CQ CQ CQ Ham Radio Saturday: Shhhhh!

First things first.

  • I’m calling CQ for a good graphic artist who might design an appropriate logo for ZedNet.  Maybe something with… lightning bolts against ones and zeros. I dunno.  I’m not creative that way.
  • Regarding ZedNet and DMR operation, I refer to you THIS.
  • I created a page for the List of YOUR callsigns.  HERE  Chime in or drop me a note if your call doesn’t appear in the list.

Today I went to a weekly gathering of local hams at a bar/restaurant just up the block from the National Museum of Mustard.  Yes, really.

One of the members of the assembly, also my local Elmer, brought a little gizmo.

Meet WSPR.

No, this is not a counteragency to UNCLE.

This is mode of communication that uses very weak signals to create propagation reports.  Weak Signal Propagation Reporter.

The idea is this.  The gizmo intermittently transmits a very weak signal, about 200 mW that includes location, call sign, etc.   Receivers around the world participating in WSPR, which detect and read the signal, some 30 dB below the noise line, then report the contact with information about signal strength etc. to a central network which can be accessed on the internet.  Thus, you are able to look up your call sign and see how your antenna is functioning, learn about propagation, etc.  The gizmo, below, is just a transmitter.  It runs off a little powerbank, such that you might haul around to give your phone a little juice during the day.  The Elmer just put that and this into a ziplock to protect it from the elements and let it do it’s thing.

It is, in effect, a beacon.

This is nifty technology, developed by K1JT, a Noble Prize winner in Physics, the guy who also developed FT8.  It is highly dependent on the use of a very accurate clock, because part of the way that signals are detected and read require a high degree of synchronization.

Of course some people’s minds immediately go to clandestine, super-secret communications connecting various shady people doing who knows what.   But, in the meantime, this is very spiffy.

In the picture below, you do NOT see a WSPR device, though they can indeed by constructed from a Raspberry-Pi.  This is my little hotspot for ZedNet (DMR), in the window of my Roman apartment last week.

I wanted to see how from what distance I could reach it and communicate with my little handheld transceiver.

As it turns out, given that streets are narrow and wall of buildings are super thick in Rome, I was able to get quite a distance before I lost the hotspot using the Hi power setting.   On an amusing note, when I emerged from a narrow way into a wider spot where cars were parked, when I keyed to TX, all the car alarms nearby went off.  So much for stealth!

Meanwhile, I used the ZedNet quite a bit from Rome.  Hey you hams!  If you get into DMR, contact ZedNet!    I also used it from GITMO.  Very cool.

In any event, today I made contact with stations operation on a Special Event Day.  It is Museum Ship Weekend.  Today I contacted, inter alia, USS Intrepid, Mew Jersey, and Wisconsin.  I visited Wisconsin the last time I was in Norfolk.  HERE It is one of the amazing WWII battleships that is still able to be brought back into service.

I was told by N4WIS, operating on USS Wisconsin, that on 30m they are using the ship’s original equipment!    I think around 1.144.   On 20m, they have a wire sloping down to the guns.    From the site: ” Our station is located  on the 03 level aft of the bridge with 2 transceivers. One antenna is a ships 35 foot whip on the port side aft and the other is a Carolina Windom 80 from the yard arm forward to the top of 16″ gun turret #2.”

BB-64’s main battery had nine 16 inch (406 mm) guns, which could hurl 2,700 lb (1,200 kg) around 24 miles (39 km). As a backup she had twenty 5 inch (127 mm) guns in ten turrets which could hit targets 9 miles (14 km) away.

Not exactly WSPR!


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Unwilling says:

    I did wonder whether the device Bourne uses in Identity to trigger all the nearby car alarms was possible. Thanks.

  2. Semper Gumby says:

    Impressive comm gear and battleship.

    The USS Wisconsin had a useful career from WW II to the First Gulf War.

    Almost all onboard were Catholics, Protestants, and Jews. All swore an Oath before God to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic.

  3. Semper Gumby says:

    Last week an article was posted on the First Things magazine website. The writer’s name and his dispute with another writer need not be mentioned. A brief excerpt, as it speaks to a growing trend:

    “…there is no polite third way around the cultural civil war. The only way is through— that is to say, to fight the culture war with the aim of defeating the enemy and enjoying the spoils in the form of a public square re-ordered to the common good and ultimately the Highest Good.”

