Tag Archives: QSO Today

EZNEC Antenna Modeling for All of Us

I missed this while it was happening. I was looking to update my old software to model my new antenna configurations and found out about the change.

As Roy W7EL decided to retire, he made public his EZNEC antenna modeling software (compiled form only).


There is also some neat stuff on NEC-5 end, where there is a collaborative update to the latest version (NEC5 X11) thanks to some great ham inputs! https://eznec.com/NEC-5.htm

The AC6LA add-on AutoEZ is something I plan to check out. https://eznec.com/AutoEZ.htm and https://ac6la.com/

AutoEZ is interesting as it an an Add-On to EZNEC which in also in essence an Add-On to NEC.  AutoEZ appears Excel-based, EZNEC is Visual Basic 6 (obsolete version) with some Fortran modules,  and the core NEC compiled Fortran (Intel Visual Fortran with the mkl math libraries).

Below the “–” line I will include some background from either Roy W7EL (website archived copy or QRZ.com) or a QSO Today Podcast interview he did with Eric 4Z1UG.

Well worth checking out all of these programs.

Also a series of dedicated books by ON5AU that should be considered if you are going to put EZNEC to work:



GL and 73


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Going to sit this one out – August 2021 QSO Today Virtual Hamfest

Despite lots of emails asking me to attend, I am sitting this virtual event out.  http://www.qsotodayhamexpo.com

While some of my reasons are personal, I suspect many other share the same concerns:

    • It is hard to give up the time – a virtual event that runs for an entire weekend (Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday) is unrealistic.
    • When I have multiple events at the at same time, I am going to do one with the highest ROI (or the one with the XYL’s perceived highest ROI!)
    • I am “all zoomed out” from eMeetings daily at work, and am not going to some more for “fun.”  (I am struggling with eChurch as it is.)
    • Because I am at home, rather than away at a hamfest event, I’m not going to get away with ignoring family, chores and everything else.
    • At a physical hamfest, the eats are bought where at a virtual event I have to make food, which causes missing parts of the event (we are too rural for delivery)
    • Because the content is not unique and usually is eventually put up on the web, I’d rather time-shift my participation to a time convenient.
    • With time-shifted viewing, I can repeat, slow things down, speed them up, skip stuff, and with a click turn it off, all at will.
    • Summer weekends are a scarce commodity up here in snow country, and I am going to be outside unless it is storming.

More personal reasons:

  • With the border rules relaxed we have visitors & travels over the weekend, including several airport runs needing to be made.
  • The fish are biting and friends have asked if I might want to join them fishing (if I can find time).
  • There is a local car show and usually I take something to show, which can’t happen if I am watching a computer.
  • The new motorcycle needs riding!

I am sure it will be a good event, and perhaps I can pick through the recordings later, but if not I avoided losing 2-1/2 days to a eHamfest.



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An Online Hamfest Attendance Strategy (or not)

I have been receiving emails reminding me how to participate in the upcoming online Hamfest organized by QSO Today – link https://www.qsotodayhamexpo.com/

But more importantly I have been monitoring my local weather forecast, monitoring whether a car show I’d like to show one of our cars at will be going on, and giving a listen to the XYL & family on their weekend needs.

We’ve several days of high 70’s F (around 25c) and really nice weather forecast.

Unbeknownst to me (or unacknowledged more likely) we will be descend upon by a small test group of physically distancing members of one of her charity groups, to whom I am supposed to serve an outside breakfast before they carefully continuing a safely spaced virus-mitigating walk around our gardens and property.  That we have nearly a mile of trails means we may have visitors we can shout across the plant beds with for a few hours before that ends.  So strike part of Saturday being a good local citizen.

As my tent work pavilion arrived so I can work on the tower/feedline/service boxes without become a sacrificial deer-fly & gnat casualty through blood loss or my hitting myself with tools while defending by red blood cells from these nasty biters, do I give up a couple great days of outside weather to sit inside watching a computer screen?  I’d be silly to miss out on perfect weather to have to do the work in the rain, cold or even snow later.  Really fine summer days are limited it seems when contrasted to poor outside work days.

