Yaesu FT-991A Review

I’ve had my FT-991A for over a year now and it’s about time I take a few minutes to pen a review of this rig.

The FT-991A is on the right and it is tuned to a frequency on the 80M band.

You see the beginnings of my humble shack above.   Now on to the review.
Continue reading “Yaesu FT-991A Review”

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Rick Scott or Write In

I try not to get over political in my writings. Though I needed to take a few moments to address my fellow Floridians.

One of my Florida neighbors asked why I’m supporting Rick Scott for Senate (our current governor). Well to put it plainly Bill Nelson is not a friend of the Amateur Radio Community or our rights assured to us by the FCC Part 97 Rules. Mr. Nelson lost all respect from me when he refused to allow a bill that would help amateur Radio operators enforce their part 97 rights with HOAs and other like organizations (deed restrictions and/or gated communities), come out of committee. So he also lost my vote.

Amateur Radio operators especially here in Florida and other gulf states are vital assets to local, state and even up to the federal level of government. In the event of a natural disaster or even terror attack and communications are down there will always be Amateur Radio.

Most know I lean heavy on the conservative side but I’m neither a Republican or Democrat, I have my own checklist that I go by and if a person meets those things then I will entertain giving them my vote.

Be a friend to Amateur Radio and vote against Mr. Nelson, if you can’t vote for Mr. Scott write someone in.

Turn the Bands Green

Since I am home and recuperating from the hospital I thought what better way to relax than to play on the radio.  Today being St. Patrick’s Feast Day there is a contest going on called Turn The Bands Green.

From the website for the contest: “Many people worldwide, annually celebrate St Patricks Day by going green, with many amateurs running special event stations as part of the festivities. St Patricks Day is a celebration of an Irish legend and national holiday on air with our friends and family, whilst promoting on-air activity through a fun award, and a chance to show what an enjoyable hobby amateur radio is.”

The event runs over the full 48 hour period over the 17th March worldwide
(12 noon on the 16th March to 12 noon on the 18th March UTC)

The St Patrick Day Award is 48 hrs of fun noncompetitive on-air celebration of St Patricks Day. As we say “Go Green for St Patricks”.

Now, remember that Saint Patrick was Italian so this Italian will try and make as many contacts as possible during this event (so long as the propagation is with me). I will be operating on HF probably 20M or 40M in the General Class portion of the bands.

ARRL Wake Up!

This is my response to the ARRL:

I am a member and an accredited VE, I am against this and will be sure to inform the FCC about this if they open it for comment. Part of the incentive to upgrade is the opening of HF to General Class.

As a Technician you start to learn all that theory you learned to pass your exam. Gives you good operating practice. For myself it was in part (a huge part) of why I upgraded to General. Now as a General and have played on HF I’ve noticed that most of the good DX is in the Extra portion of the band. So I’m studying to upgrade again; and once I’m done with getting my Extra I will learn CW.

We have these incentives already in place, do not try to re invent the wheel, de KC1FLG.

The issue that sparked that:

ARRL has asked the FCC to expand HF privileges for Technician licensees to include limited phone privileges on 75, 40, and 15 meters, plus RTTY and digital mode privileges on 80, 40, 15, and 10 meters. The FCC has not yet invited public comment on the proposals, which stem from recommendations put forth by the ARRL Board of Directors’ Entry-Level License Committee, which explored various initiatives and gauged member opinions in 2016 and 2017.

This action will enhance the available license operating privileges in what has become the principal entry-level license class in the Amateur Service,” ARRL said in its Petition. “It will attract more newcomers to Amateur Radio, it will result in increased retention of licensees who hold Technician Class licenses, and it will provide an improved incentive for entry-level licensees to increase technical self-training and pursue higher license class achievement and development of communications skills.”

Further thoughts on this (after I submitted my reply) is that the FCC Part 97 Rules specifically 97.1b-97.1d where not taken into account here. This section spells out the incentives in our general purpose.

97.1   Basis and purpose.

The rules and regulations in this part are designed to provide an amateur radio service having a fundamental purpose as expressed in the following principles:

(a) Recognition and enhancement of the value of the amateur service to the public as a voluntary noncommercial communication service, particularly with respect to providing emergency communications.

(b) Continuation and extension of the amateur’s proven ability to contribute to the advancement of the radio art.

(c) Encouragement and improvement of the amateur service through rules which provide for advancing skills in both the communication and technical phases of the art.

(d) Expansion of the existing reservoir within the amateur radio service of trained operators, technicians, and electronics experts.

(e) Continuation and extension of the amateur’s unique ability to enhance international goodwill.

I’ve seen some saying change is good. However change for change sake is not good. Should we just throw out Part 97 Rules and let anyone get on the bands? No! We have a good way of doing things and a good reason too. Leave it as it is!

Having been an active ham and being able to play on HF outside the small window as a Tech (operating at Field Day and at club station) I really got the bug to upgrade. More should be done at the local level. Clubs need to wake up and really encourage their Technicians to further their training.

Part 97.1b-d shows a good reason why we have our incentives. I know my club is getting better at including lower level license in things…the biggest problem we face is we have a membership role of over 150 but it is only ever the same 20/25 people doing anything and Lord forbid you put out a call for volunteer. We should do what was done to us in the service when it came to volunteering!

