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[l] at 6/3/23 7:22am
I got this from this mornings Amateur Radio Weekly newsletter. This looks like an interesting antenna to try on some POTA activation. After watching the above video, I got to thinking about other directional antennas that I could possibly use for portable operation. Moxon antennas, in particular, would seem well-suited to this task because they are smaller than Yagis. Searching YouTube yielded this video on building a 15-meter Moxon. I found a number of other interesting videos on Moxons for portable use, but in the interest of space, Ill just list them here: Portable QRP with a Moxon Rectangle. This is another VK3YE video. How to make a 20m Moxon for home or portable use Ham Radio Moxon Antenna 20m Portable And, finally, heres a video on how phased arrays work to begin with. The post Amateur radio videos: directional antenna edition appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: antennas, Parks on the Air, Moxon, phased arrays, yagi]

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[l] at 6/2/23 10:49am
Wednesday, May 31, 2023, was my last day as an employee of Amateur Radio Digital Communications, the private foundation thats empowering the future of amateur radio and digital communication. It was a great job, but in the end, it was a job, and now its time to do something different. I wouldnt quite call it retirement, but its pretty close. Heres the way I put it in the final ARDC newsletter that I produced for them: Note from Dan, KB6NU I first made contact with ARDC by attending the February 2021 community meeting. At that meeting, Rosy KJ7RYV, our Executive Director, mentioned that one of the problems that they were having was that ARDC was not well-known yet in the amateur radio community, and as a result, they weren’t getting as many grant applications as they needed. When I heard that, it occurred to me that with my writing and PR skills and my ham radio contacts, I could do just what ARDC needed to be done. I contacted Rosy, told her that she needed to hire me, and, to make a long story short, I became ARDC employee #3 in June 2021. Now, nearly two years later, many more people know who we are, major amateur radio publications have published our articles and press releases, and we have appeared on many amateur radio podcasts and streaming video shows. And, we now receive many more grant applications than we can fund. I believe that I can claim success. That being the case, now is the time for me to take up my next challenge. On May 31, I will be leaving ARDC. What my next challenge will be I’m not sure yet, but I have plenty of projects to keep me busy: I plan to continue publishing my “No Nonsense” license study guides and have a couple of ideas for new books as well. I hope to teach more ham radio classes. I’m going to continue to address the issues facing amateur radio on my blog at KB6NU.com, and I may start a podcast to reach even more people. I’m exploring the possibility of starting an amateur radio business, or forming a partnership with an existing business, to produce some cool, new amateur radio products. Heck, now that I’ll have more free time, I may even finally get around to learning how to use that antenna-modeling software I downloaded a couple years ago. I’ve always said that my mission is to help more people have more fun with amateur radio. No matter what my next challenge will be, you can be sure that is what I’m going to do. 73,
 Dan KB6NU Like I say, I have plenty to keep me busy in retirement, but Im always open to suggestions. Let me know what you think. The post Moving on to my next challenge appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: Everything Else, Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC), retirement]

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[l] at 5/28/23 8:10pm
In this episode, I join Martin Butler M1MRB, Caryn Eve Murray KD2GUT, Edmund Spicer M0MNG and Ed Durrant DD5LP to discuss: Congresswoman Lesko Reintroduces Bill to Replace Symbol Rate Limit with Bandwidth Limit Get Ready for Another ARRL Dues Increase Indian Amateurs Reunite Family after nearly 10 years ARRL Offers Assistance to Hams for RF Compliance RSGB supports International Women in Engineering Day Celebrating the Power of QRP This episode is kind of long, but we had quite spirited discussions about the ARRL dues increase, the RF exposure rules, and the symbol rate legislation. This episodes feature is KISS Technology. The post ICQ Podcast Episode 403 ARRL dues increase, RF exposure rules, QRP, KISS technology appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: ARRL, QRP, Rules, Regulations, Enforcement]

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[l] at 5/25/23 1:17pm
If you tried to work the Bouvet Island DXpedition, you heard some nasty deliberate interference (DQRM). Well, the Northern California DX Foundation has had enough. Theyre going to be issuing a request for proposals (RFP) to address this problem. Their website reads: DQRM RFP Project The Northern California DX Foundation recognizes the negative aspect deliberate QRMers are having on our hobby.   We believe this is a problem that can be mitigated by applying amateur operators’ vast knowledge and receiving tools to good use.   In order to spur research into solving the problem the NCDXF Board of Director’s at their latest Board meeting allocated $100,000 to help develop solutions. NCDXF will entertain grant proposals from individuals and/or groups that specifically outline their approach to identify bad actors.  A group of directors led by Craig Thompson (K9CT) and Don Greenbaum (N1DG) will weigh the probability of success of these proposals as well as monitor the progress of the grantees. Funding is available for R & D as well as implementation of the technology.   It is hoped that manufacturers will also assist us with equipment and resources. NCDXF will shortly outline specifics for how to apply for these grants. So, get  your thinking caps on. This is serious money to address a serious (to the NCDXF, anyway) problem. The post Get your thinking caps on: NCDXF to offer $100k for solutions to deliberate QRM appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: DX, DQRM, NCDXF]

