Balloon Experiments – 9V1UP-11

Saturday 4 Sep 2021 23:00H / 15:00Z. APRS on 144.390 BEACON only.

Join the fun hunting for the APRS signals after launch. The balloon is estimated to be in the air for a few hours. Signals are likely to be received in the region: Singapore, Johor, and Riau. For the past few months, a team of Singapore hams have worked on a project to launch a weather balloon carrying amateur radio. The flight system consists of a 600g weather balloon filled with Helium (industrial grade) and the payload is assembled from a LightAPRS tracker. Approval of flight involved “no objection” from CAAS, RSAF and IMDA, and Saturday’s flight requires release clearance from RSAF duty controller. For launch, two teams will be deployed in the western side of Singapore. The launch team will attend to the lift off while the remote monitoring team will receive and iGate the APRS signals.

Tracker: https://9v1up.ragulbalaji.com/tracker/

Updates: Ham Radio SG on Facebook

The project team is busy preparing for the launch and may not have time to answer questions that you may have. A presentation will share various aspects of the project at the next SARTS meeting. Come this Saturday, share in comments when you receive 9V1UP-11, stating your QTH and telemetry.

Source: 9V1YP

Membership fees and donations from overseas

If you want to renew/apply for SARTS membership from overseas and you don’t have an SGD bank account, please use the information below.

Transferring of SGD only from overseas:

Beneficiary Bank Information (mandatory)

Bank Name: Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation Limited
Address: 65 Chulia Street, OCBC Centre, Singapore 049513 
SWIFT Code : OCBCSGSG 

Beneficiary Information  (mandatory)

Account Name: SARTS
Account No: 524701182001

Transferring of USD from overseas:

Same as above plus:

Intermediary/Correspondent Bank Information for USD only

Bank Name: JP Morgan Chase Bank
Address: 1 Chase Manhattan Plaza, New York, NY 10015, USA  
SWIFT Code: CHASUS33 

SARTS Membership List 2021

Last updated: 2021-09-12

9V1AIV. Jayaram
9V1AJG. S. Balakrishnan
9V1ALAlex Lee
9V1AQClaudio Caballero
9V1ARKenneth Ricaborda
9V1ASJeff Yeo
9V1AWAaron Wong
9V1AXKelem Amir
9V1BCSolomon Tan Wei Jie
9V1BGAchala Daarshana Senaranta
9V1BHVictor Boudioukine
9V1BOBaino Paul
9V1CCSoh Cheah Choon
9V1CDArnold Cabahug
9V1CEKevin W Rogers (KF7TUU)
9V1CKClaus J Karthe
9V1CLDaniel Deng Jue
9V1CSC. S. Lim
9V1CVChoong Sek Yeen
9V1DADiego Abas
9V1DEDarryl Ee
9V1DKDerrick King
9V1DSDarran Siu
9V1DTSampath Kumar Padmanabhan
9V1DWDixon Wang
9V1DYDanny Vong
9V1EDEddy Kok
9V1EHLiu Chang
9V1EPMasakazu Namajiri
9V1FHThum Fu Hang
9V1FJBarry Fletcher
9V1FLFrancis Lim
9V1GZGuenter Zwickl
9V1HFKoenraad Mouthaan
9V1HHAmos Hoe
9V1HLHerman Lahey
9V1HPHarish Pillay
9V1HYHaoyuan Chu
9V1JEJeremias Wong
9V1JHAaron Pok
9V1JMJoey Muncada
9V1JNJothinathan G. S. Sundram
9V1JTJose Carlos (JC) Cortez Tupaz
9V1KBBenjamin Koe
9V1KGKlaus Goepel
9V1KHPeter Loo
9V1KSTan Koh Siang
9V1KTKevin Tan
9V1LCChoong Lee Song
9V1LDLarry Dimaano
9V1LHStephan Grensemann
9V1LWChia Lih Wei
9V1LXMike Easterbrook
9V1LYLi Yu
9V1MHMatt Howard
9V1ODTan Lian Huat
9V1OGRene Atienza Ogie
9V1OWDr. Masahiro Wada
9V1PKPeter Khor
9V1PLPhilip Lai Yong Yeow
9V1QQBob Fabrizio
9V1RTRoland Turner
9V1SHShuichi Hosokai
9V1SVAzhaga Muthu Siva
9V1UUTakehisa Sato
9V1XBPatrick Tham
9V1XKAndy Yee Lai Seng
9V1XVXavier Tong
9V1XXKazuhiko Kurita
9V1YCJames Brooks
9V1YJShigeyoshi Sasaki
9V1YLSally Woon
9V1YPChew Lip Heng
9V1YWYingwang Shi
9V1ZHTan Boen-Hian
9V1ZKFred Lee
9V1ZVDaniel Wee
9V1ZWMichael Davidson
N5TEJames Buckner (Assoc.)
Assoc.Abhishek Rai
Assoc. Roger Lee
Assoc.Nicholas Chan
Assoc.Omkiran Sharma
Assoc.Harish Nair
SARTS membership list 2021

