Last night I set up an Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS) iGate to listen on 144.390 MHz for packets and report them to APRS Internet Service (APRS-IS). This is like a listening station that will improve my area APRS coverage. This can be done relatively inexpensively with a Raspberry Pi (~$35), a RTL-SDR receiver (~$26), and some opensource linux software available online. The latest RTL-SDR v3 is a capable little Software Defined Radio (SDR) receiver that can even receive to HF frequencies. For much cheaper than a standalone HF receiver, you can get the kit that includes a whip dipole, extension SMA cables, and mounting hardware. I lengthened the whips to 2m… Read MoreContinue Reading
Got my first QSL card!
Whoa. Unexpected but received my first QSL card in the mail today from my 2nd ever (and farthest so far) interstate contact: WD1W in Colorado. What a great ham tradition. I gotta get me some QSL cards made up to send to people.Continue Reading
We want to put up our antennas!
Senator Diane Feinstein wrote (or her auto responder wrote) me back: Dear Dennis: Thank you for writing to express your support for the “Amateur Radio Parity Act.” I appreciate hearing from you, and welcome the opportunity to respond. As you may know, current Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules require local governments to “reasonably accommodate” amateur radio installations. This requirement does not, however, apply to land use restrictions limiting the size and dimensions of installations on private land. This means that many amateur radio operators are unable to install functional outdoor antennas because they do need to be “reasonably accommodated.” You may be interested to know that Representative Adam Kinzinger introduced… Read MoreContinue Reading
First HF QSOs! ID, CO, and SoCal
This afternoon I went to my brother-in-law’s property about 8 miles from my house, where he has nice wide open lot, and I set up my N9SAB 40m-6m off-center fed dipole with a portable flagpole (20ft high). I figured the open space would do some good for the signal. I set up with an inverted V configuration, had my FT-857D with YT-100 tuner and 7ah battery, and even unfolded the 39w solar panel to help the battery. My goal was to make my first contact on 20m today. I tuned around on 14MHz and heard a very busy band, with a couple of notable hams blasting through with their high… Read MoreContinue Reading
SDARC Meeting 11/9
Met with the club members of Stockton Delta Amateur Radio Club (SDARC) this evening at a classroom in the Bear Creek Community Church. The club elected (or re-elected, rather) the club board for 2018, and discussed upcoming club events. Then W6SXA Mark gave a presentation and demo of the Rigexpert AA-600 antenna analyzer. He reviewed other types of analyzers with their pros and cons, and settled upon the one he got, the AA-600. This is a sensitive piece of equipment that can scan from 0.1 to 600 MHz (all the favorite ham bands) and even interface with your computer to produce very accurate SWR, reactance, capacitance, return loss, and TDR (Time Domain Reflectometer)… Read MoreContinue Reading
Learning Morse Code
I’ve found that learning CW is hindered by my preconceptions I’ve had about Morse code. When initially starting on the Koch Method using HamMorse, I would turn the sound I heard into a mental picture of dots and dashes, then I’d do an internal lookup of what that picture in my mind was against the alphabet. As you can imagine, this takes way too long, and takes too much concentration to effectively work in real-time CW translation. After many hours of trying and listening, I realize now what others have said all along about Morse: Just relax, and let the sounds come in on their own. The sounds need to… Read MoreContinue Reading
First Reception of International Traffic
I deployed my 40-6m OCF dipole in my back yard here in Stockton, CA (grid CM98hb), and tuned on 20m on Saturday afternoon, and for the first time on this band found a clear QSO in progress. W3BQG was transmitting initially with 1000w from near Pittsburgh, PA, and his CQ was answered by someone in Japan, whom I could also hear. He says he later bumped it down to 500w. A lot of the time on simplex conversations like this, it’s one-sided with only the nearer person audible, but this was an easy QSO to follow. I suspect the Japanese operator was sending high wattage as well. This was almost 3pm… Read MoreContinue Reading