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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Feb 27, 2017

CERT - Community Emergency Response Team - is a FEMA program that trains and utilizes citizens in local communities in assisting emergency responders. It's not just communications, but it is a natural for a ham radio tie-in, and that's happening with CERT groups around the country.

Jeff McGrath N1SC is a new ham and very energetic CERT volunteer in Lehi UT, just south of Salt Lake City. He talks to David and Gary about all that he does.

Toward the end of the conversation, we get into the ARRL's petition asking members for comment on a possible new entry-level class of license.

Gary tosses in some maps and web sites, but mostly it's a standard talk show with a Radio Rating of A.

Feb 21, 2017

The 2017 Orlando HamCation was a great success, thanks only in part to perfect Florida weather, but mostly to the effort of the Orlando ARC volunteers, let by Chairman Peter Meijers AI4KM.

With a Dayton-like attendance of over 17,000, Peter takes a victory lap in this short conversation.

Radio Rating: A+.

Feb 21, 2017

Craig Fugate KK4INZ was FEMA Administator for the entire Obama presidency. Now (for the moment, anyway) a private citizen... and ham... he's looking forward to attending his local radio club meeting.

But his interest and commitment to both Amateur Radio and EmComm continues. In this episode he talks with David and Gary about what hams will need to do in the future to remain a valuable public service asset in emergencies.

You may notice with apt irony that Gary's Internet service failed in the middle of the conversation (a flaky 'tap' in the Spectrum/Time Warner pedestal down the block). Gary switched to his phone's 'hot spot', which reached his preset data cap and shut the conversation down again. He persuaded Arvin to cough up the funds to buy a little more bandwidth from Google Fi.

This is a 100% talker, with a Radio Rating of A+. Listen away....

Feb 18, 2017

The Women's March on Washington was a (pardon the expression) HUGE event the day after President Trump's inauguration. While it was politically charged, it was also an event that needed communications assistance to keep participants safe. The cell phone system worked, but it was so overloaded that even the usually reliable text messaging slowed to a crawl. 

Our guests Arthur Feller W4ART and Christine Axsmith KC3CIF put together an ad-hoc group of about 30 hams, drawn partly from the group that provides communications for the Marine Corps Marathon each year. They tell us their fascinating story, including many real-world lessons for hams participating in any large-scale event.

This is an all-talk show that earns its Radio Rating of A+

Feb 17, 2017

Another mash-up of two podcasts! This time we join Jason Johnstion KC5HWB's HamRadio 2.0 show for a talkfest from the Orlando HamCation. We recorded more or less first thing Friday morning, then Gary headed out with Jason to shoot some interviews that will end up on Jason's show.

Our special guest and star attraction is HRO's Katie Allen WY7YL, marking her second appearance on HamRadioNow, and her first on HamRadio 2.0. 

There's very little serious about this episode... just a lot of fun. And being a talkfest, it would normally earn a Radio Rating of A, but the video shows us having all that fun. OK, it translates to the audio pretty well. Hopefully your podcast app lets you see the poster, and you can imagine the rest.

Feb 14, 2017

Last year the ARRL Board's Ethics Committee recommended removing incumbent SE Division Director Doug Rehman K4AC from the ballot for re-election, and the Board did that, leaving Rehman's opponent and previous Director Greg Sarratt W4OZK the only candidate running. With no further nominations at the end of the nomination period, the Board declared Sarratt elected.

The Board and the Ethics Committee didn't give any reason for removing Rehman from the ballot, prompting an editorial from CQ Editor Rich Moseson W2VU for more transparency on the ARRL Board, a position that Rehman had been advocating during his reelection 'campaign.' Moseson didn't take sides in the election outcome, just the opaque nature of the decision.

At the Orlando HamCation, ARRL member Jim Schilling KG4JSZ had a booth asking ARRL SE Division members to sign a recall petition against Sarratt. Gary asked Jim to come to the SIB (Studio In a Booth) to talk about the issue.

Gary also asked ARRL officials at the HamCation to come discuss it. They declined, and recommended that we talk to ARRL Media and Public Relations Manager Sean Kutzko KX9X. Sean was not at the hamfest, so we'll contact him as soon as we can.

Meanwhile, here's our talk with Jim Shilling. The talker gets a Radio Rating of A, especially if you follow the links to the web pages with more detail, or do some digging yourself.

This story isn't over...


