Sunday, October 15, 2006

RADIO project at Moorpark High School

Tom Baker, NC6B, talks to me about the first- of- its- kind skills class that he teaches at Moorpark HS, near Ventura California. The Radio Amateurs and Disaster Operations (RADIO) teaches skills that include amateur radio, First Aid training, CPR training, Defibrillator, and SERT/CERT certification. They promote the idea that "Teaching our students about preparedness better prepares our community."

Photo is Tom (at left, NC6B) with principal Miyashiro (N6LKI).

Show notes

Great article in the Ventura County Star at
The High School's web page is at and click on RADIO

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Weekend goofing off

This is another short podcast. We'll get back to the 'standard' 99Hobbies format soon, but first, this one made me laugh out loud, and I wanted to post this while I had the chance.

This weekend I made a new friend, Jon, from Iceland. Jon has made over 600 QSOs during the Scandinavian Activity Contest JUST during THIS WEEKEND! ( see ).

BACKGROUND: I'm tuning through the band and hear Jon ( ) calling CQ, so I give him a call. No sweat, easy copy on both sides. He answers me, and I log Iceland, both signals very strong. Very cool. I spot him to the DX network, and a few guys call him. Maybe three people call him. My guess is that most people think they would never be able to penetrate a pile-up for Iceland.

But Jon is calling CQ so often, and no one answers him, that I thought I should make a phone call and see if my friend Scott can work him. Scott lives in a condo, and he doesn't have the luxury of big antennas. In fact, he is not allowed to have any antennas that even would work on 20 meters.

When I called Scott today, he was in a meeting at work. But he answered, and actually went out to his car and gave it a try. He got Jon on his third try.

And then he went back to work.

I think we have our priorities set just fine, don't we?

Oh, and by the way, if you don't think you can make the contact, you should probably give it a try anyway.


Monday, September 18, 2006

SATERN and emergency communications

No, not a spelling mistake. This is SATERN, the Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network. Every year around this time you hear a lot about hurricanes, and you also hear amateur radio volunteers performing public service, providing communications when the usual means fail. You can join them.

At the 2006 Boxboro convention I talked with Joe Fratto, N1RLO, who was manning the SATERN booth. This was another guerilla attack by me, and Joe had no advance notice that I was looking for someone to point a microphone at. Joe was very gracious and talked with me about some of the cool stuff that SATERN does when nature lashes out.

Show notes

SATERN is at
and much contact information is there, for your particular part of the world.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

QCWA at Boxboro

Have you been a ham radio operator for 25 years or more? The Quarter Century Wireless Association (QCWA) wants to hear from you. Chuck, K1IGD explains why.

This conversation was from the floor of the Boxboro convention, and in all fairness to Chuck, I really did stick a recorder in his face and ask him some questions. He did a great job of describing the QCWA in three minutes or less. I want to talk to him again. This was fun!

Show notes

QCWA is at
The Boxboro convention is at
Chuck's contact information is at

Boxboro Convention:

While I was at the Boxboro convention ( ) this year, I bumped into Joel Harrison, W5ZN. As you might expect, he was very busy there, but was gracious enough to spend a few minutes for an interview with 99 Hobbies. What a great guy, and I just really liked his attitude about ham radio and its future. Unfortunately, the recorder was off for a lot of this, but here is 3 minutes of our chat.

As I listened to this clip, I can hear us talking pretty quickly, lots of excitement, and a really fun time. If you have never been to a convention (they are different from a hamfest) you should give it a try.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Only for women: the YLRL

The Young Ladies Radio League (YLRL) is a very serious, very fun, and very active group on the air. Today I talked with Anne Manna WB1ARU about the YLRL and why women should get on the air.

BTW, guys should plan for these contests. Even if we don't get points (sometimes we do), just striking up a QSO will attract others to the frequency, of course.

There are upcoming contests - give it a listen!!!

Show notes

YLRL is at
WRONE is at

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

6320 Miles roundtrip in 60 seconds

Raise your hand if you have never transmitted on 20 meters.

OK, I see a few hands out there. You may not have license privileges for 20 meters, and some of you might be afraid to make that first long distance, DX, contact. This one-minute recording shows you how simple it can be. Scroll (way down) for transcript.

I had never talked to John before this, and we just said "hello" and "goodbye", yet I have a new friend now that I didn't have the day before. We have exchanged a few emails since then (I asked him for permission to post this, and he enthusiastically agreed). Who knows - some day we may meet, or we may not. But either way, ham radio comes through again.

With everything that is wrong in the world today, amateur radio builds bridges between countries and cultures.


Show notes

John's page on QRZ.COM (people never look like they sound - thanks John for the picture!)