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[l] at 5/24/23 7:09am
Mohawk Amateur Radio Club to transmit worldwide for worthy fundraising cause GARDNER (MA) ― A group of local amateur radio enthusiasts will be transmitting this year’s annual Relay for Life of Greater Gardner fundraiser at Mount Wachusett Community College to listeners across the globe. Members of the Mohawk Amateur Radio Club, which was founded in the 1980s, will bring their communications trailer to the site and set up a “Special Event Station” to transmit information about the Relay and chat with other radio users around the world. read more In this story, Kevin Erickson, N1ERS, is quoted as saying, By regulation, the club’s amateur members were not permitted to use the airwaves to solicit for money for the annual American Cancer Society event. Im not so sure that this is true. Part 97.113 does say that Communications for hire or for material compensation, direct or indirect, paid or promised, except as otherwise provided in these rules and Communications in which the station licensee or control operator has a pecuniary interest are prohibited, but I dont think that this operation falls into either of these categories. I am going to contact the ARRL about this and see what they say. Moon Mission: Artemis 2 Astronauts May Connect With Youngsters On Earth Via Radio In late 2024, the Artemis 2 mission will send a crew of astronauts around the moon, and most of them happen to be certified amateur radio (ham radio) operators. This fact has excited the amateur radio community, as they anticipate the possibility of the astronauts making a call back to Earth from deep space. Phil A. McBride, the president of Radio Amateurs of Canada, stated in a recent interview with Space.com that it is important for young people to have the opportunity to speak with astronauts and be inspired. After 40 years of communication with low Earth orbit, the hope now is that Ham radio will extend its reach to the moon. Will we soon be able to contact hams orbiting the moon? read more If your club is celebrating a significant anniversary, publicize it! Send out a press release to all the significant media in  your area. I like the special logo, too. If you need help writing your press release, contact me, and Ill give you a handDan Red River Valley Amateur Amateur Radio Club celebrates 50th Anniversary On May 20, 2023, the Red River Valley Amateur Radio Club (RRVARC) WB5RDD will mark its 50th Anniversary. The celebration will be held at High Cotton Kitchen located at 1260 Clarksville St. in Paris at 10 a.m. Confirmed guest speakers are Lamar County Judge Brandon Bell, Paris PD Assistant Chief Randy Tuttle and ham operators that are descendants of original Club members. The RRVARC was established in 1973 by committed ham radio operators in the local community. Since then, the Club has established a dedicated location at the Paris Police Department headquarters, operating from their Emergency Operations Center (EOC), while providing community communications services. These services include tornado/storm spotting, ice storm communications support and planned functions such as Tour de Paris where the Club serves as the communications coordinator. read more The post Amateur radio in the news: Club aids fundraiser, Moon mission crew includes 2 hams, club celebrates 50th anniversary appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: Clubs, Special Events, Artemis, fund-raising, Massachusetts, Moon, Texas]

