Transcript 1

A event log for Getting Started in Ham Hack Chat

Time to get your ham on

dan-maloneyDan Maloney 06/08/2023 at 16:480 Comments

Dan MaloneyJun-7 10:52 AM
Hi all -- Hack Chat coming up in about an hour:

Dan MaloneyJun-7 10:53 AM


Getting Started in Ham Hack Chat

Mark Hughes and Beau Ambur will host the Hack Chat on Wednesday, June 7 at noon Pacific. Time zones got you down? Try our handy time zone converter. If you were to scratch any random hacker from the last 100 years, chances are pretty good you'd find an amateur radio operator underneath the surface.

Read this on Hackaday

Mark J HughesJun-7 11:18 AM

Mark J HughesJun-7 11:18 AM
Remind me @Dan Maloney What Comes before Part-B?

Dan MaloneyJun-7 11:19 AM
Ummm --- Part-A?

Mark J HughesJun-7 11:20 AM
Woohoo! You heard it from Dan Maloney! Time to Party!

Mark J HughesJun-7 11:20 AM
This is gonna be a fun hack-chat.

Dan MaloneyJun-7 11:20 AM
Fell for it. The shame...

Mark J HughesJun-7 11:21 AM
BTW Dan -- we've got a Boondock Echo with your name on it sometime in the next few weeks.

xBeauJun-7 11:24 AM
Hey hey, looking forward to it. I'm definitely going to talk more about this is a study aid, and that PDF looks great as well. Was just taking a look at some Amateur Extra questions, great to see things have gotten modernized a bit and it's not a load of tube diagram questions. Going to try to blaze thru a practice test for tech and see how I'm holding up

Dan MaloneyJun-7 11:24 AM
Cool. As an aside, I'm doing a little field trip next week for an article about the SNOTEL network here in the West. Lots of remote telemetry stations to monitor snowpack levels, they use meteor bounce comms at about 40 MHz to hit a central office about 500 miles away in one bounce.

Mark J HughesJun-7 11:24 AM
What? That's amazing Dan!

xBeauJun-7 11:26 AM
Oh that's a nifty one, will have to throw out some EME as well, and remembering to break down the acronyms, Earth Moon Earth (EME). I just learned the first amateur to astronaut space shuttle contact was done by someone super into EME and was able to use their massive yagi array to make the contact.

Dan MaloneyJun-7 11:26 AM
Yeah, looking forward to it. Just hope we don't run into any grizzlies

Mark J HughesJun-7 11:28 AM
I remember in the 90's I read an old article about EME where they did it with relatively low power (probably still >100W), but used a hella-long integration time. Something like 3-5 characters per minute.

BigDan joined  the room.Jun-7 11:28 AM

Dan MaloneyJun-7 11:28 AM
@XBeau -- I think I saw that in a documentary about hams. The dude was in Montana if I'm not mistaken

Mark J HughesJun-7 11:29 AM
So Dan -- are you going to put on snow-shoes or cross-country ski up to the locations?

Jan WeberJun-7 11:29 AM
Hi folks! Got my license last september here in Germany and have not been on air since then unfortunately

It's being on hold because I do not get around to begin antenna building :) I've got some *very special* (read: fucked-up) neighbours that will not like the presence of an antenna in their view

Mark J HughesJun-7 11:29 AM

Mark J HughesJun-7 11:29 AM
Get Hackaday to spring for a helicopter.

Dan MaloneyJun-7 11:29 AM


Mark J HughesJun-7 11:29 AM
My man's gotta ride in style.

Mark J HughesJun-7 11:30 AM
Just maybe don't turn on the lights while you're using it as an antenna, or your life is going to become more exciting than you'd like it to be.

Mark J HughesJun-7 11:31 AM
Hi @Jan Weber You can do a stealth antenna! Or mount one in your attic! not optimal, but doable.

And for a long-wire, just pretend you're putting up holiday lights.

Just maybe don't turn on the lights while you're using it as an antenna, or your life is going to become more exciting than you'd like it to be.

traderman20 joined  the room.Jun-7 11:31 AM

Mark J HughesJun-7 11:33 AM
Can you imagine the pileup trying to talk to the space shuttle?

Mark J HughesJun-7 11:34 AM
Man, I would love to be part of that.

Mark J HughesJun-7 11:34 AM
In fact, I just bought a cross-band Yagi to try to hit the ISS.

Jan WeberJun-7 11:34 AM
@Mark J Hughes I got the book by NT0Z but I have not decided which antenna I'll use

Mark J HughesJun-7 11:35 AM
All of them! Build 'em all!

Mark J HughesJun-7 11:35 AM
Every single one!

Mark J HughesJun-7 11:35 AM
(I might have self-control issues)

Mark J HughesJun-7 11:35 AM

Mark J HughesJun-7 11:36 AM
I'd recommend building the fastest one first and getting on the air. Then you can start chasing the performance dragon.

