Here it is! My newest DXCC Award

Received my DXCC All-Phone contacts award a few weeks ago from the ARRL and took it to the framing store to have it framed. Got it back yesterday. The local store does such a great job with the framing.



Second DXCC Award

Just received my certificate for DXCC - Phone. The first DXCC award I received was for mixed contacts back in 2003. This award was for all phone contacts. The next closest award I am close to is DXCC on 10 meters (still need 20 confirmed contacts) and all Digital (still need about 45 confirmed contacts). One thing for sure is that the paper the award comes on now is rather flimsy. The first award from eight years ago had much heavier paper stock.

SD Radios (SDR) and my new Flexradio 1500

I remember when the Flexradio 1500 came out a few years ago. It really interested me and at the introductory price of $599, I almost bought one back then. However, I lost interest when it seemed like forever between the announcement of the 1500 and the eventual shipments started.

My buddy Russ, WB8ZCC, has become very interested in SDR and we used to banter back and forth about SDR and my concern with investing in a radio that was dependent upon a computer. What happens in 20 years when the hardware still works, but the manufacturer does not support the newer operating systems? Second, I just like knobs and a display on the radio.

Well you can imagine Russ' surprise when I told him I ordered a Flexradio 1500! I figured if I could get 10 years out of it then it would not be a bad investment.

I have to tell you that I am rather impressed with this little box. I have used it on SSB, CW, a bunch of digital modes like PSK, JT-65, and Hell, and even used it to receive DRM broadcasts on shortwave. The radio is just fun to use and so far I have not missed the lack of knobs on the radio.

Even with only 5 watts on this radio (the other Flex radios are higher power), this thing is pretty impressive. On SSB with 5 watts, I got a 58 report from a school station in Wyoming. Not to shabby. The Flexradio supplied software is really comprehensive. Through the use of virtual audio cable and virtual comm ports, you can use all sorts of external programs like MixW, HRD, DM-780, FLDigi, etc. and all through one single USB cable. Neat! No more interfaces and multiple USB/Serial cables.

So take a look at Flexradio and if you have the bucks, you might want to dip your toe into the world of SDR with the Flexradio 1500. You can find them at

Made it to Dayton after all!

As it turned out, I was able to go to Dayton this year on Friday. Just had to cut it short in order to get back to Cincinnati in time to pack up and head to Atlanta for the weekend. So here are some quick observations.

Vendors in the flea market were down substantially from last year. Still good, but a lot of open spaces. My personal opinion is that the fee for a space is too high for a casual seller. DARA should open those spaces each day of the flea market on a first-come-first-served basis for $20. A small seller cannot make a profit for what DARA currently charges.

I missed the explosion of the sanitary sewer on Saturday. What a mess it must have been. I am sure the smell was not any worse than normal. Hams really need to change their diets!

OK, now for the good stuff. Flexradio was hot and hard to get into their booth to look at their stuff. So I really could not get in to see if there was anything new. Whatever they had was creating a lot of excitement.

Yaesu did not have any hats this year. Something about them getting stuck in customs....yeah, right. Well no hats meant that traffic in their booth was down quite a bit.

TenTec was showing the new Eagle transceiver. Looked nice. Price is too high especially compared to the new Kenwood TS-590S which seems to be very similar in performance.

Icom and Kenwood had their new radios there. Icom booth was crazy as usual and Kenwood picked up on activity.

D-Star was still creating a lot of new excitement. The dedicated D-Star booth was always busy. D-Star is really picking up in popularity. Once you get on it, you don’t want to get off it. D-Star and digital is the future of ham radio.

ARRL was also busy as usual. They have an excellent presence at Dayton.

Byonics had a lot of new items for APRS and continues to generate a lot of excitement. Peak had a lot of reconditioned weather stations to go with the home APRS stations at an excellent price.

Wouxun radios were being snapped up quickly. At $85 to $105 depending on model and vendor, people were buying them like crazy. I heard many vendors sold-out of the Wouxun radios quickly. If you got one, find the KG-UV Commander Software as it is much easier to use than the crappy software from Wouxun.

