Friday, December 15, 2017

  • The Dateline DX Association is very pleased to announce the callsign for its DXpedtion to Baker Island in June 2018. The Association already has the callsign KH7Z so we will identify our location and call as KH1/KH7Z. This is the first DXpedition to Baker and Howland Islands since 2002. The FWS ruling that allowed this trip prevents another DXpedition for 10 years.

  • Patreon has discovered the error of their ways. Too late for the creators I supported, I’m still out. Yet another “New Coke” fiasco.

  • With the clock running out on 2017 I’ve been thinking about what radio adventures I’d like to pursue in the New Year, and to be honest, I’m coming up empty. I guess when you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there. Still hoping for some fresh perspective on the hobby with a side order of inspiration…


Thursday, December 14, 2017

January 2018 QST Debuts Fresh, New Design

QST – ARRL’s monthly member journal – is more than a century old, and with the major exception of color printing throughout the magazine starting in December 2000, it’s remained mostly unchanged for the past couple of decades.

The new and improved QST magazine will have fewer and smaller pages. 144 pager per issue (counting covers) with a new 8 by 10.5 inche size format. Oddly enough, QST Editor Steve Ford, WB8IMY said that research within the amateur radio community “revealed an undeniable mandate for change”.

No clue who they asked but the new format should save the ARRL a little coin on printing and postage. A complete move to digital would save them a lot more but once again citing their research, they say readers and advertisers prefer printed material to the digital experience.

Guess I’m the oddball since I prefer digital to print.


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

I pre-ordered the FlexRadio Flex-6400 back in September. I’ve patiently waited these few months for it to appear on my doorstep. I’m not complaining, I’m trying to act like a grown-up and not whine, but I’m getting excited and anxious to get my hands on it.

The good news is that the new hardware will begin shipping soon based on the email I received last night (see below). Given that I’m pretty far down on the list I don’t suppose I’ll get it yet this year. But hopefully I’ll be using it sometime early in the New Year.

Dear Valued Customer,

We would like to update you on our progress since the last Flex Insider communication on November 21st regarding the production of your new FLEX-6400(M) or FLEX-6600(M). We are very close to what we said at that time so let’s get right to the point:

The first wave of final assemblies went into burn-in starting on December 7. Production testing is going smoothly.

Later this week we will ship the first units to our field test team for more on-air testing. Once on air tests are complete we will begin notifying customers for general shipment.

The factory is rapidly ramping up capacity to complete final assemblies from previously tested and calibrated PCB assemblies (See photos below).

Watch your email so that we can contact you when you come up in the preorder list. We will contact everyone in the sequence in which their order was placed.

FlexRadio will be closed on December 25-26 and January 1 for the holidays and we will be operating short-staffed during the week between Christmas and New Year’s day.

Below are some recently taken pictures of the FLEX-6400M and FLEX-6600M at our manufacturing facility.

Thanks again for your confidence in FlexRadio.

73 Gerald, K5SDR


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Jerry Buxton, N0JY is the Vice President of Engineering for AMSAT North America. He recently produced this video, The Good and The Bad With AO-91 - amateur radio’s newest satellite launched a little more than three weeks ago. It’s an interesting look behind the curtain with several interesting details that make it worth a look.

Support amateur radio in space by joining AMSAT or make a generous donation - it’s tax deductible in the USA!


Monday, December 11, 2017

I woke up sometime in the night with a nagging notion that I was missing something. Before I went back to sleep, I realized that it was the SKCC Weekend Sprintathon, always the second full weekend of the month. Long ago it was one of my favorite operating events but my interest has waned a bit as HF band conditions have tanked.

I’m not sure why I thought of it in the middle of the night, but I decided in the dark that I would spend enough time in the event to make at least ten contacts and went back to sleep.

And that’s what I did on Sunday morning. First contact was with EA3NO on 20 meters and after that I moved to 40 for the other nine contacts, most of which were new to my log. The Straight Key Century Club continues to grow rapidly and I frequently work call signs for the very first time.

