The Practical Amateur Radio Podcast has returned with another full-featured episode. In this episode I discuss WSPR or Weak Signal Propagation Reporter. This is an awesome digital mode and if you are already setup for PSK31, then you should have everything you need to get started running WSPR on the bands. The WSPR client can be downloaded here and the user guide is located here. The WSPR database can be viewed here and here. You can also learn more details about WSPR here on this wiki page. No, WSPR is not for everyone…but I do hope you will at least give this mode a try.
Before you try WSPR, please make sure you have a copy of the US Amateur Radio Band Plan hanging in your shack or at least easily accessible from your operating position. You can print a full-color 8 1/2 x 11 version from the ARRL website. There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with needing to refer to the band plan from time to time. It’s better to have it available and use it, than not and make a mistake. I keep a copy hanging on my ham shack wall and also have copies in my go-kit and portable operations kit.
Our featured website segment is the new ARRL website. Please visit and see for yourself all the exciting new changes.
Our Fellow Amateur this time around is Andrew Herron, K8DJK. Please take a few minutes to watch his amateur radio presentation from 2010 Ignite Detroit. Please follow Andrew on Twitter.
Our featured gadget this time around is the Kill-A-Watt. Visit the Kill-A-Watt website for more information.
All this and a little bit more from Jerry Taylor, KD0BIK
Podcast Number 37 – Podcast ver. 37.3 - April 1, 2010 (32.2 MB, runtime 35:08)
We return within a week of releasing episode 36 with another Practical Amateur Radio Podcast episode. No this is not an April Fools joke. During this episode we discuss the fun of working amateur radio special event stations. I provide a little discussion on proper on-air etiquette for working a special event station (or really any on-air activity).
One important etiquette subject that gets abused is the use of the ITU phonetic alphabet. If you do not know the ITU phonetic alphabet, please visit this website and do use it. A lot of the standard etiquette and procedures should also be followed when participating in amateur radio contests. Cal Darula, K0DXC wrote a contest guide which can be found here.
Learn more about the upcoming W0S special event station commemorating the efforts of Harold McBride and John “Jack” Phillips as they sat at the Marconi radio in the Titanic sending the first ever SOS.
Finally, we wrap up with a small audio surprise which is fitting with the W0S special event station. I hope you enjoy.
Also, don’t forget to watch the almost 2 year old video I did on Anderson Powerpoles. You can find it by clicking the 2009 and Older link in the blue menu box to your left titled Videos.
Podcast Number 36 – Podcast ver. 36.3 - March 28, 2010 (27.3 MB, runtime 29:47)
We conclude our two-part series on APRS. I provide a quick overview of episode 35 and then dig right in and explain my new APRS setup. This setup allows me to view other hams around me on my Garmin Nuvi 350 and also provides two-way text messaging. You can learn more about the global universal text messaging initiative here.
My setup consists of the following items: (Please note, these items are current as of March 28, 2010)
When researching my setup, I benefited greatly from the efforts of Mike Wren, N2QDK. Mike had already tested and documented the same setup I’m using. As of Feb. 2012 it appears Mike’s Blog is offline. I’ve removed the link from the show notes.
I spoke about using your home weather station software to upload your weather data to the CWOP or Citizen Weather Observing Program. You can find out more information about this program and how to sign up for an account here.
I also provide information about the new Depiction software. Please visit the Depiction website to learn more about this software. You can also read the November 2009 QST Magazine article here.
Finally, I made a supplemental video to help provide a visual explanation to what my mobile APRS setup looks like and how the two-way text messaging works. While I spoke about placing this content on Youtube, I’ve since decided to provide the video here on the MyAmateurRadio.com website. Just look to your left for the menu box titled Videos and click the 2010 Video link.
Podcast Number 35 – Podcast ver. 35.3 - February 28, 2010 (37.2 MB, runtime 40:39)
We begin another multi-part episode on the subject of APRS. During this episode I provide some general history about the early beginnings of APRS
and discuss how I’ve used the system in the past. I share some details on a few APRS iPhone Apps which are available for download in the iTunes App
Store. I provide information on where one can purchase the APRS Trackers and GPS units I’ve used. These are Argent Data Systems and RPC Electronics.
I also mention a couple of websites where you can view real-time APRS data. These sites are APRS.FI and Findu.com. We will pick up our APRS discussion
next time in episode 36.
I bring back to The Practical Amateur Radio Podcast two segments I’ve neglected over the past few months. The Featured Website Segment re-introduces
you again to HamRadioForum.net. HamRadioForum.net has a brand new look and is attracting a lot of new members. Please take a moment to visit
HamRadioForum.net, sign up for an account and say hello.
Our Fellow Amateurs segment is also back. I re-introduce you to Daniel Romanchik, KB6NU. Daniel is working hard in our amateur community to help introduce
our wonderful hobby to both young and old alike. I provide some useful links during this segment. Daniel’s website is here. You might also check out Daniel’s QRZ Bio.
Daniel has written a document specifically directed to the parents of the young people he works with. This document is titled Parents Guide to Ham Radio and is available here.
Additionally, Daniel has two very well written study guides for the technician and general license classes.
We also introduce a brand new segment titled The Featured Gadget segment. This new segment is still a work in progress. But for the debut, I discuss the importance
of keeping your Windows PC clock in sync. You can download the Time Sync application from Karen’s Power Tools, KarenWare.com website. This will keep your Windows PC in perfect time.
Finally, in an email sent to us from Philip Borgnes, in Seattle WA. He provides a link to a conference taking place in April. If you live in the Seattle area and are interested in Emergency Communications, please check out this website.
Podcast Number 34 – Podcast ver. 34.3 - January 31, 2010 (27.4 MB, runtime 29:59)
In our first episode of 2010, we review New Years Resolutions discussed back in January 2009. I provide an update on my status of those resolutions
and briefly discuss plans I have in 2010.
I also discuss attitudes in amateur radio. Do some hams look down on others because they don’t or can’t operate HF? We discuss the, “You’re not a
real ham unless you _____________” way of thinking. While it is good to motivate new hams to upgrade and try new modes, it might not be
possible for all to rush out and buy a new HF rig. I share ideas of helping to motivate those that only have VHF/UHF rigs get the most out of the hobby.
As always, thank you for listening and thank you for telling your friends about the podcast.