Skip to main content

Foundations of Amateur Radio podcast - Morse Code Version

The Foundations of Amateur Radio podcast delivered in Morse code. The text is identical to the spoken word version of the podcast.



rss RSS

400
RESULTS


Show sorted alphabetically

Show sorted alphabetically

SHOW DETAILS
up-solid down-solid
eye
Title
Date Published
Creator
Foundations of Amateur Radio podcast - Morse Code Version
by Onno VK6FLAB
audio

eye 9

favorite 0

comment 0

Foundations of Amateur Radio With the growing availability of new ways of communicating across the globe, from digital voice such as CODEC2, through weak signal modes like WSPR, JT65, MSK144 and FT4 to name a few, with Internet linked radio such as Brandmeister and DMR and the newly granted access to all Australian amateurs to all those modes, it's easy to overlook the one mode that started this adventure. Morse Code. It's no longer required to obtain your amateur license, so if that was...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio podcast - Morse Code Version
by Onno VK6FLAB
audio

eye 7

favorite 0

comment 0

Foundations of Amateur Radio The American Radio Relay League or ARRL is one of the oldest amateur associations on Earth. 1926 saw the birth of "the Radio Amateur's Handbook", the first edition of what we now know as "The ARRL Handbook For Radio Communications" featured chapters on what it means to be an amateur, how to build and operate a station, how propagation works and how to experiment. The very first handbook had 5000 copies printed and thanks to the website...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Source: http://podcasts.itmaze.com.au/foundations/20220814.foundations-of-amateur-radio.txt
Foundations of Amateur Radio podcast - Morse Code Version
by Onno VK6FLAB
audio

eye 4

favorite 0

comment 0

Foundations of Amateur Radio Recently I made a commitment to building a crystal radio. That started a fevered discussion with several people who provided many helpful suggestions. This is the first time I'm building a crystal radio and to make things interesting I'm selecting my own components, and circuit diagram. What could possibly go wrong? Crystal radios have been around for a while. Around 1894 Indian physicist Jagadish Chandra Bose was the first to use a crystal as a radio wave detector,...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio podcast - Morse Code Version
by Onno VK6FLAB
audio

eye 3

favorite 0

comment 0

Foundations of Amateur Radio The second clause of the original Amateur's Code reads: The Amateur is Loyal. He owes his amateur radio to the American Radio Relay League, and he offers it his unswerving loyalty. The 2022 ARRL handbook presents it with the following words: The Radio Amateur is LOYAL...offers loyalty, encouragement and support to other amateurs, local clubs and the American Radio Relay League, through which Amateur Radio in the United States is represented nationally and...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Source: http://podcasts.itmaze.com.au/foundations/20220828.foundations-of-amateur-radio.txt
Foundations of Amateur Radio podcast - Morse Code Version
by Onno VK6FLAB
audio

eye 9

favorite 0

comment 0

Foundations of Amateur Radio The hobby we call Amateur Radio is hard to explain to anyone outside. I was recently asked about what it was about the experience that had me hooked. I talked about Summits on the Air, SOTA, Islands on the Air, IOTA, World Wide Flora and Fauna, WWFF and satellite communications. DX hunting and competitions, but I never quite managed to capture what it all really means. Since then I came across a really wonderful explanation about what it is that we have here. Said...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio podcast - Morse Code Version
by Onno VK6FLAB
audio

eye 9

favorite 0

comment 0

Foundations of Amateur Radio Recently I had the opportunity to operate mobile in 30 different locations within a 24 hour period. I'd done some preparatory work, in the way of looking closely at maps and plotting my expected route to know where I was and how far it was to the next location. One of the things I noticed while operating was that my signal reports varied greatly. I also noticed that the local noise floor was quite variable, power lines don't realy show up on a map and I can tell you...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio podcast - Morse Code Version
by Onno VK6FLAB
audio

eye 8

favorite 0

comment 0

Foundations of Amateur Radio Recently I read a comment a fellow amateur made about an antenna. He said: "Of course, that antenna is a compromise..." Let me say that again: "That antenna is a compromise ..." It was the funniest thing I'd seen all week and the person making the statement wasn't even trying to be funny. Unless you're looking at the Sun from a distance, or checking out the propagation associated with the Big Bang, All Antennas are a compromise. We can prove that...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio podcast - Morse Code Version
by Onno VK6FLAB
audio

