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W1AW/8 to Take the Snowball’s Chance This Fall


It will be hell for W1AW/8 in Hell, Michigan, on October 18 — the Saturday of Michigan’s second week in the ARRL Centennial QSO Party spotlight. Hank Greeb, N8XX, is organizing a team of operators and intends to put W1AW/8 in Feld Hell mode on 80 through 10 meters from Hell. He has recruited a couple of volunteers so far but could use more, he said this week.

“The plan is to have each band covered for at least one hour,” said Greeb, who operates QRP most of the time. “We'd like to have at least three stations active, to cover three bands at once, hugging the maximum usable frequency (MUF) at first, and then moving to lower frequency bands as the MUF drops.” Greeb said a website will announce the operating schedule, once plans have solidified. Watch for W1AW/8 to be spotted on Fell Hell mode.

Also known as Hiland Lake, Hell, Michigan, is an unincorporated community a few miles northwest of Ann Arbor. How Hell got its name is the subject of unconfirmed historical accounts and even some wild speculation. According to one version, after Michigan became a state, George Reeves, who built the community’s first sawmill and operated its first tavern, was asked what to call the town. He is rumored to have replied, “You can name it hell, for all I care.” The moniker became official in 1841. Other “Hells” exist in California, Norway, and the Grand Caymans. Michigan also has a town named Paradise.

Feld Hell — or Hellschreiber — is a facsimile mode invented by Rudolf Hell in the 1920s that used synchronous motors to transcribe letters onto a moving tape. Feld Hell has since morphed into a computer-generated mode, typically using AFSK into a SSB transceiver and decoding software that essentially “paints” the characters on the screen. Popular software includes DM780 (part of the Ham Radio Deluxe suite), Fldigi, MixW, MultiPSK, and IZ8BLY. Additional information on this mode is available on the Feld Hell Club website.

And, just in case you were wondering, Hell, Michigan, has indeed frozen over a time or two. Contact Hank Greeb, N8XX, if you’re interested in taking part in the W1AW/8 Feld Hell operation.

Recommended Feld Hell Frequencies

160 meters: 1.840 MHz

80 meters: 3.574-3.584 MHz

40 meters: 7.077-7.084 MHz

30 meters: 10.137-10.144 MHz

20 meters: 14.063 MHz

17 meters: 18.104 MHz

15 meters: 21.074 MHz

12 meters: 24.924 MHz

10 meters: 28.074 MHz

6 meters: 50.286 MHz




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