We left Pennsylvania around 9:30PM on Tuesday night, leaving right after Paul’s (N0KIA) excellent hands-on presentation about oscilloscopes.
This would be my first trip running the FTM-350 with APRS. I spent most of my day Saturday, prepping the Durango… getting the Yaesu wired and configured, and getting the Sirius satellite antenna and receiver mounted. It was all well worth the effort. It was a joy to listen to JamOn for most of the trip, driving to Phish, moe, and Umphrey’s McGee to name a few!
We arrived in Dayton at 6:30AM. We called during the night to check on room availability. We were excited to find out that our room was empty and we could check-in early. Big Kudos to the Hawthorne Suites and staff. This is my third Hamvention staying at this location, and I have always been extremely satisfied with the accommodations and service. I hate giving away this secret as it always a great deal… a huge two bedroom penthouse suite, free wifi, continental breakfast, and priced right. It is a bit further from Hara Arena then some other accommodations, but I like the location.
As soon as we got in the room, I unpacked, whipped out the Macbook and checked aprs.fi to see how well we tracked. I was pleasantly surprised with a really quality set of packets, considering the desolate areas of western PA that we had traversed.
It’s time for a nap. I will be video taping and blogging during my entire trip, so check back for updates.
I have always been a big fan of computerization. In my video production business, I was an early adopter of the Newtek Video Toaster. When I was a DJ, I was one of the first people in my area to have a mobile PC-based DJ system. I have been using PC-based audio and show control solutions for theatrical productions for 20+ years… so why would my ham radio shack be any different.
One of the neat things with Software Defined Radio (SDR) technology is that it seems to be reducing the expense for someone to get a really good receiver.. I’ve touched a few of the really high end radios at Hamvention… but I doubt that a $10,000+ rig is in my near-future radio budget. Part of of my reason for starting this website and posting my shack design and progress, is to highlight the ability of a radio operator to make some incremental additions, and to work towards a reasonably high quality HF station. Continue reading
Lets go with subtitle: SDR-Radio vs HDSDR.
Continuing from my first post about contesting, the feedback coming from my speakers is due to the SDR receiving my locally transmitted signal. I need to mute the audio out to the speakers during transmit. I could fabricate some relay driven device to switch the PC’s audio path to ground during transmit, but I really would like a faster solution.
HDSDR makes reference to a TX function, but wants two sound cards to route mic inputs and speaker outputs… and it doesn’t seem easy to do. I know SDR-Radio has the capability to sense when the transceiver is transmitting and it automatically will mute its output. I needed to switch to SDR-Radio. Bummer, as I really like the interface on HDSDR, and I am much faster at navigating with it. Maybe I just need to learn to use SDR-Radio better, but for now, N1MM is enough for me to handle.
After finally, working out the software kinks, I ended up settling on SDR-Radio and N1MM. It was a bit after 1PM and the contest was already underway. The activity in mid-afternoon was on 10-meters. Interestingly, one of my first contacts was a Costa Rica QSO. Having only one antenna, a 80m off center fed dipole, and only being 24-feet above ground, I was going into this experience with low expectations. I was pleasantly surprised to be able to work just about every station I called. Continue reading
I wouldn’t call it a total FAIL, but certainly wouldn’t call it a success either. What I would call it is a learning experience.
I had hoped to be able to have a colleague over to join me in attempting this run at the NAQP SSB contest. Unfortunately, the week had some crazy turns and things didn’t work out so well. I had to postpone the invite. I wasn’t going to be able to spend the day focused on operating and I didn’t want to waste the long drive for someone else. Add to the mess, our first winter snow, as just one more thing to disrupt my day.
I decided that I would try N1MM for logging, based upon the recommendations of Dave, NB3R. He is in avid contester and I greatly appreciate the knowledge he has already shared, and look forward to spend some more time learning from him. The N1MM software system is quite intense and has a ton of features. That also makes it a bit… well, lets just say it isn’t completely easy. I did manage to get it setup and configured. But that was just the first step.
I registered on eQSL.cc when I got my first HF rig in early 2008. I have never been a DX chaser or contester. I would consider my primary radio interest as Emergency Communications. Hence, I haven’t collect or sent QSL cards. I’ve received a few when I hosted the W3OI’s GOTA station at Field day a few years ago. More recently I got one in the mail after the PA QSO party. I realized I should get some cards printed, as I plan on becoming more active on the HF bands. I should be courteous and send out some cards, particularly returning QSLs for the ones I have received. Continue reading
KW3K Shack 2012/1/2
Like most, my shack always seems to be a “work-in-progress”. With that in mind, I thought it would be worth posting some pics as time goes by; documenting the progress and projects.
Since a picture is worth a thousand words, the first step was to get a good image. That became a project unto itself. With several computer displays and LED lighting, it proved quite difficult to get an image that showed enough detail that everything could be seen easily. Regardless of my exposure settings, either areas were washed out, or equipment was lost in the shadows.
Everything has a beginning… and this is the start of the KW3K website. kw3k.com was born out of a need and a desire. The ‘desire’ was to share my equipment, projects, and experiences with the community of amateur radio enthusiasts. The ‘need’ was updating my internet skills to include the use of WordPress, as that I was going to be expected to use it as part of my job. Combining the need and the desire works out well, as that I can try new things on this site, without worry of commercially-dependent disasters halting important communications for my employer.
The goals for this site are to promote and educate. I believe that Amateur Radio is an important means of communication, particularly in times of emergency. In recent years, Amateur Radio licensees have been growing at a rapid pace, coinciding with a more prominent focus on emergency preparedness in today’s society. Although obtaining an Amateur Radio license is a important first step, consistent operation and development of skill is critical to being ready to operate in times of need.