The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) runs an annual home video contest through their QST magazine. Members vote
on the submissions and then QST staff announce first, second, and third place winners in the amateur production
category. There is also a single winner for a professional production.
2012 QST Video Contest. For some reason, the FLV video
file format used by the QST page does not always load properly in Internet Explorer, so you might need to use
Firefox or Chrome. The FLV player is a lousy choice because it does not even allow you to back up or advance the
video; it will only play from beginning to end - surprisingly low-tech for the ARRL guys.
place in the Amateur category went to Erin King, AK4JG, for her work in the successful launching of a helium
balloon that lifted a wireless video camera to an altitude of 91,000 feet. It used an amateur radio transmitter to
report GPS position data that allowed the launch team consisting of members of the
Columbus Georgia Amateur Radio Club to retrieve the payload after
it parachuted down into a pine tree miles from the launch point. The Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS)
was employed for tracking. A search on balloon-borne video flights turns up a lot of results from all over the
place went to Jim Wright, N2GXJ , who illustrates the feeling of accomplishment from earning his General Class Ham
license and then using the newfound privilege to engage in PSK31
data communications in the HF bands that his General permits. Interestingly, in a time when a lot of "real" Hams
are critical of the elimination of Morse Code requirements for license testing, it appears that Jim gets
frustrated with trying to copy code and resorts to automated means. He has earned the ARRL
DX Century Club award for collecting QSL cards from 100
countries. PSK31, for the uninitiated, is a 31 Baud digital mode for supporting keyboard-to-keyboard
communications (I would personally only need a 5PKS mode - if it existed).
place winner Jared Gohlke, N4JMG, made a video of his Rowan
Amateur Radio Society's fox hunt
challenge. A fox hunt in the Ham world involves hiding a transmitter (or two or more) and using directional
receiving gear to locate it. Jared evidently hid the "fox" and has his camera man (or woman) watch under cover as
the "hunters" work at locating their prey. It's not as easy as it might seem to find the precise location once you
get close. You are working with an audible signal in combination with, maybe, a fairly crude power indication on
the receiver. Spotting the fox can be elusive even if it is sitting right in front of you.
professional video class documents happenings at the 2012
Orlando Hamcation (hamfest), as narrated by Gary Pearce, KN4AQ, of Amateur Radio Video News (ARVN).
If you are a collector of vintage radio gear, then this, like Dayton and the other major Hamventions, is the place
to be. Gary emphasizes that being held in Orlando in early March (he says February, but the sign says March), it
is just the excuse you need to escape mid-winter's cold weather. There is a funny part where he attempts to make
his "first 900 MHz contact" using a conventiongoer's handheld, only to get a low battery tone in the middle of his
CQ-CQ-beeeeep. Maybe next time.
Descriptions on the
ARRL website are here.