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[l] at 8/17/22 8:51pm
My boss at ARDC has asked me to take a look at TikTok and come up with some ideas as to whether its worth it for us to spend time on creating our own videos. So, today, I created a TikTok account and browsed around for a while, searching for amateur radio content. Honestly, I was a bit disappointed. Whereas on YouTube theres just tons of amateur radio content, I only found a few TikTokers producing much amateur radio content. These include: @glamhamradio. Natalie, NW6S, is the TikToker behind this channel(?). She seems to have a good grasp of how to create short, instructional videos. @radioprep. David, W5CWT, has only eight videos in his channel, but all of them show how he used regular stuff in ham radio. @k5ata_goodgamehamradio. This is the channel of Steve, K5ATA, the ARRLs Education and Learning Manager. There are 17 TikToks in this channel, but not all of them are related to ham radio. Am I missing something here? Are there other TikTokers with more and interesting amateur radio content? If so, Id really like to know about it. Also, Im trying to think how we might use TikTok to promote ARDC. I suppose that we could get some grantees to send in videos, then extract clips to post as TikToks. Do you think that would be of any interest to people? Im kind of thinking that it wouldnt be worth the time and energy. From my own point of view, I might try to make a few TikToks to illustrate points in my No Nonsense study guides. It should be simple enough to do a few of them and see if they get any traction. What do you think? The post Where are all the amateur radio Tik Toks? appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: ARDC, Social Media, TikTok]

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[l] at 8/17/22 11:08am
Why anyone would want to spend any time in Las Vegas in the middle of August is beyond me, but thats exactly what I did. I attended DEFCON 30 last week. The trip was interesting, exhilarating, and exhausting all at the same time. I flew in Wednesday, so that I could teach a one-day Tech class on Thursday in the Ham Radio Village (HRV). 40 people signed up for the class, but only about half that number showed up. Thats what happens when theres no charge for the class. At least they were able to accommodate a couple of people that were on the waiting list. My first one-day Tech class in DEFCON 30s Ham Radio Village was definitely a success. The class itself went smoothly enough, and it was really nice to be teaching an in-person class again. This was my first in-person class since the pandemic was declared. Its just so much more fun. Theres more give and take, and because I can see the students faces, I can better tell if theyre really understanding the material. One way that I can tell that the class is paying attention and is engaged by the questions they asked. This class asked a lot of good questions. There were so many questions that the class ran about 45 minutes long. Fortunately, the volunteer examiners (VEs) were very forgiving and hung around while I finished up. 17 people decided to take the test that day. 15 passed. The HRV had test sessions on both Friday and Saturday, so some decided to get in a little more study before attempting the test. Im going to guess that the 2 who didnt pass on Thursday, and those that didnt take the test then, eventually did pass. Over the weekend, the HRV VE team administered 381 exams, resulting in 147 passes. The test sessions resulted in 113 new hams and 24 upgrades. Great work, HRV! I had intended to take part in a little Las Vegas nightlife that evening—maybe even play a little blackjack—but Id had some minor surgery the week before that I was still recovering from, and I dont sleep very well in hotels, so I was pretty beat by the time the class was over. I found some place to eat and then headed back to my hotel room, where I promptly crashed. Friday was my first real taste of DEFCON. I was amazed at how many people were there. The conference hall was packed, and to get into any of the sessions, one had to line up. These lines were monitored by the goons, who were not only responsible for keeping attendees in order, but also for ensuring that everyone wore a mask. They took this latter responsibility very seriously. For a newbie like me, the first day of DEFCON was really overwhelming. I attended a couple of talks, then thought I might go purchase a t-shirt. Sales of merch, as they call it is a big revenue source for DEFCON. When I got to the Merch Store, I noticed a small line outside the room and dutifully got in line. A goon immediately jumped on me and informed me that the line started down the hall. There must have been more than a hundred people in line! I wasnt willing to wait that long and went to find something else to do. Thats when I decided to go find the Hardware Hacking Village (HHV) and the Soldering Skills Village, which were located away from the conference center in the Flamingo Hotel. The Hardware Hacking Village sponsored a couple of interesting challenges, including: Make Your Own Use, in which entrants are encouraged to take a device and make it do something completely different from the application it was originally designed for. HHV Rube Goldberg Machine Event, which encourages entrants to create a series of devices that combine to form an end-to-end Rube Goldberg machine for transmitting messages. The HHV also sponsors the Soldering Skills Village. In this village, folks are given a small kit that they can build to learn how to solder. One of the things that I did Monday afternoon was visit the No Starch Press booth in the vendor area, where I got to meet Bill Pollock, the head honcho of No Starch. Weve swapped a lot of emails over the past couple of years, but never met in person, so I wanted to shake his hand. He is as nice a guy in person as he is over email or on the phone. Bill has been after me to write a book on ham radio—tentatively titled Ham Radio for Hackers—for a while now. Ive even gone so far as to develop an outline and write the introductory chapter. Writing about ham radio for hackers is a lot harder (for me, anyway) than is writing about ham radio for hams, which is why I kind of put this project on the back burner. Bill hasnt soured on me or the project, though, so I might have to start working on it again. Bill and I were talking right behind a table where a couple of No Starch authors were signing copies of their books. When one of them heard my name and call sign, he turned around and introduced himself. It was Travis Goodspeed, KK4VCZ. Travis is well-known in both ham radio and hacker circles, having worked on the OpenRTX and MD380Tools projects. As it turns out, he used my study guides to get his ham radio licenses! I wandered around a bit after that, but I was really tired. I dragged myself back to the hotel room, had some dinner, and then just fell asleep. No parties for me. On Saturday, I discovered the Hacker Tracker app. This is a great app that not only includes a schedule of the official DEFCON talks, but lists the talks being given in the different villages. Without the app, I wouldnt have found two really interesting talks that I attended on Saturday. The first was in the Aerospace Village: Building Your Own Satellite Ground Station by Eric Escobar, W6WD. Eric described how to build a low-cost ground station called TinyGS to receive and operate LoRa satellites, weather probes and other flying objects, using cheap and versatile LoRa modules. These ground stations are not only able to receive data from LoRa satellites, but theyve even figured out how to use them to send messages via these satellites. During the Q&A period, I brought up the fact that there are many amateur radio satellites in orbit, and that folks with an amateur radio license can build a similar, open-source ground station called SatNOGS. After the talk, I was approached by several people interested in getting more information on that. In the afternoon, I attended a talk in the Radio Frequency Village, located just down the hall from the Ham Radio Village. This village is hosted by the RF Hackers Sanctuary, and is, oddly enough, sponsored by the Open Research Institute (ORI). The talk described how a woman who was having gastrointestinal issues used an SDR to hack the pH sensor she ingested to determine what foods caused her acid reflux to spike. She then describedin rather gross detailhow she recovered the sensor after it passed through her and some of her other experiments with it before the battery died. While I was in the Flamingo, I stopped by the Girls Hack Village. According to their website, The organization offers resources and programs in Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM), Information Technology (IT), and Cybersecurity to help to increase diversity in Cybersecurity. I didnt get to talk to anyone at any length, and Im not sure how good a fit they are with ARDC, but I did give them one of my cards. I wandered around a bit more, but again I was pretty beat after my third day at DEFCON. I had an early dinner at a Mexican restaurant in the Flamingo, attended a talk on social engineering, and headed back to my room. I had intended to go to Movie Night, but again, I was just too tired. What a party pooper! I left Sunday morning. Thats a whole nother story, but this post is already getting too long. Some random thoughts: I should have brought a stack of ARDC stickers. DEFCON is sticker city. There is a sheet of DEFCON stickers in the registration package, and there is even a Sticker Swap event. Stickers for every conceivable interest are on tables everywhere. ARDC should consider sponsoring the Ham Radio Village. Im not sure what this would entail, or how much money were talking about, but I think this would be a good thing. For example, they didnt really have any demos of the latest technology. I was standing by one of the tables in the HRV, and one of the attendees asked if they had any SDRs. The guy behind the table replied, No, I dont think we have any SDRs here. So, Im thinking that maybe ARDC could sponsor an SDR demo in the HRV. Another idea might be to purchase the equipment to set up a small mesh network in the HRV. If we got creative, perhaps we could even figure out a way to make a game of it that attendees could play. I, of course, would be happy to return and do another one-day Tech class there next year. I definitely need to get more sleep if I go next year. I definitely missed out by not taking part in the DEFCON social events. The post DEFCON 30 was overwhelming appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: Everything Else]