eye 1

favorite 0

comment 0

Foundations of Amateur Radio It broke and now what? Imagine you're a new amateur. You've woken up in the middle of the night because insomnia seems like a good way to use amateur radio as an excuse to get on air and make some noise. You turn on the radio, key up the transmitter and the next thing you know it's dark. The breaker that powers your radio popped and there's no more glow coming from the hardware that's warming up your shack. You get up, reset the breaker, tighten up your dressing...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio The third clause of the original Amateur's Code reads: The Amateur is Progressive. He keeps his station abreast of science. It is built well and efficiently. His operating practice is clean and regular. The 2022 ARRL handbook is similar: The Radio Amateur is PROGRESSIVE...with knowledge abreast of science, a well-built and efficient station and operation above reproach. The ARRL website adds in some pronouns and removes the science from the clause: The Radio Amateur...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Source: http://podcasts.itmaze.com.au/foundations/20220904.foundations-of-amateur-radio.txt
Foundations of Amateur Radio In our hobby we regularly invoke line of sight when we discuss the VHF and higher bands. It's a simple concept to help describe when two transceivers can hear each other. The process evokes an image of a beam of light travelling unobstructed between the antennas at either end. Some might picture a laser, others a flashlight, both are useful to become familiar with some of the concepts. If there's a pole between the two, a laser beam, unless it's particularly...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Source: http://podcasts.itmaze.com.au/foundations/20220508.foundations-of-amateur-radio.txt
Foundations of Amateur Radio podcast - Morse Code Version
by Onno VK6FLAB
audio

eye 3

favorite 0

comment 0

Foundations of Amateur Radio Last week I went on an adventure and came home with an experience. I've been wanting to go out and play radio for a while. Work has been spectacularly unhelpful in making time available to achieve this, not to mention the 17 million other things vying for my undivided attention. Last week the planets aligned and my outing came to pass. I'd set my sights on doing a SOTA activation. If you're not familiar with that, SOTA is an acronym for Summits On The Air and the...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio podcast - Morse Code Version
by Onno VK6FLAB
audio

eye 5

favorite 0

comment 0

Foundations of Amateur Radio So, there's nothing on TV, the bands are dead, nobody is answering your CQ, you're bored and it's all too hard. You've run out of things to try, there's only so many different ways to use the radio and it's all too much. I mean, you've only got CW, AM, SSB, FM, there's Upper and Lower Side-band, then there's RTTY, the all too popular FT8, then there's WSPR, but then you run out of things. I mean, right? What about PSK31, SSTV, then there's AMTOR, Hellschreiber,...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio In my ongoing software explorations I've discussed that Software Defined Radio or SDR is a fundamentally different way of dealing with radio. It's been in use across non-amateur circles for decades. Your mobile phone has an SDR on board for example. The original term of "digital receiver" was coined in 1970, "software radio" was coined in 1984 and in 1991 Joe Mitola reinvented the term "software radio" for a planned mobile phone base...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio podcast - Morse Code Version
by Onno VK6FLAB
audio

eye 3

favorite 0

comment 0

Foundations of Amateur Radio The act of telling someone about something is promoting it, not in a marketing sense, just an awareness sense. The act of not telling someone is keeping a secret. Radio amateurs, and I have no doubt, people who are not, like to plan things. They set-up contests, on-air activities, organise swap-meets, build websites, write articles, invent things, build stuff, and all manner of other amazing activities. Some amateurs talk about what they've been up to, but most just...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio The thing I like about our community is that there is always something new brewing, someone is inventing something, making something or doing something. It amazes me that the level of ingenuity is boundless. During the week someone asked the question, "What's the difference between AM and FM?" and while answering that could incorporate hand waving, arrows and drawings, I came across a much simpler explanation, which simply says it all. Credit goes to...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio We think of radio as operating on a specific frequency. We select an antenna resonant on a single band. We configure the radio for that same band and then turn the dial or the VFO, or Variable Frequency Oscillator to a particular frequency within that band. All of our language is geared towards this concept of tuning, of picking out, selecting one special tuned, resonant frequency and listening to it. I've said this before, but that's not actually what's happening....
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio podcast - Morse Code Version
by Onno VK6FLAB
audio

