Update: Welcome to “With Varying Frequency – Amateur Radio Ponderings

This month is With Varying Frequency’s 50th Month online. Amazing to think that there is so much to share that in the fifth year I have dozens of stub articles I want to finish and post, and so much more to pass along.

Here is a copy of the first post from January 2007. Though Scott NE1RD has moved to other projects, and Jeff KE9V has pushed the “Master Reset Button” starting his blogging efforts over numerous times in these years, both remain “net friends” and NE1RD & I have met in person. The first post:

Welcome to With Varying Frequency – Amateur Radio Ponderings.

With so much to learn about Amateur Radio, the use of Internet Based Communications to coordinate & share Amateur Radio, and Netiquite there seemed only one way to go – to simply jump right in!

I’ve been greatly taken by the Feeds & Blogs of great amateur radio works like 100 Pound DXpedition by Scott NE1RD and Long Delayed Echoes by Jeff KE9V. I highly recommend you check out their projects.

I’m hoping to be able to touch a few topics I’ve stumbled across & share some the lessons about amateur radio I’ve had the good fortune of learning!

It is NOT my intention to post daily, or even on a set schedule, or to compete with established references, feeds and blogs.

It is my goal to share links to these fine works and maybe help another radio amateur in their efforts!

As the posts have gone up somethings have changed for With Varying Frequency:

  • The “Share Back” of information remains the first focus.
  • Doing the posts is a personal exercise. This is my second focus. That 400-500 people daily like to take a peek at my attempts to write is humbling. Thank you!
  • Unless it affects Amateur Radio I’m leaving politics alone. Doesn’t read well, and there are better places to read about general politics.
  • Recounting of Lessons Learned is important, as is the Opinion I’ve picked up from those lessons. “Your Mileage May Vary,” as they say and we may not agree. That is OK!
  • As there is no way to recount those lessons without at least hinting at the identity of local clubs, amateur radio community, and their members, that simply comes with the territory. If you don’t want to be quoted or observed doing something, don’t do it or do it in private – but you can never expect the rest of the amateur radio community to be silent.
  • Cross Posting and General Amateur Radio Announcements were dropped – there are other better places to get the latest DX News, or Emcomm Information.
  • Purely Creative Materials – like the iCard Series of Posts – were experiments that didn’t fit the Amateur Radio theme and were stopped.
  • Some the equipment reviewed costs a bit more money than most of us have in our pocket spare while we walk around. I didn’t start out with great gear and don’t (yet) have the very top gear out there, though I do have a decent station in the making. I’m willing to plan,save up, and scrimp elsewhere to have this station. You can too. I hope my efforts to better my station are en encouragement.
  • As a friend reminded me when some club things were going badly, “First it has to be FUN.” No wiser words have been spoken about these little extra activities in life – like blogging.

I hope the posts do share what others had taken the time to teach me, and the pleasure & joy I get our of share hobby.



K9ZW Latest Build Project – Bulbdial Clock Kit

The Bulbdial Clock kit is based on an original design concept from IronicSans.com and developed at Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories. It works like an indoor sundial, but with three shadows of different length. You tell the time just like you do on a normal clock, by reading the positions of the hour, minute, and second hands.

LINK URL Bulbdial Clock Kits.

Bulbdial clock with tortoiseshell acrylic case.

These kits fascinate me, and I now have one queued up for the next project to build.

Should be fun!



The 2011 Wisconsin QSO Party – Press Release from Lynn K9KR

Just in:

The 2011 Wisconsin QSO Party is scheduled for March 13, starting at 1 PM local time.
All the necessary information is on our club website — http://www.warac.org

Everything is the same as last year, with the exception of one change we made for the awards to be given to Wisconsin amateurs — we are going to be sending a certificate to the top scoring single operator fixed entry and also to the top scoring single operator mobile entry.

Thanks for your help. Hope to see you on the bands.

Lynn K9KR
Chairman WIQP for WARAC

I always have fun running this event – hope to catch you on the air during the QSO party!



A Net Find: Why Ham Radio Endures in a World of Tweets | Epicenter | Wired.com

Noticed this Wired Article – touches on some of the points of why Amateur Radio rocks!

Enjoy!  - 73  Steve K9ZW


Why Ham Radio Endures in a World of Tweets

By David Rowan, Wired UK February 7, 2011  |  7:00 am  |  Categories: Future Shock, Letter From the UK, Media

Somehow it makes little sense that amateur “ham” radio continues to thrive in the age of Twitter, Facebook and iPhones. Yet the century-old communications technology — which demands such commitment that you must generally pass an exam to receive a license — currently attracts around 350,000 practitioners in Europe, and a further 700,000 in the United States, some 60 per cent more than 30 years ago.

