[Lowfer] ARRL Letter, VLF

Terry Fox tfox@erols.com
Tue, 23 Mar 1999 19:38:46 -0500

I guess we had better just hang up our spurs....   It's all been done before.
Maybe we should all turn in our ham licenses as well.  AM, SSB, CW, RTTY, ATV,
SSTV, Packet, etc have been done and there's nothing to learn that the "experts"
can't just email to us if we dare to think up the appropriate question.  Come to
think of it, we might as well turn in our Internet and Email space as well,
since it also no longer requires experimentation.

And our LF experts say we're being elitist?  We encouraged participation rather
than saying there's nothing left to learn from 85 years ago.  Thank goodness the
creators of the above modulation schemes did not have the same limitations.  I
can just imagine watching a movie on HBO which is being sent by very fast CW
using a spark gap transmitter on 136KHz!  dit-dit-duh-duh-dit-dit.

I'm sorry, this is the first flame I have sent in over 15 years (since the old
AX.25/TCP days), so the LF experts on the CC list can understand the how
"interesting" we thought their messages were.

I also guess our experience in creating ATV repeaters, AX.25, AO-27, SS, DSP,
etc don't count because there were too many waves per second.  I'll talk
sloooower now.

Terry, WB4JFI

Andre' Kesteloot wrote:

> Hello Friends,
> Since Bob sent me a cc. of his message to you, here is my interim
> reply.
> For a while, I believed there might have lingered a hint of sarcasm in
> some
> 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
> raised.
> AMRAD is a radio club consisting mainly of experimenters (as opposed
> to
> 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
> us,
> have soldering-iron burns on our fingertips (which we consider a badge
> of
> honor  :-)
> Although AMRAD has members all over the US, the "core group" resides
> essentially in Northern Virginia, hence the reason why the 12 people
> listed
> 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.
> Some
> of us are former employees of the Navy, and have "done" LF in a
> previous
> incarnation.
> As regards "taking seriously the LWCA", the Nov-Dec 1998 issue of the
> Newsletter was entirely devoted to LF.  It happens that I personally
> wrote
> to the Editor of The LowDown (enclosing a copy of that issue), and
> offered
> to mail, free-of-charge, a copy of that issue to every recipient of
> the
> 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
> limitations
> imposed upon them. (That speech was summarized by John Gould G3WKL and
> was
> 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
> article
> 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
> transmit.
> We are interested in all inputs, wherever they come from, and
> specifically
> we are interested in inputs and constructive comments from experienced
> LF
> persons like you all. We recently spent some time at NSS (Annapolis,
> Maryland) and connected our receiving equipment to some of these
> beautiful
> Navy antennas that are unfortunately scheduled to be destroyed later
> this
> year.
> In January, we spent a whole week-end on the beaches of Nag's Head
> (North
> 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
> of
> antennas, others are specialized in DSP, or in high-power
> transmitters.
> (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
> anything
> that wasn't done 85 years ago".
> I personally would be proud to be able to recreate some of the
> experiments
> 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
> their
> remarkable understanding of the principles they were discovering.
> Experimentation is a personal thing, which allows some of us to grasp
> a
> 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
> as
> 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
> experiments
> we will conduct with small loops may lead me to a better understanding
> of
> those phenomena. If I can achieve that, it will have been worth its
> while.
> (The above remarks are my own, and I do not claim to speak for the
> rest of
> 73
> 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
> > > > >