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[l] at 5/23/23 7:42am
Writing about an event like Hamvention is a daunting task, which is why I put off doing it. What Ive decided to do is to cover it in several post instead of one big post. Here goes Driving to Dayton Im really fortunate in that it takes less than three and a half hours for me to drive to Dayton. I have even left very early in the morning some years to avoid having to pay for an extra night in a hotel room. This years drive was very pleasant. The weather was great (as it would be for the entire Hamvention), and there was very little construction along the way to delay me. I left about 9:00 am and arrived at the Greene County Expo Center about 12:30 pm. Along the way, I listened to podcasts. My listening habits are quite eclectic. The podcasts that I had downloaded for the trip included: Linux in the Ham Shack Foundations of Amateur Radio BirdNote Radio Slovakia International English Service Pivot The Allusionist By the way, I use the AntennaPod podcast app on my Android tablet to manage my podcast subscriptions. Its a great open source app. Ive even donated to the developers to encourage them to continue developing and improving the app. Poor band conditions :( In recent years, Ive had either an exhibitor badge or a forum presenter badge, which gives me access to the fairgrounds before the general public. I really enjoy wandering around the fairgrounds and watching Hamvention take shape. One of the stops I always make is the Linux in the Ham Shack booth to kibitz with Russ K5TUX, Sheryl W5MOO, and Bill NE4RD. After Id harassed them enough, I decided to set up my KX-3 out in the flea market and try my luck on the bands. Theres a great spot underneath a couple of trees there. Last year, I had great success operating from that spot. This year, not so much. The bands were just terrible, and I gave  up after scratching out just two contacts. After wandering around a bit more, I decided to head over to the hotel, check in, and have some dinner. I also caught a short nap before heading over to the QRP-ARCI Four Days in May Vendor Night. Two new radios at Vendor Night QRP Labs QMX digital transceiver There were two radios that people seemed to be excited about there. The first was QRP Labs QMX 5-band digital transceiver. The QMX features include: 80-meter, 60-meter, 40-meter, 30-meter, and 20-meter bands 5W output embedded SDR receiver, 24-bit 48 ksps USB sound card CAT control synthesized VFO with TCXO reference The QMX can only run CW and single-tone FSK modes currently,  including everything in WSJT-X, JS8Call, some fldigi modes e.g. RTTY, Olivia and more. On CW, the QMX has click-reducing RF envelope shaping. It is not suitable for phase shift keyed modes such as PSK31 or modes involving multiple concurrent tones such as WinLink. The price is only $95! Its kind of amazing that QRP Labs can offer these kits for that price. The second radio was the sBitx v2 from HF Signals, home of the μBitx. This radio costs $500, but it is completely assembled and outputs 40 W. Other features include: Modes: FT8, SSB, CW, RTTY, PSK31 and others out of the box (no computer required) Compact 10″x 6″x 2″ size, slips into the backpack Raspberry Pi inside, all preconfigured software & source code on-board Hackable, tinkerable, scriptable Integrates logging, logbook, spotting in one compact box High Performance Hybrid SDR with passive front-end Brick wall crystal filter 8 crystals Fully electronic T/R and band switching Open source, documented Can be powered from an external 11.1v LiPo batteries for field ops This looks like it could be a fun radio to play with. I like the 40W output capability and the open source software. I may have to buy one of each. :) That was about all I could handle for one day. After vendor night, it was back to the hotel to crash and get ready for Friday at Dayton. The post Hamvention 2023 was a blast again (Part 1) appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: Hamfests, Hamvention]

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[l] at 5/4/23 6:53am
Im a big fan of homebrewing antennas, especially commercially-available antennas. So, when I saw this posting on the qrptech mailing list, I asked the author, Will, KI4POV, if I could re-post it here. So, here it is, with his permission. Thanks, Will!.Dan I recently decided that the antenna situation at the shack needed an upgrade. Ive been using a fan dipole for a little over a year now. It worked great when I had it cut for 2 bands, 40 and 20. However as I started wanting more bands and adding more legs, the performance got progressively worse. I needed something else. After a lot of reading and research, I kept coming back to a non-resonant doublet fed with ladder line. The low loss of ladder line seemed like that perfect solution to my issues. I looked into antennas like the St. Louis Doublet, but I didnt have a huge roll of computer cable lying around, plus I wanted something that could potentially handle at least 100 watts in the future if I ever build an amp and go QRO. I went to Lowes and after wandering around, heres what I came up with. I bought a 100 foot roll of 18 gauge speaker wire. my goal was a 100 foot doublet, so after splitting the two wires, this gave me 100 feet of antenna and 50 feet of feed line. Next, I needed spacers for the ladder line portion. What I found was these bags of cable staples. Theyre about $6 dollars per bag. I bought two bags worth to do the whole antenna. These are a UV-resistant plastic spreaders that are a bit under an inch long with finishing nails through each side. They are made secure cable and wire runs in place. After pulling the two nails out, you are left with a plastic spacer that the two wires of the ladder line can be run through after drilling it out just slightly. Admittedly, pulling out all the nails and drilling all the holes took a couple of hours, but it really wasnt to bad once I got a system going. After that, it was just a matter of sliding the spacers onto the wire, spacing them appropriately (I put one about every 4 inches), then securing them in place with some weather-resistant hot glue. From there on out, the rest was pretty quick and easy. I made my center insulator out of a small scrap of plexiglass I had and zip-tied the wires to it through small holes I drilled. Ive got it up around 25 or 30 feet in a tree behind our house. Im matching it with a t-match tuner and a tiny 1:1 current balun that I plan to show in a separate post. I was able to get a good match on 80-15 meters, and based on RBN data, I think it may be a better performer than my fan dipole. I need more time to determine how it stacks up. Band conditions have not been great the past few days. Anyway, theres nothing new or earth-shattering here, but just wanted to share that even with todays prices, you can still put together a decent all-band antenna on a budget if youre willing to invest a little time and effort. The post $30 Lowes Antenna appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: antennas]

