Early commercial radio stations valued listener reports, as they were the major means by which broadcasters could tell if and where their programming was being received. The reports helped station marketers develop demographics for the station in general, and for specific programming. Since telephone calls were a bit pricey at the time, the penny postcard — or applause cards as they became known — quickly became the preferred medium for listener reports.
Meet the SW-4U: A four-position ham radio antenna switch with PC control via a USB connection. The switch is controlled by an application program running on the PC that allows you to select any of four antennas, ground all for safety, and to power the switch on and off.
It isn’t easy being a ham operator inside city limits. Restrictions in where you can place antennas, power requirements which can disrupt communications and entertainment systems, and just the sheer amount of electrical noise to contend with can take the fun out of the hobby.
Proficiency in sending and receiving Morse code — while no longer required for licensure — is the best way to experience traditional ham radio. Today, there are dozens of freely accessible websites and free or inexpensive apps for Android and iOS tablets and phones that provide sophisticated and efficient Morse code training. However, one of my favorites is the Morserino-32: a feature-packed microcontroller-based send and receive trainer, available from Willi Kraml OE1WKL for $99.
Even though CW is no longer a required component of amateur radio license tests, it’s still a practical and fun skill to learn. Plus, these days, there are many different learning aids readily available. All you need is the discipline to spend 10-20 minutes/day practicing and you’ll be sending and receiving CW before you know it.
Most frequency counters can tolerate only low levels of RF at their input, but here’s a way to safely measure the frequency of an RF signal of up to 200 watts with your existing frequency counter.
If the antennas that hams use can focus a signal, then they need to be able to focus it in the desired direction. The thing that hams use to point their antennas — large and small — is called a rotator. There is a wide range of rotators, just like with antennas. We’ll cover some of the most common types and give you an idea of how they work. After all, your ham radio success turns on them!