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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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. 

Jul 15, 2016

PokéHAM GOta? A Ham Radio version of the little game that's sweeping the country?

Sorry, no. That's just click bait to get you to check out this show about something far more important to Ham Radio, but maybe a little dry. We don't want to give it away, but nobody reads these descriptions anyway, so we feel fairly safe.

On July 13, the House Energy & Commerce Committee approved an amended version of HB 1301, the Amateur Radio Parity Act. So we'll show you that vote and a few comments, and then Gary reviews the original bill compared to the amended bill.

Gary tries pretty hard to read everything and make it accessible to the audio audience (and he even promotes the audio version of the show right up at the top), so we'll reward his effort with an audio grade of A-. Why the '-'? Well, there's gotta be room to improve.

Jul 7, 2016

The Field of Beams was in Orange County, North Carolina for a couple days toward the end of June - yes, Field Day - set up by hams from the Durham FM Association and the Orange County Radio Amateurs. You'll find their call sign, W4EZ in the #3 spot in the Top Ten box in 2015, and a few other top ten's in previous years. An impressive showing, especially considering their 95 Watt battery class.

The only thing that might shade this accomplishment is that the #2 operation, K6EI in California, was also 5 watt battery, with 11 stations. (The #4 operation, W5YA, was also 5 watt battery with just 3 stations!) 

KN4AQ hit the road to visit this operation and see how they did it. He didn't have to hit the road too hard. W4EZ was just a few miles west of his home. So he added one more group, the Alamance Amateur Radio Club K4EG to the trip. This group may not end up in the top 10 box, but they have just as much fun.

In the last third of the show (around 1:02:00), Gary plays all the video he shot at one of the W4EZ CW stations (a totally expert operation) and one of their Phone stations (with a new, young ham having all the classic difficulties, "amplified" by the QRP power level).

This episode is pretty visual, being a mostly field production, but the interviews and operating audio should hold your attention. There's a short CW segment in the middle of the Dave Snyder W4SAR interview that's captioned in video, so if you don't copy fairly high-speed CW, you'll miss that assistance. But in the full CW segment toward last third, Gary verbally describes everything that's happening.

We'll give this episode a C+ Radio Grade.

Jun 21, 2016

This is the D-STAR Forum from the 2016 Dayton Hamvention, and a pretty long coda at the end from Gary.

There are some slides, but I think this is a fairly good radio show, especially since it's pretty long.

Jun 4, 2016

Scotty Cowling WA2DFI from HPSDR and TAPR; Jared Boone AF7SO from ShareBrained Technology and Great Scott Gadgets (HackRF); and Steve Hicks N5AC from FlexRadio Systems team up to make this engaging presentation from their points on the SDR 'spectrum.' As you'll hear, the room was SRO (crowded and hot). 

I'll point out one thing that was missing: the other guys. Our team acknowledges that SDR is the future, but they didn't make any specific references to some of the newer players who are stepping in. ICOM is the first of the "Big Three," then Elad from Italy and Expert Electronics from Russia were all showing full-featured, stand-alone direct-conversion SDR transceivers. Elecraft was there, of course, with a new portable. They've been SDR for years, but not direct conversion. Anything cooking there? And there are several smaller entries in receivers and specialized equipment.

This is maybe a C+ for audio. Maybe a B-. Lots of slides, of course (especially Jared), but I think you'll get the point just listening.

Gary KN4AQ

May 30, 2016

Bob Bruninga WB4APR invented APRS. He's had plenty of help, but it's still his show. While most of us use it to show where we are on a map, there are so many more aspects to it that Bob can't fit them all into a single forum. So this is kind of a 'greatest hits,' including my personal favorite: APRS isn't a vehicle tracking system!

At the beginning, Bob asks the audience if anyone "made a Voice Alert contact on the way here?" I hadn't really gotten the camera rolling, so I missed the first few words. And I've got a huge cold, so I don't feel like sitting in front of the camera or mic for an introduction, so BAM, the episode begins!

On audio, you'll miss the usual slides, but I think you'll get maybe 75%. And there are a few guests:

26:30 Don Arnold W6GPS introduces the new Kenwood D-STAR HT, along with some of the Japanese Kenwood design team, and AVMap updates.

