Ham radio is an ever-evolving hobby and service with an incredible number of things one can find to do. It’s easy to put it aside for a long time and then come back to it with renewed passion. I haven’t been very involved in ham radio over the last five or ten years, so the information below is aging.
I recently found this old audio clip recorded during a contact on 40 meters with Chris AI8W (AB8LR at the time) in Michigan. We were testing my radio’s compression setting. At that time in the solar cycle, great propagation was making it common for the entire eastern half of the United States to sound local here in Cincinnati.
Anyway, I started in the hobby with the technician class license as N8MFG in 1990 and sometimes wish I would have just kept that call sign. In 1991, I upgraded to the advanced class license (13 wpm code) and received the call KF8NU, a callsign nobody could remember and I couldn’t stand. A month later, I upgraded to the extra class license (20 wpm code) and opted to not go with an “AA” prefix callsign since all the short calls were gone for the 8 region. In 1996, I got the call N8QQ in the first wave of vanity call applications. I would have been licensed in 1979 had I stayed in my high school’s amateur radio club, but I didn’t have the patience or desire to learn morse code and quit after a month.
Weather Amateur Radio Network
I built and maintain the web site for the Weather Amateur Radio Network (WARN) at warn.org. My main cohort on the site, Mike Nie KB8VMX, does an excellent job with the writing and multimedia stuff. WARN is the Cincinnati chapter of Skywarn and it’s a very active and fairly large group, check it out. The site features club info, training material, a search engine of all local area clubs’ sites, a southwest Ohio repeater database (maintained by Steve Lewis N8TFD), and a live audio feed of NOAA weather radio and various local repeaters.
I used to hang out on the Triple H Net, a late night 40m Worked All States and DX net. I hope to get back to chasing awards soon, but band conditions during the downswing in the solar cycle don’t provide much motivation. This net is perfect for a die-hard night owl who is discovering a bit of an interest in awards, such as myself. Check it out every night of the year on 7235 kHz at 0700 UTC. This is a very laid-back net with a lot of nice and very helpful people. My HHH Worked All States number is 794.
I’m also a member of OMISS (#4408), another WAS and general awards net. More specifically, I really like their 20m net and hope to get my Worked-All-States single band 20m award there at some point.
And then there’s the 3905 Century Club that offers many awards and the chance to easily work states. They offer enough different nets that you could spend all evening, every evening, working them if you had the time. My 40m 100 point number is 2163, and I’m well on my way to the 500 point endorsement. Also started on the 40m RTTY 100 point certificate but will probably abandon that in favor of their PSK31 nets.
I’ve had an on-and-off interest in APRS for a number of years. Recently I wrote an aprsworld-to-XML interface, and a variable replacement script that uses it. In mid-1997 I wrote a little piece of software that served as the first publicly distributed Windows-based IGATE software called QQserv, but it’s purpose was just to be a stop-gap until WinAPRS started including Internet functionality, and IGATE was still a one-way thing at the time. So that project is defunct. I’ve also been known to run a live APRS feed on the WARN site from time to time.
Do you IRC? I hang out in the IRC channels #hamradio, #hamradio2, and #skywarn on EFNet. My nick is “bam”, or some variant (such as “bam_”, “bam-“, “bamc”, etc.) I also have a bot called “QRZ” in those channels with tons of ham radio related features. More information can be found on my site for the Internet Relay Chat Amateur Radio Club, W8IRC, at w8irc.com.