2020 AM Rally: January 31 - February 2

Discussion in 'Amplitude Modulation' started by N1BCG, Jan 3, 2020.

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  1. WZ5Q

    WZ5Q Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks for the link, great promotion for AM!
    That is the first time I have ever watched Ham Nation.

    Steve's shack is as awesome as ever with all his homebrew rigs and clip leads in the background!! :cool:

    Brian's Collins 300G is looking VERY Sexy!! :D

    I can't wait to hear Bob on the air with the Gates BC-1T from the ARRL.
  2. W2BTK

    W2BTK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hey I know that guy! Very nice video, except near the end with the 'AM window' comments. There is no AM window... you can use AM anywhere and please feel free as long as the frequency is clear!!!

    Looking forward to this weekend. I have to work but I will be on the air when I can!
    WA3VJB, AG5CK and N1BCG like this.
  3. WA3VJB

    WA3VJB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yep. Heil seems stuck in reciting that when he can't think of something else to say. A while ago he was part of a video somebody made, and he discussed AM and must have said it five times. I wrote to him asking him to discontinue the reference altogether.

    I told him about the AM Bandwarming Party that was the first organized operating event to utilize the expanded phone bands on 75 and 40 meters. I good-naturedly said that we had landed on new turf and planted the flag for AM, and would he please promote AM in the new "down low" sections of these phone bands.

    Not only did he fail to acknowledge the problem he could create by setting expectations we should "stay in our place" as he defined it, but he didn't answer me at all.
  4. K5UJ

    K5UJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I agree. And I always enjoy Bob GCM's videos. I am not familiar with the 300G owner but Bob Heil always greets me at Dayton and on the air as if I were an old friend.
  5. K5UJ

    K5UJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am familiar with the pros and cons of the "AM Window" but I don't recall how it came to be. The difficulty in dissolving it lies in human behavior in my opinion. Like it or not, for every AM operator who sees this forum, there are probably 100 who do not and they make the AM Window the AM center of gravity on 75 m. out of habit, and laziness ("my rig is tuned up there and my coax fed dipole doesn't cover the whole band"). Unfortunately, if I am pressed for time, which is usually always, I focus on the AM window because I know that's where a lot of receivers are parked and I can call CQ there and get a response. I have called CQ down the band the the results were almost always unsatisfying. If this is a common experience it feeds inertia which maintains the myth and status of the so-called window.
    WD4IGX and WA3VJB like this.
  6. N1BCG

    N1BCG Ham Member QRZ Page

    My understanding is that the "AM Window" concept began decades ago when sideband was rapidly on the rise. It was thought that AM would be replaced completely (a position pushed by the ARRL at the time) and seeing rigs sell for parts at hamfests or placed out at the curb was common.

    However, there were the stalwarts who never sold out and maintained that AM was not obsolete and that the mode continued to have unique qualities and benefits not found in the "new" voice mode. This led to a grouping, like protective encampments, where these hold-outs could continue enjoying AM and claim that this was their safe space. The idea was that sidebanders would stay away and everyone would get along.

    Of course, this didn't always work, and sidebanders would trespass into the "window", or just as egregious, AMers would wander outside of their tiny sandbox. It wasn't always on purpose, though, and as the years went on the rationale for an "AM Window" got harder to explain since it was based on a movement that no longer exists.

    The amateur radio world is entirely different today and many of the generals in the war of modes are enriching the earth under counterpoise radials. Each day the number of amateurs who never heard of such friction grows, which is a good trend because it sets the stage for a fresh start.

    With the rapid and steady growth in AM operations, partly fueled by manufacturers who are taking a renewed interest in the mode, these new ops are able to see AM and SSB simply as tools with which to communicate, each having benefits. Sideband excels for DXing with efficient transmitters and high S/N ratios and AM being the mode of choice for casual conversation with a pleasing clarity and ease of tuning in.

