Calling on all U.S. hams…

 In my last blog post, I had a comment from Tom a future ham and he asked me the question posted below. Since I am in Canada and my expertise is not the U.S. band plan for a technician class licence (or any other U.S. licence class for that matter) I asked him if I could start a new post featuring his question.  

The floor is your Tom...

 Hello. I thought this may be a place to get an answer. First, I am taking the test in September for my technician license. I am a CB operator and want to get into the ham world. Navy vet, electrical engineer, love radios and antenna theory. I am struggling with something. I really respect the knowledge of the amateur radio group. My struggle is understanding where the technician can operate. Google searches, YouTube searches, ARRL, Practice Tests, have yielded me the following:
1) Only HF
 2) HF and some bands of VHF
 3) Only 10-meters in HF
 4) ARRL band plan shows more
 5) HF and some bands of VFH, UHF.
Arrrgggg!!! I look at dates when I read things. This question is all over the place. Can one of you experts in here shed some light on this? Did something change? I understand the pool of questions for technician is now new as of July so maybe something changed….
Thanks for any help!!
– A future ham, Tom

 In advance, I would like to thank those who contribute to answering Tom's question. I am also sure we all wish him the best as he writes in September for his Technician licence.

Mike Weir, VE9KK, is a regular contributor to and writes from New Brunswick, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

K7K expedition how did it work out for you?

 It's Tuesday early morning and I am greeting my first cup of java along with some radio time. I found myself drifting off to the weekend of radio operating. I very much enjoyed the Islands on the air contest (IOTA). It was also my plan to get K7K from Kiska island in the log as well. As the saying goes "sometimes things do not work out as planned".

I was keeping an eye on the DX clusters to see when K7K was on air and where. This year is my "year of CW" so I was looking forward to getting them in the log using CW. Again sometimes things don't work out as planned. I noticed once K7K was up and running that FT8 seemed to be their mode of choice for most of the time. I was reading on the cluster posts there were some upset ops... that very little time was spent on SSB or CW. 

I am not here to rag on FT8 and to be honest, I used this mode a great deal last year and very much enjoyed it. But having said that in my humble opinion they operated FT8 about 70-80 percent of the time and left modes such as SSB and CW alone. 

In the expeditions, defence conditions for them could not have been great and the Digi mode FT8 would sure fill their logs up and better than a poor showing in the log book. Also maybe the tide is shifting and with the Dx Peditions to come FT8 and other Digi modes may be the choice of the operators. 

I did notice K7K on their website indicated FT8 would be used but they also included CW and SSB.
There was an occasion CW and SSB were used but on a limited basis. I will chime in and say the only long period of time they used CW was in the IOTA contest. They are indeed an island and rare as well, it was expected for them to take part BUT this seemed to be the only time K7K used CW.

 I checked the clusters during the contest to see where they were. I did notice comments of frustration, K7K was operating split and some contest ops were calling on K7K calling frequency. Other comments indicated stations calling CQ contests in the responding TX frequency. Then I found they went back to FT8 in a very short time during the contest. 

This is just my humble blog opinion regarding the K7K "event" but when you indicate CW, SSB and FT8 on your site giving equal time to all would be a positive thing. From what I read in the cluster comments there were more than a few unhappy campers.

Mike Weir, VE9KK, is a regular contributor to and writes from New Brunswick, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

IOTA contest


 The Islands on the air contest is sponsored by the Radio Society of Great Britain or RSGB for short. This contest is only 24 hours long and hosts some very nice DX from sometimes remote and DXpedition Islands. If memory serves me correctly I found this year to be more work to pull stations out. The QSB at this end was very deep. At one moment England was there at S5 and then gone. I'm not thinking it was just me as many stations I listened to were asking for report repeats. Oh well, it's all part and parcel of the contesting dream. 

I entered the CW-only category at 100 watts and it was the first time using my new Hustler 4BTV vertical antenna. As everyone has told me and it is true the vertical antenna is a bit noisier than my horizontal End Fed BUT I had better results with the Hustler 4BTV. The very small extra noise with the vertical was taken care of with the noise reduction on the Icom 7610. 

