This Week In Amateur Radio: 2017.12   Leave a comment

The biggest accomplishment of this week was getting caught up on my logbooks and DX4Win logs.  Finally.   I had not done so for over a month.  I also sent off a few QSL cards, though I have a long ways to go there before I am caught up.

I made a few HF contacts on the 20 meter county hunter’s net and I also checked into the Albuquerque SCAT Net a few times over the past week.  I tried to check into the Caravan Club Net, but I am having all sorts of problems with my VHF/UHF radios.

I have an Alinco DR-605 and an Alinco DR-130TP.  The Alinco DR-605 powers down on transmit, regardless of power output or frequency.  The Alinco DR-130TP transmit audio was cutting out and had a loud hum (the net control reported this to me).  I replaced the microphone on the Alinco DR-130TP to try to fix this problem, but with the new microphone, the rig will not even power.  I am currently mapping out my entire radio system to develop a list of action items to try.  I will post my plan on this blog.

I taught another section of the amateur radio license class.  I basically showed off some useful websites including,, and  We also set the exam date, time and location.

I also finished the February issue of QST.  I am behind on my reading as well.  I will begin the April issue this week (and skip March for now).  In the February issue, I really appreciated several articles.

First, I really liked the article called, “6 Meter Halo Antenna for DX-ing,” by Jerry Clement, VE6AB.  I really like that this antenna is sturdy enough for mobile use, and I will try building this, once I finish up a few other radio projects.

I also really liked the article titled, “Rebuilding the West Point Cadet Amateur Radio Club – W2KGY” by Matthew SHerburne, KF4WZB.  As someone who has spent time rebuilding the Tech Amateur Radio Assocation at New Mexico Tech on several occasions, it was neat to read another article about rebuilding college clubs.  Also, this student was a former member of the Virginia Tech Amateur Radio Association (VTARA), as was I.

I also love reading articles about DXpeditions, so I appreciated, “Central African DX Adventure,” by Bernie McClenny, W3UR.  Some day, I will go on a DXPedition. I don’t know how or when or where, but I will do so in my lifetime.

Thank you for reading my post.

1.  Clement, Jerry.  “6 Meter Halo Antenna for DX-ing.” QST, February 2017, pp. 30-33.

2.  Sherburne, Matthew.  “Rebuilding the West Point Cadet Amateur Radio Club – W2KGY,” QST, February 2017, pp. 79-81.

3.  McClenny, Bernie.  “Central African DX Adventure.”  QST, February 2017, pp. 100-101.

This Week In Amateur Radio: 2017.11   Leave a comment

I was a bit of a slacker this week.  I did not update my logbooks like I had planned, and I barely checked into any nets (if at all- I’ll have to check my voice recorder!).  I am way behind on reading my QST’s, and am most of the way through February’s issue, with March’s issue on my desk, and April’s having just arrived today.

I did, however, dig trenches for most of my ground radials.  I did not trench the southeastern radials, as my garden will likely extend through this area.  I’d rather plan that part out before digging trenches and cutting my radials later when I turn over the soil for a garden.

I also ordered a new microphone for my Alinco DR-135TP that keeps cutting out and disconnecting due to a bad connector.

Thank you for reading my post.  I promise I will be more active this week!


This Week in Amateur Radio: 2017.10   Leave a comment

This weekend, I was active on 20 meters during the ARRL DX Contest.  I haven’t added up all of my scores yet, or even tallied the number of contacts, but I made quite a few in the Caribbean.  I know I worked Brazil, Aruba, Netherlands Antilles, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Columbia, US Virgin Islands, and Hawaii, and there were likely others.

I checked into a Bible study on 20 meters this morning as well.

This weekend was the Adventist Radio Association contest, though I heard no stations participating.

I was not as active on VHF/UHF over this past week.  I left my HT in a lab (I was using the receiver to see if our ultrasonic equipment was switching “on”).  I also messed up the repeater programming on the Icom IC-2100H, which lives in the Malibu.

Also, March 1 marked 25 years of amateur radio for me.  I was licensed on 3/1/92, at the age of 10 years old.  I passed the Novice class license exam and the 5 WPM Morse code exam, earning the call KA3ZWS.  A month later, I earned my Technician class license, and traded in my callsign for N3MRA, which I still use to this day.

Thank you for reading my post.

This Week in Amateur Radio: 2017.9   Leave a comment

This week, I was particularly active in amateur radio.  I spent time operating on 20 meter HF almost anytime I commuted.    Of these, I worked St. Helena Island (ZD7VC), The USS Iowa (NI6BB), a station in the SC QSO Party, and several of the Canadian special event stations.

