Tag Archives: Ham Radio

Amateur Radio Association of Nebraska 3D print face shields for healthcare workers

Many thanks to the Southgate ARC for sharing this brilliant story.  Kudos to the Amateur Radio Association of Nebraska for their ingenuity in time of need:

KSNB TV News reports on an Amateur Radio group that is pitching in to make face shields for healthcare workers

The news story says:

With a national shortage of personal protective equipment for healthcare workers, people are doing what they can to fulfill the orders. When they heard of the need, some members of the Amateur Radio Association of Nebraska looked at each other and found a way they could help. Now with people outside of the group helping, too, they are using 3D printers to create face shields.

Their 3D printers have been running all day for over a week now. Volunteers across the Tri-Cities are quickly making face shields for hospitals and clinics who need to serve the public. The shield is a simple frame design with a plastic cover. The cover can be quickly changed out or reused.

“Material-wise we have pennies on the dollar for these things so we want to make sure our healthcare workers and everybody involved in the field are safe and so we’re doing what we can to help,” Amateur Radio Assoc. President Allen Harpham WD0DXD said.

The frames are printed, but the shield part is actually recycled overhead projector sheets from schools. They have gotten thousands of sheets donated to them from schools in central Nebraska who have no other use for them anymore.

Amateur radio fans also often have their hands in other kinds of tech.
So that’s why the idea came so easy to them.

“To be able to put that knowledge to use to help out is just great,” Harpham said. “I can’t say enough about that and it’s kind of the way for the amateur radio people that’s the way we’ve always been.”

Watch the TV News report at

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Icom IC-705 delivery has been delayed

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Paul Evans, who writes:

As you’d expect, Icom has formally delayed the delivery schedule of the IC-705.

Here’s the announcement from Icom Japan: https://www.icom.co.jp/news/4720/

The following is a machine translation of the announcement:

“Thank you very much for your patronage of ICOM products.

We have received reservations from a large number of customers about the IC-705, a 10W walkie-talkie with HF~430MHz all-mode, which was scheduled to be released in late March 2020. Some of the parts involved in the production of the product are delayed due to the new coronavirus issue, and production has been delayed due to this.

We apologize for any inconvenience caused to all of you who are looking forward to our products.

As for the delivery of the product, because it is a situation in which the arrival schedule of the part does not stand now, I will guide it separately as soon as it turns out.

We will take a while to deliver it, but we will do our best to deliver it as soon as possible, so please understand us.”

Thanks for sharing this, Paul. No doubt, delays are due to the affects of Covid-19 on both manufacturing in Japan and throughout the IC-705 supply chain.

For updates, bookmark the tag IC-705.

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First online ham radio exam in the USA

(Source: Southgate ARC)

The first remote all-online amateur radio Technician license exam was carried out in the United States on March 26, 2020

Marcel Stieber @AI6MS Tweeted:

Yesterday [March 26], our working group ran an “all-virtual” amateur radio technician license exam for the first time in history! Thanks to @W5YI for being supportive of this effort. Stay tuned, we hope to have a scalable solution available for broader use soon!

Joseph Talbot sat the exam and his FCC Technician license callsign KJ7NNU was granted on March 27. His entry in the FCC database can be seen at

Since 2010 there have been other exams sessions carried out remotely but they have had an in-person proctor present at the exam session. This was the first remote online Technician exam session carried out with everybody online.

On March 15 Sam Hulick had tweeted Ajit Pai, Chairman of the USA’s communications regulator FCC, asking:

Please open up amateur radio exams/licensing remotely. People should not be attending physical classes to be able to obtain a license.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai speedily tweeted his reply just 14 minutes later
Thanks for the suggestion. Let me look into this—stay tuned

On March 24 Stirling Mann @N0SSC reported Remote Testing Working Group Underway

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Two free issues of CQ magazine!

Many thanks to CQ Magazine for the following announcement:

In view of the “stay at home and flatten the curve” recommendations from the health experts during this worldwide pandemic, CQ would like to give everyone the opportunity to escape the news alerts for a brief period and enjoy the hobby they love through the pages of CQ!

