Dan AI6XG has been doing SOTA for a couple years, and we were in CWOps Level 2 class together in 2018. He graciously offered to go on a SOTA hike with me, and picked this great spot mapped out by Jeff AA6XA around the Lake Berryessa area. Enjoy watching my struggle as I get into this new facet of ham radio.Continue Reading
First QSO on AO-92 Satellite
I received an Arrow II antenna from N9BAV today, a very generous gift after I tweeted that I needed to buy said antenna. After I put it together, I looked on GoSatWatch app to see the next pass of well-known amateur satellites. I immediately recognized that AO-92 was going to pass very well overhead in about 2½ hours. So I prepped my Kenwood TH-D74A with the VHF downlink frequency (145.880MHz) on sub band A, and the UHF uplink (435.340MHz) on sub band B. My previous attempts at satellite with a HT whip antenna and my HVU-8 vertical have met with no success, so I was half expecting this Arrow to… Read MoreContinue Reading
The Gamification of Ham Radio
I think contest organizations and the ARRL understand one aspect of fostering activity in the hobby. The logbook awards, contests, and sprints have their roots in achievement, competition, and accomplishment. Stanford gaming theorist Jane McGonigal recently spoke at a Security Conference I attended where she remarked on the incredible amount of time poured into online gaming. More than the combined manpower of the largest companies in the world, games contribute literal trillions of man-hours (billions a week) to seemingly “useless obstacles”. Why? Because games bring out a full-brain engagement like few other daily activities. The same concepts are readily (albeit unintentionally) applied to ham radio. Even contests that aren’t scheduled,… Read MoreContinue Reading
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 MoreContinue 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 MoreContinue Reading
I found a load of RTTY on 80m band on Sunday night (1/7/2018). I tuned to 3580 kHz and found a particularly strong signal, so I hooked up my USB soundcard to my laptop, fired up fldigi and made attempts to reply, but I guess my QRP setup didn’t get heard in all the pileup chatter. Turns out, January 6-7 was “ARRL RTTY Roundup“, a nationwide contest to make contacts in the digital format, so it was easy to catch the conversations on almost all HF bands. I found the CQ‘s in this format a bit odd, and didn’t really know how to format my responses or how to call… 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