Author Archive

Homebrew Hero 2019 Announced

The Homebrew Heroes Award Program announced its first annual recipient, Hans Summers, Call Sign G0UPL. The recipient is the very popular proprietor of QRP Labs and maker of numerous homebrew style projects in amateur radio. He’s been producing them for over a decade now. The details are available at this link, including a video of the award to Hans.
Hans G0UPL Hero 2019
Being involved with launching the Homebrew Heroes Awards Program with Martin Butler M1MRB and Colin Butler M6BOY on the Steering Committee has been exciting as we’ve been very busy with development since the idea hatched at Xenia Hamvention this past May. But the payoff is seeing the impact that such attention can bring to a most deserving recpient, like Hero 2019 Hans Summers. “I am just blown away by it all!” said Hans when he received the plaque and customized clothing designating him as Homebrew Hero for 2019. This annual award recognizes persons, groups or organizations who help define the frontiers in amateur radio technology through the long-standing tradition of “home brew” construction. This is the first of the annual awards to be given by the new program, housed at the website address, A video of the award is available here. A longer feature interview with Hans is available in Episode 308 of the ICQ Podcast which is the promotional partner of the Award Program.

The Hits Just Keep On Coming: Heil Sound Joins HHA Corporate Sponsors

RIDGELAND, MS. September 4, 2019. “The hits just keep on coming,” announced Colin Butler M6BOY of the Homebrew Heroes Award Program Steering Committee. “We are delighted to include Heil Sound as our newest corporate prize donor to our pending 2019 Hero recipient.”

Bob Heil K9EID said, “Heil Sound is very honored to be a part of the Homebrew Heroes Award. Designing and building Amateur Radio projects has been the basis of my career and I am always promoting ‘home brewing’ so let’s warm up those soldering irons and build something! Thank you guys for making this happen.” The CEO of Heil Sound, now celebrating it’s 50th year, is an avid builder and recent winner of the January 2018 QST Cover Award for his famous Pine Board Project. He launched the Ham Nation podcast on May 24, 2011, some 411 episodes ago. The video podcast is published weekly and includes Gordon West WB6NOA and other well known co-hosts. Bob K9EID continues to elmer a wide audience of amateur radio operators through his popular hamfest forum talks and other demonstrations. He also frequently gives presentations to amateur clubs via Skype.

Martin Butler M1MRB of the Steering Committee added, “I met Bob Heil this year at Hamvention in Xenia. A busy man, he kindly took the time to show this bloke from across the pond his new Parametric Receive Audio System. After 30 minutes or so, I left feeling as if I’d known Bob for a lifetime. He really, really knows the design and building of amateur radio devices!” Committee member Frank Howell K4FMH concurred, “Bob was kind enough to have me on as a guest on Ham Nation on the network, to discuss the Homebrew Heroes Award concept and what we were trying to build. He followed up quickly with telling me of his desire to have Heil Sound as part of the sponsoring donors. That’s Bob. He’s going to help if he believes in something.”

Heil Sound will provide these items to the winner: Heil Wire, XT-1 Matching Transformer, Heil Stealth connectors, Heil XLR broadcast connectors, Heil 5.1 dynamic microphone element, and 
Pro 3 Headphones. All will no doubt be used in the recipient’s subsequent build projects.

Ham Radio Workbench Podcast Donates to Homebrew Heroes Award Program

RIDGELAND, MS September 2, 2019. A very popular podcast about the ham radio workbench scene has joined the donor list for the Homebrew Heroes Award Program. George Zafiropoulos KJ6VU, co-host of the Ham Radio Workbench show, said, “While we were aware of the Homebrew Heroes Awards Program being organized shortly after Hamvention this year, we were not sure how we could help, other than to promote it on our own podcast. But when Digilent Inc. led the corporate donor list by committing to donate their very popular Analogue Discovery 2 test gear to the recipient, it became very clear. Our new Benchduino kit, which connects directly to the AD2 for design development, is a perfect addition for the 2019 recipient!”

