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A Ham's Complete Backpacking Checklist for Northern California

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So what do you pack for a backpacking adventure in Northern California?  Here is a tried and true checklist we have used on past adventures with good results.  A big thank you to my backpacking partners for sharing their knowledge with me over the years.  Their combined experience along with my own are reflected in this list.

There are several guiding principles to consider when choosing what to bring on a backpacking adventure:
Be preparedBe safePack the ten essentialsPack as lightly as possible and no more than you can manage Do you have something to add or improve?  Please leave a comment.


Dr. Ryan Southworth: A Doctor Explains How to Make the Safest Face Mask

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In Casa Grande, Arizona, Dr. Ryan Southworth and his wife have developed a step-to-step guide to transform HEPA filters into high efficiency face masks.  Wearing a mask whenever leaving your home has been shown to be an effective way to reduce the risk of aspirating the COVID-19 virus.  Wearing a mask is also an important method of reducing the risk of spreading COVID-19 should you already be infected (possibly even unknowingly).

Be prepared and consider making these masks for everyone in your home and then wearing them.




Good DX and 73, NJ2X

Be prepared for COVID-19

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As much as we all want to avoid COVID-19, we need to acknowledge the possibility that someone at home may become infected with the virus.  As responsible people, we need to prepare for this possibility so that we are able to care for others and also reduce exposure to those outside our homes.  Here is a checklist of items to consider having on-hand at home before you need them:

Prescription medication to last at least two to four-weeksPersonal care items to last four-weeksToothpasteDeodorantMouthwashShampooToilet paperExtra toothbrushesBleachAntiseptic wipesRubber gloves / nitrile glovesPaper towelsN95 respiratorsIf you are unable to buy N95 masks then make your own mask following Dr. Southworth's video, A Doctor Explains How to Make the Safest Face MaskNon-perishable food for two to three weeksHand-soap60+% alcohol hand sanitizerRoutine cleansers:Dish detergentLaundry detergentToilet cleanserKeep your vehicle gas tank above a half-tankMake sure your home first-aid kit is complete …

Its not the mountain...

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It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves. -- Edmund Hillary


Good DX and 73, NJ2X

Backpacking Amateur Radio Ten Essentials

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In my post, Amateur Radio Backpacking Checklist, I offer a list of helpful items to include when backpacking including the "ten essentials".  So what are the ten essentials?


The ten essentials are your non-negotiable life-saving items to include in your pack when you go on any outdoor adventure:
Knife - A knife is an extremely useful tool in the field.  You can use it to make a shelter, prepare food, tighten a screw, carve wood into gadgets, cut 550 cord, ... First-aid kit - Backpacking requires self-sufficiency.  When you are are in the backcountry you typically can't call for help.  Your life may depend on your first aid kit.  Mine is a homemade kit stuffed into a lightweight zippered water resistant sack.Extra clothing - This is a tough one since it easy to overpack clothing and what to pack depends on your location.  For backpacking in the California Sierras in July, I always minimally bring two pair of wool socks, a fleece, one pair of synthetic pants with zipper-off…

So what is a scout to do when sheltering at home?

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So what is a scout to do when sheltering at home, with no school, no sports, no scouting activities, ....???

A great use of extra time on your hands is to study to earn your very own FCC Amateur Radio Technician License!!!  Earning your Amateur Radio Technician license allows you to operate radio equipment on the amateur radio bands.


Amateur radio is a really fun and interesting STEM hobby and is a great way to communicate during emergencies when other forms of communication fail (be prepared).  It also prepares you for the largest scouting activity in the world: the annual Jamboree On The Air.  With your technician license you can communicate with people all around the world with basic radio equipment or join in exciting radio contests or communicate using amateur radio satellites or even talk to  astronauts on the international space station.  One of my favorite radio contacts was with a science expedition in Antarctica!

You can study for your Amateur Radio Technician License online…

MFJ-1886 Loop Receiving Antenna

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Decided to order the MFJ-1886 loop receiving antenna to have some fun experimenting on MF and HF bands.  I have been wanting to try out a loop antenna for years and the MFJ-1886 fit my requirements.
RequirementsMagnetic loop antenna designCover the medium wave broadcast band (525 kHz to 1705 kHz)Cover the high frequency band (1700 kHz to 30 mHz)Directional capabilityCompact sizeWeatherproof for outdoor useSO-239/PL-259
Looking forward to giving the MFJ-1886 loop antenna a complete workout with MW DXing and shortwave listening.  Stay tuned for follow up articles.



Good DX and 73, NJ2X