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[l] at 8/7/22 12:57pm
Ive updated my WTH card, a card that I can give out to folks when Im doing a POTA or lighthouse activation that tells them what the heck Im doing. What do you think? One thing that Im having trouble with is getting the black-and-white photo to look good. I started with a 300 ppi color image, but I must have done something bad in turning it into a b/w image. Any ideas would be appreciated. The post My new WTH Card appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: Lighthouses, Operating, Parks on the Air, portable ops, POTA, wth card]

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[l] at 8/6/22 8:34am
Because: I have so much fun operating from lighthouses, Michigan (my home state) has the most lighthouses of any state in the U.S. (the Amateur Radio Lighthouse Society lists 203 sites in their database), and I would like to promote operating from Michigan lightouses, Im proposing the Michigan Lighthouse Award. The purpose of this award is to get people on the air and get them to visit some of these lighthouse sites. Maybe theyll also be motivated to join some of these lighthouse societies and help out with lighthouse preparation. (I am a member of the Pointe aux Barques Lighthouse Society and the Alcona Historical Society, which is working to preserve the Sturgeon Point Lighthouse.) Heres a mockup that I came up with this morning. Its derived from a State of Michigan lighthouse map. Each lighthouse is numbered, and I plan to put the list on the back of the certificate. (If you have some skill at graphic design, and would like to help out with this award, please get in touch.) To qualify for the award, youd have to make at least five contacts from at least five different Michigan ARLHS lighthouse sites. Im thinking that there will be a PDF version that can be downloaded from this website, and if someone wanted a printed version, then there will be small charge for printing and mailing. To be honest, I dont qualify for the award yet, myself. I have only activated four different lighthouses, including the Pointe aux Barques Lighthouse, Lightship Huron, Tawas Point Lighthouse, and the Sturgeon Point Lighthouse. I plan to visit the Belle Isle Lighthouse, which is actually the closest one to me here in Ann Arbor, before the summer is over. Let me know if you have any interest in this award, especially if you already qualify for it. Im going to go ahead with this one way or another. The post Activate 5 Michigan lighthouses and get an award! appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: Awards, ARLHS, lighthouses]