Conditions weren’t particularly great on 40 meters but they weren’t all that far from normal. Propagation from 500-1500 miles were reasonable and I managed to work Texas, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland using 100 watts and a wire with a straight key.

Ham radio QSO’s can often be pedestrian but even when exchanging only a signal report, name, QTH and SKCC number, the magic is in the mode.

It’s CW. The mode transforms the message into a place that blends past and future with a language practiced only by those who enjoy it. We all know how to talk with our voices or send emails and messages with a computer.

Morse transcends these and is only truly appreciated by those with a love for the mode, which is precisely why CW operators are so enthusiastic and unrealistic about it. There is no practical reason to learn or use Morse code in this day and age. The notion that CW is more effective than any other mode is simply untrue in the digital era.

Hams use Morse because they love it.

Whenever I use a digital mode I leave the sound off in the room. There’s little reason to listen to the harsh tones of digital radio. But when I use CW, I leave the sound turned up, even when I step put of the shack. I want to hear the signals that whisper from my speaker from wherever they’ve been carried by the aether.

CW is a love affair with a language. Millions of words have been crafted by those who want to convince you to try CW. But millions of words will never convince those who don’t get it while nothing more is required to convince those who already do.

I’m glad that I woke up in the middle of the night to remember something forgotten but never lost.


Sunday, December 10, 2017

We got our first snow of the season yesterday though there wasn’t much of it to go around. Maybe two inches but the wind did whip up a few small piles along the road out in the countryside. I’m hoping against hope for a real winter this year. Lots of snow, very cold, you know the drill. I like winter and the warming changes noted just over just the course of my lifetime is much scarier to me than the occasional four-foot drift of snow or sub-zero drive to work.

More than a month has passed since I deleted my Facebook and Instagram accounts and I didn’t even notice. There’s been no withdrawal like I experienced that time I tried to give up coffee. It’s been painless and now I wish I had never signed up for those services to begin with.

Patreon changed its terms of service in order to wring a little more juice out of those who support creators using their service. I immediately parted with the few creators I had been supporting and am willing to guess this will eventually upset the entire apple cart. Jason, NT7S whose development efforts had been supported by the service had much more to say about it that’s worth reading.


Saturday, December 9, 2017

There was a spark of moral outrage over a recent incident that ended in the censure of an ARRL Board member. It seemed a minor administrative action not worthy of mention but there are those who see evil lurking in every shadow.

In this regard I’m fairly immune to conspiracy theories. I enjoyed reading those long screeds from Uncle Wayne about how the League was ripping off its members – but I never believed them. He was simply adding a little salacious sizzle sauce to goose the sales of 73 Magazine. These days we just call it “click-bait” and move on.

Staying in Touch on TAC-310

I mentioned a week ago that I’ve been spending more time on DMR these days. I should have said I’m spending all my time on DMR. The hotspot was a good purchase decision and I carry it almost everywhere I roam.

When not working or sleeping, you can find me on TAC-310.

A rather large group of users congregate there and keep it lively. I’ve noticed a little more drivel during the daylight hours but the conversations turn longer and more interesting as the night wears on. It’s been particularly interesting this week as snow has fallen in various areas of the country which has made the usually tedious topic of weather a lot more interesting!

Look for me on the talk group and give me a call. What else are you going to do, hangout on the dead HF bands and listen for crickets?


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

OJ9X QRV FROM DEC 6th THRU DEC 31st, 2017

Santa Radio, along with their head figure Santa Claus, are celebrating this December 6th and upcoming Christmas as a very special period for the Republic of Finland, OH-land. We invite you to join the party for the next 25 days.

The OJ9X special call sign was released by the Finnish Regulatory Authority for this country-wide operation, which will see several radio clubs participating across all bands and modes.

The first 100 scoring the highest number of bands/modes, with the top 10 from each continent, will qualify for the prestigious “Finland 100 Years Award” signed by Santa himself along with the prime minister of Finland. At the same time the Finnish prime minister, Mr. Juha Sipilä, is a patron of this special event.


