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Old December 17th 18, 04:35 PM posted to,
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Default [KB6NU] Just when you think it couldnt get any worse

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Just when you think it couldnt get any worse

Posted: 16 Dec 2018 09:00 AM PST

If you operate HF, its no secret that band conditions have not been great.
The reason, of course, is that were at the bottom of the sunspot cycle. If
were at the bottom of the sunspot cycle, then theres no way to go but up,
right? Maybe not. Recent data from the NOAAs Space Weather Prediction
Center seems to suggest that solar activity isnt going to get better any
time soon.

Heres their solar flux projection as measured by the F10.7 index:

As you can see, the projection is for declining solar activity through 2022!

And, if that wasnt depressing enough, I recently came across an article
reporting on the research of Prof. Valentina Zharkova, who is predicting a
grand minimum of 30 years!

The article states:

The gist of the matter is that all three main cycles are entering minimum
phase, beginning with the end of this current solar cycle (Cycle 24). Cycle
25 will be even lower than 24, with 26 being very nearly flat-lined. Cycle
27 will begin to show a few signs of life, then there will be a gradual
rise to full activity over several more solar cycles, even as the last
three cycles have slowly decreased in levels. This means that the bottom of
the extended, or ‘Grand’ minimum (to use Zharkova’s terminology), should
run from ~2020 to ~2053.

The grand minimum not only affects HF propagation, but our climate as well.
Im not enough of an earth scientist to say much more about that, but you
might want to watch the video of Zharkovas presentation to the Global
Warming Policy Foundation last October:

The good news is that less solar flux means satellites will have an easier
time of it. I guess I really do need to get serious about satellite
operation and sooner rather than later.

The post Just when you think it couldnt get any worse appeared first on
KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

Are we losing knowledge in this hobby?

Posted: 15 Dec 2018 12:34 PM PST

On reddit, someone asked:

Are we losing knowledge in this hobby that used to be common?

The other day I was listening to a conversation on the local repeater, and
it was a relatively recently licensed General giving some advice to a new
Technician who was hoping to upgrade soon, and who had some HF gear and an
antenna but who hadnt transmitted yet on HF.
What I heard coming from General was appalling. He recommended that the guy
get an automatic antenna tuner, and regales him with a tale of how he
managed to burn up the finals on a radio because he couldnt manage to
adjust a manual antenna tuner properly.
This is something I learned how to do as a Novice. In fact, I built my
first antenna tuner from a kit (Heathkit HFT-9A QRP tuner). I still have
and use it, as a matter of fact.
I was just boggled that a General class ham radio operator didnt know how
to adjust a manual antenna tuner. It was so difficult for him that he
managed to damage a radio in the process.
I didnt speak up, though, because I didnt want to be That guy, you know,
the type of old fogey know-it-all ham radio operator thats commonly railed
against in this subreddit. There were a few other bits of advice he passed
along that were sketchy.
So Im wondering if we are losing a bit of the institutional knowledge that
long-experienced hams know, in the rush to get as many hams licensed and on
the air as possible. We used to Elmer new hams, and if we arent bothering
to do that anymore, the knowledge of how to do things is going to die out.

When I read this, I thought, Yeah. We really are losing it in amateur
radio. On second thought, though, Im Im not so sure.

Yes, there are a lot of new hams on the air with perhaps not as much
Elmering as they could use, but hey, you cant expect every ham to know
everything. I know that when I passed the General Class test (at the FCC
office in downtown Detroit, none this VE rubbish, as Davey Jones of eevblog
might say), I was still pretty clueless. And, how do you learn how to do
things? Well, often its by blowing something up.

If it were me hearing this conversation, I would have definitely piped up
and said that theres some value to learning how to adjust a manual antenna
tuner. Not only that, I may have even volunteered to come over and have a
look at the guys setup. I can understand the posters reluctance to* be that
guy, but if hes not going to step up and help this newbie, who is?

What do you think? Are we losing this kind of basic knowledge in amateur
radio? If youre a long experienced ham, do you volunteer to help out when
you hear something like this on the local repeater?

The post Are we losing knowledge in this hobby? appeared first on KB6NUs
Ham Radio Blog.

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