eye 10

favorite 0

comment 0

Foundations of Amateur Radio Today we have a standard for our on-air phonetic alphabet - technically it's called a spelling alphabet, but I digress. As you should be aware if you're a licensed Amateur, we use the so-called standard phonetic alphabet. It's used and defined by several organisations, including the International Telecommunications Union, the International Civil Aviation Organisation and NATO. It should come as no surprise that each of those organisations defines their own alphabet....
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio The art of amateur radio is a globe spanning activity, held together by radio waves and the promise of a community with a shared uncommon interest. The strength of a community depends entirely on the members of that community. Without the efforts of each individual amateur, our worldwide license to experiment is doomed. You might ask yourself what part you have to play in this? Consider what would happen if a group of amateurs decided to transmit on an unlicensed...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Source: http://podcasts.itmaze.com.au/foundations/20220724.foundations-of-amateur-radio.txt
Foundations of Amateur Radio Previously I've spoken about the dynamic nature of your station. Even if from day to day use, nothing changes, things around you are always in flux. Propagation changes, power fluctuates and the environment in which your antenna operates is dynamic. Mobile stations even more so. A few days ago we had a gale come through, strong enough to do some major damage, rip off some roofs, break some trees, cause flooding, cause power outages, plummeting temperatures, the...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio Today I'm going to talk about housekeeping, that is, the things you should be doing while you're doing the things you like doing, like making noise on air. The topic of Logging is one that continues to attract comment, suggestion, frustration and on occasion ridicule. Let me start with the fact that the very first contact that I made was not logged. I can tell you exactly which day it was, Sunday, April 17. I can tell you where I was, Stirk Park in Kalamunda in...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio Today I was going to talk to you about Grid Dip Oscillators. Some research later I realised that I don't yet understand the topic enough to explain it to myself, let alone explain it to you. I then set my sights on a simpler thing, an SWR Meter. Pretty standard fare in a radio shack. You plug it in and off you go, nothing to it. So I then set about learning how this actually works. As you know, if it's written on the Internet, it must be true, and in this case,...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio Today I'm going to talk about QRP, a term that's used in various different environments and one that I've used in the past. So, let's start at the beginning. QRP is a three letter code, part of the so-called Q-codes, that can either be a question or an answer. It's used in Morse communications to either ask "Shall I decrease transmitter power?" or to answer "Yes, decrease your transmitter power." It was perfectly valid for a kilowatt station to...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio podcast - Morse Code Version
by Onno VK6FLAB
audio

eye 2

favorite 0

comment 0

Foundations of Amateur Radio Recently I made a comment about melting your coax and that this was a bad thing. Today I'm going to talk about some of how this comes about and what kinds of parameters we're dealing with. Let's start with coax itself. The operating temperature of coax is somewhere around 80 to 90 Degrees Celsius, or 176 to 194 Fahrenheit. Soldering is at 230 Celsius, or 446 Fahrenheit, so for starters, soldering coax is a risky adventure. For argument's sake, let's assume that you...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio podcast - Morse Code Version
by Onno VK6FLAB
audio

eye 2

favorite 0

comment 0

Foundations of Amateur Radio Recently I talked about making a propagation map in your mind by listening to the various NCDXF beacons across the globe on various HF bands. You're not limited to listening to a beacon to learn what propagation is like. If I tell you that listening to a band gives you an indication on what's going on, you're likely to respond with: "Duh". But what if I suggest that instead of listening to a DX station running a pile-up, you instead listen to the stations...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio Have you ever been on air and in the middle of a wonderful discussion that all of a sudden and often unexpectedly erupts into a heated argument about nothing? One of those conversations that came to mind was about what the term DX means. I'd been taught that DX means outside the country and if you're calling CQ DX, I was taught that this means that you're looking for a contact in the next country. So. What's the argument? Simple really. In a nutshell, making a...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio Being on air and getting on air are part of the journey that you undertake when becoming a Radio Amateur, but what happens before all that, what do you need to get your foot in the door as it were? If you're listening to this via a radio, you're already on the journey, but if you've downloaded this as a podcast, you're not far behind and your journey towards becoming a Radio Amateur is just around the corner. Let's start with a few things before I start with the...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio podcast - Morse Code Version
by Onno VK6FLAB
audio

eye 9

favorite 0

comment 0

Foundations of Amateur Radio There is a persistent perception among a small part of the amateur community that you need to build, buy or use antennas with a perfect 1:1 SWR to get the best results. Sometimes a contest erupts with who can get the lowest SWR. Without getting technical, since that could take hours and you have better things to do. A 50 Ohm dummy load has a perfect SWR of 1:1 and you should already know that a proper dummy load doesn't radiate, so while it has a perfect SWR it's...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio podcast - Morse Code Version
by Onno VK6FLAB
audio

