BREAKING: Hara Arena to close in August, Hamvention to be moved

Episode 70 Practical Amateur Radio Podcast

Episode 70 of the Practical Amateur Radio Podcast has been released and is available for download either through iTunes, Android, any other RSS podcatcher software or direct via the PARP website.


As PARP begins the 9th season, the release schedule in the last two years certainly has not been the most timely.  My work/life schedule, some health issues (which are all resolved) and a few personal issues have mostly kept me silent.  But thanks to the very best listeners who have stayed in touch and continued to encourage me to return…I’m committed to doing everything possible to keep PARP alive. 

While PARP was not the first amateur radio related podcast, I do remember a time when the number of active ham radio based podcasts could be counted on one hand.  Today it might take two hands and perhaps one foot.  This is fantastic and as I’ve always said, I have never viewed other amateur radio based podcasts as competition.  We should all be doing what we do for the sake of the hobby and service of amateur radio. 

PARP 70 covers some thoughts and ideas to get you thinking about our overall individual preparedness when it comes to emergency communications. 

I truly appreciate the listeners (many have been listening since episode one in 200Smilie: 8) and continue to ask for more episodes.  As the PARP motto states, the Practical Amateur Radio Podcast….Creating Elmers one podcast at a time.  If you learn something while listening to a PARP episode, please share that knowledge with others.  This is the spirit of amateur radio.

I plan to keep PARP on a monthly release schedule.  Episode 71 should release in late August just before the 2016 Colorado QSO Party which I’m anxiously looking forward to.  Hopefully the bands will improve some by then.

Until next time…

73 de KD0BIK (Jerry)

Jerry Taylor, KD0BIK, is a regular contributor to and writes from Colorado, USA. He is the host of the Practical Amateur Radio Podcast. Contact him at [email protected].

Amateur Radio Weekly – Issue 122

Hara Arena to shut down
Hara Arena is closing its doors after 60 years.

Hamvention to remain in Dayton area
The event will take place on the same weekend and it will be within the region.

Utah County ham radio club draws attention
In less than six months, the club has amassed more than 340 members.
Daily Herald

Antennas on a Boeing 777
Antenna locations on a Boeing 777 aircraft.

Alive and Well: Post-Coup Amateur Radio in Turkey
I can confirm that I’ve heard a number of Turkish amateur radio operators on the air since the coup attempt.
The SWLing Post

VHF/UHF Digital Voice – a peek into the future
Digital Voice on VHF/UHF is clearly here to stay. Even though the mainstream manufacturers are supporting it (their own version of it), it’s still fairly niche now. It will grow.

A tour of Elecraft
At a time in our hobby where many businesses are consolidating, closing their doors or failing to innovate, Elecraft is one of the few bright and innovative companies in our hobby.

Georgia Ham fined $1000 for failure to properly identify
Failure to transmit call sign information undermines the purpose of the Amateur Radio Service by preventing licensed users from identifying a transmission’s source.

New SDR client, Kukuruku
RTL-SDR compatible software features multiple demodulators running at once and history browsing.


National Parks on The Air – Satellite Activation
This was filmed on Sunday July 17th, 2016 on the Craggy Overlook Trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina.

Sparks by static charge on a groundplane antenna
A short video showing static discharges in the form of sparks, a PL259 connector connected to a groundplane antenna, during a lightning storm.

Amateur Radio Weekly is curated by Cale Mooth K4HCK. Sign up free to receive ham radio's most relevant news, projects, technology and events by e-mail each week at

The Spectrum Monitor – August, 2016

August2016CoverStories you’ll find in our August, 2016 issue:

TSM Reviews: LD-5 HF Ham Radio QRP Transceiver
By James Hannibal KH2SR

The LD-5, made in USA by LNR Precision Inc., is an amazing little QRP, 5-band SSB/CW amateur radio transceiver that’s small and light enough to fit in just about any backpack, making this one of the most portable SSB, multi-band, HF rigs currently on the market. James puts this little rig through its paces on a trip down the length of the US west coast with pleasing results.

