSL R1ANL "Since most  of  the  QSL  requests  for  the  1997-99  R1ANL operation by Nikolay Zinin (RW6ACM) from Novolazarevskaya Base  (Antarctica) remained unprocessed by the previous QSL manager (UA6AH), I  took  over  the QSL management of this activity", Dominik, DL5EBE says. "After  some  delay, I finally managed to  enter  the  handwritten  log  (14000  QSOs)  into  the computer and upload all contacts to LoTW". Those who need a paper  QSL  card can send their request to DL5EBE, direct (see  qrz.com)  or  bureau  (e-mail requests for bureau cards can be sent to weield@mac.com). [TNX DL5EBE]

QSL VIA TA3J Nilay Mine Aydogmus, TA3YJ  has  transferred  all  of  her duties as a QSL manager to her husband Berkin, TA3J. Affected callsigns  are listed at http://www.aydogmus.gen.tr/ta3j/qslservice.htm [TNX TA3J]

+ SILENT KEYS + Recently  reported  Silent  Keys  include  Jean-Luc  Maingot

(F5PC), Roy S. Hartley (G0HDX), Jim Leist (KB5W), Richard R.  Clay  (KC0TJ),
Thomas F. McDuffie (
KM6K), Ernest J. Zingleman (KS4Q), Buck  Barto  (N9PLJ),
Antoni Zebik (
SP7LA), Henry L. Luhrman (W4PZV) and James E. Mullin (W8KKK).

Click on the Hyperlink below to check-out the MLDXCC scores in the latest contests.


UP-COMING DX and Dxpeditions

Click the link below to display up-coming Announced DXpeditions:



Click on the link below to display a list of ALL up-coming contests:

NCCC Sprint Ladder

0230Z-0300Z, Jul 24


1200Z, Jul 25 to 1200Z, Jul 26

NCCC Sprint Ladder

0230Z-0300Z, Jul 31

Bulletin 29  ARLP029 >From Tad Cook, K7RA Seattle, WA  July 17, 2009 To all radio amateurs

We saw a nice run of eight days with a large sunspot, but none have emerged in the six days since.  Unlike other recent spots, this one did not appear just for one or two days, then vanish. Check the data at http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/ftpdir/indices/DSD.txt and note the Sunspot Area, expressed in millionths of a solar hemisphere, which kept growing after the daily Sunspot Number peaked at 26.

The solar flux dropped below 70 on July 9, two days before the disappearance of this latest spot, and it has stayed there since. Solar flux is expected to rise to 70 or above July 25 through August 5.  The same 45-day forecast at http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/ftpmenu/forecasts/45DF.html (I am looking at the July 16 forecast) predicts continued quiet and mild geomagnetic conditions, with planetary A index of 5.  The only predicted larger values we see for the next few weeks are 10 on July 21, 8 on July 28-29, and 8 and 7 on August 5-6.  This is a wonderful aspect of the weak solar wind, which does not play havoc with propagation as it does during stormier times.

Geophysical Institute Prague predicts quiet conditions for July 17-20, unsettled July 21, quiet to unsettled July 22, and back to quiet on July 23.

Many of us have been longing for the days of daily sunspot numbers above 100, but there was a downside, and that was from heightened geomagnetic activity.  While this could be nice for VHF operators wishing to aim their beams north and refract their signals off of aurora, for everyone else, especially those at higher latitudes, the effect on HF was not a good one.

I was looking in old issues of our propagation bulletin for examples, but found that our archive online only goes back to January of 1995, and we didn't begin recording any geomagnetic numbers until October 1996 when it was suggested by Robert Wood, WB5CRG (now W5AJ).  It began with just the planetary A index in ARLP042 on October 11 (see http://www.arrl.org/w1aw/prop/1996-arlp042.html).

But looking back in bulletins from 1997 and especially 1998, we can see geomagnetic indicators that could wipe out HF communications for days at a time, causing some operators to believe that their radio was broken or feedline was cut. Go to http://www.arrl.org/w1aw/prop/ and click on the ''Show older bulletins'' link toward the upper center of the page.
Any time the A index is above 15, conditions may begin to get rough. For 1997, check the bulletins numbered 40, 42, 44, 46 and 48.  Note that on some days, the planetary A index could get into the mid or high twenties, or even worse, the forties or sixties.  ARLP048 from 1997 describes a severe geomagnetic storm. Conditions became tougher in 1998.  For that year, check out bulletins 13, 18, 19, 27, 30-33, 35, 36, 40, 43, 46 and 47.  Some days had planetary A index readings of 48, 52, 60, 69, 78, 96, 112 and even 121.  This made HF conditions tough all over, but talk to someone who was trying to operate from Alaska in 1998.  Ketchikan is above 55 degrees North latitude, and Juneau above 58, but Anchorage is above 61 degrees, and Fairbanks, nearly 65 degrees north latitude, about 120 miles south of the Arctic Circle.  The further north you are, the more pronounced are the effects of geomagnetic disturbances.

