• [FOAR] The power supply connector dance contest... (16/21)

    From FOAR via rec.radio.info Admin@21:1/5 to All on Mon Jul 18 13:48:30 2022
    [continued from previous message]

    generally running whilst the stations calling in are searching and pouncing.

    Doing this in a contest setting requires slightly, some might say subtle, differences.

    Let's investigate a contest RTTY contact. I'll simulate it between myself, VK6FLAB and Matt, VK6QS. I'll add that this is done in text in a RTTY
    contest, rather than voice, and, this exact exchange didn't actually
    happen, but for different reasons which I'll get into shortly.

    It goes a little like this.

    My station transmits: CQ TEST VK6FLAB VK6FLAB CQ
    Matt responds: VK6QS VK6QS VK6QS
    I reply: VK6QS 599 010 010
    Matt replies: 599 032 032
    And I finish off with: TU CQ VK6FLAB

    Now this is the ideal contact, nothing extraneous, no duplication, nothing about having to repeat yourself. Mind you, if you're getting picky, you
    might notice that we're both sending our exchange twice, in my case 010,
    Matt is sending 032.

    If you look closer you'll notice that all pertinent information is sent at least twice because it turns out that unlike a keyboard on a computer
    connected to a screen, what you type in RTTY might not actually get to the other end if you're using HF radio.

    My three transmissions are the one where I call CQ, the one where I say
    Matt's callsign plus the exchange and the one where I say TU or Thank You,
    and move on. Those are the run calls.

    Matt's calls consist of his callsign, and his exchange.

    Note that Matt doesn't say my callsign, since I already know it and I'm
    running and he's searching and pouncing. He should already know who I am
    before he transmits. If he were to add my callsign, that would just slow
    things down. This is a way to keep things moving along.

    In fldigi, I can program a function key that does each of those five calls.
    You click on a callsign, push the appropriate button and magically you're either running or pouncing. There's also a button for asking for a repeat,
    or "AGN?, AGN?" and one for making a log entry, which you can combine into
    the final thank you for running, but it's needed separately if you're

    I did say that this exchange didn't actually happen and you might well
    wonder why I shared it with you.

    Simple. This is the bare-bones of what's required. Everything else is extra
    in case things break down. If there are multiple stations on the same frequency, or if your levels aren't quite right and the decoder is having a hissy fit, the human in the chain, you, need to do something manually. Very much like when you're dealing with a voice pile-up and there's this one
    station calling over the top of everyone else and drowning out whomever you actually want to talk to.

    In a contest setting there's plenty of opportunity to do both running and pouncing and you should. If you're running on a dead band you won't know because you're getting old calling CQ, but if you're searching on that same band you'll figure out pretty quick that there's nothing happening.

    Similarly, you might have a desirable callsign or location and find that running is more effective in making contacts than searching and pouncing.

    Whatever mode of contesting you choose, make sure that you're flexible,
    since band conditions change from second to second and you will need to
    adapt to the winds of change. A lot like when you learn to sail and find
    out that you cannot just hold the helm in one spot for the entire time.

    I will note that the ideal RTTY contact that I've outlined isn't universal. There's plenty of debate about the most effective way to go about things. I started with what I knew about making voice contacts, shamelessly copied
    the RTTY macros from another amateur and used them as a basis to learn what
    I needed and what I didn't, and because this was my first actual RTTY
    contest I watched several YouTube videos, rather than hear actual
    contesting stations on the air, which is something I recommend you do to
    get a feel for what's going on.

    Contesting can be a way of life, or it can be just plain fun with learning thrown in.

    I'm Onno VK6FLAB
    This posting includes a media file: http://podcasts.itmaze.com.au/foundations/20200830.foundations-of-amateur-radio.mp3

    After channelling your RTTY ...

    Posted: 22 Aug 2020 09:00 AM PDT

    Foundations of Amateur Radio

    It's the morning after the day before. I've been calling CQ for 24 hours
    and for the first time in my life after a contest I still have my voice.
    That in and of itself is novel. I also don't have ringing ears, that's a blessing. I have learnt heaps and had fun doing it. I made contacts and I
    heard stations across the globe and I did it all from the comfort of my
    shack chair.

    Before I dig in and expand, the contest I just completed ran for 24 hours.
    I didn't sit at my radio for all of it, nor was my radio on for all of it.
    I managed to have lunch, dinner, desert, breakfast and morning tea. I snuck
    in a few naps and I managed to help with bringing in the shopping. My
    station did not transmit unattended at any time in case you're wondering.