Vacation Scanning on the Rails
By Eric Beheim

For scanner enthusiasts, traveling by rail offers an opportunity to monitor the radio communications that are being sent and received onboard their trains. These communications include conversations between the train’s crewmembers, conversations between dispatchers and the engineer, and the periodic reports from radio alarm detectors. Listening in on these transmissions not only helps to make the trip more interesting, but also provides greater insight into what it takes to keep a passenger train running in a safe and timely manner.

China Radio International: Evolution of a Shortwave Radio Station
By Fred Waterer

China Radio International is one of the largest broadcasting agencies in the world, as befits one of the world’s economic and military superpowers. Today’s CRI is a mainstream voice of Asia, portraying a sense of order and normalcy. One could easily mistake a current broadcast from China as being from BBC or Radio Japan. This is in stark contrast to broadcasts of past decades, which mirrored the chaotic political situation in the country. Fred looks back at his many years of listening to the radio voice of China.

CB Radio and More: Two-Way Radio No-License Alternatives
By Cory GB Sickles WA3UVV

There are many facets to the communications receiving hobby—shortwave listening, scanner monitoring, exploring utility stations and more. If you develop the urge to transmit and hold conversations with others, we typically think about earning an amateur radio license and exploring all it has to offer, which is quite a bit, indeed. However, there are some avenues to enjoying two-way communications that you may have overlooked such as CB (HF), GMRS and FRS (both UHF) and MURS (VHF). In this series of articles, we’ll explore these options and find ways to get as much enjoyment out of them as possible.

A Classic Dozen: When it comes to Vintage Ham Gear, what’s in a (Great) Name?
By Richard Fisher KI6SN

Over many decades, there have been scores of radio manufacturers that have come-and-gone or are thriving yet. Here are a dozen whose products, in one way or another, qualify as “vintage.” You will find many of their classic radios are not only still on the air every day, but readily available, some inexpensively, in today’s vintage market. Richard traces the origins of some venerable radio names.

Scanning America
By Dan Veenaman
Madison County (MO), Fire Service & Amtrak

Federal Wavelengths
By Chris Parris
When Federal Frequencies aren’t Federal

Utility Planet
By Hugh Stegman NV6H
When the Going gets Tough, the Tough Tune the Radio

Digital HF: Intercept and Analyze
By Mike Chace-Ortiz AB1TZ/G6DHU
Army MARS and TSA PACTOR Network Changes

HF Utility Logs
By Mike Chace-Ortiz and Hugh Stegman

Digitally Speaking
By Cory Sickles WA3UVV
Evangelists and Cheerleaders

VHF and Above
By Joe Lynch N6CL
Juggling VHF/UHF Contests and a DIY Antenna for 2-Meters

Amateur Radio Insights
By Kirk Kleinschmidt NT0Z
Let’s Talk!

Radio 101
By Ken Reitz KS4ZR
Radio and TV via FTA Satellite on Intelsat 21

Radio Propagation
By Tomas Hood NW7US
Did He Really Do it?

The World of Shortwave Listening
By Rob Wagner VK3BVW
Something Old, Something New: Kenwood R-5000 and Tecsun PL-680 Receivers

The Shortwave Listener
By Fred Waterer
Top Shortwave Programs and a Tiny Change in Time

Amateur Radio Astronomy
By Stan Nelson KB5VL
Using FITS Viewers with Radio Astronomy Images

The Longwave Zone
By Kevin O’Hern Carey WB2QMY
Contributor’s Guide to TLZ

Adventures in Radio Restoration
By Rich Post KB8TAD
Wakening the Knight: Allied Radio’s TR-106 6-Meter AM Transceiver

Antenna Connections
By Dan Farber AC0LW
Antenna 101: Review of the Basics Part 2

The Spectrum Monitor is available in PDF format which can be read on any desktop, laptop, iPad®, Kindle® Fire, or other device capable of opening a PDF file. Annual subscription is $24. Individual monthly issues are available for $3 each.

Ken Reitz, KS4ZR, is publisher and managing editor of The Spectrum Monitor. Contact him at [email protected].