36:30 is a quick shot with Byon Garrabrant N6BG with a couple of new products from Byonics.

42:50 Bryan Hoyer K7UDR from NW Digital Radio reviews their stuff (and the UDXR still isn't out, but the web site says "Q2..."

- Gary KN4AQ

May 29, 2016

As usual with a forum, there are a lot of Powerpoint or PDF slides that the presenters are talking to. There are six speakers in a two-hour forum, so here's a rundown with times to get you to each one. The moderator is Scotty Cowling WA2DHF:

1:10      Steve Bible N7HPR Intro/Welcome/DCC Announcement
15:00    Kai Siwiak KE4PT, QEX Editor
18:45    SatNOTS: Corey Shields KB9JHU
42:00    HamWAN: Bryan Fields W9CR
1:14:00 SDR Disrupt: Chris Testa KD2BMH
1:34:50 HackRF Update: Mike Ossmann AD0NR

May 28, 2016

Dave Bell W6AQ became a Silent Key last week, so we thought we'd bring back our interview with him from December, 2014. Dave's talking about his new book, The World's Best Hobby. Dave was a member (founding member?) of what Gary call's ham radio's Hollywood Mafia (along with another SK, Bill Pasternack WA6ITF). These guys produced ham movies and videos back when that stuff was difficult and expensive to make. This goes so far back that the first ones were actually shot on film!

May 28, 2016

We've pulled this one from the vault. A conversation with CQ Editor Rich Moseson W2VU at the Orlando HamCation in 2012. This is Gary's first extended interview for HamRadioNow. Key word: extended. It set the tone for most future HamRadioNow programs, going in depth where most ham media (what little there was back then) thought a 5-minute conversation was all you needed. 

May 27, 2016

The 2016 Dayton Hamvention® was epic once again. We've got a ton of video to edit – interviews, forums, extras – but first, we had to get there. This is another On the Road episode, this time using our new headset microphone (you almost can't tell we're in a car). Gary makes some contacts, works some DX, busts some pile-ups and pontificates as usual

You'll miss the scenery as Gary drives across the Appalachians through North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and Ohio. You'll miss seeing the radio panels that he finally manages to get in the frame while he's driving, and you'll miss some visual cues to what's going on. But mostly this is pretty good radio, so we'll give it an Audio Rating of B-. The '-' is because that mic doesn't sound all that good, but if you've got good ears, you'll hear a quality improvement when Gary plugs it into the mixer instead of directly into the camera. Gotta figure out what happened there....

May 7, 2016

Cyndi KD4ACW and Gary KN4AQ recorded this AUDIO ONLY episode aboard the EuroStar train from Paris to London going about 200 mph. They talk about their river cruise down the Rhein, and a couple days in Paris. There is NO HAM RADIO in this episode, so you've been warned. 

Apr 24, 2016

Gary considers usurping the 100 Watts and a Wire show name because nobody on the show runs 100 watts and a wire anymore. But he tempers his hostile takeover because co-host Katie Allen WY7YL has taken a new job, and it look like she won't be able to participate in the show (but Katie, you didn't even say good-bye!). Gary's HF rig can't even muster 100 watts anymore, so he settles for 85.. and he's legit on the wire thing.

Next he reviews the new web site (with a real URL!). some news stories he won't be covering because of 1) Time; 2) Inefficiency, and 3) a vacation. He'll see you at Dayton (and probably squeeze in a show or three before that.

Finally, the Missouri House has passed it's version of the Amateur Radio Parity Act. It's in a Senate committee. Gary's got the audio of the House 'debate' that's kinda odd (but all's well that ends well?). 

This episode scores a Radio Rating of A-. You don't need the pictures for much at all. In fact, they kind of get in the way. Just imagine that Gary replaces the HamRadioNow logo with the 100 Watts logo.

Apr 21, 2016

Is NTS, the National Traffic System, stuck hopelessly in the past, or is it leading the charge into the future? In this conversation with North Carolina Section Traffic Manager Dave Roy W4DNA, we find the answer is somewhere in the middle. Most traffic is still passed (laboriously) by voice or CW, but some... mostly in the middle of the system where messages transit from one region to another... flows quickly by HF digital systems (RMS Express, Pactor 3).

