HAM and Amateur Radio

D-Star Breathes New Life into Amateur Radio

D-Star is the newest mode I have recently added to my Amateur Radio arsenal.  I bought an Icom ID-31A D-star, radio which I will be reviewing here soon, but I wanted to share a little about D-star and why it’s a cool mode before I did the review. The History of D-Star D-star is a mode that was created by the Japanese Amateur Radio League in 2001 after doing three…


Before There Was Google Latitude, Foursquare or Facebook, There Was APRS

Hello!  W3RAZ again here on Gear Diary, for some more amateur radio goodness.  Today I am writing about APRS.  APRS?  What’s that?  We’ll it’s in many ways the precursor to Google Latitude and all of these apps on phones that have you checking into places, but it was invented 20 years ago by WB4APR, Bob Bruninga.  It uses one of the most commonly used digital modes in Amateur Radio, Packet….


Talk to the World with Amateur Radio

  In my second post on Amateur Radio, I talked about getting a 2 meter/70 centimeter handheld radio as your first radio.  The main reason I suggested those kinds of radio as the first radio to buy is that you will likely need it for local public service. A dual band radio relatively inexpensive and is pretty forgiving when compared to other radios.  When you make a mistake on the air, it will likely…


Building a Simple Ham Radio Antenna without Soldering

One of the first things you might want to do after getting your Ham Radio License is talk on the radio.  However, there are many things you may have to do to get that done depending on what kind of radio you purchase. If you purchase a handheld radio, you likely already have an antenna included in the box.  These radios typically will have 2 m and 70 cm bands…


Amateur Radio Apps for Android

A mobile phone is a valuable tool that can be used for many things, even Amateur Radio.  I thought I would provide a short over view of some of the apps that are available on Google Play.  As there are always new apps, I will probably do another post as I come across them.  If you have apps that I miss, let me know so I can check them out. EchoLink for…


I Don’t Like Money-Grubbing Accessories, the Ham Radio Edition

I simply cannot stand money-grubbing accessories.  What is more money-grubbing than the weird connector on my handheld radio?  The above pic is of the headset connector for my Yaesu VX-7R. This radio is old but they still make it.  One unique thing about it is that it is submersible.  Yaesu had to use a different connector to keep the radio watertight.  They could have used something more standard, but they…


Which Ham Radio Should I Buy?

In my continuing series on the subject of Ham Radio, I’ll now attempt to answer the great unknown question: Which ham radio should I buy?? Well What do you Want to Do? In a lot of ways, this is almost the same as asking which phone one should buy.  The first question you should be asking isn’t which radio do you want to buy, but what do you want to do, or what…


How to Get a Ham Radio License

After my last ham radio post, one of the first things I wanted to write about is how you can get your Amateur Radio License.  Well, it’s not as difficult now as it used to be.  When I last tested to get my General Class license, I had to be able to receive Morse Code at 13 words per minute.  Not long ago, the FCC and agencies in other countries removed this…


Amateur Radio Is Both a Hobby and a Service

I am almost embarrassed that I had not mentioned this earlier, but there is a hobby that I have been involved with in some form or another for almost 20 years —  Amateur Radio.  Amateur Radio which is otherwise known as ‘ham radio’ has been around since before most of us were born.  It has roots in the 19th century; experimentation with radio started in 1888 with the likes of Heinrich Rudolf Hertz, Nikola…