I’ve been neglectful, but busy. I’ve enjoyed making YouTube videos and publishing every week. However, spending so much time making videos meant that the writing on my website had fallen behind; plus, the more time I spend creating, the less time I spend actually DOING the things that inspire content. So, I took a break from publishing so that I could actually DO some things. I’ve said it before: My content will follow my interests. Since 2020, I’ve taken a deeper dive into ham radio than I ever imagined for myself. I’ve shared some details on a dedicated page, but my subscribers are only informed when I publish “posts,” not “pages.” So, here’s an update…
My primary interests in ham radio, legally known and “amateur radio,” have split mostly in three areas: 1) Local repeater discussions, referred to as “nets,” 2) Parks on the Air, or POTA, and 3) Occasional VHF/UHF contesting. My local club’s daily “Coffee and Radio Net“ is what jump-started my enthusiasm for amateur radio. With my workspaces being closed and lacking fellow tech-weenies to “talk tech,” the daily nets filled a need that I didn’t even know I had. While hams had not been a necessary part of my life since I worked with technology every day, I quickly realized that “these are my people!” I jumped-in with both feet and have been growing more in the hobby as time marches on.
With more exposure to different aspects of ham radio, I discovered a “worked all states” club and tried a few nets. It wasn’t really for me since it was very time-consuming without a lot of return on that investment of time. Later, I discovered Parks on the Air, aka “POTA.” POTA is sort of like collecting stamps, I guess, but the records and awards tracking are done online. Instead of stamps, ham operators at home “hunt” for various parks, be they national parks, state parks, wildlife management areas, or other entities around the world. In order for hunters to be successful, someone has to setup an amateur radio station in the park itself. That operator is called an “activator.” Park activations have appealed to me. Being a mobile station brings certain disadvantages with my station. As an activator, hunters look for me. The endeavor can be a boring fishing trip or it can be a pile-up session, logging one hunter after another. It can be busy and thrilling at the same time.
I’ve also taken an interest in VHF/UHF contesting. However, my interest isn’t with sitting in one spot and contacting stations all over the world. Instead, I’m looking to contest as a “Rover.” Rovers are not just mobile stations. They move from one Maidenhead grid square to another during the course of a contest, which integrates my love for driving with my ham radio pursuits. Moving to another grid square allows stations to work Rovers as a new station. Each new grid means a new contact, even with repeat stations. A team of Rovers can accumulate quite a load of contest points by moving between the squares and working each other after each crossing. This is called “grid circling.” For now, I’m the only Rover within a 100 miles or more. So, advanced techniques will have to wait. I’m still building my station. This photo shows a different look than you may have seen before. See details about my build progress on this page.
Finally, I have revived a small interest in European car shows. I always enter my car in the show so that I can exhibit my work, get a great parking spot, and support the organization that’s promoting the show. If you’re seeing this near publishing time, then I’m very likely either preparing for Eurofest Maggie Valley or already present. The car is a mess after last weekend’s POTA expedition, but I will be in Maggie Valley with my communications exhibit. Come by and say hello.
Still Stuffing the Car!