So enjoy this weak solar wind.  It wasn't always like this. Bob Leo, W7LR of Bozeman, Montana has worked with radios for many years.  He is 88 now, and you can see his bio at http://www.qrz.com/w7lr.  Bob reports a personal first on July 9 when he heard Europe on 6 meters, which he says is new and exciting. At 1356z on 6 meter CW he spent a half hour working CT1HZE (Portugal) with strong signals.  Bob was running 100 watts into a 7-element Yagi at 45 feet. Bill Gannaway, a reader in Greenville, Texas experienced some dramatic sporadic-E skip on July 10.  Around 2200z Bill was driving home from work, and trying to listen to a strong local station when it was covered over by a station in Tucson.  He tuned up the dial, and found a number of Phoenix and Tucson stations all up the band. A useful tool for identifying broadcast stations by frequency, location and callsign, is http://www.radio-locator.com/.  Click on Advanced Search.

Robert Forsman, WK5X of Stuart's Draft, Virginia reports an interesting six meter experience on July 6. ''I've often wondered about what the shortest possible single-hop distance would be on 6 meter sporadic-E.  Until the opening of July 6 of this year, my personal shortest QSO via 6 meter sporadic-E was just a bit longer than 300 miles.  During these types of openings, I work grid squares that are otherwise difficult''. ''Around 2300z on July 6, my XYL informed me (I was in the other end of the house) that my FT-897D, which I had accidentally left on, and parked on 50.095 MHz, was ''beeping loudly'' and that I needed to ''go turn that thing off''.  I thanked her for alerting me to the band opening''. ''I'm not used to hearing 8's on 6 Meters.  From my QTH in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, most of the 8's that I've worked have been either in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, or a mountaintop contest station in nearby West Virginia.  After settling at the rig, the first station that I worked was KA1VHF, near Columbus, OH.  The second station that I worked was KA8HOK, Millersport, OH at a distance of only 234 miles.  This was my shortest ever sporadic-E QSO.  I also noted that these were some of the strongest non-local signals that I've ever heard on this band.  A quick look at EA6VQ's estimated MUF real time map indicated that the estimated E-layer MUF at the midpoint between KA8HOK and myself was 303 MHz.  I believe that that is the highest I've ever seen on 'VQ's real time map.  Hopefully someone was able to take advantage of this on 1.25 Meters''. ''Then, as the MUF over the region began to fall, the band grew longer.  My next contact was with northern Indiana, and then my next two were in southern Michigan''. The EA6VQ tool that Bob refers to is at http://www.vhfdx.net/spots/map.php.

From July 8, Steve McDonald, VE7SL of Mayne Island, British Columbia sent this in. ''Just a note to tell you of some truly great propagation this past week on the magic band.  Early on the morning of July 8 I had been chatting with Jack, OA4TT (140 km south of Lima Peru) on the ON4KST 50 MHz chat page.  As everyone tends to do when propagation is slow, we were jokingly describing what it might take to get a signal from OA to VE7 on multi-hop Es.  I posted that we needed the link to UT or Southern CA/Arizona, then into Mexico, Oceanic next and finally another hop down to Lima.  As we mused, I was hearing strong single-hop into Utah.  I left the shack for about an hour only to return to see that Jack had decided, just for fun, to send a few CW CQ's towards the USA on 50.1155.  With little expectation, I moved the receiver down to Jack's frequency and immediately heard him calling CQ.  After picking myself up from the floor, I gave him a short call to which he immediately responded.  Signals were weak (449) and somewhat watery and fluttery which leads me to think that this was something other than multi-hop Es.  At something over 5,000 miles, this mid-summer contact demonstrated why the 'magic' band continues to live-up to its name''.
Check Steve's web page, the VE7SL Radio Notebook:

Martin McCormick, WB5AGZ of Stillwater, Oklahoma offered some very interesting comments on TV channels 2-6 after the digital TV transition.''Central Oklahoma is now devoid of local signals between 54-88 MHz and the listening is interesting.  Sunday July 12 was the last day of the ''Nightlight'' service that Congress authorized so that one TV station in each market could keep an analog transmitter going with a loop to tell the 1 or 2 people who hadn't figured it out yet what needed to be done to receive TV over the air.

KOCO Channel 5 in Oklahoma City was the last full-power analog to go dark there and Monday July 13 saw a moderate Es opening with Spanish language TV probably from Mexico fading in briefly around 17:00 UTC on 81.75 MHz. A couple of propagation Observations:

We have had several days this year in which Mexican signals reached as far up as the low end of the FM Broadcast band.  When that happened, TV Channels 2-6 were full of Spanish and sometimes English and French from Canada.

