Category: Ham Radio

My Radio Dilemma

After being a “permanent” Technician class Ham Operator for the past 16 years, I devoted myself at this year’s Dayton to achieving the Amateur Extra class ranking before year’s end. On July 5, I achieved that goal! I promised myself that when I got Extra class, I would buy myself my first “real” rig (in other words, one that can do something other than 2 meters @ 5W). Now I intend to make good on my promise! I’ve done some research, but before taking the plunge and laying out the ca$h, I thought I would throw this out to the cumulative knowledge of the surfing hordes to see if there’s any advice, criticism or guidance you might provide:

The Goal

Since I live in an antenna-restricted, covenant-controlled neighborhood, I am unable to put much of an antenna on my home (footnote #1). Having said that, I DO want to be able to work the HF bands, but want to gear my rig toward a more portable installation. I am picturing a system designed to be easily set up & torn down – something that could contribute to a collective Field Day station, taken on a family camping trip, set up in the backyard for some patio DX, or be transported & set up during an emergency. However, I’m also seeking a lot of flexibility in the bands / modes that I can work. I’m a geek, so digital modes are a near-necessity for me (a laptop or other computing devices aren’t a problem). Continue reading


Yaesu FT-897DSaturday morning I passed my Amateur Radio Extra Class exam!!  I now have an “all-access” pass to the privileges in my favorite hobby!

I’ve gotta tell you – I used the HamTestOnline website, and it is AWESOME! I purchased my subscription at this year’s Dayton Hamvention, and within two months I’d gone from perpetual No-Code Technician to Extra Class.

Now that I have that license,  it’s definitely time to start saving my pennies so that I can buy my real station.  I’m trying to come up with a direction I’d like to take my involvement in the hobby.  However, because I live in a covenant-controlled neighborhood, large antennae are out of the question.  I think I’d like to restart the 2-meter digital work I did in Detroit, as I think I can put up an inobtrusive 2m vertical antenna without much hassle. However, that doesn’t use my new privileges at all!  So I would like to put together a portable rig that is capable of some DX work.  Something that I can take to field day and they can assign me just about any band…and I’d be able to work SOMETHING.

For my portable system, here’s what I have in mind:
Continue reading


I passed my Amateur Radio General Class exam this morning!

I’m going to keep on studying and will attempt the Extra Class exam in two weeks at the Milford, Ohio hamfest. WOOT!

I’m that much closer to my own HF rig! (I promised myself that I wouldn’t buy a real, expensive radio until I got my Extra Class…)

Geeking out – Quote of the day

I went to the Dayton Hamvention on Saturday. It’s been YEARS since I last went. I’m setting a goal now to have my “Amateur Extra” license by December 31, 2008. That means I will buy an all-band radio at NEXT year’s Hamvention!

As of right now, I’m eyeing a Yaesu FT-897D radio.  This baby does almost all available bands, in all modes, is built for portability…and is under $1,000!

Today’s quote:

Wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. And radio operates exactly the same way. The only difference is that there is no cat. — Albert Einstein