    The belligerency negates the appeal to a “common good” or a “Highest Good.” A “cultural civil war to defeat an enemy” and “enjoy the spoils in the public square” is in reality indistinguishable from civil war.

    This article was met with approval by numerous individuals across the political spectrum. Two examples among many: a professor of “Constitutional Law” at Harvard and a Cistercian in Austria.

    Given the intermittent civil unrest in this country agitation for civil war is malicious and ill-advised.

  4. Semper Gumby says: civil war

    I wonder if “internecine war” wouldn’t be a better term, given that it is both within our own ranks and that it is dreadful.

    Also, one might question the premise that this is civil/internecine. Is this really within our own? Or is this more a war against an enemy that invade from outside our world view and is not firmly entrenched and co-opting language, etc.

  5. Semper Gumby says:

    Fr. Z : It does seem opposing worldviews have alot to do with the current predicament faced by the Church and by the country.

    Irreconcilable worldviews need not, of course, lead to civil war. What is required is an ability to recognize that politics in this Fallen World will often be frustrating and disappointing, that political goals may take longer to achieve than first thought, and that slaughter is not an appropriate method of interacting with one’s political and cultural opponents.

    For example, the editor of First Things wrote late last week in defense of his writer:

    “Consider the sanctity of life. After a generation of activism and numerous pro-life Republican politicians elected to public office, even to the highest office, Roe remains the law of the land…progress has been painfully slow.”

    Yes, it has. And certain judges, not simply elected officials, have slowed that progress. So have the effects of indoctrination by schools and pop culture. So have the millions of individuals who construe liberty as libertinism.

    But there has been progress. So we must persist, and with fortitude. What we should not do is despair and as a result, as the editor of First Things does, associate his writer who agitates for widespread carnage with “resolute allies.”

    This editor and writer have temporarily- God willing only temporarily- ceased to behave as Catholic intellectuals and are behaving as statist intellectuals.

    The editor of First Things was not quite explicit in his statism as was his writer. And at one point the editor states that the “aroma of the sacred” should be added to 21st-century American politics.

    What the editor of First Things fails to grasp is the consequences of encouraging his writer to jettison the progress- as insufficient as it is- already made towards rightly-ordered liberty.

    In this Fallen World our political achievements will always fall short of our vision of the Common Good. The journey towards rightly-ordered liberty is unsteady, marked by success and setbacks. It must be embarked upon by each generation, it is a God-given opportunity to cultivate the virtues.

    Statism and Genghis Khan-ism leads not to the “aroma of the sacred” but to the stench of rotting flesh.

  6. Semper Gumby says:

    In addition to a disordered worldview, there is also a problem these days with co-opting language.

    Here is a fine example of co-opting. The “Tradinista Manifesto” was written several years ago by a group of socialists and Marxists who also identify as traditional Catholics. But they are not “Trad” Catholics- whom the “woke” Tradinistas despise.

    To its credit, First Things has apparently never posted the Tradinista Manifesto. (First Things did post the problematic “Against the Dead Consensus” manifesto several months ago, but that’s a story for another day).

    So, co-opting and the Tradinista Manifesto:

    The Tradinista Manifesto begins with: “In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti.” The Manifesto ends with “Amen.”

    “We are a small party of young Christian socialists committed to traditional orthodoxy, to a politics of virtue and the common good, and to the destruction of capitalism…”

    That still makes me chuckle.

    “Since the modern nation-state is an instrument of the capitalist class, a radical decentralization of political authority is possible only with the abolition of capitalism.”

    For Tradinistas capitalism is more sinister than Satan.

    “The means of class struggle, peaceful if possible, must respect basic moral norms and fundamental human dignity.”

    Nothing like bashing together Christian morality and Marxism. Which, as usual, produces violent tendencies (“peaceful if possible”). And, as usual, this bashing together only strengthens the case for our constitutional Republic and a military that swears an Oath before God to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic.