eye 2

favorite 0

comment 0

Foundations of Amateur Radio Recently I was told that Amateur Radio as a hobby is dead. This isn't news. It's often repeated and the story goes like this. The hobby is full of old dying men who when they finally shuffle off this mortal coil, or as we like to say "become a silent key", will take their hobby with them. There is anecdotal evidence to back this up. An organisation that tasked itself with the preservation of Morse Code in the tradition of Telegraphers and Seafarers is...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio podcast - Morse Code Version
by Onno VK6FLAB
audio

eye 1

favorite 0

comment 0

Foundations of Amateur Radio The way we connect our antenna to our radio depends on a number of different factors. If you've come through the ranks recently, like I have, it's probable that you've only ever considered using COAXIAL cable. It's a single conductor, surrounded by some type of insulator, which in turn is surrounded by a conductive shield, which is protected by another layer. There are variations where the shield has multiple layers, including layers of foil and braid, so-called...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I look at an antenna and marvel at what it implies. A simple piece of conducting material made into some particular shape and size that harnesses the radio spectrum. I find it fascinating that this can and does exist and my fascination translates into a thing of beauty. I recall being on a camping trip and being introduced by a friend to an antenna that was strung between two trees in the middle of the bush. For some reason that...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio podcast - Morse Code Version
by Onno VK6FLAB
audio

eye 1

favorite 0

comment 0

Foundations of Amateur Radio The social aspects of our hobby are a never ending feast of variety. Since the requirement for becoming an amateur is that you're interested, the assortment of people who arrive at our doorstep can be described as a motley crew. I once stood in a room with radio amateurs and if I recall correctly, between us we had a surgeon, a naval officer, a sailor, a truck driver, a hiking enthusiast, a computer professional, young and old. Some were retired, others hadn't...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio Where are all the Amateurs is a question that I am asked regularly by new entrants into our community. The journey most new amateurs go through and the one I followed starts with becoming interested, getting a license, buying a radio, setting it up and then turning on your radio. If you're lucky you are at this point surrounded by other amateurs, hopefully in a club setting, or you have a friend nearby and you're off and running. The reality is likely that even...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio Over the years I've been asked what the hobby of amateur radio is all about. My response has evolved over time, but it started with the lure of simple point-to-point communications. The antidote against such an example is that a mobile phone does that and more. Of course if you're already in the hobby you know that there is a massive difference between the two, but if you're an onlooker that is not nearly as obvious. There are other problems with an answer like...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio podcast - Morse Code Version
by Onno VK6FLAB
audio

eye 2

favorite 0

comment 0

Foundations of Amateur Radio For decades I've been playing with every new piece of technology that comes my way. In amateur radio terms that's reflected in, among other things, playing with different antennas, radios, modes and software. One of the modes I've played with is slow scan television or SSTV. It's an amateur mode that transmits pictures rather than voice over amateur radio. A couple of months ago a local amateur, Adrian VK6XAM, set-up an SSTV repeater. The way it works is that you...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio podcast - Morse Code Version
by Onno VK6FLAB
audio