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[l] at 5/2/23 5:55am
In his editorial in the April issue of QST, David Minster, NA2AA, ARRL CEO pointedly said that were in for another ARRL dues increase. This is being followed up by a membership survey on what this dues increase will look like. Now, personally, I dont have a problem paying a little more. Costs increase, meaning that prices generally have to be raised. I can pay an extra $5 or $10 per year for my ARRL membership. A lot of hams, however, are going to view this as another reason to quit the ARRL, and the ARRL is going to take another membership hit. Ive been writing about ARRL membership issues for years. I may not be an expert in this field, but I can tell you that declining membership is not a good thing. I can also tell you that raising dues—while it may be a good, short-term financial strategy—is not a good, long-term membership strategy. It seems to me that the ARRL is approaching this all wrong. For example, in the April editorial, Minster writes, Members agree that $49 is a bargain for all that ARRL does to promote and protect amateur radio. That statement is certainly debatable, but it misses the mark. Id say that its not current members that the ARRL should worry about, but rather those that arent members. The survey is another indication of this focus on current members. To even take the survey, you have to sign in to your ARRL membership account. I think thats a mistake. Most—but not all—current members will renew if theres a modest dues increase. What the ARRL should really be trying to find out is how a dues increase is going to affect their ability to recruit new members. Im not sure if its possible for the ARRL to break out of this downward membership spiral, but I hope that they can.  I think both members and non-members would be more amenable to a dues increase if it was accompanied by a more comprehensive membership strategy. Without this comprehensive strategy, a dues increase is just a delaying tactic. The post Get ready for another ARRL dues increase appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: ARRL, membership]

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[l] at 4/30/23 12:39pm
Ham radio operators air a grievance: Leave our hobby alone Jonesboro, ME—Controversial soaring edifices along the Downeast coast seem to be all the rage, most notably the proposed Flagpole of Freedom Park in Columbia Falls, which garnered national attention and prompted a temporary building moratorium. But neighboring Jonesboro shouldn’t be overshadowed. Although much less imposing than the proposed 1,461-foot flagpole, a ham radio antenna array, with the highest antenna stretching 200 feet, was constructed last year atop Jonesboro’s picturesque blueberry barrens off Route 1. The jarring backdrop along the Chandler River rankled some residents until an ordinance was enacted, but amateur radio buffs are still getting static, even as they fend off what they see asnew interference with their hobby from Augusta. read more Ham radio making a comeback in Poland First News—Figures show a comeback of amateur – or ham radio – especially during the Pandemic and now during the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. So how can amateur radio be useful when we have everything we need to communicate in the palm of our hands? read more In The Age Of Social Media, Thousands Of Amateur (HAM) Radio Operators In Wyoming Still Use The Airwaves WYOMING—Tom Tex Ritter has a couple large antennas rising up over his house north of Cheyenne, and they pick up signals from all over the world. Hes talked to people in 169 countries, as well as someone in Antarctica. Over the airways, hes also known by his callsign WY7KY. They call it HAM radio, which is a popular term for amateur radio operators. But its hard to see whats so amateur about a hobby that requires the best operators to have intimate knowledge of 11-year solar flare cycles. read more The post Amateur radio in the news: Ham air grievance, ham radio makes comeback in Poland, ham radio in Wyoming appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: Everything Else, Maine, Poland, Wyoming]

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[l] at 4/26/23 9:06am
I dont normally do this, but I think that this boot camp is so good that its worth promoting it. This notice originally appeared on the ARRL website.Dan The Nashua Area Radio Societys spring 2023 online Ham Bootcamp will be held on Saturday, May 13, from 10 AM to 6 PM Eastern Time. Access to the session will be provided via Zoom. Ham Bootcamp includes a series of demonstrations and tutorials designed to help newly licensed Technician-, General-, and Extra-class license holders get on the air. Ham Bootcamp is also a great opportunity for hams who are interested in seeing what the hobby has to offer. The online Ham Bootcamp program is available to all licensed and prospective amateur radio operators. You can register for the next Ham Bootcamp session here. For additional information, contact Anita Kemmerer, AB1QB, of the Nashua Area Radio Society at ab1qb@arrl.net. The Nashua Area Radio Society is an ARRL Affiliated Club. The post 2023 Online Ham Bootcamp, Saturday, May 13, 2023 appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: Classes/Testing/Licensing, On the Internet, boot camp, NARS, NH]

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[l] at 4/25/23 6:39am
In this episode, i joined Martin Butler M1MRB, Caryn Eve Murray KD2GUT and Ed Durrant DD5LP to discuss the following: Ria Jairam, N2RJ, joins ARDC Board Your MultiMeter Might be Lying to You Vacuum Tube-Making on the Comeback in the US FCC Takes a Deeper Dive into Satellites Electrocuted While Helping Another Amateur Other news includes: Three Hams Chosen for Artemis Moon Mission RSGB Coronation Activities National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting Open during 2023 Dayton Hamvention This episodes feature is MFJ8504 Review and Understanding HF Controls. The post ICQ Podcast Episode 401- MFJ8504 Review and Understanding HF Controls appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: ICQ Podcast, Safety, Satellites, Test Equipment, ARDC]

