Posts Tagged ‘Miscellaneous’

Ham Radio Needs a Super Hero!

What if we had a super hero for ham radio? Many hams are sci-fi fans and love movies and TV shows like Star Trek, Star Wars, Superman and all those other great gadget filled plots. Who hasn’t grown up dreaming of flying to the rescue of the world?


Wanted: Super Hero (tks to Wiki Commons)

If we were to design our own super hero, what would be the unique abilities and powers that he or she would have? Imagine the cw speed that a super hero could handle while building a surface mount kit using heat vision or x-rays. Hmmmm…. Antenna man? Sparks? Capt. Hertz? Contester Supremo? Commander QRP? Elmer? What would we call this super hero?

It’s your chance to sound off… let’s hear your thoughts. Leave a comment and dream on…

Anticipation – – – HAMCATION & IDGOTAES


Tailgate action as K4UPG buys a MFJ 207

Wahoo! It is that time of year again. I am counting down the days to one of my favorite ham radio activities… Orlando Hamcation is coming on Feb 11-13.

After reading the editorial in the new issue of World Radio Online a cord was struck that resonated with this here ham. I realized that I have a common disease. The article says, “Seems there are a lot of radio amateurs suffering from IDGOTAES.” OH NO… I have it. Throughout the month of December and most all of January, I’ve been sidetracked with other priorities and without realizing it have become afflicted with IDGOTAES. ( “I Don’t Get On the Air Enough Syndrome” )  This is a bad one and only can be cured by some serious outdoor QRP activity if you are a true portable QRP op like me.

Praise the Lord, there’s some good opportunities to get on the air coming up and one cannot find a better place to stock up on goodies than the vendors, swap tables and tailgate are  of HAMCATION. So kick off the winter snow-bound blues and git on down here and enjoy with me.


Feeding frenzy at the vendor area of Hamcation!


Tailgate area is HUGE!

We’ll be holding an unofficial gathering of QRP types on Saturday Feb 12, 2011 at Hamcation. Let’s meet up at noon at the QRP ARCI booth and swap stories and get to know one another. Look for the wild eyed guy in the bright yellow cap that says K4UPG on it and his very distinctively white haired partner Jim K4AHO won’t be far away! Be there and let’s get over this dreaded disease together as we plan some Central Florida QRP Group outings for the rest of the year.  QNI? Ya hear?


Kelly K4UPG PB #173

Balancing Act

balancing work and life demands

When Work Gets in the Way of Ham Radio

Every now and then we hit one of those seasons of life where our work gets in the way of our hobby. For the past month, seems like work has overtaken the time and my radios have sat idle for WAY TOO LONG.

Thankfully, this weekend brings some relief and our Central Florida QRP group will take to the outdoors for our monthly outing. No one will be able to complain about the weather being too hot either, as the northland has sent us a reminder of why we moved to Florida. When it gets below 55F we get cranky and it looks like it will barely go above that temperature this weekend.

So look out for us this Saturday, 11 December 2010 about 1500-2000 UTC on the QRP watering holes on 40m, 30m, 20m and who knows where else. We’ll be out there with rusty fists on the keys once again. YAHOO!


Kelly K4UPG PB #173

Good Customer Service is NOT Dead!

Recently I began a project for a wire vertical antenna and it called for a 20 ft fiberglass or non-conducting pole/mast of some sort. Not to worry as I have a trusty 20 ft Jackite pole in a nice green color. I put the antenna together but the vertical wire was too long and so there was considerable slack wire swinging in the breeze. After some head scratching, I measured my 20 ft Jackite and found it was only 18 ft long!!! YIKES! Did it shrink?

My 20 Foot Jackite Pole

Did it shrink? Nope, it is all good to go!

Thanks to the internet, I was able to send an email to Jackite products and ask if that was normal. In a short time, I received a very nice response from the Jackite vp and an offer that was over the top and way more than I was expecting. It was more than I could accept as I’ve been quite happy with the product otherwise. Turns out that it was a small quality control issue that I can tweak and correct personally.

