Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The Official SKCC Sideswiper is now available for order from LNR Precision, Inc. But be prepared to wait awhile for this one, it’s going to be one hot commodity thru the first few production runs. $94.95 US.

The SKCC Sideswiper is patterned after the Kungsimport key produced in Kunsbacka, Sweden in the 1980’s by Hakan Scard (professional operator at Gothenburg Radio, SAG) and Ben Jomkert. It is a classic very traditional Sideswiper produced for the Straight Key Century Club.

The light weight Oak fingerpiece allows for a close gap setting making it a very fast key with little chance of chattering. The heavy 2.8 pound base makes it a very stable device on your desk. No chasing this key around the desk or needing two hands to operate.


Monday, September 24, 2018

Saturday was the first day of autumn and right on cue, the sweltering heat gave way to much cooler air. The entire weekend weather has been delightful and the ten-day forecast looks to be more of the same.

The kids and grandkids were all here over the weekend to celebrate a birthday and it was certainly nice to have them all together in one place. That’s becoming more difficult with each passing holiday or special event so these are moments to savor.

Radio was on the back-burner until everyone left on Sunday afternoon when I did manage a few on air moments. Earlier I had read on QRP-L that frequent park activator N2CX would be active, but I had no luck finding him. Band conditions seemed sub-optimal though there were a few stations scattered here and there.

I used the KX3 since I chase SOTA/POTA using five watts. I’ve been a low-power enthusiast for a long time and have found the QRP lifestyle adds a lot to to my enjoyment of the hobby. Much more about this as the week progresses.

Tuning in the vicinity of 14.060 while looking for Joe, I heard a weak CQ from John, N0TA who was operating from some summit (W5N/SG-009) in New Mexico.

One call and he was in the log. I’m always amazed that anything I can hear with the KX3, I can work. It’s like magic in a box.


Friday, September 21, 2018

Finally, another long, hot, summer is drawing to a close. I used to enjoy the season until a decade or so ago when things heated up and “record breaking temperatures” year after year became the norm. Good riddance to that and now on to a refreshing Autumn.

The Peanut Power QRP Sprint is right around the corner on October 7th. Sponsored by the North Georgia QRP Club, the goal is to work as many Peanut Power numbers as possible on 80, 40, and 20 meters. Get your Peanut number now (details in the link above) and you’ll be smoother than a fresh jar of Skippy!

The 4SQRP group has been kitting the 20 meter version of the HillTopper, designed by Dave Benson, K1SWL. Apparently some parts issues has the portable transceiver kit out of stock at the moment but they recently posted that the problem will soon be solved and once they are rolling again, they expect to also offer a 40 meter version.

I had all but forgotten about the International Grid Chase. Seems the only way to significantly advance in that game is to run FT8 for as many hours of each day as humanly possible. That’s mostly due to the fact that you need LoTW confirmation and the digital operators are far more likely to quickly confirm your contact using that method.

So I took a peek at the leader board and found that I’m ranked 8080 in the world, right there in the meaty part of the “don’t give a crap” curve. According to my own logbook, I’ve made just over 1,000 contacts in 2018 but only about half of those have confirmed via LoTW – so my score drags.

Maybe I would be 7070 if everyone used LoTW? :-)


Thursday, September 20, 2018

FlexRadio has been speeding the evolution of amateur radio since its inception. The company has crafted a collection of amateur radio equipment that brings into focus new technology, high-performance, and clear direction for all the SDR’s that will follow in its wake.

I was impressed after reading A Review of the Flex 6600M Software Defined Radio by Paul Staupe WØAD. His article appears in the September 2018 edition of The Gray Line Report newsletter and is an excellent summary and detailed description of how he has integrated the new FlexRadio into his own operating environment.

“The sheer amount of data that’s decoded by the SCU is incredible. An Intel i7 hex core processor is capable of decoding between 4-8 gigaflops, (a gigaflop is a unit of computing power equivalent to 1 billion floating point operations per second). The specialized SCU in the Flex is capable of decoding 121 gigaflops per second or about 20 times the speed of the most expensive PC.”

It’s a fascinating look at the results of this technology that will be worth the time to read it for anyone with an interest in this new digital world of HF communications.


Wednesday, September 19, 2018

If antenna restrictions are keeping you off the air, you might be interested in the September 2018 edition of the ‘Rag Chew’ newsletter. This quarterly publication of the Straight Key Century Club (SKCC) is generally packed with news, information and photos of member activities.

