August 19, 2017

The Maestro Control Console for the FLEX-6000 Signature Series software defined radios from FlexRadio Systems.


August 18, 2017

Bernie McClenny, W3UR and editor of The Daily DX newsletter says that for more than a year an Amateur Radio operator from Southern Europe has been pirating calls on CW.

It started off with VU2TS, but only on CW. Then he was switching between VU2TS and 4U1ITU, when the club was using 4U1WRC, again CW only. Then he began using 5H3PM, CW only and now the pirate has switched over to 5H3MG again - CW only.

Bernie says he has confirmed with Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) that both 5H3 calls are not currently registered calls. The signals are clearly coming from Southern Europe. You can see his typical operating pattern here. It should be noted that QSL cards for 4U1ITU can only legitimately be confirmed by the club.


August 17, 2017

I listened to the 100 Watts and a Wire podcast for the first time and I liked it.

There are a lot of ham radio related podcasts, and most of them are pretty good. But I’m this old curmudgeon who has a limited number of hours each week to spend on podcasts and I tend to stick with the same four or five programs that I’ve listened to for several years.

Honestly, I just don’t have time to become a regular listener of the dozen or so ham radio podcasts that have popped up over the last few years.

But I needed to make a two-hour trip this morning and having traveled earlier in the week, my podcast queue was empty. Just as I was headed out the door, on a whim, I decided to download a couple of the most recent episodes of the 100 Watts podcast and listened to them on my journey.

It’s the kind of audio program that requires that you like the host in order to really enjoy it. After two episodes, I decided I liked Christian Cudnik, K0STH. I don’t know that I’m ready to jump headlong into the community, (there’s an online community and on-the-air activities), but I’ve subscribed to the feed and await the next episode.

I enjoyed it a lot, and you probably will too. Good job Christian!


August 16, 2017

Looks like INRAD may be ruffling some feathers with their new microphone line.

These first hit the market at Hamvention 2017 and more recently INRAD and DX Engineering made an arrangement so that anyone purchasing select new HF transceivers would get a free INRAD microphone along with the required hardware for a limited period of time.

Today, HRO announced that anyone purchasing select new HF transceiver would get a free HEIL microphone along with the required hardware for a limited period of time.

Sound familiar?

Competition is good for consumers and INRAD is bringing it to a segment of the market that has tilted one way for quite some time.

For the record, I’m an INRAD customer who didn’t get in on the deal via DX Engineering. I’ve been a ham 40 years and have spent most of that time on CW. I’m not really a phone guy and have always been satisfied with whatever stock microphone came with the transceivers I’ve owned to maintain occasional phone skeds with a few friends.

But after I bought an IC-7300 I decided I wanted a better microphone. The INRAD line was new and priced attractively and I got two of them, each with slightly different characteristics than the other and my results have been impressive.

Feedback about my audio from those who know what my voice sounds like in person has been more than just positive. I’ve done considerable testing between the stock microphone and each of the INRAD microphones that I have and apparently, a good microphone really makes a big difference in transmitted audio. I suppose that’s something I should have known and taken into consideration years ago.

If you’re planning to buy a new transceiver from DX Engineering take advantage of the free INRAD microphone offer. If your planning to order a new transceiver from HRO - be sure to take them up on the free Heil microphone offer.

If you already have a transceiver, go take a look at the new high performance, value priced INRAD line.


August 15, 2017

When I arrived home tonight I downloaded the latest version of TQSL and updated the configuration file per the instructions. I deleted the conversion from FT8 to data filter that I had put into place a few weeks back.

Then I exported all my FT8 contacts from my logging program in ADIF format.

I opened TQSL and signed this new export file and uploaded it to LoTW as usual.

Ten minutes later, the 500 contacts that I had made using FT8 but had uploaded as a DATA type magically turned into valid FT8 contacts, exactly the way the instructions said it would work.

I love it when a plan comes together.