K1NAT

My beautiful bride never ceases from making me feel so proud. As most of you should know by now Snowie passed not only her Technician Class but also her General Class Amateur Radio Operator Exam.

She was originally issued the following call sign from the FCC: KN4GWP. However she didn’t like how it felt on the mouth so she applied for and was approved a vanity call sign, and the part that makes me proudest is she did it without my help. So my XYL is now K1NAT!

I’m one very happy and proud OM/Hubby.

My Two Cents

After reading something on an Amateur Radio forum, I penned the following reply and thought the blogosphere would get some insight into it as well.

The post was another Amateur Radio Operator complaining that we as a hobby are to slow to embrace newer technology. Here is my reply to him and all like him.

“New technology does have its place. I love learning both the older and the new. They both have good and interesting properties.

However, the thing is even though technology has advanced what would we do in the event we couldn’t access certain parts of it. How would we communicate if all we had was SDR or echo link? Have to be able to make an antenna at least and know how to use a manual tunner. Remember when all else fails there will always be Amateur Radio!

One thing I am always proud to admit is that I am a Ham Radio Operator and when a youngster or a coworker asks what that is I can explain what we do and a little of how we do it. Then I watch the sparks take hold.

Remember this is not 11M (and even that has its place) we study and learn theory to pass our exams. We are ready at a moments notice to give aid to our communities and we are ambassadors of good will.

Ham Radio Operators have been some of the nicest people I have ever met and I’ve never met one that wouldn’t stop and help teach me something new. Our hobby is growing and slowly embracing the new technologies yet we need to hold on to the older parts of it too. That is what made us a great institution and hobby.

We are a family and not always does family get along but we all have something to teach someone else. Let’s put hostility aside and come to the table and learn a little from each other. Just my two cents de KC1FLG.”

CQ WW SSB

KC1FLG & K1NAT

Today KN4GWP K1NAT (Snowie) and I went to the PCARS Club Station where I operated the club HF radio (under the club call sign W4MLB) for a few hours during  this contest (CQ World Wide Single Side Band) that started yesterday and ends tomorrow.  This is the largest contest for amateur radio in the year.  Even though Snowie didn’t get on the radio she did assist me…she was an extra set of ears that helped me pick out the stations calling.  We had a good time.

KC1FLG operating W4MLB Station
KC1FLG operating W4MLB Station
KN4GWP K1NAT (Snowie)

Proud

Snowie and Padre Eddie (KC1FLG)

Today at the bi-monthly VE Test Exam for Amateur Radio sponsored by PCARS at the Melbourne Library. Snowie having completed taking the Element 2 (Technician) Class this past Thursday, sat today for the Licensing exam.  The other student from the Technician Class also passed his Tech Exam today.  I am a proud and happy Amateur Radio Instructor.

Snowie’s CSCE

I’m so very proud of Snowie, she not only passed the Technician Class with only one incorrect answer but she also passed the General Class exam. She is now waiting for the FCC to issue her call sign.

Padre Tatro – KC1FLG
with VE Credential.

Now it is going to be a race to see who gets their Amateur Extra Class (Element 4 the highest class Amateur Radio License) first, then the next competition will be who will learn CW first!

Melbourne Hamfest

CQ! CQ! CQ!  This is KC1FLG.  Today marks the start of the:
52nd Annual Melbourne HAMFEST
and
ARRL State Convention
Platinum Coast Amateur Radio Society (PCARS)
October 13 & 14 2017
Note: The Hamfest is Friday and Saturday ONLY!

Friday: 1 PM – 7PM Saturday: 9AM – 3PM
Setup: Fri, Oct 13th – 9AM to 1PM, Sat, Oct 14th 7:00AM to 9:00AM
Admission Tickets: $7 and Age 12 and Under Free.

· GREAT Outside TAILGATE Area
$10.00 per designated parking space – first come, first served after 12:00 Noon Friday. Tailgate areas not designated as regular parking are $2.00/linear foot, good for both days. These areas will only be assigned by special request. Come early – open at 6:00AM on Saturday! Admission tickets required in tailgate area. Continue reading “Melbourne Hamfest”

The Ham Code

$_35

The Radio Amateur is

CONSIDERATE…He/[She] never knowingly operates in such a way as to lessen the pleasure of others.

LOYAL…He/[She] offers loyalty, encouragement and support to other amateurs, local clubs, the IARU Radio Society in his/[her] country, through which Amateur Radio in his/[her] country is represented nationally and internationally.

PROGRESSIVE…He/[She] keeps his/[her] station up to date.  It is well-built and efficient.  His/[Her] operating practice is above reproach.

FRIENDLY…He/[She] operates slowly and patiently when requested; offers friendly advice and counsel to beginners; kind assistance, cooperation and consideration for the interests of others. These are the marks of the amateur spirit.

BALANCED…Radio is a hobby, never interfering with duties owed to family, job, school or community.

PATRIOTIC…His/[Her] station and skills are always ready for service to country and community.

– adapted from the original Amateur’s Code, written by Paul M. Segal, W9EEA, in 1928