But this edition includes a rather large section on Stealth Antennas that begins on page 38. It also references an excellent primer developed by The Villages Amateur Radio Club (K4VRC), which includes a collection of radio operators living in the 100% HOA restricted retirement community in The Villages, Florida.

Their hints and kinks for keeping your radio activity under the radar is well presented and quite valuable. If you’re looking for more information on stealth antennas, you will want to check this out.


Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Somebody get the Aloe vera, ham radio just got burned:

“Like many technologies from an earlier era, ham radio is largely made up of older men trying to come up with ways to make it appealing to a younger demographic that isn’t that interested”.

This really stings because it isn’t wrong. It’s not a lie. Best I can tell radio enthusiasts have been wringing their hands about getting younger people interested and involved in our hobby for at least half a century.

Of course we have some young people in our ranks, but when you see them celebrated with photos in QST and being showered with awards and prizes, just because they are young and interested in radio, that only serves to amplify just how rare they truly are.

It seems to me that our fraternity includes a lot of very smart people. Engineers, scientists, and various other professionals from every walk of life. If the solution to this lack of youth problem isn’t apparent to anyone by now, perhaps a solution doesn’t exist?


Monday, September 17, 2018

I haven’t been on the air for a few weeks. Things got busy around here as the end of the summer neared, but more than that, the bands have been pretty lousy churned by a few solar storms and the general malaise that comes at this point in the solar cycle.

Not that I regularly keep up with space weather forecasting but I do keep up with my Twitter feed and when I read about how bad conditions are on a given day I tend to take it as gospel and skip even trying. I know better than that but it happens. That’s my excuse anyway…

So this evening I broke the drought with an hour on 80, 40, and 30 meters making fifty contacts via FT8. I saw a few European and South American stations in the display but signals were weak and with one exception, I only called North American stations.

And as usual, the miracle digital mode delivered enough activity to make me feel like I was getting back in the routine. I’ll spend the rest of the week chasing new SKCC numbers via CW as I resume my quest for Senator level by disturbing a tiny corner of the aether.


Friday, September 14, 2018

Hurricane Florence has made ground in the Carolina’s and is wreaking havoc on that region. Meanwhile, amateur radio is once again in the news about its value during times like these.

ARRL Hurricane Information

Win a FREE AnyTone 868 DMR Bundle From BridgeCom Systems


Thursday, September 13, 2018

Leaves are just beginning to turn colors, some are even turning loose. Autumn is just around the corner. Curl up with a cup of something warm this weekend and catch-up on your ham radio reading:


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Writing about the newer digital modes, Larry, W2LJ said: “I’ll just keep going with “Ol’ Reliable” and will continuously ride “Westward, Ho!”, right into the old dinosaur sunset”. I share his sentiment. I’d like to be that radio enthusiast who embraces every new thing that comes down the pike, but truth is I have a passion for one facet of the hobby that comes from somewhere back in our long ago.

Noted Daily DX publisher and “How’s DX?” QST columnist Bernie McClenny, W3UR is the guest on Episode 214 of the QSO Today Amateur Radio Podcast hosted by Eric Guth, 4Z1UG.

The Leaf Peepers QRP contest is perfect for low-powered radio enthusiasts who want to peep out their signal to be heard by other peepers. If you decide to set up outdoors in the midst of Mother Nature’s once-a-year eye-candy show, your eyes will be rewarded as well as your ears.

Did you know the ARRL offers up a free article from each monthly edition of QST magazine? Get in the Halloween spirit with Allison McLellan’s article “The Ghost in the Machine” about the use of ham radio in paranormal and extraterrestrial activity — the free article of the month for the upcoming October issue of QST.


Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Another date that lives in infamy…

Brooklyn firefighters George Johnson, left, Dan McWilliams, center, and Billy Eisengrein raise a flag at the World Trade Center in New York. The photo has appeared on T-shirts, buttons and Christmas ornaments. It hangs at firehouses across the nation. Copies were left as a calling card in Afghanistan by U.S. commandos.


Monday, September 10, 2018

One day last week I asked why there were no podcasts specifically about amateur radio satellites. It’s a relatively mature facet of our hobby, and one that has recently been growing quickly for many reasons. Chasing satellites isn’t beyond the reach of any licensee willing to spend a few hours learning how it’s done, still, it’s far enough outside the norm that I think it warrants a regularly produced program.

