Wednesday, January 27, 2010

RARC on Facebook

I put up a Facebook page for the Rockwall Amateur Radio Club. Many of our members expressed positive feedback when the question was put out on whether to put up a Facebook page about our club. I think it will be a positive thing once the word gets out about it.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

New Antenna

I did something this week that I never thought I would. That was to purchase a portable antenna. I was blessed this past Christmas with some extra money and I decided I would try to complete my ham set up. At least get close to what I envisioned several months ago. Over the past several weeks, I have been looking for a used Buddipole for sale. I did not have enough to buy one new, but thought I could find a used one with what I had left over with my Christmas money. After searching several sites daily, I had the thought of putting my own ad on So last Saturday afternoon, I put an ad out stating I was looking for a Buddipole deluxe and the long version. Within an hour of putting that ad out, I got an email from a ham in the Georgetown Texas area that had one. After emailing back and forth, I purchased it from him and since I was already planning to be in Georgetown the next weekend, it was too perfect. I met him and several other Hams at McDonalds in Round Rock Friday morning. I had a good time meeting some other Hams from the area. I bought the Buddipole and got it back to my in-laws house. I put the new antenna up and made a PSK31 contact to UTAH on my first try. Soon after, all the bands died and there was nothing to be done with HF after that. However, I am excited about my new antenna. I am anxious to try it out on camping trips and Ham Radio in the Park. No it has not replaced my Slinky antennas in my attic, but I will see how it works in my attic in the up coming days.

Before I left town, I played with APRS using my new Signalink USB. All I had to do was download AWG software from the Tigertronics website and I was up and going. It was fun to play with. Using the Signalink for a base station APRS works really well. It doesn't appear with the way the signalink is designed, that mobile APRS would be very easy.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Well I have had fun today. About 11:30am, my Tigertornics Signalink USB came in the mail. I have looked at these units for over a year thinking it might be fun to try. After getting some Christmas money, I decided to buy one. Set up was not real difficult, I had to put in some wires for the jumpers specific for my radio. They nice thing was they sent me a cable pre-made for my radio. After plugging it in I had to make some setting changes to the sound card on the computer, not hard with the detail instructions that came with it. Then I just fired up the software. I started with Digipan software first and made my first contact after several cq attempts. I had a qso with a station in West Virgina on PSK31, 20 meters. Then I wanted to set up the Ham Radio Deluxe software. After a few attempts, I got it working. Not long I was hearing a station in Cuba on 20 meters. I called him and made contact. Now that was fun. So that is working I thought why not try to see how CW works. I was able to decode a W1AW bulletin on 20 meters at about 75% copy.

So success with the signalink. I have some more playing to do but they set up with my slinky antenna in the attic seems to work really well on the digital HF mode.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Cowtown Hamfest

This Friday and Saturday is the first swapfest of the year in the Dallas Ft. Worth area. Cowtown Hamfest starts tomorrow. This will be the second year I will be out to this swapfest. I was able to pick up a lot of "needs" for my ham station last year. Looking forward to seeing what all is out there this year.

Signalink Update: I will get my new Signalink USB digital unit Tuesday. Woo Hoo!!!!

Update to Cowtown - I had a good time at the swap fest. I was able to pick up a couple of items for my Dad that he had been looking for. I only went out Friday, but had a good time. Look forward to the swap fest in San Antonio next weekend.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Slinky Billboard

Over the Christmas Holidays, my family and I went on a big road trip. We drove over 2000 miles and visited family in Tennessee and Alabama. The weather did not allow me to do any portable HF work even though I took my radio and some Slinky's along. All is not lost because just outside of Hope Arkansas, I saw this billboard and I couldn't help but take a picture and put it up. Enjoy.

I received the January issue of QST as I was leaving town two weeks ago. I was interested in the PSK31 article in there. A simple free download of digipan will allow you to receive digital transmissions. So one afternoon I found time to download the program and tune in to the PSK31 frequency on 40 meters. Using my Dad's Slinky antenna that he has in his attic I was able to hear PSK31 immediately. I was excited that it was that easy. Then I heard the station that made me want to do digital. I heard a station in Kiev Ukraine.... on 40 meters.... with a Slinky antenna. I'm hooked. I ordered a Signalink USB unit that I have heard a lot about with Christmas money and now I am waiting to receive it and try out my Slinky antenna. I am anxious to transmit on digital HF with my Slinky antenna to see what I can do. Stay tuned for updates on my new endeavor.