Mark J HughesJun-7 11:38 AM
But it really depends on your environment.

Mark J HughesJun-7 11:38 AM
What you have room for

Mark J HughesJun-7 11:38 AM
And what will actually work.

Mark J HughesJun-7 11:39 AM
What did you hope to do? Voice, CW, data?

Jan WeberJun-7 11:39 AM
Data + CW

Mark J HughesJun-7 11:41 AM
Well -- it won't be ideal, and it might be considered cheating, but you might sign up for a WinLink account ( and then you can get some data in/out over your computer (basic email and whatnot).

Mark J HughesJun-7 11:41 AM
The next question (for me anyway) is "what frequencies are active near you?"

Mark J HughesJun-7 11:41 AM
No point in building an antenna for a band not in use in Germany.

Mark J HughesJun-7 11:42 AM
(Just because the band is legal to use, doesn't mean people are using it.)

Mark J HughesJun-7 11:42 AM
Do you know about SDRs?

Dr. CockroachJun-7 11:44 AM
Have not tried SDR yet

Mark J HughesJun-7 11:44 AM
So the cheap ones you get off amazon or wherever or only really good for recieve.

Mark J HughesJun-7 11:45 AM
But the nice thing is they give you an idea of what's happening over a huge range of frequencies.

Dr. CockroachJun-7 11:45 AM
So I have read.

Mark J HughesJun-7 11:45 AM


Over the waterfall

After reading all the hoopla surrounding the ICOM 7300 with its nice touch screen and waterfall/spectrum display, it got me to thinking that I was missing out on something. When I first got my Electraft KX3 I hooked it up to HDSDR running on my PC and played around with the panadapter display.

Read this on Hamradioqrp

Jan WeberJun-7 11:45 AM
I've got an ADALM-Pluto here

Mark J HughesJun-7 11:46 AM
And you can actually see CW and data traffic! (It has a different appearance than voice)

Mark J HughesJun-7 11:46 AM
I've heard of that device but haven't used it yet.

Nicolas Tremblay joined  the room.Jun-7 11:46 AM

Dr. CockroachJun-7 11:47 AM
I prefer as basic and low parts count for my enjoyment. Doing with as little power as possible but yet keep the antenna a simple dipole or end fed

Dr. CockroachJun-7 11:49 AM
My best homebrew phone xcvr is the Wee Willy DSB

Mark J HughesJun-7 11:50 AM
The higher the better -- but even in WWII, spys were hiding antennas in attics and whatnot! And you can get ham-stick antennas from the internet.

Ham Radio 2.0 joined  the room.Jun-7 11:50 AM

Jan WeberJun-7 11:50 AM
I planned to build a multiband end fed halfwave antenna for 40 m and above, this would fit my property well, at least in length. The problem is actually the mounting height.

But as you say - get on air and aim for best performance later ...

Ham Radio 2.0Jun-7 11:51 AM

Dr. CockroachJun-7 11:51 AM
I once loaded into a window screen and worked Fl to TX with less than 3 watts

Mark J HughesJun-7 11:51 AM
Maybe get a mobile antenna going too? Ever heard of Parks on the Air?

Dr. CockroachJun-7 11:52 AM
yeah, I like hiking so that would be a good match

hspilJun-7 11:53 AM
Summits on the air as well, if you are in an area with mountains

mandrejko joined  the room.Jun-7 11:53 AM

Dr. CockroachJun-7 11:54 AM
Plenty of beach sand here Lol

mykelove joined  the room.Jun-7 11:54 AM

N.Y. joined  the room.Jun-7 11:57 AM

Mark J HughesJun-7 11:59 AM
Well @Dan Maloney Let's start the Par-tay!

Dr. CockroachJun-7 12:00 PM
Drum roll please....

Dan MaloneyJun-7 12:00 PM
OK folks, we're already rolling, but let's put it in gear. I'm Dan (N7DPM) and I'll be modding today along with Dusan as we welcome Mark Hughes (KE6WOB) and Beau Ambur (K6EAU) to the chat. Excellent vanity sign Beau, BTW.

Mark J HughesJun-7 12:00 PM
Hi -- I'm Mark Hughes, KE6WOB. I'm a retired physics teacher (15 years), and active elecctronics engineer. Former writer & editor for (, and currently co-founder of project Boondock Echo -- an internet-backed recording & playback device for 2-way radios. If you want to monitor, denoise, transcribe, translate, and more, sign up for BoondockEcho's beta program at (Learn more at

Dusan PetrovicJun-7 12:00 PM
Hi and welcome everyone!

vincent.e.leveque joined  the room.Jun-7 12:00 PM

Mark J HughesJun-7 12:01 PM
Welcome to all that joined!!!! The purpose of the chat is to answer as many of your questions as possible and hopefully get you to make the commitment to getting your license!

Mark J HughesJun-7 12:02 PM
Amateur radio tends to skew towards an older demographic -- and when those people leave the hobby, we need new people to enter. Otherwise amateur radio will die, and the governments around the world will reallocate the space.

