ARRL brings back the FMT
ARRL Letter / ARRL
November 2, 2002
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==>ARRL RESURRECTS FREQUENCY MEASURING TEST
The Frequency Measuring Test (FMT)--an ARRL staple for nearly 50
years--will return in early November. A FMT transmission will replace the
W1AW SSB bulletin on November 7, 0245 UTC (Wednesday, November 6, in US
time zones). The resurrected FMT will kick off a series of measuring
"These tests will exercise the capabilities of hams to measure important
operating parameters, improve their understanding of complex radios and
give them a better mental picture of their transmitted signals,"
Contributing Editor Ward Silver, N0AX, said in an October 2002 QST article
describing the art and science of frequency measurement. "The goal is a
more technically aware amateur confident of compliance with FCC
regulations." Silver's article, "The ARRL Frequency Measuring
appears on page 51 of the October issue.
Today's amateurs tend to take for granted the accuracy of their
transceiver's frequency readout. But, as Silver notes in his article,
relying simply on a transceiver's digital readouts could mean part of your
signal is outside the band edge--in violation of FCC Part 97 rules.
Transceiver or receiver readout accuracy "depends entirely on the quality
of the receiver's master oscillator," he points out in QST.
Increasing technical quality of amateur gear was one of the primary
reasons for the decline and fall of FMTs in 1980. In prior decades,
however, thousands of amateurs took part in the FMTs, and participation
was required of ARRL Official Observer and Official Relay System stations.
The first FMT, held in October 1931, employed three transmitting
stations--W1XP at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, W9XAN at Elgin
Observatory in Illinois and W6XK at Don Lee Broadcasting System in Los
Angeles--and drew more than 200 measurement reports.
"Winners demonstrated better than 99.99% accuracy, and more than half
received certificates for better than 99.90% accuracy," Silver
reported--not too shabby for the state of the art back then.
The 2002 FMT will begin at the appointed time--0245 UTC November 7 (9:45
PM EST November 6)--with a general Morse code "QST" from W1AW on four
amateur frequencies. The test itself will consist of 20 seconds of carrier
followed by a series of CW dits followed by a station ID. The test will
last about five minutes and will conclude with a series of Vs and another
station ID. The approximate frequencies are 3580, 7047, 14,048 and 21,068
FMT 2002 participants should include time of reception, measured frequency
and signal report, as well as their name, call sign and location.
Participants are encouraged to submit reports on more than one of the
frequencies. A Certificate of Participation will be available to all who
send in reports. Those who come closest to the measured frequency will be
listed in the test report and will receive special recognition.
Send FMT 2002 entries postmarked by December 6, 2002, to W1AW/FMT, 225
Main St, Newington, CT 06111. More information and background on the 2002
FMT is available on the ARRL Frequency Measuring Tests - Supplement page
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