January 22, 2021

Collection of vintage amateur radio books and magazines

I stumbled on a fascinating collection of links to vintage radio frequency books and magazines.  It contains some really useful amateur radio relevant material.  While browsing, I found several outstanding books on antennas that inspired ideas for future projects.  If you have an interest in radio, this site is definitely worth checking out.

Good DX and 73, NJ2X

January 18, 2021

Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2021

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a federal holiday in the United States marking the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year. King's birthday was January 15, 1929.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today. -- Martin Luther King Jr. August 28, 1963

Martin Luther King, Jr.

January 17, 2021

Completed the ARRL 20m Digital Worked All States Award from California

Thanks to Karl (N8NA) in the great State of Delaware, I completed the ARRL 20m Digital Worked All States Award this morning.  Karl and I made FT8 contacts on 20m and 15m with ease.  15m was in poor condition with only a couple of other stations being decoded at the time.  Regardless, we managed to make the contact work.  We tried 10m out of curiosity and the band wasn't open.

Good DX and 73, NJ2X

January 10, 2021 Radio Scavenge Around Field Exercise

On January 10, 2021, I had the opportunity to participate in the Santa Cruz County ARES Scavenge Around Field Exercise with my family and we had an excellent time.  A radio scavenge around exercise is a fun activity designed to maintain safe social distancing while improving participant's amateur radio skills and knowledge of local County geography and repeater coverage.

Santa Cruz County FEMA Map

The scavenge around exercise was a three-hour event.  It started with participants checking into a SAFE Resource Net and being assigned a SAFE tactical net from one of three other area repeaters.  Participants then changed frequency to their assigned tactical net and checked in for tasks.  

The tasks involved driving to a location which was either an intersection or a address and answering a question that was given as part of the task regarding what you observe at the location.  The task assignments often involved the participant driving to a distant and possibly unfamiliar part of the County.  This made the task interesting for participants.

After completing a task, the tactical net control operator would ask each participant if they would like another task assignment.  Toward the end of the exercise, participants checking into their tactical nets would be asked to contact the resource net control to demobilize.  After demobilizing, the final check-in was when the participant had arrived home safely.

It was a beautiful day for driving and our family enjoyed this activity very much.  We are all licensed hams though we only used one call sign for the check-in and tasks since we were travelling together in one vehicle.

Good job Santa Cruz County ARES!  We are looking forward to joining in another ARES Scavenger Around Field Exercise again soon.

Good DX and 73, NJ2X

January 8, 2021

The great teacher inspires...

This quote echoes the EDGE method - Explain, Demonstrate, Guide, Enable.

‘The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.’ ― William Arthur Ward

Good DX and 73, NJ2X

January 3, 2021

Provide the conditions...

"I never teach my pupils; I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn." – Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein 1921

Good DX and 73, NJ2X

January 1, 2021

Configuring WSJT-X with a Kenwood TS-480SAT and SignaLink USB

Communicating on HF using various digital modes is a ton of fun.  There has been a significant shift in the popularity of digital modes toward FT8 over the last couple of years.  PSK31, JT65, and other digital modes have nearly disappeared from the bands.  This means hams need to join in the FT8 craze if they want to operate digital modes and actually make contacts.  WSJT-X is my preferred software for JT65, FT8, and FT4.  In this post, I will share how I have configured my station for WSJT-X digital HF communication.

Station Control

I use a Kenwood TS-480SAT that is capable of 100W on HF and 6M.  The TS-480SAT is interfaced to the computer for radio control through the radio's serial port through a Keyspan USA-19HS USB adapter.  The radio's audio is interfaced to the computer from the TS-480SAT's data port through a SignaLink Integrated USB Sound Card.  I have used this configuration for years with excellent results.

Kenwood TS-480SAT

SignaLink Integrated USB Sound Card

WSJT-X Settings Configuration

  • Cat Control - Serial Port: COM3
  • Serial Port Parameters: Baud Rate = 57600
  • Data Bits: Default
  • Stop Bits: Default
  • Handshake: Hardware
  • Force Control Lines: DTR and RTS are both blank
  • PTT Method: CAT
  • Transmit Audio Source: Rear/Data
  • Mode: USB
  • Split Operation: None
  • Input: USB Audio CODEC - Mono
  • Output: USB Audio CODEC - Mono

TS-480 SAT Configuration

Menu 56 Com Port Parameters = 57600
Menu 60 VOX Operation With Data Input = Off

Be sure to check out my article on setting up WSJT-X for automatic logging with Ham Radio Deluxe.

Good DX and 73, NJ2X

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