CW and FT8 and PSK, oh my!

In the past month, I’ve finally unblocked my antenna issues and made great strides in the digital realm of ham radio. Using the PreciseRF HG-1 magnetic loop antenna along with my RigExpert AA-600 to get the lowest possible SWR, I have found that I can get out to virtually all over the country simply from putting the antenna on the street. The loop only supports max 45W PEP, so it is definitely a low-power antenna. But I can only imagine how it would function if I were in a flat field or on a peak. With gray-line propagation some days, I see strong signal spots via Reverse Beacon Network or… Read More

Continue Reading

Sent first SSTV image

Using SSTV for iOS on my phone and a BTECH APRS-K1 Audio Interface Cable (albeit connected to a Kenwood TH-D74A), I just sent my first SSTV image on 145.510 MHz FM simplex. I don’t think anyone heard, but it was a proof of concept exercise. I recorded the transmission on a separate handheld, using a small voice recorder. Despite this lossy recording method, I was able to reconstruct the image pretty well using the same SSTV app. Here is the recording, give it a try with your decoder: Encoded with Scottie 1, try decoding this SSTV transmission with your own SSTV app. (here’s a media file download link) The implications of this mode are fascinating.… Read More

Continue Reading

First CW QSO Confirmed

Today I received my first reply QSL card. And for a CW QSO, no less!   On March 7, 2018, during my lunch break I set up my mobile 40m hamstick in the office parking lot and surfed around the CW frequencies of 40m (i.e. 7.000 to 7.125 MHz). It was mostly me calling CQ and with no replies, but toward the end of the lunch hour, I heard someone coming in pretty loud, and slow enough that I could (mostly) make out the characters. By the second callsign send, I could visualize: AB6ET. I hoped I was getting it right. When AB6ET finished, I sent out, “AB6ET DE AD6DM… Read More

Continue Reading

Choosing the Next Rig

In my quest to find the next portable rig (I already decided), I made a comparison sheet with stats about the various rigs I was considering. Here is my portable rig matrix (including handhelds). Hopefully this list could be of help to others.  Bear in mind, I had specific goals in this rig evaluation: Portability of station setup Ease of use in multiple modes CW practice wherever I was Expansion of my amateur radio capabilities into other modes, e.g. APRS, packet, digital HF, base and mobile antenna improvement Versatility and integration with my existing setup While I was dead set on getting the Elecraft KX3 fully loaded, I decided… Read More

Continue Reading

Wiring a CW Paddle

Many HF transceivers use a stereo jack for the internal electronic keyer. Some have a 1/4″ jack, others have a 3.5mm jack. This is a note on how most of these are wired to a CW paddle. On a TRS cable (tip ring sleeve 3.5mm) Red: tip (left, dit) White: ring (right, dah) Yellow: sleeve (common ground) (this wire could also be black) If you’re right-handed, use the left paddle for the dit, which would go to the tip of the plug which would be the red connection. The white connection is the dah (right paddle) which goes to “ring” on the plug, adjacent to the tip. The common ground… Read More

Continue Reading

CERT Basic Final Exercise 2/10

I had the chance to be a “survivor” of a mock disaster for the Sacramento Metro Fire Station 21 CERT Basic class disaster simulation today. This normally means having a severe injury and role-playing an often uncooperative survivor. I was to be a victim who had a big hit to the head, and was disoriented and wandering. This meant I did not get to be covered in blood, but only sported a large bruise on my forehead. Maybe I should have chosen to have more contusions on my face or something, would have been far messier. Our disaster event was we were survivors along the debris path of a plane… Read More

Continue Reading

SDARC Meeting 2/8: History of Phonetics

We had our monthly meeting for the Stockton Delta Amateur Radio Club on February 8, 2018 at 7:30pm. After usual club announcement and business, we were treated to a presentation by Jim WB6BET of the Lodi Amateur Radio Club (LARC): The History of Phonetics. Jim went on to describe DX phonetics. Emilia KI6YYT, president of LARC, also gave a presentation on the USS Hornet, describing its radio systems and an all-women’s QSO event they held there last year. It was interesting to see the kinds of radios they used on ships back then (one slide had a bank of Harris RF-350s). It’s cool that the club meetings are not only a chance… Read More

Continue Reading