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Amateur RadioCategory Archives

Introducing KC4APP.net

The recent call sign search tool I created has morphed into somewhat of a real website. It now contains a call sign search tool (that shows a Google Map of the QTH) as well as a Dipole Antenna calculator. The site is now also hosted on its own domain: KC4APP.net.  Of course, KC4APP is my call sign.

Fun with 10 Meters

Saturday afternoon, I figured I would get on 10 meters and see if there was anything going on. I yelled out a SSB CQ on 28.380 MHz and immediately got a reply from a guy four-wheeling in the Mojave Desert. I was very happy, especially since my OCF dipole is broadsided North-South and my QTH is in Eastern Kentucky. Shortly after that, I got a 5×9 from a station in Mexico City! Woo hoo! That was truly very cool.

Was on the air tonight but no one was calling CQ at my speed on either 40 or 80 so I started listening in on some voice QSOs.

Found an interesting bunch of fellas on the ‘Hole in the Wall’ net on 40 meters and listened until they called it a night around midnight EST. I really can’t wait to get my General ticket so I can play on sideband!

New call sign search tool

I figured it would be cool to create a call sign lookup tool. I know, there are already quite a few out there, but why not?  The one I have written even shows a Google map widget on the page showing the address of the QTH.  If you are interested in checking it out, please visit http://www.mikebryant.com:8080/LicenseLookup/

Please let me know how you like it. If you have any suggestions of other features or edits you think would be cool, please let me know!

My first contact on CW!

Well, the ocf dipole (aka ‘Windom’) antenna I put up today must be working ok.  I was playing around this evening listening on the HF bands to see what was going on.  80 meters was somewhat busy, especially on CW (Morse Code).  40 meters was jamming. It was so busy that I was wondering if I could even find an open frequency. The upper frequencies of the Novice/Tech CW portion was open, however, and I heard a station calling CQ.  And just at my (slooow) speed.  So I answered.  As the station came back to me, suddenly someone with a super-fast keyer started sending, and loud. Thus the QSO ended since I couldn’t copy.  I sent a quick ‘SRY TOO MUCH QRM. GD DAY’ message and moved on.

I called a few CQs on 80 meters… no luck.  Moved back to 40 meters and called CQ a couple times… was ready to call it a night.  Then, I heard someone calling CQ.  They were sending a bit too fast for me, but I figured I’d go for it.  Ended up with a QSO with a nice fella up in New York. He was quite kind and understanding with me, thankfully! Man, was I nervous!!!

I guess that dipole is working ok, got a 599 report from way up in  New York.

CQ, CQ, CQ…

After MUCH too long away, I have finally returned to Amateur Radio (aka Ham Radio). Back in the late 80′s when I was in high school I got my Novice License but no radio. In college I joined a Ham radio club on campus, got my Tech+ license, and got active in VHF using a local 2 meter repeater. I always wanted to play on the HF bands, just never had the financial resources or space required. Fast forward to marriage, job, kids, etc and I got out of the hobby altogether. I never wanted out, but either the finances or the timing never seemed to work out.

I finally decided to get back into the hobby and bought a used Icom IC-718 and an LDG tuner. Strung up my 132 ft (88/44) OCF dipole with 20′ vertical radiator today. It ended up not being as high as I wanted, probably averages 25′ above ground. Was hoping for 30-35′, but I’ll take it. I need to ground it better, but for now I hammered a copper grounding rod in the ground and used some old speaker wire (!) to connect the radio and tuner to the rod. Not the best, but you use what you have…

Receive is good, but no contacts yet. I called out a few USB CQ’s on 10 meters but nothing. Not surprising really. 10 meters had some activity so I thought I would have a chance, but oh well. I plan on listening to some CW QSOs this evening on 40 meters and practicing my code reading skills. Hopefully I’ll get up the nerve to call out CQ using CW!

Kind of embarrassing to have been licensed so long and never made a single CW contact and only one 10 meter USB contact, but getting that HF rig late is much better than never! I am also working on getting my General ticket.

If you happen to be listening on 40 meters and hear a slow morse code coming from KC4APP, please be kind!