Mark J HughesJun-7 12:02 PM
Nobody wants that to happen.

xBeauJun-7 12:02 PM
Thanks @Dan Maloney I definitely spent time noodling over that, and still dialing in the domain optimized variation to dedicate to Amateur Radio exploits. I still have to remind myself that I really enjoy keeping the Amateur in HAM and consider myself quite new, I really think in this field we are a bit novice as we rack up our first decade of experience in a life long journey.

Dan MaloneyJun-7 12:02 PM
Except the government...

Mark J HughesJun-7 12:02 PM
Well -- and companies.

Dr. CockroachJun-7 12:02 PM
Yup, use it or loose it

Mark J HughesJun-7 12:03 PM
Why Amateur Radio?

1️⃣ Connect with a global community: Engage with like-minded enthusiasts worldwide, forming friendships that transcend borders and cultures.

2️⃣ Sharpen your technological skills: Dive into electronics, radio wave propagation, antenna design, digital modes, satellite communication, and more.

3️⃣ Serve your community: Provide communication support during emergencies, public events, and natural disasters.

4️⃣ Unlock global travel opportunities: Participate in contests, meet fellow hams worldwide, and operate from unique locations.

5️⃣ Lifelong learning and personal growth: Pursue certifications, master Morse code, explore satellite operations, and more.

Mark J HughesJun-7 12:03 PM
So -- what questions do you guys have? Or personal experiences with the hobby?

xBeauJun-7 12:03 PM
And to Mark's point, it's been fun being the "young" guy in the room again, at over 40 years old. Seriously though, we hope to welcome and invite in the next generations to shape the future to come.

fidJun-7 12:03 PM
At the last SuperCon there was chatter about possibly having a Ham testing session. There were a few people interested.

Kaushlesh C. ( KD9VFU )Jun-7 12:03 PM
Hi, Greetings everyone! I am a new ham, learning everyday.

Mark J HughesJun-7 12:04 PM
That chatter was started by Beau!

vincent.e.levequeJun-7 12:04 PM
How about a special event station at Supercon?

Dan MaloneyJun-7 12:04 PM
I'm 59 and I still feel like the young guy when I go to swap meets

Peabody1929Jun-7 12:04 PM
Back in the day, I got a novice license. I was KA6AYH. I did not renew the ticket. If I take the current test and pass, what kind of license do I get and can I get my old call sign back?

mark.blackwood joined  the room.Jun-7 12:05 PM

Mark J HughesJun-7 12:05 PM
How long has it been Peabody1929? FCC grants a 2 year grace period.

xBeauJun-7 12:05 PM
+1 on the testing at Supcon and special event station.

Mark J HughesJun-7 12:05 PM
The good news is that there's not CW requirement anymore.

Dan KB6NUJun-7 12:05 PM
I taught a one-day Tech class at DEFCON last year and would love to ohear about other events where I might be able to teach such a class.

Dan MaloneyJun-7 12:06 PM
@Peabody1929 - unless someone has taken it as a vanity since you lased, probably yes

Mark J HughesJun-7 12:06 PM
You can study the questions before hand .... not the content -- but just the questions and test to any level you want.

Mark J HughesJun-7 12:06 PM
But you have to start at the bottom and work your way up.

Mark J HughesJun-7 12:07 PM
Each level gives you additional operating privledges.

xBeauJun-7 12:07 PM
@Peabody1929 these days, speaking for the US, it's a "Tech" Technician license, which requires a 35 question multiple choice test to get and know CW (Morse Code) requirement.

Peabody1929Jun-7 12:07 PM
I had the novice license last century. Makes me feel old.

Kaushlesh C. ( KD9VFU )Jun-7 12:07 PM
What's the best way to find what HF bands are active in my area?

Norbert HeinzJun-7 12:07 PM
Would you be allowed to remote control e.g. a mobile robot with Ham radio? Just thinking...

Mark J HughesJun-7 12:07 PM
Technician is pretty limited, General gives you pretty much every privilege except a few edges of bands, and Amateur Extra gives you every part of every band we're allowed to transmit in.

Mark J HughesJun-7 12:08 PM
@Norbert Heinz Yes!

Dan MaloneyJun-7 12:08 PM
I just started taking practice tests cold, no preparation. Dismal scores to start with, slowly improved as I saw all the pool questions, when I consistently scoring 90%+ I sat for the test. Aced it without any additional studying.

xBeauJun-7 12:08 PM
there are some carry over privileges that you might still be able to get reviving an older license. You'll get a new sequential call initially assigned, and you could then file for your old call-sign as "vanity" to change it.

hspilJun-7 12:09 PM
@xBeau @Mark J Hughes

What first got you interested in amateur radio e.g. a first project, or "spark"

What is your most recent obsession within the hobby

Dr. CockroachJun-7 12:09 PM
Guess I am the OT from back in 1974, WN4JAT and then/still WA4JAT