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7.0 Operating Info
For those of us in the US, working DX generally means making contacts with stations outside of the country, and with a fairly long distance involved, such as Europe, Asia, South America, Africa, etc.
DX is what you want it to be though, unless you're working on an award, in which case the awarding body will determine the question.
X has always meant an unknown factor, be it Ham Radio, math, etc. So actually DX means Distance unknown....
and the operator, using "Morse Code" simply used the key to interrupt a continuous transmission into "dits" and "dahs".
Over the years, CW has lost much popularity, although many still practice this mode of communications and it is widely held that when all else fails, CW will still get through. Since it uses very little bandwidth and due to its nature, CW can be "pulled out of the mud" when nothing else can be deciphered.
Not truly a digital mode, since it isn't binary, CW is still considered to be digital by many.
Beginner's Guide to making contacts with CW:
There is a segment of the amateur community that shuns "kilowatt" or higher power communication and strives to make contacts using the minimum necessary power, mostly via CW and mostly via 5 watts or less.
There are specific operating awards, and clubs devoted to QRP, and many contests include a QRP section. There is a distinct satisfaction to making a long distance contact and having a conversation using minimal power.
There are many more than illustrated in the following graphic, but these are the most widely used.
For a much more extensive list:
73 is generally held to mean, "best regards". It goes all the way back to the early telegraph days, as does so much of ham lingo.
When actually operating on the bands, you will frequently hear other, locally-derived phonetics. In many cases, these are used to more clearly define a ham's callsign, using for example the word "kilowatt" instead of the standard "kilo". Others use their own version for the "cuteness" of it, such as "I Love Lucy" or similar phrases. There is nothing inherently incorrect in this, but it can make it more difficult for a contact to clearly distinguish a callsign when he is expecting the normal phonetics.
More good info here: Wikipedia: »en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NATO_phonetic_alphabet
Each subsquare is designated by the addition of two letters after the grid square, such as EL09ud. These more precise locators are used for contests. They measure 2.5 minutes latitude by 5 minutes longitude, roughly corresponding to 3 × 4 miles, again in the continental US.
Grid squares are routinely provided on QSL cards and in digital contacts between hams.
To find your grid square, you will need your latitude and longitude. A GPS receiver is a good way to get this, or you can use the US Geological Survey GNIS website. Once you have your coordinates, you can use the ARRLWeb grid-square calculator to obtain your actual grid square.
Here is another quick and easy method, from QRZ.com:
Shortwave is like the local AM Broadcast Band you can hear on a regular "AM Radio" except that shortwave signals travel globally, depending on the time of day, time of year, and weather and space conditions.
Shortwave Broadcasts are generally in the 2.3 MHz to 30.0 MHz range. All you need to hear these signals from around the globe is a radio which can receive frequencies in the shortwave bands and these can be very cheap, keeping in mind that you get what you pay for. As in ham radio, a special antenna isn't really necessary, but the better the antenna, the more weaker stations you can pull in. The telescoping antenna found on many portable shortwave radios will work also but, for reception of more exotic international broadcasts, you will probably need something a little more capable.
Over the years there have been organizations that issued "SWL Call Signs", but these have always been unofficial. One such organization that still does so is the Canadian SWARL: SWARL@shaw.ca
LOTS more info here:
Under the terms of the agreement, holders of a CEPT class 1 license may use all amateur bands in the country being visited that are also permitted under the terms of the license holder's home territory.
Interesting document in that the U.S. is not a signatory.