Over the coming weeks I will pull the curtain back on the ARRL Board and the bleak future the League faces unless there is serious reform—reform that will only happen if the membership pays attention to whether or not they are being served by their representatives. I'll be posting a number of motions to address issues with governance and ethics, motions that I will make at the January 2017 Board meeting if reelected.

Feb 14, 2017

In the parking lot of my hotel in Orlando, I ran into Phil Mc Elrath K5BBC. Phil had 5 antennas on his roof (same as me), but not as many scattered around the rest of his vehicle. So I was winning the mobile contest until he showed me his super-clean installation. Put me to shame. 

Phil is also involved with the Emcomm-1 vehicle, a privately owned truck equipped (mostly with ICOM stuff) to be an Interop bridge - connecting any RF to any other RF, in the field, where it's needed. It's based in Florida. We talk about it some and I got some B-Roll video, but we'll go in depth later on Skype. Dave Goldenberg W0DHG will want to get his hooks into that episode, I'm sure.

So there's a lot to see, but most is pretty well described in our dialog. I'll give it a Radio Rating of B, but note that it's pretty short for a HamRadioNow episode. You just might have time to watch the video!

Feb 13, 2017

Sometime in the nearish future, all radios will be SDR (software defined). SDR will cease to be a feature, and it will just be a given. 

When will that be, and what will happen then? 

Gary talks about that with FlexRadio's Tim Ellison W4TME, and Flex 'booth volunteer' and enthusiast Don Baughman K7MX.

How will manufacturers differentiate themselves, and what will they be throwing at consumers in the way of data and capabilities? 

Yes, these guys are from Flex, so they've got a point of view, but they're pretty candid about this segment of the business... that's about to take over the whole business.

The Radio Rating is A+. This is a pure talker, recorded at the Orlando HamCation in HamRadioNow's famous Studio in a Booth. If you get a custom picture with this podcast, you'll see Tim (right) and Don (left) and the booth, and that's pretty much all you need to see. 

Feb 11, 2017

We begin by recovering from the faux press of the RECORD button to show the RAM mount Then we're on the road.

The RAV4 has two motors. One under the hood. The other just above Gary's jaw.

At least this 3-hour tour won't leave you stranded on a tropical island. It'll just feel like it.

Radio Rating-wise, the first few minutes are like PART ONE - you'll miss a lot without pictures. But after that, there's really not a lot to look at. The NC and SC tourism boards might not agree, but I-40 and I-95 are mostly strips of pavement bordered by trees (and billboards). We even failed (again) to get to the top of the Sombrero at Pedro's South of the Border. So this episode gets a Radio Rating of A-. The minus is mostly because of those first few minutes of the show, and probably somebody likes Interstate highways and trees.

Feb 9, 2017

I've received a lot of requests to provide some details on my mobile installation. You've seen the radio stack, and some of the antennas in one show or another. But as I prepared to get on the road to head to the Orlando HamCation, I decided to start with a tour of the whole thing.

And I almost succeeded! Here's that "tour," but conspicuously missing will be the 'heart' of the installation - the mounting bracket from RAM MOUNTS. I fat-fingered the camera's record button, and ended up missing the footage where I described that. I'll fix that in Part TWO (yet to be shot). I did record a lot of on-the-road of Day One of the drive, but ran out of time in the hotel to edit it. I'll get to it all as soon as I can. But meantime, enjoy Part ONE.

This episode is so visual that I almost decided to skip the audio podcast. But it's the start of the epic Episode 300. So Part ONE here gets a Radio Rating of D- (the lowest grade I've given!). The actual on-the-road parts, coming soon to a podcast near you, will make up for that.

Feb 4, 2017

We forgot to say it, but this is EmComm Extra #6 with a Radio Rating of A+.

Jeff Dahn KB3ZUK, President of W3HAC, the HacDC Amateur Radio Club, is our guest. Jeff helped with communications for the National Park Service during the Presidential Inauguration and the protest Women's March in January. He was invited because of his extensive participation in the ARRL's National Parks On The Air program last year. Jeff activated most of the parks in the Washington DC area.

In this episode, he'll talk about the NPOTA activity, then his work during President Trump's inauguration.

Meanwhile, Jeff's club, the W3HAC HacDC ARCprovided communications for the Women's March on Washington the next day (while Jeff was still at the NPS comm center). We hope to have that story on HamRadioNow in a couple of weeks (the Orlando HamCation is getting in the way). 