August 14, 2017

LoTW Update

Update to TQSL configuration file released (config.xml v11.1) – Config.xml version 11.1 has been released. This is an update release containing additions made since the release of config.xml 10.5

The changes in config.xml 11.1 are:

  • In the Modes enumeration following approval and realease of ADIF
  • v3.0.6 on 13 August 2017, added entries for:
    • “FT8”
    • “T10”
  • In the Satellite enumeration, added an entry for:
    • “LO90”: LilacSat-OSCAR 90 (LilacSat-1)
  • In TQSL’s station location specification wizard :
    • Added a combination of ITU Zone 50 & WAZ 26 for DXCC® Entity
    • 318 (China)


August 13, 2017

United States - 2017

Germany - 1941


August 12, 2017

The weather was beautiful here today. Plenty of sunshine and not too hot. Perfect day for working in the yard, and there’s the rub. We spent too much time working on an endless list of repairs and improvements that, as usual, required more than one trip to Lowe’s.

By the time the sun was going down I had just enough energy left to toss a couple of steaks on the grill. It was a really nice day but one that left little time for radio. I made a handful of contacts in the SKCC WES whenever we took a “break” but I’m going to need some late night radio success to have any hope of making 50 contacts this month.


August 11, 2017

Good morning QRZ.com bio authors…

More cooler than normal weather in these parts has me thinking that we may indeed have an early autumn. Fingers crossed for a crazy bad winter, my favorite weather. Waiting on rain at the moment but the lawn has taken on that late summer, dormant brown look that means it won’t need to be mowed this week. And folks just a wee bit north of here are reporting that the leaves are beginning to turn colors, ever so slightly.

Speaking of a wee bit north of here, I plan to attend the 75th Findlay Hamfest on Sunday September 10 (Gates open at 6:30 AM for Vendors to set up, 8 AM for the general public) at the Hancock County Fairgrounds in Findlay, Ohio. Planning to attend?

The August edition of the SKCC Weekend Sprintathon (WES) takes place this weekend and I plan to beat some brass. I almost never set a goal for these kinds of sprints. I generally just jump in and play until I get tired - or bored. But I read recently about the pleasure in setting and obtaining goals so I’m shooting for 50 Q’s this weekend and will let the chips fall where they will.

I had first thought of spending more time in the event given my recent preoccupation with FT8 and thought an entire weekend of CW would be a welcome break. But then I read this:

RADIO ARCALA SALUTES JOE TAYLOR, K1JT AND THE DEVELOPMENT TEAM OF FT8 MODE ON HF PLUS ACTIVATE 4M MS FSK441 AND 60M MARKET REEF, OJ0BH/OJ0JR QRV: 12th–19th AUGUST 2017

Tuning the poor 20m band month after month represents a major frustration nowadays. Particularly on SSB, only the occasional DX signal breaks the sea of noise, consequently reducing activity levels even further. However, that very noise could be a new lease of life, if one were to copy signals below it. They are there every day. Indeed, with their huge antennas and state-of-the art receivers, DXers can dig even deeper into the noise and log plenty of good DX faster than one can think. Martti, OH2BH/OJ0BH, and Henri, OH3JR/OJ0JR, will attempt to land on Market Reef this Saturday PM, weather permitting, and will immediately break the noise floor by getting FT8 QSOs underway.

If conditions to Europe are reasonable I’ll spend time staring at the waterfall in search of Martti on FT8. I only have Saturday and Sunday for this since I’ll be on the road again early next week. Getting my station remote controllable is moving up quickly on my “to do” list.


August 10, 2017

Working from home this morning and while waiting on a conference call I thought I’d see what might be sliding down the waterfall.

As usual, plenty of FT8 activity on 80, 40, 30, and 20. I caught the low hanging fruit on these and even made a couple contacts on JT65.

Before closing up I made a stop on 6 meters to see if it might be open. Nothing big happening but there was activity. I worked one station in Indiana, three in Louisiana and two more in Florida.

And there were more to be worked but I had to get back to the grindstone so left those pickings for another day.