GRE/Alinco had large booth. The exciting thing there was that they will be bringing out a new 900Mhz/1.2Ghz dual-band handheld. That is great and could help 900 Mhz take off. I noticed a growth in repeaters on that band, I just don’t know what radios people are using to access those repeaters. Well it appear Alinco is coming to the rescue.

Looking forward to next year and being able to spend more time there in 2012.

APRS and Hamvention

I always love this time of year. When all the hams start coming into Dayton, my APRS station map becomes absolutely cluttered with the icons of stations using APRS. It is so cool to see all the hams traveling to Dayton.

Many hams don’t get APRS, but I find it to be a lot of fun and it is always interesting to see who is traveling through the area. Fun stuff with the hobby.

Looks like I will be going to Dayton

Looks like I will be going to Dayton this year after all...if but for a few hours on Friday.

Russ, WB8ZCC and I will be heading up early Friday and coming back mid-afternoon. So it looks like my record of attending Dayton will not be broken.

I will try to post some Dayton pictures on the website for those who may have to miss it this year.

No Dayton Hamvention for me this year...Bummer!

Well it had to happen eventually. My string of going to the Dayton Hamvention was destined to be broken eventually.

I think I have not missed a Hamvention in close to 20 years. Ever since I moved back to Cincinnati from St. Louis I believe I have made every Hamvention. This year though I will be unable to go.

It appears my darling daughter scheduled our grandson’s first birthday party the same day as I usually attend Dayton. Of course I have to make my grandson’s first birthday party.

So no Hamvention for me. No spending a bunch of money on more toys I could do without. No collecting the annual ARRL Hamvention button. No smelling restrooms. No fun with the ham radio friends.

I will miss going this year. See you there next year!

Dayton Hamvention 2011 Possibly a Bust?

It's no secret that most of our radio and associated equipment comes from Japan. With the recent terrible disasters in Japan, I cannot help but wonder what effects it will have on the annual Dayton Hamvention. Usually Dayton pricing is the best pricing of the year, but if radios are now going to be in short supply, why discount them heavily?

Many manufacturers have been without production capabilities for a number of weeks and who knows how long it will take for the country to recover. However, I believe that Kenwood may be immune somewhat from the effects since they do most of their manufacturing in Malaysia and not in Japan.

In any case, amateurs all across the world are praying for our fellow hams and non-hams in Japan for a speedy recovery.

Experimenting with JT65-HF

Just started experimenting with JT-65 HF after reading the QST article. A little different than most soundcard programs and I am able to receive and decode transmissions. Have not transmitted yet, as I am still feeling out how the program works. Looks promising though.

Why buy radios if you are not going to use them?

Each and every year I attend the Dayton Hamvention. I don't think I have missed a year in the past 20 years. I watch people buying new handheld radios like they are going to stop manufacturing them any day now.

Then, when Dayton is all over, the repeaters are relatively silent. What are you people doing with these radios? Just listening to nothing? I don't get it.

Hams are in this hobby to communicate. So why aren't we talking on the repeaters anymore?

Not to mention, when I go to the meetings of my local ham radio club, the room is usually filled with 50 or more people, and you're lucky if you hear even 10 of those people on any of the club repeaters at any time during the week.

Come on people, get on the radio. Talk and make friends. Learn something interesting about others. Communicate something interesting about you. If you are going to be a ham, then act like a ham and use the flipping radios!

SunSpots - Are they back?

I am not on the HF radio every day, but Russ (WB8ZCC) sent out an email yesterday that 10 meters was open. So I turned on the radio and did hear a number of Western Europeans on the air being worked by countless U.S. hams obviously starved for a DX contact.

Maybe after a prolonged wait, Mr. Sun is finally starting to cooperate with us patiently waiting hams. Now I can start working on my endorsement for 200 countries confirmed. Right now as I recall, I am at 118. So with a little help from the Sun, I might be able to get it this cycle.

The New Site - Hope you like it!

I have again updated the WB8NUT website and used a website development program called RapidWeaver. It runs on the Apple Mac. I just bought the Mac in December, 2010 and found this excellent application to create websites. It makes it much easier to maintain and add content in the future. So you can count on the site growing in the future.

Also, some of the Photo Albums are empty right now, but I plan on adding photos to those soon as time permits.

Thanks for visiting and I hope you visit again soon.