Ionospheric Scintillation

Radio signals passing through the ionosphere can be affected by small irregularities of the ionospheric plasma. This phenomenon is called radio scintillation and can strongly disturb or disrupt the signal transmission. As a result it can prevent a GPS receiver from locking on to the signal and can make it impossible to calculate a position. Less severe scintillation conditions can reduce the accuracy and the confidence of positioning results.

Transionospheric radio scintillation is statistically characterized by two parameters, amplitude and phase fluctuations indices, denoted respectively by S4 and σφ .

S4 is defined as the ratio of the standard deviation of signal intensity and the average signal intensity. Amplitude scintillations are prominent near the geomagnetic equator. They almost appear regularly in the evening hours.

σφ is defined as the standard deviation of a linearly detrended phase data segment. Phase scintillations are prominent in high latitudes, and their occurrence rate increases with geomagnetic activity.

SARTS received a request for statistics or help in acquiring statistics of ionospheric scintillation in the VHF range. VHF is not a common frequency range used in space infrastructure and there seems to be a lack of statistics in the area between tropics, where the ionosphere is bubbling quite frequently.

For interest or feedback, please comment below or contact the webmaster (9V1KG).

Sources:

https://www.swpc.noaa.gov/phenomena/ionospheric-scintillation
https://swe.ssa.esa.int/tio_sci
https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/cindi/scintillation.html

FCC Amateur Radio Licensing Guide for Singapore HAMs

by 9V1DT, April 2021

A short guide by Sampath how to prepare for and get the FCC license. The US FCC license is well recognized world wide and sometimes can be helpful to get a visitor’s ham radio license abroad.

One page guide as pdf (9V1YP):

Applying the Concept of Earth-Moon-Earth (EME)

by Philip Lai, 9V1PL

This article was motivated by my fellow HAMs from the satellite group. Based on my success with the application of the concept of EME on 2 m to our SARTS Repeater without line of sight, I hope this write up can help those in the hobby with similar challenges to explore the concept of EME.

Earth-Moon-Earth communication (EME), also known as moon bounce, is a radio communications technique, which relies on the propagation of radio waves from an earth-based transmitter directed via reflection from the surface of the moon back to an earth-based receiver.

The challenge of my location (QTH)

I am located at the South Eastern Coast of Singapore, an apartment dweller with low elevation of 25 m facing south west. The distance to the Singapore VHF repeater is approximately 12 km. The small balcony with an opening of just slightly over 100 degrees is surrounded by tall buildings and makes it difficult for me to reach the repeater located at Dover.

For many months, when I first started as a new HAM, all I could hear was noise from my handheld (HT).

Each time I pushed the PTT, I couldn’t trigger the repeater, but even when I could trigger the repeater, I couldn’t hold it transmitting. It was frustrating, I fully understand, if you are facing similar challenges.

Continue reading Applying the Concept of Earth-Moon-Earth (EME)

My First CQ WPX SSB Contest

by Solomon, 9V1BC

9V1BC
Photo of me during the contest. Taken by Amos Hoe 9V1HH.

Contest is by no means exclusive to the elite HAMs with large tower, yagis, fanciful equipment and years of experience. They do have an advantage, but we rookies have a seat at the contesting table too. On March 27th and 28th 2021, I participated in my first SSB contest. It was the CQ WPX SSB contest. It was a very fun experience, and I was extremely excited that I could have phone conversations with HAMs in places as far as Europe and North America. In this particular blog, I share my setup, experience, and the lessons I learned from this contest. I hope it might inspire you to get an amateur radio license and join us in the next contest to foster international friendship. If you already have a license, well then, what are you waiting for?

My setup for the Contest

HAMs always like to ask each other what equipment they use, and I see this question coming my way. This is my equipment list for the contest.

Power SupplyAlinco DM-330FX
RadioIcom 718
AntennaIcom AH4 + Random Wire
Homemade Inverted V Dipole
LoggerLaptop running XLog

Contest Experience

9V1BC-car
Equipment in the trunk of my car. My radio is on the left. The antennas are on the right. The miscellaneous equipment is in the box in the middle.