Martin Butler M1MRB, HHA Steering Committee Member, said, “I’ve used the Digilent device, the AD2, and this donation by these innovative chaps just hits the spot for the prize package. The many test and measurement tools in the AD2 when it’s connected to the Benchduino platform just help the homebrewer get things done properly and in short order.” Frank Howell K4FMH, also of the Steering Committee, said, “This addition to our prize donor roster is most appreciated. It exemplifies the spirit of the Award that we are offering: helping others by example, including the fruits of one’s labor at his or her own workbench.” Colin Butler, M6BOY, the third member of the HHA Steering Committee emphasized, “The lads on the Hamradio Workbench show are demonstrating what this Award is about. There addition just underscores the reception of it by the homebrew space in amateur radio.”

Jeremy Kolonay KF7IJZ, co-host of HRW, added, “This just works out perfectly. Our show focuses on what the Homebrew Heroes concept is about: helping the homebrewer and maker audience in amateur radio learn more about the science and craft of designing and building new things.” The podcast has committed to donate multiple Benchduino sets so as to cover the various development platforms the Homebrew Heroes Award 2019 recipient might use.

Our new Benchduino kit, which connects directly to the AD2 for design development, is a perfect addition for the 2019 recipient!

George KJ6VU, co-host of the Hamradio Workbench Podcast
The Benchduino development platform accessing the Digilent Analogue Discovery 2

The Benchduino is a new project developed and offered for sale by the two co-hosts of the Ham Radio Workbench podcast. An active community of homebrewers have joined the support group at The technical specifications are as follows, taken from the HRB website:

The BenchDuino is a development platform for building projects based on the Arduino, Raspberry Pi and PIC microcontrollers. The platform defines a common foot print for processor and expansion boards to make it easy to expand the functionality of the system. The BenchDuino motherboard includes many commonly used peripherals which can be connected to the CPU pins with jumper wires or plug in shunts. The BenchDuino is an open platform and we encourage the development of plug-in CPU and expansion boards.

CPU Boards Available: Arduino Mega, using a RobotDyn Embedded 2560 high end 8 bit MCU; Raspberry Pi Zero; PIC – 40 pin 18F series processor such as the 18F4620; and Adafruit Feather common foot print.

Built-in Peripherals include: (Jumper selectable 5v or 3.3v operation), 4 push button switches, 3 slide switches, 4 LEDs, 2×16 Character I2C or parallel LCD display, 1.3″ I2C OLED bitmap display, 1 Potentiometer, 1 Rotary encoder, Xbee data radio socket, Digilent Analog Discovery II test equipment jack, and various jumper blocks.

The Homebrew Hero Award details can be read at it’s website, Questions or interesting in joining the corporate prize donor list can be submitted through the website. The promotional partner for the HHA is the ICQPodcast. Martin M1MRB, Colin M6BOY and Frank K4FMH are Presenters on the podcast, now in it’s 12th year with over 300 episodes. The podcast home is at


RIDGELAND, MS – August 23, 2019 – The list of corporate prize donors is growing for the Homebrew Heroes Awards program. MFJ Enterprises of Starkville MS has agreed to donate a key prize for the workbench of the Hero in 2019. “We owe our corporate success to the practice of homebrew electronics in amateur radio,” said MFJ Founder and President Martin F. Jue. “MFJ is delighted to support this annual award. We sell a high volume of parts to the homebrew and maker community. It’s in our business interests to encourage and support hams and other enthusiasts to design and build things that contribute to this space in the hobby. And, it’s just good business to encourage it, too!” Martin added.

MFJ has identified the popular HF/VHF Two-Port Graphic Antenna Analyzer sold as product number MFJ-225. The 225 uses free downloadable software to access the vector analyzer through a PC. Richard Stubbs, Customer Services Manager at MFJ says that “It has all the basic analyzer functions plus a host of advanced features like a built-in LCD graphics screen, two-port VNA measurement, PC-Interface using IG-miniVNA freeware, precise DDS frequency control, and is self-calibrating.” Mike Enis, Manager at MFJ, says that the MFJ-225 should enhance most every workbench that uses RF circuits, especially through the S-parameters that the device measures, all without a lot of computations required without a two-port vector device.

We owe our corporate success to the practice of homebrew electronics in amateur radio.

