Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Ham Radio? They got a app for that...

HamSat satellite tracking App for the iphone
Strike up a conversation with someone about Amateur Radio, and you'll likely hear "...ham radio is old fashioned now that there's the internet & smart phones...", as if all the propellerheads of the world
Clear for takeoff
are all in lockstep, marching to the drumbeat tune of internet connectivity. Actually, the opposite is true as more tinkerers & electro-geeks than ever before are finding what Ham's have always known... Ham Radio offers great ways to tinker & communicate with radio & the web world wide.  And with smartphones now the new "thing", it's the "apps" that are calling the tune.

Like any Ham, I live by the motto "If it's's for me!", frugal ain't the word for how I'm am, but it's a lot less wordy than other descriptions. Free Apps, especially Ham Radio Apps, hold special appeal.

That's why I give my personal radioactive thumb's up for James Thomas's free app, Ham Tech for offering a quick, easy way to study for the Technician Class Ham Radio License Exam. Ace the element 2 (Technician class) licensing exam by studying with this iPhone and iPod touch application. Review the exact questions and answers as published by the FCC. Also available are apps for General & Extra Class, those you pay for, THIS ONE'S FREE!

Another app is the vanguard of Amateur Radio VOIP (Voice Over the Internet Protocol), Echolink, by Synergenics, LLC. You need a Ham Radio License and a free echolink account, but with this app you can use your smartphone communicate all over the world thru tens of thousands of echolink-equipped radio repeaters, and hundreds of thousands ham operators directly. Think of it as the original Magic Jac that's FREE!

A pretty neat and simply named Ham Radio Utilities App is Ham by Smerty Software. This handy callsign lookup, band condition monitor, & PSK(phase-shift keying) reporter makes life on the radio more convenient. Available in iTunes for the iphone, & Market for Android smartphones.

Ham radio is more accessible and more functionable than ever before, and with more apps being developed, you can count on Ham Radio to continue to be integrated into how we communicate, mixing reliable technology and fresh tech ideas.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

When you least expect it--Your radio CAN help!

Editors Note: The following article is from
Dateline Baja 03:15 UTC……..Okay, I just always wanted to say that!

What follows is not much of a story—it was simply HAMs helping fellow HAMs—and reminds me why I keep the radio turned on.

It's Friday night and I’m working at my computer in the motor home here in Playas de Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico—the grandkids are here raiding my potato chips and M&M stash (I need a better hiding place)—even with all that QRM in the background I am able to hear a scratchy call on the PARC repeater (147.730) across the border in San Diego County.

It went something like this: "This is KJ6KPR...... I need someone to make a call to my propane company as we are up here at Mount Laguna and are out of gas for heating, and it’s freezing up here."

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