It seems to me that AMSAT would want to launch something like that - similar to the ARRL’s very popular ‘The Doctor is In’ podcast.

Someone did remind me that the Houston AMSAT Net is recorded each week and made available as a podcast. I used to listen regularly and checked into the net often via IRC. I believe the net was launched in the days before having home Internet was common and the format included reading the weekly AMSAT news bulletins.

Oddly enough, that format hasn’t changed over the intervening years.

I listened to a recording of the latest net last week and after a surprisingly large number of check-ins, the moderator began at the top of the latest news bulletin and worked his way through the list. At the end of the net, there were a few SSTV transmissions which weren’t useful to me listening in my automobile as I drove home from work.

I think this net remains useful given that questions can be asked and answered in real time, however, this wasn’t what I had in mind when I asked why there were no podcasts covering amateur radio in space.

Some blend of history, science, updated news, best methods for working specific satellites and frequent interviews with AMSAT engineering and other staff who could explain in greater detail the status of current projects as well as the planned path to keep ham radio in space.

Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a program like that?


Friday, September 7, 2018

On Sunday hams will celebrate the seventy-sixth Findlay Ohio Hamfest.

76 years is a long time to keep a hamfest running, but the Findlay Radio Club has managed to do just that and in the process created one of the most loved radio events in an entire region that includes Dayton, Ohio.


Thursday, September 6, 2018

AMSAT recently made known an interference problem to the amateur satellite service caused by a DMR signal:

This week, AMSAT News Service (ANS) cited an August 27 report from AMSAT Vice President-Operations Drew Glasbrenner, KO4MA, saying that a digital mobile radio (DMR) signal has been interfering with the AO-92 (Fox-1D) satellite’s 435.35 MHz uplink frequency. Glasbrenner said hotspots, repeaters, terrestrial simplex, and “anything not satellite” should never transmit in the segments 145.8 – 146.0 MHz or 435 – 438 MHz by international band plan.

Since repeater frequencies are generally coordinated, the problem is a result of the proliferation of “hotspot” devices that provide network connectivity on a local level. Despite these incorporating ultra low-power transmitters, their use requires that the radio being used in conjunction with them be set to the same frequency.

So while your hotspot may only run 40mW and seem benign, the radio you use to interact with it will most certainly utilize higher power. In addition, one of the first questions asked by most new hotspot users is, “how can I connect my hotspot to an external antenna to extend its range?”

And then consider that the most popular such device, the openSPOT, shipped with a factory default frequency of 436.000 MHz.

If AMSAT’s gentle suggestion to clean it up and get with the bandplan isn’t enough to spur you to action then perhaps the fact that there are multiple online services reporting your hotspot frequency to the entire world right this minute, even as you read this, might shame you into action.


Wednesday, September 5, 2018

I have a Twitter account. You probably do too. There was a time when we all wanted more followers. Now Twitter wants to tell you which of those you should quit following:

“You don’t need to follow everyone to know what’s happening,” one notification read. Another said, “Make sure you’re only following the people that make Twitter great for you.”

It’s not a bad idea especially given that we’re just about 90 days away from yet another contentious election, now’s as good a time as any to shut that noise off at the source.

So much noise…


Tuesday, September 4, 2018

I’ve resumed working and now endure a twice daily hour-long commute. This has me thinking about a mobile setup to make some hobby use of my time captured in a vehicle, but HF is off the table for now. I get plenty enough time listening to crummy band conditions and noise in the shack and have no need to replicate that in an automobile.

It will be VHF/UHF and I’m keen on having FM and at least one digital option. I have handheld transceivers for D-STAR and DMR but I’d like to install something permanently in the vehicle and am thinking the ID-5100 though I haven’t ordered anything yet.

It’s actually been a long time since I last installed a mobile radio in my car, probably the mid-1990’s, and a lot has changed, especially with regard to the digital options.

I might be kidding myself, but I think it will be good to become reacquainted with the local repeaters and operators again. I haven’t been on a local repeater in years and feel that I have isolated myself by only participating in the hobby via the HF bands.

Besides, streaming music and podcasts are really getting old and hopefully this will help melt a few of the hours spent on the road each week.


Monday, September 3, 2018

Happy Labor Day. The traditional end of summer. The closing of the pools, return to school, and a major milestone on the road to concluding another year. The heat persists here but the change in the leaves is already noticeable and it won’t be long before we can sleep with the windows open again. I can’t wait.