View the March and April issues of CQ magazine at no charge! It’s easy, simply send an E-mail to (FreeIssues@cq-amateur-radio.com) and we’ll send you the March issue now and the April issue on April 1st!

Take advantage of this opportunity to read CQ – free of charge – and keep connected with the latest trends and activities in amateur radio!
Stay home . . stay well!

Many thanks to CQ for sharing these two free issues!

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Searching for the perfect dual-band mobile and radio inventory in the wake of shut-downs

The Yaesu FT-100DR

As we here in North America are about to see how deep the Covid-19 pandemic is going to go, some of us are trying to turn lemons into lemonade and make the most of our social distance.

My buddy, Eric (WD8RIF), has inspired me to add another item to my growing Social DX Bucket List: install a dual-band mobile radio in my 2018 Subaru Forester.

I had planned to install a mobile rig shortly after purchasing the Forester, but frankly, I’m a “below 30 MHz” kind of guy, so most of my radio funds support HF gear.  When I’m taking a long trip, or wanting to join a local net however, I really miss the luxury of a proper mobile VHF/UHF radio.


Eric has pretty much convinced me the Yaesu FT-100DR is a solid choice at $299 US. At least, it’s the rig he plans to acquire.

He also discovered, last week, that new units of the FT-100DR are completely out-of-stock here in the US.

This prompted me to contact a couple of friends who work in the ham radio retail world–I was curious if radio inventory, in general, is running low.

Turns out, things are okay for now

It seems the shortage of FT-100DR units is pretty specific to this transceiver model and the back-order started before the Coronavirus outbreak and consequent shutting down of factories and supply chains across the globe. Likely, there’s a shortage of a specific part that has brought production to a halt.

In general, ham radio transceiver inventory is healthy for now, but supply chains and import of new units has been slowed or halted by the pandemic. Both of my friends believe production has started again in China (albeit slowly) which would coincide with what Anna recently told us. It’ll take a while for production and supply chains to ramp-up and inventory filled locally.

I wouldn’t be surprised if inventory of lower-cost handheld and mobile VHF/UHF transceivers starts to dwindle. As posted earlier today, there’s been a significant uptick of new ham radio licensees. Newly minted hams might be looking for a first radio.

My advice?

If you’re planning to purchase a new transceiver in the near future, and you feel financially secure enough to do so, bite the bullet! I would also recommend supporting your domestic ham radio retailers like (here in the US) Universal Radio, GigaParts, DX Engineering and Ham Radio Outlet. Your purchase will support them through what is obviously going to be difficult financial times ahead for small businesses.

Otherwise, just sit tight for a while! You may find a deal on the used market. One of my favorite places to check is QTH.com’s classifieds.

Speaking of the used market, this is an excellent time to post the gear you’ve been planning to sell!

Dual band mobile suggestions?

If I find a deal on a used FT-100DR, I might snag it (after giving Eric the opportunity, of course). Otherwise, I think I’ll wait until later this year and simply invest in the mounts, antenna, and wiring in the meantime.

The Icom ID-4100A also seems like a solid choice.

In truth, even the FT-100DR doesn’t really satisfy all of the features I’d like in a mobile radio. Here are the features an ideal dual-band radio would offer:

  • Compact remote head
  • Bluetooth
  • VHF/UHF analog
  • GPS
  • APRS
  •  DMR (because where I live, it’s the best repeater network by far)
  • Extended receiver coverage
  • Easy to program

Yeah, I’m essentially looking for a unicorn. DMR mode would be amazing, but I’m not sure there’s a single DMR/analog mobile with remote head. Please correct me if I’m wrong. I’d love your suggestions and experience.

Also, are you considering making any major radio purchases over the next few months. or do you plan to wait until the economy begins to recover? Please comment!

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Ham Radio interest “soaring” in wake of Covid-19 pandemic

(Source: Southgate ARC)

The number of Americans obtaining their ham radio licenses is soaring as the country comes to grips with the coronavirus pandemic.

Just as shoppers are hoarding necessities and food in panic buying, more people have quickly studied to become amateur radio operators to ensure they can maintain communications with others in emergency situations and disasters.

