Ham Radio Now

The audio version of our TV programs for and about Amateur Radio (Ham Radio). The video version is hosted at (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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Ham Radio Now


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Now displaying: September, 2016
Sep 29, 2016

The US House has passed HR 1301 (the Amateur Radio Parity Act), and we're awaiting (some of us hoping, some not) for passage in the Senate. We've never been this close.

This process didn't begin in 2012, but that's the year we took a big step... backwards, it seemed at the time. The FCC had declined to issue rules overriding HOA covenants on its own. At the ARRL's urging, Congress directed the Commission to do a study on the actual effect the restrictions had on hams.

We were at that point when Gary interviewed then ARRL CEO Dave Sumner K1ZZ to find out more. This is Episode 8 of what was then a very new podcast! This was just a Skype talking-head show, so it gets a Radio Rating of A.

And yes, we're at the end of the month, so we're using up our allotment of storage. We'll pick one more tomorrow. Maybe two.

Sep 28, 2016

HamRadioNow doesn't do 'unboxings', and we don't do product reviews per se, but this time we do both. A new BaoFeng UV 5x3 tri-band handheld (144-220-440) caught his eye, and at about $80 he thought 'why not'. He needed to learn more about this wave of cheap Chinese radios, and very few radios include the 220 band. 

The main rap on the Chinese radios is that they're hard to program. Gary finds this one different than the Japanese brands, but not necessarily more difficult. And it programs easily with free Chirp software.

Harmonics have been an issue. This episode includes an interview and demo from ARRL Lab Product Review Engineer Bob Allison WB1GCM from the 2014 Hamvention, where Bob was testing ham's radios on a spectrum analyzer. 

There is a lot of video involved in this episode, but also some discussion of the issues, so if you can't get to YouTube, it's probably worth a listen. We'll give it a Radio Rating of C.

Sep 27, 2016

As I remembered this show, I didn't think it was a good candidate for an audio Blast from the Past. Two Emcomm Vehicles? Wouldn't that have a lot of important video?

Well, the way my Roku shows YouTube is 'interesting'. It's always trying to suggest things it thinks I'd like, including a lot of older HamRadioNow episodes (are we old enough to say 'Vintage'?). It popped up this one, and I pushed PLAY.

What I didn't remember was that the show starts with Jeff AC4ZO and me bantering in the studio for about a half hour (so.. a radio show). Then we went to a pair of interviews shot on location at the 2013 Orlando HamCation and the 2013 Dayton Hamvention, featuring two very awesome Emcomm vehicles. And here there is a lot of show and tell, so the video is important, but not critical. You'll get a lot from the guys talking to us. Some of you can see a picture of the two trucks in the thumbnail for this episode, depending on how your podcast app works.

But then there was something I totally forgot: Jeff and I bantering early Sunday at the Hamvention, recording an 'intro' for a tour video we never shot because we got too busy with more interviews. And our special guest for this little bull session was ARRL President Kay Craigie N3KN. Yes, we did a full interview with Kay just after that, and it's an Archive Episode (HRN 80) a few weeks ago, but this is even more... well, more Kay and me, along with Jeff. Very relaxed and casual. And about the only thing you'll miss from the video is the antique and unusual pump handle sideswiper key that Jeff bought in the flea market. You can see him oggling it in Episode 78 at 28:48. The link should take you to 28:48, but if it doesn't, well, go to 28:48. The bantering was pretty good, so I stuck it on the end of this show.

So I'm going to give this surprise Archive episode a Radio Rating of A-.

Back in school, didn't you hate getting an A minus? I mean really... that shoulda been an A.   - Gary KN4AQ

Sep 23, 2016

Ride with KN4AQ as he leaves his Cary NC home and heads toward St. Petersburg FL and the ARRL/TAPR Digital Communications Conference. Gary talks about a recent BikeMS event he participated in, getting to know DMR (but not very well), works some digital (D-STAR and DMR), some special event stations, and some DX. And he starts heading home a little prematurely. 

The video version has some scenery (not the best - no mountains) and a few web sites and pictures tossed in, and some radio manipulation. One of the folks at the DCC said he listens to most HamRadioNow shows, but likes to watch the On The Road episodes. Still, you'll get a lot out of the audio, so we'll give this a Radio Grade of B. Maybe B+.