Monday, December 4, 2017

Ham radio groups are continuing to migrate from YahooGroups to Groups.io. The latter being a more modern format for communication with the added benefit of NOT being related to Yahoo. It’s a positive development and one that’s long overdue.

For the love of all that’s holy, close your YahooGroup and get on the bandwagon to the future. Friends don’t let friends Yahoo!

Introducing Groups.io

“But really this story starts even further back, in the Winter of 1989, when in college I was introduced to mailing lists. I was instantly hooked. It was obvious that a mailing list was a great way to communicate with a group of people about a common interest. I started subscribing to lists dedicated to my favorite bands (’80’s Hair Metal, anyone?). I joined a list for a local running club. And, at every company I’ve worked at since graduating, there have been invaluable internal company mailing lists.”

“But that doesn’t mean that mailing lists can’t improve. And this is where we get back to the unfinished business. Because email groups (the modern version of mailing lists) have stagnated over the past decade. Yahoo Groups and Google Groups both exude the dank air of benign neglect. Google Groups hasn’t been updated in years, and some of Yahoo’s recent changes have actually made Yahoo Groups worse! And yet, millions of people put up with this uncertainty and neglect, because email groups are still one of the best ways to communicate with groups of people. And I have a plan to make them even better.”

“I’m passionate about email groups. They are one of the very best things about the Internet and, with Groups.io, I’ve set out to make them even better. As John ‘Hannibal’ Smith, leader of the A-Team, liked to say, “I love it when a plan comes together.”


Sunday, December 3, 2017

VP6D - Ducie Island DX-pedition Announced

“The Perseverance DX Group (pdxg.net) is pleased to announce their planned activation of Ducie Island (a Marine Protected Area), currently Clublog #27 most wanted. Planning has begun for an expedition in Oct/Nov, 2018”.

Ducie Island is an uninhabited atoll in the Pitcairn Islands. It lies 535 kilometres (332 mi) east of Pitcairn Island, and 354 kilometres (220 mi) east of Henderson Island, and has a total area of 1.5 square miles (3.9 km2), which includes the lagoon. It is 1.5 miles (2.4 km) long, measured northeast to southwest, and about 1 mile (1.6 km) wide. The island is composed of four islets: Acadia, Pandora, Westward and Edwards.

Ducie was first discovered in 1606 by Pedro Fernandes de Queirós, who named it Luna Puesta, and rediscovered by Edward Edwards, captain of HMS Pandora, who was sent in 1790 to capture the mutineers of HMS Bounty. He named the island Ducie in honour of Francis Reynolds-Moreton, 3rd Baron Ducie. In 1867 it was claimed by the United States under the Guano Islands Act, but the United Kingdom annexed it on 19 December 1902 as part of the Pitcairn Islands. Due to its inaccessibility and the distance from Pitcairn Island, Ducie is rarely visited today.


Saturday, December 2, 2017

I’m spending a lot more time on DMR thanks to the portable hotspot I assembled a few weeks ago. The 20,000mAh battery powers it all for more than 48 hours per charge making it easy enough to just leave on most of the time.

I’ve been loitering a lot on the TAC310 talkgroup. It’s like a very large area repeater with plenty of traffic to listen to in the background when busy with other things and you can always raise someone to chat with when you’re ready - like local FM repeaters before they became ghost towns.

DMR adoption has been rapid fueled by interest in digital voice and by inexpensive hardware. A single band handheld can be purchased for less than a hundred dollars while DMR repeaters continue to pop up like weeds in a garden. Add a hotspot and no repeater is required.

I’ve encountered an eclectic mix of radio enthusiasts using DMR. There are plenty of newer hams who find the idea of working the world with a handheld radio mesmerizing, but I’ve also run across a surprising number of those who I know from the HF bands.

Perhaps DMR will become the much needed ‘intercom’ system for the hobby. A medium where we can remain in contact with each other when band conditions are less than favorable. A convenient spot where we can enjoy roundtable conversations without having to leave some out due to the vagaries of propagation.

