Ham Radio on YouTube

YouTube really is amazing. Search for just about anything on YouTube, and you’ll find short videos on the topic. Ham radio is no exception. Here are a few of the more offbeat ones:

  • Twilight Zone: Why Amateur Radio is Bad. This is a clip from a Twilight Zone episode titled “Black Leather Jackets.”
  • Ham Radio Set. There’s a SciFi channel icon in the lower right-hand corner, but that’s the only attribution. It shows a bunch of neighbors accusing one of them of some kind of illicit/weird activity, but he’s tries to pass it off as his buliding a “ham radio set.”
  • Alf- amateur radio. I had completely forgotten that ALF was a ham radio operator.

Scratching out My Three QSOs

Boy, the last two nights on 40m the propagation has been pretty bleak. The skip was long and the signals weak. Even so, I managed to scratch out three Qs, including:

  • WB6TMY, Eureka CA
  • K0ASE, Lamesa TX
  • AA1IK/P, Old Town FL

I only managed one contact the night before. Let’s hope propagation is better this evening.

A New ARROW Banner

Our club needs a new banner, so I’ve come up with the design below. I’m not much of a designer, but I don’t think this is so bad. I’m also happy to get some suggestions. Fire away.

btw, I’m obviously using an unregistered copy of the drawing program I used to created this. It’s a pretty good program, though, and I’ll be purchasing it soon.

new ARROW banner

Good Karma?

Sunday night, I was tuning around 30m and heard 3B7C calling. I was going to call them just to see if he could hear me, but since I’d already worked him on 30m, I decided not to. Except for the pileup, 30m was dead, so I switched bands to 40m.

There, I happened to hear 3B7C again. Since I hadn’t bagged them on 40m yet, I jumped into the pileup. I gave myself 30 minutes to work him, and then I planned to QRT and check into the W8UM net. Well, 15 minutes into this exercise, they heard me!

I was especially elated as there were a bunch of really poor operators in the pileup. One in particular wasn’t paying attention to the 3B7C operator at all, and just blasting his call even when it was apparent that 3B7C was working, or trying to work another station. I hope someone has given that guy a talking-to.

As for me, I’m going to attribute my success to good karma, both for not trying to work them on 30m and for my good operating practice on 40m.

Get Grounded

Planet Analog, an electronics industry trade magazine provides this two-part article on grounding for lightning protection:

QSL That Connector

Here’s something I found on an electronics trade magazine website:
I wonder if they have any hams working there?

Slow Code…Sometimes It Is Important

This from Brian KB9BVN via the qrp-l.org mailing list:

This afternoon I have been sitting at my desk doing book work for a couple of classes I am taking, so I fired up the K2 and turned it to my favorite 40m frequency and heard nothing…so I left it there while I was working. About a half hour ago I heard a very slow CQ come across a couple of times, at first I thought nothing of it, but on the third try I decided this op really needed to have a QSO, so I answered him turned down to about 13 WPM.

Turns out he lives about 5 miles from me (the band was VERY short) , he’s 64 years old, and has been battling brain cancer. He’s using a borrowed K1 and he’s struggling a bit with the code but he’s definitely workable. We had just short of a 30 minute conversation, and he told me he wasn’t used to QSOing for that long, and needed to QRT. He’s an Extra class amateur, and has enjoyed CW for a long time.

So if you hear N9SM out there, consider slowing down and give him a call.

73 de KB9BVN

CB QSL Card Gallery

BoingBoing has an item on CB QSL cards, citing them as an example of “folk art.” I must admit that some of them are kind of interesting. Every once in a while, I’ll get a ham QSL card that looks like these, but they’re rare. I wonder what percentage of CB cards were homemade?

GNOSIS, the nickname of one of the respondents, points to the K8CX QSL Card Gallery, which has many interesting and unique amateur radio QSL cards.

Goodies from the Dollar Store

There’s a Greenback Dollar Store here in Ann Arbor that I visit from time to time. The reason I like this store is that, in addition to the usual cheap cookies and toiletries with odd labels, this store often has things that are useful in the ham shack.

Yesterday, for example, I picked up the following:

  • 50-ft. spool of speaker wire. This wire even came with instructions!
  • 100 cable ties. These are nice. There are a variety of colors, including black, blue, red, yellow, and green, in addition to white.
  • 25W compact fluorescent light bulb. This wasn’t the best buy of the bunch. Rated at 25W, it’s supposed to put out as much light as a 125W bulb. I just tried it down in the shack, though, and it doesn’t look like it’s even putting out as much light as the 15W bulb I had in there before. Even so, I can put it in my closet, and at a buck, it costs a bunch less than other bulbs.

Last Weekend at KB6NU

Saturday, we once again operated from the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum. I was happy to see that the antennas tuned up quite nicely again on both 40m and 20m, although the reception was still kind of noisy. All in all, we made eleven contacts, all on 40m.

The attendance was a bit sparse, but that was to be expected as it was a football Saturday here in Ann Arbor. When there’s a football game here, activity anywhere but the stadium drops off dramatically. Even so, we connected with a couple of people

We did have a good turnout of hams: Keane KD8AOZ, Sam KC8QCZ, Mark AB8ZI, and Michelle KD8GWX. As you might determine from her call, Michelle is a relatively new ham. Since I had a couple of my QSL cards on hand, we had a short QSO on 2m, and I was able to give her her first QSL card!

Sunday, I was entertaining family, but between the housecleaning and actual entertaining, I was able to squeeze in a few QSOs, five of them in the Quarter Century Wireless Assn. (QCWA) QSO Party. This was my first QCWA QP and it was fun. Very low key, and just my kind of contest.