[Lowfer] ARRL Letter, VLF

Andre' Kesteloot akestelo@bellatlantic.net
Sat, 20 Mar 1999 12:20:54 -0500

Hello Friends,

Since Bob sent me a cc. of his message to you, here is my interim

For a while, I believed there might have lingered a hint of sarcasm in
of your lines below, but after giving it some thought, I dismissed
this idea
as being totally against the radio-amateur spirit.

Hence let me answer, as well as I can, some of the points you have

AMRAD is a radio club consisting mainly of experimenters (as opposed
appliance operators). We can claim a few achievements, such as the
development of AX25 (used in amateur packet radio) and amateur
spread-spectrum (I am the Editor of the ARRL Spread Spectrum
Sourcebook, for
example) and the building and launching of AO-27. Most, if not all, of
have soldering-iron burns on our fingertips (which we consider a badge
honor  :-)
Although AMRAD has members all over the US, the "core group" resides
essentially in Northern Virginia, hence the reason why the 12 people
on the FCC license are Northern Virginians.
Most of us "do radio" for a living, and also as an avocation. Many of
us are
either Government scientists, or employees of Government contractors.
of us are former employees of the Navy, and have "done" LF in a

As regards "taking seriously the LWCA", the Nov-Dec 1998 issue of the
Newsletter was entirely devoted to LF.  It happens that I personally
to the Editor of The LowDown (enclosing a copy of that issue), and
to mail, free-of-charge, a copy of that issue to every recipient of
LowDown, so that everyone would know what we had in mind.   Alas, I
did not
get any reply to my offer.
Incidentally, had you read that issue, you would have seen that I was
one of
the invited speakers at the RSGB LF Forum in October '98 in Windsor,
UK.  In
my short speech, I specifically gave credit to the US Lowfers for the
remarkable results they were able to achieve within the FCC
imposed upon them. (That speech was summarized by John Gould G3WKL and
made available on the rsgb_lf reflector. As I recall , I specifically
mentioned articles on the Texas beacon, and by Bill Bowers)
The same issue of the AMRAD Newsletter contained a summary of an
previously written by Bill Bowers (for the Lowdown) on LF antennas.

As far as schedules are concerned, now that the FCC license has
finally been
received (we originally applied to the FCC in June 1998) we are busy
building equipment, and will indeed publish schedules once we are
ready to

We are interested in all inputs, wherever they come from, and
we are interested in inputs and constructive comments from experienced
persons like you all. We recently spent some time at NSS (Annapolis,
Maryland) and connected our receiving equipment to some of these
Navy antennas that are unfortunately scheduled to be destroyed later

In January, we spent a whole week-end on the beaches of Nag's Head
Carolina) and were able to receive European broadcasting stations, and
a few
Part 15 LF beacons from Pennsylvania. We QSLed them.

Each of us has his own specialty. Some of us have extensive knowledge
antennas, others are specialized in DSP, or in high-power
(Again, most of us do that, or have done that for a living).

I am not sure what was meant below by "... not  like they're doing
that wasn't done 85 years ago".
I personally would be proud to be able to recreate some of the
originally conducted some 85 years ago. Those were pioneer days, and
when I
read some of the writings of these pioneers, I am certainly amazed at
remarkable understanding of the principles they were discovering.
Experimentation is a personal thing, which allows some of us to grasp
better understanding of the physical phenomena that we create. I
happen to
be a Senior Member of the IEEE, and have been involved in radio
transmissions for most of my career.  I can write Maxwell's equations
well as anyone else, but that does not mean I really  _understand_ 
them  as
they apply to very short antennas. This 136 kHz license and the
we will conduct with small loops may lead me to a better understanding
those phenomena. If I can achieve that, it will have been worth its

(The above remarks are my own, and I do not claim to speak for the
rest of

Andre' Kesteloot  N4ICK

Bob Foxworth wrote:

> > Interesting list of stations.  I didn't even know they were looking
> > for > "volunteers".  Anyway, I don't think any of them are on this
> > reflector, are  they?
> >
>         [Bob Foxworth]
>         Why not e-mail n4ick and ask him?   FYI - I am cc: ing him now
> this msg
>         I am not saying this is the case here, but some hams don't
> acknowledge SWLs as having any tech expertise and may not take seriously
> the existence of groups such as LWCA, or even be aware of  them. I
> suspect the latter is the case here, and these guys really think that
> since WSL went off the air, no one has even thought about LF. Rather
> than just say something simplistic like "others are invited to join the
> project by listening and sending results" [which _almost_  implies that
> they don't even care if they get reports from listeners outside their
> group or not] ... if these guys come to believe that Lowfers can
> contribute meaningful input to their test, they may invite you to
> participate, to the extent of advising when their testing is going on.
> This way you could emulate a coordinated monitoring event with
> coast-to-coast listeners tuned in.  Right now it is almost as if they
> are saying, "we're gonna test when we're ready and if you happen to hear
> us, fine"
>         The release says these operators are at "12 Northern Virginia
> sites". Do they feel they can't reach past that distance? Would they
> even welcome participation from listeners at distance?
>         Lest it sound like I have an anti-ham bias ... I have been a ham
> since 1953 and extra since 1970...am not now active on ham bands
> however...my LF capability not good enough to participate meaningfully
> in receiving part of this test unfortunately.(the price of my living in
> a townhouse with no outside antennas allowed)....Bob
> >  I made a cursory comparison of their calls and this list, and no one
> > looked familiar.  Oh well, let's see if we can hear them ... during
> > spring
> > thunderstorm season ?  Well, not as yet.
> > John Matz KB9II
> >
> > ----------
> > > From: William Cantrell <QA0057@email.mot.com>
> > > To: Dexter McIntyre W4DEX <dmcintyre@att.net>; lowfer@qth.net
> > > Subject: Re: [Lowfer] ARRL Letter, VLF]
> > > Date: Tuesday, March 16, 1999 9:49 AM
> > >
> > > Yes, I got a chuckle out of it -- sounded rather "elitist" too.  Its
> > not  like  they're doing anything that wasn't done 85 years ago.  Oh
> well, I
> > guess  the FCC is just being cautious...
> > >
> > > Regards,
> > > Bill Cantrell
> > > "TEXAS" & WD5CVG
> > >
> > > Dexter McIntyre W4DEX wrote:
> > >
> > > > Do any of the station on the list below operate LF or have
> > extensive LF experience?  This isn't some unknown territory is it?  I
> know
> > several, and I'm sure there are many more, very experienced LF operators
> > that could tell us now what these tests will find.
> > > >
> > > > Dex, W4DEX
> > > >