Look for me on TAC310 and tell me where you think the future of digital voice is headed.


Friday, December 1, 2017

This is why I don’t chase much paper. Twenty-two dollars for the WAS Digital award certificate and another seven bucks for that little sticker on the bottom which is the FT8 endorsement. I’ll soon add another sticker for 40 meters. It can get a little pricey but since this was all confirmed via LoTW, look at how much I saved on postage and printed cards.


Monday, November 27, 2017

ARRL’s Best of The Doctor is In

For more than a decade, Joel Hallas, W1ZR, has been offering ideas and advice to radio amateurs in QST magazine’s “The Doctor is In” column. Each month he educates, dispenses cures for troublesome problems, and indulges in more than a little technical mythbusting.

In Volume 1 of this series, we’ve gathered the most frequently asked questions, as well as Joel’s detailed answers, on the topic of antenna systems. Many answers include comprehensive illustrations.

Order the paperback version here - or the Kindle edition here.


Sunday, November 26, 2017

I can’t believe my week off is coming to a close so quickly!

Didn’t even bother to turn on the HF gear today. Band conditions were slightly worse than terrible according to all the online propagation monitoring sites. Sadly, I still believe that today was just another foretaste of what’s in store for HF enthusiasts during the coming decades.

Good thing we have plenty of things to do at VHF and above!


Saturday, November 25, 2017

New Owner for Practical Wireless and RadioUser Magazines

We are very pleased to announce that Practical Wireless and RadioUser magazines have been bought by Warners Group Publications, a Lincolnshire-based multi-million-pound turnover publishing company that specialises in producing magazines, websites and events for niche hobbies.

I saw this news while watching the latest edition of TX Factor. The good news here for those of us on this side of the pond is that the new publisher is also making these publications available via digital download.

Given the high postal costs, I was never willing to subscribe to Practical Wireless even though I always thought it to be a terrific magazine when I would pick up a copy from the RSGB booth at Hamvention.

I just downloaded the December edition of PW ($3.99) for my iPad. Software is available for multiple mobile platforms or it can be viewed on a computer.


Friday, November 24, 2017

With the kids in town for the holidays there hasn’t been much time for radio. But I’m an early riser and have spent the last few mornings before dawn in the shack while everyone else was sleeping.

The DX has been unremarkable though I never take any contact with VK’s for granted. It’s a 9,400 mile path which still impresses me so I was pleased to have worked another VK this morning on 30 meters.

I worked a South African a few days ago who I later learned doesn’t use LoTW or QSL which made that contact a waste of time for both of us. That same day I received confirmation for a couple more on 12 meters meaning I’ve now confirmed contacts via FT8 on all bands from 160 thru 6 meters.

These achievements may seem inconsequential, but considering this new mode has only been around a few months, was born during historically abysmal band conditions, and how modest a station I operate, I remain impressed beyond words.

Digital Mobile Radio

Meanwhile, I’ve been spending a lot of time with DMR this week since the openSPOT is running and I’ve kept the handheld within arm’s reach. The capability to explore all of the talk groups and reflectors has been an eye-opener for me and I realize now that my original glimpse at this facet of the hobby was obscured by being limited to repeater only access.

Setting things up wasn’t difficult but there are many parts to the configuration of the entire system - openSPOT, WiFi router, and radio. Enough that I’ll no doubt forget what I did six weeks hence so I plan to document the experience mostly for my benefit but perhaps you might find it useful too.

I’ll update the Projects page to include it as time permits.


Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving! - a national holiday celebrated in Canada, the United States, some of the Caribbean islands, and Liberia. It began as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. Although Thanksgiving has historical roots in religious and cultural traditions, it has long been celebrated as a secular holiday as well.