Hosts: Gary Pearce KN4AQ, David Goldenberg W0DHC

Feb 4, 2017

HamRadioNow's newish co-host David Goldenberg W0DHG wears many hats. One of them is Scoutmaster for Troop 22 in Woodland Hills, CA, where he introduces his Scouts to Amateur Radio, among many other life skills.

Scouting is one of the most effective connections between Amateur Radio and young people. In this episode, David and Gary KN4AQ explore that connection with Jim Wilson K5ND. Jim also wears many hats with the Boy Scouts. He's Chairman of the National Radio Scouting Committee; National Jamboree on the Air Organizer; a member of the World JOTA-JOTI Team; and President of the K2BSA Amateur Radio Association.

(Gary made it to Cub Scout Webelo).

This Skype-based talker has only a few web graphics and videos to break up the faces, but that earns it a Radio Rating of A+.

Jim has appeared in two previous episodes:

Feb 4, 2017

Brennan Price N4QX is the former Chief Technology Officer for the ARRL (now with the EchoStar satellite company). He spent the past few years mostly in the international arena – the ITU and the World Radio Conferences – helping Amateur Radio acquire new spectrum and defending the spectrum we have now.

Here he gives the 2016 ARRL & TAPR Digital Communications Conference 'keynote' talk at the Saturday banquet. He'll address the new technologies and millimeter wave spectrum that will be so important to Amateur Radio's Future.

Most of Brennan's slides are text, and he covers them well, so we'll assign a Radio Rating of B to this audio version

Brennan has appeared on three previous HamRadioNow programs:

Jan 30, 2017

One more to use up that storage space that expires tomorrow. Another conversation with Jeff AC4ZO, loosely around more ham media.

Jeff, BTW, is still around. He's almost never on the air anymore (even on that Friday night commute to dinner that he'll talk about in this episode. He got a new car, and didn't install a radio). So that's why his appearance on the show has become so infrequent. But he'll be at Dayton, probably in the VE Testing area helping out, if you want to say hi.

We show some of the videos we're talking about, but otherwise it's another talker, so Radio Rating is B+ again.

Jan 30, 2017

Here we are at the end of January with a few MB of space left to use up before it turns to dust on Libsyn. I picked this episode because it's just a fun chat between me and Jeff AC4ZO, mostly about that Thanksgiving 2013 episode of Last Man Standing that was among the topics I covered with John Amodeo NN6JA in HRN 288. 

It's a good radio show with a Radio Rating of B+, but if you want to watch, here's the YouTube link:

- Gary KN4AQ

Jan 21, 2017

Do we really need to add in Depth to the title? After all, this is HamRadioNow. 

Be that as it may, David and Gary talk at length with Jim Piper N6MED. Jim is the Liaison to Amateur Radio with the Volunteer Disaster Health Services of the American Red Cross, Gold Country Division (that's the territory roughly around Sacramento, CA). They learn what the Red Cross' mission is, and how Amateur Radio can help.

It's a talk-fest episode, with just a few web graphics thrown in, but you won't miss'em (much). So another Radio Rating of A.

All of the Emcomm related episodes are gathered together on a Playlist on the HamRadioNow YouTube Channel.

Jan 19, 2017

John Ronan EI7IG travels from Ireland to present a talk on using APRS to track vehicles and bikes on a big bike race.

John has several pictures, maps and charts, so another Radio Rating of C.

John gave a talk at the 2014 DCC in Seattle on using D-STAR's 1200 MHz 'high-speed' data for public service in HamRadioNow Episode 121.

Jan 19, 2017

The dream: (Gary's dream, anyway) – a VHF/UHF digital voice radio that handles all the DV modes. 

The bridge: Servers and reflectors that transcode from one mode to the other, so D-STAR users can talk to Fusion users can talk to DMR users....

Wireless Holding's Uli Altvater AGØX is building both the radio (the DV4mobile) and the bridge.

Lots of graphics and diagrams will make this hard to follow on audio, so Radio Rating of C-.

Uli appeared in HamRadioNow Episode 263, Learn More about DV4

Jan 19, 2017

The dream: (Gary's dream, anyway) – a VHF/UHF digital voice radio that handles all the DV modes. 

The bridge: Servers and reflectors that transcode from one mode to the other, so D-STAR users can talk to Fusion users can talk to DMR users....

Wireless Holding's Uli Altvater AGØX is building both the radio (the DV4mobile) and the bridge.

Lots of graphics and diagrams will make this hard to follow on audio, so Radio Rating of C-.