eye 6

favorite 0

comment 0

Foundations of Amateur Radio If you connect the antenna ports of two radios together and transmit from one into the other, that would be bad, right? Just how bad would it be and what could you do differently? Before I dig in, you might ask yourself why on Earth this question even arises. Consider having two radios and one antenna. You couldn't use a T-piece to connect two radios to the antenna unless both were receivers. So, after connecting and disconnecting coax for a decade, you might decide...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Source: http://podcasts.itmaze.com.au/foundations/20220619.foundations-of-amateur-radio.txt
Foundations of Amateur Radio If you've ever been in the market for a new radio, and truth be told, who isn't, you'll find yourself faced with a bewildering array of options varying from obvious to obscure and everything in between. At the obvious end of the scale are things like price, bands and transmit power and at the other end are things like Narrow Spaced Dynamic Range, which you'll find explained by Rob NC0B on his sherweng.com website where he's been publishing receiver test data for...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Source: http://podcasts.itmaze.com.au/foundations/20230122.foundations-of-amateur-radio.txt
Foundations of Amateur Radio Having been able to call myself an amateur for over a decade, it might come as a surprise to you that it wasn't until a couple of weeks ago that I thought about attenuators for the first time. They're a curious tool and once you come across them, you'll never be quite the same. Before I dive in you should know that an amplifier is an active tool that makes things bigger and an attenuator is a passive tool that makes things smaller. To look at, attenuators are...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Source: http://podcasts.itmaze.com.au/foundations/20221204.foundations-of-amateur-radio.txt
Foundations of Amateur Radio Not a weekend goes by without an amateur radio contest or six, each with its own objectives, audience, times, rules, exchanges and scores. When you get bitten by the contesting bug, you'll quickly graduate from using pen and paper to keyboard and screen. That process comes with the inevitable selection of software suitable to both run on your shack computer and log your particular contest since as you'll discover, not all software knows about all contests or runs on...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Source: http://podcasts.itmaze.com.au/foundations/20220703.foundations-of-amateur-radio.txt
Foundations of Amateur Radio For some time I've been explaining how some of the internal workings of a Software Defined Radio operate with a view to getting into the nitty gritty of the why and the how. This exploration is happening within the context of a world where there are countless choices for selecting a radio to match your budget. Increasingly that selection process starts with a simple question: Should I purchase a Software Defined Radio or a traditional radio? This is not a new...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio There are moments in your life when you say to yourself, duh, why didn't I think of this earlier? I had one of those last week. As you might recall, I have a hard time using HF communications from my home. There is lots of noise around and I've been going out mobile and portable to make contacts. As satisfying as that is, nothing beats sitting at home in your comfy chair with all the other home amenities. Ideally I have this notion that I should be able to do my...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio One of the recurring topics in on-air discussion is that of antennas and if we were to graph the topics of conversations, antennas would be the clear winner in any line-up. As a beginning Amateur this phenomenon bamboozled me for a very long time. Why are these people talking about antennas all the time and what's there to know that you can't say in 30 seconds? From the mouths of babes... I've mentioned in the past that Amateur Radio is to a very large degree magic....
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio podcast - Morse Code Version
by Onno VK6FLAB
audio

eye 6

favorite 0

comment 0

Foundations of Amateur Radio When you start playing with radio your first interaction is likely to be voice. It could be SSB, AM, FM or something more recent like FreeDV or DMR. Your next challenge is likely going to be a digital mode like Morse Code, Radio Teletype or my recommendation for your first adventure, WSPR or Weak Signal Propagation Reporter. I've previously discussed WSPR, today I would like to look at Radio Teletype or RTTY. It's a digital mode that allows you to send and receive...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio podcast - Morse Code Version
by Onno VK6FLAB
audio

eye 6

favorite 0

comment 0

Foundations of Amateur Radio Antennas and propagation are the two single most discussed topics in our hobby, that and how an FT8 contact isn't real. Not a day goes by without some conversation about what antenna is the best one and by how much? In my opinion it's a futile effort made all the worse by so called experts explaining in undeniable gobbledegook, or sometimes even using science, just how any particular antenna is a compromise. The truth is that most conductive materials radiate to...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Source: http://podcasts.itmaze.com.au/foundations/20220417.foundations-of-amateur-radio.txt
Foundations of Amateur Radio podcast - Morse Code Version
by Onno VK6FLAB
audio

eye 3

favorite 0

comment 0

Foundations of Amateur Radio If you have the opportunity to build your shack, it might start off as a table in the corner where you plonk down a radio, plug into nearby power and run coax to. That's pretty much how most shacks start, mine included. For me the step of running coax was an activity that took weeks of planning and procrastination and days of climbing on the roof. After actually completing that and getting two runs of coax to my planned shack, one for HF and one for UHF and VHF, the...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio During the week I was reading a comment from another amateur about digital modes. Tucked inside that comment was a phrase that could easily have been overlooked, but it reminded me that there is plenty to learn and test in the field of amateur radio. The phrase, "requires actual understanding of audio level paths" was uttered by Chris, VK2CJB and it prompted a brief conversation at the time, but I've been working on it ever since. Where I arrived at is an...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Source: http://podcasts.itmaze.com.au/foundations/20220206.foundations-of-amateur-radio.txt
Foundations of Amateur Radio podcast - Morse Code Version
by Onno VK6FLAB
audio

