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AM on HF - Are you with us ?

AM on HF - Are you with us ?
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Jul 30th 2011, 02:17


Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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Quote by w1rfi
... From all indications, I'd say that interest in AM is holding steady or growing.

If the Directors posted the results in their newsletters, I'd think they'd be fair game for posting here. Just today, the ARRL Lab guys held a meeting to discuss the other technical forums we want to create and AM technology and activity was among them. We're approaching this forums things slowly, as we want to make sure that ARRL's forums avoid some of the pitfalls found in other forums, but with two of the Lab guys having a strong interest in AM operation, I'd think that there would be some support coming from that direction, too. My own operation is 99% CW, but I had felt a strong affinity for the AM community because there is a lot in common the QRPers in terms of the passion toward the mode and the way of operating. :-)

I will watch the poll with interest, as well as the discussion.

I will also add that the ARRL Technology area has an AM page. It also links to a number of good sites on AM operation...

Ed Hare, W1RFI
Technical forums moderator

A far cry from the League's policy of "benign neglect" (don't ban AM but let it die a natural death) as expressed by the young lady (I don't remember her call sign) who moderated the Forum for the League at the ARRL convention I attended at the Statler-Hilton in Boston some time around 1974 or 1975.

I also appreciate the support the League extended to the AM community regarding the ill-conceived AM power reduction that was included in the FCC's revision of the power limit rules, which took effect in 1990. The League filed a Petition for Reconsideration to permanently extend the seven-year grandfather clause to allow AM to unquestionably continue using the same historic power levels that had existed dating back to the very first voice transmissions ever attempted by amateur radio operators.

Unfortunately, the FCC dodged the issue with its own deceptive spin. At the Dayton FCC Forum, speaker Johnny Johnston began the session by complaining how the amateur community was wasting the Commission's time with frivolous rulemaking petitions. His first example was ARRL's Petition for Reconsideration (which asked for the permanent extension of the seven-year Grandfather Clause to continue the historic AM power limit). "Here, we have the ARRL petitioning to CHANGE THE RULES to allow AM to run twice as much power as everyone else. And then we have this other petition to eliminate AM altogether... (he then pulls out a petition that had been submitted years earlier, with no action taken, to outlaw AM below 28 mHz, but which inexplicably was suddenly and conveniently given an RM-number). Of course his tactic was to demonstrate to the public that the FCC would maintain a "fair and balanced" approach and do nothing, allowing the Grandfather Clause to expire and the AM power reduction to go in effect.
Jul 30th 2011, 03:05


Joined: Jul 25th 2011, 14:25
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I've worked at ARRL HQ for 25 years now. Although i've seen variious interest or lack thereof ifor AM in staff over the years, collectively, AM has been and is another mode. It's a bit cliche, but the mode diversity of Amateur Radio is part of its strength and I am glad that full-carrier, double-sideband AM (plain AM to most of us) is in our suite. The idea of banning it outright, on any frequency, is simply so far outside the traditions of Amateur Radio that it is almost unthinkable to me.

Single sideband, suppressed carrier AM (SSB to most of us hams) has a lot of natural advantages over AM. WIth the immediate advantage of slightly more than doubling spectrum occupancy, I would think that ARRL did the right thing in promotng it within Amateur Radio. I wasn't all that interested in ham radio in the late 60s through mid 1970s, and even when I got back into it, I didn't pay much heed to ARRL, so I can't comment on your perception of benign neglect, but it it were that way, before my time, IMHO, that would be wrong for ARRL to do.

ARRL will probably always give extra focus to new modes and new things, as a way of helping hams to understand them and use them on the air. Fair enough, but that does not mean that other modes and interests should be neglected, because with all the hams that are coming into Amateur Radio all the time, there are always hams that have a need to learn what to do with the modes that have been around for a while.

From my perspective in the ARRL Lab, I don't see any systemic attempt to neglect AM into oblivion. I'd think that most of what I've had to say in these two running AM threads has been overall positive and encouraging. I will not be dragged into my boss's office on Monday and reminded that ARRL has some secret unspoken policy that doesn't allow me to speak well of AM. It's another mode and to the extent that ARRL members are interested and the AM community can contribute information, articles and the like, ARRL will find ways to use at least some of the material, in a way balanced against all the other resources.