Transcript, with explanations in [square brackets]:

CQ CQ DX CQ David Xray [phonetics for DX] echo alpha one whisky xray echo america one whisky xray, qrz dx

[I call him]

kilo zanzibar one ocean [ = kz1o ] thank you for the call good aft... good evening, thank you for the call, you are 5 and 7 [means perfectly readable signal, strong], fifty seven, QRM on the frequency [interference at his end while receiving]. The handle here is John, Juliet Ocean Honolulu November [phonetics for J-O-H-N], John. QSL? [Did you receive it?]

[I transmit my information back to him: name, signal report, location]

QSL [I received everything)], Dave, thank you for New Hampshire, near Boston, thank you for the QSO [conversation], our first QSO. Kilo Zulu one Ocean, echo alpha one whisky xray. Hope to meet you. bye bye.

[I transmit]

See you.

QRZ QRZ DX [who's next?]

Echo Alpha one Whisky Xray
Echo America one Whisky Xray


Monday, August 28, 2006

Space: The Final Frontier

This past weekend I was at the Boxboro ARRL convention and bumped into quite a few interesting people. One of those was Barry Baines, WD4ASW, from AMSAT. Barry tells me all about AMSAT and the history of Orbital Satellite Carrying Amateur Radio (OSCAR). Join us, in the lobby of the Holiday Inn near the water fountain, with our feet on the ground as we reach for the stars!

Show notes

AMSAT is at
Boxboro convention web page is at

Friday, August 18, 2006

Whisky One Alpha Whisky ( W1AW )

Joe Carcia, NJ1Q, has been the station manager at the Hiram Percy Maxim memorial station W1AW, for over ten years. Joe keeps the station running and looking great.

Did you know that you can visit the station, and even operate it? No matter what class of license you have, from Novice to Amateur Extra, there is a seat waiting for you. And what a station this is!

I talked with Joe during my visit to ARRL headquarters. He described the station, and a little bit about each of the operating positions. This podcast is a little shorter than usual -- as we were talking, a group of visitors arrived for a tour, and Joe had to get back to business.

As I watched him in action, I could tell he's done this before! Go check it out for yourself, if you can ever get to Connecticut. It will be worth it. Oh, and bring your license and get ready to get on the air. Trust me on this one!!

Show notes

Everything about W1AW is found by starting at
Update about antenna improvements here

Dave Sumner visits Montenegro

Dave Sumner, K1ZZ is the CEO, Executive Vice President, and Secretary (whew!) of the American Radio Relay League. Today I visited ARRL headquarters in Newington, CT, and had a talk with Dave about his recent trip to the new DXCC entity of Montenegro (which used to be part of Serbia). Sounded like he and his wife Linda, KA1ZD, had a wonderful time! We also talked about how he became a ham, and what he has done in the 40+ years since then.

Show notes

ARRL is at
Dave's bio is
Montenegro story is

Hello, Radio!

I recently visited ARRL headquarters, and I spoke with Allen Pitts, W1AGP. Allen is the League's Media and Public Relations Manager, and is the driving force for the new Hello campaign (see show notes below). This is the ARRL's first coordinated program of its kind ever, and is designed to get new people into the hobby, both young and old. Bonus: the PSA is appended to the end of this podcast!

Show notes

ARRL is at
Allen's bio is at
The "Hello" page is

Monday, July 31, 2006

Conversation with Morse

Diana Morse, KB3NNP just got her Technician license, and we talk about how she got into the hobby, including all the support from her local club. She loves Morse code because it's fun, and not just because she is related to Samuel Morse, for whom Morse code is named.

Show notes

Morse code practice at
Polar Bears at

Sunday, July 30, 2006

This is wild. And we track it.

I talked with JoeMoell, K0OV (Kilo Zero Oscar Victor, sorry about the font here) about using direction finding techniques for following the migratory patterns of birds. It's amazing how (ham) radio technology can make our other hobbies even more fun. But there is more. Not only is this something that my XYL approves of, but...

At the very end of this podcast you will hear a bird chirping. I swear that this was the way it happened in real time. For clarity, I boosted the audio (6 dB), but this bird chirped just after Joe and I finished talking. Sounds to me like the bird world approved of this interview. I hope you approve of it also.

Show notes

Joe's home page is at

A great place to start, lots of links there!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

On Target

This was fun (I always say that). I talked via telephone bridge, with John Blackham, N7TEK, Doug Brewer, and Kip Buckner, KC7OXX, about a project called On Target. This program is affiliated with the Boy Scouts. Among other things, they get the Scouts to climb mountains and signal each other using extremely high frequency signals in the area of 500 nM wavelength.

