A weekend immersed in radio


Code practice oscillator designed by Bill, W4FSV, of Breadboard Radio.

I didn’t do a lot of operating or DXing, but ham radio was infused in just about every aspect of my weekend, from finishing the SoftRock to the local 2-meter net.

  • Saturday, I used a UHF repeater for the first time ever. Well, it was the first time I talked to anyone on one at least. I’ve always had them programmed into my radios, but they are very rarely used in this area. And that’s a shame.
  • Built a code practice oscillator as part of a workshop our club was supporting. I didn’t really need one, and I’ve had my fill of kit-building for a while, but the oscillator was fun and relaxing to construct. It was designed by Bill, W4FSV, of Breadboard Radio. I’m lacquering the base for it now, and it should be a nice companion to my straight key, which is finished in a similar stain/lacquer. More than likely, I will donate it to the club for outreach purposes, such as the upcoming Mini Maker Faire.
  • Had my very first QSOs on the 2-meter simplex calling frequency of 146.520. This is another one that I always program into my radios, but never hear anyone using it. I was driving to Orangeburg County Saturday after the workshop, and I heard a motorist on I-26 calling for stations. Had a nice QSO too, lasting some 20+ miles. Being able to burn 50 watts on the mobile is really nice.
  • Further refined my SoftRock and did some SDR software comparisons. I’m enjoying SDR# the most, with HDSDR in a close second. I also discovered the SoftRock does not like being powered from my Astron switching power supply. I’m running from a 12V SLA battery now, and it’s working fine. The benefit of the battery is that I don’t have that ground loop spike in the center of my waterfall. Also, the enclosure for the SoftRock arrived.

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