FlexRadio News

I pre-ordered a Flex-6400 a few months ago with expectations that it would ship sometime in January 2018. It appears that estimate will be about right. I received a note from the company a few days ago with the following update:

  1. The factory completed the last printed circuit board assembly for the first production run on November 18th.

  2. We also received first article (FA) final production assemblies on November 18th for validation as shown in the photo below. We were successful in confirming quality and performance of the FA units over the weekend.

  3. The factory is in the process now of building the major chassis subassemblies in preparation for final system test and calibration.

  4. This week is Thanksgiving week in the US, which has the factory short on staff and closed on Thursday and Friday. Full production will resume on Monday after the holiday.

  5. Barring any unforeseen problems, our manufacturing partner has committed best efforts to complete the first production run during the month of December. Both they and we are highly motivated to do so.

  6. Shipments into the US market will begin first.

  7. We expect to begin CE testing during the first or second week of December. Shipments to the EU will begin as soon that testing is successfully completed.


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas 54 years ago today. A century from now historians will mark that date as the beginning of the end of the United States.

Ham Radio and the Internet

Since Bob, K0NR opened the gates of hell for a glimpse at amateur radio in the Internet connected future, let’s consider his notion of the long microphone cord, the remote operation of ham radio equipment:

“The day is coming when a DXpedition to a remote island will consist of a helicopter delivery of a remote radio box (with satellite link and self-deploying HF antenna) that is operated by someone sitting at home using their smartphone”.

I’m pretty sure that the most recent Heard Island Dxpedition included an operator back in California running some gear that was located on Heard Island.

There’s probably too many things that could wrong with a fully remote operation using a self-deploying antenna, but it doesn’t seem at all far-fetched that some future DXpedition might send only two or three maintenance guys with a boatload of gear that they would setup and keep running.

Think how much money could be saved by not transporting a twenty-person team along with all their food, water, and shelters. It’s an interesting concept to consider but one that, for now, would require commercial satellite connectivity.

I know what you’re thinking, “that’s not real radio”. But what if the link was provided by an amateur radio satellite parked in a geostationary orbit - would that be “real radio”?


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

I spent a few more hours working on the openSPOT project before being able to declare victory. The final piece of that puzzle being programming my DMR handheld to work with the new network hardware. The good news is that it’s all working, and was done in time to join 36 others in checking into the weekly Hoosier DMR Net.

DMR is certainly a different world than where I come from but I’ve come to prefer spending my time in the hobby in the places where the crowds are gathering. Besides, DV is going to help fill the void in ragchewing and keeping us connected while the HF bands continue to sputter and spiral towards ever deeper solar minimums.

We could talk more about this if you like. Let me know where to find you on on DMR and I’ll give you a call.


Monday, November 20, 2017

29F and clear when I woke up this morning. That’s better. I like it cold!

I picked up a SharkRF openSPOT at the hamfest this weekend and then spent Sunday evening getting it setup and working on WiFi - with the addition of a TP-Link WiFi travel router. I’ve ordered a battery pack to turn it all into a portable hotspot for DMR, D-STAR, and Fusion.

HamRadioNow video from a talk at the TAPR Communications Conference by the HamSCI team on the Solar Eclipse QSO Party. It’s good stuff, especially for the future of the hobby. And be sure to toss Gary, KN4AQ a few bucks for his effort - he does great work.

Over 100,000 LoTW users now. Why everyone doesn’t use it is a mystery for the ages.

A little swag from FaradayRF showed up in the mail today…


Sunday, November 19, 2017

TX Factor - Episode 19 (TXF019)

In part one of our reports from Hamfest 2017 we have a sneak preview of the Icom IC-7610 and IC-R8600 rigs. We meet the new owners of PW Magazine, and Pete tries his hand at the RSGB on-line exam. There’s also an update on the Society’s EMC Committee’s findings.

Bob finds his way back to New Broadcasting House in London where the Director General discovers he has amateurs working for the Corporation. Nevertheless, Lord Hall broadcasts from the shack of the newly resurrected club station G8BBC. And, Laurie Margolis G3UML recounts an historic QSO he had from the early 1980s.


