CQ Amateur Radio


My favorite activity in amateur radio is looking for really weak signals. For me, the real romance of ham radio is not to be found in full-quieting, broadcast-quality FM, as useful as that is. I do ham radio well off the beaten path … I always have, even since my Novice days, when I was “restricted” to CW only. I place restricted securely within quotes, because CW has opened up more interesting possibilities for me than any other mode.

My fascination with weak signals was further enhanced when I began working for the HIPAS (High Power Auroral Simulation) Observatory, especially looking for minuscule ELF (extremely low frequency) signals resulting from ionospheric modification experiments. By the way, the HIPAS Observatory, operated by the UCLA plasma physics department, was the predecessor to the much larger HAARP (High-Frequency Active Auroral Research Program), where I also worked concurrently. Alas, HIPAS was decommissioned and totally “deconstructed” some years ago.

Now, it may seem somewhat ironic to be so of effective radiated power (ERP). But such is the nature of physics. We are often looking for extremely subtle effects resulting from a very large stimulation.

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