Ham Radio Now

The audio version of 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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Nov 13, 2016

Scotty Cowling WA2DFI details a new TAPR kit that turns a Raspberry Pi into a 20 meter WSPR beacon - cheap and easy. From the 2016 ARRL/TAPR DCC.

There are the usual Powerpointish slides, but most are text that Scotty reviews. You'll get enough to know if you're interested and want to go to the web to check out more.

Nov 5, 2016

Bob McGweir N4YH wraps up the 2016 ARRL/TAPR Digital Communications Conference (and the Sunday Seminar) by revealing what the Future of Amateur Radio will look like... in 5 years, according to Bob.

You may disagree! But note that the discussion begins here, it certainly doesn't end here.

Nov 4, 2016

Bob McGwire N4YH begins his portion of the Sunday Seminar from the 2016 ARRL/TAPR Digital Communications Conference. 

Bob reviews a lot of history as he lays the groundwork for his prediction of a major shakeup in communications (and Ham Radio) that he'll detail in Part Three.

Lots of text-filled slides that Bob will mostly read, and a few more detailed graphics and charts, but still mostly explained well in the audio. Radio Rating B.

Nov 3, 2016

PART ONE of the Sunday Seminar from the 2016 ARRL/TAPR DCC.

Michelle Thompson W5NYV talks spectrum and cognitive radio. She expects technology to really disrupt the radio art in the near future.

That's just the warm-up act, getting ready for Bob McGwire NY4H to really shake things up in Parts TWO and THREE (coming tomorrow). If Bob's crystal ball is accurate, it will be the End of Ham Radio As We Know It. 

Yeah, we've hear that before, but this time... if we're going to have a new generation of hams... it just might have to happen.

Michelle has some slides, but you'll get most of it from the sound track, so this gets a Radio Rating of B+.

In the intro, Gary mentions a pair of TV shows that have a significant ham radio component:

Before MARS



Oct 30, 2016

Another classic HamRadioNow clickbait title. We're really talking about the fall 2016 Ham Radio/MARS Interop test, this one titled "A Really Bad Day". Gary and David talk to Army MARS Program Manager Paul English WD8DBY and get detailed about this exercise that starts TONIGHT (if you get this in time - 11 PM Eastern on Sunday, October 30). If you're just a little late, it goes on thru Monday, ends Tuesday.

Radio Rating of A. All talking heads.

Oct 26, 2016

Gary KN4AQ and new Co-Host David Goldenberg W0DHG launch the HamRadioNow EmComm Extra with Episode 2, because Episode 1 was a rush job during the onset of Hurricane Matthew. 

This time they talk to two hams who participated directly in ARES activity as Matthew roared by. Scott Roberts KK4ECR is an Assistant EC and PIO for Clay County ARES, just outside Jacksonville FL. Linda Selleck KJ4EVV is the EC for Berkeley County ARES, next to Charleston SC. 

Before the interviews, David and Gary talk about what they'd like the EmComm Extra to be. We're not going to hold them to it, but it'll give you a clue.

This is 95% Talking Heads, minus a few maps, a little TV video, and some pictures and video Linda shot of her operation. And because it's over two hours long, it gets a Radio Rating of A.

Oct 24, 2016

FEMA Chief Technology Officer Ted Okada K4HNL addresses the 2016 ARRL & TAPR Digital Communications Conference. Unlike most DCC talks, this is not highly technical, but Ted does conclude with a challenge to develop digital tools to advance the art of preparing for and responding to disasters.

Ted does have a lot of slides, but audio listeners should be able to keep up pretty well. Radio Rating B.

Oct 20, 2016

When is an episode not an episode? When I say it isn't. And I don't give it a number.

Getting young people into our aging hobby is hardly a new or original idea, and best I can tell, we haven't come up with any one gamechanger. There probably won't be. If we are to keep our avocation alive through the next several generations... when our current demographic bubble has "moved to a higher band" as Don Wilbanks says... the key(s) will probably be a lot of smaller things, and probably more at the local level than anything generated on Mount Newington. And I think they'd agree up there.

Well, this show... not a show... seeks your ideas so I can use them in the next 20 TAPR DCC videos as one of the "Corporate Sponsor" messages. So they need to be short (30 seconds). The pitch can (must?) lead to something bigger, and hopefully something you've done yourself that worked.

