Ah, Ham Radio – a hobby enjoyed by many and endured by most of their neighbours… If you’ve landed here then it’s probably because we’ve just had a QSO or perhaps you’ve typed some words into your favourite search engine and found this site.
The Shack radio is a Kenwood TS-590SG with an 80m Doublet – Sometimes I use a 40m/30m 1/4-wave vertical which is great for picking-up local electrical QRM and the occasional bit of DX. On 6m, there’s a 3ele yagi for seasonal Sporadic’E and for QSOs with the local riff-raff on 2m/70cm, a V-2000 colinear.
On HF, I tend to use CW and datamodes such as JT/PSK/RTTY. When operating CW, I’ll usually call at 16-18wpm, which is my comfort-zone for a typical QSO and makes it more of an enjoyable conversation as opposed to a translation exercise – I am happy to QRS when asked, so don’t be shy.
When the weather is good, the safe confines of the Shack are left as I venture outdoors to operate portable with either an Elecraft KX3 or an FT-857D. I typically use a 10m fishing-pole to support a Linked Dipole in an Inverted-V configuration. When /P, it’s a mixture of CW+SSB – either QRP with the KX3 or the full 100w with the FT-857D.
My logging solutions are home-brew: PZTLog for desktop logging and tabLog for /P. PZTLog gives me logging, DXCC stats, DX Cluster, PSK/RTTY datamodes plus a contesting interface that handles exchanges/macros. Both are FREE and available for you to download and use.
A more basic (and free) solution to desktop logging is uLog which is about as simple as logging software can get – perfect for newbies, club stations and those who don’t want to faff with a complicated layout or memorize shortcut keys.
These programs are now un-supported but I update them when I find it necessary (mainly DXCC database tweaks).
My interest in amateur radio started back in 1992 with lots of listening on HF+2m along with learning CW – and managing to catch the peak of solar-cycle 22. Originally intending to take the RAE in 1994, it wasn’t until I turned 20 that I got my “ticket” after passing what was then known as the City & Guilds RAE and the Morse test to get the old “Class A” licence.