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Ham Radio Now

The audio version of our TV programs for and about Amateur Radio (Ham Radio). The video version is hosted at www.HamRadioNow.tv (and, to be totally honest, on YouTube). Our shows come in three flavors: Talk Shows, Seminars/Forums, and mini-documentaries. Sorry for the mash-up, but any episode may be in one (or more) of those categories.
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Feb 12, 2018

Mark Brown N4BCD is the new chairman of the Huntsville Hamfest. A little birdie (named Michael Kalter) told him to cross the street and talk to that Gary guy for some free publicity, so we caught up on the latest from what's probably the #3 fest in the US after Dayton and Orlando.

Mark takes over after the passing of Charlie Emerson N4OKL, who we described as "the benevolent dictator of the Huntsville Hamfest" back in HamRadioNow Episode 29

RADIO RATING: A

Feb 12, 2018

Sunday morning was the 'drop-by' time for HamRadioNow, apparently. Gary looked up from the laptop where he was working on the HRN website to see QRZ.com founder Fred Lloyd AA7BQ standing there. So of course, let's do a show!

We just got started when the Dayton Hamvention's media guy Michael Kalter W8CI waked by. Both Michael and Fred were time-limited (so, OK, wrong show, guys), but they generously gave us what they could, and probably a little more. Thanks!

RADIO RATING: A.

Feb 11, 2018

The full title is Florida Amateur Spectrum Management Assn., or FASM.

Last year, Bryan Fields W9CR led a coalition of dissatisfied repeater owners and members of the Florida Repeater Council in a successful effort to take control of that organization. There was some conflict, but eventually Bryan's group prevailed. The changed the name and re-incorporated. Now they have to make good on their pledge to provide better coordination service. Bryan explains how.

Radio Rating: A.

Feb 11, 2018

The call signs are: WA4YL, AC4YL and AG4YL. So what do you think this show might be about? Dawn, Cathrine and Melanie had just given the YL Forum at Orlando, and Gary invited them to keep going on the show.

RADIO RATING: A. 

Feb 11, 2018

Bruce Perens K6BP. Pretty sure we don't need to say any more.

RADIO RATING: A

Feb 11, 2018

Gary takes you on a video tour of the Orlando HamCation, and... what? This is just audio? Yeah, you're gonna miss something. But it's more or less narrated, and we're giving it a RADIO RATING of B.

Then we get a surprise guest. Fan of the show N1LGQ stopped by to chat, and we put him on the air.

Feb 10, 2018

Kyle Krieg N0KTK had a beef with Gary, and he expressed it in the HamRadioNow Facebook Group (or maybe it was YouTube.. we get confused). Gary wasn't going to record an 'On the Road' to Orlando, and Kyle was going to 'give him crap' about that, in person.

So of course when Kyle shows up at the SIB*, Gary pushed the Facebook LIVE button and they had a short... OK, 70 minute  wide-ranging discussion.

RADIO RATING: A. 

*Studio In a Booth

Feb 10, 2018

New AMSAT President Joe Spier K6WAO joins Gary for a wide-ranging discussion of all things AMSAT.

RADIO RATING: A. Nothing to see here. Move along (and play the audio).

Feb 10, 2018

HRN Host Gary KN4AQ scrambled to set up a new SIB* for the Orlando HamCation. He thought it was all working before he took it apart and hauled it to the 'fest. 

He didn't.

But the show must go on. Of after swatting bugs (the system kind, not the Florida kind... the HamCation isn't infested...) Thursday night and early Friday morning, Gary pushed the LIVE button, and Jason Johnston KC4HWB from HamRadio2.0 helped him launch this hamfest's series of shows.

Most of the problems were video related, and while you'll hear about them, you won't see them. You also won't see that the whole show is out of sync.

The subsequent shows worked better, after Gary beat on the system a little more. OK, a lot more.

RADIO RATING: A. All these Orlando shows are Talking Heads in the SIB, so you don't need no stinking (out of sync) video.

*Studio In a Booth

Jan 31, 2018

From the archives of Amateur Radio//Video News...

Digital Voice for Amateur Radio was the most complex of the three documentaries that HamRadioNow's Gary Pearce KN4AQ produced for DVD, before starting the online show. In 2007, Gary traveled to Alabama and Dallas in one trip, Chicago and St. Louis in another, and Washington DC in a third to gather interviews and footage of what was then just emerging as Digital Voice systems for Amateur Radio. The program was edited and released on DVD in 2008.

The DV modes included an HF mode called WinDRM (which evolved to today's FreeDV), and VHF/UHF modes D-STAR and P-25. 

