I spent all day Saturday in front of my computer for my first virtual hamfest! DX Engineering sponsored their first DXE Virtual Hamfest and DX Academy.
The first half of the day was a variety of talks on various subjects by hams that were very knowledgeable in their subject matter. The second half was dedicaed to honing your DXing skills. Covered were everything from getting started in amateur satellites to low band antennas for DXing. There were two $1000 gift certificates given away … not to me, unfortunately.
I watched all of the talks, but my primary interest was one by K8ZT on Youth in Amateur Radio. He had lots of great info on getting youngsters interested in ham radio. W0GJ also had a presentation on the VP6R DXpedition to Pitcairn Island … what a beautiful island!
Hats off to TIm Duffy, K3LR, for organizing this and gathering a great group of experts. He noted that the entire day’s events were recorded and will show up on YouTube shortly. It’s worth a view.
It’s a 3-D printed straight key mounted on a solid aluminum base … really stable (also available without the base). The base is 3.75 x 1.5 inches (10 x 3.8 cm). It’s produced by a father/son team in Texas and the price is reasonable. The service is super fast, too! The company is CW Morse and there are all sorts of color combinations and styles available. A more limited selection is available at MFJ, under MFJ’s own part number. Check out CW Morse’s site for more details and prices. I’m really looking forward to getting out in the field with this one. Actually, I think it’ll be put to use in the shack on the ARRL Straight Key Night, January 1st, from 0000 to 2359 UTC. See you there!
As I mentioned in a previous post, I bought a copy of Stu, KB1HQS’s new book, Portable Operating for Amateur Radio, and had a chance to read through it over the weekend. My impression was favorable.
To be truthful, most of the information was not new to me. I’ve been doing portable ops for several years now. It’s available on the internet, as is most stuff. But, that said, this is a great source, especially if you’re just starting out with portable operating. Everything is right there, in one place … plenty to get you started and to have a great, fun experience with operations in the field. Stu writes from a huge amount of personal experience … he’s “been there and done that!” Even if you’re an experienced portable operator, there’s lots of good info here.
What Ifound most useful was the wealth of references he has gathered … websites, software, smartphone apps, and so forth. I’ve already bookmarked several sites and downloaded smartphone apps.
I’ve been sort of dormant on my portable ops due to a rough winter. I’m not as tolerant of nasty weather as I used to be. This book has inspired me to get back into getting out in nature to play radio. The book is easy to understand and good reading. I highly recommend it!