For me, this was not a contest where I was running (calling CQ contest) it was 99% search and pounce. The reason for this was Island stations gave you 15 points compared to 2 points for all other contacts. The Island stations for the most part were running calling CQ contest. With this contest I found it harder to move up the band and bang off contacts and the reason for this was island contacts are big points and they are limited in numbers and that equals pile-ups.
Below is the score summary: 


Here are some takeaways of mine from the contest: 

- My CW is improving so the twice-daily practice time is helping. 

- Keeping my butt in the chair even during slow times helped my score. 

- Getting my backside out of bed early on the final day of the contest gave me the rewards of contacting     New Zealand, Austria and Hawaii, along with the 15 bonus points for each.

Contesting with a vertical compared to my End Fed antenna:

- Most all the time if I could hear them I could work them. 

- Omni directional was nice compared to End Fed horizontal directional characteristics. 

-Using the Icom 7610 second receiver to its full potential. I was able to listen to another band with the second receiver. I was not able to do this with the End Fed as I needed the tuner for all bands. I found without using the tuner the receive was very poor with the End Fed.

Mike Weir, VE9KK, is a regular contributor to and writes from New Brunswick, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

ICQ Podcast Episode 382 – SOTA Mountain Adventure

In this episode, Martin Butler (M1MRB)is joined by Chris Howard (M0TCH), Martin Rothwell (M0SGL), Frank Howell (K4FMH), and Leslie Butterfield (G0CIB)  to discuss the latest Amateur / Ham Radio news. Colin (M6BOY) rounds up the news in brief and in the episode's feature SOTA Mountain Adventure.

We would like to thank Scott Wright (K0MD), Richard Langmead (5B4AJG) and our monthly and annual subscription donors for keeping the podcast advert free. To donate, please visit -

  • UK Direct to Full Examination Syllabus
  • Traffic Messages in APRS Map Service
  • National ARRL Program for School Teachers
  • 144/430 MHz bands to be used for PMR during 2024 Olympics
  • Radio Hams to Operate from Hot Air Balloon
  • Flight Refuelling Amateur Radio Society Hamfest
  • Commonwealth Games 2022 Amateur Radio Station on the Air
  • Lack of Danish Ham Radio Training

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

Ham College 91

Ham College episode 91 is now available for download.

Extra Class Exam Questions – Part 29.
E6F Electro-optical technology: photoconductivity, photovoltaic devices, optical sensors and encoders, optical isolation.


George Thomas, W5JDX, is co-host of AmateurLogic.TV, an original amateur radio video program hosted by George Thomas (W5JDX), Tommy Martin (N5ZNO), Peter Berrett (VK3PB), and Emile Diodene (KE5QKR). Contact him at [email protected].

LHS Episode #476: SO2SDR Deep Dive

Hello and welcome to the 476th installment of Linux in the Ham Shack. In this deep dive episode, the hosts interview Torsten Clay, N4OGW, the author of so2sdr, a software application for doing single-op, multi-radio contesting. The program allows for logging, rig control, station mapping on a band plot and much more. Thank you for listening to this episode. We hope you find it informative and enjoyable. Have a great week.

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].

The G3XBM legacy now in print

Roger "G3XBM" has now published a book titled  "G3XBM Project Scrapbook".

It takes you through his historic years of homebrew construction and operating to present day. To include portable operating, Antennas, LF, HF, VHF, Fredbox and Sixbox designs with full circuit info, even stuff that never got built etc etc.

All Roger's designs, are not over engineered, and very simple to understand and build.

It is a  FREE download here:

If you feel this has been of good use after reading, you can always support him with a coffee or two here:

Steve, G1KQH, is a regular contributor to and writes from England. Contact him at [email protected].

Subscribe FREE to's
Amateur Radio Newsletter

We never share your e-mail address.

Do you like to write?
Interesting project to share?
Helpful tips and ideas for other hams?

Submit an article and we will review it for publication on!

Have a ham radio product or service?
Consider advertising on our site.

Are you a reporter covering ham radio?
Find ham radio experts for your story.

How to Set Up a Ham Radio Blog
Get started in less than 15 minutes!

  • Matt W1MST, Managing Editor

Sign up for our free
Amateur Radio Newsletter

Enter your e-mail address: