Ever wonder what that “AM” button is for on your transceiver? Well, if you don’t know about full-carrier amplitude modulation (AM) or have never used it on the air, you’ll get the chance during the AM Rally, April 1-3, on the HF bands between 160 and 10 meters (except 30, 17, and 12 meters) plus 6 meters. Amateur Radio voice-mode transmissions on the HF bands into the 1960s were AM, the same mode that used to predominate in radio broadcasting. Single-sideband (SSB), a form of AM, gradually took over the phone bands, although not without some pushback! Today, a group of dedicated radio amateurs keeps the magic flame alive, getting on AM frequently, and for many of them, AM is their primary operating mode. The AM Rally gives the uninitiated a chance to dip a toe into the pool, so to speak.
A cooperative event organized by AM, SSB, and, yes, even CW operators, the AM Rally aims to encourage fellow operators to take this “sister mode” for a spin, make a few contacts, and have a shot at earning some nice certificates.
“We plan to make the AM Rally fun for everyone, but we also want to help ops who might be new to the mode get their rigs set up and sounding the best they can in time for the event,” said Clark Burgard, N1BCG, who is spearheading the event with Steve Cloutier, WA1QIX, and Brian Kress, KB3WFV. “Whether your rig is software defined, solid state, vacuum tube, hybrid, homebrew or broadcast surplus, you’ll be a welcome part of the AM Rally.”
The event website (www.amrally.com/) has complete AM Rally details, contact information, award categories, logging, and tips on how to get the most out of your station equipment in AM mode.
The AM Rally begins on Saturday, April 1 at 0000 UTC (Friday, March 31, in US time zones) and concludes at 0000 UTC on Monday, April 3.
It’s open to all radio amateurs capable of transmitting full-carrier AM, using any type of equipment, from vintage to bleeding edge. The event is sponsored by Radio Engineering Associates (REA), in cooperation with ARRL, which supports all modes of Amateur Radio operation.
If you like to get on the air and have fun and now operate — or would like to operate — AM mode, then you’re good to go!
Participating stations earn 1 point for each station worked per band, and you may work the same station on more than one band. They also earn 1 point for each state, Canadian province/territory, or DXCC entity worked. Both stations must be using AM for a contact to count.
Certificates will be awarded to stations scoring the highest number of points in each of the five power classes, regardless of rig category, both for most contacts and most states/provinces.
“All it takes is a turn, push, or click to participate!” There’s also plenty of time to dig out and dust off that old AM-capable tube gear sitting in your attic or basement.