Not a lot happening in my shack

Wow, October flew by and now we’re into November. Consequently, the number of updates on the blog for the past month represents the exact number of times I’ve turned on my HF rig. No time spend on the air = No updates. About the only thing I’ve done is checked into the local net a few times, and did some 70 cm simplex with a friend. Nothing particularly advanced or interesting.

That’s not to say I haven’t been busy at least thinking about radio. Back in October I gave a presentation on software-defined radio at a very well-attended meeting of the Columbia Amateur Radio Club. I demoed the RTL-SDR dongle with SDR# software, and I brought my SoftRock Ensemble II RX for show and tell. I would have loved to provide a live demo, but we haven’t managed to run a feedline into our meeting facility yet. I did show a few videos I recorded of the SoftRock in use for SWLing, CW and SSB operation, and demonstrated how to monitor a 2-meter net with the RTL-SDR.

Overall, I think folks enjoyed the talk and several guys were inspired to purchase the RTL dongle for further experimentation.

In other news, I’ve been elected treasurer of our club for the third year, despite my best efforts to nominate others for the position, hehe.

There have been some interesting bits around the web lately, which I’m sure many readers have already seen:

  • A great article on Wilco’s “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” album and its connection to shortwave over at The SWLing Post. It’s safe to say this album is one of the factors that interested me in ham radio, in particular, numbers stations. (Check out the album on Spotify) The SWLing post has been writing about music and shortwave this week, with previous articles about The Clash’s Joe Strummer, and Peter Gabriel.  Excellent web site.
  • KB6NU, who should be no stranger to any ham owing to his “No-Nonsense” study guides and excellent blog, has been working on an excellent series of articles titled the “CW Geek’s Guide to Having Fun with Morse Code.” Oh man, these are good: Learning the Code | Choosing a Key | Abbreviations | Q-Signals | Prosigns | CW Clubs. I’ve learned quite a bit from reading them and it’s safe to say his articles are better than the ARRL’s recent CW beginner book (Overpriced and underwhelming in scope. All the information it contained could have been found with a few Google searches and had scant information on actual operating).
  • I was sad to learn of the recent passing of Julian, G4ILO. I always enjoyed his blog and his expertise will certainly be missed in the community.
  • The Manfred Moon Memorial Mission (4M) wrapped up yesterday. The window to listen in on this probe was very small and I was obviously undergeared for the task (a high-gain directional antenna with azimuth and elevation adjustments was recommended), but apparently 29 amateur ops did report in. The probe transmitted messages on 145.980 MHz JT65B with 1 watt of RF power. Fascinating stuff!
  • Somehow I won the South Carolina section for the single-op, mixed mode, low power category of the 2013 IARU HF World Championship. I couldn’t remember participating, so when a certificate arrived in the mail a few weeks ago I figured someone made a mistake at the ARRL. Thanks to the magic of this blog, I went back and discovered I’d made 50 QSOs during that contest. That doesn’t sound like a lot of QSOs, but I suppose it was enough for the wallpaper. Even stranger, I completed those QSOs using the old FT-847, as I hadn’t ordered my K3 at that point.

I must make an effort to get back on the radio, particularly if the Worked All Twitter effort is back on for the Thanksgiving weekend. But first, I need to check to see if my dipole is still in the air after high winds last week wreaked havok on my neighborhood. At least half the dipole is still up, but the longer section that runs into the woods behind my home may have become a victim of falling limbs (this has happened before!).

2 thoughts on “Not a lot happening in my shack

  1. Hey…Thanks for your comments on my CW posts. I plan to release them all as a book real soon now. I’ll let you know when I do.

    I didn’t know about the ARRL book until I read this post. It would be interesting to see the book, but no way am I going to spend $16 for it.

    • Dan, I look forward to purchasing your book when it comes out, and I believe I will be able to heartily recommend it to many guys in my club. Thanks for all you do for the hobby and for taking the time to come and comment. I’ve been a fan of your blog going back to the days before I was licensed. I think many hams owe their ticket to your excellent study guides. I know I do.

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