I packed up my stuff into the trunk of my car. It fit nicely into a small compact compartment. I brought a few tools – like a screwdriver and a small knife – and spare items just in-case I had to make quick field repairs. This setup is almost impossible to carry by hand or public transport. After all, the Icom 718 was made to be a base station, not a mobile one. I set up my station on a nice hill in my school. It was one of the areas I identified as potentially suitable for radio operation given its decent radio horizon, and relatively less noise compared to my home.

Night time view from the hill where I operated from. Taken by Amos Hoe 9V1HH.

I set up my random wire antenna right beside the down slope. I did not want anything to block my signal. The white box is the AH-4 antenna tuner. It gives me the ability to switch bands at will. An antenna typically needs more time to be tuned and adjusted when the operator wishes to change bands. In this setup, a wire of random length is attached to the AH-4 tuner, and suspended off the ground by a fishing pole about 16′ high (5m). A ground wire is attached to the other end of the tuner and thrown down the hill. Antenna theory is very complex, especially with impedance, resonance and radiation pattern, I may have given you the false impression that I had taken them all into consideration in my setup. This was a bare minimum setup. I made no such fanciful consideration. My priority was simply to get on the air.

My random wire antenna setup, tuned by the Icom AH-4.

Unfortunately, barely half an hour after I set up, a huge storm streamed by and took away four hours of valuable contest time. What a wet blanket! The wind was so strong it bent my fishing pole a good 45°. But I wasn’t too concerned about the pole breaking. I had a spare. I almost always bring a spare antenna. I resumed the contest immediately after the rain stopped.

My point of view (literally) during most of the contest. I eventually got back pain as the radio was placed too low to the ground. I moved it later to the top of the shelf.

For almost the entirety of the contest, I either called CQ CONTEST on an empty frequency, or I tuned around on the dial to find others calling CQ CONTEST. I had my hand on the mic and the other hand on the electronic logger, XLog, on my laptop. During the first two hours of the contest, I only got contacts from Indonesia. Then I got contacts from Japan, and Australia. In the evening, I was very surprised to hear European and North American stations!

Time (UTC)Locations Heard
0230 to 0320Indonesia
0720 to 0920Indonesia, Philippines,
Hong Kong, China, Japan
0920 to 1030Indonesia, Japan, Australia, China
1130 to 1300Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, China
1300 to 1800Indonesia, Philippines, Australia,
United States, Ukraine, Slovenia, Serbia,
Italy (but Italy could not hear me), Poland

A contest SSB QSO goes like this:

Me: “CQ CONTEST CQ CONTEST 9 VICTOR 1 BRAVO CHARLIE CONTEST”
Him: “NOVEMBER DELTA 7 KILO ”
Me: “NOVEMBER DELTA 7 KILO, YOURE 59, 068. QSL?”
Him: “QSL QSL. YOURE 59, 1509. GOOD LUCK FOR THE CONTEST. 73”
Me: “THANK YOU. YOU TOO. 73. THIS IS 9V1BC. CONTEST. QRZ?”

The key exchange in this contest is the signal report and the serial number. The serial number is particularly important as it is used to verify QSOs.  In this case, ND7K’s report to me is that my signal is 59 (meaning readability of 5 out of 5, and signal strength of 9 out of 9) and that I am his 1509th contact for the contest. My report to ND7K is that his signal is 59 (meaning readability of 5 out of 5, and signal strength of 9 out of 9), and that he is my 68th contact.

Sometimes I call CQ for a good 15 minutes or so before a station even responds to me. I would tune around the band then to see if the band had died. I wouldn’t want to waste energy calling when no one can hear me. But that’s how it is even more exciting when a station finally responds! My eyes light up and I get all excited!

Sometimes, the QSO does not go as well. Here’s one example. He couldn’t hear my callsign. Maybe I was being stepped on by other stations which could not hear me. Needless to say I gave up. I’d be wasting his time and my own trying to force the QSO through the QSB.