    My setup consisted of a little 11 year old netbook computer running the
    current version of Debian Linux and the heart of this adventure, the
    software called fldigi. The computer is connected to my Yaesu FT-857d via
    three cables, well, two and a half. A microphone and a headphone lead that combine into the data port in the back of the radio. The other cable is a
    USB CAT cable, a Computer Assisted Tuning cable, that plugs into the CAT
    port on the back of the radio. I also used an external monitor to have my
    main contest screen on and used it to display the main fldigi window.

    My license class allows me access to a selected number of amateur bands,
    80m, 40m, 15m, 10m, 2m and 70cm. I managed at least one RTTY contact on
    each band.

    As I described previously, my radio is set to use Single Side Band and the audio from the radio is fed via the microphone socket on the computer into fldigi that processes the information. Similarly, when I transmit, the
    audio is generated via fldigi and leaves the computer via the headphone
    socket and goes into the radio as a Single Side Band audio signal.

    The information in the audio is all RTTY, a digital mode that I've
    described previously. The software is using Audio Frequency Shift Keying,
    AFSK, simulating the switching between the two RTTY frequencies.

    On my screen I have a waterfall display that shows all the signals that are happening within the 2.3 kHz audio stream that's coming from the radio.
    Fldigi is also decoding this in real-time and showing each decode as a
    virtual channel in a list. Click on a channel entry and your next
    transmission will happen at that frequency.

    If you've ever used WSJT-X this will sound very familiar.

    That's the mechanics of what I've been doing.

    So, what did I learn in this adventure?

    Well, most of Australia goes to sleep at night, at least the ones that do
    RTTY. I have evidence of exactly one station on-air, and that was only
    because they were named in the DX Cluster, which by the way this contest
    allows as assistance. Since then I've found logs from at least two more stations.

    Local contacts did happen during the more civil hours and in total I
    managed ten of them. You may think that's not much for say 12 hours of
    work, but that's 5 Watts QRP, or low power, RTTY contacts, in an actual contest, on a new antenna, from my shack, dodging thunderstorms and
    learning to use filters and levels.

    You might not be impressed, but I'm absolutely stoked!

    During the midnight-to-dawn run, on 40m, when there were double points to
    be had, which I missed out on, I did manage to hear several stations across Europe, 14,000 km away, which means that I can pretty much count on global coverage with my current setup. Sadly they didn't hear me, too many
    competing stations, but I'm sure that with practice I'll manage to contact
    them too.

    The software crashed once. That's not nice. It seems to have a habit of corrupting one of the preference files, which prevents it from starting up. That's also not nice. I hasten to add that I don't yet know the source of
    this. It may well be a dud-hard-disk sector on my ancient laptop, rather
    than the software, so I'm not assigning blame here.

    Getting started with fldigi is an adventure. It's not point-and-click, nor plug-and-play, more like running a mainframe whilst cranking the handle,
    but when you get it to fly there's lots to love about this tool.

    Other things that worked well were that I'd spent some preparation time
    getting the keyboard macros right. These are pre-defined bits of text that
    you send as you're calling CQ and making a contact. They're a whole topic
    in and of themselves, so I'll skip past the detail and just mention that I
    was very happy with the choices I made, gathered from years of voice-only contacts, reading RTTY contest information and looking for exchange details.

    From a technical perspective, I used both contest modes, "Running"
    and "Search and Pounce". Running is when you call CQ, Pouncing is when they call CQ. The running was by far the most successful for me. I'm not yet
    sure if that was a reflection on how much I still have to learn about

    One thing that I can say with confidence is that there's absolutely nothing like having a wall of RTTY signals to learn how to make sure you're
    actually decoding something useful. I spent a good couple of the wee hours tuning my levels.

    I would like to thank the stations who came back to my call and for those
    who tried without me noticing them.

    I had a blast.

    I'm Onno VK6FLAB
    This posting includes a media file: http://podcasts.itmaze.com.au/foundations/20200823.foundations-of-amateur-radio.mp3

    Channelling RTTY

    Posted: 15 Aug 2020 09:00 AM PDT

    Foundations of Amateur Radio

    When you start playing with radio your first interaction is likely to be
    voice. It could be SSB, AM, FM or something more recent like FreeDV or DMR. Your next challenge is likely going to be a digital mode like Morse Code,
    Radio Teletype or my recommendation for your first adventure, WSPR or Weak Signal Propagation Reporter.

