[AMRadio] "AM Ghetto"

Donald Chester k4kyv at charter.net
Fri Nov 8 20:32:18 EST 2013

From: W5AMI <ars.w5ami at gmail.com>
>>I remember once, but don't remember where it was, but I was on SSB.  I was
going to meet a friend, and asked if the freq. was in use, and some "good
ol' boy" told me it was and to hit the road.  I waited for 10 minutes and
never heard a soul.  To me, and according to the rules, it was mine to take
at that point.  I called my friend, and we proceeded to talk only to hear
the "good old boy" tell us we were interfering with a QSO.  We ignored him,
and just kept going.>>

Ah yes, the Dead Air groups. To them, just monitoring a frequency on the
receiver without actually talking to anyone is "using" the frequency. I
usually just tell them that I don't  recognise dead air groups and continue
on the frequency.

I tend to shy away from 7295 because I could have some spurious sideband
products above 7300. The FCC has historically taken a zero-tolerance policy
of ANY audible emission products outside the ham band, even though Part 97
prescribes specific limits on spurious sideband products. 

When the broadcasters first went away there was a lot of AM activity in the
vicinity of 7160, a long-time popular AM frequency. But like 3600-3700, once
the novelty wore off, the activity dwindled. Now, I still hear some stations
from 5-land during the daytime, but  rarely anything in late afternoon or
early evening. Back in the summer my AM operation was mostly on 7290 in in
the early evening, and when the BC QRM wiped out that frequency, 7285 was
usually open, or else there were vacant frequencies lower in the band.

The SW BC QRM has dwindled along with the big SW broadcasters that used to
dominate the SWBC bands, like R Canada, BBC, VOA, AFRS, etc. Now, there are
usually vacant spots between the BC stations on 7200-7300, but you have to
become familiar with what frequencies the BC stations pop up on and when.
One of the most obnoxious broadcast  stations is the one that  comes on 7295
at 0400 GMT and wipes out 7290 with its LSB. They appear to be from
somewhere in the middle east and must be running tremendous power. They play
the most obnoxious music at the beginning of their transmissions, to boot.

I have been having good  results establishing AM QSOs recently around 3705,
3720 and 3725. Don't know what happened to the Canadians that used to show
up nightly on 3725. Activity on 160m has been unusually light so far this
season. Not only AM but SSB as well. And I don't hear a lot of 80m CW in the
evenings any more.

I could live with two tiers of operating privileges, since the bands aren't
congested like they were when they first started talking about incentive
licensing and the fear that the increasing number of newcomers was going to
make all the HF bands so congested that  they would be unusable.  They could
just consolidate operating privileges, giving Advanced class the same
privileges as Extras, while  still renewing existing Advanced class for
those who wanted to keep it. It has been proposed several times to
grandfather Advanced class  licensees to Extra class but the FCC  has
steadfastly refused. Probably one of the reasons is that many Advanced class
licensees bombarded the FCC with mail in opposition. The most bogus argument
I have ever heard for not upgrading to Extra is the  guys with Advanced
class tickets who won't upgrade to Extra because they think holding on to
the Advanced ticket proves to the world that they are NOT a no-code Extra.
The Advanced ticket doesn't even prove that one passed a 13 wpm test; I'm
pretty sure I recall correctly that the code speed for General and Extra had
already been reduced to the Novice 5 wpm for quite a while before the FCC
stopped issuing new Advanced tickets. I wouldn't be opposed to combining
General, Advanced and Extra into one licence class, and keeping something
like the Technician ticket (although they need to change the name) as entry
level, if they would quit publishing the exam Q-As verbatim, and went back
to something like the old ARRL Licence Manual with sample Q-As that would be
SIMILAR but not identical to the ones used on the test. 

Don k4kyv

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