Saturday, January 24, 2009

Playing Catch Up

I know it's been a while since my last entry so let me play a little catch up. January has been a busy month and to be honest I haven't done a whole lot of radioing. What radioing I have done has been on 2 meters, checking into the different nets and the occasional QSO here and there. We attended the Morristown hamfest a couple of weeks ago where we bought all the wire we needed to build our own Windom antenna to put in the backyard. We bought a 100' of RG-8, 25' of RG-213, 140' or so of some 13 awg copper wire, some PL-259 connectors, and a couple of dog bones insulators. While at the hamfest, Robin (AJ4IJ) won a major award... a 2008-2009 ARRL repeater directory. That's the first time any of us has won a prize at a hamfest. We all thought that was pretty neat.

Since the hamfest, we've purchased a 4:1 balun from The Wireman, some thimbles, and we are still waiting on an I.C.E. lightning arrestor to arrive. Once that gets here, we will have everything we need to build and raise our antenna, and bring our HF radio home. Yes we finally purchased an HF rig. What did we purchase you ask? Well, we got a great deal on an ICOM IC-756 Pro. Gotta love the fish finder on that rig. It's been over at Dads(KU4ME) ever since. It works quite well and has great audio. I can't wait to get it over here and get on the air to see how we do with the Windom.

What else has been happening, well last weekend Robin and I went to take our EmComm level 1 and 2 tests. We passed with flying colors and are now EmComm 1 & 2 certified. We await our certificates. With me passing the EmComm tests, I have officially been appointed as EC for Union County ARES here in Tennessee. Up until now, Claiborne County has been taking care of our counties needs when it comes to emergency communications. We have quite a bit of work to do to get the ball rolling but look forward to get an Amateur Radio presence going on in our county. There are several hams in our county so we have a good base to recruit from.
Anyway, that's all I have for the time being, until next time...

Good DX and Happy Contesting
73 de AJ4JD

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy New Year to all HAMs

Seeings how this is a new year now, I thought I would wish ever one a Happy New Year and hope that it brings much fortune, as well as many hopes and blessings. 2008 was a good year for me and my family personally. I got involved in Ham Radio this past year, having earned my ticket in May and worked up to Extra by July. Since then I became a member of the Claiborne/Union County ARES and look to be appointed EC of Union County sometime this month. I became a certified storm spotter along with the rest of the family (Robin - AJ4IJ, Ashby - KJ4EGJ, Mom - KF4SSI and Dad - KU4ME). We attended a few hamfests (Knoxville, Waynesville, and TenTec). We worked several special events (The Smithsonian Institute, The FBI, Collins Radio 50th anniversary of their S-Line radios, just to name a few, and we even called CQ for the 470 ARG 1st anniversary special event as W4H). We participated in a few contests (IARU HF Championship, NAQP, TNQP, and the PSK31/63 Deathmatch, speaking of which I placed 26th in the Medium Power Category). Finally, to cap off the year we finally purchased our very own HF rig (an ICOM 756 Pro). Those were the highlights of 2008 not to mention all the great HAMs we have had the pleasure of getting to know and meet at different times and occasions like the All Hams picnics held by Jack and Teresa (KD4TNY and KI4ZQO), and we are looking for many more highlights in 2009.

To start the year off right in 2009 we plan on attending the Morristown Hamfest tomorrow. We are hoping to find some deals on parts to put up a Windom so we can bring our HF rig home and get on the air. The rig is currently over at Dads as he has a couple of HF antennas up already and we needed a place to test the radio out before we bought it. This weekend is Kids Day, a chance for youngsters (HAM or not) to get on the HF bands and make contact with other HAMs (young and old) and get to know what HAM radio is all about. I think we will try and get Ashby over to dad's to make a few contacts. The weekend after next is the 1st North American QSO Party of the year. If everything works out okay I'm hoping to work the contest so if you hear me calling CQ, call back.

Yes 2009 definitely brings promise on it's wings and hope for many great things. Maybe this year I will earn the WAS, and WAC awards. I should also obtain EmComm levels I & II along with several ISO certifications in preparation of becoming EC for Union County ARES. There will also be several contests to participate in and hopefully, with any luck, any of us may have a great showing. So to all the HAMs out there, Happy New Year and may 2009 bring you the best DX, best contesting and many achieved milestones.

Best of 73 and good DX to all
de AJ4JD