QST 2012 Video Contest
Videos for Engineers

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.

QST 2012 Video Contest 1st-Place Winner Erin King - RF Cafe Video for EngineersFirst 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 world.

QST 2012 Video Contest 2nd-Place Winner Jim Wright - RF Cafe Video for EngineersSecond 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).

QST 2012 Video Contest 3rd-Place Winner Jared Gohlke - RF Cafe Video for EngineersThird 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.

QST 2012 Video Contest Professional Classe Winner Gary Pearce - RF Cafe Video for EngineersThe 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.

Videos for Engineers - RF CafeThis archive links to the many video and audio files that have been featured on RF Cafe.

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Posted June 4, 2012