If you're anything like me you may have missed the fact that the Winter Field Day 2017 results were posted a while back. The website breaks down the entrants into the 3 main categories for posting results: Indoor, Home, and Outdoors. To see those results check out the Winter Field Day 2017 Results Page.
Based on those categories, I was in the "Outdoor" group, and I ended up in spot 77 out of 182. Last year the categories were done slightly differently, and in the group I was in, I was about 33 out of 40. I'd say I improved, considering that in the new groupings my score was up against all the multi-ops etc! I was curious though, how I fared compared to the same group I was in last year (Single Operator, Outdoor) so I grabbed the data and worked some pivot magic with Excel. In just the 1O group I was 41 out of 118 - a great improvement if you ask me!
Anyway, enough about me - it dawned on me that others might be interested in some more detailed groupings, results, and data evaluation. With that in mind, here are the results in some of the breakdowns that people might be interested in. At the end of this post you can also find the Excel file that I used to generate these results, in case you are data nerd too and want to play around with it. Lastly, I do have a typo on some of these, but it is just that - a typo, it doesn't actually change the scores or rankings, so I'm not going to bother fixing it, since it would take forever (I'm not even going to tell you what it is - we'll see if you catch it ;-) Enjoy!
Or, at least that's all the categories that I broke down - if you're a data nerd, you can probably think of even more ways to slice and dice this, but I figured this would cover the majority of what most people would want to see! If you want to do some of your own slicing and dicing, the files below are free for the taking: The first is a zip file of the PDF's of all of the tables above, and the second is the Microsoft Excel file that has the data and pivot table in it that you can feel free to play around with..enjoy!
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I made something that I want to share with you!
If you've stumbled on my blog, or ever talked to me on the air, you probably know that I do quite a bit of portable and mobile operating (actually, because of the current state of my shack project, ALL of my operating is portable and mobile at the moment.)
I enjoy operating in this way quite a bit, because I travel regularly for work. Recently, I learned enough Morse Code to start making contacts on the air with CW in addition to SSB. This works great when I'm portable in my tent, but I recently had a couple activations that I had to do from the car. I didn't know CW when I first did my mobile install, and I didn't think I'd ever have a reason to do CW from the drivers seat, so I didn't plan for it. Now that I'd like to be able to, I started making plans. At first I thought I would just run a cable from the radio body in the trunk, to the panel that I have my remote head and mic jack mounted in.
As I thought about it however, I really didn't feel like removing body panels, rolling back carpet, and all that business, so I didn't get around to it. While I was stewing on this, I got to thinking about the times I did do CW from the front seat. The Yeasu 857d (and probably the other Yeasu rigs as well) has a feature called "MICKEY." This feature lets you do Morse Code by using the mic as a weird sort of paddle. With this feature turned on, the down button acts like the dah, and the up button acts like the dit. It works, but to be honest it is a pain, so I started avoiding it.
The realization I had was this - those are just buttons. I can probably make an interface that plugs into the mic jack, and just uses the lines for those buttons, so that I can plug a key into the mic jack. The wheels started spinning.
So, first I needed a pinout of the mic jack. Luckily a google image search for "Yeasu 857d mic pinout" brought up just what I needed. If you look at the jack, flat side up, the connections are, from left to right:
With this information it seemed obvious to me that all I needed to do was make something that went to the appropriate pins. I also wanted something that I could keep in my glove box, so that I could work CW on a moments notice. With that goal, here's what I came up with:
Next, I completely stripped a section of network cable. Referencing back to the mic pinout, I only needed 3 of the wires, so I picked 3 colors I liked - I put the green wire at the first pin, which would go to the "down/dah" button, I put the blue wire to the second pin, which would go to the "up / dit" button, and I put the brown wire to the 7th pin, which would be the ground. The rest of the wires I just jammed in as spacers to make it easier to slide everything into place in the plug, and then I cut them off after crimping the pins down.
Next it was time to put in the jack and switches, and solder them up! The buttons are offset so that when holding the box, one lands nicely under my thumb, and one lands nicely under my pointer. To pick the spots I actually just held the box they way I would, and marked where my fingers hit. The pointer button got the green wire and the brown wire, the thumb button got the blue wire and a jumper from the brown wire on the other button. The jack got a jumper from the brown wire to the sleeve connection, from the blue wire to the tip connection, and from the green wire to the ring connection.
Now, to make this work, the settings on the radio are important, because I am relying on the "Mickey" feature. This means that I need to have these setting correct:
So, with the interface made, and the settings chosen, it's time to show you how it works! Check out this short video I made to see it in action:
To wrap up, here's the parts list with links if you want to make your own. Several of these things come in quantities greater than you'll need, but it never hurts to have spares, or build up your supply!
