Storm damage at W0ZSW

Severe storms moved through Minnesota in the early morning hours of June 21, bringing a combination of heavy rain and high winds that proved too much for a once-solid old olive tree that was supporting one end of the double extended zepp antenna at W0ZSW.  The station remains on the air with a temporary fix, but there will be outages later on as maintenance proceeds.  The olive was one of two trees that went down in the vicinity.

We will do our best to keep the station on the air over Field Day weekend, but be prepared for unannounced outages.  We apologize for the inconvenience.

Summer thunderstorms

Summer thunderstorm season is underway here in the Upper Midwest, and that means that there will be lots of static crashes on the radio on the days when active weather is moving through Minnesota and surrounding states.  The most affect HF bands are 160 meters, 80/75 meters, and 40 meters.  When the storms are nearby, the bands will also be dominated by noisy crashes caused by lightning.

Sometimes the stations will be taken offline if severe weather is directly in their vicinity.  These service outages can be expected throughout the summer, especially early summer.  The stations will return to service as soon as conditions warrant.

Users who live in areas where thunderstorms are uncommon may not be familiar with how disruptive they can be to HF communications.  However, these storms are a normal part of seasonal variation in the central United States and you may find that some days conditions are just not good enough on one or more HF bands.

07 June: Poor band conditions

UPDATED!  The system check at W0ZSW was disappointing, as the bands were noisy and few signals were heard.  I noticed a noise source that repeats across the band on 40 meters.  I’ll track it when time is available – and because of the poor band conditions, there certainly won’t be many actual stations on the air to interfere with the noise source!  That is a small blessing indeed.  This morning’s HF forecast shows us that geomagnetic storms are expected and band conditions are “Poor”.

Meanwhile, station W0EQO has returned to service after the problem was traced to a bad LAN cable.  Our thanks to troubleshooter extraordinaire Bill Jones, N0CIC.  The station will be ready for Field Day!!!

Speaking of Field Day, it is coming up soon – the 4th full weekend in June, which is the 22nd and 23rd.  For something this weekend, consider the June ARRL VHF Contest:

W0ZSW will tune the 6 meter band.  Start by listening on the calling frequency, 50.125 MHz USB.  Tune around that frequency. Station control ops should remember that the antenna may not be tuned until you throw out your callsign in a short transmission.

Since the radio is a Kenwood TS-480HX, it does not have the capability to operate on other VHF bands even though the W4MQ software does list those bands (such as the 2m band.)

Have a great weekend and be sure to get on the air!

73 – Pat Tice, WA0TDA
Courage Kenny Handiham Coordinator