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Holiday Happenings

CQ, CQ, CQ…Merry Christmas!
Santa Net – Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016 – 8:30 pm on 3.916
MHz
PRE-NET CHECK IN: (Please sign in with your call sign, name, location and names and ages of your children who want to talk to Santa) SANTA NET RELAYS: N5VLF/DAN; W5JMW/JOHN; N1LPE/ROBERT; N2HFO/MICHAEL

Christmas Eve Breakfast
Join Ed – K3BVQ, Dennis – KA3RIX and the 220 Group on Saturday, 12/24, at 9:00 am for breakfast at Michael’s Restaurant in Douglassville, PA (Routes 422 and 662)

Santa Claus at the Arctic Circle
Visit www.qrz.com/db/of9x to learn how to reach Santa on Christmas Eve.

Commemorative Fessenden Christmas Eve 600-Meter Transmissions Set
Brian Justin, WA1ZMS, of Forest, Virginia, will once again put his 600-meter experimental station on the air for a Christmas Eve commemorative transmission. The transmissions from WI2XLQ on 486 kHz will mark the 110th anniversary of Reginald Fessenden’s audio broadcast on the airwaves, which may have been the first ever. Historical accounts say Fessenden played the violin — or a recording of violin music — and read a brief Bible verse. It’s been reported that other radio experimenters and shipboard operators who heard Fessenden’s broadcast were astounded to hear speech and music on their radios. Justin will use a MOPA-design transmitter built largely with vintage parts to replicate early vacuum-tube equipment; not a Fessenden-period transmitter, it uses a UV-202 tube for the power amplifier. He will conduct a run-up to the event starting at around midday Eastern Time on Friday, December 23. The “official” event will begin on Christmas Eve, Saturday, December 24, at 0001 UTC (the evening of December 23 in US time zones) and will continue for at least 24 hours. Justin plans to repeat the commemorative transmissions on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. For his transmitter in 1906, Fessenden used an ac alternator modulated by placing carbon microphones in series with the antenna feed line. Justin’s homebuilt station is slightly more modern, based on a 1921 vacuum tube master oscillator power amplifier (MOPA) design. The transmitter also uses Heising AM modulation, developed by Raymond Heising during World War I. Justin’s WI2XLQ on-air operations coincide with dates in early radio history as a way to recognize and honor some of the earliest wireless pioneers and their achievements. Send listener reports directly to Brian Justin, WA1ZMS.

Christmas Eve SAQ Alexanderson Alternator Transmission Set
The Alexander Association plans to have Alexanderson alternator transmitter SAQ on the air for its traditional Christmas Eve transmission. The 200 kW Alexanderson alternator will transmit on 17.2 kHz on the morning of Christmas Eve, December 24, with tune-up at around 0730 UTC, and the message transmission following at 0800 UTC.

“Since the plant is old, there is always the risk that the transmission will be cancelled on short notice,” the Association said in an announcement. Repairs following an early October fire in the long-wave antenna (attributed to arcing) had put this year’s Christmas Eve transmission in jeopardy. Dating from the 1900s, the Alexanderson alternator — essentially an ac generator run at extremely high speed — can put out 200 kW but typically is operated at much lower power. Once providing reliable transatlantic communication, it is now a museum piece and only put on the air on special occasions. It was built in the 1920s.

Christmas Eve activity will also take place on Amateur Radio frequencies from SK6SAQ on or about 7.035 and 14.035 MHz (CW). Send reception reports of SAQ or SK6SAQ. — Thanks to Lars Kalland, SM6NM

Ring in the New Year with Straight Key Night
Every day is a good day to operate on CW, but set some time aside on New Year’s Eve and Day to enjoy Straight Key Night (SKN). The annual event begins at 0000 UTC on January 1, 2017 (New Year’s Eve in US time zones). The 24-hour event is not a contest, but a day dedicated to celebrating Amateur Radio’s CW heritage. Participants are encouraged to get on the air and simply enjoy conversational CW contacts, preferably using a straight (hand) key or a semi-automatic key (bug). Activity traditionally centers on CW segments in the HF bands. There are no points or obligatory exchange. The only requirement is to have fun! Send a SKN list of stations worked and your vote for “Best Fist” and “Most Interesting QSO” by January 31.

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Pottstown, PA 19464