Tag Archives: DIY

VHF Contest Award

Another surprise in the mailbox.
On the heels of the 2015 January VHF contest, arrives an award certificate for last year. Seems that with only 13 contacts and 5 grids, I was the band winner in the Alabama Section, Single Op, Low Power category for 222 MHz.


222 MHz Award

This is not the first time I have received an award, for a fairly minimal contribution. I also received this award in 2010, for the 2009 June VHF contest – again on 222 MHz. That time I had 3 contacts in that band, 2 grids. This time I only had one 222 contact, W4ZRZ… Thanks Jimmy..

These VHF contests may not seem like much to many, but I look at them as a mini Field Day. I set up my (mostly) portable antennas and listen a lot as I do other things. This year for the January event I have 17 contacts across 4 bands (3 on 222 this time). I appreciate these little contests, as I get to check in with a few folks I don’t hear much from thru the year. There is always someone new to the VHF contest world, or VHF SSB for that matter… Oh, BTW, these 222 contacts have all been with a HT on FM, but using a small 4 element beam.


50 MHz Squalo and 432 MHz Texas Eggbeater

If you haven’t done such a regional contest yet, try one. Sometimes 50 MHz will surprise you – those are exciting contests when the ‘magic band‘ comes to life.
In the Huntsville area, there are plenty of stations to work, even with just a vertical. Do what you can with what you’ve got.
Get some soon, try a VHF contest.!.
Thanks  /;^)


That is almost too much alphabet soup.
What that means is that every year those of us that do ham radio, like to test our skills with a large scale exercise – most often coordinated at the state level.
Please read more about ARRL/ARES.            Exercise, Exercise, Exercise…
         “Test what you fly, and fly what you test. . . . . . . ”


Hmm, mobile email via VHF radio – could be useful. (and fun) /;^)

My goal this year was to operate my VHF Winlink email from the Subaru.
I also needed to activate the MSFC club station WA4NZD for the exercise.
So, I setup the stuff in the passenger seat, and drove to the club station. There had been some power-grid work earlier in the month at the Fox AMC (host site for our Winlink Internet Gateway) and it had only returned to service the day before the Simulated Emergency Test (SET).  I have a 4G/LTE modem available, and could have also operated the mobile station as an internet gateway if needed.
Someday soon, I’ll test the HF mobile capability as well.

The N4WGY-10 gateway was easy to access from WA4NZD, and a few exercise-related messages were sent. I think I heard Bill/KB4NEI check in directly from FAMC as well.  This is a great resource for the community and I’m glad to see even a few dedicated users checking it out weekly, with their own station ‘s readiness review.  Perhaps I can update the W4HMC website with the latest version of the Communications Plan diagram we used as a baseline this year for our SET.  If you are not yet registered with the Madison County ARES group – and want to be a part of this, please check our HMC RACES.org website.

There were several nets activated, and lots of check-ins.
Sounds like a good intro for a future post…

Thanks  /;^)

More Chili !!

Mmmm, it is gettin to be the season for chili .!.
This is the latest batch :


looks good enough to eat, reckon ?

Sometimes people say like “Wow, what did you put in here .?.”


is this picture worth a thousand words ?

Maybe soon I will be back to update this with a more definitive recipe..
(Oh, and remember that this goes really well with beer – in case you forgot.)
Enjoy  /;^)

Chili recipe update

It was a kinda-drizzly gray spring day, seemed like a good time to make chili.
It was a good day for chili, with a few slight mods to the previous recipe :

1 or 2 pounds ground beef (I like it pretty lean)
1/2 of a sweet-yellow onion; chopped
only 1 teaspoon minced garlic this time
Brown the beef with the chopped onion and garlic; drain fat, if any.
Add 1 small (4 oz) can of diced green chile peppers

32 oz. carton of beef broth (I use Swanson)
one 14-1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes; undrained
1 small (6 oz) can tomato paste
one 14-1/2 oz. can unseasoned black beans; drained and rinsed
two 14-1/2 oz. cans  pinto beans; drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon each of cinnamon, allspice, cumin, oregano, and salt.

cover & simmer 1-1/2 to 2 hours, stirring enough to keep it from getting bored


Its hard to beat good chili.

Mmmm Gooood.
And as I avoid butter (actually all dairy), I slice some 5 grain Italian bread and brush them lightly with a little olive oil – then a dash or two of garlic salt….
pop em into the oven under the broiler to get a little toasty.
Only thing left to add was a few cans of cold beer
(not in the chili silly, in the belly).

Enjoy  /;^)