Monday, January 17, 2022

It's part of modern ham radio!


In today's modern radio shack, unlike in yesteryear, a PC is a connected part of the overall setup. It can simply be for sending and receiving QSL cards all the way to station automation and control. In my station, my PC is involved in QSLing, digital modes, logging, radio control and contesting. For this reason, it's important for the average ham to have more than a basic knowledge of computers. A few years ago while looking for some specific PC information I stumbled across a web page called "Askwoody"

 This site has endless gems regarding computing. The site is a bit limited unless you register. A simple donation is asked for full access to a wealth of information on the site. One aspect I took advantage of right off the get-go was Windows patching or MS-Defcon as the site calls it. You are advised when to install Windows monthly patches, basically once Microsoft irons out the glitches. The site guided me to a program that stops Windows from automatically updating. I can update when I want to and when the Ask Woody site recommends it's safe to do so. 

They have user forums on more topics than you can imagine. Here are some of the takeaways I found at Ask Woody.

- When upgrading my PC there was a wealth of information on how-to, recommendations on processors, hard drives and ram. Recommendations are not based on the fastest and newest but what overall was the wisest upgrade for your system requirements? 

- The importance of backing up and recommended (free) very easy-to-use backup programs. 

- Recommended maintenance that you should be doing to your PC. With very easy-to-follow advice, links, free programs and user forums for advice. 

- becoming knowledgeable regarding your router, internet connection and firewall. 

These are just very few of the gems I have found on the site. PCs have become a part of our hobby and I don't want to become a computer wiz but not PC illiterate either. This is one of the sites that can make my PC adventure a bit more comfortable and gain some knowledge. 

I encourage you to take the site for a spin and see what you think? 

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

A nice way to spend an hour each week.

 For you CW buffs out there, a great group is the CWops. This is an international organization and their main goal is to promote continual improvement of CW proficiency across a broad range of activities. They have a CW academy which moves people along toward improving their CW skill level. They have a monthly newsletter (which can be found on their site) called Solid Copy which is all things CW. 

 Have ever been on the air and all of a sudden a section of the CW band becomes alive with action? Most likely if it's a Wednesday or Thursday it's the Weekly running of the CWops Tests or as it's also known as CWT. This is a mini 1-hour contest. Everyone is welcome in these mini contests, and it's a great way to improve your CW skills. 

Today was the first time I took a dive into the CWT. The hours went by very fast and in this contest I was in Search and Pounce mode and not Running. I made 14 contacts for 196 points, not a record by any means. But I was getting my feet wet. 

I encourage you to have a look at the CWops site and for sure have a look at their newsletter Solid Copy. 

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Looking back and looking ahead.

 Well here we are again.......finishing off my second year in the Maritimes. It may sound a bit odd, but it seems it has taken just over a year and a half to get used to retirement. I am finally starting to settle into somewhat of a routine. It's been another year of COVID, but I am singing to the choir with this one as we are all well aware of this. Julie and I are fully vaccinated and bootered up and up to this point have managed to avoid COVID. 

As for things radio you can see, and I am happy about my 2021 operating chart from Club log. Not that I have any issues with FT8 or any digi mode, but my goal was to do less of it and more CW operating. There were fewer contacts for 2021 compared to 2020, but I feel that is due to fewer FT8 contacts in 2021.  With FT8 in no time you can bang off 15-25 contacts. 

The plans for 2022 are simple... keep moving with my CW contesting goal of running in contests and  practicing this art. Everything else is icing on the cake. 

Friday, December 24, 2021

Merry Christmas


Merry Christmas to all my blog readers, and all the best to you and your families. Have a very happy and safe holiday.