    I've previously discussed WSPR, today I would like to look at Radio
    Teletype or RTTY. It's a digital mode that allows you to send and receive free-form text. It's a mode with a long and illustrious history and it's a
    good next step after WSPR.

    The way it works is that using an alphabet made up from two tones,
    information is transmitted, one character at a time at a specific speed.
    The code that describes the alphabet is called the Baudot code, invented by Jean-Maurice-Emile Baudot in 1849. In computing terms it's a 5-bit alphabet
    and in amateur radio it's traditionally sent at 45.45 baud or bits per
    second, in case you're wondering, named after the very same man.

    The two tones have names, a Mark and a Space and they're a set distance
    apart. In amateur radio, they're separated by 170 Hz but there are plenty
    of other frequencies and speeds in use. In amateur radio the standard Mark
    and Space frequencies are 2125 Hz and 2295 Hz.

    In a traditional RTTY capable radio the two tones are generated by
    transmitting a carrier whilst switching the transmitter frequency back and forth, called Frequency Shift Keying or FSK. Think of it as having a Morse
    key that sends dits on one frequency and dahs on another, having the radio change frequency whilst you're keying.

    If you use this method to create and decode RTTY by switching between two frequencies, your radio can generally only deal with one RTTY signal at a
    time, just the one you're sending and just the one that's being received. Receiving is generally achieved by showing some indication on your radio
    how close you are to the Mark and Space frequencies that you're trying to receive and decode.

    Another way to make a RTTY signal is to use sound. If you alternately
    whistle at 2125 Hz and 2295 Hz and you do it at 45.45 bits per second,
    you're also generating RTTY. This technique is called Audio Frequency Shift Keying or AFSK. Think of it as using audio to simulate the shifting of frequency by transmitting two alternating tones.

    There is a fundamental difference between the two. Before I explain, permit
    a diversion. It's relevant, I promise.

    If you've ever spoken on the radio using SSB you might have noticed that if
    two stations are transmitting at the same time you get both signals. With a little practice you can even understand both. This isn't true for every
    radio mode. If you use FM, the strongest signal wins and if you use AM, you
    get a garbled beep from two stations being on slightly different
    frequencies. As an aside, this is why aviation uses AM, so any station not transmitting can hear that two stations doubled up.

    Back to RTTY.

    If you use audio to generate the two RTTY carriers, rather than shift frequency, you can deal with as many as you can fit into an SSB audio
    signal, as long as the Mark and Space for each station are 170 Hz apart you
    can have as many stations as you want, overlapping even. As long as your software knows what to do with that, you'll be able to decode each one at
    the same time, since they're essentially multiple SSB signals being
    transmitted simultaneously.

    An added bonus is that you don't have to invest in an SDR to play with
    this. You can use an analogue radio, like my FT-857d, and use software to generate an audio RTTY signal with all the benefits I've just mentioned.
    The magic is in the software you use to do the decoding.

    As it happens, I'm about to do a contest using RTTY and I'll let you know
    how that goes using my radio, a computer and a piece of software called
    fldigi. I'll be following in the footsteps of the first ever RTTY contest,
    held in the last weekend of October in 1953 and organised by the RTTY
    Society of Southern California. In as much as I'm following in the
    footsteps of Morse code by spark-gap.

    Wish me luck.

    I'm Onno VK6FLAB
    This posting includes a media file: http://podcasts.itmaze.com.au/foundations/20200816.foundations-of-amateur-radio.mp3

    How much do you really know about your radio?

    Posted: 08 Aug 2020 09:00 AM PDT

    Foundations of Amateur Radio

    When I came across amateur radio nearly a decade ago I did a course, passed
    my test and got licensed. At that point I didn't have any equipment, didn't know about any, hadn't touched anything, other than the radio in the
    classroom, and had no idea about what to buy and how to choose.

    So, instead I asked the friend who introduced me to the hobby, Meg, at the
    time VK6LUX, what radio to get. I asked her what was the second radio she
    ever got because I figured that I'd get very disappointed with the first
    one in short order. She explained that there were plenty of brands to
    choose from and that each had their own champions. Just like the perennial choice between Ford and Chevrolet, Apple vs Microsoft, Tea vs Coffee, you'd
    end up with one radio and be told by someone in a different camp that you
    chose the wrong one.

    Her advice, which is just as solid today as it was a decade ago, was to buy something that people you knew had, so whilst you're learning there'd be someone nearby who could help. As a result I bought a Yaesu FT-857d for precisely that reason. I still have it and it has a sister, another
    FT-857d, bought when I needed to broadcast the local news when one of the
    local volunteers went on holiday.

