How’s Your Summer Goin’?
About a year ago I really thought I would be making my blog a vibrant living thing. But here’s the reality: You know those people who buy gym memberships and never go to the gym? This is like that except without the drain on my personal credit, and without the guilt. For myself and many others social media has largely usurped blogging. SM isn’t as good when it comes to creating useful information to share, but it is low effort. That often/typically makes it low quality as well. One look at any forum on groups.io (and many more) will demonstrate that.
Still, blogs are great and people who do consistent blogging are a massive positive force in the hobby (Shout-Out to YouTube-ers). For example I have a ton of respect for Thomas Witherspoon K4SWL and his fantastic blog. I also get a lot of enjoyment out of it. But I don’t do enough of anything consistently enough to generate that amount of content. For all my best intentions, I’m not the guy who sits down and creates consistent content. Thomas is that guy. Thanks, Thomas!
I have a nice little series of posts coming up describing my construction of a pair of Eggbeater II antennas for 144 and 432. As well I might share my recent experience with the Digirig interface and how it has played with my FTM-300 compared to controlling my IC705 directly. Why am I going down that rabbit hole? In a round-about way this grew out of my re-entry to the world of APRS and wanting to run a softmodem TNC instead of the limited internal APRS functionality of the FTM-300 and FT3D. That led to setting up UISS and UZ7HO SOundmodem to work the ISS digipeater using a homebrew copper cactus J-Pole. It’s OK at low angles but the polarization is all wrong. Lots of deep fades as a result, so it’s a very poor hit ratio. SO yeah, setting up an APRS station got me excited about sats as well.
Homebrewing a pair of satellite antennas is the next natural step. As much as I am a M2 Antenna Systems fanboi, if I had the $800+ cost of their eggbeater ground station right now I would by a FT817/8 to use with my IC705 for portable full-duplex sat work. Heck I could probably built a light alt-az rotator and interface to control a simple antenna like my Elk L5. Could still happen.
It’s a fun project so far.
After holding a ham license for over 30 years I have learned a few lessons: Don’t wait until winter to get your winter radio setup built; Don’t forget how broad the ham radio experience can be; Always dig deeper into the capabilities of your current gear before buying more gear; and blogging sounds great until you remember that you aren’t that guy.
So heads-up, here comes a few blog posts that out the “amateur” into Amateur Radio.
73, Pete N1QDQ