ICQ Podcast Episode 260 – Xiegu X108G Review

In this episode, Martin M1MRB is joined by Chris Howard M0TCH, Dan Romanchik KB6NU and Ed Durrant DD5LP  to discuss the latest Amateur / Ham Radio news. Colin M6BOY rounds up the news in brief, and this episode’s feature is Xiegu X108G Review by Ed Durrant DD5LP.

We would like to thank our monthly and annual subscription donors for keeping the podcast advert free. To donate, please visit - http://www.icqpodcast.com/donate

  • Solar Minimum Sunspot
  • ARRL Again Calls for Action on Symbol Rate Limits
  • Theft of MB7TV SSTV Repeater
  • 160m Band Wireless Power Transfer
  • Sony to Cease Shortwave Radios Production
  • Yaesu FT818
  • Kempton Rally
  • UK QSL Bureau Volunteers Wanted
  • The CWops Award for Advancing the Art of CW

Colin Butler, M6BOY, is the host of the ICQ Podcast, a weekly radio show about Amateur Radio. Contact him at [email protected].

Rescue on Uncompahgre Peak (1992)

I came across this story in my archives, written by me way back in August 1992. This was before mobile phones were commonly available, so ham radio turned out to be critical in this incident. Even today, there are many places in the Colorado backcountry where mobile phones don’t work but amateur radio can communicate. My callsign at the time was KBØCY

Something happened on the way to Uncompahgre Peak on August 8, 1992.

Around noon, my brother, my two nephews and I made it to the summit and had just signed the log. I called on 146.52 and contacted Chris, NQ5V, who was somewhere to the east of me (Creede, I think). This must be his summer location, since his callbook address is Texas. We talked about the trail up Uncompahgre, since he was interested in hiking it.

After I signed clear with NQ5V and was about to start down the mountain, a teenage boy came up to me and said he had been sent to “find the guy with the radio” because a girl had been hit by a rock down below and was hurt. I am not sure how they knew I had a radio, other than I used it once on the way up the trail. The story seemed rather sketchy and I was skeptical but asked NQ5V to standby on frequency because we may have a medical emergency. At that time, Arnold, W7JRC, from Cedaredge, CO, came on frequency and said he had a phone nearby. (NQ5V did not have a phone available.) A second, older teenager came up the the trail with more information. He said he was a pre-med student and had search and rescue experience. He had more detailed info which made the story more clear. At this time, I concluded that we had a real emergency and asked W7JRC to call the authorities. I handed my HT to the older teenager and had him describe the victim’s condition to W7JRC. W7JRC had some trouble contacting the police, but eventually got through to the Ouray County Sheriff’s Office. (It turned out we were in Hinsdale County, but we did not know that at the time.)

Jim, NR5Y (also close to Creede, I think) came on frequency and said that he was close to a telephone. I was not always able to communicate with NR5Y, so NQ5V relayed to NR5Y. Since W7JRC was having trouble with getting the telephone call through, I asked NR5Y to also try to place a call. He called the Mineral County Sheriff, who relayed to Hinsdale County. All this time, I was moving down the mountain to try to get closer to the victim without losing my radio contact. About this time, my HT battery went dead, so I switched to my spare (Good thing I had one!) As I moved onto the saddle below Uncompaghre, I lost contact with W7JRC and contact with NQ5V got much worse, but usable. About this time, Doug, NØLAY, came on the air and his signal was very strong at my location which allowed me to stay on low power and conserve my HT batteries. N0LAY apparently came on the air in response to a call from the Hinsdale County Sheriff. N0LAY also had a radio which was on the sheriff’s frequency and relayed information from me to the sheriff’s dispatch.

I had not proceeded down any further because I was certain that I would lose radio contact with NØLAY. The victim had several people with her that had First Aid training and was about 1000 feet below me at the bottom of a cirque. I sent the older teenager back down to the victim with instructions to signal me as to her condition. We both had signal whistles – two whistles meant her condition was the same (stable), three whistles meant her condition had deteriorated. After I got the two whistles back, I felt like things were going to be OK.

About that time, NØLAY relayed that an ambulance had been dispatched to the trailhead and a search and rescue person was on the way up the trail with a trail bike. Also, a helicopter had been dispatched from Montrose. It took us a little while to communicate to the sheriff where the victim was, but we had a pretty good topo map, so we eventually gave them an accurate fix on the location. As I was listening to NØLAY relay, I realized that my Kenwood TH-77A could receive most police frequencies. NØLAY provided me with the frequency and I programmed it into the HT, scanning between 146.52 and the sheriff’s frequency. This allowed us to listen in on what was going on. In fact, many times I was clearly hearing the various parties while they were having trouble communicating.