Fun, fun, fun and just a few weeks in, the FT8 pile just keeps growing…


August 9, 2017


August 8, 2017

I’ve been concerned about the ham radio response to the Solar Eclispe QSO Party (SEQP). Though it’s only a few weeks away, the number of pre-registered stations was just two as of yesterday. Since then, the ARRL picked up the story and this evening the number has grown to 88 entries.

But surely we can do better than that?

I won’t be able to work the event because my wife and I are going to chase totality somewhere about 250 miles south of here.

And that could be the reason for the anemic response as many others will prefer to watch the eclipse rather than operate during the QSO party. But we can do much better than a hundred stations in this event.

It’s ham radio. It’s science. It’s an operating event.

The SEQP is a special operating event organized by the Ham Radio Science Citizen Investigation (HamSCI) to study ionospheric effects caused by the August 21, 2017 Total Solar Eclipse. During the SEQP, hams are asked to operate on the HF bands in a manner similar to contests or QSO parties.

Systems such as the Reverse Beacon Network, PSKReporter, WSPRNet, and participant logs will provide the QSO and spot data that will be used by researchers at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and Virginia Tech to study eclipse-induced ionospheric effects.


August 7, 2017

CALLING CQ - Issue 100 has been sent via email to subscribers and now is available for viewing online.

Sign-up here and I’d be pleased to send it to you once a week.

The letter provides useful and timely information for amateur radio enthusiasts - a firehose of essential information in an easy to read format intended to keep active hams IN THE LOOP.

Join us for the journey to the next hundred weekly letters!


August 6, 2017

So much FT8 yesterday that I got tired of it.

Craving a little more human action, I dropped down to CW.

The NAQP CW contest was in full-swing and for a moment I thought about jumping into the fray. But after getting a snoot-full of 40+ WPM code that was (mostly) without doubt generated by pushbutton, I pondered how this was any different than the HF digital stuff I was trying to escape.

I decided it best to find where my fellow straight key compatriots were hanging out. They often congregate on the WARC bands when the big CW contests are churning the waters into a froth.

I checked the sked page and sure enough, they were taking refuge on 30 meters - and a few of them on 60. No kidding. I’m no stranger to 5Mhz but I don’t spend much time there either and last night thought it could be a useful diversion.

I worked a couple of stations, one in West Virginia the other in Pennsylvania.

And it was nice to be pounding brass the old fashioned way after my two-week diet of digital work. I have a goal in mind for FT8 and at the rate I’m going, I should get there fairly soon. And when I do, I’m going to put FT8 back into my tool belt, ready for the next DXpedition or Six Meter opening.

It’s been fun but it’s too easy to get stuck in a one mode rut.


August 5, 2017

A beautiful cool morning in the Heartland. About 55F when I got up - long before dawn. I opened the place up to take advantage of the cool, made a pot of coffee and headed for the shack. I really hope this is a foretaste of an early autumn but I never trust summer to give up without an uncomfortable fight.

Back on 40 meters after being away from the home for a few days it was good to hear plenty of signals from the South Pacific. Instead of tuning around the phone portion of the band as has become my weekend morning ritual, I opted for more FT8 work.

I told you, it’s addicitive.

Those new ham radio promotional posters produced by the ARRL are nice. Have you seen them? You can take these files to Kinko’s and have them printed 24x36 canvas sized for a bit under thirty-five bucks if you were so inclined.

The North American QSO Party (NAQP) CW gets underway today at 1800 UTC. Good luck!

There won’t be many tears shed over the IRS auctioning off Hara Arena to satisy an $850,000 tax judgement. But it’s another milestone in the long history of the Dayton Hamvention.


August 4, 2017

ARRL’s Sean Kutzko, KX9X, and Norm Fusaro, W3IZ, wrap up the 2016 ARRL National Parks on the Air (NPOTA) program with this forum at Hamvention 2017.


August 3, 2017

The 2018 ARRL Handbook for Radio Communications is available for order now and will be shipping in October. I buy the hard cover edition every 3-5 years because it’s an excellent reference that deserves a spot in the ham radio shack, and that timing seems about right to catch notable technology updates.