    For most beginners their journey is similar. They buy their first radio and generally that sets the tone for what comes next.

    In the decade that I've been around amateur radio I've had the opportunity
    to play with about 30 or so different radios. For some that playing
    consisted of picking up the microphone and making a QSO, a contact, and not much else. For others it consisted of sitting with the radio for a full contest, 48 hours, with sporadic sleep, dealing with pile-ups where there wasn't time to breathe, but plenty of stuff to learn about filtering.

    Then there were the radios that came to my shack for a visit, those at
    various clubs and plenty of outings where I was able to sit down and figure
    out how stuff works.

    On the surface that's all fine and dandy. A radio is a radio, you pick up
    the microphone and hit go, off to the races. Then you need to figure out
    how to set the volume, change frequency, change bands, read what the mode
    is and how to change it, tune the thing, set up a filter, change the
    pre-amp, operate split.

    For some radios this was easy, consisting of a channel button and a
    microphone push to talk, for others there were no buttons, just a big
    Ethernet socket, then there were the radios with a hundred buttons, some so small that you missed them on first glance. I've used solid-state radios,
    valve radios, software defined radios and virtual radios, each with their quirks and idiosyncrasies.

    Every time I operate a new radio I learn something about that radio, but I
    also learn something about my own radio. I can begin to hear differences, observe how easy or hard it is to do something, a missing feature on my own radio, or the one I happen to be operating at the time.

    In my travels I've seen plenty of radio amateurs who only have a passing understanding of their own radio, let alone any other radio.

    I completely respect that this might be enough for you, but I'd like to
    point out that this might be a missed opportunity.

    I remember vividly sitting in the middle of a bush-camp with my own radio powered by a battery connected to a hap-hazard dipole antenna strung
    between two trees attempting to hear a station discussing her global circumnavigation by sailing boat and being frustrated with my ability to
    make it work.

    A friend who was sitting nearby asked if they could have a go and within seconds he was able to use the filters and offsets to make the station pop
    out of the noise. It's with the image of Kim VK6TQ in mind, the person who
    knew my radio better than I did, that I'd like to urge you to play with any radio you come across, no matter how trivial or different.

    One day it will mean the difference between making a contact or not.

    I'm Onno VK6FLAB
    This posting includes a media file: http://podcasts.itmaze.com.au/foundations/20200809.foundations-of-amateur-radio.mp3

    First Digital DX contact!

    Posted: 01 Aug 2020 09:00 AM PDT

    Foundations of Amateur Radio

    The other day day I managed my first DX contact using a new mode, FT8. It wasn't very far away, all of 2600 km or so, but it evoked memories of my
    first ever on-air DX contact nearly a decade ago. I should say thank you to YD3YOG for my 15m contact, fitting because my first ever was also on 15m as
    I recall. Unfortunately I never did log my first.

    Recently a friend asked me how the two compared.

    15m and logging aside, there's a lot of similarities, even though I'm a
    more experienced operator today when compared to when I made my first ever contact.

    The preparation and the building anticipation is what made the contact all
    the sweeter.

    A while ago I managed to connect the audio of my radio to a computer. This
    is pretty much the first step in starting to use digital modes. Essentially many common digital modes use an SSB transmission to generate and receive
    audio that in turn contains digitally encoded information.

    There are hundreds of modes like this, from PSK31 to RTTY, WSPR, FT8, SSTV
    and many more. If you've not yet dabbled in this area, I'd recommend
    starting with WSJT-X. The software is so far the best tool I've found to
    make sure that your digital levels are correct and offers several popular
    modes to see how your station is operating. If you're asking for a first
    mode recommendation, I'd start with WSPR. Just do the receive part first,
    then work on from there.

    There are many tutorials available, some better than others, so if the one
    you find doesn't float your boat, keep looking. A fly-over view is that
    there are several things that you need to get working and if they don't all work together, you'll get no result.

    Obviously you'll need to install the software, but that's not the whole
    story. For the software to be able to control your radio, change bands, frequency and set-up things like split operation, you'll need to set-up the hardware to do this, in my case a CAT cable between the radio and the
    computer. You'll also need to set-up control software that knows how to
    talk to the hardware. In my case that's Hamlib on Linux, but it could be
    Hamlib or flrig on MacOS or something like OmniRig on your Windows machine.

    The purpose is to control the radio. When you're troubleshooting, keep that
    in mind, hardware plus software need to work together to control the radio
    and this is before you actually do anything useful with the radio.