MFJ Founder and President Martin F. Jue
MFJ 225 Dual-Port Analyzer
George W5JDX on the MFJ-225 Dual-Port Analyzer

Homebrew Heroes Award Steering Committee member, Frank Howell K4FMH said that “MFJ’s joining our corporate donor list with this test gear shows leadership in the amateur radio maker space. We are delighted that this corporate list is growing in support of our annual award winner.” Details on the new awards program can be found at its website.

MFJ Enterprises, Inc., was founded in 1972 by Martin F. Jue. The company began operations in a small rented hotel room in the old Stark Hotel in downtown Starkville, Mississippi. The company began marketing its products in October of 1972. The first product was a high selectivity filter that would enable a receiver to separate one Morse code signal from scores of other signals that were being transmitted over the radio airwaves and was offered as a kit to homebrew builders in amateur radio.

Leadership Opportunity for QRP / Portable Ops

The World’s Friendliest Hamfest!”
Since 1954

Hello everyone! I’m letting you know that Bob Heil K9EID and I are trying to identify a person or group who wishes to take over leadership of a two-day event that has been held right before the Huntsville Hamfest at Monte Sano State Park there.

What’s needed is for someone to step forward to directly work with the Huntsville Hamfest Committee to organize a QRP or Portable Operations workshop/seminar over the two days there at Monte Sano.

Monte Sano is a beautiful park with very nice facilities. The Huntsville Hamfest is held at the world-reknowned Von Braun Center in Huntsville, known as Rocket City because of the substantial NASA presence along with many high tech companies and contractors. The Embassy Suites is connected by a sky bridge to the Von Braun Center with other high quality hotels very close by.

Entrance to Monte Sano State Park

Craig Behrens N4MT, former QRP Quarterly Editor, had developed this “two days in Huntsville” concept but had to drop it this year because of very serious health problems. Mark Brown, HH Committee Chairman, says that Craig is unfortunately no longer in the picture for this event. It was held at the cabin complex at Monte Sano State Park on Thursday and Friday before the hamfest started on Saturday morning.

What’s needed is for someone to step forward to directly work with the Huntsville Hamfest Committee to organize a QRP or Portable Operations workshop/seminar over the two days there at Monte Sano. If you’re familiar with the Ten-Tec Rebel QRP rig, it was largely designed there over a two year period thanks to Craig’s leadership. This two day workshop has indeed done remarkable work. And the Huntsville Hamfest is a great venue through which to organize and network with leading amateur radio organizations and operators.

The Lodge at Monte Sano State Park

Bob Heil K9EID and I agreed to do the front leg-work to convey this strong interest to various QRP or portable operations communities on behalf of Mark Brown. We are seeking to have a balloon launch during the Thursday session at Monte Sano with live APRS tracking continuing during the hamfest using temporary monitors situated around the vendor arena. Donors of prizes for the recovery of the payload have already been committee.

In addition, Ted Randall of WTWW has agreed to attend the Thursday-Sunday period, broadcasting live on commercial shortwave near Nashville from Monte Sano and the Von Braun Center. Presenters at the Monte Sano two day seminar would be interviewed along with other attendees. This should help showcase your activities and work internationally.

WTWW Transmitter # 1

Please contact me at [email protected] if you have serious interest on which you can commit to establish leadership for continuing the very fine work that Craig N4MT and his colleagues have built over the past number of years at the Huntsville Hamfest. This can be a superb chance for you or your group to attach to one of the largest hamfests in the U.S. to enjoy sharing your knowledge and passion for QRP or Portable Ops!


Frank Howell, K4FMH

Bob Heil, K9EID

Ready, SET, Go! No, It’s a Drill…

Today started early, about 5:30am or so, getting email, RSS feeds, and social media perused, worked or avoided so I could communicate on behalf of the Mississippi Section ARES Simulated Emergency Exercise (S.E.T.) from 9am-9pm. I won’t work the entire 12 hours but I did assist our RACES Director, Mike N5DU operate the MS Emergency Management Agency’s EOC Radio Room. A few other hams, like Todd K5TDD, Bob KG5ZDZ, and Jim K0UPW (newly relocated from State of Washington) also came by to assist.