Project Box 4x2x1
And, if you don't have these tools already, you might want to check them out as well. I used mine in this project, and in A LOT of other projects as well:
RJ45/RJ11 crimp tool
Bye for now!
No, that's not a typo...I actimated a park!
My daughter is now 6, but it wasn't that long ago that she was still trying out new words. The first time I heard her try to say "activate" I had just picked up my phone, and had accidentally held the home button down long enough to turn on Siri. My daughter promptly said "uh oh! You actimated Siri!" To this day, in our house we still use the word "actimate" quite regularly.
Anyway, enough about the nonsense that goes on in my house - I'm actually writing to update you on my second trip to Mashamoquet Brook State Park (You can read about the first trip here.)
This time around, I reserved the one camp site they have that has a power hook-up. Most of the camp-grounds I've gone to that had RV hookups had either 50 or 30 amp connections, plus a standard 15 or 20 amp outlet. I realized the first night of this trip however, that this site only has a 30 amp connection, so I ended up running off battery power for the first night anyway.
In spite of the power mishap, I had a good first night - my very first contact was actually with Jeff, KB3ZUK. Jeff is the North American Continental Representative, in addition to being the log manager for the call district I live in, for the WWFF program. It was fun to actually get a contact on the air with Jeff, after all these months of e-mails and such as I sent in my "actimation" logs!
After my contact with Jeff, I found a frequency of my own, and quickly racked up enough contacts to bring my total for this park past the 44 mark (the US awards only require 10 per park, but I like to shoot for 44 because that's where most of.the international awards kick in.)
Before evening number 2, I stopped at an RV center and picked up a couple adapters so that I could use the AC power at the campground:
in addition to this adapter, I also got one to go from 50 amp to 30 amp connections. This way I'm now covered for using AC power no matter what type of connection a place has. Of course, there is always the option to use batteries in places with no AC, but if it's available, why not make life easy?
With an easy power solution for the second evening, I was able to dive right in to making more contacts. With the pressure off, I started out in CW. This was a particularly exciting one for me, not because I made a lot of contacts, but because I upped my speed a little bit. I leaned CW using the PC program Just Learn Morse Code, which uses the Koch/Farnsworth method. As I practice I've been using faster character speeds, and faster word speeds, but on the air I've been hesitant, so prior to now I was keeping my keyer set at 5 wpm. This time I decided to bump it up to 7 wpm, and I found it was actually easier for me to copy stations at this faster speed, because it's closer to what I've been practicing. After a few more like this I just might have to bump the speed up to 10 wpm and have a go!
Anyway, with plenty of SSB contacts, and a few more CW contacts under my belt, I was in good spirits as I packed up and headed out. I don't know what park I'll end up at next, but I hope I have just as much fun as I did at Mashamoquet!
As a final note, if any of you are CW newbies like me (or seasoned pros for that matter) check out the ditdit.fm podcast - it's a new one, all about CW. For me it has been a good resource for tips and hints from the CW pros. It's also nice to hear the top notch operators talk about their experiences when they were in my shoes - great stuff!
If this is the first you are stumbling upon my "Crowd-Sourced" project series, feel free to go back to part 1 to come up to speed. For the less patient, here's the "what you missed last time" version:
One of the pieces of equipment that my work revolves around comes in these neat little boxes. We had a couple that were getting scrapped, so I nabbed one of them, and gutted it down to the box, and the battery that was built into it. I figured I would use it as a ham-radio project, but since I was undecided exactly what I wanted to build, I started putting it up to a series of votes. Through that voting, it was decided that I should build a small/portable HF station into the box. In the most recent installment I asked for feedback on what radio architecture to use, whether I should do a kit, build from plans, or use a pre-built radio, and whether or not I should try to squeeze a computer into the package.
Since you are probably most interested in the results, I'll share those first, but please stick around after that, because in the voting process, there were, as C+C Music Factory says, some "Things That Make You Go Hmmmm"
What Architecture of radio?
With this, we were deciding whether to go the route of an SDR radio, or something based in hardware. I must admit that the results here surprised me, but the overwhelming majority - 70% - voted to go with a "traditional" architecture.
If a Traditional Architecture is chosen, should I still try to squeeze in a small form-factor comptuer?
This was a resounding yes, 60% of the vote.
If an SDR Architecture is chosen, should we go with a computer dependent, or a computer free option.
