Dan Romanchik - KB6NU
Although I’ve been licensed for a long time, I was not very active until I participated in our club’s 2002 Field Day 2002 operation. There, I made my first CW contact in several years and got hooked on amateur radio all over again.
Since then, I’ve become very active:
I’ve made more than three contacts per day on average since Field Day 2002, mostly on CW.
I blog about amateur radio at KB6NU.com.
I teach ham radio classes.
I love helping people have more fun with ham radio. If you ever hear me on the air, I hope that you’ll give me a call.
Thoughts from our Presenters
A couple of days ago, I managed to work the OJ0AW on Market Reef on 30m. Market Reef is a small piece of rock in the Baltic Sea between Sweden and Finland.
This is Market Reef’s 50th year as a DXCC entity and, so I’ve read, many DXpeditions will be made to this piece of rock in 2019. So, if you don’t already have it in your logs, now’s the time.
I worked OJ0AW on 30m after calling for only about five minutes. Good thing, too, given my short attention span. :)
On the CWOps mailing list the other day, one of the guys apologized for his bad “fist.” A CW operator’s fist is his or her method of sending. Someone is said to have a good fist if his or her sending is easily readable. Someone is said to have a bad fist if he or she is sending poorly.
The fellow who apologized wrote:
I want to apologize about my bad fist yesterday. Yesterday morning, I used my1949 Allis Chalmers tractor, which is 70 yrs old and has NO POWER STEERING to bush hog some of my 13 acre plot. My arms and hand muscles were cramping and shaking for the rest of the day! This was the first mow this spring and I am outta shape for that kind of work. I’m only in my early 60’s too. Thanks for putting up with that and all the contacts!
This isn’t really an amateur radio story, but it does have a battery in it, so it could be. :)
About six months ago, I noticed that my battery-powered shaver wasn’t holding a charge as well as it used to. Recently, I’ve had to just use it with that AC adapter to shave down my beard properly.
I cracked it open and found that it was powered by a single NiMH, AA cell, very much like the one shown in the photo. The kicker is that it’s not a standard battery, but one with solder tabs.
I often say that getting an amateur radio license is as much getting a license to learn as it is getting a license to operate on the amateur radio bands. Lately, I’ve been learning about batteries, LiPo batteries to be exact.
It all started when I purchased a Morserino. The Morserino is a feature-packed Morse Code learning aid. In addition to helping you learn the characters, it’s also supposed to help you learn how to copy in your head. It has a built-in touch keyer function, and a LoRa interface that lets you send and receive code from other Morserino units.
As you know, I teach a lot of one-day Tech classes. I also enjoy teaching General classes, and I have yet to tackle an Extra class. I would have held a General class this winter, but oddly enough, there wasn’t enough interest. I’m not exactly sure why, but I was rather disappointed by this.
So, I’m thinking about reviving an idea that I tried once before—a virtual class—but with a more modern twist. The last time I tried this we did it via EchoLink, meaning that there was no video, and students had to either have access to an EchoLink repeater or download the app to their computers.
A couple of years ago, I homebrewed a “Cobra” antenna. It’s a doublet antenna, meaning that it consists of two elements connected to a center insulator, where it connects to a feedline. The unique thing about the Cobra antenna is that each element consists of three parallel conductors connected in series.
The results of N8RMA’s 2019 State of the Hobby Survey are now in. As my ICQPodcast co-host, Frank, K4FMH, this isn’t a scientific study, as those who responded to the survey weren’t randomly chosen, but it’s still an interesting survey. Here are a few observations:
53% of the respondents are Extra Class operators. Since more than 50% of hams in the U.S. are Tech Class operators, this survey isn’t representative of all hams, but rather active hams. On a related note, respondents report an average of more than 30 years in the hobby. For all licensed hams, that’s got to be a lot less.
The question, “Which common areas of an amateur radio test are most worrisome to you?” elicited pretty much the expected response. Technical topics top the list, although I am a bit surprised that antennas and feedlines scored so low.
I keep saying that one day I’m going to really master the Smith Chart. I kind of understand them, but don’t ask me to give an impromptu lecture on how they work and what they’re used for. That being the case, I keep collecting links to articles on the net that are supposed to explain how they work.
The other day, I got a phone call from a former student. He was a bit perturbed because he’d started studying for the Extra Class exam, and right off the bat, he found himself in some deep water.
The first topic that I cover is resonance. I jump right in and define resonant frequency as the frequency at which inductive reactance of a circuit equals the capacitive reactance of a circuit. That is when 2πfL=1/(2πfC), and if you do the math, the resonant frequency, fr = 1/(2π√(LC).
Now, I’m going to take some of the blame for my friend’s predicament. The reason for this is that I really didn’t review the idea of reactance. I just assumed that they’d recall this from the General Class material. When I explained this over the phone, he got it, but I can see where my study guide could be a little confusing.
This Morserino32 kit arrived yesterday, and I’m hoping to build it tonight. If you’re not familiar with this little beauty