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Ham Radio Now

The audio version of 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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Now displaying: March, 2017
Mar 31, 2017

Rex Harper W1REX (Tuna Tin Kits), Glen Popiel KW5GP (not the Pocket Fisherman guy), and Craig Behrens NM4T talked QRP with us at the 2013 Huntsville Hamfest. 

Radio Rating B+ is marked down only a little because I've got a lot of web capture of stuff these guys have done. 

Some of you will be able to see this picture I'm embedding in the RSS:

Mar 31, 2017

Jeff and Gary talked to (not a) Podcaster Randy Hall K7AGE back at the 2013 Hamvention®. Randy continues to crank out mostly how-to videos for his YouTube channel and Ham Nation. You've probably seen some of them. If you haven't met Randy, though, here's your chance to get to know one of the nicest guys in Ham Radio.

Radio Rating: A

Mar 31, 2017

Here we are on the final day of March with some use it or lose it storage space, so we're pulling out a few ARCHIVE episodes from the vault.

This is our talk with Former Hamvention General Chairman (and current Official Spokesman) Michael Kalter W8CI. The episode aired in 2013, just three years ago. Even then, the big question was about a potential move from the Hara Arena. It's interesting to see what Michael had to say about it back then

Mar 24, 2017

Bryan Fields W9CR is accusing the Florida Repeater Council of being corrupt and inefficient to the point of inaction. It stems from his attempt to coordinate a 220 MHz band repeater in Tampa Bay, FL. Bryan's account is that the process went from delay to friction to outright hostility.

Bryan has launched a reform group with this web site where he makes his case. He's produced a 15-minute YouTube video that also details the story (which we've condensed into about 3 minutes and inserted at the very end of the show), and now this 90-minute HamRadioNow Episode in which host Gary Pearce KN4AQ grills Bryan mercilessly (OK, he asks a few pointed questions), and David Goldenberg W0DHG supplies the average ham perspective, asking questions that have bedeviled frequency coordinators for decades (where do they get their authority, who do they report to, who's supposed to fix this?). 

We've invited the FRC to appear on a future show to respond, and Gary realizes (again) how much we need to do a Repeater Show or two with some of the rich history of ham radio repeaters, a close look at the issues and problems repeater users, owners and coordinators face, and some predictions of the future.

It's another talking-head show, with just a few web sites and a little video, so it earns its Radio Rating of A.

Mar 20, 2017

It is... or it is not... illegal to operate a two-way radio while driving in the state of California.

This isn't a multiple choice test. It's the way things are under a broad but ambiguous statute on distracted driving passed by the state General Assembly last year. The statute was aimed at cell phone/texting use, but at the last minute, and without anybody watching closely, was broadened to say:

“electronic wireless communications device” includes, but is not limited to, a broadband personal communication device, a specialized mobile radio device, a handheld device or laptop computer with mobile data access, a pager, or a two-way messaging device.

Two California hams, Jim Aspinwall NO1PC and Norm Lucas WB6RVR, are working with a state Assemblyman to revise the statute. They join hosts David Goldenberg W0DHG and Gary Pearce KN4AQ for an in-depth look at the law, what they're doing to change it, and the connection between two-way radio use (including Amateur Radio) and distracted driving. 

So that's the first 90 minutes. Then David and Gary spend another half-hour with some banter about Reddit and Gary's HamCasters sub-Reddit board, and David's upcoming Public Service event with the Baker to Vegas run in the California and Nevada desert.

Good news, podcast fans: the Radio Rating of A is marred only by a little video from a TV station, and the map graphics of the Baker to Vegas run. We also show some text of the legislation, but Gary is careful to read it.

Mar 17, 2017

HamWAN is a 5 GHz high-speed data system... Long Distance Internet (or Intranet) without wires, on ham radio. HamWAN is on the air in Seattle, Memphis, and versions in Europe, and the system in Tampa that we'll see in this show. Like Broadband Hamnet, HamWAN is a high-speed data system. Unline Hamnet, HamWAN's infrastructure revolves around a few high sites, kind of like a repeater system. The similarity to repeaters, though, ends there, and you'll see why.

Our tour guides are Bryan Fields W9CR and Ryan Owens KJ4SHL, with the Florida Simulcast Group

There are lots of videos about HamWAN and similar systems on YouTube. Here are links to the HamRadioNow talks from the DCC that cover that territory:

The Radio Rating for this show is a little iffy. It is sort of an in the field documentary, but a good deal of it is just Bryan, Ryan and Gary talking. We'll go with a B-, but that may be a tad generous. You'll get a lot... just not all of it.

Mar 5, 2017

HamRadioNow had a booth in the 'high-priced' exhibitor area of the 2017 Orlando HamCation (thanks to the generosity of Chairman Peter Meijers... and a cancellation by another vendor... because I hadn't arranged for a booth this year). That's the area where they set up drapes behind and between the booths, supply AC power, and you're likely to be surrounded by truly 'commercial' vendors rather than flea-market bins. I set up the SIB (Studio in a Booth) there and recorded several interviews.

I had one of those classy neighbors on either side: TuneMatic staffed by owner Jim Trapani KA2MBE on one side, and Arlan Communications which manufacturers RadioSport Headsets, staffed by Dave Bottom WI6R on the other. They both were doing brisk business throughout the fest, but things slowed down enough late on Sunday to bring them together for a conversation about small business in Amateur Radio.

Both sell high-quality, somewhat expensive products (let's say they're more than an 'impulse buy' price), and I was a little surprised that neither had any complaints based on the general characterization of hams as 'cheap'. Their products sell well, with plenty of customers who appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into them. Dave said he has to put a cap on growth to avoid outstripping resources.

Their stories lend an insight into the origin and operation of at least these two small ham radio businesses.

Check out the links to their web sites for the products. Otherwise, the pictures that accompany this episode (assuming you see them) show you all you really need to see. Therefor I grant a Radio Rating of A+. -Gary KN4AQ

Mar 1, 2017

The ARRL has launched a survey of members asking about maybe asking the FCC for a new Entry Level License

This show brings together a Pundit Panel of Podcasters (aka Herding Cats) to kick the ideas around. If Gary KN4AQ thought he had a plan for the show (and he sort of did), it fell before the onslaught of Neal Rapp WB9VPG (HamTalkLive), Sterling Coffey N0SSC and Marty Sullaway KC1CWF (PhasingLine Podcast), and co-host David Goldenberg W0DHG.

Many words... but probably still not the Last Word! OTOH, Skype made a freeze frame of most of the panel most of the time, helping this episode achieve a Radio Rating of A+.

 

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