Strays – Traffic, 200, and 20

Relaying in the DX Age In spring 1926, Fred Schnell resigned as ARRL communications manager after six years in the job, which included holding its former title, traffic manager.1 He was leaving to join the C. F. Burgess Laboratories in Madison, Wisconsin, well known for its batteries and other radio apparatus. Citing the “faithful, efficient and progressive manner” in which Schnell worked as a League official, the ARRL Board extended its appreciation and best wishes for his future endeavors. F. … Continue reading

DX Records and Shortwave Reflections

…or, The Heaviside Road to the Antipode Summer 1924 brought the first explorers to the four new, shorter wavelength bands that were opened up to amateur use in July. Amateurs anticipated interesting times ahead based on their earlier experimental work that produced the first transatlantic QSOs.  Those had been achieved at 100 meters under special licenses for operating below 150 meters, a region the government designated as “reserved” the previous year without explanation.1 No one knew how the shorter waves … Continue reading

Strangely Behaving Signals

While the causes for QRM were well understood, mostly man-made, and could be dealt with through cooperation and tuning techniques, other disruptive on-air phenomena were clearly beyond such controls: those caused by nature. Some, such as static (QRN, also called strays), although understood to a large degree, had no known effective remedy.  Others, such as fading, were not understood at all. At constant transmitter power, what natural phenomena could possibly cause a signal to fluctuate in strength? Why wasn’t a … Continue reading