And this year, there’s a bonus offer. The first ever ARRL member call sign badge is FREE when you pre-order the Hardcover edition by September 30, 2017. Member Badge is laser engraved with your name and call sign. Includes magnetic fastener and slot for bulldog clip. Offer limited to online orders placed with ARRL.


August 2, 2017

Upload your FT8 contacts to LoTW today - what are you waiting for?

From Dave, AA6YQ - author of DXLab - “Better DXing Through (Free) Software”:

You can and should immediately submit your FT8 QSOs to LoTW. Confirmations they generate are valid for DXCC Digital, VUCC, WAS Digital, and WPX Digital awards. To submit your FT8 QSOs to LoTW, you must first configure TQSL to automatically “map” their mode to DATA. This is a simple procedure in TQSL:

  • Select the File menu’s “Display or Modify Preferences…” command (on
  • OS X, select the Application menu’s Preferences command) to display
  • TQSL’s Preferences dialog
  • In the Preferences dialog, select the “ADIF Modes” tab, and click the
  • “Add…” button
  • In the “ADIF Mode:” box, type FT8
  • In the “Resulting TQSL Mode” list, click on DATA, and then click the
  • OK button at the bottom of the tab
  • Click the Preference dialog’s OK button

Why is this necessary? There will always be a delay between the appearance of a new digital mode, and LoTW being updated to accept that mode. This delay is not the result of updating LoTW being a lengthy or onerous process; this process is actually quite straightforward. The delay allows the new mode’s properties to stabilize. FT8, for example, was originally named JT8.

When LoTW is updated to accept FT8 QSOs, will the confirmations or award credits generated by your QSOs mapped to DATA be adversely impacted? Absolutely not! If you immediately submitted your FT8 QSO mapped to DATA, but your QSO partner waited and submitted your QSO as FT8, you’ll both receive a confirmation valid for DXCC Digital, VUCC, WAS Digital, and WPX Digital awards.

At some time in the future, the ARRL may decide to offer a WAS FT8 endorsement. Such an endorsement will require an “exact mode match”, meaning that both participants in a QSO submit it to LoTW with a mode of FT8. If and when such an endorsement is offered, the polite US-based operator will:

  • Delete the FT8 => DATA mode mapping from TQSL (in the “ADIF Modes” tab
  • of TQSL’s Preferences dialog, select the FT8=>DATA mapping and then
  • click the Delete button)
  • Resubmit all FT8 QSOs to LoTW

This resubmission will update each QSO already submitted to LoTW. This will not adversely impact any confirmations or award credits already generated by the updated QSOs.

In summary, there is no reason to delay submitting your FT8 QSOs to LoTW. By configuring TQSL so you can immediately submit them, you’re enabling your QSO partners to quickly gain confirmations and award credits via this excellent new mode.


August 1, 2017

ARRL Board Explores Entry-Level License Options, Ways to Face Future Challenges

The committee suggested expanded digital access on 80, 40, and 15 meters, where Technicians already have CW access, as well as the addition of Technician phone privileges on those bands.

It seems to me that whenever the conversation is about “growing the amateur service” those devoid of any real solutions always turn to tinkering with licensing, as though there’s some stone left unturned, or some magic genie whose bottle we haven’t yet rubbed.


July 31, 2017

There’s been considerable buzz about FT8 activity on Six Meters since it became available and I would have gotten in on some of that except I have no antenna for 50Mhz. So this weekend I put together a dipole for the Magic Band and got it installed late in the day yesterday.

It was getting dark by the time I popped into the shack to see how it would load. The auto-tuner seemed happy enough but the band was completely closed just when I was ready to roll.

Still, I decided to let FT8 run a few auto CQ’s to make certain I’d be ready to go the next time the band was open. The software dutifully ran through about a dozen CQ’s and then went silent. There were no replies and nothing at all observed in the received signal window.

Six Meters was really DEAD.

