DStar and YSF/DMR Reflectors are Live

XLX367 reflector is live! Update: February 2019: All three modes DStar, YSF, and DMR are now crosslinked! DStar REF367A (also XRF367A and DCS367A) is up an running. This is a new multi-protocol DStar Digital Voice reflector, running in the cloud. It is available for public use and is tied primarily with JerryNet communications. Also, a Yaesu Fusion YSF room 68798 is running at the same server, and is bridged to DMR Talkgroup 3128459 DMR (here’s how to connect to XLX DMR). Fusion users can talk in this YSF reflector to other Fusion users, and it is cross-linked to DMR as well for wider reach. I am currently working within the… 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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Test Ed Fong Roll-up J-Pole

One of the few things I actually took home from Pacificon 2018 in San Ramon was an Ed Fong “DBJ-2” Dual-band Roll-up J-Pole for 2m/440. A vendor was asking me if I needed a cool base-station 2m antenna (DBJ-1), and I said I already had one set up. I recognized the seller’s nametag and said, “But I do know your name… Do you happen to have any of your famous Roll-up J-pole antennas?” He had only a couple more. I knew about this antenna from SOTA YouTubers KG6HQD Jerry and W6RIP Kevin, and wanted to try one since seeing Jerry throw one over a tree and blanket the whole Los… Read More

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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

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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

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