A few weeks ago I posted about a new Chinese ham radio satellite, and mentioned a couple of satellite antennas I was considering building. Just a few days later I found the latest QST magazine in my mailbox, complete with an article about (you guessed it) another ham radio satellite antenna project! This one, by AA2TX, describes an antenna he calls a parasitic Lindenblad (here’s a link to an AMSAT article). The antenna, for 70 cm, is right-hand-circularly polarized with an omnidirectional radiation pattern. This makes it well-suited to amateur satellite applications. I liked this design better than some of the others I was considering, so I decided to give it a whirl.

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When shopping for a new car, a ham isn’t thinking about performance, color, or gas mileage. Instead, he’s asking himself, “Where can I put the ham radio?” It’s not that a ham will necessarily disqualify a car from consideration based on the ease with which a 2-meter rig can be installed. Rather, he looks at it more as an interesting engineering challenge–the more interesting, the better. After all, if it were easy, it wouldn’t be interesting, would it?

I certainly made things interesting for myself last week when I purchased a 2007 Pontiac G6 GT hardtop convertible. It’s quite a car–200-hp 3.5L V6 (not overwhelming, but adequate), power everything, heated leather seats, awesome Monsoon sound system with XM radio and a 6-CD changer–it’ll be nice and comfy for my half-hour-each-way daily commute.

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On 15 Dec 2009, AMSAT China launched a new amateur radio satellite, now designated as Hope Oscar (HO) 68. This satellite not only has a V/U FM repeater but also a V/U linear transponder for SSB and CW as well as a packet BBS system. This one should be great fun to work. Here’s a Youtube video giving the details:

Now I really need to get crackin’ on that backyard satellite antenna–maybe W4RNL‘s turnstile antenna (from the Aug 2000 QST), or W6NBC‘s quadrifilar helix antenna (from the Oct 2009 QST). Or maybe it’s time to concoct that servo-driven crossed yagi for auto-tracking the satellite…

If you’re a regular visitor here on my blog, you’ve no doubt read about some of my ham radio backpacking adventures with Steve wGØAT and his goats Rooster and Peanut. It’s always fun to hoof it up the mountain with Steve and the boys–especially when Rooster carries the refreshments!

So, a few days ago I received a note from Steve announcing the opening of his new GoatWare shop on Cafe Press. Now you, too, can have your own “Old Goats Rule!” t-shirt, water bottle, or coffee mug! And if you’ve never seen the goats before, check them out on Steve’s Youtube channel.

I was getting ready to order a batch of coffee beans from my favorite coffee roaster, The Unseen Bean up the road from me in Boulder, Colorado. The owner and roaster is a visually-impaired man named Gerry Leary, whom I met a year or two ago when he came to visit with students at the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind (I’m on the board there). Really an impressive guy.

So I’m perusing his web site, deciding what to order, and I stumbled upon a roast called Contester’s Blend. The logo on the bag shows a dog wearing a radio headset! He also offers a blend called Kilowatt Dark Roast.  I came to find out that Gerry’s a ham (WB6IVF) and he’s sold his coffees at Dayton.

Now, I’m no Starbucks snob, but the coffee I’ve gotten from the Unseen Bean has been pretty tasty stuff. If you enjoy fine coffee and you’re inclined to support a visually-impaired small business owner who’s friendly to hams, check out his web site.

Update (20 Sept 2009): Here’s wGØAT’s YouTube video of the whole excursion!


Field Day 2009 was a total blast for me this year! After missing the last few years for various reasons, I finally managed to get out of the house and on the trail with Steve wGØAT and his QRP goats Rooster and Peanut (well-known characters here in the list). As usual, we chose Mt. Herman (just west of Monument, Colorado) as our Field Day site, due to its close proximity, elevation, and abundance of excellent campsites.

I met Steve at his place on Friday afternoon, and he promptly provided me with my own official QRPgoat expedition t-shirt–a picture of Rooster with the caption, “Old Goats Rule–QRP Adventures.” For me, this was like getting my Gold Card–I knew I’d *arrived*!

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ARRL Presents New Membership Benefit”

That was the title of a news item appearing yesterday on the ARRL web page. At first glance, I figured it was just some kind of new equipment or identity-theft insurance.


Then I read the announcement. Boy, was I wrong!

The ARRL has placed all QST articles from 1915 to 2004 online, with free access for ARRL members.

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I already told you in a previous post about how much I like my Elecraft K1. I use it mostly in the field, when we backpack up a mountain or trail for an event like Field Day or one of the QRP field events held each year. The one drawback of the K1 is that having the controls on the front panel instead of the top makes it harder to use when you (and it) are sitting on the ground in the woods. Usually, I’d just find a rock or something to stick under it to prop up the front (and I can show you the scratches on the bottom of my K1 to prove it). Now, let it be known that Elecraft offers the KTS1 Wide Range Tilt Stand as a possible solution to this problem. And I’m sure that it’s a fine product. I was a little put off by the $35 price tag, though, so I finally decided to fashion a stand of my own.

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I really like my Elecraft K1 QRP rig. Mine’s the 4-band model (40, 30, 20, and 15 meters). I also have the KAT1 internal ATU and the K1BKLTKIT backlit display installed. It’s a great rig for QRP CW in the shack or in the pack. Mine is a staple of my Field Day excursions.

Typically, when I hit the trail with my K1, I pack a 2-AH gel cell to power it. Works great, but the gel cell is kinda heavy and bulky. So, in a moment of boredom (I had the itch to build something, I guess), I ordered the KBT1 internal battery option and installed it.

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