In this not a show I mug the camera and point to a web page now and then, but it's mostly a monolog, so it gets a Radio Rating of A, if not an A+. 

Oct 14, 2016

We've been hearing about a Geosynchronous satellite for the Western Hemisphere for a while now, but not many details. In this episode from the DCC, project leader Bob McGwire N4HY fills in a lot of blanks. There's no launch date yet, and maybe not quite enough info to start building your ground station (a 'Five & Dime' setup - 5 GHz up, 10 GHz down), but you can start thinking about it.

There are a lot of supporting graphics, but you'll probably get a good idea of what's coming from the audio. Radio Rating of C+.

Oct 14, 2016

This... well, the second half of it, is TAPR President Steve Bible N7HPR's welcome to the hams assembled in St. Petersburg FL for the 2016 DCC. The first half is Gary talking about the video production. So nothing critical here - just an orientation to give you an idea of what the DCC is like if you attend in person.

There are some slides, but again nothing critical. Most of the upcoming DCC talks will be more graphics intensive, so head's up. This one, though, can get a Radio Rating of B. Maybe B+.

Oct 7, 2016

With Hurricane Matthew bearing down on Florida, Gary conducts an Emcomm Bull Session with LA area EC David Goldenberg W0DHG (David will be a regular Emcomm Extra co-host) and Ham Media Gadfly Marty Sullaway KC1CWF (Chicken with Fries). 

This isn't your typical Emcomm discussion. It's the HamRadioNow version. And good news for audio listeners, this one's mostly talking heads, so it gets a Radio Rating of A. 

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+.

Aug 30, 2016

One more Archive episode to cap off the Libsyn monthly allotment.

I talked to (now former, then current) ARRL President Kay Craigie N3KN at the 2013 Dayton Hamvention. We started a few minutes before the fest opened on Sunday morning, and ended probably with the rest of the League booth staff wondering what happened to Kay, who had been AWOL for over an hour.

You'll benefit, though, from this in depth conversation, mostly about her background, but also about a little "current events" that still resonate now.

Totally talking heads, so a Radio Rating of A+.

Aug 30, 2016

End of the month, and some storage space to use up before it goes poof, so we'll dip into the archive.

I interviewed Erin King AK4JG at the Huntsville Hamfest in 2012, shortly after she was presented as the Newsline Young Ham of the Year. She was about to begin her freshman (freshwoman?) year at MIT.

This is mostly talking heads, though I did toss in a little video of one of her balloon launches. MIT students are known to 'hack' the tube that their acceptance letter comes in, and Erin added a camera and APRS to hers and sent it to the edge of space. So it gets a Radio Rate of A.

I know that since then she's interned at Google on Project Loon (their plan to float Internet-delivering balloons around the globe), but otherwise I haven't kept up. I really need to check in and see how she's doing. 

Aug 30, 2016

An unboxing on audio? Compelling, I'm sure.

Well, I'm still tied up with cat maintenance (and thanks for your many kind comments - the Bear is probably in 'hospice' care now, but his quality of life is good enough and the vet says there's still some chance of recovery, so we're putting in the effort).

But I have had some time to play with a couple new radios - a BTech (BaoFeng) UV-5x3 tri-band HT, and a TYT MD-380 DMR HT. And I've figured out how to point the HamRadioNow TV studio to Facebook Live (and the audio audience makes a few polite golf claps - but if you do Facebook, look for the HamRadioNow show page, and Facebook Public Group). 

I did an 'unboxing' of both radios on Facebook Live. They lost the first one, and I didn't record it. This one is sticking around. And I'm only putting it out here because I haven't had the chance to make many programs, and at least this is something.

So, an unboxing on radio? Maybe I ramble enough to make it worth listening to, but I'll give it a C-. Tell me if you like it more than I think.

Aug 22, 2016

The HamRadioNow KICKSTARTER for making video of the ARRL/TAPR DCC successfully ended Sunday night (August 21). Gary had just gotten the studio connected to Facebook LIVE, and used the countdown to the KICKSTARTER closing as an excuse for a live broadcast. 