And what about that car show?  I really would like to drop off one of my cars, basically abandoning it for the show’s duration, and pick it back up later, but do I really want to even mingle with others (minor worry), have one of my cars pawed upon by those who can’t help touching (irritating but again minor) or lose even those couple hours to to get a car out, go register it, get picked up and later dropped off, perhaps making sure I am present when the give out judges prizes, when I have so many conflicting draws?  Kind of mixed feeling, but if I show a car strike off a couple hours early and a couple hours later on Sunday.

Or how about that Turbo V-Rod that needs a few miles put on it?

Or the clean-up work on my lawn tractor as it is being traded in next week on nice zero-turn I’ve had on order for months?

Or that I make time to swim a kilometre most days, will I miss that exercise to watch a virtual event? (Though I usually do this rather early on weekend days).

Guess what, the Virtual Ham Expo will take the short straw.  Actually the shortest of short straws.

My Virtual Ham Expo strategy is three fold:

  1. I will check when I can throughout the event for any trending news that might raise the priority of the Virtual Ham Expo enough to put off real life.
  2. Later I will also monitor what the usual groups of ham bloggers and ham news websites decide to repeat as something noteworthy to follow.
  3. I will regroup some rainy day to check out the promised Virtual Ham Expo archives.  Yes archives won’t allow for the back-and-forth interaction if I was recognized if I had a question, but they gain a lot by being something I can control when watching.

My predictive math is that where I would lose 20 hours participating and mostly be restricted to just one stream of the multiple streams being presented that down the road I will spend a small fraction of that time having equal access to all of the streams. 

Actually my effective time will be vastly multiplied compared to losing the time on the possibility something coming across is useful or even interesting.

What is your strategy for the Virtual Ham Expo?

Guess in a few words I’d say “I’ll virtually be there, just not at the exact time the Virtual Ham Expo organizers anticipated.”



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An Alternative to In-person Hamfests – QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo Announces Full Lineup of Speakers

As an Alternative to In-person Hamfests, QSO Today is holding a Virtual Ham Expo. Yesterday they made a speakers list announcement:

07/06/2020 – QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo Announces Full Lineup of Speakers

The first QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo Saturday and Sunday, August 8 – 9, has confirmed what it’s calling “a packed lineup of over 70 great speakers” for the ARRL-sanctioned event. Attendance is free and registration is open.

Presentations will cover a range of topics, with two tracks focused on providing hands-on, practical advice for those just getting started in amateur radio.

Steve Johnston, WD8DAS, will demonstrate basic soldering techniques for repairing equipment and building projects.

Marcel Stieber, AI6MS, will offer an overview of common battery types, discussing the pros and cons of each — including battery chemistry, common uses and misuses, and everyday application tips.

For experienced operators, topics will cover new techniques, equipment upgrading, 3D printing, and more.

Glenn Johnson, WØGJ, will attempt to answer the question, “Is 3 dB Worth a Divorce?” and cover a wide range of antenna topics.

Jim Veatch, WA2EUJ, will explain how to build a QRP radio.

In his presentation, “The Slot Antenna — Undiscovered Country for Most Hams,” John Portune, W6NBC, will demonstrate how a satellite TV dish can be “slotted” to make an effective outdoor 2-meter or UHF antenna for use in antenna-restricted neighborhoods.

Prominent youth educator Carole Perry, WB2MGP, will moderate a lineup featuring amateur radio’s future leaders.

Audrey McElroy, KM4BUN, will speak on, “Getting Girls Involved in STEM, Specifically Amateur Radio!” while hot-air ballooning will be the focus of a talk by Jack McElroy, KM4ZIA, “Highly Flying Kids with HAB.”

QSO Today’s Eric Guth, 4Z1UG, says that one challenge to any ham radio convention, whether in person or virtual, is keeping the content of presentations from becoming overly complicated and overwhelming. “For our inaugural virtual Expo, we’ve made sure that there are great speakers for both beginners and experienced hams,” Guth said. “We’ve asked all of our speakers to be laser focused on their topics while providing hands-on, practical advice.” Each presentation will wrap up with a live question-and-answer session.

For more information or to register, visit the QSO Today Virtual Ham Expowebsite.

Attendance is free, and there are early bird prize incentives for registering by July 24.

LINK:   https://www.qsotodayhamexpo.com/

I’m registered, though I will likely only “attend” a limited amount of the Hamfest as I am loath to lose good outdoor-time for virtual events that realistically are almost the same if viewed sometime later.  In a later viewing I can also fast-forward through, which saves me a great amount of time.



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