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[l] at 4/22/23 6:00am
About a week ago, I blogged about how it might be a good idea to get in shape for Hamvention. Well, the fellow who gave me that idea—Jay, WB8TKL—has come up with some more good ideas about how to get the most out of your Hamvention experience. Someone told me that Hamvention was like Mecca and you MUST go at least once in your lifetime. I got mixed up and thought they said that you can only MISS Hamvention ONCE in your lifetime :) Ive been to all of them since 1977 and have a few tips on how you can make the most out of attending Hamvention. WALK! Weeks in advance you should get out and walk a mile or two or three every day to beef yourself up for all the walking youll be doing. Get used to being on your feet for several hours. Over the weeks leading up to Hamvention, break larger bills into $10, $5, and $1 dollar bills. Dont make the sellers burn through all their small bills. Make a wish list. List the items you need for ongoing projects, and any future projects you hope to do over the next year. Write down the specifications/details of any products you want. Make an estimate of how many youll need and how much theyll cost. Dont forget to include spares!  Stock up on supplies. I used to hit Mendelsons first thing Friday morning, with my folding hand cart. Id purchase 40 or 50 POUNDS of hardware of all sizes ($1.25 per pound). Then haul that heavy load back to my car well before Id burn out walking all of Hamvention. This assured a life-long supply of hardware in my workshop. Did the same with rolls of resistors and capacitors, and filled my parts bin drawers back home. Write down the phone numbers, flea market space numbers, motel name and room numbers, of any friends you hope to hook up with. Put together a list of eateries near your motel that youd like to try. Include their reservation phone number and address. Maybe make a plan for which place to eat on which night, and share that with your friends and buddies you would like to spend more time with. Make a list of any evening events or dinners youd like to attend. Make a list of seminars you plan to attend. Note the day, time, and room number. This will help to keep you on schedule and not miss an important seminar you wanted to see. Carry a goodie bag to collect all your small items and even some big ones. Picture one of those heavy cloth bags newspaper boys used to use on their routes. Sometimes I even carry smaller bags inside my Goodie Bag, just in case! Carry a DMM and a multitool. Sometimes making a resistance check or popping the cover off a case, will confirm if that deal is a good one, or a boat anchor. Be prepared for intense sunshine, rain, and even sleet! Carry a hat and a plastic rain poncho. If you dont use the poncho to cover yourself from rain, you may be glad you have it to cover that $1000 radio you just bought. Keep track of your purchases. Log every purchase on a small pad or on your wish list. Hamvention is long and tiring and your memory will evade you when trying to figure out where that last $300 went that you cant account for. Dont keep all your cash in one pocket or wallet. Place your money in multiple pockets just in case you drop or misplace it!!! Use money clips if you have them. I account for all my cash-on-hand each day before I start out, and reconcile my funds back at the motel in the evening. By having a plan and a shopping list you are likely to have a much better experience at Hamvention :) —Jay, WB8TKL The post More tips on how to have the best Hamvention ever appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: Everything Else, Hamvention, WB8TKL]