Me: “9 VICTOR 1 BRAVO CHARLIE”
Me: “9 VICTOR 1 BRAVO CHARLIE”
Him: “IS THAT A KILO BRAVO?”
Me:“9 VICTOR 1 BRAVO CHARLIE”
Him:“9 VICTOR 1. OK OK. QSB. QSB.”
Me:“9 VICTOR 1 BRAVO CHARLIE”
Him: “I’M HEARING A 1 KILO BRAVO CHARLIE. AGAIN?”
Me: “9 VICTOR 1 BRAVO CHARLIE”
Him: “KILO 1 BRAVO CHARLIE?”
Me: “NUMBER 9. VICTOR. NUMBER 1. BRAVO CHARLIE”
Him: “OK. VICTOR ECHO 1 BRAVO CHARLIE. YOU’RE 59”
Me: “NEGATIVE NEGATIVE. NUMBER 9. VICTOR. NUMBER 1. BRAVO CHARLIE”
Him: “VICTOR ECHO 1 KILO BRAVO CHARLIE. Roger?”

It’s normal to copy the wrong callsign and serial number. Everyone has a different accent. A few stations will do the exchange in their native language. I heard a few Indonesian stations do that with other Indonesian stations. A Chinese station gave me my report in Chinese. But not everyone understands each other’s native language or heavily accented English. Thus, it is normal to hear people use other forms of phonetics to complement the NATO ones. Some examples are listed in the table below.

LetterNATO PhoneticHAM Lingo
QQuebecQueen
UUniformUnited
OOscarOntario
GGolfGermany
JJuliettJapan
VVictorVictoria
KKiloKilowatt (not to be confused with kW)
FFoxtrotFrance

For example, the callsign KJ7VOU could be phonetically spelled as “KILOWATT JAPAN 7 VICTORIA ONTARIO UNITED” instead of its NATO form, “KILO JULIETT 7 VICTOR OSCAR UNIFORM”.

Sometimes when the signal is poor, HAMs will read back what they copy to verify. This is normal because some contests penalize for wrongly copied information. Those who watch military films like Generation Kill, police documentaries like COPS, or listen to online Air Traffic Controllers would be familiar with confirmation phrases like “read back correct”, “affirmative” or “10-4”. HAMs have a similar lingo. It is called “QSL”. It means I acknowledge receipt of what you told me.

“NOVEMBER DELTA 7 KILO, YOURE 59, 068. QSL?”

“QSL QSL. ROGER THE 59, 068. YOURE 59, 1509. GOOD LUCK FOR THE CONTEST. 73”

However, like the NATO phonetics, many HAMs have their own unique way of confirming that the read back is correct. These are usually replies to the question, “IS THAT A QSL?”, which asks you to confirm whether I have copied you correctly.

PhraseExample
“Roger Roger”Him: “9V1BC, YOU ARE 59, 1509”
Me: “059 3509. IS THAT A QSL?”
Him: “NEGATIVE. NEGATIVE. 1509. 1509”
Me: ”ROGER. 1509. IS THAT A QSL?”
Him: “ROGER ROGER”Me: “THANK YOU. 73 ”
“QSL QSL”Him: “9V1BC, YOURE 59, 1509”
Me: “59, 1509. IS THAT A QSL?”
Him: “QSL. QSL”
Me: “THANK YOU. 73 ”
“Over Over”Me: “CQ CONTEST. 9V1BC. CONTEST”
Him: “7C8C”
Me: “7C8C?”
Him: “OVER OVER”
Me: “7C8C, 59, 060 ”

This contest got so addictive I decided to pass on lunch and dinner. I had some contest rations on me, so I consumed those as my “meal” instead. I would have continued the contest through the night, but my mom called me at 2am and chased me home. So too bad for me. This is a map of the QSOs I made by the time the contest ended. I logged a total of 88 contacts (pun unintended). To be brutally honest, 88 is nowhere impressive. Many other stations rack up thousands of QSOs. My 88 is not much numerically, but it is a huge morale booster for me. For many months, I complained about the terrible noise level and poor propagation on HF. It was hard to even establish a FT8 QSO, let alone a SSB one. This contest proved me wrong, and I’m happy that it did. It is possible to have SSB contact with just about anyone anywhere with a humble setup and 100W.

Map of my 88 contacts.

Acknowledgement

I would like to convey my thanks to all the HAMs who shared their invaluable experience, advice, knowledge and even gear with me to get me started in HF, especially Daniel 9V1ZV, James 9V1YC, Peter 9V1PK, Roland 9V1RT, Ben 9V1KB, Darryl 9V1DE, Emmanuel F5LIT, and Jie Feng 9V1BD, who introduced me to HAM radio back in 2018 in the first place!

It makes no sense to do HAM alone. Part of the fun comes from making, laughing at and learning from silly mistakes I make along the way. You make my HAM experience fun and meaningful, and for that, I thank you.

73 Solomon, 9V1BC