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[l] at 8/1/22 7:51am
I just returned from a short vacation up north, as we say here in Michigan. My wife Silvia and I visited the Tawas City area on Lake Huron. For the first three nights, we stayed at some cottages just south of the city on Lake Huron, and for the final night, we stayed with a friend who has a house up there. It was a great time. We went to the beach every day, visited several state parks (Michigan has wonderful state parks), and I activated two of them: Tawas Point State Park and Sturgeon Point State Park. The cool thing about these two state parks is that each of them also has a lighthouse. So, I not only activated the parks, I also activated a couple of lighthouses. I activated the Tawas Point State Park on Thursday. It was kind of hot that day, and being on the beach was so nice, that I wasnt really motivated to start operating. On top of that, there really wasnt any shady place to set up. Just before 1 pm, though, I pried myself away from the beach and found a picnic table near the lighthouse (see below). By 1:15 pm, I was ready to roll. The Tawas Point Lighthouse was built in 1876. The evening before, I set up my account on the Parks on the Air website. Im not sure why I didnt do this before, but it sure was a boon to my operation. I spotted myself, called CQ POTA (I was operating CW), and the calls started to roll in. Over the next hour and 15 minutes, I made 29 contacts, including two park-to-park contacts. The app really makes operating POTA a lot more fun. As I mentioned, it was pretty hot on Thursday, and the heat actually gave me a bit of a scare. After operating for little over an hour, the KX3 throttled itself down to 5 watts. This had happened to me before, when I was using a smaller battery, but this was the first time Id had it happen when operating with the BioEnno battery. Then, I touched the radio. It was verrrrrry hot to the touch. So much so, I was worried that I had damaged the radio, so I discontinued operations. I guess it was a bad idea to operate in direct sunlight. Its a good thing that the KX3 monitors its internal temperature. I guess that it was safe to use the radio at low power, but since it was so hot in the sun, I decided to call it quits for the day. Nothing fishy at Sturgeon Point I didnt get a chance to operate on Friday, but on Saturday, I dragged my wife up to Sturgeon State Park. This time, I did find a nice, shady spot (see below). The lighthouse there is operated by the Alcona Historical Society (AHS). According to the Alcona Historical Society, the U.S. Lighthouse Service began construction of the Sturgeon Point Lighthouse in 1869, and it become operational in 1870. Fortunately, the radio worked just fine on Saturday. I spotted myself and made 14 contacts over the next hour or so, including one park-to-park contact on phone, if you can believe that. In addition to operating, I had a nice chat with Kristin, one of the AHS volunteers. We talked about lighthouses in general, and she explained how this particular lighthouse came to be run by the AHS, and how it is funded entirely  proceeds from society memberships and gift shop sales. Ive already made out my check and will be putting it in the mail today. Tale of two antennas I think that perhaps one of the reasons that I didnt do so well on Saturday is that I was using a different antenna. On Thursday, I was using my 66-ft. doublet fed with twisted pair. On Saturday, I used the antenna that Elecraft recommended for use with my KX-1. It consists of a 28-ft. vertical radiator and three radials that lay on the ground. Both antennas tuned just fine, but the doublet seems to radiate better. Another reason, might just be that band conditions were better on Thursday. In any case, Im going to need to experiment more with antennas. Im thinking about getting a fiberglass pole that I can connect a wire to and operate as a full, quarter-wave vertical. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Stuff to take next time Whenever I go on a trip like this, I always forget something. This time, I forgot to bring some headphones. Headphones would have really helped a lot. The speaker in the KX-3 is really pretty bad, and there was at least one station that I couldnt copy, even with my ear right up next to it. I also need to bring along a WTH card, i.e. a card or flyer that explains a little bit about what Im doing. I did a nice one for my operation at the Pointe aux Barques one year during the National Lighthouse and Lightship weekend, but I need a more generic one that I can pass out any time of the year at any place Im operating. Im really hooked on operating from lighthouse now, and in particular, Michigan lighthouses. Summertime in Michigan is just the best, and our state has the most lighthouses of any in the U.S. (129!). They need more promotion, though. So, Im thinking about offering a Michigan Lighthouse certificate. This is still just a partly-baked idea, but Im thinking that I would award the certificate to anyone who has operated from at least two lighthouses, with endorsements for 5, 10, 15, and so on. Stay tuned for another blog post about the Michigan Lighthouses award. If you have any ideas about that, please let me know. The post POTA! Lighthouses! Fun! appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: Operating, Parks on the Air, Sturgeon Point State Park, Tawas Point State Park]