What is it about a simple microphone, a transmitter-receiver and the seductive freedom of the open radio spectrum that’s turned a low-tech anachronism into an enduring and deeply engaging global hobby?

via LINK URL  Why Ham Radio Endures in a World of Tweets | Epicenter | Wired.com.

Which Way is North? – NOAA’s Geophysical Data Center’s Geomagnetic Data

Which way is North?

If you are like most of us, you’d assume that it is the same direction year to year, and matches what is on the map.

Not so – I checked my home QTH at this NOAA Website – LINK URL http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/geomagmodels/struts/calcDeclination

I found that it has moved from an East to a West declination in my lifetime:

Important for survey work, it is useful to know for DX bearings in cases of wide declination – example take Bisbee, AZ the offset is roughly 10 degrees.

Interesting tool and useful if you are putting up a tower or configuring a multi-antenna array.



Random Comments Good Books, Good Focus and Good Vibrations

Another mix & match batch of ideas. Perhaps these come from having many things afloat & in my attention at the moment.

On the Good Books side of things, I do continue to post most of my reading at GoodReads – LINK URL http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/2272032 It must be a personal admission that I “consume books” finding them the most cost & time effective way to gain knowledge, travel vicariously, and share the artistry of the Novelist & Poet.

I’ve been privileged to recently read several books penned by authors who I either know from school, know through shared family & friendships, or I’ve met through Amateur Radio. Recently I was in a high end steakhouse the other side of the country from home, out for a business event, when a song a friend had produced when the original team didn’t come through came on, reminding me of how in this big big world we do all somehow interconnect. Seeing & hearing friends’ works succeed is awesome!

As my home state goes from positive national media from the Super Bowl and hometown features in Forbes & USA Today, while traveling this week Wisconsin went to International Media Attention with the Budget Protests at the State Capitol. While my neighbors are panicked that this casts Wisconsin in a bad light, and see out right eager to put all the blame on partisan politics, the truth is this is the healthiest thing that could happen – Hard Issues are being worked out in the public spotlight. The present state administration is weeks old, obviously inheriting the deficit, and to their credit they are putting it to the people in a big way. Tensions are running high, but the level of engagement of the common man – the man on the street – in the issues offers hope, a welcome contrast to the apathy & smoke-filled rooms deals that created the problem. Well that the people take ownership in the process!

Amateur Radio has had to take a backseat during my last rounds of travel. Since the beginning of the year I’ve been briefly to Phoenix, Denver, Las Vegas, and quite a number of Wisconsin cities. As I travel I have found that a few Amateur Radio web-presences stand out – the free magazine at World Radio LINK URL http://www.worldradiomagazine.com/ and lovely newsletter the “K9YA Telegraph” LINK URL http://www.k9ya.org stand out. I still listen to This Week In Amateur Radio International (TWIARi) though they have been updating podcasts infrequently LINK URL http://www.twiar.org/international.html

On other Podcasts I’ve recently whittled down those I download to a very small selection – I find it takes too long to listen compared to reading the same material. Several high quality content podcasts are so ponderous that the only reason I stay subscribed it to get a reminder to check for show notes.

Musically my desk when working after hours typically is streaming Classics & Jazz from one of several French Internet radio stations, as I admire their choices in music and perhaps am less bothered when spoken word interrupts having somehow perfected an ability to ignore spoken word when it isn’t English.

I’ve been very impressed with some Amateur Radio internet happenings – a friend seems to have remoting his Flex-5000 to a fine art currently on an Apple iPad. I do need to meet up with him and learnwhat I can on this great effort. The new Release Candidate of PowerSDR looks promising, as does the intensive Macro features that can be added in. A lot to look at and play with!

I did miss the TJ9PF DXpedition through travel. A couple times a year there are really neat DX events that I miss – guess that will help keep the hobby a long-term one for me!

Anyone in 9-land interested in helping get a W9 Summits On The Air (SOTA) group started? I have the groundwork done, but reality is that I cannot take the role of being the ongoing W9 SOTA contact. With my work & personal schedule people would have to wait too long for a reply. If you are interested I am good at “k9zw at arrl dot net” to start our discussion.

More once I get my desk dug out from travels!