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[l] at 4/21/23 8:08am
The 2023 Michigan QSO Party took place last Saturday, April 15. This year, I did something different. Instead of operating from home, where there are plenty of Washtenaw County stations, I decided to activate a less-populated county. Friends of my wife and I have a place near the beautiful Tawas Point State Park, and they graciously allowed us to use their place for the weekend. So, I packed up my KX-3 and headed up north, as we say here in Michigan. The weather really cooperated. Like with most of the northern tier states, April weather can be hit and miss. Friday, it was sunny and in the 70s. On Saturday, it was bit cooler, but still sunny and nice. We arrived in Tawas about 12:30 pm, stopped for lunch, and then headed over to the house. After unpacking the car, we put on some sunscreen and headed over to the beach. Being a weekday at the end of April, we had the beach all to ourselves. We walked around a bit, then unfolded our chairs and got an early start on our summer tans. After heading back to the house, I set up my 66-ft. doublet antenna. My friends house has a couple of trees that were just about perfect for this. I was able to get the lines up about 20 feet with no problem at all. The wires drooped over the ends a bit, but that was OK. Then, I set up the radio to check out the bands. The Friday afternoon edition of the K1USN SST was on, and 20-meter band conditions were pretty good, so I was able to make a number of contacts pretty easily. Then, I decided to check out 15 meters, where I ran across N0GRA calling CQ. I answered his call, and we had a nice 25-minute ragchew, something thats kind of unusual when youre running low power. After our QSO, I decided to set up the laptop that I brought with me (I  normally use the desktop computer in my shack, but hauling that up north wasnt an option) and test it out with the keyer and KX-3. I had tested this setup at home, but Murphy has a way of screwing things up, doesnt he? I didnt want to be flailing around at noon Saturday, trying to get everything to work. Sure enough, I ran into a snag. Without an internet connection, I couldnt sign in to the Windows 10 computer, and the house didnt have WiFi. Yikes! After doing a little Internet searching, I found out that I could use a program called netplwiz to disable the need to enter a password, but I still had to sign in to run that program. The solution was to use my wifes iPhone as a hotspot, sign in to the computer, and then run netplwiz and disable the need for a password. There was a lot more flailing involved, but Ill spare you that part of the story. After getting the station all set up and running, Silvia and I spent the rest of the evening watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, using the iPhone to stream the video. I woke up early the next morning to a beautiful sunrise over Lake Huron: The sunrise at this time of year is even more spectacular than during the summer because the trees havent leafed out yet. I ate some breakfast and read some until noon, when I fired up the rig and got on the air. I got permission to use our club call sign again, so I was operating as W8RP. I have used KB6NU in the past, but its really better to use an 8-land call sign in the Michigan QSO Party. I thought Id start out on 20 meters, but unfortunately conditions werent as good as they were on Friday, and after 20 minutes, Id only managed one contact with a station in Oregon. I could hear a bunch of DX stations, but they were all operating the CQMM DX Contest. So, I switched to 40 meters. Normally, the antenna tuner in the KX-3 is able to achieve a 1:1 match on all the HF bands, but for some odd reason, the best it could do at this particular location was 1.6:1. Im guessing that the problem was the metal flashing along the eaves. The way Id hung the antenna it came pretty close to the eaves, and the metal was detuning the antenna on 40 meters. Im normally one to try to get the SWR down as low as possible, but I wasnt going to take down the antenna at this point and find another spot for it. Fortunately, I didnt need to. 40 meters was in decent shape, and with the skip being on the short side, I was able to work a bunch of Michigan counties, i.e. multipliers. I even worked some phone with my QRP rig, making a dozen phone contacts in all. The phone contacts netted some multipliers that I wouldnt have gotten otherwise. For example, just before 4 pm, I worked a station in Iron County, a small county in the Upper Penninsula, on the Wisconsin border. I joked with the operator that I was the only station in Iosco County, and he said that he was the only ham in Iron County. After that contact, I decided to take a break. Silvia and I made some sandwiches and headed over to the state park. It was a little on the chilly side with the wind coming off the lake, but we enjoyed our dinner and the great views the park provided. We even noted that farther down the beach, there was a family, and the kids were in the water! Brrrrr. I got back on the air about 6:30 pm and operated until 9 pm. The skip was still on the short side, and I was able to log more counties, including Benzie, Barry, Isabella, and Ontonagon Counties. I logged a few more states, too, including Rhode Island and Florida. Overall, I made 130 contacts and had a total score of 15,960. This included contacts with 43 counties, or about half of the counties in Michigan. Activity seemed to be down overall, but I think that I had a decent score. The best thing, though, was to be able to combine a nice weekend on the lake with a little ham radio.   The post Operating Notes: 2023 Michigan QSO Party appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: Contests, Operating, Michigan QSO Party]

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[l] at 4/17/23 9:51am
DIY Wolf River Coil If youve read my blog before, you know that Im a fan of homebrew versions of commercial antennas. Heres an excellent video fo how one Aussie made his own version of a Wolf River coil.  Simple, portable tripod antenna Having said that m a fan of homebrew versions of commercial antennas, I have to admit that I own a BuddiStick antenna. And, while I am confessing things, I also have to confess that I dont use it much. One reason for this is that Ive never really figured out how to mount it when Im operating portable. Heres an idea for using a simple tripod to mount the antenna. After watching this antenna, I remembered that I have a microphone tripod that I might be able to use. While writing this blog post, I pulled it out of the closet, and I will give that a go next time I operate portable. Sliding contact for the BuddiPole One of the knocks on the Buddipole is that the clips used to tune the antenna are a bit clunky. Heres a video that shows a modification to give the Buddipole a sliding contact that should make tuning the antenna a little easier. I think I will give this a try as well. The post Amateur radio videos: DIY Wolf River Coil, tripod idea, Buddipole sliding contact appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: antennas, Mobile/Portable, Buddipole, tripod, Wolf River Coils]

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[l] at 4/14/23 7:23am
On our club net Monday Night night one fellow checked in and noted that he and his wife had just returned from walking a mile and a half. He then went on to say he was doing it so that hed be in better shape to prowl around the flea market at the Dayton Hamvention, which is taking place this year on May 19 21. What a great idea! If youre going to take the time and go to the expense of traveling to Dayton and staying in a hotel for a couple nights, it only makes sense to make the most of it. If you start walking a little each day, you can certainly be in better shape by the time Hamvention rolls around. Besides, summer is coming, and its always a good idea to be in shape for summer. Think of how much more fun your POTA, and especially SOTA, outings will be if its easier to haul around your equipment. Im no Arnold Schwarzenegger, but I do a lot of walking and weight lifting. It keeps me in decent shape, and who knows, it may even make me a better operator! The post Get in shape for Hamvention! appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: Everything Else]

