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Recent Posts

Recent Posts

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What are you up to / Re: FIO: USA Ham License Info
« Last post by kn6koo on May 19, 2021, 08:26:06 AM »

Good point about cutting out the third party providers.  Where exactly do you go to to get the information.

What are you up to / FIO: USA Ham License Info
« Last post by TangoEchoTango on May 17, 2021, 06:05:00 PM »
FIO = figured it out

How to cross-match HAM license data downloaded from the FCC, to obtain county data of the licensee (useful for many state QSO parties) ... and to show which counties are adjacent to the county inferred from the licensee's zip code (useful for contesting). 

The important thing: I no longer need to ping a third-party provider's internet database to obtain USA licensee information.  I can download it direct-from-FCC from time to time and access it from my own hard drive, eliminating my dependence on third-party providers. 

Because >80% of my contesting contacts are USA, this eliminates 80% of my dependence on the internet.  I could operate from an internet-free zone. 

It ain't brain surgery.  Happy to share. 

What are you up to / FIO: Control ICOM 7300 Directly
« Last post by TangoEchoTango on May 17, 2021, 05:56:22 PM »
FIO means "Figured it out". 

I finally figured out how to write a C++ program, runs in TERMINAL on Mac, to control directly my ICOM7300.  My app is 100% pure bare-metal C++: no third-party software involvement at all. 

My homebrew logging program can now retrieve the transceiver's frequency directly (no need to type it in). 

Happy to share. 
What are you up to / FIO: Control WinKeyer
« Last post by TangoEchoTango on May 17, 2021, 05:52:44 PM »

Last few days, I figured out how to control my WinKeyer directly from my Mac, WITHOUT using third-party software to maintain the serial port connection.

As always, it was simple-yet-non-obvious: just had to figure out the right C++ abra-cadabra to make it work. 

I was always afraid that an OSX upgrade or other hardware issue would invalidate my ballet-dance among several applications.  Progress means, reducing dependence on others. 

I won't go into it here.  Reach out, happy to share. 
Any Adventures you and your radio have taken recently / Gave FT8 a try
« Last post by kn6koo on April 28, 2021, 05:44:37 PM »
My goal is to try a lot of things you can do in Amateur Radio.  I've heard a lot about FT8 and digital radio so I added WSJT-X software to an old slow Dell laptop I own and found a printer cable to hook up my Yaesu FT991a.  After searching for the proper settings I finally got the combo going and gave it a try. 

What really got me was if you go to and select "map display" in the text you see a map that shows all the activity on multiple bands using all kinds of "modes" including FT8.

From my first brief session on 20 meters @ 35 watts I found that my call sign and signal was captured as far away as New Zealand and Australia as well as all over the US and Canada.  There's a screen shot attached.  What you're seeing are all the reporting stations that identified my signal and call sign.

I think this was pretty cool with a home brew antenna in my backyard. I look forward to keep working at this.
Introduce Yourself / Re: Hello to SBARC
« Last post by kn6koo on March 30, 2021, 11:39:13 AM »

Thanks for a nice meaty post. I for one plan to check a lot of your ideas as time becomes available.  I would like to add a couple of YouTube videos on CW that you think have good value. So if you have a chance add their URLs here and I will add them to the mix.

Again thanks for a great thread on CW!

Introduce Yourself / Starting in CW
« Last post by TangoEchoTango on March 28, 2021, 03:12:09 PM »
The secret is, there's no secret.  "How I did it" ... kinda irrelevant. 

There are some zero-cost ways to get started, and I wish I had known about them when I was starting out. 

You can start listening:  Google "pennsylvania web sdr" and you'll find a site.  You can listen to real amateur radio, over the internet.  No license, money, or equipment required!  You'll find CW traffic on 3.5-3.6 Mhz, 7.0-7.5 Mhz, 14.0-14.5 Mhz.  Nice thing about this is, it's real traffic.  See if you can pick out the common phrases ... CQ, or 73. 

You can use Echolink to listen to ARRL's practice transmissions.  (Their Connecticut signal doesn't reach California so great.) 

I also recommend watching youtube videos. Lots of them are good, and a lot of them will give you a sense of "what it's like on CW."  Many of them have subtitles.  Because you're already a HAM, you know the lingo already.  CW just uses some abbreviations. 

I used some Mac computer programs to practice, but those programs aren't on the app store any more.  I can't recommend or dis-recommend any program I haven't personally used.

Similarly, Mr. Google comes up with some sites for "learn CW."  But I don't think I can evaluate those sites without fairly running them through extensive tests which I just don't think I can do. 

Introduce Yourself / Re: Hello to SBARC
« Last post by kn6koo on March 24, 2021, 05:21:52 PM »
Thanks for the response Ted,

Any special suggestions on how to jump into the water with CW. How do you start out. Equipment, software, app, listen to particular bands and try to figure it out.

What's a basic approach that you think works?

Introduce Yourself / Cw, how long
« Last post by TangoEchoTango on March 24, 2021, 02:14:17 PM »
In my opinion, CW is like tennis.  You have to be good enough so that somebody will play with you.  Then you start playing, and you get better, and you get better matches, which makes you better still. 

For CW, I'd say 10 wpm.  A basic QSO at that speed would take about four minutes, a long time but gotta start somewhere. 

How fast to learn? Everybody's different, but here's my guess: assuming dedicated daily practice and a basic study plan: Starting from zero, I expect: four months to get to 10 wpm.  Another year to get close to 20, which I think is a basic ragchew speed.  Accuracy first, speed follows. 
Meetings and Events / What topics would you ideally like our speakers to cover
« Last post by kn6koo on March 16, 2021, 08:29:35 AM »
We're in the process of trying to find speakers for our meetings especially our Zoom meetings. It would be great if you could give us some ideas on what topics would be of interest to you.  While we know that we have a wide variety of experience and interests among our members, if we could get close to finding speakers that you indicate would be of interest that would be very helpful.

Using Zoom right now for meetings give us the chance to easily reach out to speakers from around the country and increase the pool of topics that would work for the club.

Let us know what you would like to see in speakers and lets see what we can do.

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