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[l] at 7/28/22 6:31pm
From the 7/28/22 issue of the ARRL Letter ARRL invites you to be part of Club Station, the newest column in QST. This column is a space for radio clubs to share the different ways in which theyre successful to help other clubs grow. They do this by offering advice, and practical solutions to common experiences and problems. In each issue, a different club will share how they undertook a specific activity or project, how and why it was successful, and any challenges they may have had to overcome throughout the process. Some The York County Amateur Radio Society (YCARS) in South Carolina provides a welcoming environment for members to learn new skills. Here, members are learning how to program a Raspberry Pi. Be sure to read Club Station in the September issue of QST to find out more about YCARS and how they rebuilt their radio club. examples include, but arent limited to, successful community club projects, innovative ways to attract new members, getting youth involved with ham radio, and developing active hams. Clubs are the backbone of the amateur radio community, said ARRL Field Services Manager Mike Walters, W8ZY. If your club is doing something that will inspire other clubs, we want to hear from you! In order to help you tell your story, ARRL has published author guidelines that are geared toward Club Station, and they include a club profile form, said QST Editor Leanna Figlewski, KC1RMP. Both of these documents can be found at www.arrl.org/qst-club-station-guidelines-and-profile-form. You dont have to have writing experience to be published in QST. If your submission is accepted, our editorial staff will work with you to get your story ready for publication. All clubs are welcome to participate. The first iteration of Club Station appeared in the August 2022 issue of QST (www.arrl.org/qst) and includes more information about what members can expect to see from the column. If you have any questions, contact us at clubs@arrl.org. We look forward to hearing from you about your radio club! The post QST Now Offering a Column for Radio Clubs appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: ARRL, Clubs]

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[l] at 7/25/22 6:34am
The birth of radio astronomy Back in the 1930s radio communication was opening up the world. For the first time it was becoming technically possible for a person in any country to communicate with anyone else on the planet. One of the companies working on this new communications frontier was Bell Labs, in New Jersey. To help them design the new system, they gave one of their engineers, Karl Jansky, the job of identifying sources of interference that could affect the new services. Over the following months he identified the radio static from thunderstorms and other natural phenomena, and the countless forms of manmade interference. Intriguingly, he found that when this interference was absent, he could hear a steady hiss, which went away if he disconnected the antenna. He scanned with the antenna and found the direction in which the hiss was strongest, and found, to his surprise that during the day the interference peak moved from east to west. After months of work he concluded the culprit was the Milky Way, with the strongest signals coming from the direction of the constellation Sagittarius. Jansky had discovered cosmic radio waves, that the Milky Way is a radio source, and the strongest emissions come from the direction of the centre of our galaxy. more HAM radio still has a role in our modern age TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) When severe weather is in the forecast, a sometimes-forgotten group of people tune in to help relay important information. The technology behind HAM radios is about 130 years old, but the simplicity of that form of communication makes it very durable, and a reliable backup during emergencies. “HAM Radio is pretty much if everything else fails. No cell phones, no internet, anything like that. Amateur radio can still get out and send messages to whomever would need them,” explained Brenda Krukowski, a HAM radio operator with Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES). Local Amateur Radio Club preserves radio history Today, most people take radio for granted as they have been able to listen to music and news like it has always been there. However, if you could to go back before the turn of the century and turn on one of today’s radios, all you would hear would be silence and static. It was only after the turn of the century when you might even hear only Morse Code dits and dahls then used to communicate as voice was not yet possible. Recently, Highland Amateur Radio Association member Dr. David Gunderman notified the Club his father, Robert, needed to relocate to a smaller residence and wanted to donate his early “home-brewed” radio equipment to an organization who would not only honor those early radio pioneers but preserve the equipment he designed and built for future generations (with an interest in early radio history) to enjoy and appreciate. Thus, a different and challenging project was undertaken by the Highland County Club. more The post Amateur radio in the news: The birth of radio astronomy, ham radio still has a role, local club preserves radio history appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: Amateur Radio in the News, radio astronomy, Toledo]

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[l] at 7/21/22 7:03pm
In this episode, I joined Martin Butler (M1MRB), Caryn Eve Murray KD2GUT, Edmund Spicer M0MNG and Ed Durrant DD5LP to discuss: Indonesia Prepares to Launch its First Amateur Radio Satellite EMF – Resources for Tutors and Clubs Proposed New Ham Radio Regulations in Slovakia Unknown Intruder in 21 MHz Band Youth Mentorship Program Launched by Radio Club of America This episodes feature is Friedrichshafen 2022 interviews Part 2. The post ICQ Podcast Episode 381: Friedrichshafen 2022 Interviews Part 2 appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: ICQ Podcast]

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[l] at 7/20/22 7:37am
Here are two more QSL cards for my collection of QSLs from stations whose call signs spell words. James, KI4TOE, writes, Appreciate you taking the time for a new CW operator. It was my pleasure, James. If the more experience operators dont take time to work the new operators, our numbers will dwindle even faster than they are now. Thanks for the QSL! Notice the code at the bottom of the card? It reads, CW is fun. It is, indeed! The post QSLs: KI4TOE, DL1BUG appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: QSLs, DL1BUG, KI4TOE]

