Here is my report on the January 2012 VHF Sweepstakes that took place January 21-23. I completed 72 QSOs from grid FN25. This is despite a seized rotor due to cold weather and inability to activate my 1296MHz setup. Still, it was a lot of fun, especially on Sunday afternoon, thanks to the 6m band opening. The GN29 grid (Newfoundland) was a nice surprise!
You will not hear me on D-Star anytime soon. I don't see any compelling reason to add D-Star to my ham setup. Don't try to convince me, it will be a waste of time from your part.
It is high tech, for sure. It offers some distinct possibilities that no other mode of communication can offer. The internet gateway capability is a real plus; its Digital Data is a nice feature. In fact I admire those who test and implement this digital mode. I can appreciate the dedication and the amount of work involved.
And I like technology, have no doubt about it. In my professional career, I have been has been designing and testing fiber optics transmission systems using cutting edge technology for the last 20 years.
But here are four reasons why I am not a D-Star user.
This past weekend, I climbed up King Mountain in Gatineau Park (330m altitude) with my older son Vincent (age 11). I brought along the FT-817ND, my hand-held Arrow-style VHF/UHF antenna (6 elements on UHF, 3 elements on VHF), battery, morse code key, cables, tripod, etc.
The intent was to contact my friend VE2ASL, who is located 200 Km to the east. On 432MHz, Robert has a pair of K1FO beams at 15m height and 100W of output. On 144MHz, he has a long boom yagi at the same height and 100W. Prior to the meet, I did a radio link study between the two stations with the Radio-Mobile software (see my other blog entry on this matter).
I have been discovering the capabilities of the Radio Mobile software, by Roger - VE2DBE. This is one heck of a wonderful program, and it is free! This software is a tool used to predict the performance of a radio system. If you deal with VHF/UHF/microwave propagation, or if you would just like to know what your station range is, this is definitely a program you want to try. This is actually a professional package that got turned into freeware by the author. The maps are public domain and they get automatically downloaded from the web when you specify the coordinates you want to cover.
I would like to share with you the fun I have every month during the North American QRP CW Club sprint contest. Two hours of pure pleasure pounding a straight key with only 5 Watts of RF power into a 40 meter half-sloper antenna. I have so much fun that I take it seriously,