An hour or so later I wondered if my CQ’s might have been detected by any spotters. Checking, I was surprised to see two stations reported my signals. Both were in the region, one was only 40 miles away but the other was 90 miles to the West.

Hmmm. I have a buddy in Cincinnati which is just about that same distance as the crow flies. I dropped him an email to see if he was interested in trying to make contact on Six using FT8. His first reply came quick, “not a chance we could make it, the band is dead”.

But a minute or two later he sent me another email that said, “I’m there now, let’s try.”

His CQ popped up in my received window almost instantly and after exchanging the standard details we both logged the contact. Then for grins we decided to try it using JT65 and once again, instant contact.

There’s no real “magic” in this other than it proves the efficacy of the weak signals modes.

It also serves as notice that ground wave communication can be extended considerably using these new modes. Hams have used 50Mhz for local communications for decades. But your opinion of “local” might be expanding. You never know until you try but your next “new” grid on Six Meters might just be within a 100 miles of your home QTH.


July 30, 2017

Forty meters was in good shape again yesterday providing a virtual conduit to Europe in the early evening when I was clicking around with FT8. Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, and the UK all ended up in the log.

Also notable in the latest batch was Nova Scotia, Manitoba, and the W5I Red River Bridge War special event station in Sherman, Texas on three different bands.

This last week with FT8 has been interesting. I have no other experience with HF digital modes other than a half-dozen PSK31 contacts made way back when that was the hot, new mode that had everyone buzzing. FT8 is certainly popular and the bands are crowded with activity which seems an oddity for such a brand new mode. It’s easy to setup and use and I’d recommend that you give it a spin when you get a chance.

Meanwhile...

I bought a new desk for the shack yesterday, something I should have done a few years ago. Just getting the old one out and the new one in was a major disruption but the end result was a more functional workspace. Of course now the rest of the room looks like it could use some attention too so as usual, one thing leads to another.

New flooring, painting, upgrading the lightning, and reworking the cable entry point are all on deck for improvements over the next few weeks.


July 29, 2017

Yesterday was one of those stay at home and play on the radio days for me. I spent several hours filling an electronic logbook that never seems ro run out of room. I’ve made over 200 contacts using FT8 and even managed my very first JT65 contact. The emphasis being on “contacts” since these exchanges consist only of the minimum information required to be considered a … well, contact.

After several days of nothing but digital work, I was ready to put my feet up on the desk and use my voice for communication. I emailed a couple of friends who I used to maintain regular skeds with and mentioned that I planned to be on 40 meters hanging out around our old watering hole after dark. And what do you know, they both showed up!

Curt on the western slope of Colorado and Ron over in Cincinnati and the 40 meter band permitted us our fun for this one evening. The band was in great shape and we chatted for an hour and a half. We could have easily gone longer but decided to pull the plug at that point and get some sleep - but what a great way to conclude a fantastic day of radio.

Part of the reason I was able to play radio for so many hours yesterday was that I was stuck at home waiting on UPS to drop off a package that required a signature and the truck didn’t show up until after 4pm.

I said I wasn't going to buy it...

Despite having declared that I would never pay that much for a 25 amp power supply, I ordered the IC-PS126 power supply to go along with my IC-7300.

It was completely unnecessary - and expensive.

But having decided the new transceiver is going to hang around for awhile, it was just something I wanted. I ordered it from HRO and now that it’s on my desk complementing the radio, I’m glad I bought it.

My wallet will complain for another week or so, but this too shall pass.


July 28, 2017

A few days ago I saw a note to the MacLoggerDX user group about one fellow’s success using the logging program with a label printer to help him work down a big backlog of QSL cards.

I “quit” on paper QSLing back in 2015 but they’ve continued to trickle in until now I have a backlog too. Since I can’t bring myself to deposit them in the dumpster, I bought the same label printer for the same reason. I never had much luck printing labels when they were sheets of Avery labels being churned out on a dot matrix printer and gave up on that sometime during the Clinton administration.