    Then you need to have both hardware and software to have audio go between
    the computer and the radio. In my case the headphone and microphone
    connectors on my computer are connected to the data port on the back of the radio. If your computer doesn't have access to sockets you might need to
    use a USB sound-card. If your radio doesn't have an easily accessible port,
    you might need to have an interface.

    The computer software in this case is likely setting the volume levels
    using the audio mixer in your operating system.

    I will add that some radios have a USB socket on the back that combines
    both CAT control and audio. The principle though is the same. You need to
    make the CAT interface work, which is essentially a serial connection, and
    you need to make the audio work, which is essentially a sound-card.

    Nothing else will make sense until you've managed to make those two work.

    Then, and only then, can you try to launch something like WSJT-X, point it
    at the various things you've configured, then you can actually start
    decoding signals.

    For WSJT-X to work properly, there's one more thing. An accurate clock is required. Likely you'll need to use a piece of software that knows how to synchronise with something called NTP or Network Time Protocol. The
    simplest is to point your clock tool at a time-server called pool.ntp.org
    which will get you global time coverage. Each operating system does this differently, but getting it right is essential before WSJT-X will actually
    make sense. You can visit time.is in a web browser to see how accurate your clock currently is.

    So, get computer control of your radio working, get audio working, set the clock, then you can run WSPR, FT8, JT65 or any other mode.

    I will note that I'm not attempting to give you specific computer support
    here, just an overview of what's needed before anything will work.

    If you've been contesting then CAT control might already be operational. If you've been using a computer voice-keyer, then audio might also be ready. Depending on where you are on your digital journey, these steps might be complicated or trivial.

    Once you've done all that you can start doing things like figuring out
    where satellites are or how to talk to the International Space Station, or
    use Fldigi to make a PSK31 contact or send a picture using SSTV or decode a weather fax.

    When you've made that first digital DX contact, I'm sure that you too will
    have a sense of accomplishment!

    I'm Onno VK6FLAB
    This posting includes a media file: http://podcasts.itmaze.com.au/foundations/20200802.foundations-of-amateur-radio.mp3

    What do you talk about?

    Posted: 25 Jul 2020 09:00 AM PDT

    Foundations of Amateur Radio

    When was the last time you told anyone anything about your hobby? What
    about someone who isn't also an amateur?

    Have you ever considered why there is a perception that our hobby is dying,
    why it's running out of people, why we struggle to get air-time in
    mainstream media, why attracting new members is hard and why there is a
    very narrow range of understanding about what our hobby is, what it does
    and how it's relevant in the world today?

    I'm a radio amateur. So are you. You might not be licensed yet, but the
    fact that you're here right now indicates a willingness to understand and learn, to participate and question.

    Those qualities are the fundamental building blocks that make up a radio amateur.

    I'm also a self-employed computer consultant, a radio broadcaster, an interviewer, a software developer, a public speaker, a blogger, author, publisher and a partner. My friends include people who are process
    managers, astronomers, gynaecologists, mariners, tow truck drivers, communications technicians, volunteer fire-fighters, business owners, employees, retirees, fathers, mothers, old, young and everything in
    between. Radio Amateurs one and all.

    When you sign up to be an amateur, you don't give up all the other things
    you are. You don't stop being a member of society, you just add in another
    box marked radio amateur and you get on with your life.

    If you get into this hobby you begin to realise that it sneaks into
    everyday life all the time. You use it to figure out how something works,
    or explain why it doesn't, you use it to trace a circuit or to plug in your
    new surround sound system. You use it to encourage curiosity in your
    children and to talk to your grand-children. It's not an add-on, it's part
    of who you are.

    That's always been the case, but the perception in the general public has
    not been like that, it's been based around the idea that being a radio
    amateur is being special, being separate, being knowledgeable, studied, licensed. The reality is that the world we live in is more connected than
    ever and the things we once did in isolation are now part of mainstream

    There is a perception that amateur radio is dying. Articles describe how we need to attract more people, how we need to appeal to children, how we need
    to recruit, become sexy or relevant. There's discussion about what's broken
    in the hobby, how we need to fix it.

    I think that none of those things are what's in need of investigation. I
    think it's us. You and I. I think we need to stop being shy about being a
    radio amateur, about what we do and why we enjoy it; what it means and how
    it works.

    When you talk about your activities of the day, if you made a rare contact
    with Tuvalu, or managed to connect your computer to your radio, or made an antenna work, or climbed on a hill or learnt Morse Code, you need to share
    your victories and the excitement that they bring you.

