Thursday, January 6, 2033


Welcome to my amateur radio BLOG. Here at (aka, I hope to cover my exploration of ham radio, summits on the air (SOTA) and general RF geek stuff.  My other BLOGS focus on technology (, photography (, and life ( QSL via QRZ, LOTW, cards.

* Reference Links Page    * SOTA Specific Links  
* My Equipment Loadout    * DMR Tips    * My Youtube Channel

I monitor 146.520 and DMR SOTA (973)
track me on the trail HERE or APRS.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

SOTA Presentation

Here is a link to the slides the presentation on Summits On The Air (SOTA) that was given to the San Diego ARES team on 5/11/2019 in San Diego, CA.  Thanks to the other SOTA operators that contributed to this presentation, KE6MT, K6ARK, and other SOTA operators that helped me.

Enjoy & 73,
Christian Claborne
(aka Chris Claborne)

Saturday, May 4, 2019

2019-05-04 Monserate Mountain and my first CW chase

Today I headed up to Monserate Mountain (W6/CT-235 - Monserate Mountain) to do a little hiking and play radio.  It’s been several weeks since I’ve been able to get out and I haven’t been riding my bike so it felt good to hit the trail.  I was originally planning on a hike in the same area to W6/SC-445.  I did 445 last year and remembered it to be a real thigh burner as well as having a couple of spots where the weeds were so thick across the road it was a real bear... I did a search after sleeping in this morning and found Monserate very close to that one.  It has been activated quite a few times and has a published trail so I figured it would be a better choice given my current fitness. 

Sunday, April 21, 2019

DMR Tip 02 - What Time Slot Should I Use?

I’ve had a few people ask me what “time slot” (TS) they should use when setting up a talkgroup on a particular repeater.  For DMR Tip 02, I'll focus on answering this and give you links for more information on finding repeaters and configuring your radio correctly.

Here is a good description of what a time slot is by  NEDECN:
With a TDMA (time division multiple access) system like DMR, the mobile or portable radios are synchronized typically by a repeater and assigned a time slot. In DMR Tier 2, there are two time slots, i.e. 2-slot TDMA. A mobile radio transmits for 30 milliseconds and then receives for 30 milliseconds. It listens for a permission to transmit and then begins a call to all other talk group members who will also receive on that same time slot, e.g., Time Slot 1. Meanwhile, a different group of users on another talk group could be using Time Slot 2 simultaneously. Well almost simultaneously, offset by 30 ms., but you would never know the difference, because two voices can come out of two radios simultaneously from the same repeater.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

SoCal Spring SOTAFest 2019

This is a recap of my adventures at Socal Spring SOTAFest 2019.  My friend Adam, K6ARK, organized a trip for ham radio operators that enjoy doing “summits on the air”, (SOTA).  We planned to meet at a campground, hike up to bunch of nearby summits to “activate” them, getting contacts in the US and beyond, and then do the next peak.  There will also be a lot of stories about past epic conquests, radio and antenna gear, and techniques.  Hams also build a lot of different pieces of their own gear, from custom radios to antennas, and other gizmos. 

The original destination was near Big Bear, CA but the weather called for a chance of rain so we went out to the southern desert region to Sawtooth Campground, which is surrounded by SOTA summits.  Although Adam announce the meetup on a few different mailing lists, we only had two other hams that were going to be able to join us, Scott (N0OI), and his wife, Corrine (N2ZIP).  I’ll take some of the burden and help with the marketing campaign next time.      (Click on photos for larger)

Saturday, March 30, 2019

2019-03-30 Sycuan to Slovenia

Today’s hike took me up to Sycuan Peak (W6/SC-203 - Sycuan Peak).  This is a short hike but steap at points.  I decided to sleep in this morning and headed out at about 10.  The weather was clear with visibility of a million miles.  It was just under 80 and a nice hike up.  The peak had a slight breeze and it was very enjoyable, I just wish I had brought my chair, I would have stayed up there longer.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

DMR Tip 1 - Using Parrot Talkgroup To Test Your Radio

This next post on my Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) tips series, we’ll look at an easy way to test our radio and also check that the repeater is working properly.  To do this, use the Parrot talk group.  By using this talkgroup, everything you transmit is recorded and played back to your radio. 

[  This article assumes you have a DMR radio and can program it to use a repeater and talkgroup. ]

Using the parrot talk group, every transmission is repeated back to the radio. This allows the operator to test  multiple things.
     Verify that the radio is working and getting into the repeater. 
     Because the parrot repeater is on the internet, when you hear yourself, this verifies that the repeater is working and it’s connected to the Brandmeister network.
     This test allows you to test audio quality and levels.