I get no monetary or other gain out of this, but did want to give credit where credit is due. This level of customer support is often lacking in today’s busy world. I am glad to give a shout out to this company and its products! They do the job and the company stands behind them with good service. Outstanding job Jackite!


Kelly K4UPG PB #173

I am CAD afflicted

Yep, it is confirmed now for sure. Compulsive Antenna Disorder has haunted me since I was first licensed and ran a coax fed 80 meter dipole on multiple bands without a tuner.  The first time the symptoms were noticed by my family and friends was when I got a couple OO tickets for out of band harmonics. Hmmmm… what’s up with that? So a bit of reading and the antenna tweaking began and that’s when it all started.

Soon thereafter I tried to load up a nifty pin from my Junior Prom Boutonnière that reminded me of a triple stacked halo for 1296 Mc (MHz for the newer ones amongst us).  Then it was the handheld yagis for 432 Mc that we used with some military surplus gear that used dynamos so we could chase tornadoes. (We thought if it bounced off the moon, it should bounce off of a tornado!) The saucer sled that became a parabolic for listening to satellite telemetry and on it goes… Compulsive Antenna Disorder has had a firm grip on me for some time now.

Antenna Farm

Am I dreaming? Thanks wiki images!

As a QRP operator, I am always looking for more antenna power. I know that somewhere out there simply MUST be a silver bullet, that magic QRM and pileup busting antenna that makes my 2 watts output sound like a full gallon.

I can say one thing for sure, I know a lot of non-silver bullet antennas, as I have a box full of them.

But they still make a few QSO’s at times and I’m having fun along with a bit of frustration and disappointment as I deal with my CAD affliction.

I’m told that much like telegraph key collectivitis there is no known cure or relief. I share in your grief brothers and sisters…


Kelly K4UPG PB #173

Computer Does Not Save Time

Remember when we used to think computers would save us time?


Why did we think the computer would save us time?

I spent the last 6 hours running updates, fixing the problems the updates created and figuring out how to install the updates that would not install automagically. Grrrrrrr!

Think I need some time to play radio, but I won’t be taking a SDR radio with me for a bit. Grrrrr…. need to recover from the 26 reboots and all the time wasted surfing and reading the small print.

Good thing there is a QRP ARCI event this weekend and the following weekend is our Polar Bear Moonlight Madness Event. Grrrr! I’m ready for some CW. CU on the bands!


Kelly K4UPG PB #173

More Lessons from the Birds

Great Blue Heron

The Biggest Bird in the Pond

On my morning walk yesterday, I had quite a treat. Sure wish I had taken the camera along. On the shore of the flood control pond that flows out into the golf course, were 4 fine Florida water birds. It is not common to see them bunched together like this. A Great Blue Heron, a Little Blue Heron, a Great Egret and a Comorant were lined up in a space of about 8-10 feet. There was a good bit of shoving and jockeying for position and they were working down the bank fishing in the same small spot.


Cormorant is like a living submarine or scuba diver

Made me think of the pileups a DX station creates…      The comorant had a distinct advantage as the only real swimmer and diver of the bunch. It ranged up and down the bank picking off small fingerlings and bullying the other birds by swimming right up to their skinny legs and surfacing. Reminded me of some of the pileup busters I’ve observed from time to time.

At the same time, the little guy, the Little Blue Heron, and the regal looking, very white and tall Great Heron      were left to glean around the edges and pick off the fish that were panic striken and confused by the other birds fishing in the midst. This reminded me of all the contests where I have to dodge the big birds and pick off what I can around the edges.

Funny thing is there are tens of thousands of fish all along the bank, not just where these birds were bunched up. What is it about us that piles us up and forces such fierce competition? Hmmm?

Yep, I am a devoted CPG (Contest Point Giver), who had a nice morning walk and got to see a great outdoors show for free. That is why I love operating QRP portable. Being outside and enjoying the free shows only adds to the enjoyment of the hobby and the friendships made on the air.


Kelly K4UPG PB #173

Great Egret

Tall White Bird is really quite skittish

Little Blue Heron

This little Blue Heron really gets around fast

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