Of course, these modes have evolved since this program was produced, and newer modes like DMR, Yaesu System Fusion, and NXDN have been developed. Consider this program a snapshot in the early history of Amateur Radio Digital Voice. It's certainly not a current tutorial on operating those modes today.

Radio Rating: C- at best. This was a video documentary, and while there is a lot of talking, most of the pictures you're missing are equipment in operation, locations, and a few graphics. You'll miss a lot, but since there's so much information, you'll learn a lot, too. [The Radio Rating is our estimate of how much you'll get from the program audio without the video. It's not a rating of the overall program. Those are always A+]

Jan 19, 2018

David and Gary catch up on the final details of all the proposals and revisions that are going into the ARRL Board of Directors meeting this weekend.

Radio Rating: A

Links:

Jan 8, 2018

Oh Noooo... another two-hour plus episode :-(

Is it too late to tell you that the important meat of this show runs a scant 90 minutes. Get in at the 7:45 mark, and you'll be done about 93 minutes. The last 45 is just David and Gary goofing around.

In that 90 minutes we review what's been going on with the ARRL, from the Code of Conduct to the proposed revisions to the Bylaws and Articles of Association. We look at a new group that's formed to protest some of the ARRL Board's actions. And mostly we read some detailed responses to inquiries that Gary and others sent to some of the Directors. They're not coming on the shows yet, but they are being more responsive than we saw initially (though, as Roanoke Division Director Dr. Jim Boehner N2ZZ noted, those responses won't satisfy many critics). 

That new group is called myARRLvoice. Some members of the 'steering committee' for the group are former Board members who could not speak in opposition to League policies until their terms expired on January 1. Now they can. Their web site will have links to the documents we reference in the show.

Radio Rating: A+. As usual, a few web sites, but we don't even put the text we're reading on the screen (Gary didn't have time to format it). [The 'Radio Rating' does not measure the quality of the program content. It's our guess as to how much you lose if you aren't watching the video of the show].

Jan 4, 2018

Hal Tourley W8HC is our tour guide for this preview of the 3Y0Z Bouvet Island DXpedition, where 20 top DXpeditioners will travel to the most remote spot of land on Earth to warm up from the brutal winter we're having in North America.

Radio Rating: B+. We've got some pictures and maps from the DXpedition website, so if you can visit there sometime soon, you're all set. (The Radio Rating is our estimate of how well you're understand the program from just the audio track, without the video.)

Dec 31, 2017

The ARRL has yet another proposal coming to the January Board Meeting — a fairly extensive revision to the Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws with some curious changes in how the board can remove a member and a DirectorCQ is pointing it out, but they've got their own trouble getting issues printed. And our friend Dan KB6NU has details on his Blog. David and Gary review the review.

Then they talk about the state of and future of HamRadioNow as Gary plans his escape.

Links: 

Dec 23, 2017

David and Gary meander around several topics and eventually land on the proposal by ARRL Hudson Director Mike Lisenco N2YBB to confer voting privileges in board meetings on the League President and three Vice Presidents. We're told that Mike will submit the proposal as a motion at the January ARRL Board Meeting.

And there are cats.

Radio Rating: A. You won't miss anything except the cats, and David's UFO.

Dec 18, 2017

From the title, you might expect 2017 DCC Banquet speaker Tom McDermott N5EG to just list all the specialties that make up ham Radio, from ATV to DX, Repeaters to QRP. But that's not the direction he takes. Tom's looking at the leading edge of technology as it applies now, and will apply in the near future, to ham radio. 

And that makes this talk depart from the usually non-technical DCC banquet presentations. He probably left some spouses behind, but even if you're a non-so-technical ham, eventually you'll catch up.

Radio Rating: C. However, you might need some of Tom's slides to help you keep up. Many of them are just headline text, but there are enough pictures and charts, and a few comics, that you'll miss the context here and there. As usual, if listening leaves too many blanks, head to the web site and watch the video for Episode 375.

And this completes our series from the 2017 ARRL & TAPR Digital Communications Conference, held September 15-17 in St. Louis, MO.

HamRadioNow is viewer (listener) supported. There's no advertising, and this year no KICKSTARTER for the DCC. If you want to help out a bit, stop by https://HamRadioNow.tv and 'click the pig'.

Dec 15, 2017

The New York Marathon. World's biggest, right? And Ham Radio is huge there.

The Boston Marathon. Ham Radio is big there, too. And it's, what, #2? 

Nope. Worldwide, it's not even close. In the USA, it's #3 (as of 2015, anyway, the last year a quick web search had stats).

So who's #2. The Marine Corps Marathon in DC? Nope. (But ham radio is big there, too).

