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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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):

Dec 20, 2016

TAPR's John Ackermann N8UR details this little Arduino based device - he calls it a stopwatch - that will measure time to the trillionths of a second. Why does anyone need that, when, according to Star Trek, it's possible to give verbal start-stop commands controlling spacecraft going faster than light? Aaaaand... Go! But we digress. 

This is a fully assembled device, not a kit (Gary will make that mistake in the intro).

There are lots of charts and diagrams, so the Radio Rating is D+, though if you're already conversant with the material, John's description might carry you through. If not, enjoy Gary's diversion for the first 8 minutes, then skip to YouTube.

Dec 11, 2016

Author Jim George (JK George) N3BB talked to Gary about his (relatively) new book Contact Sport at the 2016 Dayton Hamvention®. The book takes you deep into the world of the participants of the 2014 WRTC (World RadioSport Team Championship), perhaps the most elite contest in Amateur Radio. Jim was embedded with one of the teams, but got lots of additional detail through interviews (and spies?). As a former WRTC competitor and referee, he knew what to look for. And as a writer, he knew how to tell the story.

Lots of background noise, recorded in a busy exhibit hall, and we're maybe a little more fun to watch talking, but still a talk show, so Radio Rating of A. If you get the thumbnail picture with your podcast, pretend the mouths are moving and you'll have it.


Dec 10, 2016

Emcomm Extra co-host David Goldenberg W0DHG reviews a hospital Emcomm drill that he participated in a few weeks ago.

Then Army MARS Program Manager Paul English WD8DBY/AAA6B introduces us to Air Force MARS Chief Dave Stapchuk KD9DXM/AGA5C, and they review the MARS/Ham Radio Interop Exercise A Very Bad Day.

We've got a few graphics, but mostly this is talking-head territory, so it gets the Radio Rating of A, and it's almost two hours with, so happy listening!

Dec 7, 2016

Mel Whitten K0PFX leads this double-length session to show how practical High Definition Digital Amateur Television is for you, today. Great picture, lower bandwidth, and affordable equipment available now.

So this is a superb contradiction – an audio show about television. And Im afraid you'll miss a lot, from the graphics to the demos. So a Radio Rating of C-. But as usual, listen and see if it drives you to the screen.

Well help with one – click HERE for Gary's VHF/UHF Band Plan chart PDF.

Dec 2, 2016

2016 is the 20th anniversary of Gary writing A Ham's Night Before ChristmasIn this episode, he'll tell the story of writing it, performing it live, then recording audio and finally the video. Then he 'performs' the poem on camera (sort of), which, of course, you miss here in the audio version. 

We're conflicted about the Radio Rating of this episode. The poem's first media was audio, so this should be an easy A. But you'll miss all the cute QST covers and ads from across the decades, so that knocks it down to a C-

So if you can scratch up the bandwidth, the High Def video version is only three minutes long. Listen to the story here, then go play the video:

Dec 1, 2016

Tampa Bay NWS Warning Coordination Meteorologist Dan Noah WX4DAN joins Dan and Gary to talk about SKYWARN Recognition Day. The Special Event will see 24 hours of ham operation from dozens of National Weather Service offices from 7 PM Friday December 2, to 7 PM Saturday (Eastern Time). 

SKYWARN is well known, but needs lots more participation from hams, especially in rural areas.

We show some maps and web sites, but this show is mostly talk, so Radio Rating of A. Maybe A+ considering how much Dan and David's Skype video is frozen.


Nov 22, 2016

We haven't heard a lot from FCC Special Counsel Laura Smith lately, but she spoke at Pacificon, a large ham conference in the San Francisco area, last October. Her talk was recorded by Bob Miller WB6KWT and his son Robert KA7JKP, and Bob gave us permission to use the talk for HamRadioNow.

Gary adds a long intro, with a summary of the talk's highlights and a few comments, along with a status report on the Amateur Radio Parity Act, before we play Laura's talk in full.

The title is a bit of click bait. Laura does actually talk about repeaters and uses that phrase, but she talks about a lot of other things, too. The headline should probably be about the plan to have ARRL Official Observers work closer with the FCC on initial investigations of complaints.

This show is mostly just Laurel (and Gary) talking to the camera. Gary tosses in a few graphic elements, but it's still a Radio Rating of A. 

Nov 20, 2016

There is life left in P25, perhaps the first somewhat popular digital voice mode on Amateur Radio VHF/UHF. The life comes from a linking system that David Krauss NX4Y introduces at the 2016 DCC. He calls it P25NX - Network Exchange.

The P25 mode started in Public Safety radio in the mid '80's. After about 10 years, those guys say their radios are due for replacement. Hams bought the trade-ins and put them on the ham bands. But the repeaters were isolated islands. D-STAR became more popular because were linked, bringing in traffic from around the country or world. P-25 is about to have even more cheap equipment on the market as they migrate to Phase 2, and David's link system could make P25 a competitive mode in ham radio again.

There are charts and diagrams in David's talk, but you'll get the idea from the audio, so the Radio Rating is B-. Someday we'll commit to a solid letter-grade without the + or -.


Nov 20, 2016

AREDN Project Manager Andre Hansen K6AH details this mesh based data network that's up and running in the San Diego CA area. It uses the 2.4 and 3.4 GHz ham bands to haul data across the region, and then distribute it to local users, with a primary EmComm goal.

Andre gave this talk at the ARRL & TAPR Digital Communications Conference in St. Petersburg FL in September 2016. There are the usual slides with text and charts that are helpful to see, so we'll give this one a Radio Rating of C.

Nov 15, 2016

From the ARRL & TAPR Digital Communications Conference in St. Petersburg FL, September, 2016.

Lou Romero W4LT has been doing remote for a long time - before it became the popular thing it is today. He'll tell his story, review the options for private and public remotes, club-based remotes, Off the Shelf and DIY.

This is not super-technical talk. It's more 'what the pieces are and
how they go together.' Lou will demo his club's system at the end of the talk, and there's some good Q&A. Lou will say that he doesn't "read the Powerpoints", but he does a pretty good job of talking to them, so that doesn't matter for the text slides. But on toward the end of the talk there are some software demos and screen shots that you'll miss, so this gets a Radio Rating of C. Maybe C+.

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.

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