Posts Tagged ‘n1ic’

Off Topic – Going back to College

I was sitting in our Board Meeting for the NI4CE repeater system – and realized that I have not been playing radio in quite some time. There is more than one reason. I have been extremely busy at work and due to that I have had no time for anything else.


One of those other life factors besides work, kids, family, and other hobbies is school. For many of you this might sound odd, but for others you will completely understand.


At this point in my life, even though I have been in computer industry for over 25 years, I have never had a college degree. My wife was starting her MBA and I said with her going to be taking on the stress and challenge of that maybe it’s something I should consider. I looked into what my company would help pay for, I looked into the time commitments, and I landed on University of Phoenix.


Online works great for me – I am a computer geek and live online. I thought this would be a great time in life and then I would finally not be the only person around the table that couldn’t talk about having their degree. It was just something that always has been in the back of my mind.


Well, I started and finished week 1 with all A’s in my two classes and I’m on my way. I understand that this isn’t Ham Radio specific but if you ever read my story about how Ham Radio helped put me on a better path you will understand why this ties back together. Ham Radio helped me get my 15-year-old head on straight; many people in the hobby-helped push me into computers. I have worked for one of the largest software companies for the last 18 years and been pretty lucky to still know the two guys that did it.


I am sure my story of going back and getting my college education will bring more bliss to a great story they had impact on.


I won’t post all of my weeks progress, but I thought I would start with week one:


I am still active on the Board of Directors for NI4CE and I am going to do my best to get back into radio further. I promise J for not if you want to find me it will most likely be in the library.

Elecraft K3 Final Build Assessment and First On Air Testing

Elecraft K3 Final Build Assessment and First On Air Testing

So the Elecraft K3 build is finished ☺ Yes it has been a long process for me but only because of my time and schedule. I think this is a project you could finish in a weekend if you really put dedication into it but I’m not sure you would want to. I will explain this as I go along…

The first questions I got were why would you do this? There are so many radios out there to purchase and some could argue many better. Well, that’s subjective of course and I’m a big fan of my Yeasu 1000mp, which I believe is my third one. I also love what Icom is doing with their new rigs but I remember a hobby that I used to table and build circuit boards, solder resisters and diodes and even build a Heathkit or two. I wanted to regain that experience in the hobby…. Get on air with something I assembled and tuned… something my hands were inside and I know where everything is and could replace if needed. How comfortable would you be installing a filter in your radio? I could do it in 10 mins now ☺ so that is a big part of the why.

The second part – FUN. Yes, if you read my posts you will see some frustration in my build. There are a few reasons but one is I was sick during the first phase… I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis and was in the midst of an episode when I was doing the first few days of assembly. Take that out and I think you would find that I was having much more fun. ☺ Also – I have a really busy with work, life and family so I wanted something that I could have to sit down and take my mind away. This project seemed like a great one.

So here are the videos of assembly if you haven’t seen them and then I will provide you my overall thoughts below:


Nick N1IC – How to Save Ham Radio – 5 Part Series (Part 1)

When I was sitting back remembering how Ham – Amateur – Radio changed my life the other day it is a pretty remarkable story. I think my story is for another time but thinking about it made me want to sit back and give back to the hobby that I love so much and has done so much for me.

The best way I thought today was to think of ways we could work together and Save Ham Radio together. I of course am in no way saying I have all the ideas or answers and I would love to hear from others but I thought I would start with my opinions.

Ham Radio isn’t dead for sure:

But are we doing all we could to promote Ham Radio to a generation that loves technology. They are glued to their tables and smartphones – they love to text and communicate. I bet – with the right motivation and experiences many of them would be interested in Ham Radio.

Over the next few weeks I am going to sit down and provide the roadmap that I have followed to help give exposure to others on radio, the safety and emergency communications aspect and the pure fun of building something new.

My first part of this series is on Sharing Ham Radio News with others:

Part One of Series –





In life you come across people – early on my life I think I was 16 years old I met a friend on the way into work in the mornings on our local 220mhz machine. I had gotten hurt and at the time my hand was wrapped up and I had taken some time off. I was a novice at the time so I only had privileges on 220. Mike N1RFD was one of the people that I met that convinced me take a step back from the construction work I was doing and look into computers. That changed my life I have been in the IT industry since and Mike was one of the people that I have to thank for this.

Not only did he help me then but has remained a friend, mentor and contact that I could rely on anytime it was needed.

The main reason I tell you this story is to tell you that when a friend like this gives me guidance I always listen but knowing Mike for the years I have in both business and personal I know he is very detailed and thoughtful when he works on something or builds something. Knowing he is now retired and has been working on a project that I really wanted to share with as many people as possible.

Take a look and tell me what you think of the:

What is my definition of a Communications Go-Kit?
A Communications Go-Kit (or Radio-Ready-Kit) is made up of a portable “Amateur radio” station and assorted personal gear that can quickly be assembled to respond to a “Call To Service”. There are more details on my blog and a link to his full setup.

 RICK 1_small

Read more about this project on my blog:

Icom DSTAR – 50 States in 50 Days Project

Let me start with saying that I love having goals and challenging myself in different ways… I came up with a challenge that I didn’t think would be too hard to meet but would be fun and stretch my operating time a little more than I have been on the air in a while. I love DStar and the fact that I live in an Antenna Restricted area makes me try to be more creative than ever on keeping my radio skills high as well as having some fun doing it. 50 States WAS is always one of the first challenges people go after when getting on HF so I thought why not try to do 50 States on DStar and to make it interesting come up with a catchy way to say it so there grew: 50 States in 50 Days. Sounds catchy right? I thought so…

Honestly, it should be a very easy goal to attain from a technology standpoint I mean get on a Reflector and you could pick off 5-6 states on a major reflector in on setting. Also, just linking to 50 repeaters should only take you what a day or two to do if you just rush through it…. Here is what do you haven’t added… Full time job, wife, two kids with full schedules, 4 dogs, 15 other hobbies and the fact that I’m pretty tired at the end of my day!! I have thought about doing this project for a while but I jumped in with both feet tonight with some free time I had tonight….

With that said… Let’s get started!!

March 30 –

  • Linked to KI4WXS in the Charlotte area to talk to my friend John – KJ4KJM who I got into the hobby and we had a quick QSO on his way home from work.
  • Linked to AA1HD in Vernon Connecticut because I was on a roll at this point and reconnected to one of my oldest (no age but long term) friends in the hobby Fran (W1FJM)
  • Linked to AC7O in UT and I got a change to meet Bob – KF7LQS who just got a 91ad and was learning his way around DStar from Logan, UT. Really nice guy and someone you should connect with if your online
  • Linked to K3PDR in Philadelphia, PA as my wife happened to be in that area and I LOVE THE FOOD there. After a few calls… K3DS Dennis came back to me while he was putting some finishing touches on his Shack.

Since we have some thunderstorms coming through and tornado warnings in effect I decided to shut down and take the rest of the night off. I’ll be back to my quest tomorrow hopefully…

Full story: Worked all States DSTAR – 50 states in 50 days | NickToday Blog

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