I’m a radio amateur based in Chelmsford, Essex. Radio Amateur’ing is a communications and technical hobby enjoyed by many and endured by the rest. Making contacts by radio – either direct, via repeaters, through satellites or bouncing signals off the moon is what we do. Sometimes, we even meet-up and talk to each other face-to-face.
In the Shack, I use a Kenwood TS-590SG with an 80m Doublet, 20/15/10m Fan-Dipole and a 40m/30m 1/4-wave vertical. VHF/UHF is taken care of with a 6m 3ele yagi and a V-2000. When the weather is good, I like to operate portable with either an Elecraft KX3 or an FT-857 plus my tablet logging application, tabLog. I typically use a 10m fishing-pole to support a Linked Dipole in an Inverted-V configuration.
At home, I favour CW and datamodes such as JT/PSK/RTTY. When out /P, it’s a mixture of of CW+SSB – With the 857 I’ll be running 100w SSB, but with the KX3 it’s 10w QRP CW.
I have written a few logging programs: If you’re looking for an all-in-one logging and digimode application, you can download PZTLog (free) plus the more advanced PZTLog Pro. A more basic solution is uLog and there’s support for Android tablets by way of tabLog – this is used for my /P activities and can import into most other logging apps via ADIF.
During the early part of 2015, I identified a need for a fun way of demonstrating Morse Code (and the hobby in general) to the younger visitors at club events – The Morse Mouse is a simple “guess the letters” game and is free to use.
There are 3 levels of difficulty: Easy, Hard, Expert – perfect for the Ham who fancies their chances against the clock!
Although designed as a demonstration program rather than a code-learning tool, it can be useful if you wish to “up your speed” or simply practice with some random letters.
The Morse Mouse has been featured on the ARRL website, “CQ” magazine and Practical Wireless.
My interest in amateur radio started when I was 12 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 – and taking the PZT suffix from my Father, who was G6PZT.
After a spell on the committee of the local club, I decided not to renew my membership as there was no appetite for progress and, despite a few exceptions, those running it were so stuck in the past I felt it best to let them carry on with their more “traditional” attitudes. It’s depressing to see clubs not “sell” the hobby (and themselves) properly: Whether it’s a poorly maintained website or complete disregard for new entrants – those that refuse to adapt will die!