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?
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…
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!