This long weekend has been radio-less. The new Amazon Prime series ‘Jack Ryan’ dropped its first season on Friday and my wife and I watched all eight episodes in two extended settings. We enjoyed it, and yes, it lived up to all the hype.

Since we were already in the mood to relax and watch television, we also caught up on a few more episodes from another Prime series so it’s been a lazy, enjoyable weekend (so far) which is the way it should be celebrated.

Today I’m going to have to mow the lawn in 90F heat but I’ll be thinking about the cooler weather that’s bound to be on the way soon. This evening I’ll toss something on the grill and we’ll enjoy one more quiet evening before returning to the regular grind tomorrow.

I hope you enjoyed your long weekend.


Friday, August 31, 2018

Season One of the Prime original series, Jack Ryan, hits the Web tonight and there won’t be any ham radio happening here until we’ve consumed all eight episodes. Been waiting on this one for a long time.


Thursday, August 30, 2018

SharkRF finally announced their follow-up to the popular first generation hotspot called the openSPOT. They stopped selling those a few months ago and announced that an updated version would soon be available.

The replacement is called the openSPOT2 a standalone digital Internet radio gateway. Compatible digital radio protocols and networks supported:

  • DMR (BrandMeister, DMRplus, XLX)
  • D-STAR (DCS, REF/DPlus, XRF/DExtra, XLX)
  • System Fusion/C4FM (FCS, YSFReflector)
  • NXDN (NXDNReflector)
  • P25 (P25Reflector)
  • POCSAG (DAPNET)

It also supports cross modem modes (example: talk with your C4FM radio on DMR, and with your DMR radio on System Fusion networks).

No price yet and it’s availability is only listed as “Autumn 2018”.


Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The 2018 Dayton Antenna Forum papers are now available in PDF. These include parasitic rotatable vertical Yagi for 160M, a pragmatic approach to 630 meter antennas, design & construction of NVIS antennas, and hydro excavation for tower construction.

Tony Baleno, N3ZN has been showing off his newest creation, the ZN-V/45, a forty-five degree vertical iambic. The paddle used on this mount is a modified ZN-QRP which can be removed from the vertical mount and used as a stand alone paddle.

A 40 meter version of the HillTopper will soon be available according to a note from designer Dave Benson, K1SWL. The original 20 meter unit has been successfully kitted and sold by the 4SQRP group since March of this year. The HillTopper is an ultra-portable, high-performance, five watt, single band CW transceiver kit that sells for around a hundred bucks.

The International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend (ILLW) was, according to reports, another successful event with 440 stations which entered for the event from 49 countries.

Radioman: An Eyewitness Account of Pearl Harbor and World War II in the Pacific - the biography of Ray Daves, a noncommissioned officer in the U.S. Navy and an eyewitness to World War II. It is based on the author’s handwritten notes from a series of interviews that began on the eighty-second birthday of the combat veteran and gives a first-person account of the world’s first battles between aircraft carriers.


Tuesday, August 28, 2018

When Dave Sumner, K1ZZ left his post as CEO of the ARRL I wrote that his shoes would be nearly impossible to fill. But I couldn’t have known the position would be like a revolving door. Makes me wonder how long the newly elected CEO, Howard E. Michel, WB2ITX will stick around.

This fellow isn’t yet a known quantity among active radio enthusiasts. He doesn’t show up in contest results, doesn’t appear in LoTW, and there’s nothing to glean from his blank page QRZ bio.

That’s probably because he’s been a successful executive at large corporations which might leave him with very little hobby time. Besides, there’s no reason to believe that being a hyperactive radio operator would make someone a better corporate leader of the League.

The job search for highly motivated and successful executives to lead a niche “hobby” organization like the ARRL frequently ends with someone who has already completed one career. It’s a great way to infuse a lifetime of talent into the organization without paying typical corporate CEO wages.

But that means the tenure on top will likely be short, creating a constant churn in upper management. It also means that while the ARRL gives a lot of lip-service to the notion of infusing the hobby with youth and desperately seeking younger members, it continues to pad the boardroom with senior citizens.


Monday, August 27, 2018

My LoTW confirmations finally reached fifty-percent of total uploads. I would never have lived long enough to get to this point if it wasn’t for the 2,000 FT8 contacts made over the last year. Confirmations for digital work has been better than 90 percent. On the other hand, fewer than one in three CW contacts made here have been confirmed via LoTW.