    “Private property is a basic feature of human society; nevertheless, the right to property is not unconditional, and ownership is justified only if it serves the common good.”

    …and we know Who Decides what is justified and if it serves the common good. The Tradinistas would benefit by reading a good history book to discover where that ends up.

    “Racism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, and similar forms of oppression must be eradicated.”

    Here the impatient Tradinistas forget completely about the Fallen World, human nature, the Bible, and the improvement made over time in how human beings relate to one another. The Tradinistas are simply regurgitating traditional Communist slogans in Socialist form. The Tradinistas are probably not bloodthirsty, but if they ever gained the power some of them crave, that is where this thinking leads.

    “Anthropogenic climate change threatens the common good of all mankind, and must be fought.”

    When one accepts a dubious man-made theory as an Article of Faith then it’s back to the Woke Warehouse for more crates of Fighting.

    “We nevertheless support struggles against colonialism and imperialism, and advocate a genuine international authority governed by Christian principles to prevent the exploitation of one country by another.”

    Here is the Imperialism of Marxism. Grandiose schemes call for a grandiose Empire.

    “Liberalism in religion undermines the truths of God’s revelation, substituting private opinion for the authority of God…”

    The Tradinistas are indeed left-wing Libs (but there is Hope for the Tradinistas: they are not fans of clown Masses and they are anti-abortion). They detest the liberty element of “Liberalism” because, despite their posturing about the Social Kingship of Christ, liberty and patriotism interferes with Tradinista Divine Rule.

    Their hatred of “Liberalism” also allows them to adopt stylish anti-American attitudes. For Tradinistas, liberty has produced affluence and a sick culture (they have a partial point here, but there is more going on than meets the Tradinista eye).

    Tradinistas tend to blame “liberty” rather than unhealthy individual choices (blaming individuals is not “woke” and is usually avoided). Under Tradinista Rule forget about the virtues or resisting temptation- all choices will be carefully regulated and controlled…

    What Tradinistas should reject is Libertinism, and hate-based Totalitarianism.

    Still, we wish well for the Tradinistas. As they grow in the Catholic faith the easy allure of Socialism should subside. God willing and given time, they will realize the age-old errors that they are making.

  7. Semper Gumby says:

    Fr. Neuhaus: “The alternative to the naked public square- meaning public life stripped of religion and religiously grounded argument- is not the sacred public square, but the civil public square. The sacred public square is located in the New Jerusalem. The best that can be done in Babylon is to maintain, usually with great difficulty, a civil public square.”

    “In the civil public square, all have a right to participate- not only because they are citizens so entitled by this constitutional order, but also, and more fundamentally, because we recognize that they are possessed of a human dignity that cannot be denied without threatening the ever fragile earthly city on which we all depend.”

    “Unless tempered by the virtue of civility, the metaphor of “culture wars,” in which commanding truths are pitted against each other, can easily lead to a circumstance in which politics degenerates into warfare that is not merely metaphorical.”

    – “American Babylon” pp. 187-88

  8. Kerry says:

    Semper Gumby, fine analysis of the Tradinistas, previously unknown to me. Regarding carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and capturing carbon in the soil, and regenerative agriculture in particular, here is an entree site: https://carboncowboys.org/
    Gabe Brown’s book ‘Dirt to Soil’ is another place to start. Are you even near South Dakota…?

  9. robtbrown says:

    “Private property is a basic feature of human society; nevertheless, the right to property is not unconditional, and ownership is justified only if it serves the common good.”

    The flaw in this argument is that although it assumes the right to private property is not unconditional, it incorrectly presumes the state’s right to property is.

    That one state owns certain property, however, means that another state does not.

  10. Semper Gumby says:

    Kerry: Thanks for the recommendations, I’m passing those on to some folks interested in sustainable agriculture. I’m on the East coast but travel to Montana and the West Coast sometimes.

    robtbrown: Good points. California is a good example of where that leads, with one-party rule by the Party of Death and their “progressive” and confiscatory policies. As usual, corruption and incompetence follow, just one example (other news reports name specific corrupt politicians and city managers):


    The proprietary nature of “progressivism” is creating within California ambitions for the state to possess its own foreign policy. Here is an article mainly sympathetic with a California foreign policy:


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