eye 9

favorite 0

comment 0

Foundations of Amateur Radio There are questions that happen, over and over again. In computing they're called FAQ's, or Frequently Asked Questions. Here are some that happen in Amateur Radio. What radio should I buy? It depends on your budget. Where are you going to be using this radio, at home, in the car, in a park or on a mountain? Will you have power where you are, will you be using HF, or will you be using VHF, UHF and above? Ask other amateurs around you, use their radios and have a...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio podcast - Morse Code Version
by Onno VK6FLAB
audio

eye 4

favorite 0

comment 0

Foundations of Amateur Radio The ultimate radio shack is a nirvana that most amateurs I've met strive for all their life. One of the many views I've heard on the topic keeps speaking to me, one of minimalism, less is more, what is the absolute minimum that you can use and still call yourself an amateur? As you know, I've recently moved and my shack was packed up into some boxes and is now slowly being unearthed. At the moment there are two antennas, a radio and a power supply. Keen observers...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio podcast - Morse Code Version
by Onno VK6FLAB
audio

eye 3

favorite 0

comment 0

Foundations of Amateur Radio The other day I looked in my diary and noticed that it was the anniversary of my first solo flight. If that's not familiar to you, it means I got in an aeroplane on my own for the first time, taxied to the end of the runway, made a radio call to warn all the other pilots, took off, flew a circuit and landed safely. All the essentials for flying a plane. It occurred to me that there was a period of preparation associated with that flight. I did training, I practised,...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio podcast - Morse Code Version
by Onno VK6FLAB
audio

eye 4

favorite 0

comment 0

Foundations of Amateur Radio Over the past year and a half I've been working on a secret project. Today I'd like to share what I've been up to. To set the scene, I'm not doing this on my own, a fellow co-conspirator is Randall VK6WR who became an amateur about 20 months ago. Randall has a long association with the Engineering Development Array and the Murchison Wide Field Array, two of several radio telescopes that are built on one of the few radio quiet areas in the world and located near the...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio podcast - Morse Code Version
by Onno VK6FLAB
audio

eye 2

favorite 0

comment 0

Foundations of Amateur Radio A while ago I set up a WSPR, or Weak Signal Propagation Reporter at home. Before I go into the details, WSPR is an amateur radio protocol that allows stations to transmit their callsign, location and power level and for receivers around the globe to decode those and upload the results to a central database. It's a great way to see what you can hear and what propagation is like. A couple of months ago the regulator changed the Australian License Conditions...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio Recently I had a conversation with a group of amateurs, ranging in experience from newbie to salty, from purchase to build, from buy to scrounge, in other words, the whole range. One person in the group asked about how to get started with soldering. Their first harmonic had just been granted a license and they wanted to encourage the new amateur to build something, anything. That in turn started a whole conversation about the how, where, why and what of the way of...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio The other day I did an experiment. I searched for "dipole calculator" and using the first 20 results I calculated the length of a dipole suitable for 7.130 MHz. I chose the frequency for no other reason that there is a 7130 DX net every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and for the longest time I've been unable to participate due to the lack of a HF antenna in my new shack. So here's some things I learnt from doing this experiment. Depending on which calculator...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio A little while ago I had the chance to use a mobile radio with high power. I used it to learn about the coverage of our local repeater, but also to hear what the effects were when two local radios were both using the same repeater and high power at the same time. I made all manner of observations and wondered how much of what I observed was real and how much was a case of me adding two and two together and coming up with five. Immediately after I made those...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio podcast - Morse Code Version
by Onno VK6FLAB
audio

eye 0

favorite 0

comment 0

Foundations of Amateur Radio Have you ever considered the infrastructure that exists to make it possible to tune to 7.090 MHz, call CQ and make contact with anyone on the planet? In a world where we as radio amateurs share spectrum with radio and television broadcasters, mobile phones, wireless networks, satellites, GPS, drones, wireless headphones, radar, boating, aviation, citizen band, garage door openers, fitness trackers and any other wireless gadget imaginable, not to mention radio...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio podcast - Morse Code Version
by Onno VK6FLAB
audio

eye 2

favorite 0

comment 0

Foundations of Amateur Radio Previously I've talked about leaving your shack and setting up your station in a different location. I have my car configured as a mobile shack of sorts, that is, it's got a radio, an antenna mount and wiring to manage the location of the speaker, the head-unit and the microphone. This weekend I'm planning to do a contest and it's been a while since I operated my radio from my car. I've been advocating that you should do some preparation before actually going and...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio podcast - Morse Code Version
by Onno VK6FLAB
audio