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[l] at 7/18/22 1:37pm
At Hamcation last January, I renewed my ARRL membership for three years. One of the reasons that I chose three years is that they were offering two premiums for doing so: the book Grounding and Bonding for the Radio Amateur and an ARRL coffee mug.  When neither the book nor the mug showed up in a couple of months, I emailed the ARRL. Shortly thereafter, the book appeared in my mailbox, but not he mug. One of the premiums for renewing your ARRL membership for three years is this Gil cartoon mug. It took three more emails and several more months to finally get the mug. It arrived on Saturday, six months after I renewed my membership. The mug features a cartoon by Philip Gil Gildersleeve, W1CJD, who contributed over 1500 cartoons and drawings to QST and the ARRL for almost 40 years. This cartoon features a haggard ham in front of his radio. To the left is his attractive wife who comments, What a relaxing hobby, dear. Just by conincidence, I got a message from a new ham this morning, who wrote: I got my letter to renew my ARRL membership, and they advertise that if you get a 3-year membership you get a Gil Cartoon Coffee Mug. The mug is an image of a woman saying what a relaxing hobby, dear to a shlubby looking man operating a radio. Could someone explain the joke or context? Is this a famous ham cartoon series or an inside joke that Im unaware of? I need to understand the joke before I can use the mug! I replied: Gils cartoons used to appear regularly in QST. Some of them are still funny, but most of them have seen better days. I certainly think that they could have made a better choice for this particular giveaway. In fact, it probably would have been better to skip the cartoon and just put the ARRL logo on the mug. Having said that, the joke is similar to the joke that they used to make about computer programmers staying up through the night to use the computer. In this case, its the amateur radio operator staying up through the night to either take advantage of night-time propagation (shortwave signals on some frequencies propagate better at night) or to operate all 24 hours of a contest. To which, she replied: I think thats good feedback for them! You can tell them I like the retro cartoon idea, but the tone of the cartoon is a little off putting the joke is that the woman doesnt get it and then I literally didnt get it, so thats not so great from a marketing perspective for attracting newbies/women. Im all for tradition—when its appropriate. Heck, Im still a CW operator. But, as a friend of mine put it, It is important to remember the past, but not get stuck in it. I think it might be time to move on from Gil cartoons, especially for situations like this. Gil tells the story of a ham radio that used to be, but maybe not what we want it to be.   The post ARRL should rethink the Gil mug appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: ARRL, Everything Else, Gil, membership]

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[l] at 7/14/22 2:38pm
The other day, I worked a guy who said that he was using a (tr)usdx at 200 W! As it turns out, he had connected his little, 5 W radio (see right) to a linear amplifer. Our QSO has encouraged me to get mine built. Im hoping to get strarted on that this weekend. One thing that he warned me about is to make sure to take ESD precautions. Indeed, several of the members of our club who have built these have had ESD failures. I do all my assembly work on a conductive mat, and for this build, Ill also make sure to use the ESD wrist strap. The elevated humidity in my basement should help mitigate the problem as well. Dead last in the MS QP Last Saturday, I got an email from W5XX. Attached, were the results of 2022 MS QSO Party. Turns out, that with only 5 CW QSOs and 10 points, I was dead last from the state of Michigan. There were a few other participants that scored lower than me, but only a few. A 30 wpm ragchew I recently had a contact with Jeff, KA9s. He was going pretty fast (30 wpm), but I decided that since his signal was pretty strong, and his fist was pretty good, that I could hang with him. So, I cranked my keyer up to 30 wpm and called him. Over the first couple of exchanges, I discovered that I could indeed hang with him and settled in for a ragchew. Jeff was a great ragchewer. The conversation never lagged as he asked question after question. An hour later, I realized that I had to QRT. I have noticed that Ive been getting faster lately, and this QSO just confirmed this. Today, I looked up Jeff on QRZ.Com and realized why hes such a speedy operator. His last name is Goodspeed! The post Operating notes: a (tr)usdx @ 200 W?, dead last in the MS QSO Party, 30 wpm ragchew appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: CW, Operating, KA9S]

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[l] at 7/11/22 7:00pm
There has been a lot of buzz about the Yaesu FT-710 (above) on Twitter and YouTube over the past week or so. For the life of me, though,  I cant figure out what the buzz is about. Here are the specs from the Yaesu website: TX Frequency Range: 1.8MHz band – 50MHz band (Amateur bands only). 70MHz – 70.5MHz (UK Amateur bands only) RX Frequency Range: 30KHz – 75MHz (Operating) 1.8MHz – 29.699999MHz (Specified performance, Amateur bands only) 50MHz – 53.999999MHz (Specified performance, Amateur bands only) 70MHz – 70.499999MHz (Specified performance, UK Amateur bands Emission Modes: A1A(CW), A3E(AM), J3E(LSB/USB), F3E(FM) Supply Voltage: DC13.8V ±15% Power Output: 5 100W (5 – 25W AM Carrier) Dimensions (W x H x D):    9.4” x 3.1” x 9.7” (239 x 80 x 247mm) Weight (Approx.):  9.92lbs (4.5kg) OK, so its a very small, HF+6m SDR transceiver. According to video hastily produced by John Kruk, N9UPC, the FT-710 is meant to be a desktop base station radio and NOT a competitor of the Icom IC-705. That being the case, whats the big deal? What purpose does this radio really serve? If its supposed to be a base station, I know that I would prefer to have a Yaesu FTdx-10, which I had the pleasure of  operating on Field Day. The front panel and controls are bigger than the FT-710, and I cant imagine that the performance of the FT-710 is any better than that of the FTdx-10. The only reason that I can think of for all the hubbub about the FT-710 is to increase traffic to websites and YouTube channels. And, honestly, thats the only reason Im blogging about it. Thanks for reading this, and increasing my readership numbers. <evil grin> The post Yaesu FT-710: Whats the big deal? appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: DSP, Gear/Gadgets, FT-710, Yaesu]