#2 is Chicago. The perpetual Second City (even though Los Angeles took that USA title a few decades ago). And yes, even though you've never heard of it, nearly 150 hams pitch in to help it run smoothly.

Rob Orr K9RST has been the lead ham for the Chicago Marathon for the past decade, recruiting from a coalition of radio clubs and individual hams to provide communications for the medical side of the event (similar to the ham's mission at Boston). And as you'll hear, he really has a handle on it all.

Host David Goldenberg w0DHG leads this chat, as Gary KN4AQ hides behind the scenes (mostly). And note that this is the usual in-depth interview, but the show really runs about 95 minutes, and the rest is the 'post-show party' (aka The Best Part of the Show).

Radio Rating: A+. Rob provided some stills that give you a flavor of the event, but you'll get the complete story from the audio.

Dec 11, 2017

This is Part Two of the Sunday Seminar at the 2017 TAPR DCC.

Part One was in HRN Episode 372 (immediately preceding this episode), and both are on the topic of the Citizen Weather Observer Program - all those weather stations that you and your friends have.

In Part One, Gerry Creager N5JXS described the station components, what data they generate and how NOAA uses it, optimal positioning of the components and stuff. 

Here in Part Two, Gerry is looking to TAPR and hams to help improve the CWOP. There's a lot of detail, but it boils down to two elements:

  • Better Data
  • Lightening Reporting

These are two action items, and at the end of the talk, TAPR President Steve Bible recruited two TAPR members to lead the effort to identify what new data the CWOP needs, then figure out how to generate and forward it (APRS is a big part of data distribution, but it was never designed for this), and look into methods and maybe hardware for providing lots more rapid, detailed lightning strike data. Yes, we are making the sausage here, and you can grind some if you like.

The effort is just getting started, and as you'll hear at the end of the episode, HamRadioNow doesn't have all the contact data for hams who want to participate. We'll update it as we get it on the HamRadioNow.tv web site (on the Episode 373 page.. sorry, no link available as podcast is being produced). 

Radio Rating: B-. If you're a podcast listener, Powerpoint is not your friend (is it anybody's friend?), and there are lots of slides. Many are text headlines that Gerry covers. Some are graphs and charts that he describes fairly well, but you miss relationships. 

Links: 

Dec 11, 2017

The Citizen Weather Observer Program ties data from all those 'citizen' weather stations out there - the ones you see at the bigger hamfests - into the NOAA system to become part of the reporting and forecasting system. One of the guys in charge is a ham, Gerry Creager N5JXS.

Gerry came to the 2017 ARRL and TAPR Digital Communications Conference in St. Louis to present the Sunday Seminar, the DCC's traditional Deep Dive into a single topic for four hours, closing the conference on Sunday morning.

This podcast is actually just Part One of the talk. Gerry covers a lot of ground, from what the various forms of weather stations are, to the optimum siting of the hardware, to the data supplied and how NOAA uses it.

Part Two, in the next episode of HamRadioNow, looks at possible improvements to the CWOP.

Radio Rating: C+. Gerry has lots of slides, as usual for a TAPR talk. Many are just text headlines, but there are some pictures (especially when he's talking about siting the hardware), and some charts. Most of the time he describes what's in slides well enough to get the idea. But you know, P=1kW.

Links: 

Dec 4, 2017

Our cryptic title refers to the ARRL Code of Conduct for Directors, initiated in January 2017, that contains multiple provisions requiring Directors to support League positions even if they personally disagree, and not publicly speak against them. 

This program brings CQ editor Rich Moseson W2VU, blogger and podcaster Dan Romanchik KB6NU and blogger and podcaster Sterling Coffey N0SSC together with hosts David W0DHG and Gary KN4AQ for an in-depth discussion of the Code of Conduct and the underlying issues with the ARRL Board. 

We talk about how the Board has apparently been systematically removing 'disruptive' members by finding ways to keep them from running for re-election (Doug Rehman K4AC [former SE Div Director], Bob Famiglio K3RF [EPA Vice Director, seeking to run for Director]), and how we predict that will happen to current SW Div Director Dick Norton N6AA following his censure by the Board for allegedly speaking out against the Code of Conduct at the Visalia International DX Conference in April 2017.

CQ's December editorial, ARRL: Circling the Wagons, and a White Paper with even more details on what's happening at the ARRL Board, will be online soon at the CQ web siteCQ's January editorial will focus on the Code of Conduct itself.

Dan Romanchik KB6NU's blog post - What the heck is the ARRL Board thinking? - on Dick Norton's censure contains comments from prominent hams who were there and said that Dick spoke about the Code of Conduct, but not against it. The minutes of the meeting where the Code was approved show that Dick and two others Board members voted against it.