    Events such as the AM Rally, Heavy Metal Rally, and AM QSO Party would not be possible if we were to adhere to the restrictions suggested by the founders of the "window" concept. Additionally, it's unnecessarily divisive at a time when ops are more open minded.

    Bottom line: We're not AMers -or- Sidebanders. We're Voice Mode users who know the benefits and characteristics of each mode and use them with consideration. Understanding how each mode works through familiarization and how they can co-exist is the message that should be pushed, and doing that with patience and understanding will go a long way to enhancing the enjoyment in the phone portions of all bands for all ops.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2020
    WD4IGX and W2BTK like this.
  7. WA3VJB

    WA3VJB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Nice write-through, Clark, and of course I agree with your sentiments.

    If you listen to Heil's reference in that video, he offers his remarks in the pejorative, stereo-typical way we fought against for so many years. He implies that we should apologize somehow, and that we don't want to "get in trouble" with others on SSB, as if we are second-class citizens in the hobby. These words sting, and they underscore the fact that Heil himself is rather late to the AM-scene, has never used his prominence to fight on AM's behalf in the regulatory arena, and continues to perpetuate a mentality of AM being something not quite on a par with other modes and activities where he sells his products.

    This year's AM Rally, and other events like it, celebrate our part of the hobby. Heil is welcome to participate, but he ought to do it on our terms, not those of the past.

    See you on the air. Thursday night I was testing on 40 meters where I plan to do most of my operating in the event this time.
    N1BCG likes this.
  8. N2DTS

    N2DTS Ham Member QRZ Page

    I look at the window as the Flex software does, the AM calling frequency.
    You can stay there or move a qso someplace else.
    Who wants to tune the entire phone band looking for AM till they find some?
    I park it on 3880 and open up the bandwidth and will hear someone if they call CQ on 3870 to 3890.

    Maybe Bob would rather there only be a window, not sure why.
    During contests, CW fills the entire bands sometimes, as do other modes, why not AM?
    N1BCG likes this.
  9. N1BCG

    N1BCG Ham Member QRZ Page

    I agree that there are areas of each band where AM can most easily be found, usually centering around "calling frequencies" and that's a good thing. Like at a buffet, you can stand and eat right there (as most do) or move elsewhere and let others launch QSOs and do the same.

    And thanks for the nice words, Paul. This group has always been particularly thoughtful and considerate. A great example of the amateur community for newcomers and even the general public.

    You can find W1AW operating using these lashups:

    160M - Joe Walsh's Viking Valiant, National NC-300, D-104, using the full 160M bulletin dipole.

    75M - Gates BC1T + Flex 6500, a real now-and-then setup! This is also the station that Ladies Night will be featured on. It will be multi-operator with a conference table, multiple boomed mics, and independent PTT for each op.

    40M - K7DYY (the one reviewed in QST) and a *pristine* Collins 75A4 with the AM filter installed.

    Plan on plenty of pictures and videos...
  10. WA3VJB

    WA3VJB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Two things here. I just texted GCM to look for me around 7281Kc mid-Morning through whenever the band closes up. I envision being able to funnel a lot of stations through a fixed frequency where I plan to stay put. This was a successful way of handling a high volume of contacts while not making it feel like a corn-test. The idea shall be to have a QSO underway, a roundtable of a few hardcore, TallShip stations. In addition to pleasant, satisfying conversation on wholesome AM, from time to time, I shall call out for contacts, taking check-ins who will be working myself and whomever else is in that core group. We then invite anyone to hang out, or move along to other AM hotspots for the continued rally.

    Video and audio. It is ~so~ easy to roll a recording off a relevant SDR node somewhere, and record the screen as the panadapter (or "waterfall" in today's parlance) scrolls by. I plan to also have local receive audio off the R390 dedicated to 40 meters, along with local transmit audio from the RCA mixer. If you're planning on an overall production of highlights from the AM Rally, I can get that material to you for production, and you can take whatever snippets you see fit to include.

    Gonna be fun, eh?
    N1BCG likes this.

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