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[l] at 4/9/23 12:31pm
In this episode, Martin Butler M1MRB, Chris Howard (M0TCH), Martin Rothwell (M0SGL), Frank Howell (K4FMH), Bill Barnes (WC3B) and Leslie Butterfields (G0CIB) discussed a few news items, but the main event was the presenters recollections of of the past 400 episodes. I joined them for the last 45 minutes or so. I would have joined them sooner, but I got mixed up because theyre not on daylight savings time yet, while we are here in Michigan. How I got involved I got involved with ICQ Podcast in a roundabout way. I somehow happened to hear an episode of the Ishow sometime in late 2015 in which the panel discussed a one-day amateur radio license class. (I can’t find the exact episode because the listing on TuneIn only goes back to episode 202, and there doesn’t seem to be a list of episodes on the ICQ Podcast website itself.) Martin, M1MRB, expressed some scepticism that could be done in a single day, even though I’d been doing this for years already. I immediately emailed Martin and said that I would be happy to explain to him how I do this. As a result, I was interviewed for the feature on episode 202 (1/10/2016). At the time, I don’t think there were any American presenters on the show, and I volunteered to be on the panel. Martin accepted my proposal, and I first appeared as a panelist on episode 206 (3/10/2016).  It’s hard to believe that it’s been more than seven years now.  In addition to sharing how we got involved with the podcast, Martin and Colin, M6BOY, asked us to share what we enjoy most about being on the podcast. What I enjoy most is running into our listeners, either on the air or at amateur radio events. My latest experience with this was at the 2023 HamSCI Workshop. They had set up a special event station there, and on Friday morning, I visited the station to see what was going on. There was another fellow there, watching someone operate the station, and I went up to him and struck up a conversation. After exchanging greetings, I introduced myself as Dan KB6NU. He replied, “I know you. I listen to you on the ICQ Podcast. I recognized your voice.” I haven’t yet met a listener who’s complained about the podcast, either the content or the length of the episodes. So, we must be doing something right! The post ICQ Podcast Episode 400 Celebration appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: ICQ Podcast]

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[l] at 4/4/23 8:05am
Ukraine Uses Off-The-Shelf Electronics To Target Russian Communications A nonprofit organization based in the U.S. is supplying Ukrainian forces with advanced electronic warfare gear assembled from simple off-the-shelf components. The secret is a new technology known as Software Defined Radio (SDR) which can locate Russian radio emitters, from command centers to drone operators. Previously this sort of capability required expensive, high-grade military equipment. Serge Sklyarenko says his organization, American Ukrainian Aid Foundation, based in New York, is supplying Ukrainian intelligence with a number of the versatile SDR radio kits. “The beauty of them is they are software defined, meaning they can be reprogrammed in the field to suit a multitude of use cases,” Sklyarenko told me. read more Eastern Carolina amateur radio club puts emergency response skills to the test WITN, Greenville, NC, reports on Winter Field Day. Eyes on the ground CEDAR CREEK LAKE (TX)–When bad weather is on the horizon, Cedar Creek Amateur Radio Club (CCARC) members such as Charles Wells and Charles Ligon stand ready as amateur radio operators (or “ham”) to help protect the region. The club has a group called ARES, which stands for Amateur Radio Emergency Services. “In the event there is an emergency, we will gather together on the air,” Ligon says. “We do a lot of storm spotting for the National Weather Service (NWS).” The weather service’s Fort Worth office has a link to club members and gets confirmation on the radio, Ligon adds. “We’re their eyes on the ground.” read more The post Amateur radio in the news: Ukraine uses SDR, Winter FD in NC, SkyWarn in TX appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: Amateur Radio in the News, Clubs, Public Service, SkyWarn, Ukraine, Winter Field Day]