Radio Rating: A++. We do show the text of the documents, blog posts and web sites, and a very few pictures, but we read all the pertinent parts. Otherwise, talking heads.

And for what it's worth, while the show clocks at about 2 hours, the pointed discussion is about 90 minutes. The last 30 minutes is our post-show confab (aka "the best part of the show"). 

Dec 1, 2017

This was supposed to be a 10 minute preview of Sunday's show on the ARRL's Code of Conduct for Directors and Vice Directors.

And it was, but it ran an hour. David and Gary love to ramble.

If you love listening to them ramble, this is an episode for you. If not, Sunday's show should be meaty.

Meanwhile, you have a homework assignment. Get it at the web site: https://HamRadioNow.tv

Radio Rating: A-. There's some web site stuff, some Facebook stuff, but mostly just talk.

Hey, it's only an hour. That's a short show. But a very long preview.

Nov 20, 2017

The name HamCasters was created when Gary used it to label a new Reddit sub designed to be a place for ham radio podcasters, YouTubers, bloggers and media creators in general to announce their work, and for the audience to comment on it. There are several Amateur Radio subs on Reddit, but they discourage 'self-promotion' more than on rare occasions. And while a whole sub dedicated to promotion skirts the line, too, this sub is for promoting all Amateur Radio media. So far, the Reddit g(m)ods have not hurled a lightning bolt at it. 

The sub is just getting going. Not all ham-media creators have signed on, but it's picking up one or two a month. 

So for this episode, Gary and David invited a bunch of show creators and regular participants to get together for a pre-holiday gabfest (because that's what we all do). Here's who we got:

  • Sterling Coffey N0SSC (Phasing Line Podcast, YouTube star)
  • Dan Romanchik KB6NU (ICQ Podcast, author, blogger)
  • Curtis Mohr K5CLM (Everything Ham Radio Podcast)
  • Onno Benschop VK6FLAB (Foundations of Amateur Radio Podcast)
  • Sam Reynolds KM4WDK (HamKID YouTube show)
  • Bill Stearns NE4RD (Linux in the Hamshack, Newsline)

Radio Rating: A+. All talking heads, and a few web sites (and one clip of Sterling at school looking young and nerdy, but he's young and cool now, so it's OK).

Links:

  • Phasing Line Podcast http://phasinglinepodcast.com/
    • N0SSC Blog: http://n0ssc.com/
  • ICQ Podcast https://www.icqpodcast.com/
    • KB6NU Blog http://www.kb6nu.com/
  • Everything Ham Radio Podcast http://www.everythinghamradio.com/
  • Foundations of Amateur Radio Podcast  http://podcasts.itmaze.com.au/foundations/
  • HamKID show www.HamKid.com
  • Linux in the Hamshack https://lhspodcast.info/
  • Newsline  https://www.arnewsline.org/
Nov 12, 2017

Skip the intro - FF to 5:14 (but think about clicking the Pig).

Full title: How to Fill a Terabyte Disk: Using SDR in the HamSCI Solar Eclipse Experiment

Count on John Ackermann N8UR to put a TAPR spin on the HamSCI experiment. John combined his ultra-accurate time/frequency skills with the TAPR/HPSDR radios to generate a lot of information from the Eclipse QSO Party and WWV observations. All from a little island in Lake Michigan.

Radio Rating: C. You'll miss the data in the charts. So not an F, but watch the video if you can.

Nov 12, 2017

Skip the intro - FF to 5:14 (but think about clicking the Pig).

You probably heard about the Eclipse QSO Party that generated lots of activity during the Great American Eclipse of 2017. It also generated lots of science, currently being digested by the team at HamSCI. They presented preliminary results and talked methodology in this team-talk at the 2017 DCC, led by Nate Frissell W2NAF. (And they're all so young!).

Radio Rating: B-. There are lots of charts and graphs, and you'll miss some details, but the guys explain it pretty well, and the story is compelling.

Nov 12, 2017

Skip the intro - FF to 5:14 (but think about clicking the Pig).

Full title: Ground Based DVB-S2 Repeater for GEO Satellites.

At last year's DCC, Bob McGweir N4HY presented this talk:

HRN 272: A GeoSync Ham Radio Satellite for the Americas

(here's the audio link)

This year, Wally Ritchie WU1Y wrote a paper that was presented by Steve Conklin AI4QR with more detail on the satellite, but mainly on plans for ground-based repeaters to do make the satellite easier to use for hams.

Radio Rating: B. Steve has some graphics slides, but many are text. And much of the talk is Q&A with no slides. As usual, go to the video if you need a fill.

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