But a label specific printer seems like a good idea and I figure I can use it for a lot more than just catching up on QSL cards (because one of these days I’m really going to start using that dumpster).

I ordered the DYMO LabelWrite 450 Turbo from Amazon along with some extra labels and the whole thing set me back about sixty bucks. I set it up tonight and after downloading drivers and updated software, I was printing labels with no additional effort using my iMac with MacLoggerDX.

I’ve no doubt it will work just as flawlessly on Windows as it does on the Mac and if you remain addicted to paper QSL’s then I recommend you consider adding it to the tools in your shack. I expect to use it for Christmas cards and whatever else I can think of - it’s very handy and affordable.


July 27, 2017

Looking forward to pleasant weather in the Heartland this weekend.

Between now and then we will have to deal with a few thunderboomers, a small price to pay in exchange for a couple of clear sky days with highs of 78F and low-humidity. It’s almost enough to make me forget we’re heading into the “dog days” of summer what with August being upon us. Come on weekend!

Last night I put 20 more in the log using FT8. The bands were in reasonable shape, including 80 meters. Very little DX in the waterfall but I worked 10 different states in very short order there. That might not impress you, but given that it’s July and I’m using a fairly short (73-foot) antenna, I’m pleased with it.

I installed the Cobra Ultra-Lite (80-10) two months ago to give it a workout before deciding to run with it for the coming Fall/Winter season. Based on its performance, I’m leaning toward keeping it. But I want to tweak the way I have it supported that will move the ends of the antenna up a little higher before making a final decision.

It seemed there was plenty of time to get all this done but yesterday I had reason to be up and out of the house early in the morning and noticed how dark it was at 6AM. Three weeks ago on the exact same journey at the exact same time I had to wear sunglasses.

Time keeps on slipping into the future.


July 26, 2017

First 75 Contacts Made Using FT8


July 25, 2017

Another good evening with FT8. Once again there was a lot of activity and in total I probably spent a little more than an hour on 40 and 80 meters and worked stations in Australia, the Canary Islands, Venezuela - the rest scattered around North America.

Things seem to be clicking well (pun intended).

The IC-7300 sits and purrs without breaking a sweat. It seems weird to work so many stations while never touching the transceiver. My little XPS-13 laptop has performed well too and suddenly I’m glad I bought it. It’s tiny and powerful with great battery life and a killer display with the thinnest of bezels, but it’s small…

Now I’m thinking about building a new PC and adding a big-ass monitor. Something that would let me spread things out and really enjoy an immersive HF digital experience.

More hardware was never a part of my plan. I’ve been busy getting rid of stuff over the last twelve months and another computer with a monitor big enough to cover my desk is some other plan that clearly hasn’t been well baked.

I’ll give it a week or two before pulling the trigger. Maybe my interest in this facet of amateur radio will subside once the logbook has swelled a bit more. But since this would also facilitate running my shack remotely, and given all the time I spend on the road, why wouldn’t I want to do that?


July 24, 2017

FT8 is too new to be specified in ADIF and that can be problematic for logging to remote QSL systems like LoTW. I’ve poked around online to see how or when we can expect this to show up so I can upload to Logbook of the World.

I’ve received plenty of replies explaining that “this is why you should use eQSL” or some other logging service that has already started accepting FT8 submissions. This is unappealing to me because I only use LoTW and have no interest in pushing data to a dozen places, none of which provide ARRL award credit.

In the course of looking into this, someone did suggest uploading FT8 contacts to LoTW using DATA as the mode instead of FT8. This would work but as it turns out, these kinds of things were already anticipated. See this note from the LoTW FAQ:

Because new modes may not yet be specified in ADIF, and because LoTW may not accept all modes specified in ADIF, TQSL enables you to “map” a new mode to a mode or mode group recognized by LoTW. This most often takes the form of mapping a new digital mode CoolNewDigitalMode to the DATA mode group. Note that TQSL will refuse to map a mode that is accepted by LoTW.