Uli appeared in HamRadioNow Episode 263, Learn More about DV4

Jan 15, 2017

Sterling Coffey N0SSC and Marty Sullaway KC1CWF from the Phasing Line Podcast join HamRadioNow's David Goldenberg W0DHG and Gary Pearce KN4AQ for an Epic Episode Mashup.

Do they talk about anything significant? Solve all of Ham Radio's problems? Advance the Radio Art? Or just goof around for nearly two hours?

What do you think?

Whatever it is, it's for sure 98% Talking Heads, and that means a Radio Rating of A+++ (and yes, that's the kind of show it is).

Those knuckleheads are on


Jan 15, 2017

Mark Griffith KDØQYN's goal for this project was to design and build a super-simple, ultra-portable system for using Amateur Radio to send and receive email in disaster situations when all else fails... without carrying in a wheelbarrow full of equipment and wires and taking a "two days" to set it all up.

The result: PiGate, a tiny Raspberry Pi-based Winlink gateway.

Most of Mark's slides are text or simple charts, so the Radio Rating comes in at a B - you'll get it from the audio.

Jan 14, 2017

Brian Hoyer K7UDR from NWDigitalRadio reviews a method of authenticated remote control using APRS Messaging... and more... from the 2016 ARRL/TAPR DCC.

As usual, lots of slides, though many are text. Radio Rating C.

Jan 10, 2017

IPv6 is the brand new addressing scheme for the Internet that will solve all the problems of running out of addresses that IPv4 will run into... um... yesterday. It will provide enough unique addresses to assign one to approximately every molecule of matter on the planet, or at least all the Internet of Things things that Scotty Cowling listed in HRN 289. And by brand new of course we mean 20 years old. And in Internet years, that's old.

We learn all this from Bryan Fields W9CR at the 2016 ARRL & TAPR DCC in St. Petersburg FL. Bryan was a local host for this DCC. He's made presentations the 2015 and 2016 Hamvention® TAPR forums.

And as Bryan explains, this topic affects Amateur Radio in a couple of ways. One is the HamWAN project, a wide-coverage, high-speed data network on 5 GHz. Bryan runs the system in Tampa, and it uses IPv6 addressing. The other is that ham radio has one of the few remaining large blocks of unused IPv4 addresses. And they're worth some money (real money).

Bryan's talk has a lot of slides, of course, but most of them are text 'headlines' for the topics he's discussing. This earns a Radio Rating of B, but as always, you decide if you need to go to the videotape.


2015 TAPR Forum (HRN 207)
016 TAPR Forum (HRN 254)
2013 DCC HamWAN Seattle (HRN 128)


Jan 10, 2017

The always entertaining Scotty Cowling WA2DFI has been working on a tiny corner of the Internet of Things, so he goes into that corner in detail at the 2016 ARRL & TAPR DCC. His little corner expands to fill the available space.

Scotty does have a lot of slides, graphs and charts. See what you can glean from the audio, as he describes them pretty well. Up front, Gary does a little video wizardry to get rid of the Christmas decorations (you'll hear the finger snap, and you'll imagine something far more impressive than what you'll see in the actual video.

Still, the best we can do is a Radio Rating of C+.

Dec 31, 2016

Last Man Standing is a hit, prime-time TV sitcom on ABC starring Tim Allen as Mike Baxter, a husband and father of three girls, employee of Outdoor Man (an outdoor-everything store like Carbellas or Bass Pro Shop) and ham radio operator KA0XTT. Ham Radio appears in the background of every show, with a fully functional shack in Mike's Outdoor Man office. Two episodes have put ham radio right in the spotlight as a major part of the story.

Last Man Standing co-Executive Producer John Amodeo NN6JA has often told the story of how ham radio came to be part of this TV show. If you missed it on other ham media, he'll repeat it here, but then go in far greater depth about how ham radio does and doesn't fit into it, ham radio in general media (and why most shows get it 'wrong'), John's personal history (he thought he was going into the ski industry), and a little on ham radio's own new media.

John says that he appreciates HamRadioNow for our long-form programs. He'll really like this one, not (just) because he's on it, but because it's over 2½ hours of in-depth one-on-one with KN4AQ.

This is an extra-long, mostly talking-head show, and it's earned our first Radio Rating of A+. There are a few video clips, but you'll miss almost nothing.

We've reviewed Last Man Standing episodes twice before when they aired those episodes that put ham radio front and center. Here are links to the YouTube videos (sorry, not available as audio just now):

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