eye 2

favorite 0

comment 0

Foundations of Amateur Radio On Thursday the 3rd of July 2008 at 6 minutes to 7 at night a developer called Dan KK7DS started to scratch an itch and published the results. The next morning before breakfast Dan added more. Since then about a hundred people from around the globe have contributed to that project. Some people made little changes, others made large contributions over many years. In all, on average, the project saw a change every 29 hours over more than a decade of contributions. On...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio podcast - Morse Code Version
by Onno VK6FLAB
audio

eye 1

favorite 0

comment 0

Foundations of Amateur Radio Mark Twain is often misquoted in relation to reports about his death, pithy as always, he said: "The report of my death was an exaggeration." Similarly the death of amateur radio has been reported on many different occasions. Letting amateurs near a Morse key, banning spark-gap transmitters, introducing transistors, integrated circuits, computers, the internet, software defined radio, the list grows as technology evolves. I can imagine our descendants...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio During the week I climbed on my roof and installed a base antenna for the 2m and 70cm band. The antenna is a Diamond X-300N. It's 3 meters tall, has a gain of 6.5 dB on 2m and 9 dB on 70cm. I've owned it for just under eight years and this week I finally took it out of the box and installed it. I know, I know, in my defence, you shouldn't rush these things. Truth is, until this week I really didn't have a realistic way of installing it. Several factors needed to...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio podcast - Morse Code Version
by Onno VK6FLAB
audio

eye 1

favorite 0

comment 0

Foundations of Amateur Radio Last weekend was memorable for all the right reasons. Filled with 24 hours of amateur radio, spent with friends, in a park, making noise and having fun, marking the first time I recall setting up in a park for that length of time with so few extra resources. Normally we'd be decked out with tents, or in my case a swag, we'd have camping stoves, perhaps even a caravan or two, tables, cutlery, the whole shebang. This time we brought none of that. Just radios,...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio One of the things about amateur radio that I find intensely fascinating and to be honest sometimes just as frustrating, is that you don't know what the outcome of an experiment might be at any one time. Not because you cannot control the experiment, or because you don't know what you're doing, but because the number of variables involved in most meaningful amateur radio experiments is pretty much infinite. I've spoken about this before, the idea that if you were to...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio Previously I've discussed different aspects of contesting in relation to Amateur Radio. If you're unfamiliar with the concept, contesting is an activity where you test your station and skill against other amateurs. Unlike other contests where you're all in the same physical location, say a stadium, or an online playing field, amateur radio contesting is most commonly done from the comfort of your own shack. Of course, as is true for everything in life, there are...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio Today I'm going to look at the actual on-air activity of the contest. Previously I've talked about the preparation and planning, as well as the doing, in terms of mechanics, what to bring, where to put it and how to power it all. At the most basic level, a contest is a combination of two things, making and taking calls. It's an important point, so I'll say it again. A contest is two things, sitting on a frequency and call CQ and have other stations call you, and,...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio In my travels along the highways and byways of the Internet I came across several references to MARS in relation to Amateur Radio. Being the curious soul that I am, my interest was sparked. I must warn you, today there is a lot to cover. First up before I tell you anything, let me start by pointing out that what I'm talking about has different levels of application depending on where you are on the planet. I also need to inform you that in some parts of the globe...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio podcast - Morse Code Version
by Onno VK6FLAB
audio

eye 3

favorite 0

comment 0

Foundations of Amateur Radio Over the past little while I've been experimenting with various tools that decode radio signals. For some of those tools the signals come from space. Equipment in space is moving all the time, which means that the thing you want to hear isn't always in range. For example. The International Space Station or ISS has a typical orbit of 90 minutes. Several times a day there's a pass. That means that it's somewhere within receiving range of my station. It might be very...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio During the week I received an email from a fellow amateur who described that they were feeling deeply disturbed by the decline of the core knowledge underlying the education and certification of today's new amateurs. This is a topic I've covered previously and some of what I'm about to say will touch on things I've said before. I come from a long background in information technology. My first introduction was around the Motorola 6502 processor in the early 1980's....
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio podcast - Morse Code Version
by Onno VK6FLAB
audio

