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Foundations of Amateur Radio

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United States

Twitter:

@vk6flab

Language:

English


Episodes

Learning on 2m FM

4/21/2018
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Foundations of Amateur Radio Last week during F-troop something very interesting happened. If you're not familiar with F-troop, it's a weekly net for new and returning amateurs and every Saturday we welcome callers to the one hour net to discuss anything and everything amateur radio. It's been going for about seven or so years, about as long as I have been making this weekly contribution to the hobby. Normally there's a host, often it's me, but not always, handing the microphone to the...

Duration:00:03:52

Shakespeare and Coax Stub Filters

4/14/2018
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Foundations of Amateur Radio If you read it on the Internet, it must be true, but what happens if you read it and there are 700 different answers? In my day job I search countless times a day for answers to problems. Based on my experience I can look at a list of responses to a question and tell myself what the skill-set is of the poster, "they don't know what they're talking about", "they're guessing", "they've got no clue", "they tried it", "ah, this one knows what they're talking...

Duration:00:04:44

Experience comes from doing ...

4/7/2018
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Foundations of Amateur Radio During the week a friend reminded me that the process of determining what's happening within a shack comes with experience. In my day job my whole skill-set can be summed up with one word: "debugging", in all its many and varied guises, fixing code, hardware, business processes, skill-sets, what ever it may be. The process is pretty much, figure out what's going wrong, find out what shouldn't be happening and attempt to join the mismatch together with anything...

Duration:00:03:28

eBook Volume 6 - short

4/3/2018
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Foundations of Amateur Radio is now available as an eBook. In Volume 6 - Joy of discovery - read about microphone technique, the dead band, propagation maps, melting coax, amateur radio satellites, strange antennas, self-training, SOTA adventures and more. Search for my callsign - VK6FLAB - on your local Amazon store to have a Look inside. I'm Onno VK6FLAB

Duration:00:00:26

You and the IARU

3/31/2018
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Foundations of Amateur Radio Have you ever considered the infrastructure that exists to make it possible to tune to 7.090 MHz, call CQ and make contact with anyone on the planet? In a world where we as radio amateurs share spectrum with radio and television broadcasters, mobile phones, wireless networks, satellites, GPS, drones, wireless headphones, radar, boating, aviation, citizen band, garage door openers, fitness trackers and any other wireless gadget imaginable, not to mention radio...

Duration:00:03:51

Coax Loss vs Connector Loss - now with more coax

3/24/2018
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Foundations of Amateur Radio Recently I spent some time discussing the losses associated with connectors between your radio and your antenna. The traditional wisdom, and I use the word "wisdom" ironically, says that each connector introduces loss into the feed line. There is an understanding that the more connectors you have the worse it is and the more loss you have. Jim W6LG did the test, connected up 30 odd connectors and measured. His measurements were done on 14 MHz and on 50 MHz,...

Duration:00:04:01

eBook Volume 5 - short

3/20/2018
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Foundations of Amateur Radio is now available as an eBook. In Volume 5 - Getting on air - read about the perfect SWR, how to become a better operator, what batteries to use, the difference between a propagation forecast and reality, the phonetic alphabet, antenna compromises, Q-codes and more. Search for my callsign - VK6FLAB - on your local Amazon store to have a Look inside. I'm Onno VK6FLAB

Duration:00:00:28

Coax Loss vs Connector Loss

3/17/2018
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Foundations of Amateur Radio A question that comes up regularly is one about loss, specifically loss in the coax and connectors between your radio and your antenna. The general wisdom is that better coax gives you better results and more connectors is bad. Anything with double joiners, or such like is really bad. So, essentially we've been taught that we should have the shortest coax possible with as few connectors as possible. Pretty fair and reasonable, right? During the week I was...

Duration:00:03:02

Amateur Radio Minimalism

3/10/2018
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Foundations of Amateur Radio The ultimate radio shack is a nirvana that most amateurs I've met strive for all their life. One of the many views I've heard on the topic keeps speaking to me, one of minimalism, less is more, what is the absolute minimum that you can use and still call yourself an amateur? As you know, I've recently moved and my shack was packed up into some boxes and is now slowly being unearthed. At the moment there are two antennas, a radio and a power supply. Keen...

Duration:00:02:34

eBook Volume 4 - short

3/6/2018
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Foundations of Amateur Radio is now available as an eBook. In Volume 4 - Just get started - follow my journey through the amateur radio community, how to use QSL cards, mobile antennas on HF, licensing requirements, policing the airwaves, the super check partial list, packing up coax, lightning protection and more. Search for my callsign - VK6FLAB - on your local Amazon store to have a Look inside. I'm Onno VK6FLAB

Duration:00:00:30

What improbable antenna solution works?

