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 More

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The Other Side of SOTA: Failed Chasing

In today’s episode, I go on my typical Lunch Time on the Air™ (LTOTA) during my lunch hour at work in Rancho Cordova, and I fail at chasing two of my friends activating Summits on the Air (SOTA): – Jose K6HZR activating San Juan Hill (1 pt) W6/CT-230 – Scott N0OI activating Bertha Peak (8 pts) W6/CT-103 Heard voices on Jose’s frequency, but couldn’t verify if it was him. Heard lots of chasers answering Scott, but I guess he couldn’t hear me. In any case, it’s great to know fellow ham friends are out and about, and I’ll try to do my part to help them even if I don’t… Read More

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How to Create a Multi-Mode XReflector

JerryNet is so named because one bored commute home, KG6HQD Jerry went on his DStar radio and connected to REF012A to see if anyone wanted to talk. This became a regular thing and JerryNet™ was born. Later we started talking about how to include other digital voice modes such as DMR and Fusion. We needed a cross-mode reflector so we ended up on the QuadNet Array on 757A. Someone from JerryNet threw out the idea of setting up our own multi-dv reflector similar to Quadnet’s. When I first heard this idea, I immediately thought it would be an impossibly daunting task. I had impressions of expensive hardware and codec boards… Read More

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Build Your Own DMR/DStar/Fusion Hotspot for CHEAP

In an effort to get more people on digital ham radio easily, I posted a video about how to put together your own multi-mode digital voice hotspot device very inexpensively, and with little effort. I have put together several of these and the work pretty well. Kind of like an oil change, almost anyone can do it. I admit, I used to have a purist mindset about ham radio. All these Internet-dependent modes such as Echolink, IRLP, and even analog repeater inter-linking over the Internet had me thinking “but what happens when the grid goes down?” I’ve experienced some pretty bad fails as a systems & software engineer, and also as… Read More

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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 More

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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

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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

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