Monday, October 5, 2009

Ideas for QSL cards

Ok, we all love to get them, so how can you be unique? As an ad guy (my day job) I'm always looking for ways to stand out.

So here are some ideas - snap a shot of yourself while working a station then upload it to walmart and print a custom card each time. For just a few cents each you can have it printed on photo paper.

Or even better, print plastic "credit-card" style cards. I guarantee that no one has ever gotten a QSL card like this! Go to, upload your image and boom! They also make GREAT eyeball cards for the next ham fest!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Testing the band

Today was my daughters birthday, but that didn't stop me from getting a few minutes of PSK work in. Stumbled across a HOT band full or guys calling CQ TARA.

After discovering that TARA was a PSK contest by the Troy Amateur Radio Association, I answered several CQs and logged a few new contacts. My son even made one during a brief visit to the shack.

Also managed to pull in a French station this afternoon. Love this mode!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Hopelessly connected to you...

I finally broke down and ordered a CAT cable for my FT-840. Got it off ebay from Steve Gwilliam, who builds them himself. GREAT cable! Nicely built and a great dealt for about $20.

The only hitch I ran into is that the FT-840 runs on 4800 baud, which is not the norm. A little tweaking and I figured out the problem. Set it right and BOOM! There was full control from Ham Radio Deluxe.

Now I'm hooked!

It's awesome. I really enjoy the power of clicking my mouse and watching the readout change. I know, many of you have done this for years and say I'm just now joining the 21st century. I don't care It's still WAY cool.

Also, signed up for Also, a very cool application. Love the "ON AIR" sign that posts directly the panel on the right. Had a little trouble with the custom colors in the script set up, but I fixed that with a custom style line in the html.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Mr. Yaesu, you are now under my control

Wow! I've been waiting patiently for Her Majesty's best postal workers, along with some assistance from our own, to deliver a brand new C.A.T. cable for my FT-840. And finally, today, it arrived.

I hooked it up. Fired up HRD, choose the FT-840 option and poof...errors. I did it again...errors. I curled my lip...errors. I downloaded the instruction sheet, which detailed everything I'd already done, tried again and...errors.

No frequency memory write...nothing.

A little Googling and the there it was. The FT-840 requires a baud rate of 4800. Suddenly, the system roared to life!

All I can say is AWSOME. I can feel the power! And I look good doing it!

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.