13 Colonies Award

11224138_10206185948259982_608409981888040627_o[1]July 4th weekend this year, hams all over participated in the 13 Colonies contest. The goal being to make contact with a special amateur radio station in all 13 of the original 13 colonies which formed the nexus for the establishing of these now fifty United States. Not as easy as it might seem at first, only one station in each state and thousands of other hams trying to get an acknowledgement as well. In short, I had a tremendously fun weekend working to get all 13 and made it. My award took almost two months but worth the wait. Already looking forward to next year. It’s what we hams do. Have fun! (click on certificate to see it larger).

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My Swag from the Shelby Hamfest

20150906_132338[1]It’s a Vibroplex Code Warrior Jr., wonderfully sturdy iambic paddle for Morse code (CW), marvelously crafted and a lot heavier than it looks. Love it. I’ve had a Vibroplex “bug” (semi automatic key for over fifty years. This acquisition brings me into the modern age. I got to the hamfest earlier specifically looking for a paddle since I want to get back into CW. I would have been delighted with a cheaper BY-1 or anything else of a lesser ilk than the Code Warrior but I lucked into this find at a price less than a used BY-1, etc. Mighty pleased. Yes!

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Worked All States (WAS) Award

wasW5VE qualified for the Worked All States award on Sept. 1, 2015. Sponsored by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), the rules for this award read in part:  “The WAS (Worked All States) Award is available to all amateurs worldwide who submit proof with written confirmation of contacts with each of the 50 states of the United States of America.” Which means I made a confirmed (a paper “QSL” postcard exchange or an official entry authenticated by both parties online in the ARRL’s Logbook of the World or LoTW) two-way radio contact with one or more harm radio operators in each of the 50 U.S. states.  It took me from Dec. 12, 2014 to Sept. 1, 2015 to achieve these contacts. In this case, all states were confirmed via LoTW. Continue reading…

Coolest Vintage Radio Ever

california_kilowattby Matt Novak — “If you were a radio nerd in the 1940s, this was your dream set. Built by Kluge Electronics in Los Angeles, the “California Kilowatt” could not only send and receive messages, but it came with all the bells and whistles — including built-in speakers and an illuminated map of the world, all housed in a sleek fold-down desk.

The term California Kilowatt was slang in the ham radio community for a transmitter with a power input that exceeded the legal limit. The slightly misleading part? This radio only transmitted at the legal limit. I guess even the coolest radio ever can’t have it all.

From the ad in the March 1946 issue of Radio-Craft:

Kluge Electronics, Inc., is the first to conceive, design and produce this remarkable contribution to modern radio. Among the special Kluge features designed into the CALIFORNIA KILOWATT are:

A California Kilowatt transmitter with an amazing new tube development — 5 band operation with variable frequency control in each band — phone or CW at the throw of a switch — 110 or 220 volt operation;

Provisions for your choice make of receiver;

Built-in speaker — (high-fidelity remote speaker also available); Continue reading…

W5VE Mobile 4 in the Mountains

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Taking a break yesterday up near Winding Stair Gap in the beautiful mountains of Macon County, North Carolina. The antennas are for my ham radios — 220 in the front, duoband 2 meters/440 behind (W5VE).

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Battery Lugs

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This the power supply for my Icom 7200. When I the rig last December, I just twisted the wires, bent them into a semicircle, and screwed them down. Not a very secure way of getting power. … Since Pat won the Yaesu FT8900 at the WCARS hamfest in Waynesville NC, I need both hooked up to the power supply so I could program hers. I went to one of the auto parts stores and got 10/12 gauge battery lugs (cheap) today. Crunched them on and all’s fine as shown below. … Of course, I violate a major rule here, having the wire and the lug only connected mechanically. As they drilled into us when I was learning electronics, you make a mechanical connection to hold two conductors together, then you SOLDER them to make sure you have an electrical connection. I’ll get around to that. 

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SDR Radios in the Cloud!

[It’s quite logical when you think about it — lots more computer power in the cloud]

cloud_sdr

The Cloud-IQ is the latest high performance software defined receiver from RFSPACE. The Cloud-IQ offers two modes of operation. The IQ mode, offers 24 bit, IQ streaming to the PC over ethernet. This mode uses our SpectraVue software or third party programs like SDR-Radio, SDR# and GNU radio. The stand-alone “Cloud” mode includes a built-in internet server. In this mode, the radio performs the tuning and demodulation of signals and transmits the demodulated information back to a PC, OS-X, Linux or Android client anywhere in the world.
Continue reading…

KB1HIK New NASA Deputy Administrator

dava [photo from “Building the Future Spacesuit ” by Dava Newman, read here]… “Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) professor Dava Newman, KB1HIK, has been sworn in as the deputy administrator of NASA. President Barack Obama appointed Newman last October, and the US Senate confirmed her appointment on April 27. The swearing-in took place on May 15 in her MIT office in Cambridge. Newman is Apollo Professor of Astronautics and Engineering Systems and the director of the Technology and Policy Program at MIT. She started her official duties as NASA’s new deputy administrator on May 18 at the agency’s headquarters in Washington, DC. Continue reading…

Amateur Radio Helping Nepal

This video is an effort to show the world how important ham radio communications are to the survival and relief of people trapped in a disaster zone. These operators have worked for hours upon hours to pass messages into and out of Nepal.

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