Days of Summer

So many projects, so little time! I have to keep reminding myself that amateur radio is a hobby and not a profession. I’ve got three main projects in the hopper.

My experimentation with AREDN continues to be quite fun. I was able to join the beta team, and I got to flip roles from my day job in Information Technology. Instead of being the project manager, I was a dreaded software tester! The AREDN team put together a thorough set of test cases. Running these resulted in finding a number of bugs, some minor  and some pretty good ones. There are some really neat new features, the most exciting being the new ham only channels – frequencies that aren’t shared with public or commercial users. I’m going to use the software on two $95 off-the-shelf commercial radios to create a 15km link to provide data to a homebrew D-STAR repeater. I really love using amateur radio to solve other amateur radio challenges! If successful, I’m planning on introducing AREDN to our area’s emergency management leadership. Being a volunteer firefighter, I’ve already got an “in” to talk with that team. Bringing them a solution they don’t already have, and one that is already working, will be interesting.

On HF, I’ve got a 160m antenna I need to get up. I keep hearing that I’m missing out by never going below 80m. My buddy Fred, KC9REG, gave me a 160m antenna that I still haven’t gotten up. I need to get this done before winter!

Finally I need to get my Icom 2820 installed in a new-to-me truck. I haven’t installed a radio in such a new vehicle before. There sure is a lot of plastic molding now! After reading numerous blogs and Ford truck forums, I’ve got a plan. Surprisingly I found that there is a simple way to get wires from the engine compartment into the cab. And there’s just as easy of a way to get coax from the bed into the cab. We’ve got an upcoming boating vacation, and I’ll want the radio for the trip. This is one of those must-do projects!

All in all a fun time for me and ham radio.

Michael Brown, KG9DW, is a regular contributor to and writes from Illinois, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

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