First of all, yesterday was World Amateur Radio Day. So I’ll start by hoping everyone had a wonderful World Amateur Radio Day. Next I’d like to leave you with a few things to ponder.
Test your gear
One of the most important things you can do from a ham radio and/or preparedness perspective, is test your gear thoroughly before you need it. In this picture I was testing the possibility of connecting 3 portable PowerFilm solar panels in parallel, which is something I hadn’t done previously. I ran an extension cord from outside, to the solar generator which was inside the shack. The solar generator powered the Yaesu ft-891 and the Raspberry Pi. I was able to restore charge to my solar generator which started at 12.03 volts, and ended the test at 13.9 volts, all while running JS8Call, actively on the js8 network.
Try new things
At the end of the day Ham Radio is what we make it. It doesn’t matter if you’re doing it near the Arctic Circle, a Caribbean Paradise, or from 32,000 feet from the 747. The point is we all have to adapt to our surroundings, and adapt our operating style to match the conditions we are operating in. There is no right or wrong way to do that, although the haters would say otherwise. Figure out a way which works for you, master your operating style, then own your way of operating. The more you do it, the better you get at it.
In this picture I’m set up near in the Gulf of Bothnia. The Sea is Frozen, but the view is to die for. For the record, we don’t have any running rivers or open seas this far north, during the winter. It’s all ice! But sometimes on a beautiful sunny day, it’s just nice to set up a Nortent tipi, throw down a couple solar panels, and fire up the field station.
One of the most important things we can do in amateur radio is experiment. Experimentation comes in a lot of different flavors. Some people enjoy building their own Morse code key, some people enjoy creating scripts for Linux or the Raspberry Pi, some people enjoy writing software or building Electronics projects. What you do really doesn’t matter, as long as you do something to challenge your mind. One of my favorite ways of experimenting is taking components from different antennas, mixing and matching until I have a frankentenna which meets my needs.
In this picture I’m experimenting with the coil loaded ( inductance loaded) portable quarter wave whip for 40m. I used the slider and extension rods from a Super Antenna MP1, and the collapsible MIL Whip from Chameleon Antenna, to make a shortened quarter wave resonant vertical antenna for 30, 40, and 60 meters (it’s work in progress).
I know I know, why on Earth would I do something like this? Well to satisfy a few requirements in the field. First of all the titanium whip from the super antenna is spring loaded. It works well but I wanted a collapsible whip which is easier to pack, instead of something which might put my eye out under tension. I also wanted to get more vertical height above the coil. So I used the whip from chameleon antenna, on top of the MP1. Doing simple antenna experimentation like this, might provide some interesting and very useful results. Remember, its up to you/us, to find our own best solutions. This solution removes the need for the antenna tuner, which means I carry less weight. It’s more like a mono band quarter wave vertical now, which means it’s probably going to perform extremely well. I’m rambling now, but you get the idea.
Share and inspire
Almost the most important thing we can do as amateur radio operators, is sharing what we are doing or what we’re working on. There are a lot of established ham radio voices out there and some of them are regurgitating the same old messages. That message might be fun to listen to or watch from time to time, but we really don’t need another talking head babbling nonsense about the next ham fest.
Document your projects, and share them on a Blog, on YouTube or on your social media feed. Really doesn’t matter where you share them, as long as you take pride and putting that documentation together. Take good pictures, write good notes, add some relevant hashtags, then fire away. The more people we have producing quality content, the more chances we have of inspiring new ham radio operators to get involved, to get experimenting, to get out in the field, or simply getting new Operators licensed. So share what you’re working on, even if it’s just an idea.
Finally, I just want to tell all of you how much I appreciate the support. It’s difficult to thank each and everyone of you individually, but I promise you I’m listening and I appreciate the comments, the shares, and the inspiration.
de Julian oh8stn