What radio projects and adventures await you in 2021?

This morning, I’m catching up with email and posts as I’ve had less online time these past few days (not a bad thing). I’m also trying to sort out and organize some of the gear in my compact shack/office.

As I do this, I can’t help but think through some of the radio projects that await me in 2021–so I started making a list.

2021 Radio Goals

  • Portable DXing: I hope I’ll be able to travel again in the latter part of 2021 and take my portable SDR pack to capture spectrum recordings in the field. I really miss doing this.
  • Carefully go through my portable radio collection and “thin the herd.” I’ve no intention of letting go of everything, but I’ve a number of small, inexpensive portables I never touch and don’t plan to use for comparisons
  • Purchase a few more cables and a mic to complete my multitrack recording and receiver comparison setup. Massive thanks to my friend, Matt Blaze, who’s helped me through this process.
  • Finally replace that faulty keypad on the Drake SW8! (This might be the first thing I do in the new year.)
  • Antenna Farm improvements and upgrades:

    It’s time for the remote tuner box to get a rennovation!

    • I plan to re-build my remote tuner box (that’s served me so well for a decade–see photo)
    • install all new connectors, components, and change the balun
    • add a remote antenna switching device
    • beef up lightening protection
    • and replace all of the coax feed lines.
    • I also plan to add a home brew 80 meter vertical and possibly a 20M delta loop oriented E/W
  • QRP EME: I still need to sort out a VHF amplifier, antenna, connectors and cables for my QRP EME station. I hope to have the pieces together by mid 2021.
  • Build my QCX+ and QCX Mini transceivers (really looking forward to that!)
  • Continue participating in Parks On The Air (POTA) and write up most field reports on QRPer.com
  • Activate at least ten sites for Summits On The Air (SOTA)
  • Tick off a few more goals from my “Social DX” list

In truth? I’ve more goals than this, but I’m trying to be somewhat realistic. The top priority is investing time in my antenna situation at home. All of the coax lines are aging and I know are no longer up to spec. I see cable and even connectors as long-term consumables and it’s definitely time to reinvest!

How about you? What are your radio goals for 2021?

Also been modding the FT-817ND with a Buddy Board prototype by Andy (G7UHN). Installing version 3 in a few weeks!

Please comment and let us know what you’re plotting and planning! Inquiring minds want to know!

Here’s wishing everyone a happy & healthy New Year!

Thank you for being a part of the SWLing Post community!

Spread the radio love

24 thoughts on “What radio projects and adventures await you in 2021?

  1. kazki

    I was an avid SWL and ham as a teen almost 30 years ago, and 2021 is shaping up to be my ‘get back into radio’ year.

    I’m eagerly awaiting a Belka-DX. (It just showed up in the U.S. almost a month after being mailed from Belarus…I’m afraid I’m going to indent my phone’s screen from refreshing the tracking page so much).

    I’ve been relearning Morse code over the past month or so and am practicing both copying and sending (with a nice NOS Speed-X key I just got).

    And although my space is limited, I’m thinking of grabbing a spool of wire and playing with some simple antennas, although I’m also looking forward to taking the Belka-DX into the field, as it’s not hard for me to find beautiful RF-quiet areas where I live.

    Happy New Year!

  2. Mario

    Install a new 31 foot vertical antenna installation for 40 – 10m.
    Make more contacts on 146.52 simplex.
    Pray that hamfests come back.
    Continue to check in as much as possible to Thomas’ SWLingPost.

    1. Ron F

      The future is ever-changing. One must deal with the current that’s here now, and face the future that comes – not remain fixated on the last disappearing wisps of a future one wished for a decade ago.

      I personally intend to restore more radios, do more SWL’ing, and avoid more hams.

    2. Mario

      Somehow I was born to prefer distant stations that fade in and out, are unpredictable from day to day due to ionospheric conditions, and subject to QRN. It’s an affliction I’d not wish on anyone :-).

  3. TomL

    Good question to ask for the new year! For me, I think they will be these:
    – Finish my Loop on Ground antenna experiments and see if it can be useful in certain situations and what specific specs I prefer (amplified vs non-amplified, what length and type of wire do I prefer, etc…).
    – Perhaps do an “antenna review” between the car vertical vs the Loop on Ground I end up with.
    – Reorganize my field radio kit to carry in one bag (except for what stays in the car) so it is more convenient to “grab & go”.
    – Build a thin 40 foot magnet wire loop antenna on the porch with proper unun and RF chokes and see if it works better than the Youloop draped loosely on a plant pot.
    – Perhaps get into phasing two outdoor antennas, especially for Mediumwave listening. It might be more effective than hand steering a loop indoors. Perhaps two magnet wire loops?
    – Continue research into a second SDR. Do I really want to carry a computer/tablet & batteries everywhere I go? But I still need to be able to record spectrum (IQ files) because of limited time in the field.
    – Finish studying for the General Amateur radio operator license and pass the exam by the end of the year (I am in no hurry). I have the Technician license (KD9NPR) but I have only used it once on someone else’s handheld VHF radio.
    – Join a club like NASWA or a local amateur radio club.
    – Continue to support special purpose non-profit broadcasters as I am able.

