Friday, June 19, 2009

VHF Men & History

One thing that I really encourage anyone interested in weak-signal VHF work to do is to try to learn a bit about the history of amateur efforts on these bands. Over the past couple of years, I've amassed quite a collection of books, magazines, and other materials.

Take for example, this copy of The Radio Amateur's VHF Manual. This league publication dates from 1972, and I also have two earlier editions from the 1960's. From those pages, you'll learn a lot about the pioneers of these bands, many of who are still active today. And for those of us who have "simple set-ups", a lot of the information that was "state of the art" at the time has since become affordable and commonplace. In other words, you'll see a lot of your own station's gear in these pages.

One of the best publications is Beyond Line of Sight. A History of VHF Propagation from the Pages of QST, edited by Emil PoCock. Published by the ARRL, you can find used copies on, or Ebay. It contains a wealth of information about tropo scatter, Spordadic E, Meteor Scatter, etc. It also reads like a "whos who" of VHF Men.

Frankly, I wished the ARRL would resume publishing the book, it's that good...and could be easily updated with some of the recent material, including the study that Gene Zimmerman is currently publishing on Spordic E in his QST column.

I think it's important to have a sense of what others have accomplished before you inherited the bands that they pioneered. It also inspires a person to investigate new ways of pushing the envelope such as WSJT digital modes, or EME. Start on your vintage VHF library today.

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