eye 1

favorite 0

comment 0

Foundations of Amateur Radio Lessons Learnt Learning to me is an ongoing process. For some reason that's not a universal experience. I've met people who cram for an exam, pass their test, get the certificate and hang out their shingle. The retained knowledge is spotty and vigorously defended as the final word on the topic. It's never been like that for me. I tend to walk through life intensely curious about the how and why of a thing. Take my recent adventures operating a new to me radio with a...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio podcast - Morse Code Version
by Onno VK6FLAB
audio

eye 9

favorite 0

comment 0

Foundations of Amateur Radio This podcast started life in 2011 when I was asked to record a story I shared during the production of the weekly amateur radio news in Western Australia. I'd been a licensed radio amateur, or ham, for a few months and found myself surrounded by people who perceived the basic Australian foundation amateur licence wasn't worth anything. What use is an F-call? is my response to that sentiment. It's produced weekly. In 2015 after long deliberation it was renamed to...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio There is a curious phenomenon related to how we operate that is pervasive within our community. As an inexperienced ham, I would turn on my radio and tune around and hear nothing. I'd change bands and do it again. Over time I'd work my way through the bands I'm allowed on and find no activity. On rare occasions I'd venture into the wide unknown and see what other bands were doing, ones where I wasn't allowed to transmit due to my license restrictions, and find lots...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio Recently I was asked: "What do you know now that you would have liked to have known when you started in amateur radio?" The hobby of amateur radio is one filled with generosity. Extreme forms of it. People go out of their way to help, to explain, to loan equipment, to help out, to repair stuff and to participate. In the past I've spoken about the negative aspects of this hobby as well. Belligerence, the warlike aggressively hostile nature of individuals...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio podcast - Morse Code Version
by Onno VK6FLAB
audio

eye 0

favorite 0

comment 0

Foundations of Amateur Radio During the week a friend reminded me that the process of determining what's happening within a shack comes with experience. In my day job my whole skill-set can be summed up with one word: "debugging", in all its many and varied guises, fixing code, hardware, business processes, skill-sets, what ever it may be. The process is pretty much, figure out what's going wrong, find out what shouldn't be happening and attempt to join the mismatch together with...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio podcast - Morse Code Version
by Onno VK6FLAB
audio

eye 1

favorite 0

comment 0

Foundations of Amateur Radio In the past I've talked about the Standing Wave Ratio, the SWR, and how it describes some of the characteristics of your antenna system. I say system because it's not just the antenna, it's the connection between your radio and the antenna as well. The coax or feed line, their length and how you've connected your antenna, all feature in the performance of the entire kit and caboodle. As an aside, that's why measuring an antenna with an SWR meter at the bottom of the...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio With computers becoming more and more ensconced within the confines of our radio shack the variety of information available is increasing regularly. The introduction of a waterfall display has dramatically simplified the process of detecting what the activity level is on a particular band. If you've never seen a waterfall display, it's often a real-time, or nearly real-time display of radio activity. Leaving aside the mechanics of how this comes about, or how much...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio podcast - Morse Code Version
by Onno VK6FLAB
audio

eye 3

favorite 0

comment 0

Foundations of Amateur Radio Antenna testing in the field. If you've been around amateur radio for any time at all, you'll know that we spend an awful lot of time talking about antennas. How they work, where to get them, how to build them, how strong they are, how cheap they are, how effective, how resonant, you name it, we have a discussion about it. It might not be immediately obvious why this is the case. An antenna is an antenna, right? Well ... no. Just like the infinite variety of cars on...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio The other day I was adding an item to my to-do list. The purpose of this list is to keep track of the things in my life that I'm interested in investigating or need to do or get to finish a project. My to-do list is like those of most of my fellow travellers, unending, unrelenting and never completed. As I tick off a completed item, three more get added and the list grows. Given some spare time and to be honest, who has that, I am just as likely to find an item on...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code
Foundations of Amateur Radio podcast - Morse Code Version
by Onno VK6FLAB
audio

eye 2

favorite 0

comment 0

Foundations of Amateur Radio Radio amateurs like to do new things, celebrate, remember, bring attention to, and overall have fun, any excuse to get on air. One of the things that we as a community do is setup our radios in weird and wonderful places, on boats, near light-houses, on top of mountains, in parks, you name it. Another thing we do is create special callsigns to mark an occasion, any occasion. For example, to mark the first time the then Western Australian Chief Scientist, Professor...
Topics: amateur radio, ham radio, Morse code