Tag Archives: ham radio

One Hand, No Other

I almost made a contact today on 40-meters. I set up my rig and my vertical antenna on the bleachers at Brentwood Park and got everything tuned and warmed up. Listened all over the band and decided to actually key down and try to make contacts.I tromped right into a silent pause of a regular net and got a quick, terse reply when I asked if the frequency was in use. So, at least the SnowbirdNet controller in Mississippi heard me, but no proper 2-way contact was established.

Later, I heard a CQ from a station W4UDX in Kentucky; had a lot of static on my end, but I tried to answer anyway at 100 watts. He wasn’t able to get all of my callsign due to the interference of a nearby shortwave music broadcast station, so the contact didn’t complete.

Radio is hard.

Also, today I learned: even if you have plenty of waiting time at the auto dealership to do so, if you set up your rig at the edge of the parking lot next to the train tracks that run parallel to a massive haul of high-tension power lines from the nearby substation, you will get swamped with power-induced noise all over any band you try. So don’t bother. Just stay away from power lines. Not even moving my counterpoise to be perpendicular to the lines helped.

This is starting to look like work; difficult, solitary work. I’m afraid I’ll lose interest if I can’t get any of those rewarding dopamine dumps from having things go right. I’m done with only talking about it; I want to actually do it, but doing it isn’t easy.

Radio is hard.

First Listen with KD5RCA

This weekend, I had my first experience with a VHF repeater. Looked up the repeater operated by the Four States Amateur Radio Club in Texarkana at 146.620 MHz. Didn’t make any contacts (because I don’t have a license, obviously), but I did get to hear some actual chatter and get a better sense for the protocol of on-air contacts. Even managed to listen in on their club meeting held on-air — a total happenstance discovery, but there’s no reason why radio clubs shouldn’t have their meetings on-air. Neato!

Aside from the club meeting on Thanksgiving night (I assume that’s because it’s a Thursday), there was a little bit of chatter during the day and early evening, but after night-night time for these old grempers, the repeater’s pretty quiet except for the automated Morse and voice announcements.

I hope the radio clubs in Austin are a little more…active.