More than 765,000 in the United States already have their amateur radio licenses from the Federal Communications Commission, however, data from the FCC indicates a recent uptick in the number of new hams, especially since the outbreak of COVID-19 worldwide. In addition, HamRadioPrep.com, a website that teaches prospective hams what they need to know to pass the FCC tests, also has experienced a huge surge in new students in the past two weeks as news continues to evolve about the pandemic.

In a comparison of the time period from March 5-13, 2020, to the same days in 2019, the number of persons signing up for amateur radio license courses on HamRadioPrep.com has soared more than 700% since news of the coronavirus outbreak dominated headlines. At the same time, the FCC shows a 7.1% percent uptick in new amateur licensees in the first week of March in 2020 vs the same week in 2019

Read more at:

Click here to read at the Southgate ARC.

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Radio Waves: B&W to Color, Antenna Wins, Hearing Voices in the Walls, and Beached Whales

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Because I keep my ear to the waves, as well as receive many tips from others who do the same, I find myself privy to radio-related stories that might interest SWLing Post readers.  To that end: Welcome to the SWLing Post’sRadio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Ron, Paul Walker, and Troy Riedel for the following tips:

Colorizing black and white photos (Antique Radio Forum)

Ron shares this link to a discussion about vintage black and white photos that have been auto-colorized.[]

State law protects ham radio operator, frustrates neighbors in Windsor Twp. (York Dispatch)

A Windsor Township resident whose neighbors are upset over her amateur radio tower is within her rights to have the antenna on her property, township officials confirmed Monday.

An engineer went out to the site in the 400 block of White Rose Lane to inspect the 40-foot tower and ensure it didn’t pose a safety threat to neighbors, township engineer Chris Kraft told the board of supervisors at a meeting Monday.

“Based on that review, we feel the tower is structurally safe,” he said.

Lindsey Fowler is the homeowner who built the tower on her property last September. Fowler is a licensed amateur radio operator, according to Federal Communications Commission records, and her license is valid through December 2021.

[…]Marc McClure, one of the neighbors who lives near Fowler, told the board in October that he and several other neighbors were opposed to the tower and said it should be removed, according to minutes from the Oct. 21 board meeting.

McClure said the tower was an eyesore in the neighborhood and that he and others were concerned about the structural safety of the tower were it to fall, as well as the potential unknown health hazards from exposure to radio frequencies.

The neighbors were also worried about a decrease in their property values, McClure said.

[…]In Pennsylvania, amateur radio operators’ rights are protected by state statute, and municipalities are not allowed to unreasonably restrict the installation of towers fewer than 65-feet high.

And now that the township has confirmed there’s no safety risk to Fowler’s neighbors, township officials said the dispute is outside of their purview.[]

Lockport family says mysterious voices, music come from house’s walls; local radio station may be source (ABC 7)

LOCKPORT, Ill. (WLS) — A family in Lockport said strange sounds, including music and talk radio, has been coming out of their walls and keeping them up at night off and on for about six years.

“There are voices in the wall and I don’t know what it is,” said 9-year-old Brianna Smith.

It may sound like an episode of the popular Netflix show “Stranger Things,” but the mysterious sounds Brianna is hearing are real.

“It has been waking me up at night,” she said.

The sounds are coming from the bedroom walls of her home in the middle of the night.

“It kind of keeps us up at night,” explained Brianna’s father Richard.

Richard said the family doesn’t have any speakers in their walls. He captured some of the late night noise on his phone and sent it to the ABC7 I-Team. The music was faint, but the I-Team could hear it.

“It’s one of our favorite songs, but not at 10 o’clock at night,” Richard said.

Richard Smith called Lockport police, who took two detailed reports about the bizarre problem. In one, the officer noted that he could hear “voices and music” and “talking about Christ.” Then the officer said he heard a commercial for the Christian radio station AM 1160.[]

The Surprising Way Solar Storms Can Beach Whales (Spaceweater.com)

Space weather isn’t just for humans. Whales are experiencing it, too. A new study published this week in the research journal Current Biology shows that solar storms can confuse whales and cause them to strand on beaches–and the mechanism is surprising. Get the full story on Spaceweather.com.[]

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