Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

What a year! It has really been exciting! The readers, fans, followers, and listeners have been great, and all of us here at Shortwave America want YOU and your family to have a happy, healthy, memorable New Year!

The United States is one of the last countries to see the New Year come in, so celebrations here have yet to start. As is usual each year, we want to tell you to please stay out of your car if you plan on drinking. DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE!! IF you must drink, please make plans to have a sober driver take you home or take you to another safe place for the night after the party is done. Make sure you hand your car keys to a trusted person for your own safety. If you are in a major city of the U.S., remember that public transit is always there and most public transit agencies give cheap rides into New Years Morning.

If you are at home with nowhere to go, here are a few radio related New Years activities you can do for fun:

1. Monitor your local Public Safety Agencies to see if they perform a last second countdown on their radio system. (IF they are not encrypted)  Some agencies have a tradition involving the dispatcher doing the last 5 seconds of the countdown and wishing units on the air a happy New Year!

Are your local agencies on P25 / MotoTRBO / Opensky and you do not have a receiver for such reception? NO WORRIES!!! Here is FREE DSD and PROVOICE decoding software that has been proven to work! There are versions for Linux AND Windows. You will need a discriminator tap and on some connections you will need a resistor in - line with the cable from the radio to the computer. THIS SOFTWARE DOES NOT DECODE ENCRYPTED COMMUNICATIONS!

2. Monitor your local VHF/UHF Aviation frequencies and document the last flights in and out of your airspace, then go to FlightAware and print up the flight record. Keep it in a safe place and you will possibly start a neat new years tradition for yourself.

3. Spin the VFO on the HF bands and see how many stations you can copy by 12AM. Document the station heard, the frequency, time, and any other interesting items. Keep a yearly record of this and over 5 years, you should start to see a pattern. Another neat New Years tradition to keep!

4. Monitor your local AM/FM broadcast frequencies an hour before the New Year rolls in and see how many stations you can record performing special New Years programming. Then, at the last seconds, spin that dial and see how many stations you can copy giving the official New Years greetings! This is a fun thing to do!

5. IF you are a licensed amateur radio operator, you can tune in to your local New Years net or tune HF to participate in an HF New Years net. There are still a few out there that are not listed anywhere and frequencies tend to change from year to year.

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