After trying different things to troubleshoot an intermittent problem with my MicroBITX kit (multi-band, software-defined ham radio transceiver), it turned out static discharge was the answer to my problems
Keeping your batteries ready for action in your ham radio hobby is something we all have to deal with. How much does “memory effect” come into play with recharging? Does it really exist? Let’s look at some different failure modes and what might really be behind them.
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.
The Smith Chart turns the complex mathematics of transmission lines into circles and arcs that unlock the mysteries of SWR, stubs, matching networks, and a whole lot more. It’s an amazing tool that brings the arcane math of transmission lines to visual life so you can understand them.