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{ Category Archives } Amateur Radio

A focus on the technical and social activities related to radio frequency two way communications

Retro radio? Amateur Radio

The Wall Street Journal says For These Vets, Amateur Radio Remains Alive. “Satellites killed the military radio star operator long ago, but military veterans keep the art alive in competitions testing their ability to bounce signals off the ionosphere and contact amateur radio stations a half world away.” Retired Navy Vice Adm. Scott Redd is […]


First link was to an Antenna Analyzer by Beric Dunn, K6BEZ via DxZone. That lead to SierraRadio’s Hamstack and that to KJ6HFR’s PIC18F4620 Cookbook (PDF). When I find a microcontroller website that doesn’t fall headlong into the Arduino craze my interest goes up. Hamstack does seem to be mcu agnostic and even language agnostic. There […]

Solar propagation indices

VE2XIP had a problem I’ve encountered  but he did something about it. Understanding HF propagation reports provides a good summary about solar indices that mean something for the hf radio amateur. The Solar Flux and Sunspot numbers measure solar activity and higher values indicate better hf conditions. “High SFI values has almost no influence on […]

NavSpark – GPS microcontroller development board

SkyTraq is raising funds for an Arduino compatible GPS development board that they can sell for $20 or less. This one is at indiegogo, a crowd funding website. The NavSpark funding is at $7,686 of a $27,000 goal with 24 days left to go as of 1/14/2014. SkyTraq, a “a fabless semiconductor company which develops […]

Keyer timing regimes

A keyer is an interactive device. It needs to respond to the paddle in a timely manner and produce transmitter keying that results in a clean and easy to understand signal. Timing is a big issue in any keyer design and each part of the device runs in its own time scale or time regime. […]

CW Keyer as a good microcontroller learning project

A keyer is just a step to more perfect code. That means less operator skill for better cw transmitter keying. A first step up from the simple straight key was the Vibroplex – “the brand of side-to-side mechanical, semi-automatic Morse key first manufactured and sold in 1905 by the Vibroplex Company, after its invention and […]

Simple (maybe) learning project: A Keyer

With a few 8 bit 8 pin microcontrollers from a thrift store find and the other parts and pieces in the shack, the idea of building a keyer came to mind as a simple project for learning about these devices. A keyer is just a switch, right? Maybe not. A keyer is a user interface […]

Stranded wire in a crimped connector and other ideas

In the Powerpole camp, Make has a good idea for more reliable connections “If the strands of stranded wire are all parallel inside the contact, they can slide out no matter how well you crimp it. You can pull the contact off with finger strength. If instead you coil the strands into a spiral, there’s […]

Digital modes information

WB8NUT has a nice description of the common digital modes with sound files you can use to hear what they sound like on the radio. See Digital Modes Information Page It is the soundcards on computers that have changed the game. With the right software (some links on the page) and a simple interface to […]

Weather Fax and Marine Forecasts

If you want to see a current surface chart, the NOAA Marine Forecasts page is a good place to start to find frequencies and times. “Radiofax, also known as HF FAX, radiofacsimile or weatherfax, is a means of broadcasting graphic weather maps and other graphic images via HF radio. HF radiofax is also known as […]