Field Day is Here!

images-11Field Day is Here!

Beginning 1800 UTC Sat. and ending 2100 UTC Sun. June 28 – 29, 2014

Are you ready for getting out “in the wild” and using those skills we’ve learned as Ham radio operators? My OM and I will be gathering up the supplies and heading off somewhere to give it a go. This year I’ve got a knee in a brace, which will make things a bit difficult, with the burden of the set up left to my husband, but he’s more than happy to do all the work. We’ll have portable power, portable antenna and a field radio. We’ll have pencil and paper to record our contacts.  And water and sunscreen to make the day more pleasant. Come by next week to read all the details of the final set up! Until then, have a great field day!

73, Suzanne N1SUZ

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The New England QSO Party

Me Operating the W1AW Station!This past weekend was the New England QSO Party. It’s a huge QSO Party for the New England States which include Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, Massachusetts and of course my home state of Connecticut.

What are QSO Parties all about? They are fun, promote the hobby of Amateur Radio, encourage Amateur Radio Operators to get on the air and meet other operators, but ultimately QSO Parties prepare us for handling disasters by knowing how to operate our equipment and relay information efficiently.

Did you get on the air? I did! Saturday, May 3rd at 4pm, I got on the air first on 15 meters, then on 40 meters. Then on Sunday I traveled to Newington, CT and got on the air as W100AW at the ARRL Station! My club, Candlewood Amateur Radio Association, was invited by the ARRL to operate the W1AW station as part of The New England QSO Party and I operated in Studio One for a few hours as part of my shift. I love operating the W1AW station! It was fun and everyone had a good time. BTW, Did you hear me?

73,

Suzanne, N1SUZ

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CQ CQ Where are you?…

CQLOGO1Hey there! It’s been a while, but this girl still has her radio, just a different location. My new location, with a dipole antenna sloping across the roof and landing on a garage didn’t really seem to do the trick this past winter. Before the dipole, I tried a slinky in the attic which didn’t produce any good results either. BUT NOW things have changed…

It’s called amazing propagation! The last two weeks I’ve reached out farther than I ever have and can’t be happier!

Recently I sent out a CQ on 15 meters and to my shock JA8XOK answered me. Yes, that would be Japan! And yes, we were able to exchange reports and make the contact! My first time reaching Japan and with only 100 watts. There was also Indonesia, Tunisia and Morocco. Which just goes to show you that even with my humble shack, when propagation is good, all things are possible.

How have you been? And what great contacts have you made with this great propagation?

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Back in Business… HF “Hear” I Come…

It’s been quite a few months since I last posted. That’s how long I’ve been without an antenna! Halloween weekend, the Northeast had a freak snow storm that took the tree down that I had put that antenna from the last storm back up in… SO, with little choice in trees left (none), and a future move, I put HF aside for a while.

Now I did want to install that HF mobile radio in my car, but I’ve run into a few problems with that too. Mostly antenna problems. I did put all the necessary components together, but discovered that I really needed to DRILL a hole in my car after all was said and done. I didn’t really want to do that myself, so I’m waiting for that special guy of mine to help me on that one…

In the meantime, missing HF as I was, I decided to rig something up so that I could get on the air. I took those components I put together for the mobile radio, added a little something and like magic I am on the air. What did I put together? Well, you’ll have to come by and read all about it! I’m going to download the photos this weekend and we can talk about what I did, and you can share what “unconventional” ways you’ve rigged up to get on the air!

73,

Suzanne, N1SUZ

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Radio Resolutions! And How did that first Radio Year go?

Happy New Year! Where did the year go?! It was my first year on HF and I loved every minute of it! Seems that I have a passion for contesting and I was able to enjoy that on both ends of the pileups this year…

I tested the waters a little with The New England QSO Party. How can a girl from New England go wrong? I learned Exchanges, frequencies and how a little New England hospitality can go a long way. Loved it!

Then came Field Day! W1Q was my special call station. Hoisting up an antenna, hooking up my radio to a marine battery, and putting on bug spray all proved that a girl with her radio can have lots of fun in the outdoors too! I’m remembering over 500 contacts and no voice left after that, but learned so much about setting up my rig in an emergency situation. Field Day will be on my calendar always! I also learned about some of the great volunteers at the ARRL and QRZ. I was a little unsure of how to go about applying for that special call, and sure enough someone at the ARRL was able to assure me I was on the right path to getting that call. But then I though, heck, why not have a QRZ page too?! But how to do that…hmmm… well, turns out that there are volunteers on QRZ.com that make all the arrangements for that, except I was a little late in submitting for my page. BUT an extremely nice QRZ.com volunteer phoned my at home to work it all out! Ham operators are amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever met one that wouldn’t go out of their way to help another one out!

My final contest for 2010 was The Thirteen Colonies event! What a great time! This was where I was on the other side of the pileup! Calling CQ during Field Day was fun, but The Thirteen Colonies is big business to a lot of contesters and I was invited to participate as one of two Connecticut stations! I’m still getting QSL cards from that event and met a lot of great people. AND, I’ve been invited to come back! Which I am planning to do without even a second thought!