I’m not surprised that FT8 remains the most popular HF mode but I am scratching my head over this thing called FT8 Call, a new derivative work based on WSJT-X but with the ability to chat.

I don’t get it because best I can tell, the brag tape type macros are what soured users on PSK31 and this seems an effort to recreate that boredom - at a slower pace.

There may be some misunderstanding here, let me help.

Most hams aren’t interested in using the HF bands for rag-chewing. FT8 didn’t become the most popular mode by delivering magically delicious loquaciousness via a keyboard. Contesting and DXing didn’t become the two most favored activities in our hobby by opening some magical portal to garrulous on-the-air exchanges.

That doesn’t mean that you and I have to prefer the barrage of staccato fire contacts over casual conversation, but it does mean we’re most assuredly in the minority, and that’s okay. We get to watch the rest of the fraternity work themselves into a frazzle deploying systems that make the rapid exchange of meaningless data seem like a worthwhile activity.

Besides, it gives us something to talk about - other than the weather.


Checking In

School is back in session, the local swimming holes are all preparing to close for the season, and we’ve enjoyed a foretaste of weather to come. It’s been cool with lower humidity the last few days here. The A/C has been switched off and the windows opened wide though higher temps will return in a few days, summer never surrenders easily.

The lower HF bands are beginning to act like they so often do around the equinox. I’ve spent more time on 80 meters the last two weeks than I had all year. Australia, Alaska, the Falkland Islands to name just a few of the places where I’ve been disturbing the aether on 80 meters just this week.

I finally worked someone in Cyprus who makes use of LoTW. I’ve worked 23 stations in Cyprus since I resumed logging yet have never received a single confirmation until just this week. At #289 on the most wanted list it shouldn’t have been so difficult but I’m happy to finally have it.

I made reservations at the Crowne Plaza for Dayton next year. I have no plans to visit Xenia this time around, but I do plan to attend Contest University and several other events typically held around Dayton during Hamvention 2019.

More to follow in a few days…


Gone Fishin'

This being the 328th post published here over the last twelve months, nearly one a day, surprises me. That time passed as quickly as the tens of thousands of words that were assembled to make it happen.

But now that we’ve solidly entered the summer doldrums, it’s time to push the keyboard away for a season and just go fishing. Taking a break is seldom a bad thing. The pause that refreshes if you will.

I’ll be back in time to celebrate the autumnal equinox with you. In the meantime, check in from time to time, I might end up making a random post or two. And if you subscribe to the RSS feed you won’t miss a thing!


Thursday, July 12, 2018

The first batch of FT8 shirts has come and gone quickly!

The 2nd batch arrived a few days ago and immediately sold out of the 3XL’s. I still have some quantites of the other sizes, but don’t expect to have more 3XL’s anytime soon.

Details for getting one of these great looking t-shirts in your hands and on your back can be found here. Thanks!


Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Many moons ago, Uncle Wayne W2NSD wrote in one of his long-winded 73 Magazine editorials about the best way to deal with a ham who was making trouble for local repeater users by suggesting a personal visit from a dozen or so club members carrying pitchforks and shotguns might remedy the situation.

I don’t know about that, but it certainly seems like it would be more effective than leaving it up to the feckless Feds.

In a July 9 Order, FCC Administrative Law Judge Richard L. Sippel has ended the decade-old license renewal proceeding involving William Crowell, W6WBJ (ex-N6AYJ), of Diamond Springs, California, upon a motion by Enforcement Bureau Chief Rosemary C. Harold. Termination of the proceeding and the dismissal of Crowell’s license renewal application followed his refusal to appear for a hearing in Washington, DC, to consider his license renewal and other issues in an enforcement proceeding that dates back 15 years or more.

Fifteen years is a long time to wait for justice. Unfortunately, that’s downright speedy for this hapless government agency. The truth is you could decide tonight to break every commission rule with regard to amateur radio, and you would very likely die of natural causes long before your license would ever be revoked.

What do you think of the disposition of this other situation about the fellow who intentionally interfered with the communications of other Amateur Radio operators and failed to properly identify? Despite being heavily fined for his actions ages ago, he’s just recently settled that by agreeing to pay the $7,000 and his Extra class privileges will be set aside for six months though he will be permitted to continue to operate with Technician privileges during that time and then return to enjoying all amateur privileges. Gee, how nice for him.

This could be handled much more aggressively, like making tougher laws that would make violating commission rules felonies requiring prison time instead of merely civil fines.

