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
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
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About a week ago, the FCC announced that it is accepting comments on a Petition for Rule Making (RM-11831) that seeks to change the rules to require that all digital transmissions use techniques “whose technical characteristics have been documented publicly.” Filed by Ron Kolarik, K0IDT, the petition expresses concerns that some currently used digital modes are not readily and freely able to be decoded, and it asks the FCC to require all digital codes to use protocols that “can be monitored in [their] entirety by third parties with freely available, open-source software,” per §97.113(a)(4).
Last night, I worked Jack, W4TJE. He’s a great operator, and I always enjoy chatting with him. Later that evening, I got the following email:
You mention on your QRZ.Com page how working Field Day in 2002 got you back into amateur radio. I have a similar story here. I’ve always been active, but was never much of a CW op. I just didn’t get it, never saw the attraction. But, at a Field Day around that same time, I watched an old WWII era ham, now SK, working CW at what sounded like machine gun speed, all while sipping coffee and with a cigarette dangling off his lips, and cracking jokes with us while he did it......
About a week ago, Tom, KE8HUM, answered my CQ. He lives in Plymouth, MI, only 12 miles from me, according to QRZ.Com. He apologized, but I enjoy working guys no matter where they are. He’s a member of our club, a nice guy, and I have his QSL in my collection of QSL cards from stations whose call signs spell words.
About an hour and a half later, I was still down in the shack and worked Gary, K1YAN, Plymouth, MA. I joked with Gary that I was going for the “Worked All Plymouth” award, but, as it turns out, I have a long way to go. According to the Boston Globe, there are 30 cities in the U.S. alone with the name Plymouth.
Arduinos are fun, and Raspberry Pis are cool, and hams have been quick to adopt these platforms and use them in amateur radio applications. The latest small computer—the NVIDA Jetson Nano—could take this to a whole new level.
The Nano is the newest and the smallest of the NVIDIA Jetson Series of machine learning (ML) enabled computer boards (shown below). It come is a DIMM package measuring only 70 x 45 mm. Despite the small size, the specs are very impressive:
64-bit, quad-core ARM Cortex-A57 CPU complex
128-CUDA-core Maxwell GPGPU designed to handle video streams as well as ML chores
472 GFLOPS of performance.