Build it and they will come

Amateur radio has got to be the most diverse activity available to the average person. There are dozens of activities and anyone that ever says they are bored with ham radio must not have any imagination.

One of the most exciting ham activities is building. There are kits available to build everything from add on components to complete transceivers and everything in between. Some of the most popular kits are the Rockmites, small QRP transceivers that will fit in an Altoid tin.

Many of these projects can be assembled in the matter of a few hours to a few days. Of course, there are the many junk box projects. A hand full of parts and pieces scavenged from old circuit boards or broken, out dated gear can yield some amazing conversation pieces.

Of course for the hardiest among us there is always the venerable amplifier project. A lot of these have become significantly smaller and more compact but none the less present a challenge to the ham.

Probably the greatest satisfaction, however, received from kit or junkbox building is that sense of accomplishment….. I built that!   A great place to start looking for like minded hams in the Louisville metro area is the homebrewers club.  You can visit their website at

So go find a project, anything from that simplest dipole antenna to the most complex transceiver or amplifier and join the ‘I built that’ club.

New DEC For District 9

A Note From the New DEC:

“My name is John Hager amateur call sign N4KJU and most people call me Johnny. I have been a amateur radio operator for thirty years. My first exposure to amateur ham radio was in 1978 when the my home city of Paintsville was evacuated due to a temporary dam about to breach. I was a volunteer member of Jim Tom Newmans Civil Defense Staff and a vlunteeer firefighter.

Upon being deployed to the emergency operations center I saw William Martin W4JKY  (now silent key) and others stringing up wire for a ham radio antenna. This along with their ability to communicate to the EOC and throughout the United States and radiograms being sent and received for supplies and  the well being (health and welfare) caught my attention.

Due to pursuing a college education I had to put studying for my first ticket off until after graduation in 1983. While at Eastern Kentucky University i met a fellow student by the name of Wade Bevins WA4OBL from Pineville. From his dorm room in Commonweath Hall he used a small vertical antenna and talked to people in Central Kentucky and to Knoxville Tenn..This further fueled my interest.

In 1983 the week after my graduation dad  ran into Richard Conley W4JTB (now a  SK) and he told dad they were starting a novice class in Paintsville. So I began attending the classes and became reaquainted with some of the same people who had assisted with communication at the EOC in 1978. In December I passed my novice class.

The following spring I passed my Technician Class  and issued the call of N4KJU. Shortly thereafter we had the flood of 1984 and used two meters for the first time sending  and receiving messages to local hams regarding water conditions throughout Paintsville and Johnson County.

In 1986 I became EC of Johnson County and have served several terms in that capacity. In addition to that I have served one previous term as DEC. Also I am active as a fire fighter, EMT,member of the Haz  Mat team,Rescue Squad Member and member of the LEPC and EM staff and a lay speaker in the United Methodist Church and currently hold an extra class ham license along with being a ARRL VE.

As DEC I want to use my abilities,interest,contacts, and experience toward biulding a great ARES team here within Kentucky’s  Ninth District. I am a firm believer in management by participation using the TEAM concept which is Together Everyone Acieves More. If can be of assistance feel fre to contact me. My e-mail is or you can call me at 606-789-4109.”

The Internet – The Demise of Amateur Radio OR The Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated

by Glenn Petri KE4KY

Who said that the Internet would be the death of amateur radio??

Nothing could be further than the truth with the Internet currently being a such great adjunct to the hobby in so many ways.  It would be extremely difficult to list all the ways the Internet supplements the amateur radio hobby currently, but look at a few I could readily list:

  • QSL Information
  • DX Bulletins
  • “Fresh off the press” DX news
  • Web-based packet clusters
  • Contest (radio sport) information, results, and calendars
  • Technical bulletins
  • Solar activity & propagation forecasts
  • Used radio sale listings
  • Amateur forums for every aspect of the hobby
  • Emergency Communications (Training, Trends, Networking, etc..)
  • DXCC history, DXpeditions of the past (BS7H, for example)

And it could go on and on…just so much information at the tips of your fingers!

An interesting new Internet technology has first been put to use during the recent TX5K Clipperton Island 2013 DXpedition utilizing a concept of nearly instant feedback regarding the on-going status of the operation.  The DXA website is a big hit with DXers around the globe and will most certainly be seen again during the 2014 Heard Island DXpedition.

A quote from the TX5K website:

“DXA is a dynamic website that allows DXers to view the current status and activities of the DXpedition in near-real-time. Within a minute or so after making a contact with the DXpedition, the DXer is able to see confirmation of that contact entered in the expedition log. Information such as the callsigns logged in the last minute and in the last hour, and the band modes currently being worked by the DXpedition, are displayed in a simple, automatically-updated interface. The entire application runs within a standard browser–no software needs to be downloaded or installed.”

A screen shot of the website shows many different features alive at once.

  • Current band(s) in operation, including current mode
  • Bands you have already worked (or not)
  • Days remaining of operation
  • Current QSO Counts
  • Calls of the most recent contacts and their location (hint on propagation status)

This will certainly add to the sideline interests of those chasing a rare DX station for operations that utilize such a feature in the future.  It is very interesting to work a DX station and then within moments have that instant feedback of a successful QSO.


reprinted with permission…… originally at