In addition to the HF QSOs, I checked into the Caravan Club twice.

The highlight, however, was the New Mexico TechFest, which is a series of amatuer radio technical talks.  This year’s topics included radio direction finding, homebrewing, WSJT, tropospheric ducting, digitial mobile radio,  and NVIS antennas.  I took notes, and, while much of the discussion was above my head, I was able to extract a lot from the talks, and look forward to attending next year’s session as well.

I taught another section of my amateur radio license class this past Monday, covering operating modes and how a radio signals are generated, at least at the technician class level.

This evening, I updated my amateur radio logbooks, and will hopefully update my DX4Win logs in the near future.

Overall, it has been a busy week.

Thank you for reading my post.

This Week in Amateur Radio: 2017.8   Leave a comment

This has been a busy week for amateur radio.  First, I set up a Yaesu FT-857D in the Malibu for a few days.  I set it up and parked it by the Tech Amateur Radio Association (TARA) club station, and left my keys with those folks so that we could operate during the School Club Roundup contest.  I personally made several contacts (including Hawaii and a special event station in British Columbia) and a few others from the club did as well.

I also made my first contact on the TARA repeater (442.125 MHz), so that was exciting.  I think it is completely configured and in place at this point.

Over the weekend, I repaired my Morse Code key, as it has lost one of the contact screws.  Unbelievably, I found the screw on the floor of my shed amidst the mess, while looking for something else.

I also mounted my Yaesu FT-857D and Yaesu FT-7800 in the Crown Victoria.  I’ve been meaning to do that for ages, but finally got around to it.  I think it’s working out well.  I gave it a good road test and drove to Socorro, making a few contacts along the way.

In terms of operating, I checked into the Albuquerque SCAT Net several times.  This morning, I worked Russia, Louisiana and Minnesota on 20 meters from Socorro.

I attempted to check into the Caravan Club Net, but my Alinco DR-605 kept powering down every time I transmitted.  I’ll have to look into this next weekend.

I also updated my log books from the last two weeks of QSOs.  I added quite a few VHF contacts, and a handful of 20 meter HF contacts to the books.

Due to a scheduling conflict, I did not teach the amateur radio license course this week.

Thank you for reading my post.

This Week in Amateur Radio: 2017.7   Leave a comment

This week has been exciting.

On Friday, the Second Vice President of the ARRL, the NM Section Manager, and representatives of Rocky Mountain Ham Radio attended the Tech Amateur Radio Association club meeting to present to us a UHF repeater.  Rocky Mountain Ham Radio donated the repeater to us, and we had it up and running by the end of the meeting, in a temporary configuration.  Final arrangements will be announced as we finish building this system.  More information can be found here:

Thank you!

I checked into a number of 2 meter nets over the past week.  I made my usual rounds to the Caravan Club Net, the Rusty Raider’s Net, and the Albuquerque SCAT Net.  I also tuned around 10 meters and called CQ, but made no contacts.

This week is School Club Roundup.  We don’t have a good antenna at New Mexico Tech, but I think we are going to try magnet mounting and Hustler resonator on the metal roof.  I brought down resonators for 20 meters, 40 meters and 80 meters, as well as a mast.

This week’s amateur radio licensure course went through waves, antennas, and propagation.  I think the students were understanding what I was saying, as they asked high-level, intelligent questions.

Thank you for reading my post.

This Week In Amateur Radio: 2017.6   Leave a comment

I couldn’t figure out why I had not received my latest QST.  I was going through some paperwork on my desk, only to find that I had not renewed my membership to the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), which explains why the February QST had not arrived.  I renewed my membership this week.

In terms of operating activities, I checked into several local 2 meters nets, including the Caravan Club, Albuquerque SCAT Net, and Rusty Raider’s Net, multiple times from multiple radios.

I have also been tracing the coax that runs through my backyard and removing broken pieces from past antenna projects.  I really want to make sure I have the correct coax connected to the correct radio.

The paperwork has been submitted for the Tech Amateur Radio Association (TARA), and we are waiting to hear our club status and how much funding we will receive.  I am also looking into what is required to have us put up a dipole antenna for the School Club Roundup contest next week.

The amateur radio licensing course is going well.  This week, we started building a 40 meter QRP radio.  I will let you know how that goes as we build it.  Last night, we put all of the capacitors in place, an all of my students are comfortable soldiering.

This week, I have quite a few radio-related projects planned, so I will let you know how they go in 2017.7.

Thank you for reading my post.