No More Hara

The news just came crashing down from the ARRL that the 2016 Dayton Hamvention would be the last to be held in the Hara Arena.  The home of the Dayton Hamvention since 1964 is closing.  Hamvention 2017 will be held at a new, yet-to-be-disclosed location in the Dayton area.

I wish I could share with all my readers all the wonderful  memories I have of Hara Arena.  But unfortunately, this was something I kept putting off year after year after year.   This is really unfortunate for me, as I am one who truly appreciates most of the history behind our hobby. 

But oh well, right?  We live….we learn…we endeavor to not repeat the errors of our ways. 

Is there a silver lining in all this?  As the news regarding Hara Arena began to surface on Twitter.  I had to chuckle a the following tweet “Forget “no code” hams. We will soon complain about “no Hara” hams!”  T-Shirts are already available to help drive this fact home.  Smile 


Well…one thing is for sure.  The 2017 Dayton Hamvention will most certainly be an event none of us will want to miss.  While I may have missed out on being able to say I went to the Hamvention at Hara.  I certainly don’t want to miss out on saying I attended the first Hamvention at the new venue. 

Well I really didn’t intend to release two blog postings today.  Again I wish I had lots of memories to share about Hara.  But I’m sure many other amateur radio bloggers will fill in the gap soon enough. 

I hope to see you in 2017 in Dayton at the Hamvention in the yet-to-be-disclosed location.

Until next time…

73 de Jerry (KDØBIK)

Jerry Taylor, KD0BIK, is a regular contributor to and writes from Colorado, USA. He is the host of the Practical Amateur Radio Podcast. Contact him at [email protected].

Affordable HT and Howdy

Hello fellow hams.  Yes it’s been awhile since anything spewed from my blog site.  I’ve just not had time in recent months to do much of anything related to the hobby of amateur radio.  But once again I am easing back in as I hear it calling my name (or my callsign)…..

Like most hams, I have more radios that I truly know what to do with.  This is especially true in the hand-held or HT department.  I own a few Yaesu HT’s and one ICOM D-STAR HT.  As I only have two hands…..anyway

Yea, PARP is also going to return from the ashes and in looking at some of the topics I want to cover in the next several months I decided to journey to a place I’ve never been.  Yep…that is the world of the Chinese inexpensive hand-held radio. 

As PARP is 100% commercial free and fully self-funded by the bank of KDØBIK (and Mrs. KDØBIK) I have always done my best to only make purchases for things that I believe I’ll actually use when it comes to podcast topics. 

If you look through my ham shack you’ll find lots of ham radio goodies.  I would estimate a solid 95% of all my gear has been purchased in person at my local HRO (Ham Radio Outlet).  For us hams in the greater Denver area, we are very fortunate to have a candy store here.  I’ve always realized the importance of “buying local” whenever possible.  But as I say again, PARP has no sponsors and I really didn’t think I needed yet another HT.  So I began comparing prices.

This price comparison exercise eventually led me to Amazon and eventually led me to an older Baofeng UV5RA 2m/70cm dual-band HT which comes complete with charging stand and hands-free kit for a whopping $26.06.  With free two-day shipping via my Amazon Prime membership and an almost $3.00 credit I had floating around, the total purchase price was just too low to pass up.

So if you are in the market for another HT, on a limited budget and/or don’t mind the fact this is an older model…then check out this Amazon link

As I write this early on Friday morning, my new Baofeng UV5RA will arrive sometime on Saturday.  I’ll spend some time with it and as I said will most likely discuss this and other inexpensive Chinese HT’s on a future episode of PARP. 

Bottom line, this new HT won’t replace any of my other models.  My Yaesu VX8x is my main “go to” HT.  But I’ll most likely program a few local repeaters along with the NOAA weather frequency and just leave this Baofeng at my office.  This way as I watch those summer afternoon storms build, I can also monitor the weather info and perhaps some of our fellow storm chasers.

I’ll report back my findings and experiences at a later time…

Until next time…

73 de KDØBIK

Jerry Taylor, KD0BIK, is a regular contributor to and writes from Colorado, USA. He is the host of the Practical Amateur Radio Podcast. Contact him at [email protected].

