Being a new ham has been a lot more tough than I expected. Over the years I’ve been working in IT, I’ve gained a lot of expertise and have usually found ways to share it. My learning curve as a ham has been a bit more steep than I’d quite realized, which has led to some frustration and cursing. However, that doesn’t stop me from finding familiar territory and jumping in to help teach what I know. This was a busy weekend for me!
First, I was up bright and early Saturday morning to deliver an 8am presentation about CHIRP for one of the radio clubs I am a member of, WA7LAW (the Snohomish County Ham Radio Club). CHIRP is a nifty open-source program that allows hams to easily program a wide variety of radios with settings and stored memories for repeaters, special frequencies, and more. For some low-end starting radios, CHIRP is nearly essential to being able to use them.
After that presentation, the kids and I picked up a couple of their friends, went home to pick up Stephanie and our lunches, and headed off for a hike at Wallace Falls. The kids took off so Stephanie and I could do an easy 3 mile loop up the railroad grade and back along the waterside trail. Both Steph and I are working to get into shape so we can do more strenuous hikes. After that, we dropped the kids off and ran into Bellevue and Redmond to do some shopping, including the final pieces I needed for Sunday’s activity.
On Easter Sunday, we put up my new antenna kit – a Spiderbeam National Parks Activation Kit, which centers around an Aerial 51 404UL and a 12m telescoping fiberglass Spiderpole. (Yes, 12 meters – that’s 40 feet.) We had some engineering challenges on our lot (where do we put the guy lines?) but overall, it went up without too many issues and I was able to start making HF contacts within minutes of hooking it up to my rig.
I promised to make the CHIRP presentation available to the ham club, so I’m posting it here and sending them the link.
Have a great week, all!