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[l] at 7/11/22 9:30am
How diverse is your club? On reddit, someone asked: Hello, newbie here. I am studying for my test, and just connected with my local group. Everyone was really nice and helpful. But. They have a club chaplain who began the meeting with a convocation. It was short and mumbled. And I cant be sure what he prayed for, buy as a non-Christian this made me uncomfortable. I said nothing, as a guest there, but I wanted to know if this is a common thing. I replied: I dont think that having a club chaplain is very common, but your club is probably not the only club with one. If I were you, Id have a chat with the club officers about this. Chances are youre not the only one whos turned off by this, and speaking up might just get them to reconsider this practice. If youre shy about doing this yourself, email me the name of the club or the officers, and Ill contact them. The Ann Arbor (MI, USA) Rotary club that I belong to used to offer a prayer at the start of each meeting. Some time agobefore I joined in 2005they realized that that practice was not very inclusive, and could actually be a a reason for someone to quit the club or not join in the first place. So, to be welcoming to all, they replaced the prayer with a non-religious inspiration. And, our membersip includes Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and even agnostics like myself. I suppose that there are some cases where you might not care about the diversity of a club. For example, if a church wanted to start a club open only to church members, then being exclusive and praying at meetings would be acceptable. Id say, however, that most clubs should strive to be as inclusive and diverse as possible. Attracting and retaining a diverse membership will not only attract and retain members, but make the club more interesting and fun for everyone. The post Is having a club chaplain appropriate? appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: Clubs, DEI, diversity, equity, inclusion]

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[l] at 7/2/22 8:13am
Its nice to see so many clubs get publicity for their Field Day operations. Here are links to a bunch of them that have passed through my inbox. What a ham: local group finds joy, utility in amateur radios (Paducah, KY) Ham radio operators take part in communication, camaraderie and code (Fairmont, WV) Copperas Cove Repeater Association Holds Summer Field Day (Copperas Cove, TX) Connecting communities through radio waves (Port Huron, MI) Ham radio enthusiasts have a field day (Trenton, ME) Ham radio enthusiasts have a field day (Monte Vista, CO) Waldo County hams hold annual Field Day for disaster preparedness (Belfast, ME) Ham radio operators demonstrate a potentially vital source of communication (Houston, TX) Mesquite Ham Radio Operators Have A Field Day (Mesquite, NV) Ham radio operators connect in Henrietta (Henrietta, TX) Locals test radio skills (Bazetta, OH) Randolph County Amateur Radio Club Takes Part in ARRL Summer Field Day (Randolph County, IN) NJ Antique Radio Club participates in amateur radio field day (Wall Township, NJ) Two local groups participate in ARRL Field Day 2022 (Ada, OK) The post Amateur radio in the news: Post Field Day 2022 edition appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: Amateur Radio in the News, Promotion & PR, Field Day]

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[l] at 7/1/22 2:02pm
I always enjoy Field Day, and this year was no exception.But, as I sat there, punching call signs into N1MM and watching my log and the logs of the other networked stations, it occurred to me that there were an awful lot of 1B, 1D, and 1E stations. Im guessing that the majority of these stations were one-person operations operating from their back porch. I know that Covid is still an issue, and some hams are just anti-social, but I think that these folks are really missing out. I mean, its nice to try something new once in a while, and the first year was fun. I operated completely QRP and battery-powered. The second year, however, was completely unsatisfying, even though we did manage to cobble together a small group. Is Field Day still relevant? This year was a lot better. Our club was 3A, but even so, attendance was way down. Noting that, and noting all the single-operator stations, Im beginning to wonder if Field Day is still relevant. Ive always described Field Day as a combination club social event, emergency preparedness exercise, and public relations event. With so many single-operator stations, its certainly not much of a club event, and I doubt that the 1B, 1D, and 1E ops are doing much public relations. I suppose that the 1B and 1E stations are exercising some of their emergency communications capabilities, but a lot of training is now required to really take part in emergency communications. Im not sure that knowing that your generator is working and how to start it would be all that valuable in a real emergency situation. Even with all the 1B, 1D, and 1E stations on the air, it seemed to me that participation was down. At least it was down on CW. After searching and pounding a bit, I had no problem at all finding a clear frequency on which to start calling CQ. Should Field Day encourage more VHF/UHF operation? Another reason that makes me wonder about the relevance of Field Day is that  operation mostly takes place on HF. Sure, some clubs have VHF/UHF stations, but Id say that those are the exception rather than the rule. And, since the majority of licensed hams are Techs, how appealing is it for them to come out and participate in Field Day? Also, most emergency communications now take place on VHF, UHF, and above. How is making rapid-fire CW contacts on 80 meters training people to be better at emergency communications? I mentioned this to my friend Mark, W8MP, who happened to wander into the CW station while I was pondering this idea. He said, Well, at least this is getting people on the air. Thats true, I guess, but there are all manner of contests and operating events that get people on the air. Im not exactly sure what we can do to increase Field Day participation, but here are a couple of ideas: Give more points to VHF/UHF and up QSOs to encourage more operation on those bands. Require every club operation to have a GOTA station, or give more points to GOTA contacts. It seems to me that GOTA stations are one of the really good things about Field Day and it should be promoted more. Give points for activities specifically directed at Tech licensees. Im not sure what that would be, though. Im certainly interested in hearing what you think about this? Am I off base here? If not, how would you make Field Day more relevant to the situation that amateur radio finds itself in these days. The post Is Field Day still relevant? appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: Clubs, Emergency Communications / Public Service, Promotion & PR, Field Day]