Saturday, November 18, 2017

We traveled about an hour north of here, through a lot of rain and thunder, yesterday morning to attend the Ft. Wayne Hamfest. I wasn’t looking for anything particular, this is simply the last hamfest of the year for me and I wanted to say “hello” to a few old friends and stroll in the presence of those things that make us remember the way we were.

As it turned out, Christmas came a little early for me as I walked away with a new Kenwood TH-D74A handheld and a SharkRF openSPOT digital radio IP gateway/hotspot. The handheld was being offered by R&L Electronics for a hundred dollars less than it could be found anywhere else and it seemed too good a deal to pass on.

The openSPOT will be used for both D-STAR and DMR and will help facilitate my digital voice activity. I’ve ordered a portable battery and WiFi to Ethernet adaptor from Amazon so I can assemble a portable hotspot to carry this facet of ham radio along wherever I roam.


Friday, November 17, 2017

Been on the road the last few weeks without much time off but I got home this evening ready for 10 days of R&R. After dinner I spent about 30 minutes in the shack and what do you know, I finally managed to work a station in Wyoming via FT8 on 80 meters.

WY had been the lone holdout in my quest for WAS on the new mode and I was beginning to think I might never close that circle. Even better, the operator on the other end confirmed our contact via LoTW within minutes and the deed was finally done.

I’ve already applied for the FT8 endorsement and I can finally move on to other operating goals!

I’m still a rank novice when it comes to digital HF operation but I want to share a technique I’ve used with some success, and it’s the way I worked the Wyoming station this evening.

In some previous Twitter whine about needing WY on FT8 someone had mentioned that I should keep an eye out for K7HRO. Just by chance I noticed him in QSO with someone in the receive window but he wasn’t calling CQ. I watched his QSO end and didn’t see him for a few minutes so I called him - off the frequency he had been on as it was busy.

I found a clear spot and just called him. If you think about it, if he decoded my signal the software would highlight it in red. It doesn’t matter if we’re on the same frequency or not. If someone calls you and you can copy it, your call sign will be highlighted - like sending the “bat signal”.

He saw it, called me back and I had finally worked all states using this intriguing new mode.

This can also be handy for a pre-arranged contact too. I have a friend who lives a few hundred miles away and we were talking one evening and decided to see if we could make contact via FT8. He asked me what frequency I would be on - and I said just go to 40 meters and call me, I’ll see you if I can copy you.

My own call sign popping up in red is hard to miss.


Thursday, November 16, 2017

HamSCI How-To Guides

A variety of how-to guides that have been developed for various HamSCI projects - including “S-Meter Calibration” by Carl, K9LA. A measurement of the out-of-the-box accuracy of a number of radios is compared, and steps you can use to calibrate your radio’s S-Meter are presented.


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The last few solar cycles have been non-impressive from a shortwave perspective. HF enthusiasts have (mostly) remained resilient in the face of continuously eroding band conditions. Now comes more bad news.

Researchers at Cornell University are suggesting that the next two solar cycles will be even weaker than they are now. If they’re correct, it could be more than 30 years before we might expect the bands to have a chance at returning to the way we were.

“Using the epochs where the orbital angular momentum of the Sun is steeply decreased during the period 1600-2099, we infer that Solar Cycle 25 will be weaker than Cycle 24. Cycles 25 and 26 will have almost same strength, and their epochs are at the minimum between the current and upcoming Gleissberg cycles”.

And if you can stand one more kick in the nuts:

“Our analysis also suggests a much lower value (30-40) for the maximum amplitude of the upcoming Cycle 25”.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t have enough years left to patiently wait for the HF bands to show significant improvement. This extended period will doubtless yield all manner of new weak signal digital modes as hams struggle to maintain global communications via HF.

But if you’re not a big fan of change, you’re probably not going to survive in this brave new radio world.


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

US Court of Appeals Upholds Dismissal of Lawsuit in Ames v ARRL Case

A lawsuit filed by former ARRL Eastern Pennsylvania Section Manager Joseph Ames, W3JY, of Malvern, Pennsylvania, against ARRL and several of its officers and Board members was dismissed with prejudice by the United States District Court in Philadelphia in December 2016.

