Hamcation 2013 and QRP

One of my favorite events is the Orlando Hamcation. This year I didn’t really have a “get list” so could enjoy more time with fellow QRP ops. Our Central FL QRP Group regular Jim Diggs K4AHO helped us get a QRP Forum and Jim Stafford W4QO came in from Georgia to help bring a good session about working DXCC with QRP. Wow! Jim also did a lot of recruiting of QRP ops as he manned the QRP ARCI booth and allowed us to hang out and assist. We had quite a good turnout of QRP Ops from FL and all over the US and a few overseas members too!


W4QOatHamcation2013QRPForum CFLQRPHamcation2013 Crowd at Hamcation 2013 QRPARCI booth Hamcation2013demoN4KGL  Carl AA2JZ brought some of his homebrew masterpieces and along with some QRP rigs W4QO displayed we got a lot if interests and questions on what was in the Altoids tins.

After the QRP Forum, Greg N4KGL gave us a demo of his Alex Loop and KX-3 at a nearby picnic table. The weather and bands were both cooperative and we were all impressed with the way the antenna and rig set up and operated!

Thanks to all who joined in the fun. Check out our Central FL QRP Group blog for details on our outings.

Breaking News…Grinches ALMOST Stole My Favorite SDR Site

BREAKING NEWS!  Mack has rebooted and W4AX.com is back online. It is a huge blessing  and thanks again to Mack and the host of others who serve all of us! YAHOOO>>> Grinches lose! W4AX.COM is online again! Belay my last!

A few years ago, we did not know the term, Software Defined Radio but now it has become one of many new technologies that we hams are learning to adapt to our needs. As an antenna restricted condo dweller, I’ve found it most helpful for being able to listen to the bands at various times through the day.

W4AX.com Screenshot
W4AX.com during IARU CW contest

Yesterday I learned my favorite site, W4AX.com is shut down due to abuse by non-hams and other constraints. A big thanks to Mack, W4AX and others who are the unsung heros that provide services like these and have allowed access to others over the years. The Reverse Beacon Network is another great service and we often forget the time and expense that our fellow hams have put into keeping them going.  As a blogger with multiple sites, I understand the challenges and resources it takes all too well.

I’ll miss being able to check the bands 24 x 7 on my favorite site, but perhaps it will prompt me and others to set up our own SDR site and share it with others. I salute those who like Mack paved the way for new technology to provide access to so many hams. Sorry that the burden got too heavy to keep it going, but know your work was appreciated by many. I’ll be sure to let others who are working behind the scenes know that they are appreciated too.

Blessings gang of pioneers and Happy Holidays to you all!


Kelly K4UPG

December = Memory Lane

December 7th is a special day to me. It is of course, a memorial to the Pearl Harbor attack, but it always reminds me of the day my novice license arrived in the mail! I had taken my test with Don, my Elmer, and waited what seemed like an eternity for the paper license to arrive in the mail so I could make that first QSO! Mowing lawns, working at a small restaurant washing dishes and other odd jobs helped me make enough money to put together my first station. A Globe Scout 65 watt xmtr and a Hallicrafters SX-140 receiver with a custom ceramic knife switch for the antenna. No QSK for me, just a knife switch to switch the antenna between the xmtr and rcvr! Once in a while, I’d forget to throw that switch, and wonder why I couldn’t hear the other station any more. hi hi

Memory Lane...The First Rig
Memory Lane...The First Rig

Magic days… many memories and lots of fun!

I taught my mom how to turn the rig on and she had instructions to turn it on so it would be warmed up and stable by the time I got off the school bus! What a neat day it was when I got home and found my rig turned on and the license propped up next to the key! YAHOO… 80m, 40m and 15m novice rocks and I was hooked. The magic of amateur radio had addicted another young-un! It is still magic for me 45 years later!  The gear has changed, we have new bands and modes, but the magic is still there. Shooting electrons and communication through mid-air is still fun. How about you?

What’s your story? How was your first day on the air? What was your first rig? Leave a comment and let’s remember those glorious days…