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[l] at 4/3/23 8:07am
30 meters was hopping the night of March 27. I worked two all-time new ones (ATNOs): 9X5RU (Rwanda) and EY8MM. 9x5RU had a strong signal into Michigan and had decent pileup going. I set up the dual receive bandscope on my IC-7610 and was able to quickly find the frequency of a station he had just contacted and quickly tuned there. It only took me three calls before they heard me. Just a little later, I heard EY8MM calling CQ just slightly up the band. I was surprised that he hadnt created a pileup at all. I worked him on my first call. I have both now confirmed via Logbook of the World, bringing my total to 169 countries. All you need is.QRP Another measure of how good the bands are are the number of QRP stations that Ive been working lately. One such station is W3FSA in Maine. John was running about 5 W with a (tr)uSDX that hed recently built. We had a very solid, 20-minute contact, with his signal averaging about S7 the entire time. He paid me a nice compliment, too. He said, I know weve worked before, but I cant remember your name. Youre the teacher, though, right? 1000 miles per watt! Last night was also a good night for QRP on 30 meters. Dave, KC9FLI answered my first CQ, and I gave  him a 579 report. It turns out that he was running only 1 W with a Penntek TR-35. He was so strong, that it occurred to me that he could probably qualify for  1000 mile per watt award. QRZ.Com said that he was 293.5 miles away from me, so I reckoned that if he could reduce power to 1/4 W, that should do it. I suggested this to him, and he agreed to give it a try. He first reduced power to 500 mW. At that level, he was between S5 and S6. Next, he reduced power to 250 mW and he was still solid copy here in Ann Arbor, MI. How cool is that? I then did a little searching for 1000 miles/watt awards and found two of them: North American QRP CW Club (NAQCC). The NAQCC 1000 Mile per Watt Award is free, but the rules state, The power used to initiate a QSO is the power that counts is especially true for this award. You cant start a QSO then keep lowering power to get a better MPW figure. So, I guess our QSO doesnt strictly qualify. QRP-ARCI. The QRP-ARCI 1000 Miles per Watt Award doesnt appear to have that restriction, but they charge $10 for their certificate. Even if he doesnt get a certificate, Dave will have the satisfaction of knowing that he completed a 1000 mile per watt QSO. The post Operating Notes: 30m DX, 1000 miles per watt appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: DX, Operating, QRP, 9X5RU, EY8MM, Rwanda, Tajikistan]

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[l] at 4/1/23 6:55am
For more information, contact: ARRL PR Dept. pr@arrl.org, 860-555-1212 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 1, 2023, Newington, CT—The ARRL announced today that the next edition of the ARRL Handbook would be written by the generative AI program, ChatGPT. One of the reasons for the change, noted ARRL Publishing head honcho Page U. Booker, W1PUB, is that the cost of producing the Handbook manually was just getting out of hand. “Nate Gold, N0AU, is a great writer and editor, but he charges an arm and a leg. With membership falling, we just can’t afford him anymore.” Another reason for the move, Booker commented, is that no one actually reads the Handbook. “Seriously, he said, When was the last time you actually opened the thing? That being the case, it really doesn’t matter how accurate the book is. It just has to sound plausible.” Booker also announced that the new Handbook will have a Node Red interface so that you can access the material remotely while operating FT8 on 20 meters. The post Next edition of ARRL Handbook to be written by ChatGPT appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: Everything Else]

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[l] at 3/29/23 7:31am
Useful knots for portable hams After watching  this video, Im actually able to tie a taut hitch. VarAC HF Chat Im not a big digital guy, but this looks interesting. W8TAM: Powering POTA Parks on the Air (POTA) is arguably one of the coolest things in ham radio today. Here, Thom, W8TAM, a friend of mine and one of the masterminds behind the technology, explains some of the tech that makes it so popular.   The post Videos: Tying knots, chatting on HF with VarAC, and the tech behind POTA appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: Digital Modes, Operating, Parks on the Air, knots, POTA, VarAC]

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[l] at 3/26/23 10:35am
In this episode, I joined Martin Butler M1MRB, Caryn Eve Murray KD2GUT and Edmund Spicer M0MNG and discussed the following topics: Echo of BBC’s first broadcast in Scotland 100 years ago is heard from centenary event at Pacific Quay Steubenville-Weirton Amateur Radio Club Donates Books to Library System Is there a Better Way to Safeguard Vital Repeaters? In the Car, Podcasts and Online Audio Continue to Grow FreeDV Aims to Bring Open-Source HF Digital Voice Into the Mainstream Astronauts from UAE Taking on Space Education The episodes feature is about Hamzilla 2023, a hamfest in the U.K. Hams actually listen to us? Im always pleasantly surprised when I run across hams who say that they listen to the podcast. Mostly, it just seems like were babbling when we record the podcast, but when people say that they enjoy listening to it, it makes doing it all worthwhile. Last week, at the HamSCI Workshop, I introduced myself to a fellow who said, I know who you are. I recognized your voice from the podcast. We proceeded to have a really nice conversation about the workshop. Last night, I worked someone on 30 meters, and my being on the podcast made it possible. He emailed me after contact saying, Im a new CW operator and I heard your call tonight and recognized it from podcast fame, so I answered. I appreciated that you slowed down right away, but I immediately regretted my decision when you sent more than RST and state. That is to say that he probably wouldnt have answered my CQ if he hadnt recognized my call sign. I replied, I could tell that were a bit unaccustomed to ragchewing, but kudos to you for trying! I went on to say that I hoped that he should feel free to call me anytime. The only way to get better, after all, is to make contacts. I hope that I get to work him many times in the months ahead. Ill extend that invitation to all of you. If you ever hear me on the air, or see me at an amateur radio event, please feel free to say hi. The post ICQ Podcast #399 Hamzilla 2023 appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

[Category: Clubs, Digital Modes, SWLing, VHF/FM/Repeaters, BBC, FreeDV, libraries]

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