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[l] at 6/29/22 9:02pm
2020 and 2021 were pretty bleak years for Field Day. Since its just as much a social or group event as it is an amateur radio event, the Covid pandemic really put a damper on things. This year, however, ARROW, our club here in Ann Arbor, MI, figured that while Covid may still be an issue, we could safely set up outside and have a real Field Day. Even so, participation was significantly less than 2019. People are either still cautious about gathering in groups or have gotten out of the habit of meeting in groups. Whatever the reason, we were only able to muster enough equipment for three HF stations, plus a Get on the Air (GOTA) station this year. In years past, we ran four stations, plus a GOTA station. I again served as head coach for the GOTA station and one of the CW operators. I do enjoy making contacts, but being the GOTA coach is a lot of fun, and its really my main focus during Field Day. Im glad that I got to do both this year. Our club members took a lot of pictures this year. Below is a selection of photos, each with their own story. The weather cooperated this year. There were plenty of blue skies, and it wasnt as hot as in years past. Even so, it was important to keep hydrated This is Joe, AC8ES, at the phone station. This station was set up in a trailer brought out by James, KC8BGJ, our club president. In this photo, Arun, W8ARU, is operating one of the CW stations. Arun pulls the night shift every year. This station was set up in an RV owned by Dave, N8SBE. Thats Daves K3S that Arun is operating. Every year, we have one new operator who distinguishes themselves at the GOTA station. This year it was Matthew, KE8UEE, the 11-year-old fellow in the blue shirt. He made about 100 contacts over the weekend, and learned quite a bit about operating HF, and thats what its all about, isnt it? On Sunday, for example, I caught him adjusting the bandpass filter, so that he could copy stations more easily. Matthew wasnt the only youngster at Field Day. Here, Max, Charles W8HAXs son, makes a contact at the GOTA station. This little guy also visited us at the GOTA station, climbing up a table leg and making himself right at home. Some quick googling by Mary Anne, W8VWY, confirmed that our little friend wasnt poisonous. Somehow, I managed to take this guy home with me. As I was unloading my car, I found him wedged between two boxes. Now, he has a new home in my backyard. Jay, WB8TKL, was in charge of the public information table. He also brought out the trailer-mounted tower that you can see in the background. Les, W8MSP, Michigan Section Manager, also paid us a visit. This photo shows him and Ralph, AA8RK, the Michigan Public Information Coordinator (left) proudly displaying Governor Whitmers proclamation of Amateur Radio Week. One highlight of the weekend was the plane ride that I got to take. Four of us went up with Mark, W8MP, whos a professional pilot. Our FD site is just north of Ann Arbor airport. Mark did a few turns aorund the site, and Dinesh, AB3DC took this photo. From left to right, our motley flight crew consisted of Dinesh AB3DC, Dan KB6NU (rear), Matthew KE8UEE, and Mark W8MP. Matthew brought a handheld along and made his first aeronautical mobile contact! The post ARROW heads back to the field for Field Day appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: Clubs, Elmering, Field Day]

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[l] at 6/24/22 2:49pm
Im really not great when it comes to antennas, and when I was a kid, I was even less so. And, because my family lived in a subdivision with hardly any tall trees, about the only antenna that I could get into the air was a 14AVQ vertical, mounted on the ground in my back yard. I yearned to have a better antenna, and fell prey to several scams, or perhaps I should say to over-blown claims. One of them was the Partridge Electronics Joystick VFA antenna (see below). I spent $80 or $90 on this antenna, and in 1970s dollars, that was a substantial amount of money. Alas, because I didnt really understand antennas, I never got it to work. But, even though I never got it to work, I carted it around with me for the past 50 years. It accompanied me to Sunnyvale, CA, then San Diego, CA, and then back to Michigan.  I kept thinking that someday things would fall into place, and Id figure out how to make a contact with it. Over the years, I did learn more about antennas, but the more I learned about them, the lower my opinion of the Joystick. It really is a compromise antenna. As you can see from the advertisement above, the antenna itself is just a metal rod with a loading coil in the center. One end of the antenna is connected to an antenna tuner. The radiating element is only about 7 feet tall, so honestly, how good of a radiator can it be, especially at lower frequencies? Well, this Monday, the opportunity arose for me to try to make a contact with the Joystick. On the third Monday of each month, our club, holds an event with call AMP Team meetings. AMP stands for ARROW Mobile and Portable, and we drag out all kinds of QRP  and portable gear to a local park and try to make contacts. Its kind of like a mini-Field Day. Our June AMPTeam meeting was held in Hunt Park, which is just up the street from where I live. The Joymatch antenna tuner is a simple L-network, suitable for tuning random-wire antennas, which is what the Joystick is, after all. I got there early to reserve a couple of picnic tables at the northeast end of the park. I set up my gear and hoisted the Joystck up in the air using a convenient tree branch, plugged the single-wire feedline into the antenna tuner (see right), the strung out a counterpoise. My first thought was to try 20 meters, since the antenna is so short. Unfortunately, I couldnt get it to tune on 20 meters for some reason. The lowest SWR I could obtain was about 3:1. After fooling around with it for more than a half hour, I decided to try 40 meters instead. On 40 meters, I was successful right away, achieving a 1.3:1 SWR with a few twists of the tuners dials. I hooked the antenna up to my KX-3 and began scouting around for contacts. Unfortunately, it didnt sound like anyone could hear me. Calling CQ yielded no calls, and when I tried to answer CQs or tail-end a QSO, I got the same results. Finally, someone heard me, but I guess I was too weak because they never did get my call right. Yours truly hunched over my KX-3, trying to scratch out a contact with my Joystick antenna. I kept at it, though, and finally managed to make a contact, with K9ID in Wisconsin. He bailed on me pretty quickly, but still it was my first contact in 50 years with this antenna!! I managed to make two more contacts Monday evening. The second contact was kind of like the first, very short with the other operator bailing on me because my signal was so weak. The third, however, was a very nice contact, with signal reports of 569 both ways. The funny thing was this third op was also running QRP. The final verdict is that this antenna is definitely not an antenna for QRP work. With it being so short, Im sure that its very inefficient. I was, however, quite excited to actually make a contact with it, finally. The post After 50 years..SUCCESS! appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: antennas]