The FAQ then goes on to explain how to do that - and I did. Uploaded all my new FT8 log info and it properly appears in my account. Have already had a few confirmations too, though I suspect many are waiting for some official change to the ADIF specification.


July 23, 2017

I finally got around to installing the beta release of WJST-X that includes the new FT8 mode.

That software is available on multiple platforms and since I also have multiple platforms available in the shack, I had to pick one to be my test environment. I decided to put it on the Win10 laptop for no particular reason other than I figured it might present fewer problems configuring the sound. I bought a Dell XPS13 a year ago specifically for ham shack duties and it hasn’t broken a sweat.

The installation was pain-free but before going further I had to setup a few things on the IC-7300. In a minute or two the rig was talking to the software via a single USB cable.

Stopping by 20 meters in FT8 mode the waterfall was very crowded. Same for 30, 40, and even 80 meters. It became instantly obvious that, for the moment anyway, this is one very popular mode. I watched the activity with interest hoping to “learn” a few things.

As it turrns out, there isn’t a lot to learn.

That was yesterday. This morning I decided to call CQ on 40 meters and soon logged my very first FT8 contact with a station in Texas. Before finishing my first cup of coffee I had logged a half dozen stations and was headed for a coffee refill.

It’s easy to see how addictive this could become. Calling CQ requires only finding an unused spot in the waterfall. It’s auto-pilot after that. The software does all the work from calling CQ to responding automatically to any station who returnes your call. Searching and pouncing requires only watching the band activity and clicking on a call sign.

And at the end of the “QSO” the software prompts you to log the contact. That information is already filled in for you, it’s just one more click to stuff it in an ADI format that can later be imported into your regular logbook. The only question I have is can it be uploaded to LoTW now if the mode field is changed to DATA - or do we have to wait for Newington to catch up?

This sort of operation is not for everyone. But consider its efficiency and ease of use in coaxing miniscule signals from an aether that’s otherwise preparing to take a long nap.

Besides, it’s a brand new adventure. Everybody needs everything and that means everything is in demand. Quests can include first to DXCC using FT8. WAS, WAC, WAZ on FT8. Then there’s WAS 40m FT8, and on and on. We make up our own games to keep us happy and always turning the VFO, or in this case, clicking the mouse.

See you in the waterfall.


July 22, 2017

Why Bother Getting an Amateur Radio License?

From the FaradayRF blog:

“Our Amateur Radio and the Maker Community post defined our stance that the future of ham radio is in experimentation and learning. This post builds upon that cornerstone article by outlining why you should even bother getting an amateur radio license…”


July 21, 2017

Sean Kutzko, KX9X has submitted his resignation to the ARRL effective August 4th. He has worked at League Headquarters for ten years, his latest role being that of ARRL Media and Public Relations Manager. Kutzko had joined the ARRL as the Contest Branch Manager in October 2007. An enthusiastic and active radio amateur, he can frequently be found operating in contests and operating from the field - often chasing satellites. In other words, he’s going to be a tough act to follow. Stay tuned…


July 20, 2017

There seems no shortage of interest in FT8, the new digital mode that first appeared only a few weeks ago in a beta release of WJST-X. It’s similar to JT65, with a minimal exchange (callsign, locator, signal report) but with much faster timing. It’s ability to dig out really weak signals will be tested in the coming weeks but a few things stand out.

First, the Daily DX reported that A92AA, OY1DZ, VR2XMT, YE2IJ, TR8CA and YI3WHR had already been spotted using it. If the DXers are onboard with it there’s a good chance it will begin showing up on future Dxpeditions. Maybe even on the Bouvet Island expedition. With band conditions ranging from “not great” to downright “lousy” a mode like FT8 could be a real lifeline for many DX chasers.

Also, I noticed that Koos van den Hout, PE4KH has been using FT8 since it was released and he reported just days later that he had managed to upload those contacts to eQSL. According to him that was “about a week between first seeing mentions of FT8 in radio amateur news and the first confirmed contacts”.

This is moving with amazing speed…