There's lots on-screen to see, but the audio only isn't too bad, so it gets a Radio Grade of  B.

Aug 19, 2016

A little filler between episodes. But heck, at 20 minutes, it's longer than some other podcast's regular shows, so I changed my mind and gave it a number. Also, a look at Ham Radio in the TV show Limitless.

Aug 5, 2016

You think we're talking about the Hamvention® move, right? 

Nope. We recorded this program the day before the move was announced, but a technical glitch kept us from uploading it then. We'll do a show on Xenia... er, Dayton... soon. This one is about all that Digital Voice stuff we've been talking about.

Yeah, kinda got the rug pulled out from under it. Oh, well, that's show biz.

Here Jeff AC4ZO, Cyndi KD4ACW and Gary banter about stuff that's changed, and how that worked out.

We'd give this an Audio Rating of A excpept for one thing. Gary messed up with Wirecast and got a rogue microphone turned on for one shot. That irritation drops the show one letter to B, and we hope that'll make an impression so he never makes that mistake again.

Jul 30, 2016

I had about 20 MB of space available in this month's Libsyn upload limit, and didn't want it to go to waste. So here's one from the vault, originally produced on June 5, 2013. I think the official title is Who the Heck Would Want to Operate Digital Voice, Anyway?... or something like that. 

In this episode Mel Whitten K0PFX introduces me to Bruce Perens K6BP, and we talk about Digital Voice. I've gone on to have Bruce on the show many times, either as a guest or doing a forum at the DCC, Dayton or Orlando. I've learned a lot from him, and of course he's a very entertaining speaker. Not everyone agrees with him (or he wouldn't be nearly so entertaining).

By the way, this is Part One of Two. Most of what Bruce had to say is here in Part One, and I don't have the bits for Part Two, but you can find the video on YouTube.

Return with us now to those thrilling days of YesterYear.... - Gary KN4AQ

Jul 29, 2016

Wireless Holding's DV4mobile promises to be a groundbreaking advance in Amateur Radio VHF/UHF digital voice. A single radio that will do all the common DV modes (D-STAR, DMR, P25, C4FM (Fusion) on 144, 222 and 440 MHz. But that's just the start. Company founder Uri Altvater AG0X/DH6SAB talks about this radio in depth, and gets to details that you haven't seen in any other articles or interviews. I guess that's called an exclusive. For example, the release date, and the price range. (hint: it's not going to be cheap)

This is mostly a talking-head show, so audio listeners will miss very little except Gary blinking with his new contact lenses. So this gets a Radio Rating of A.

Note that we got a little technical problem with the audio about half way though, and every 20 seconds on the nose, there's a short dropout. So it's not you, it's us. Don't go tearing apart your phone.

And you'll hear Gary promote the KICKSTARTER that's coming along nicely, but has a ways to go before it reaches the $5000 goal, in case you've been thinking about helping out.

Jul 27, 2016

Bruce Perens K6BP and Chris Testa KD2BMH talk about what happened with the Katena project (that they're kind of giving up on), and what's happening next (so they're not really giving up).

The graphics on the slides are helpful, but you'll get a lot of of this with just audio, so we'll give it a Radio Rating of B.

Please consider the KICKSTARTER for HamRadioNow coverage of the 2016 ARRL/TAPR Digital Communications Conference coming in September. The $5000 goal deadline is August 21, and as of this program we're almost halfway there! (If the link isn't working, just go to and you'll see links there.

Jul 23, 2016

Netflix just released a new, limited series titled Stranger Things that has a little Ham Radio in it, and a little more CB. It's an 8-part science-fiction show featuring three middle-school geeky boys, a super-powered girl, the usual collection of clueless and sometimes evil adults.

Gary shows the ham stuff, gives the program a luke-warm review, and then looks into a bunch of other programs produced for Ham Radio from the RSGB, Reddit, some TV stations for Field Day, and finally a song he found titled Ham Radio (and you'll hear why).

This episode is a pretty good radio show. While there is a lot to look at besides Gary's face in the video version, the audio track carries the message pretty well. We'll give it an A-.

We'd also like to announce the KICKSTARTER for video coverage of the 2016 TAPR Digital Communications Conference. The goal is $5000, and it's live until August 21. 

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