The S&R guy on the trail bike made it to the accident scene without us noticing him. He had parked his bike about half a mile away from us and had scrambled down to the victim. The first time I was aware of his position was when he transmitted from the accident site. He confirmed that the girl was pretty bashed up, but stable, and needed a helicopter ride out. About this time, the sheriff’s dispatch reported that the helicopter was about 5 minutes out (I think it turned out to be more like 15 minutes away). Soon the helicopter came up on the sheriff’s frequency and I could hear the S&R guy coordinating with the helicopter pilot The two-seater helicopter landed and they put the girl in the second seat. Apparently, she was stable enough to walk to the helicopter with some assistance. The alternative was to put her outside the chopper in a litter. The helicopter lifted off and set back down a few minutes later near the ambulance which was near the trailhead. The two-seater chopper was not a medical evacuation helicopter and the plan was that Flight-For-Life from Grand Junction would pick up the victim at the ambulance location. It turned out that Flight-For-Life was unavailable so they took the victim to a hospital by ambulance (to a local clinic, then Gunnison, I think).

We stayed on the ridge until the chopper headed for home, then we did the same. On the way down, the S&R guy on the trail bike caught up with us and we talked about the accident. He said the girl lost some teeth, had facial cuts, internal bleeding and swelling in the face, but was in stable condition. He said that without the radio report that they would be just getting the initial call at the time he was heading home. That is, we saved about 5 hours on the response time with amateur radio.

I have carried my HT on every 14er hike I have ever done and had considered the possibility of using of using it for emergency communications. I guess I never gave it too much thought because people venturing into the backcountry need to have a self-sufficient attitude. That means being prepared and preventing or handling any emergency situation on your own. But the unexpected happens, and here I was in the middle of a medical emergency. It certainly has caused me to take this emergency communications thing more seriously.

Things I learned that day:

  • Always carry an extra HT battery (or two)
  • Always carry a decent portable antenna (more than a rubber duck)
  • Always carry a good topo map, even if you don’t need it to follow the trail.
  • Make note of what county you are hiking in when in unfamiliar parts of the state. This aids in getting to the right Sheriff’s office. (This is important because the person you contact via radio is likely to be two or three counties away.)
  • My signal whistle (which has caused considerable abuse from a few hiking companions) is actually useful.
  • Extended coverage receive is very useful in emergencies. (I am still thinking about extended transmit — I clearly could have used it in this case.)

I was very pleased that everyone reacted quickly but in a professional manner. The radio amateurs all helped out when they could be stayed out of the way when appropriate. I am sure we can find some things that could have been done better, but I felt like things went well overall.

– Bob KØNR

The post Rescue on Uncompahgre Peak (1992) appeared first on The KØNR Radio Site.

Bob Witte, KØNR, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Colorado, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

On the Air – SOTA, POTA, BOTA, IOTA and now, COTA

The newest OTA I’ve discovered is the World Castles Award, or COTA – Castles on the Air. Not sure if COTA is official or not, but let’s call it that for now, since it rhymes so well with SOTA, POTA and BOTA. (IOTA is only a half-rhyme). You might think “We Americans don’t have any castles here; we were settled after the period of castle-building, so how is this relevant to me?” Well, you can think that if you want to, but you might be wrongish. True, we have no castles in North America (or do we? – see below), but we do have other structures that the wise men and women of WCA have recognized as eligible structures of note. Happy Dance! Here’s a new game we can play once we’re all worn out activating all the mountains in SOTA, parks in POTA, and beaches in BOTA. Here in the Southeast that I inhabit, there are scores of eligible structures. In my own tiny hometown of Decatur, GA, pop. 18,000, I find that we, too, have a castle called Oakhurst Castle. I need to find out what that is, and of course, activate it. Look for me on Dxsummit some day. Forts, even if not fortified, can qualify, such as Fort Jackson, SC, where I spent three happy months one summer and most if not all other military bases with “Fort” in their title. Also, historic forts like Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine, Florida qualifies but the towns of Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers and Fort Pierce where we can imagine forts once stood, are sadly excluded. However, don’t despair – you can still go to the beach in those towns and activate your suntan via BOTA! Mansions, or “Stately Homes,” also seem to qualify, such as the indisputably stately Biltmore House in Asheville (raise your hand if you’ve been there). The WCA styles it as “Biltmore Castle.” Scanning the list I see others in my haunts I can consider activating and some that raise questions such as one on Marco Island known only as “Unknown Castle.” But there is one I expected to see that has been overlooked – probably the only purpose-build Castle in the United States, and it’s certainly not unknown; of course I’m talking about Cinderella’s Castle at the Magic Kingdom (raise your hand again if you’ve been there). If you are as hurt as I am at this (rather slight) slight, please join me in a letter-writing campaign to the WCA to help right this wrong. We’re Americans – we fought for our freedom, now we must fight for Cinderella’s honor! Signing off for now, de k4wk, www.hamdom.com. Thanks for listening; you’re in the log.