    As a society we're not shy about tweeting what we had for breakfast,
    sharing an interesting picture or discussing an article we saw on reddit. Fundamentally what you do and who you are is worth talking about and

    So, next time you talk about going camping, or discuss a barbecue you had
    with friends, or relate to your friends something that happened, don't be
    shy about your amateur radio affiliation.

    It's not a secret society, it's not weird or embarrassing, it's just part
    of what makes you who you are.

    I'm Onno VK6FLAB
    This posting includes a media file: http://podcasts.itmaze.com.au/foundations/20200726.foundations-of-amateur-radio.mp3

    What's the point of this hobby?

    Posted: 18 Jul 2020 09:00 AM PDT

    Foundations of Amateur Radio

    One of the recurring questions in this hobby, technically outside this
    hobby, asked by people who've not yet, or have only just been bitten by the bug, is: "What's the point of this hobby?"

    In some ways I too have asked this question, though for me the answer came within a few months of learning that amateur radio exists. In response to others asking this I've also made meagre attempts to answer this question
    with varying degrees of success and satisfaction.

    The typical responses are things like: there's a thousand hobbies inside amateur radio, it's about the communication, about the camaraderie, about climbing and hiking, about technology, science, physics, electronics. The
    truth is that this is just a fly-over view of what it means to have this as your hobby.

    It occurs to me, having now been licensed for a little while, I can
    actually express a little more clearly what this hobby has given me.

    At a basic level, I now know what the front of a TV aerial is and how Wi-Fi
    is attenuated by walls, how line of sight works and why you can talk to the International Space Station with a hand-held radio. I've learnt about
    sunrise and sunset and how they affect propagation, the grey line and how
    the ionosphere is broken into layers that are affected by solar radiation.
    I've learnt about sunspots and how they change over time, that there are cycles, that there is a thing called the Maunder Minimum and that
    propagation is a fickle beast. I've learnt about the Ionospheric Prediction Service and about band planning in contests, about dealing with pile-ups
    and making contacts, about voice-keyers and computer controlled radios,
    about contesting software and logging, about contest scoring and contest

    I've learnt about gain and about loss, about how 75 Ohm coax differs from
    50 Ohm coax, how connectors work, about soldering and crimping, how to use
    a crimper and what connectors to use with which coax. I've learnt about path-loss and about bouncing signals off the moon, about Sagittarius A*, a bright and very compact astronomical radio source at the centre of the
    Milky Way and about inclination and ascension, about galactic coordinates
    and observation windows, about programming in Python and the astropy

    I've learnt about how radio signals are used to encode information, the seemingly infinite supply of digital modes and how a radio signal can be described in three dimensions. I've learnt how maths can describe amplitude modulation and how side-bands can be described, about signal to noise
    ratios and decibels.

    I've experienced the joys of making a rare contact, to places like
    Amsterdam Island, Prince Edward & Marion Island, Heard Island, Micronesia, Cuba, Kiribati, and many more. I've learnt more about geography, about maidenhead locators, learnt new phrases and started learning new languages.

    I've gone out camping more times than I can count, spent nights under the
    stars making contacts across the globe. I've set-up my station in parks and
    on peaks across the country, made life-long friends locally and abroad,
    tested my patience and my endurance.

    I've learnt about the pioneers and inventors who came before me, about
    their successes and failures, their enduring legacies and their
    inventiveness. I've gained insight into Apollo radio communications and distance measuring, global positioning before there was GPS, about
    satellite dishes and radio during disasters, about emergency communications
    and temporary set-ups with just enough to get the job done.

    I've written software, made charts, learnt how to use GNUPlot, written articles, recorded podcasts, interviewed amateurs, published books,
    produced, presented and transmitted amateur news broadcasts, built amateur radio websites, chaired meetings, raised funds, contributed to club
    committees and helped as I was able.

    I've helped organise a national amateur radio conference, learnt how to
    teach others and created a weekly radio net for new and returning amateurs. I've acted as a point of contact, offered life advice and acted as a
    shoulder to cry on when the going got tough for some of my fellow amateurs.

    I've built more, tested more, explored more, learnt more and done more in
    the past decade than I have in the 40 years before that.

    When I look back over the 472 podcast episodes I've written so-far, that massive list is only just scratching the surface and it only just begins to describe how deeply affected I've been by this hobby. It only barely
    describes the width and depth of this hobby and I've only been here for a little while.

    I must point out that I did all these things because I could, because I had

    [continued in next message]

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