Since going the SDR route wasn't chosen, this question is no longer applicable, but just for fun, 55% said to use a computer, 35% said to go computer free, and 10% didn't care.
What should I use as the "Base" for the radio?
With this question, I was basically deciding if I should do a kit-built radio, build something from scratch/plans, or just buy an off-the-shelf radio that's ready to go. This category did not have a clear winner, with 35% voting to buy something finished, 30% voting to build from a kit, and 30% voting to build from scratch/plans, and 5% that didn't have an opinion.
Summary of the Vote
I did ask for comments along with the votes, and many individuals had input that I'll put into the next round of planning as I share the next steps. For now though, the results of this vote, and the prior votes, bring us to this point:
I'm going to be building a small HF station into this box, and powering it from the existing battery. The station will be based on a traditional architecture (non-SDR), with a small form-factor computer included. Because the final vote was so close, the radio itself might be off-the-shelf, a kit, or built from plans.
Choosing the actual radio will be what we vote on in the next installment. For that, I will be using the input from everyone that gave it, along with some research on my own. I will also narrow down the options to things that are feasible - some of the suggestions, while great, were either too physically large for the box, or are out of the range of what I'm willing to spend for this project.
What about those things that make you go hmmmm?
I hope you stuck around this long, because I think there are some good educational nuggets in here.
That's all I have for now folks! Sometime in the near future I'll have the next part in this series ready to go, and we'll decide on things like which radio and which computer to use!
This is something I've been meaning to share for some time, but just haven't gotten around to actually sharing. As some of you may be aware, I am an "adult-learner." The company I work for has been graciously paying for my BS in Information Systems (I currently hold an Associates Degree, which they also paid for!) For one of my classes we had an open-ended assignment to do a fairly significant project. Obviously, I chose something radio related! Some of the information here might be a little confusing if you're only a computer appliance operator, but I'd encourage you to skim through it - even if you learn just one small thing it's worth it! If you're a software developer, this stuff is probably all very elementary, but I'm sure there are lots of folks like me who land somewhere in the middle that might get some benefit from this!
For the class, we had to write a project proposal, a plan, do the work, and then present our project. I'll share all that so that you can look at the details if you want, but my "secret" mission was to learn a bit more about how software rig control actually works. With that in mind, I wrote a software Class (huh? Whats that?) which I called yeasuControl, that would handle interfacing my Yeasu 857d with a Raspberry Pi. To verify that yeasuControl worked as intended, I also wrote a very basic, text-based rig control program, which I named "radioInterface3" (I wrote it in Python 3, and my first 2 versions were a bust, so it just kind of worked out that there were 3's all around.) For some wow-factor when I did my demonstration in the classroom, rather than run it straight from the Pi, I accessed the Pi via a separate PC over Broadband Hamnet (I wasn't yet aware of AREDN) with everything running off 12v power, to demonstrate the possibility of a field deploy-able, remotely accessible, radio station.
Technically, the software I wrote doesn't do anything new, but just like some people enjoy building their own radio's (even though you could just buy one), I think it's fun to write my own software (even though I could just download something!) Pretty much everything that the software Class I wrote will do is already included as part of hamlib, but writing this myself helped me learn exactly what's going on when I connect those magic wires between my rig and computer! Oh - this was also my first foray into Python, so I also used this project to learn a new language. (although, really, once you know any C based language, the rest of them are usually pretty easy to pick up.)
With the intro out of the way, I figure the easiest way to go about this is to just share the documents, and give a summary of each one. You can feel free to download them, read them, and use them, if you want to see the nitty-gritty details. Alternatively, you can just skim the descriptions to see what I did. I'm sharing all of this under the "Karma License." (I just made this up - it means do whatever you want with it, but know that Karma will come for you if you deserve it based on what you do...)
So, there you have it! I hope at least some of you can glean some useful information out of my work. In the interest of the betterment of the ham radio hobby, and doing whatever I can towards our collective Elmering in the hobby, I'm offering all of this info, and the work I put into it, with no strings attached. If you play around with it and have questions (like what serial interface I used with the Pi, etc.) feel free to check out my contacts page and reach out to me.
- N3VEM -
Welcome to my Ham Radio Blog! This blog was started primarily to share my two concurrent shack builds - my mobile station and my home station. Over time, this has grown to include sharing about my operations, and general radio-related thoughts that I have as a newer operator.
This has grown to be a small network of Ham-Radio Shows - check out all of them!
100 Watts and Wire is an awesome community, based around an excellent podcast.
Curtis covers different topics each week, which always keeps it interesting!