But don’t hold your breath. Riley Hollingsworth admitted years ago that upon further investigation, many licensees who were causing some of the most egregious problems were military veterans with mental issues and the federal government had no stomach for going after war vets.

The good news is that our fraternity is filled with very nice people who are friendly and courteous to a fault and most go out of their way to avoid making radio less fun for others. There are so few bad guys that most are known to us by their name. But the very nature of radio makes it possible for one bad apple to spoil it for a large portion of our population.

Which is what makes Uncle Wayne’s vigilante justice seem like such a damn fine idea.


Tuesday, July 10, 2018

I’ve been an AMSAT member since the early 1990’s. Yeah, we had ham radio and satellites way back then! In fact, some of my best days in the hobby was when I had an automated groundstation for AO-13 and the 9600 baud Pacsats. Good times.

I’m still a member and though I’m not nearly as active today as I was way back then, I try to at least keep up with what’s going on in that corner of amateur radio.

But I managed to miss this one.

I had heard about the GOLF project, but just assumed it was yet another LEO bird which would be fine by me, but satellite enthusiasts are currently enjoying an embarrassment of riches and new launches seem to be announced every week. Amongst the waves of all that good news, I failed to read and comprehend what GOLF was all about.

GOLF - Greater Orbit, Larger Footprint.

Continuing to build on AMSAT’s CubeSat abilities by incorporating new systems such as Software Defined Radios and deployable solar panels into a 3U spaceframe. The first of these will begin life at LEO with plans to move the next one into a higher orbit. That kind of move requires propulsion and attitude control and with an increase in altitude it must also be capable of eventually de-orbiting to prevent orbital debris.

That’s a lot for the AMSAT engineering team to learn, demonstrate, and deliver. And there will be much more to learn for operators on the ground who will have to deal with different operating techniques and modes of operation not familiar to today’s bird chasers.

The payoff is big. A higher orbit will provide a larger communications footprint meaning longer distance contacts and slower relative motion means longer pass times and easier tracking.

And the best part, these payloads aren’t a decade down the road, they’re practically here. Plans to launch the first GOLF payload are as early as the fourth quarter of 2019.

Study the GOLF project and if you want to help, join AMSAT or make a generous contribution to help bring this project to fruition. It’s a good second, or maybe even third step on the road to getting ham radio back to HEO.


Monday, July 9, 2018

Waking up in Kalamazoo, Michigan this morning.

Busy weekend on the radio, whenever I could snatch a few free moments.

I managed to make 20 contacts in the SKCC WES, including one with VK7CW on 40 CW on Sunday morning.

Nine of the 13 Colonies was the best I could manage though I wasn’t actually chasing them, just working them as I tuned across them on the bands last week.

Then there were fifty-five FT8 contacts with a smattering of DX including; European Russia, Austria, Canada, Venezuela, Colombia, and Brazil. Also in the mix were on-air contacts with several good friends; Bernie, W3UR, Goody, K3NG, and Joe, K0NEB.

The bands cooperated nicely as did the weather and it was another very enjoyable weekend. Good thing. I’m now observing radio silence until I return home on Friday.


Friday, July 6, 2018

Our short vacation is over and we’re back to the humdrum world. We visit the western edge of Michigan along the big lake several times each year. Mostly because we enjoy it but also because we think we might move there one day. If we do, I’ll change the name of this blog to Lake Effect Radio. #

It’s time once again for the SKCC Weekend Sprintathon (WES). And for this month, it’s a tour of the 13 Colonies. Get the details here. The Straight Key Century Club now includes nearly 19,000 members who enjoy making Morse manually. #

I deactivated my Twitter account for a few hours this week. I had read an article about how to do that and wanted to see for myself how it works. Turns out, you can deactivate your account and resume it, so long as you come back within 30 days of deactivation. After 30 days it’s gone forever and your username can’t be re-used by you or anyone else. #

The first run of the FT8 t-shirts have nearly sold out and I’ve ordered a second batch. I still have a couple dozen of various sizes on hand with more to arrive early next week. Let me know if you want one. #


Thursday, July 5, 2018

We’ve spent the last couple of days in Pure Michigan, hanging out in Holland and gazing into the wonder of a Great Lake. It’s been a short, refreshing break that’s not quite over. I’ll be back home on Friday and back to work on the blog.

Until then, enjoy our view of Lake Michigan. Unsalted.