I’m not dead…

For those who are actually following my blog, thank you! It’s been awhile since my last post and I just want to say that I’m not dead and I’m still active in the amateur radio hobby. Just not on the air as much as I would like. Since it’s been awhile, there will be a lot of reading.

What Happened?

Noise! The ever increasing noise at my QTH has led me away from the airwaves. Or has it? I haven’t been interested in making contacts lately. Not sure if it’s because of the noise, solar cycle, equipment, antennas, lack of enthusiasm or a combination of them all.

Broad-banded Noise At My QTH

I’ve also been doing other things that had taken me away from the blog. For a couple of years I was at the helm of my local radio club and dedicated a lot of time and energy to it. I was very excited when given the opportunity and was hoping to move the club into the future and make it more exciting. However it proved to be difficult and it was getting to a point to where I felt it wasn’t worth the time away from my family. It felt like the board wasn’t really sharing the same interests and that was made apparent when I left when they reverted most of my decisions. Can’t fight the status quo when it comes to ham clubs. However, there were many good times, met lots of nice people and I’ve learned a lot so it wasn’t time wasted.

What Am I Doing Now?

I’ve been dedicating a lot of time and effort into helping those interested in amateur radio to get licensed and help those who want to upgrade by providing free amateur radio examinations. Towards the end of 2017, I created a Laurel VEC team in Western Massachusetts known as the “Pioneer Valley VE Team“. We now have over 25 VEs and administered over 8 exams throughout the pioneer valley. Our goal is to connect new hams with local and national clubs. We are currently the only VE team in Western Mass that is giving out free exams.

Just one of our examinations!

I’ve also worked on various amateur radio related kits and projects. Built one of the MicroBitX QRP transceivers. I’ve also destroyed it trying to install modifications. Might buy another one with an updated board.

My uBitX before it broke.

To combat the noise issues I have, I got my hands on Noise Canceler kit from VK5TM from Australia. It has a decent price (around $60USD) and it didn’t take that long to assemble. The hardest parts I’d say were winding the torroid and soldering these very tiny voltage regulators.

The VK5TM almost completed. Cut the shafts on the pots so the knobs don’t stick out

It works very well. I tested it by tuning into WWV at 5MHZ. Prior to the build, I could never clearly hear the signal. I would just hear little bits and pieces. After putting the canceler in-line, the was a major different

Here is a screen shot of it in action. On the Waterfall, you’ll see when I switched it on or off.

I have since been able to enjoy SSB and actually make contacts. Bit of pain having to adjust it but if there is a station I need to talk to, I can easily turn it on and adjust.

I Have Been On The Air

Just not really much from my QTH. I have been using Dave Robbin’s (K1TTT) contest station here and there. He is an excellent host.

Dave’s 40m/SO2R station during 2019 WPX SSB as NE1C.

He has an impressive station. The downside is after you leave his station, go home and turn on your station, you get bummed out about all the missing signals. I really enjoy contesting and I don’t think I’ll ever get away from it.

I’ve also done some FT8 here and there. It’s a really excellent mode and I think it’s a godsend for those operators who can’t have a large station. I see a lot of operators dismiss the mode claiming it’s a cheap way to get DXCC but I see it as a mode that re-generates interest in Amateur Radio.

FCC Petition

As of writing this, The FCC is still seeking public comments about my rule making petition to give residential preference to hams applying for a vanity callsign when the applications are in competition (multiple people applying for the same call). There is still a few days left before they close comments.

You can read about it in detail here

The Future

There are some changes coming to the NT1K shack and I hope that I will be back on the air participating in chasing DX and contesting . I’ve abandoned my dreams of SO2R (For Now). I’m concentrating my efforts on being able to enjoy operating from home again. I’ve sold off basically all my gear which includes my amp (that I miss very much), roller tuner, KX3 and I am currently selling my K3. I am going to have a fresh start. I’m going after a cleaner station with more antenna options.

Since spring is here and summer is around the corner, I doubt I’ll be able to dedicate time to my station. I set my goal to have my station fully operational again on all bands for the CQWW SSB contest.

I guess you’ll have to stay tuned. Thanks for reading!

One thought on “I’m not dead…”

  1. You’re selling your K3. So I wonder what you will replace that with? Something SDR possibly? A growing number of rigs to choose from.

    I’m surprised about the KX3 and thought you took it camping with the family. But lots of rig options for portable use these days too.

    I’m sure you’ll have fun rebuilding your station and getting back on the air. Maybe the bands will show some improvement by then. I hope so!

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