3/3/2018
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Foundations of Amateur Radio There is some truth in simplicity. I've mentioned in the past that "suck it and see" is a perfectly valid solution to figuring out if something is going to work or not. I've moved into my new home, my new QTH. The roof is colour bond, that's basically a corrugated iron roof, painted in some random colour. I think it's grey, but don't quote me on that, could be green. Inside is a mezzanine floor, essentially carving out a space within the roof area. It's going...

Duration:00:04:16

What criteria do you have for your ideal shack?

2/24/2018
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Foundations of Amateur Radio From time-to-time people move and their shack tends to move with them. For me that move is happening right now, I'm moving all of 900m up the road, a long story in itself, but perhaps best told over a camp fire far from civilisation. As I started the process of working out what needed to be done I realised that I made a few rookie errors. The first one, one that I've made before, but at the time my excuse was that I knew nothing about amateur radio - some say I...

Duration:00:04:08

eBook Volume 3 - short

2/20/2018
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Foundations of Amateur Radio is now available as an eBook. In Volume 3 - Share the fun - follow the third year of my journey, how to make contacts on HF, how to go on-air QRP, propagation planning, how to deal with trolls, online resources and more. Search for my callsign - VK6FLAB - on your local Amazon store to have a Look inside. I'm Onno VK6FLAB

Duration:00:00:25

What do you know now that you would have liked to have known when you started in amateur radio?

2/17/2018
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Foundations of Amateur Radio Recently I was asked: "What do you know now that you would have liked to have known when you started in amateur radio?" The hobby of amateur radio is one filled with generosity. Extreme forms of it. People go out of their way to help, to explain, to loan equipment, to help out, to repair stuff and to participate. In the past I've spoken about the negative aspects of this hobby as well. Belligerence, the warlike aggressively hostile nature of individuals and...

Duration:00:03:52

How should I promote my contest?

2/10/2018
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Foundations of Amateur Radio The act of telling someone about something is promoting it, not in a marketing sense, just an awareness sense. The act of not telling someone is keeping a secret. Radio amateurs, and I have no doubt, people who are not, like to plan things. They set-up contests, on-air activities, organise swap-meets, build websites, write articles, invent things, build stuff, and all manner of other amazing activities. Some amateurs talk about what they've been up to, but most...

Duration:00:05:55

eBook Volume 2 - short

2/6/2018
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Foundations of Amateur Radio is now available as an eBook. In Volume 2 - Find the spark - follow the second year of my journey through the hobby of amateur radio, what's the point of Morse code, making contacts during lunch, Magnetic Loop Antennas, keeping your shack tidy, the identity of your callsign and more. Search for my callsign - VK6FLAB - on your local Amazon store to have a Look inside. I'm Onno VK6FLAB

Duration:00:00:28

Antenna gain and polar chart magic

2/3/2018
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Foundations of Amateur Radio If you've ever been on the hunt for an antenna, and let's face it, in amateur radio that's pretty likely, you'll get information about the gain of an antenna. Often someone will tell you that this one has 12 dB gain, versus that one which only has 9 dB. As an aside, I've seen a few videos where people are comparing sound levels and mention that without the fan, there is only 3 dB less noise. What they don't realise is that 3 dB means HALF the noise. The same is...

Duration:00:05:20

Just enough radio ...

1/27/2018
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Foundations of Amateur Radio In the past little while you've heard me talk about WSPR, Weak Signal Propagation Reporter and I've told you about signals I've heard across the planet. The longest distance at the time was a HF report, 18656 km from Perth to Pennsylvania, very nice indeed. I switched to monitoring 6m, 2m and 70cm about a month or so ago. My reports had been pretty minimal, from my QTH to the suburb next-door and then two suburbs away. Proof that a station is working, but...

Duration:00:03:18

eBook Volume 1 - short

1/23/2018
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Foundations of Amateur Radio is now available as an eBook. In Volume 1 - Join the hobby - follow my initial journey through the community, what to buy when you start, how to participate in the community, things to practice, what the first steps look like once you have a license, playing in radio contests, encouragement and sharing. Search for my callsign - VK6FLAB - on your local Amazon store to have a Look inside. I'm Onno VK6FLAB

Duration:00:00:28

Virtual Radio

1/20/2018
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Foundations of Amateur Radio There is a feeling of anticipation in the air, the year has started, there are so many different ideas bubbling through my mind that I feel like an excited puppy dog wagging its tail. I've been playing with a wonderful piece of software called GNU Radio, more on that in a moment. So, I have for a while been dissatisfied with the offerings of SDR software. There is lots of development going on, lots of new toys being invented and many different hives of activity...

Duration:00:03:41

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