Monthly Archives: February 2009

Time to Operate

Have put a number of posts on hold while I spend some spare time trying to work the current interesting batch of DX opportunities.

I’ve a bunch of gear to set back up, some gear to wire up and I am just itching to operate rather than write for a few days.

If propagation holds it may be next week before the next posts.

73 & GD DX


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Who do you know? Affiliations in Amateur Radio Clubs

I’ve been very frustrated in certain aspects of Amateur Radio Clubs.

A lot is just me, I push myself and try to hold myself to high standards. I think it is just a way I cope with my own shortcomings by pushing hard back at them. I know I fall far short and need to keep working at self-betterment & benchmarking against best values & norms.

But much is a laxness in people’s approach to club transparency, ethics and legal standards.

Some of us may have issues we’ve invested massive amounts of money & time in learning, sometimes the hard way – say perhaps safety, or liability/insurance, or something technological – and see our club going astray because we’ve somehow decided we’ll not accept reality, imagining that we can redefine laws of man & science simply because we choose to.

That might have worked for Ken Kessey & the Merry Pranksters during their brief drug fueled sojourn, but is a hopeless “in the system” strategy for the long term.

I mean, they were on dope and knew they had literally drank the” Purple Koolaid” and didn’t care anymore.

In the real world you don’t get to make up your own Use Tax Exemption Number. You don’t get to self-declare that you group is Tax Exempt and further magically exempt from filing Tax Returns. You don’t get to take grant money for the same project from several grant sources offering full funding while concealing the duplicate grants. You don’t get to take tens of thousands of dollars of grant money “off the books” out of the regular club accounts and declare that all backup documentation will be destroyed after so many months. You don’t get to beg for dues waivers of $10, $20 or $$30 year club dues while secretly receiving over $3,000 a year as a trustee due to local amateur radio politics.  

Then you get the club attempts to make up new rules of physics, electricity, or construction.  

You just don’t get to make up the rules of law, rules of taxes, rules of ethics or rules of the physical world.

What do you as an individual and as a club member or officer stand for?

What legacy of honesty, trustworthiness and fiduciary responsibility will you leave behind?

Who do you know? Who do you associate with?

These are questions we all need to think hard and deeply about.



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Freecom-List – a Yahoo Group for Freecom Discussion

As requested Freecom-List – a Yahoo Group for Freecom Discussion – has been created at:

Just set up and a few invites sent out.

Will be fleshing out the list over the next two weeks.

Have invited a couple people accustomed to Moderating Yahoo Groups to oversee the list.

Presently a work at progress, but hope you will join the list.



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Tin Hats and Pitched Forks – Where does Emcomm and Freecom Fit in a National Emergency?

With our government perceiving enough threat to our great nation to pass “laws” like the NSPD-51 (National Security Presidential Directive 51)/ HSPD-20,(Homeland Security Presidential Directive) providing for centralized extraordinary control in emergency and new legislation including H.R. 645 (calls for the Secretary of Homeland Security to establish no fewer than six national emergency centers for corralling civilians on military installations), Emcomm and its non-government form “Freecom” may be more important than ever.

It sure sounds like our Government expects to have their hands full with core emergency needs, which will flood any operating Emcomm services.

Freecom, the Laize Faire Amateur Radio use of Net Structure to handle non-Emcomm emergency traffic, would be one way to meet the societal needs for on-going communications during an emergency.

Nets would be able to provide support information not core to the emergency, but important to preventing the emergency from being expanded or prolonged.

Bulletins would be able to spread useful information over a larger Amateur Community while keeping Emcomm nets clear for offical government traffic.

One’s survival may well depend on this non-official information source.

Thoughts? Uses?



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A Time for Study – Honing Amateur Radio Skills

The winter is often a time one catches up on projects and tasks that though they could wait, that now beckon completion.

I’m making use of the winter to take a stab at hobby related study.

My CW (lack of) skills have held my DX and Contest interests up. Time to work on that.

I’ve all the tools, but not yet a fully comprehensive understanding on Antenna Modeling. Will be working on that.

The new Flex-5000A has the RX2 add-in, and is technically SO2R ready out of the box. But I’m not yet, so a brush up there is in order.

What have you picked for updating your skills over the winter?



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What’s Your Angle in Amateur Radio

Participation in most hobbies brings a person to decision points, where they have a chance to select any of several subsets of the hobby.

Sometimes the subsets are either completely mutually-exclusive, or are part mutually-exclusive particularly while in the act of participation.

In the case of Amateur Radio we come up to opportunities to operate different modes, power, QSO targets, era of gear, operating style, operating location and so on.

No intent here to try for a comprehensive list, but some samples are:

  • QRP (low power), Standard 100w nominal power or QRO (Amplified High Power)
  • CW, SSB, AM, Digital or FM Modes
  • Standard recent transceiver, Vintage Boat Anchor Operations, or perhaps Computer Driven SDR (Software Defined Radio)
  • Casual Rag-chewing, Net Operations, Contesting, County-Hunting, State Collecting, or DX Hunting
  • All Factory Gear, Kit-Built or Fully Homebrewed
  • Stock Gear or Highly Modified Gear
  • Even sub-subgroups like under Digital – PSK, RTTY, Hellschreiber, MFSK, ALE, Olivia and more 

Perhaps picking among the options is just part of of being involved, with having an understanding & respect of other in-hobby choices being more important.

Many people move between sets of selected options, changing to what interests them as time goes on.  You hear of people returning to earlier pursuits in later life as well.

So What is Your Angle in Amateur Radio?



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