Is This Frequency In Use?

While cleaning out the garage I stumbled upon a decades old vhf mobile radio. Since I was pushing the budget envelope with recent target practice related purchases I decided to power up the trusty rig and see what was happening on 146 Mhz here in Arizona. Perhaps ham radio would be a low cost diversion from the rifle range.

I got connected with some local Amateur Radio clubs and volunteered for a few public service events. Soon a dual band portable arrived at the door to support these activities. And a Mirage mobile amp. And a new antenna for the house. And one for the car. A bit pricey but still cheaper than practice ammo purchases.

Next came a series of HF transceivers, accessories and some text book fire wires. Eventually replaced the wire antennas with trap dipoles and a broadband vertical for the lower bands. Each iteration performed increasingly well compared to the baseline HW-16 and end fed random wire I started with back in school.

While impressive, these improvements were not without expense. I'm almost afraid to add up the receipts for all the gear purchased in pursuit of this wonderful hobby. It's hard to put a price on thousands of great QSOs and several award certificates, right? Hmmm, maybe target shooting wasn't so expensive after all.

K7LOL Goes Hollywood - SSTV Style

A couple of years ago I added a SignaLink interface to the crude lash up of equipment in the shack to do digital modes like PSK and RTTY. Works great and also supports Slow Scan Television. The concept of sending tiny pictures at the speed of government may be foreign to most high tech folks, but it sure is a lot of fun.

View Recent Received SSTV Images »

Solar Powered Ham Shack

I have added a 140 watt solar panel, charge controller and 160 amp hours of deep cycle battery capacity to the mix and can run for days with no commercial power. What else could anyone possibly ask for in a bargain basement, sun powered amateur radio set up? Well, a nice tower in the back yard would allow me to put up the whole beam ...

In retrospect, you might want to try target shooting and save yourself some money.

Radio Related Links

If you're not heading out to the shooting range by now, here is a free collection of useful links and more impressive amateur radio resources you may find interesting.