Need an antenna solution

I am really enjoying my time back into Ham radio, but I am getting a little frustrated. I am going to have to do more research to find an antenna solution that will work with my limitations. If anyone has a suggestion besides move please let me know.

Playing with FT8 Digital Mode

I decided to play with some digital modes on the HF bands. This was interesting and very different from the things I have done before. While most people think of Ham radio as just voice and a bunch of noise, FT8 proves them wrong.

FT8 is great when the bands are in bad condition or you are running low power. The main point of this mode is to make DX contacts in horrible conditions. At this is shines above just about all else I have used.

FT8 does have its downsides. It is not really made for conversations or passing information. It seems best suited for those that are wanting to fill a log book. But it should not be overlooked how easy this is for new people who often struggle with getting started an need that little bit of extra motivation. While it is helping new HAMs get their feet wet it also teaches about band propagation. All this without being punishing.

There is another thing that makes this mode really fun and easy for new Hams. If you use WSJT-X and connect it to your radio. You can make the connections, almost, automated. Then you will need to be able to log those connections. I use JTAlert to log the connections and that is also automated. Pretty simple to setup and work.

Just to give you an example of how good this is. I don’t have much room in the attic to put an antenna and I cant put one outside because of HOA. That means I have a hard time getting out and receiving. FT8 cuts right through and allows me to make DX contacts.

If you are new to Ham radio HF and digital you should give FT8 try. It is really rewarding and fun. It is also much faster than other communication on the HF bands. I am going to put up a tutorial on how to connect this to your radio soon. So keep an eye out for that.


Fall – An Excellent Time Of Year!

One of my favourite times of year is Fall. When I was younger I didn’t appreciate this time of year the way I do now. Back then I was more interested in summer. But that all changed.

When I was a younger I longed for the days of summer. No school, swimming pools, girls in bikinis, and summer parties. Those were the things of every young man’s dream. Those southern summer nights were amazing. Cruzing with your friends meeting new girls, You always had a summer romance, fling or two. The heat didn’t bother us at all! In fact, it just meant that girls were going to be dressed in less. Summer seems to be made for the youth.

Now as I have gotten older I really appreciate the birth of spring and fall. That magical time of year when mother nature shows her true beauty. The fall colours were there all along just hidden underneath, waiting to show how beautiful the trees really are. The temperatures are dropping and there is a crispness in the air. It seems that mother nature is sitting, fighting off the bleak winter months with one last push of amazing beauty. The smells! Pumpkin spice everything.. ok well maybe that is not so great. But there is a smell to fall. Just before the cold of winter sets in and the holidays show up.

As beautiful as fall is it does lead to the death of winter. This is the point where mother nature goes silent for a bit and waits to wow us with another beautiful show in spring!

Getting Back Into HAM radio

I know this sounds really dorky, but I love HAM radio. I have held my license for some time and really fallen out of the habit of using my radion for communications. That is something I cant see me doing any longer. However, I have some limitations at the moment.

  1. My current HT (Handy Talky) does not do digital modes and it seems that analogue is dying so I will have to upgrade
  2. I can’t put up a giant antenna array so I will have to stick to attic antenna or portable ones that I take up and put away
  3. I have way too many hobbies
  4. I am not a very patient person

I think the first two I can find workarounds for or fix really quickly, but the last two are real buggers.  I guess I am going to have to decide which is more important to me.

Maybe, just maybe, I should write a primer on how to get started on the digital modes and the joys of analogue to help those that are interested get started. Now that is an idea. I could make a post and then do QSOs with those that get into the hobby using my post.

Stay tuned for more on this one!

Sleepless Nights

I have far too many of these nights to when I can’t sleep. I have been/am on medication that should be helping, but I still can’t get to sleep. All I really want to do at the moment is write. I feel like I have a ton in my head and can’t get it out.

Let’s just hope I can fall asleep soon. Meetings come early in the morning.

Why I Hunt

As far as hobbies go this one seems really popular and really misunderstood. Some people think the only reason to hunt is to have a reason to get out of the house. Others see it as a way to commune with nature. While others see it as a way to get truly organic meat. Personally, I have my own reasons which I will explore a bit here, but will not even pretend to speak for the entire hunting community.

I have what Joe Rogan calls Adult Onset Hunting (AOH).  Meaning that when I was a younger I didn’t hunt at all. In fact, I went through a time in my life when I thought hunting was dumb. I thought that if you could go to the store and buy some meat why would you hunt? Obviously, this has changed as I got older.

The reasons why I hunt are pretty basic. As I have become older I have seen the need to become more self-sufficient in everything I do. That includes harvesting my own food. I want to be able to take the cleanest, healthiest, most organic meat possible. Not that I would quit eating store bought steak by any means. I still love my dead cow. It just means, that give the choice, I will choose deer over that cow.

There is also the relaxation part of the equation. There is something primal, relaxing and empowering about going into the woods and coming out with food for your family. Something, honest and wholesome about it as well. It takes our brain back to a time when this was how we functioned. There is also fellowship that happens in no other area. There is the cooking the harvest for the family and friends.

It also has to be mentioned that to hunt the way I like to do it requires me to exercise and make sure I am fit. It requires me to learn and sharpen my predator instincts.

Hunting is many things to many people. To me, it is a way to feed the family and friend, sharpen my mind, relax and have great fellowship. To others, it might mean something completely different, but it is hard to argue the quality of the food we get from this type of harvest of free-range game.