Wayne Robertson, K4WK, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Georgia, USA.

Amateur Radio Weekly – Issue 194

Yaesu FT-817 replacement details leaked
Finally, the replacement for the very successful Yaesu FT-817nd is about to see the light of day.

APRS over HF
HFAPRS with APRS Messenger & DroidPSK.

Send APRS to email via Xastir on RF
You may only send one line messages of 64 total characters maximum for the message.
S55MA Ham Blog

KM4LAO brings Ham Radio hobby, expertise to campus
Willet, who is double majoring in Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Physics, first got licensed in June 2015 as a ham radio operator because of her interest in Morse code.
Kettering University

Build a Milk Crate AM Broadcast Loop Antenna
It’s small enough to maneuver around easily, but big enough to give it some gain, so I can listen to daytime DX.
Shortwave / Medium Wave

Inside the desperate fight to keep old TVs alive
Behind a nondescript Manhattan storefront, Chi-Tien Lui is stockpiling objects many people wouldn’t think twice about trashing: cathode ray tube televisions.
The Verge

1940s transmitter finds new home
The massive transmitter is being moved from the former RCI site to the former Dorchester jail.


Video over HF
FreeDV plus Video adds a new dimension: A QSO where you’re able to listen to and see the other operator.

Quartzfest 2018 part 1
Jeri Ellsworth, AI6TK, and Amy Herndon, AI6ZU, at Quartzfest.

A visit to Orlando Hamcation 2018
Hamcation video highlights.
Retro Tech & Electronics

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 http://www.hamweekly.com.

A Personal Self Defense Weapon, a Utility Hammer, and a DMR #Hamradio, All-in-One

My first impression of my new TYT MD-380 (and Steve, KA4RSZ, felt the same way), was the solid, sturdy feel of the thing.  Not at all what you’d expect from an $88 plastic cased electronic device of any sort.  We were both quite impressed, and the reason has become clearer as I’ve learned more.  This radio or its kin, were built for non-ham, heavy-duty use by folks like security guards and retail store personnel, not dainty and refined hams such as ourselves.

Reading the User’s Manual has been fun, and incidentally makes the bizarre Icom manuals seem lucid.  Filled with handy tips, I love where it cautions me on page one “Do not transmit too long, for the radio may heat and hurt the user.”  Also advising “if the radio appears smelly or smoke, please shut off…”  Great tips for us all.

On page six it is reassuring to be told “wearing the radio in your waist will not make you feel uncomfortable.”  I just love Chinglish!

Signing off for now, de k4wk, www.hamdon.com.  Thanks for listening; you’re in the log.

Wayne Robertson, K4WK, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Georgia, USA.

LHS Episode #209: The Weekender III

Welcome to another edition of The Weekender. These episodes are designed to give you fun things to do, touch, hear or see for your weekend. It may be food, drink, amateur radio, science, technology, open source or anything at all. But the hope is that it's enjoyable, entertaining and possibly educational. Thanks for listening!
73 de The LHS Crew

Russ Woodman, K5TUX, co-hosts the Linux in the Ham Shack podcast which is available for download in both MP3 and OGG audio format. Contact him at [email protected].

February at Potter Place

Dave K1SWL, Tim W3ATB and I met for lunch and then went to operate at the old rail station in Potter Place. I worked 8 stations including Belgium, Portugal, Spain and France.

I set up the KX3 under the eaves of the station on an old luggage box. I tossed my antenna line over the semaphore signals attached to the station. (See the last photo.) The place was covered with snow, and it was 43F.

I started off working Joe W1FYL at a campsite in Kissimmee, Florida. We had a nice chat then I tuned down the band. The DX was surprising. Here’s my log:

15 Feb-18 1818 14.043 W1FYL CW 599 599 FL
15 Feb-18 1859 14.008 ON4UN CW 579 599 Belgium
15 Feb-18 1902 14.010 CS0RCL CW 599 599 Portugal
15 Feb-18 1903 14.012 EA8URT CW 599 599 Spain
15 Feb-18 1905 14.022 EA5KV CW 599 599 Spain
15 Feb-18 1914 10.112 F5NTV CW 599 599 France
15 Feb-18 1915 10.116 N2CX CW 579 559 NJ

Meanwhile Tim had tangled his line in a maple tree above the picnic table across from the station. His water bottle dangled from a branch just out of our reach. It was a three stooges movie in progress as we struggled to retrieve the bottle. We borrowed a garbage can from the station and turned it upside down. Dave had a shovel in the back of his truck and Tim (standing on the upside-down garbage can) managed to snag the errant bottle with the shovel. But not before previous efforts failed with me sitting on his shoulders. (Fortunately not captured on camera.)

Tim and Dave worked half a dozen stations including Joe N2CX who was at Fort Mott in New Jersey doing a park activation.

Jim Cluett, W1PID, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from New Hampshire, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

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