Gary challenges Dave about whether hams do what we claim we can: send health and welfare messages on behalf of people in disaster areas who are cut off with friends and relatives unable to reach them. And he asks if the system could really handle thousands of messages flooding in at once in a mass disaster if hams actually succeeded in originating them.

This episode gets a 'radio rating' of A - you may wonder how often Dave wants to come across the desk and whap Gary upside the head (or why he doesn't), but otherwise you'll miss little from not seeing the talking head visual cues.

This episode was recorded at the RARSfest- the Raleigh NC Hamfest on April 2, 2016. The opening celebrates the event of the 250th episode with a couple of unsolicited testimonials from fans who approached Gary as he wandered the aisles taking pictures.

Apr 21, 2016

The full title: Emcomm - Relationships with and expectations of served agencies. Yep, a mouthful.

This episode begins with a forum at the Charlotte Hamfest. Mike Patterson KG4PDA with the Salvation Army, and Greg Hauser W3FIE with the Charlotte Fire Department talk about how ham radio integrates with their agencies.

Then Gary takes over for an extended monolog about Emcomm. Key points: he wants to do a monthly Emcomm show, and he wants a co-host. It'll take him a while to get to those points. He thinks that means anyone who reaches that point of the show will be really interested and perhaps dedicated.

Audio show rating is a solid B+. Mike and Greg have slide shows, but they mostly tell you what you need to know. Gary has some web sites, but he's mostly just talking. Why do we even bother with cameras?

Apr 21, 2016
HRN 248: Digital Voice Progress 2016
Things move pretty fast in the world of Digital Voice, even in Ham Radio (especially for Ham Radio). Roland Kraatz W9HPX provided an update on the modes and equipment in this talk at the Charlotte Hamfest. It is a slide presentation, so see what you can get out of the audio, and go to the video if you think you're missing too much.

The PDF with all the links Roland mentioned is at
Apr 21, 2016

This ramble actually stays sort of focused on four topics: Friday Hamfests, Lifetime Licenses, the Parity Act, and Shifting the 80 Meter Band. Gary KN4AQ is joined by ARRL Roanoke Division Director Dr. Jim Boehner N2ZZ and Jeff Parker WA1WXL. Both have appeared on HamRadioNow in previous episodes.

Because Gary was recording forums all day, this talk didn't start until the hamfest was being torn down around them (you'll hear lots of banging and clanging, thudding and screeching. Extra thanks to Jim and Jeff for hanging around late when everyone really wanted to be getting home after a long day!

Apr 21, 2016

This ought to be a pretty good audio show, because it's based on Gary appearing on Neil Rapp WB9VPG's new live audio podcast, Ham Talk Live ( We do throw in some visual elements, but Neil isn't even on video, so you're not really missing anything.

Apr 21, 2016

On Thursday, February 11, the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology voted to forward HR 1301, the Amateur Radio Parity Act, up to the full Energy and Commerce Committee "as written." But there's a catch. A homeowner's association had requested amendments, and had the ear of at least one subcommittee member. So while there wasn't time to negotiate the counter proposal, the bill was voted out of the subcommittee with the understanding that the negotiation would take place before the bill was brought up at the full committee.

In this program - a good 'radio' show, though it's interesting to see all the players in video from Congress - we'll play all of the subcommittee comments and testimony from a January hearing, and this February 'markup' session (aka 'Vote').

But what about those amendments? Turns out the homeowners group - CAI, Community Association Institute - filed a letter with the subcommittee at the hearing back on January 12 outlining 7 amendments they'd like to see. Some pretty reasonable, and one or two pushing a little too far (room for negotiation?). Gary reviews all 7.

Then a look at ARRL objections to HRN 241: Parity in Missouri. The League doesn't want guest Larry Scantlan KEØKZ saying, or implying, that the League 'endorses' the effort to pass a state version of the Parity Act in Missouri. They're happy to assist, but 'endorsement' is a technical term they say does not apply. And they ask HamRadioNow to edit out any statements making that claim. Turns out there weren't any (save for one casual "sanctions"), but we double-check to be sure.

Finally, Gary gets fan mail.

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