The Boy Scouts of America have just announced a new "Interpreter Strip" for Morse Code. An "Interpreter Strip" on the uniform means that the Scout or adult leader is able to communicate in a particular language. -- Those older Scouts and former Scouts among you may remember the Boy Scout requirements that said a Scout had to learn Morse Code or signal flags to send and receive a message. And, even though that requirement has disappeared and Morse Code is no longer mandatory to get any amateur radio license in the United States, the BSA is reviving Morse Code as a "language" worth learning. You can probably credit Jim Wilson, K5ND, for getting this one from concept to reality. He's the BSA's "Jamboree on the Air" organizer and the volunteer chairman for the next K2BSA operation at the 2013 National Boy Scouts Jamboree at the Summit in West Virigina. Wilson works at BSA headquarters in Texas and is a big promoter of amateur radio in Scouting. So much so, Wilson says he organized a national Radio Scouting advisory committee last year to get stronger support in the amateur and Scouting community for JOTA. Earlier this year, Wilson says a member of that committee made a suggestion about getting some additional Scouting recognition for amateur radio. Wilson says there were some ideas that eventually evolved into exploring the "interpreter" strip worn on the Scout uniform to show a Scout has some ability to speak a certain language. Wilson admits he came up with the idea for "Morse" on the strip - but in the letters of the language - dah-dah, dah- dah-dah, di-dah-dit, dit-dit-dit, dit." Wilson says he quickly moved the idea over to the BSA's national awards committee where it got a favorable reception and approval within months. So how does a boy earn it? Wilson says there are three requirements, the first.... "It's carrying on a 5-minute conversation in Morse Code at a speed of at least 5 words per minute," Wilson explains. "And, then the second one, copying correctly a 2-minute message sent in Morse Code at a minimum of 5-words-per- minute. "And, copying of course means writing the message down as it's received. And, then, three, sending a 25-word written document in Morse Code at a minimum of 5 words per minute." Wilson says Scouts can be certified by their Scoutmaster or maybe even a ham who's an adult Scout leader. Wilson says the idea is to further cement the bonds of brotherhood between Scouting and ham radio operators. And, of course, Wilson is.... "Eager to increase participation in amateur radio to provide an opportunity for Scouts to get involved in a fun hobby, a hobby that promotes communicating with lots of Scouts and others around the country and around the world," Wilson says. "And, it's science, it's technology, it's engineering, it's math - the stem items that are of enormous interest right now and frankly have been in Boy Scouting for quite some time."
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
HOW TO READ PROPAGATION NUMBERS
The A index [ LOW is GOOD ]
- 1 to 6 is BEST
- 7 to 9 is OK
- 11 or more is BAD
Represents the overall geomagnetic condition of the ionosphere ("Ap" if averaged from the Kp-Index) (an average of the eight 3-hour K-Indices) ('A' referring to amplitude) over a given 24 hour period, ranging (linearly) typically from 1-100 but theoretically up to 400.
A lower A-Index generally suggests better propagation on the 10, 12, 15, 17, & 20 Meter Bands; a low & steady Ap-Index generally suggest good propagation on the 30, 40, 60, 80, & 160 Meter Bands.
SFI index [ HIGH is GOOD ]
- 70 NOT GOOD
- 80 GOOD
- 90 BETTER
- 100+ BEST
The measure of total radio emissions from the sun at 10.7cm (2800 MHz), on a scale of 60 (no sunspots) to 300, generally corresponding to the sunspot level, but being too low in energy to cause ionization, not related to the ionization level of the Ionosphere.
Higher Solar Flux generally suggests better propagation on the 10, 12, 15, 17, & 20 Meter Bands; Solar Flux rarely affects the 30, 40, 60, 80, & 160 Meter Bands.
K index [ LOW is GOOD ]
- 0 or 1 is BEST
- 2 is OK
- 3 or more is BAD
- 5 is VERY VERY BAD
The overall geomagnetic condition of the ionosphere ("Kp" if averaged over the planet) over the past 3 hours, measured by 13 magnetometers between 46 & 63 degrees of latitude, and ranging quasi-logarithmically from 0-9. Designed to detect solar particle radiation by its magnetic effect. A higher K-index generally means worse HF conditions.
A lower K-Index generally suggests better propagation on the 10, 12, 15, 17, & 20 Meter Bands; a low & steady Kp-Index generally suggest good propagation on the 30, 40, 60, 80, & 160 Meter Bands.
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