I went on a road trip with my friends Tim Kreth (AD4CJ) and Doug Miller (W4DML) last weekend to work portable from a beautiful scenic overlook. We drove about 70 miles, full of anticipation, only to find that the scenic overlook had been closed due to a hunting event!
We needed to make lemonade out of lemons.
Running out of time, we decided to head toward home and stop along the interstate at the first exit that looked promising. We found a field that was on an elevated exit of the interstate. It was getting late in the afternoon and we only had a short time to set up, make some contacts, tear down, and begin the drive back home.
I had planned to shoot some video footage for the blog but I only worked a few stations before having to tear down. I spent a lot of time trying to scare up some DX on 15m with no success. I did work Cuba on 15m and a couple of other stations on 20m. Tim concentrated on working 20m and had a lot of fun contacting stations participating in the Skywarn Appreciation Day event. Doug used the time to deploy and trim up a homebrew fan dipole that he’d built.
You can see my setup in the photo, below. You’ll see Tim’s setup in the distance.
Is there any better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than going somewhere with friends to play ham radio?
Taking advantage of the unseasonably warm weather here in Nashville (67 degrees!) I drove up to Bobcat Ridge and worked a few stations on 15 meters with 5 watts from my trusty Elecraft KX3.
Why don’t we make this a Black Friday tradition?!
A fun and effective way to improve your CW character recognition and gain speed is through the software program called Morse Runner.
Morse Runner is a contest simulator that lets you work a virtual “pile-up” (multiple people calling you at the same time). You can control the parameters so that your session is as easy or as white-knuckled hectic as you wish. This program really makes a game out of morse code. Note: This program assumes that you already know your letters and numbers… it’s not for learning morse code but for helping you to improve your speed.
Download it from the author’s website: http://www.dxatlas.com/morserunner/
Are you a new ham who is nervous about making your first contacts?
We’ve all been there, felt that! In this video, I give advice on how to stop putting pressure on yourself. You WILL make mistakes… but, I teach you two words that can help you gather the courage to move forward.
As a bonus, I also teach you two acronyms: “G.O.M.” and “N.N.”
Enjoy! – Cliff
My friend Tim Kreth (AD4CJ) sent me a couple of cell phone videos that he shot last weekend during the ARRL Sweepstakes contest.
Tim was only using 1/10th of a watt and he made a number of contacts. Here are a couple of them…
It’s practically rare to hear a morse code conversation where both stations are on the exact same frequency.
This video talks about the concepts behind tuning in CW mode… the carrier, tx offset, and sidetone pitch. Examples are shown using my Elecraft KX3…
If you’re into QRP, I want to encourage you to consider learning morse code. While you can make plenty of contacts with voice or digital, it’s hard to beat the “cw” (continuous wave) mode for efficiency.
With voice, everything you say is stretched out and occupies about 3 kHz of bandwidth. With morse code, that energy is compressed/condensed into a sliver of the bandwidth, concentrating the energy like a laser pointer!
In this video, I show you one of my favorite places to work portable on Sunday mornings. (It’s a business park a couple of miles from my house and nobody’s working there on Sunday mornings.)
I made a few contacts (one shown in the video) before I rode my bike home to watch football.
I finish the video by making an argument for the Elecraft KX1 vs. the OHR 100A. To me, an internal keyer is a necessity in a CW-only QRP radio. That option pushes the OHR 100A up to $220. For $80 more, the Elecraft KX1 is a more capable, modern radio with a digital display – and it has upgrade options that aren’t available for the OHR 100A… like two additional bands (4 bands, total) and an internal antenna tuner.
A week ago, I made a video about my “Deploy-Anywhere” vertical antenna. In that video, I said it was one of my two “go-to” antennas. Well, this SOTABEAMS linked dipole is my OTHER “go-to” antenna.
I use this antenna frequently in the field. It’s just a pleasure to use. Watch this enthusiastic, in-depth review of the antenna to see why I recommend it so highly!
I finished building the 40 meter version of the Oak Hills Research 100A QRP transceiver. I also added the internal keyer.
In this video, I share my final thoughts about the build and the radio.
Summary: It’s a great radio and I encourage you to build one. The documentation could use some tweaking to make it easier to understand a few of the more confusing steps. However, I built it without help and it worked right out of the gate. If I can do it, you can do it!