Demystifying SWR: Ask Dave #28

SWR, or standing wave ratio, always comes up when discussing antennas and feedlines. Although it’s by no means the most important element of antenna performance, it’s the easiest to measure, and thus probably the parameter most talked about. This video explores SWR in some detail.

You can find a complete list of the Ask Dave videos, as well as a form to use to ask questions, by clicking here. The tip jar is available by clicking here.

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Sample PSK-31 QSO: Ask Dave #27

Here’s a sample PSK-31 QSO with annotations and descriptions. If you’re a General or Amateur Extra-class ham and want to try digital, here’s an example. I know I learn best by example rather than theory, so perhaps this will help get you jumpstarted! This video is the third in a series about PSK-31, demonstrated using the free software FLDIGI.

Click here to see the first PSK-31 video. Click here to see the second.

You can get FLDIGI for yourself by visiting www.w1hkj.com. Thank you for watching my videos! My channel, “Ham Radio Answers,” is here to help you become an active, on-the-air amateur radio operator!

You can ask a question by posting a comment on any of my YouTube videos, or by posting a comment on one of my posts. Please choose the video most relevant to your question. You can also ask a question directly by clicking here.

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Installing FLDIGI for amateur radio digital modes: AD#26

FLDIGI installation and connections to your radio. FLDIGI is free software that amateur radio operators can use for digital modes such as PSK-31, RTTY, Olivia, and so on. The video covers downloading and installation on a Windows machine, plus setting up the audio levels for your radio and how the software can control your radio.

You can go to the FLDIGI home page by clicking here.

See the complete list of Ask Dave videos by clicking here.

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How to Set Up for Digital Modes: Ask Dave Episode 25

Ham radio operators are having great fun with digital modes! These include “conversational modes” designed for hams to converse over the air, keyboard-to-keyboard. Many of these modes involve the use of a computer soundcard. This video shows how to set up your station and provides a little history, too. Join the digital revolution!

Thank you for watching my videos! My channel, “Ham Radio Answers,” is here to help you become an active, on-the-air amateur radio operator! I am unique in that I provide the only set of YouTube training videos that accompany the ARRL license manuals, section for section. I try hard to answer every Ask Dave question.

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Radio Time is UTC: Ask Dave Episode 24

What time do hams use the world around? Radio time! And that’s Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). This video explains what UTC is and why it’s used worldwide. Also provided is a bit of history, explaining the role of the railroads in setting up standard time zones.

The Ask Dave video series answers your questions about ham radio, with particular emphasis on those new to the hobby. Thank you for watching my videos! My channel, “Ham Radio Answers,” is here to help you become an active, on-the-air amateur radio operator! I am unique in that I provide the only set of YouTube videos that accompany the ARRL license manuals, section for section. I try hard to answer every Ask Dave question individually if I can.

Credits: Music (Sour Tennessee Red) courtesy YouTube Audio Library: https://www.youtube.com/audiolibrary/music. Some of the photos (and the train video) are from Wikipedia and are used under the CC license. The photo of the WWV transmitter site is from NIST.

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April Snow

What happened to spring? Here we are in mid-April with its fickle weather. Does make for pretty pictures, though. This one was taken from inside our dining room.

Mt. Sneffels from our dining room. Photo by Dave Casler.

Mt. Sneffels from our dining room. Photo by Dave Casler.

I took the photo with my ancient Pentax K100D and Tamron zoom. Three photos were combined in Photomatix to give higher dynamic range.

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My First Audiobook is Now Online

I just completed producing the audio files for this book. It's available now on Audible. Click on the image to go to the Audible website where you can listen to a free five minute sample.

I just completed producing the audio files for this book. It’s available now on Audible. Click on the image to go to the Audible website where you can listen to a free five minute sample.

For every audiobook people listen to, someone has to create the audio recording, right? Amazon bought Audible, an audiobook company, and has automated much of this via the Amazon Creative Exchange, or ACX. I signed up for ACX and auditioned to “produce” (meaning create the audio files) a book called Santa Cruz Island, a History of Conflict and Diversity.

It took an unbelievable amount of work, including a bunch of stuff that had to be thrown out and re-read. That’s okay, since this was my first project. I’ve even created a lessons-learned list. I discovered things about my voice that I didn’t know, such as that it changes pitch slightly but noticeably during the day.

Anyway, you can see the Audible page for the book by clicking here. There’s a five minute free sample of the book.

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How and When to Use Your Amateur Radio Callsign: AD#23

This amateur radio video discusses how and when to identify your station with your callsign. Several scenarios, such as calling CQ, answering CQs, handovers during the middle of QSOs, and ending a contact, are addressed.

Thank you for watching my videos! My channel, “Ham Radio Answers,” is here to help you become an active, on-the-air amateur radio operator! I am unique in that I provide the only set of YouTube videos that accompany the ARRL license manuals, section for section. I try hard to answer Continue reading

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Ask Dave Episode 22: What to Look For in an HF Radio

Are you in the market for an amateur radio HF rig? This video describes the various “must have,” “good to have,” and “nice to have” features. This is Episode 22 for the Ask Dave video series; the series is devoted to answering your questions about amateur radio, particularly those questions of interest to those new to the hobby.

Thank you for watching my videos! My channel, “Ham Radio Answers,” is here to help you become Continue reading

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Rubber Stamp Helps Create Log From Notebooks

More than 25 years ago, I gave up on pre-printed logbooks and started using ordinary (and much less expensive) spiral-bound notebooks. To keep all the pertinent information in one place, I use a rubber stamp that I had specially made at a local stationery store.

Here's the rubber stamp I had made at a local stationery store, sitting on an American 3" x 5" card for size comparison.

Here’s the rubber stamp I had made at a local stationery store, sitting on an American 3″ x 5″ card for size comparison.


So, before each QSO, I stamp this in my notebook. Then I can collect the information I need for QSLing in one place. This is what the stamp impression looks like:
Logbook stamp impression. The stamp is over 25 years old, so it's gotten a bit fuzzy over the years, but still serves its purpose well.

Logbook stamp impression. The stamp is over 25 years old, so it’s gotten a bit fuzzy over the years, but still serves its purpose well.


Note that the info about the QSO isn’t complete—it’s missing the date. So I write the UTC date in the left margin. Here’s an example from a QSO I had last night:
QSO details using the rubber stamp

QSO details using the rubber stamp


You can see the UTC date in the left margin. I can then record anything I want about the QSO underneath, such as the operator’s name, location, station information, and anything else. I can use as much or as little space as I want. Sometimes, when I’m copying CW, I just copy right into the notebook, and then everything about the QSO is in one place. Then I just stamp again for the next QSO. Nifty, huh?

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