In “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” Sarah Connor tells a skeptical doctor that “anyone not wearing 2 million sunblock is gonna have a real bad day.”
Well it wasn’t really THAT bad … but there were a lot stations around the world giving their contest exchange “5-9 K” or 5 by 9 Kilowatt. Which means they were running 1 Kilowatt of RF power from their HF transmitters. There were some scattered 100 watt stations and I worked some of them. But I believe there were a LOT of Amateur Radio stations “On The Air” in the U.S. and worldwide running 200, 400, 600 and more watts. You wouldn’t want to be too close to an antenna sending out 400 or more watts of power. Lucky for all most of those signals go out from antennas 30 or more feet up in the air and most of the radio energy goes towards the horizon or even higher radiation angles. (more towards the sky and bouncing off of the upper layers – e.g. the ionosphere.)
It was the ARRL DX Contest from 12:00 AM UTC on Saturday until 12:00 AM Monday UTC time which was 7:00 PM Eastern Time Sunday night. The idea was for US stations to contact as many non-US stations as possible, and for non-US stations to contact as many US stations as possible in that time period. Rack ’em Stack ’em and Pack ’em. There were DX Pileups … there were frequeny bands that had stations so close together that you had to turn every knob on your radio (transceiver) to be able to separate them. Sometimes you could not separate them. Normally amateur radio stations will try to stay a few Khz away from each other when having separate communications. But during the contest they were very often Hz away from each other. Say 50 Hz or 100 Hz away at times. Anything less than 3 Khz or 3000 Hz and with strong signals and “hearing” anything becomes almost impossible. Modern H.F. Band Amateur Radio transceivers do have quite a few filters and such that can help quite a bit. But that close together and almost nothing helps. That’s where *I* think many hams prove their operating capabilities. If you can work stations with that kinds of interference … you are a very special person indeed. I think the average (non Ham) person would give up very quickly. Just the irritating noises of SSB signals off frequency (becomes higher pitched and squeeky or low pitched and blah blah blah blah [unintelligable low to mid toned NOISE]) would cause most people to turn the thing completely off. Not the Ham Radio operators that like contesting though … they will go at it for hours at a time. And actually make 100’s of contacts through thick and thin during the contest. The award winners make 1000’s of contacts.
So you had a lot more radio waves coming down on you this weekend. I hope everyone is ok?
P.S. I was running on average around 500 watts. My radio (tranceiver) does 100 watts by itself. My Ameritron AL-811 Amplifier boosted that up to the 500 watt + range. I put some iPhone shot videos of the contest (many were contacts I made) up on Youtube:
An example is here:
* But then look at this … TV stations regularly operate with 1000 Kilowatts ERP. (67.6 kW TPO + 12.76 dB gain = 1000 kW ERP) – 67.6 Kw Total Power Output + 12.76 Db antenna gain = 1000 KW Effective Radiated Power. 1000 Watts is 1 Kilowatt. 1000 Kilowatt is 1 Megawatt. (Back to the Future movie mentions “1.21 Gigawatts” which would be 1,210 Megawatts, 1,210,000 Kilowatts, 1,210,000,000 Watts.) Barbeque? Anyone? Bueller? anyone? Bueller?
Miami Over the Air (OTA) TV – WFOR TV Station coverage pattern … courtesy app by TVFool.com
Miami OTA TV #2 – WFOR – Zoomed into the Red Zone … South Broward County, Hallandale, Miami are in the RED ZONE.
73 de KA4UDX,