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[l] at 6/20/22 7:24am
Yikes! I just read the rules for Field Day 2022, and the rule about getting publicity for  your Field Day operation has changed. In years past, you scored bonus points if you just submitted a press release. This year, however, you must actually get some publicity. The Field Day 2022 FAQ page says: In order to claim the media bonus, you must obtain publicity with the media. This is a rule change for 2022. Proof of the publicity must be provided in order to claim the bonus points. I know time is short, but can still do it. Here are som examples of publicity that other clubs have already obtained: Amateur Radio Field Day demonstrates science, skill, service Public invited to ham radio club’s field day Fulton Amateur Radio Club takes part in National ARRL Field Day June 25-26 Ham radio operators demonstrate skills in nationwide event And, finally, heres a PDF of the press release that I have submitted to our local media. The post Get bonus points for writing a press release for Field Day appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: Promotion & PR, Field Day]

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[l] at 6/17/22 6:56am
Here are a couple more QSLs for my collection of QSLs from stations whose calls spell words. I worked WE8HAM from the middle of the Dayton Hamvention flea market. Mike was on his way to Dayton, but had stopped for a POTA activation along the way. He was operating with 2 or 3 other folks, and I worked all of them, too. Ahoy, Lane! Thanks for the QSL. The post QSLs: WE8HAM, N8AFT appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: QSLs, N8AFT, WE8HAM]

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[l] at 6/15/22 7:46am
As many governors around the country do around Field Day, Governor Gretchen Whitmer has proclaimed June 19 25, 2022 to be Amateur Radio Week in Michigan. Kudos to my friend, Ralph, AA8RK, the Michigan Section Public Information Coordinator (PIC) for making this happen. While this is just one of many proclamations issued by governors across the U.S., they dont happen unless someone asks. So, if no one has yet done so in your state, there may still be time to have a proclamation issued before Field Day. And, remember to follow up that proclamation with a press release. Send that press release to every media outlet in your state that you can think of. Its great publicity for amateur radio and a nice way to recognize radio amateurs in your state for their service to the public in times of tornadoes, floods and other emergencies. Below is the text of the Michigan proclamation. Please feel free to use it as the basis of your proclamation. WHEREAS, amateur radio operators are celebrating over a century of broadcasting the human voice over the airwaves; and, WHEREAS, amateur radio has continued to build bridges between people, societies, and countries through the sharing of ideas and creation of friendship; and, WHEREAS, amateur radio operators have provided countless hours of community service to other local organizations throughout these decades; and, WHEREAS, the state also recognizes the services amateur radio’s people provide to our many emergency response organizations, including local and government-served agencies; and, WHEREAS, these amateur radio services are provided as a free service to the public; and, WHEREAS, these same individuals have further demonstrated their value in public assistance by providing free radio communications for local parades, bike-a-thons, walk-a-thons, fairs and other charitable public events; and, WHEREAS, the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) is the leading organization for Amateur Radio in the USA; and, WHEREAS, the ARRL Amateur Radio Field Day exercise will take place on June 25-26, 2022, and is a 24-hour emergency preparedness exercise and demonstration of the Radio Amateurs’ skills and readiness to provide self-supporting communication without further infrastructure being required; NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gretchen Whitmer, governor of Michigan, do hereby proclaim June 19-25, 2022 as Amateur Radio Week in Michigan. Copies of the proclamation text are available on the proclamation website in order to display the document on field day sites throughout the state. The post Governor proclaims Amateur Radio Week in Michigan appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: Promotion & PR, Amateur Radio Week]

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[l] at 6/11/22 11:00am
A week or so ago, Bruce, N9WKE, phoned me and asked if I would appear on the Dit Dit podcast. He hadnt produced an episode in nearly two years and wanted to get started again. He said that he wanted to have me on his show because I was the #1 most requested guest. Now, I dont know if thats true or not, but it was still an honor to be asked. Heres the episode: The podcast doesnt break any new ground, so if youve heard any of my talks or read my CW Geeks Guide, you can pretty well guess what I have to say. But, it was a lot of fun to record, and I think youll enjoy listening to it. The post KB6NU on the DitDit Podcast appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: CW, Podcasts, DitDit]

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