I really meant it; a few years back, ARRL tried real hard to get some neat articles out of the AM community. We were especially interested in some of the Class E work being done. I was successful on one area -- the AM page on the web site was authored by an AM operator and it was the FIRST page on the site that was maintained by a volunteer. That's not benign neglect either.

Having said that, I can guarantee that with all that ARRL does, it will occasionally do someting that can be interpreted as being anti-AM in some way. With all of the people speaking for ARRL, from staff to Directors to Officers, I can guarantee that there will a choice of words that may not be the best under the circumstances. But I can apply those thoughts to ANY mode, and Trouble is an interesting fellow -- if one goes looking for him, one will find him almost everwhere.

Those that stand up and preach the doubts and the fears and go looking for our friend Trouble are not the leaders I think they envision themselves to be. Leaders do not preach words from a soapbox. Leaders find ways to help people work together and find the common ground on which solutions can be built. Leaders have a vision of progress and hope and bring enthusiasm and a can-do attitude to those that work with them. Good leaders understand that misunderstanding can happen and find ways to avoid them, and re-create understanding with necessary. And the best leaders accept that if we have common ground, even through disagreements in other areas, we can still work together on areas of mutal interest, and let the good will that comes from that let us have truly productive dialogue on the rest.

Having said all that, I am wide open to ensuring that my part of the ARRL universe appropriately addresses all modes. Two hams near and dear to my heart -- my fellow workers in the ARRL Lab -- are enthusiasts of AM operating, though typically not on the classic AM nets. I'm not a phone guy, but I recognize the similarity between AM and my personal interest, QRP.

When I first got involved in the QRP community, there were folks on the soapbox, too, preaching that ARRL has a systemic bias against QRP. It took years of dialogue, but not most of that community understands that it never was disconnected.

I'd love to replace the soapbox with dialogue and some good ideas on what can be done to help bridge gaps that I still see are present. We will need true leaders to do that, as the whole process starts by building on what is strong and right.

So I won't give what happened in 1975 the strength to affect what can be done in 2011. AM was and is a part of Amateur Radio. For that reason, it merits my professional support and, as a ham that wants to see Amateur Radio be all that it can be, my personal support as well, even if it's not my cup of tea.

Ed Hare, W1RFI
Technical forum moderator
Jul 31st 2011, 15:57


Joined: Apr 28th 2011, 13:34
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Total Posts: 0
Say, that voting ballot reminds me of the whole presidential voting ballot fiasco. if we select the dot in the middle is it bush or clinton?
Aug 27th 2011, 03:57


Joined: Mar 6th 2008, 13:50
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Total Posts: 0
I do AM on 15 meters when the band is in really good proagation condition.
Call CQ near 21.425 at a good time and wait for a carrier to appear in tuneup mode then wait for the call.
It brings out all kinds of stations with older gear so we have some fun.
I have even modified my 2 meter transverter so I can reduce drive power into the amplifier and have a clean signal.
There is a lot of operating fun waiting if other ops will just get with the show.
As for audio, my rig is bone stock at no more than 3000 hz wide with a good mike and some EQing the audio high and low ends up becomes very nice without getting any wider than stock in AM.
After all, the radios came with AM, it was here before SSB and is still legal to use..
Oct 18th 2011, 16:45


Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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Total Posts: 0
AM has a beautiful sound that can only be injoyed with vintage equip that was built to process the quality sound. My Icom doesnt do that. I tried AM a few times and found the ops to be long winded. The last time I tried it an older op was on the air and getting past 65 I died in the middle of his transmission. Jesus came back and I was reserected and the same guy after all that time was still chatting away. KB7RNG
Oct 22nd 2011, 09:19


Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Some AM ops are not the only ones to be long-winded. There used to be (I have not listened for them for a while) a pair of older hams who could be heard on 146.460 simplex (FM) On Thursday evenings. I think they were in West central Il. They would each talk for 20-30 minutes before unkeying for the other to talk. They did ID at 10 minute intervals.

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