Mike N5DU has a RACES Team that he is growing, putting together continual training for those who can be deployed to other emergency zones around the country and those who will remain local (like me) to operate either at the MEMA Command Center or sheltered in-place at their QTH. It’s always a growth process as volunteer hams come and go, tire of EmComm, or leave our midst due to health reasons. But it takes organized, thoughtful, and diligent leaders like N5DU to keep the ball rolling.

K4FMH (left) assisting Mike N5DU at Communications Center, MEMA

MEMA has grown in it’s technical capability since the 2005 Hurricane Katrina. Our team working the SET today got a tour of the Command Center when integral state agencies, non-government organizations, and selected others have designated “seats” in front of PCs on the floor of the Command Center. The facility meets federal security standards specified by FEMA, Homeland Security, and other relevant regulations.

Our THIS IS A DRILL scenario today was at sudden, significant seismic activity at the New Madrid Fault in Northeast Arkansas. It is pronounced New Maaa-drid, unlike the city in Spain, commonly pronounced Ma-DRID. I texted our Section’s Emergency Coordinator, Robert KC5IMN, the correct pronunciation to relieve him of future abuse at the hands of Emergency Coordinator’s near Memphis!

New Madrid Fault Zone

We had a good response and participation during the first four hours with one-hour shifts for net control operators around the state. Steve K5OMK in Starkville did a great job as did the ARES Team in Starkville. They had a lost person beacon chase (successful) in addition to the earthquake activity. I guess that was simulated preparation for the start of Southeastern Conference Football weekends in StarkVegas. Operators in Houston, Vicksburg, and elsewhere worked until we closed the MEMA EOC operation about 12:30pm. They are still at work as I write this blog post. As Assistant Delta Division Director, I’m proud of the work that Malcolm W5XX, Bob KC5IMN, and Mike N5DU have engaged in this annual activity.

The MS Section finished # 1 in ARES Section rankings for the SET in 2018. Whether that ranking continues this year matters not, if we all get more effective, efficient, and engaged in bringing our amateur radio communications game to a higher level. You keep score to motivate teams to get better, not to just win rankings, when lives are on the line. Thank God, it’s just a drill today.

Here’s a gallery of pictures from the MEMA Command Center, Levels of Activation, how this agency is organized into regions, and the radio network operating in the State, called MSWin. A staffer at MEMA today kindly gave us a brief tour.

Siglent Joins as Homebrew Heroes Award Corporate Sponsor

Siglent Technologies LTD in Solon Ohio joins the Homebrew Heroes Award list of corporate prize sponsors. Jason Chonko, Marketing Manager, Applications, announced their participation on Friday, July 16, 2019:

The amateur radio and maker communities have embraced Siglent since our North American office opened over 5 years ago. Since then, we have been proud to work together with our customers to develop instrumentation that delivers high performance measurements at prices that are within reach for a broad group of people.

One of the highlights of our year is attending HAMVention and getting a chance to meet some of our best customers face-to-face and discuss some really challenging measurements. Siglent is proud to join the Homebrew Heroes award program and will be donating an SDS1202X-E oscilloscope, one of our most valuable products, to the annual recipient.

The SDS1202X-E Series Super Phosphor Oscilloscope has a 200 mhz bandwidth, Intelligent triggers, 10 types of one-button shortcuts, History waveform record (History) function, 1 Mpts FFT, Large 7-inch TFT-LCD display with 800 * 480 resolution, Multiple interface types (USB Host, USB Device (USB-TMC), LAN (VXI-11), Pass / Fail, Trigger Out, and SCPI remote control commands), Bode plotting function controls external generator, and many other features. Details on the SDA1202X-E are at this link. For Siglent’s complete line of products, go to

The Homebrew Heroes Award Program is delighted to have another corporate sponsor commit to honoring our recipients. We are sure that this prize will significantly enhance the Hero’s workbench in future work that will benefit the amateur radio community. For more details on the Homebrew Heroes Award program, go to

Siglent SDS1202X-E Super Phosphor Oscilloscope

Subscribe FREE to's
Amateur Radio Newsletter

We never share your e-mail address.

Please support our generous sponsors who make possible:


Hip Ham Shirts

Georgia Copper

Expert Linears


Ni4L Antennas

N3ZN Keys

West Mountain
R&L Electronics

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