Now 2011 also offered me some other interesting Ham Radio related fun. When my HF rig was in repair, I was introduced to VOIP. That’s Voice Over Internet Protocol for anyone out there unfamiliar with it. Basically it’s Ham Radio over your computer. You need to be licensed to access the servers, but if you don’t have a HF rig, or you’re just a technician without the ability to Ragchew except on 10 meters when it’s open, VOIP may be a fun alternative. What I did was accept a volunteer job with an organization on VOIP that does outreach programs and nets. As Net Manager I ran a thursday evening educational program called Thursday Night Thematic, or TNT for short. I asked some great Hams to come aboard some of those thursday nights and talk shop. Two of those Hams were Joe Carcia, NJ1Q, manager of W1AW about the ARRL’s premier radio station and QRZ.com’s very own Fred Lloyd, AA7BQ! (You can listen to the podcasts of those interviews by clicking on their names!)

So, how was your Ham year 2011? I’ve got some great ideas for 2012, such as a podcast on the blog. Maybe bringing over those great Hams to interview right here! And a few things on the agenda, such as getting that HF antenna BACK UP AGAIN, after the last recent New England storm we had the end of Oct. (Long story why it isn’t up yet). I also need to get my HF rig in the car! I can’t wait for that. Which brings lots of other topics for discussion on the blog- antennas, mobile HF rigs, Contesting, QSLing, etc. etc.

This Girl and Her Radio have lots of Radio fun planned in the future, how about you?!

73, Suzanne…. N1SUZ

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Happy Anniversary SKYWARN!

Are you a weather spotter? Have you ever heard of SKYWARN? Well, it’s the 13th annual SKYWARN recognition day! Starting Friday evening December 2nd at 7pm through Saturday December 3rd at 7pm, over 100 National Weather Service Forecast Offices will be participating in SKYWARN Recognition Day! What exactly is SKYWARN? Here’s a blurb right from the National Skywarn Homepage…

“SKYWARN® is a volunteer program with nearly 290,000 trained severe weather spotters. These volunteers help keep their local communities safe by providing timely and accurate reports of severe weather to the National Weather Service.”

Getting involved is easy, and anyone who has an interest is encouraged to participate. Training is free and is conducted at one of 122 Weather Forecast Offices involved with SKYWARN. But what has that to do with Ham Radio? First of all, Amateur Radio Operators are a great community asset, providing communication when little or none is available, and severe weather updates via Ham Radio can be a matter of life and death. But this weekend there is a little more fun involved- Amateur Radio Operators making contact with one of 100 NWS Forecast Offices that will be on the air!

Amateur Radio operators can make contact with these National Weather Service stations on a variety of repeaters, along with simplex operators, HF and Echolink/IRLP operations! If you don’t hear these stations on the repeaters, feel free to call for one of the stations because they’ll be monitoring. You can find a list of participating offices at the NOAA website, all the FAQ’s about making the QSO’s at NOAA’s FAQ Page, and read more about SKYWARN Recognition day at the ARRL Website.

Remember, the goal of this weekend is for as many “amateur stations to exchange QSO information with as many National Weather Service Stations as possible on 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6, and 2 meter bands plus the 70 centimeter band. Contacts via repeaters are permitted. SKYWARNTM Recognition Day serves to celebrate the contributions to public safety made by amateur radio operators during threatening weather.

BTW, The Exchange? Call sign, signal report, QTH, and a one or two word description of the weather occurring at your site.

This should be a fun event! Even if you don’t have a HF rig, or even if you don’t have an HT, you can participate via Echolink! Good luck! Let me know if you make any contacts!

73,

Suzanne, N1SUZ

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Is Echolink Part of Your Ham Radio Life?

Echolink is part of Voice-Over-Internet-Protocol. It’s an amazing piece of technology and can open up a new world to Ham Radio Operators who don’t have HF equipment to get on the air. Basically you can chat with other Amateur Radio Operators over your computer. Easy to set up, and once set up there are plenty of nets and forums all over the world you can enjoy. AND not only can you access nets and forums, but you can also access repeaters from other states that have an echolink connection. With all that said, let me give you the URL to learn more about Echolink….. http://www.echolink.org/ .

The reason I bring up Echolink , is because I happened upon the service when the radio in the shack was out for repair. I met a great group of people from the South Coast Amateur Radio Group, got involved as a net controller and now have my own show Thursday nights. The program on Thursday nights is called TNT, or Thursday Night Thematic, and it all happens at 7pm EDT on the SCARS conference server. CONNECT TO *SCARS* ECHOLINK NODE 96140 OR IRLP NODE 9614!

This week’s presentation is an interview with QRZ.com founder, Fred Lloyd! Please join me in welcoming Fred Lloyd, AA7BQ, founder of QRZ.com, to the Southcars TNT forum on Echolink. Time is 7:00 EDT on Thursday Oct. 27th, 2011.

73’s, Suzanne, N1SUZ…

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