Saturday, June 13, 2009

Off to HamCom

We visited HamCom this past Friday. Peyton had a good time, even though we didn't win any prizes. He got several "free" things including a Yeasu hat, an led light and some Icom comic books.

I picked up some power poles for my gear (already installed on my HF and mobile 2m rigs) and bought a new 2m mobile mag-mount antenna.

The highlight of the trip (at least for Peyton) had to be seeing Gordon West. Peyton knew him from the picture on the back of his Tech study manual. Gordon was gracious enough encourage him, pat him on the shoulder and even pose for a photo. Peyton swears he won't wash the shirt now!

All-in-all a great time and a wonderful start to a week-long vacation!

Monday, January 12, 2009

New setup

Well, I spent a few hours this weekend changing the shack up. The laptop just wasn't cutting it for Digital Master 780. So I built a new box frame moved my old tower to the radio room.

A little re-arranging and everything is working like a charm. Much faster now. The only problem is a little interference on the CRT monitor from the power supply. I'll try to shield it better to see if that helps.

Made several good contacts by taking advantage of the PSK Fest. Worked several California and Florida stations, all on 20 meters. Seems the MFJ Loop is doing a great job.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Back on the bands with a helping hand

Well, since moving back to texas from Germany nearly seven years ago, I haven't really spent much time in the shack. Every now and then, I'd wander out and turn on the rig and listen around, but nothing else really.

But now my son is nine and has taken an interest in ham radio. It's still not as strong as his DS-Lite addiction or his passion for Pokemon, but he is interested and that is a start.
We are studying for his Tech exam and so, naturaly, we've been at the dial some over the past few weeks. And that's when it stuck...the digital bug.

I'd worked RTTY before. Years ago. I built the famous "HamComm" interface and routinely chatted with hams from Israel, Russia and the Ukraine. There was something about that loop (the same one I'm using now) that made a great path from eastern Germany to the Middle East and the Eastern Russia. So when I played around with some RTTY this time (and a little SSTV to impress the kid) I thought I'd try to decode a little PSK31.

Wow. I mean, "Wow!" I was hooked from the start. A narrow mode that (with the right software) allowed me to view a dozen conversations at once. I spent way too much time in the shack. And that was just a few weeks ago.

I've had QSOs with several stations all across North and central America and even a couple into Europe. Then I stumbled across PSK Reporter. Amazing! I'm definately hooked. And Peyton likes it too.