    Could be a busy year ahead!

    1. Tim N4TCM

      Get back on hf. The Yaesu 840 died awhile back and too much in debt now for a more expensive rig. Bills come first. Still on an occasional two meter contact or echolink. Im missing the dx especially on 17 meters. Tim N4TCM

  4. Paul

    I would like to actually start on ham radio in 2021 (mind you, I have an extra class license, but have never transmitted, only listened). So yes, I know the theory, and none of the practice, especially on the handheld units I have (example: Kenwood TH-F6A). Any advice?

    Happy new year y’all!

  5. Zack Schindler

    My plans for 2021 are;
    1 Get back on HF and 6. Have not used my Flex-6400, KPA500 and SteppIR vertical for a few years. Got bored at the end of the last sunspot cycle.
    2 Put the new 80M coil on my SteppIR BigIR vertical.
    3 Buy and bury a new run of Bury-FLEX coax to the 3 el 6M yagi on my garage. Not fun to do.
    4 Shoot a new inverted 138 foot long inverted L for 160M up in my backyard tree and attach it to my SGS-239. Really want to get WAS on 160 and I need 5 more states.
    5 Put up a crossed dipole for FM. I have a Sony XDR-F1HD on order from the XDRguy and this will be my starter FM antenna.
    6 Take my new homebrew milk crate box loop DXing in northern Michigan and Cape Cod next fall. Getting back into MW Dxing after a long time away. Bought Sangean HDR-14 and HDR-16’s this year and they really resparked my interest in MW and FM DX.
    7 Figure out how to get good at programming my Anytone AT-D878UV DMR HT. I really find it a pain to program via my PC.
    8 Get a Covid-19 vaccine as soon as I can.

    Zack N8FNR

  6. NT

    I used to DX and occasionally listen to SW decades ago. Like a lot of people, I started exploring radio again due to the pandemic. I listen online via radio.garden and tunein. Also enjoying SW on my 660 and just ordered an 880. For 2021 I plan to do more of the same, and also get my SDR gear set-up. And I want to learn more about antenna designs, construction, etc. Swling.com has been a great resource!

  7. Michael Meyer

    My main project for 2021 is to get the ham license. I had studied and trained to prepare myself for the HF-license (CEPT novice – Danish B license) to operate HF bands with 100 watts. The test was scheduled for December 11th 2020, but got postponed due to increased Corona-positives. It is now scheduled to January 14th, but will most likely be postponed again….

    But since I already have an ICOM IC-7300, I will erect an antenna (most likely Hustler 6BTV), so I’m ready to QSO when the paperwork is in order.

    Wish me luck, please! And Happy New Year to everyone!

    Best regards, Michael (from Denmark)

  8. Andrew (grayhat)

    Didn’t yet put down a list, but probably the first thing will be setting up an horizontal, linear loaded, delta loop for reception

    as a note, if you’re seeking for a remote antenna switch, check out this design


    one coax, four antennas and the whole thing is controlled using the coax, that is, no separate control cable, not bad I think 🙂

  9. Davide

    1) Find a good Grundig Satellit 2000 (my first receiver, now dead)
    2) MW listening and “dxing” with vintage MW pocket radios
    3) Typewrinting some novels about MW and SW listening

  10. Tom

    My goals for the new year are:

    1. Rework my MLA-30 loop with better coax and an aluminum flat-bar element then get it set up in my yard.
    2. Spend more time learning SDR# and SDRuno.
    3. Get a bunch of ferrite cores to help cut QRM in my shack.

    Hope everyone has a happy and healthy 2021. Stay safe.

  11. Przemyslaw

    Dear Thomas,
    These are great plans! I wish you they’ll be completed.
    My list is much more shorter:
    1) improve my DX-abilities to catch some far signals;
    2) DIY better antennas, including loop antennas;
    3) find a substitute(s) for my favourite FM station, Polish Radio 3, which was dismantled by politicians (censorship) into a poor quality broadcater.

    I wish the SWLing community a better New Year!

    Best regards,

  12. Rob

    I’ve just been through a move, from a half-acre antenna-friendly yard to a downtown apartment. No outright antenna restrictions, but there are a lot of power lines and neighbor RFI concerns. With that said, here’s my list:
    – Get back on ham HF from an indoor shack. Backpack QRP is great fun, but I want the indoor option too.
    – On a related note, get a decent SWLing antenna set up. Perhaps even the same as my ham antenna.
    – Build some kits: BitX, maybe a SW crystal set. There’s just something cool about using an unpowered crystal set to pull in signals from the space-time continuum. If I had to explain it to somebody from 300 years ago, the best description would be “it’s just magic, don’t worry about it, it’d take 10 years’ study to get you up to speed.”
    – Maybe, just maybe, get going on SSTV again. I was having some minor success a few years ago, then got derailed by side projects.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.