OK, they use reflected sunlight, with signal mirrors. But, they use ham radio as an integral part of on-site coordination, in order to make sure that people are looking the right diretion for the flashes of light. Many hams are involved in this, and they could use some more of us (hint, hint).

Question for you: how far do you think it's possible to send a message using a signal mirror? One mile? Five miles? Fifty? The answer is in this podcast.

Show notes

On Target main page is and has plenty of great links

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

A US ham in Iraq

Talk about a DXpedition! How about operating HF while on active duty in Iraq? Korey Chandler, KA5VCQ, talks to us about using ham radio while stationed in Iraq.

Disclaimer: Korey's opinions and statements are his alone and are not officially endorsed by the Department of the Army.

Show Notes

Baghdad Amateur Radio Society
American Hams in Iraq

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Ham Radio Magazines part II

First we looked at some ham magazines from a reader's point of view, and today we listen to Nancy Kott, WZ8C, from an Editor's point of view. Nancy is the editor of WorldRadio magazine, and a very active ham. She talks a little about her upcoming DXpedition as well, which we will cover in more detail when she gets back.

Show notes

WorldRadio is at

Monday, July 10, 2006

Ham Radio Magazines

This issue is about ham radio magazines (the hard copy kind) that you can get. Why would you want one instead of the other? Would you want more than one? Do you need to read all of them?

This podcast won't answer all of those questions, but will give you an idea of what is out there, and how to sample them for yourself. Part one of two. Part two is more fun, because I get to talk to someone about making a magazine! Stay tuned.

Show notes

ARRL magazines (QST, QEX, NCJ) at
DX magazine at
CQ at
WorldRadio at
K9YA Telegraph
More Ham Radio Newsletters at

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Boy Scouts and Ham Radio

This evening I talked with Gary Wilson, K2GW, about how ham radio has enriched the Boy Scout experience. Or is it the other way around?

Ever heard of a Jamboree On The Air? How about a radio merit badge? Listen to what tomorrow's leaders are doing today!

Show notes

Scout Radio:
World Scout Bureau:

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Field Day at WB1GOF

Join the PART club for Field Day, 2006. I walked around the operating area and talked with several of the operators during the contest this year. Some were brand new, some were "old timers". We operated the GOTA station ("Get On The Air") using the club callsign of WB1GOF, and the rest of the stations were using KD1D. We operated from 160 meters, up to 1294.5 MHz, and even snagged a QSO through the ISS space station repeater! Total claimed QSOs: around 500. Total operators and visitors: 35.

Show notes

PART is at
Field Day details are at
Scott's blog about this event is at 100 Pound DXpedition, shortcut at

Monday, June 26, 2006

Radio signals from MARS

No, not the planet Mars.

Join me as I talk with Justin Kates, KB3JUV. This busy guy is involved with ARES, SKYWARN, Winlink 2000, Emergency Communications, and the subject of this podcast, the Military Affiliate Radio System (MARS).

Show notes

US Army MARS web page
US Navy-Marine Corps MARS
US Air Force MARS

MARS on Wikipedia
Justin's home page

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Today's interview with Rob Macedo, KD1CY, covers ARES and SKYWARN, and weather reporting. Rob is the SEC for the EMA section. What do all those acronyms mean? You'll have to tune in to find out.

Show notes

ARRL's EMA page
Field Day Weather and Safety Tips

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Growing up as a ham

Today's interview with Brent, KA1NHG, is a walk down memory lane. "What is it like growing up as a ham? Do you think it changed your life?"

Let kids in on the secret as soon as they are interested - this hobby opens up many new avenues and pathways in their lives.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Using a generator on Field Day?

Before you go out and buy just any old generator, listen to this interview with Greg Greaves, from Huntsville Generator in Alabama. Greg is an expert in selecting the right tool for the job. Don't risk your new transceiver or computer, by using the wrong power source. 866-735-9696

Friday, June 02, 2006


My longtime friend Phil Temples, K9HI, talks about his participation in HandiHams. This organization provides help, services, and materials for hams (and aspiring hams) who aren't able to do some things themselves due to physical limitations.

Check it out at:

Their web site says: "Blind? Have a disability? This is a great place to start learning ham radio!"

It sure is.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Maritime radio

This interview with Scott Baker, VA7WT, actually involves two subjects: maritime radio, and ham radio software. Scott is active with the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary, and also a software author, including some very useful ham radio utilities. Another busy guy, doing fun stuff with ham radio!

