Amateur radio in the news: community service, radio prepares for war, end is near for Radio Shack

Floyd County hams talk about their work in the community. A meeting sponsored by the Foundation for Amateur International Radio Services (FAIRS), the Floyd Amateur Radio Society (FARS), and Triad on August 26 was an opportunity to spotlight the work of local ham radio operators.


1935 National HRO U.S. Navy Receiver. Credit P. Litwinovich collection

Radio prepares for war, Part 1. As the roaring twenties came to a close, radio technology would continue to evolve with significant improvements to consumer sets, particularly in the area of shortwave reception. The price of radios would continue to fall as availability continued to increase. Herbert Hoover could have added “a radio in every home” to his famous “a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage” campaign slogan. This radio boom would continue right up until December of 1941, when the first bombs were dropped on Pearl Harbor. After that, new radios would be a scarcity as almost all production and materials were diverted to the war effort.

For RadioShack, the end is near. Gentlemen and gentlewomen of a certain age harbor fond memories of trips to RadioShack. In days of yore, ham radios and homemade guitar amplifiers would emerge from the mysterious jumble of wires and audio components hawked by this unpretentious electronic retailer. Among younger generations with a much different view, the business enjoys a nickname: “S–t Shack.” Definition as per the Urban Dictionary: “derisive term describing the quality of products, the prices, and the people that go there.” Whatever one’s view of this American institution with about 27,000 employees, it is near death. On Thursday, RadioShack warned that it may file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Is the prepper community fertile ground for amateur radio clubs

This morning I got an e-mail from a reader: Our local club is trying to attract new members, and to that end we're contemplating a mass-mailing to licensed hams in our area.  But my thought is, why not include the preppers as well?  Why not reach … [Continue reading]

Is the solar flare affecting you at all?

According to an AP report on Wednesday, "A strong solar flare is blasting its way to Earth, but the worst of its power looks like it will barely skim above the planet and not cause many problems." According to another report on, the two … [Continue reading]

An opportunity for amateur radio operators?

On the local NextDoor BBS, someone posted: My roof antenna has stopped delivering many of the channels it used to deliver. I can not find any services for such in the phone book and I am looking for someone who can consult with me and repair if … [Continue reading]


I worked Bob during the International Lighthouse/Lightship Weekend as K6PV. We had a very nice QSO, during which he let it slip that his own callsign was W6HIP. He's a nice guy and a University of Michigan graduate.

Here are two new additions to my collection of QSLs from stations whose call signs spell words: … [Continue reading]

MI QRP Club 2014 Picnic

Mike, W8XW, and yours truly. The cap is my prize for winning the CW copying contest.

On Saturday, I ventured out to the wilds of Oakland County to join 11 other members of the Michigan QRP Club for the annual picnic. It was a lot of fun, and I even returned home with two prizes: one for the high score in the CW copying contest and a … [Continue reading]

Where did the “1.2” come from?

Recently, a reader asked: On question E8C06 and E8C07 the formula uses 1.2. Where did the 1.2 come from and what does it represent? I wasn't sure what he was referring to since my study doesn't mention how to calculate that value at all. Instead, … [Continue reading]

Amateur radio in the news: cultural lines, SK, LPFM


Ham radio connects across cultural lines (audio). Amateur radio is a kind of non-commercial broadcasting. Also known as ham radio, the people who do it are known as hams. It's a popular hobby; there are more than 2 million ham radio clubs around the … [Continue reading]

AG1LE challenges developers to come up with better Morse code reader

AG1LE has set up a Kaggle competition whose goal is to build a machine that learns how to decode audio files containing Morse Code. The Kaggle Morse Challenge was approved a couple of days ago. Kaggle is actually a very interesting website. … [Continue reading]

A short 80m antenna for my lot


Perhaps the biggest thing my station is missing is an 80m antenna. I really don't have room for a full, half-wavelength dipole, so I'm looking for options. For a while, I used a W3EDP antenna, but to be honest, results were mediocre at best, and … [Continue reading]