What I did this Summer……

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I’ve been a General Amateur Radio Operator since 2015. Still considered a newbie in the world of Amateur Radio. I couldn’t have picked a worse time to join in the hobby. It’s a solar minimum, oh my.

  • Solar minimum is the period of least solar activity in the 11 year solar cycle of the sun. During this time, sunspot and solar flare activity diminishes, and often does not occur for days at a time. The date of the minimum is described by a smoothed average over 12 months of sunspot activity, so identifying the date of the solar minimum usually can only happen 6 months after the minimum takes place. Solar minima are not generally correlated with changes in climate but recent studies have shown a correlation with regional weather patterns. Wikipedia

Solar Minimums make it exceedingly tough to get those around the world contacts. Most of the time the Saints of radio are dodgy with the Airwaves during a solar minimum. You’ve got to learn patience make your peace with your Maker and have a lot of luck to get those far away contacts.

I guess I have a little more than $600 bucks invested in my newest HF (High Frequency) adventure into contacting “THE WORLD.” Using both Voice (SSB) and digital modes I’ve made some great contacts and ham friends all around the Country.

The use of Digital Modes during these really poor times in Ham Radio. It is often the only way I’ve been able to reach out beyond the footprint of our local 2m repeater.

I have contacted folks as far away as Argentina and Great Britain using digital modes. So far in the three months I have devoted what time I have had to my newest toys and I have made over 125 solid verifiable contacts around the world and across the country.


I recently spent another $50 bucks on an amazing little computer the size of a pack of cigarettes. The Raspberry Pi 3b+ now runs my 30 year old Kenwood TS-140s radio in digital modes. Besides automating PSK31, FT8 and FT8Call. I can now run the Station (Radio) remotely… Slicker than Cat Scat.

This semi-retirement is for the birds, but I have found this hobby a fulfillment of a long time dream of talking to folks around the world. I would encourage those of you who have an interest in communications to study for your Amateur radio operators license. I used HamTestOnline.

Every area has a Amateur Radio Club. Ours is the Morongo Basin Amateur Radio Club. Our club is a great resource for information and a great place to meet other hams. They also have periodic License Exams for those that want to join in with the rest of us.



Raspberry Pi 3
Pleased as punch, Had a FT8 Contact Last night with Gary Hinson of Hastings, New Zealand.

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