Show notes

World Time can be downloaded from Scott's site at
Scanner Recorder is at
Scott's blog is at

(This note is to you audio purists out there: Yes, I know, the audio levels are too low. Please forgive me for that. Regardless, this one is a lot of fun, and just turn up your volume, and ignore my goof. That technical difficulty will be fixed by the next time I talk to Scott! Guaranteed. -- Dave)

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Hunting Polar Bears

...but not the usual kind. Ron and Ed discuss the Polar Bear Moonlight Madness, where they go out in the cold winter night and work some stations using QRP power.

Join me, with Ron (WB3AAL) and Ed (WA3WSJ) to discuss a new club that was started "just for the fun of it", but turned into another exciting time when ham radio meets the great outdoors.

This one is a lot of fun.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Spark an interest in someone

During Atlanticon 2006, I talked with my friend Omar, KW7OS, about differences between homebrew radios in the 1960's and in the 2000's. The short version is that you can still do it, easily, and inexpensively.

Omar's ham radio background started with a childhood interest, probably playing no small part finding himself as a grown-up engineer working for NASA, among other places.

This conversation started with "What kind of stuff have you done in your ham radio career that other people might want to try?"

Omar's info on QRZ.COM is at

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

And the winner of the Boston Marathon is...

And the winner of the Boston Marathon is... YOU!!!

Today we are talking about the Boston Marathon, 2006.

Here is the Q&A:

Was Dave there? Yes.
Did he run it? Sort of.

He was NET CONTROL, bay-bee! He ran the whole thing, as far as us hams are concerned. Check it out here.

Show notes

Anderson Powerpole is the standard, and it really works. Go to any of these sites to see more.

West Mountain Radio is a great source for power-related stuff (they are one of the best companies I have ever dealt with, online or off, ham radio or other).

Astron has been making power supplies since I was a kid. They are all about power.

NMO mounts are used very commonly for mobile antennas. They are especially good for their o-ring and waterproof design.

Boston Marathon links are here.

Kenwood's web site is at

Do you want to get your ham license? Start here, and go to the elmer's page to see who is close-by to help. Our hobby is one that greets new members like long-lost family members!!! CQ CQ CQ CQ CQ CQ

Sunday, April 09, 2006

The Prodigal Ham?

I had a great conversation with Ed Breneiser, WA3WSJ in the hallway of Atlanticon 2006. After a few minutes, I said "Wait a second! Let me capture this for the 99 Hobbies gang. This is good stuff!" Ed has been licensed since 1973, and lost interest in the hobby for a while. He re-kindled his interest and now really has "done it all". I think you will enjoy this one.

Show notes:

Ed's page at QRZ
Readiness from the ARRL and the ARRL home page
Ed's home page
His callsign shows up 700 times on Google

Hiking the Appalachian Trail

...with a radio in your backpack, that is! Listen to my interview with Ron, WB3AAL about the excitement, and the hazards, of using a battery-powered ham radio while hiking the AT. Ron gave a presentation about this at Atlanticon 2006, and later, he and I talked about it so that you could hear all about it. Ron's bio is here.

Show notes:

Ron's web site
Appalachian Trail Conservancy
Amateur Radio Lighthouse Society
WA3WSJ's Antenna
Ron uses a K1 and K2 for portable operation

Friday, March 31, 2006

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

1296 moonbounce??? (Part I)

Believe it or not, you can bounce your signal off the moon using commonly available parts, mostly from your local hardware store. I interviewed Marc, N2UO, about his work in this area. Marc gave a spellbinding presentation at Atlanticon 2006 titled "Homebrewing a 1296 MHz Earth-Moon-Earth Station". I present it here in two parts: part one and look for the conclusion just down the page. See a short biography of Marc here.

Show notes: (note: link may not be dependable, try here ).
Marc's home page is .

1296 Moonbounce (part II)

Listen to part II of my interview with Marc here.

Go take that ham radio exam!

Listen to my interview with Nancy, N1OEZ, who has given over one hundred ham radio tests. After hearing this, you won't have any fear of taking the test.

Show notes:

N1OEZ on
VEC program at ARRL
KSU Amateur Club, and info about taking the test

Homebrew HF antenna: $25

Listen to my converstaion with Dave, N1MXV, about his weekend project of building a 20-meter vertical, from Home Depot parts and ordinary hand tools. Total cost of parts: $25. Talking across the Atlantic: priceless!

Show notes:

N1MXV on


Have you ever wondered what a DX-pedition was like? Ever wondered what it is? Scott, NE1RD, tells us about his trip to the US Virgin Islands in March 2006.

Show notes:

NE1RD on
Scott's DX-pedition article
Buddipole Antennas

Buying your first ham radio?

Buying your first radio? Listen to Peter from HRO talk about some things you should consider.

Show notes:

KI1M on
Manufacturer's page from HRO (top right of page)