26 Jan

SuitsatAre you familiar with Suitsat and its connection to amateur radio? It was a space suit with a radio transmitter broadcasting on a radio amateur frequency. Unfortunately, the radio battery only lasted for two orbits. I wonder whether any QSL cards were sent.

This is what Wikipedia says:

SuitSat was a retired Russian Orlan spacesuit with a radio transmitter mounted on its helmet. SuitSat-1 was deployed in an ephemeral orbit around the Earth on February 3, 2006.

And here’s a link to a great short sci-fi film titled Decommissioned with Suitsat in a starring role.

Saturday Morning Coffee Breaks on ZOOM

9 Dec

WARA is testing holding our Saturday Morning Coffee Breaks by using the Zoom platform. This will be very informal in place of the breakfasts that we can’t hold right now. The first Zoom meetup was very well received, and there was a sense that the group wanted it to continue.

Saturday Zoom meetings provide a chance to say “Hello”, meet and put faces to people we only hear on air, swap stories, and have a “Show and Tell” if you have a new piece of kit you want to brag about.

All members should have received an email with the login information. I hope to see you next Saturday morning, January 23rd at 10:00AM, PST  

Brent Besse VA7BNB, WARA President

New Sunspot Cycle could be one of the strongest on record

8 Dec

sunspot cycle

“In a new article published in Solar Physics, [a] research team predicts that Sunspot Cycle 25 will peak with a maximum sunspot number somewhere between approximately 210 and 260, which would put the new cycle in the company of the top few ever observed.” Laura Snider

Overlapping 22-year magnetic cycles will produce the ultra-strong 11-year magnetic cycle. 260 sunspots as a max! Amazing.

This is a very exciting article for HF radio operators. NCAR and UCAR news

The magnetic classification of sunspots

7 Dec

HF communications are affected by sunspots. Their number is growing with the new solar cycle #25. There are eight classifications of sunspots. You will find them below.

The different classificationssunspot with magnetic classification

  1. α – Alpha:
    A unipolar sunspot group.
  2. β – Bèta:
    A sunspot group that has a positive and a negative polarity (or bipolar) with a simple division between the polarities.
  3. γ – Gamma:
    A complex region in which the positive and negative polarities are so irregularly distributed that they can’t be classified as a bipolar Sunspot group.
  4. β-γ – Bèta-Gamma:
    A bipolar sunspot group but complex enough so that no line can be drawn between spots of opposite polarity.
  5. δ – Delta:
    The umbrae of opposite polarity in a single penumbra.
  6. β-δ – Bèta-Delta:
    A sunspot group with a general beta magnetic configuration but contains one (or more) delta sunspots.
  7. β-γ-δ – Bèta-Gamma-Delta:
    A sunspot group with a beta-gamma magnetic configuration but contains one (or more) delta sunspots.
  8. γ-δ – Gamma-Delta
    A sunspot group with a gamma magnetic configuration but contains one (or more) delta sunspots.

Check out more info on sunspots at