Ames filed an appeal of that decision, and on November 11, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit upheld the lower court’s dismissal of the suit.

This one was always a head scratcher. It started in 2016 when the ARRL Board of Directors relieved ARRL Eastern Pennsylvania Section Manager Joe Ames, W3JY, of his appointments in the ARRL Field Organization, including his position as Chairman of the ARRL National Traffic System™ Eastern Area.

He was out and a new SM was selected to replace him. The ARRL said Ames had “repeatedly communicated with officials of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on behalf of NTS, making commitments on behalf of ARRL without authority and in violation of the rules and regulations of the ARRL Field Organization”.

Ames filed suit because of the ARRL’s use of the word “repeatedly”. However, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit upheld the lower court’s dismissal of the suit.

In its opinion, the appellate court wrote, “because the record shows that Ames acted contrary to [an] August 2015 directive on at least two occasions, the [ARRL’s] statement that Ames ‘repeatedly acted contrary’ to the directive is true and cannot support a claim for defamation.


Monday, November 13, 2017

Here’s a romping fun idea for a Christmas present that might put some youngster on a path toward science and technology. It might even create a spark that would lead to a lifetime of amateur radio fun. It did for me!

The Mad Scientists Club - the boys are back in a 50th Anniversary Edition. Check these reviews.

A strange sea monster appears on the lake…a fortune is unearthed from an old cannon …a valuable dinosaur egg is stolen. Watch out as the Mad Scientists turn Mammoth Falls upside down!


Sunday, November 12, 2017

Pretty good day on the air despite poor band conditions. After another session of FT8 I decided to come up for air and do something else.

That something else was working a couple of special event stations. W0N was celebrating Nebraska’s 150th anniversary as a state. Another was K0KBX in Iowa celebrating Veterans Day.

Just after lunch I saw a message from Sean Kutzko, KX9X that he was planning to activate three parks in Connecticut today as part of the Parks on the Air program. I worked him from two of those three, KFF-1713 on CW and phone and KFF-4369 on 40 meter phone.

As it turned out, he made 250 contacts in that effort today - congrats to Sean for keeping the bands buzzing!


Saturday, November 11, 2017

Nice day here in the Heartland. Chilly but lots of sun. We worked in the yard cleaning up leaves for nearly four hours before calling it quits and ordering pizza. We just couldn’t find enough energy to get cleaned up to go out for dinner.

I worked W5KID, the USS Kidd Amateur Radio Club that maintains a permanent amateur radio station on board the USS KIDD, DD-661, a restored World War II Fletcher class destroyer. The station consists of a Yaesu FT-450D running 100 watts to a random wire, 150 ft. long in the ship’s rigging. Much of this antenna is the ship’s original HF wire antenna.

Today’s operation was a special event for Veteran’s Day. It was also notable that the contact was made using FT8 - and that’s not the first special event station I’ve worked using the new digital mode. It’s growing acceptance for special event use validates it’s place at the table.

An LoTW confirmation showed up today from CN3A for our contact made during the CQWW SSB contest a few weeks ago. Happy dance because that was my first confirmed phone contact with Morocco.

And one special note, I was getting ready to close the station when I noticed Bob, VA3QV in the FT8 waterfall on 30 meters. Despite having been online friends for several years, we finally made our first radio contact!


Friday, November 10, 2017

After dinner this evening I spent a little time in the shack. Made a few FT8 contacts though RI1ANO eluded me again despite having a big signal and watching him work a lot of stations that weren’t me.

Between contacts, I scanned the DX cluster and saw that 9U4M was on 40 CW so I dropped to 7.005 but no joy there either. Up the band a bit the DXpedition on Montserrat was calling on 7.010 and listening up. Three tries and VP2MDL was in the log.

Listened for Burundi again without luck and decided to call it a good night after an hour of RF exploration. The adventure resumes tomorrow night.