Magicband Morphs

I have been having fun on 6m every summer since the late 60's. Without doubt, this summer's Sporadic-E (Es) season is the worst one I have experienced in terms of domestic (North America) openings. This summer was almost a carbon-copy of last year's summer Es season. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, unless this is some form of short term or cyclical anomaly, the fundamental nature of Sporadic-E openings appears to be undergoing some type of change. Missing-in-action were the numerous day-long intense openings to California as well as the grand openings to the eastern states (FN grids) and Canada ... all guaranteed openings every summer. These openings would often last well into the late night hours and even overnight, picking up the next day where they left off. This is the second summer in a row where no Es MUF's into the 2m band were experienced, with this year having seen nothing even as high as the 88-108MHz FM band. Maybe I missed them if they occurred, but I don't think so. In terms of non-domestic openings, the band continues to evolve, as it seems that a higher percentage of hours with very long skip continues to rise. As poor as this year has been domestically, CW contacts were completed with Germany, Ireland, England, Japan, France, Canary Islands, Balearic Island, Venezuela, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Cayman Islands. A short and exceptionally rare opening to Africa, allowed an 'almost QSO' with CN8KD in Morocco, as he had one letter of my call incorrect when he quickly faded away ... pretty exciting even for a 'busted' QSO on 6m, in the middle of summer. Whether this very long propagation is just multi-hop traditional Es or something entirely different is still up for debate, as often there are no indicators (beacons or other mid-point signals) indicating that the band is even open. Many, including myself, believe this is some form of chordal hop or interlayer ducting, involving the E-layer alone or perhaps even the bottom of the F layer. Signals strengths can reach 599 levels and almost without fail, have extremely small footprints, with stations just a few miles away hearing nothing at all.
Chordal Hop courtesy:
Inter Layer Ducting courtesy:
When these openings occur between western North America and Europe, they can be very exciting, as the footprint on the European end often sprays around like a stray garden hose, popping up in a different country with each passing minute. Openings are often fast and furious and always heart-pounding! Perhaps there is still some magic yet to occur but the 'normal' season (or what used to be normal) is drawing to a close as August nears. The fat-lady is warming up her voice behind the curtain and will soon be singing once again. But something else is changing on 6m besides the propagation and that is the huge growth of the JT65 weak signal digital mode. As the season draws slowly down, I still see long-time dedicated CW operators going up the band to dip their toes for the first time on this alternate mode. I have used it fairly often to work stations when the CW / SSB end of the band appears to be dead. The maps shown below, grabbed just four days ago, illustrate what I have been seeing. The amount of JT65 activity is striking, compared to the traditional CW/SSB modes, both shown for the same one hour period. I could assume that the several extra db of weak-signal sensitivity is the reason for the disparity seen from one mode to the other but there may be other factors coming into play.
Once the band really opens however, the weak-signal sensitivity of JT65 soon looses its previous advantage and the JT65 segment of the band can get pretty clobbered, with numerous signals on top of each other, all competing for their ~200Hz slice of the spectrum. As well, a JT65 QSO is slow ... a minimum of four minutes. Taking four minutes to exchange calls, reports and 'rogers' on a wide open band with strong signals, makes little sense. Perhaps the majority of 6m JT65 operators are new amateurs with a codeless licence or are operating in antenna-restricted communities. Whatever the reason, the numbers are growing and traditional operating patterns are changing. Who knows what next summer will bring!

Steve McDonald, VE7SL, is a regular contributor to and writes from British Columbia, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

TX Factor – Episode 12

The next show in the series has just hit the airwaves. In this extended summer episode, there is not one, but two rig reviews. The Sun Expert Electronics Transceiver MB1 and the elusive Icom IC-7300 are comprehensively analyzed by ML&S’ Gary Spiers M0TIG and Chris Ridley G8GKC from Icom UK.

Also in this show, Bob teaches Mike a thing or two about amateur satellite operating, and our free-to-enter-draw is back with a chance to win a copy of the recently revised and updated Getting Started with Amateur Satellites book featured in the item.

We hope you enjoy watching the show.

Nick Bennett 2EØFGQ co-hosts TX Factor with Bob McCreadie GØFGX and Mike Marsh G1IAR. Contact the team at [email protected]

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