In a QST article of a couple of years ago, someone mentioned that it would be nice to see if we can get the 72-76 MHz band for North America.  The services there now could move to an equal amount of space in one of the vacated TV channels and make this an interesting DX band.

A couple of weeks ago, I had left a receiver tuned to TV Channel 4 at 71.75 MHZ.  We have had very hot summer days and the tropo at night has been fairly impressive.  Instead of Es, I got literally hours of a Channel 4 television audio signal from somewhere within the central US.  It was running the endless loop nightlight service with no aural ID so I don't know where it was, but it didn't fade out until after Sunrise at which time it went away fast.  One can guess that 6 meters and 72 MHZ would have been hot during that night.

It is strange to spin the dial on a general coverage VHF receiver now and not hear the buzz of video and FM audio landmarks that were there since before many of our births, but Canada and Mexico will provide good propagation beacons for a few more years to come.
I believe it was February QST where I read that 37 US broadcasters will keep their new digital signals on Channels 2-6. I wonder for how long and how many Es openings it will take to change their minds''. Thanks, Martin.
Jeff Lackey, K8CQ of St. Simons Island, Georgia writes: ''Six meters has been great as you have been commenting in your weekly solar update.  And I had to tell you that even ''lousy antennas'' can work, such as my 15 ft flag pole that I use mostly on HF.  But as a joke I found it would load up on 6 meters a couple of years ago.  Over the last couple of weeks, I've made about 100 contacts on 6m in 19 states and 6 DX entities.  Yesterday (15 July 2009) at 2050Z I worked CT1HZE.  He was S5 when I worked him, but later he peaked to S8 working many NA stations.  That was my first European QSO on 6m.  Earlier around 2000Z I had heard EA8AK (S8) working into Spain.  He didn't hear me.  I heard several EU stations but all too weak to make contact.
So I am now up to 37 states and 13 DX entities on 6 meters with my flag pole antenna.  I encourage others in CC&R situations to get on and try out this ''magic band.''  It is a lot of fun when Es band conditions exist.  The beacons below 50.080 are a great help in knowing if the band is open.  And don't be afraid to call CQ.  I have done this many times when the band for me seemed dead.  Every once in awhile I am surprised to get a response''.

Don't forget the CQ World Wide VHF Contest this weekend.

See http://www.cqww-vhf.com/ for details. If you would like to make a comment or have a tip for our readers, email the author at, k7ra@arrl.net. For more information concerning radio propagation, see the ARRL Technical Information Service at http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/propagation.html.  For a detailed explanation of the numbers used in this bulletin, see http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/k9la-prop.html.  An archive of past propagation bulletins is at http://www.arrl.org/w1aw/prop/.
Monthly propagation charts between four USA regions and twelve overseas locations are at http://www.arrl.org/qst/propcharts/.
Instructions for starting or ending email distribution of this bulletin are at http://www.arrl.org/w1aw.html#email.
Sunspot numbers for July 9 through 15 were 15, 13, 0, 0, 0, 0, and 0 with a mean of 4.  10.7 cm flux was 69.1, 67.8, 68.2, 68, 67.2, 66.6, and 66.5 with a mean of 67.6.  Estimated planetary A indices were 6, 7, 4, 5, 10, 8 and 5 with a mean of 6.4.  Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 6, 7, 2, 4, 5, 6 and 3 with a mean of 4.7.
MLDXCC 2009 meeting schedule, 3rd Saturday of each month (pending contest/or/holiday conflicts). Tentative schedule below:

July 25
Aug 22
Sept 19
Oct 17
(Saturday between SS contests) 14
Membership Criteria

Membership criteria may be obtained by writing the Secretary/Treasurer at:


PO Box 1073

Pine Grove, CA 95665-1073

Or on the club’s website at: http://mldxcc.org

Information may be reproduced provided credit is given MLDXCC.

2009 Officers of the MLDXCC
President, Richard Hill, NU6T REHill@ix.net.com
Vice President, Shirley Rose, AA6K roses@prodigy.net
Secretary Bob Hess, W1RH

Director, Gary Stilwell, KI6T

Director, Rich Cutler, WC6H

Treasurer, Carolyn Wilson, K6TKD

QSL Manager, Norm Regan, WA6SJQ

Publicity Chairperson, Brandt Woodard, K6BEW. k6bew@yahoo.com
Nugget Editor, Rick Samoian, W6SR samoian@directcon.net
Webmaster, Norm Wilson, N6JV

ARRL Awards Checkers

DXCC, Gary Stilwell, KI6T & Ken Anderson, K6TA
ARRL Sixth District QSL Bureau

P.O. Box 970 Fairfax, CA., 94978-0970

Comments or questions on this bureau's operation may be directed to kc6awx@arrl.net See the W6 Bureau home page (http://www.kqlz.com/qslbureau6/)

The MLDXCC Newsletter Page

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