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.  Donate HEREMastodon

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Presenting to PARC on August 2nd

 I'm looking forward to presenting to the Palomar Amateur Radio Club on August 2nd.

If you'd like to look at the presentation directly, go HERE.

Saturday, January 7, 2023

2022 - It's A Wrap

Well, 2022 is over and it’s time to do a quick recap of the year of “Summits On the Air” (SOTA), and compare year over year and look at the goals I set in 2022 and what I’ll do in 2023.  In short, 2022 was a record breaking year, a personal best in a couple of areas and a LOT OF FUN.

Much of this SOTA hobby is mostly about activity, taking an amateur radio, that maybe you built, to the top of a mountain, and get at-least four direct contacts (without aid of a repeater) and you get some “points”.  The higher the summit, the more points it’s worth.  The “points” are part of the made up / gamified part of this hobby, but I do enjoy tracking some other things that are more substantial.  

I track how many summits I’ve humped my 25 - 30 lb pack up to.  Sure, some are drive-ups, but most aren’t.  Some are very hard, some are a simple walk up hill.  I also keep track of the number of miles that I hiked (zero if it’s a drive-up), mountain biked, and free solo’d (zero).  I also track the amount of elevation gained for each hike.  For fun I’ve also been tracking how many “uniques” (first time I have ever done that summit), and “first activations” (first time anyone in SOTA hobby has done that summit). Note, if I do a summit more than once in a year, it doesn’t count for points.  I do a local summit near my house all the time to test my radio, new antennas, hiking gear etc.  I also do summits more than once if someone is visiting and they want a hiking buddy, or, just for fun. (Click on pictures for larger)

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

W6 SOTACon, How I Manage My Logs Presentation

My presentation at SOTACon on SOTA contact logging and how I do it  is located HERE

I also did a more detailed writeup at if you are interested. 

Friday, August 19, 2022

SOTA Presentation to OCARC

I presented to the Orange County Amateur Radio Club on 8/19/2022.  You'll find the 

Presentation Slides HERE

We covered what SOTA is, how to do SOTA, my "loadout" and more.

Monday, June 20, 2022

Winlink Email Using VARA HF


Below is my documentation on how to configure Vara HF for the Yaesu FT-891 and the Icom IC-7300.

UPDATE:  On 10/20/2022 I tried to use Winlink over VARA HF on my 891.  I could not get rig control to work, even though I implemented the same config.  However, I plugged into the IC-7300 and had it working in minutes.  Arrrrg.  All that work on the 891 and now it will be a long debug session.  Although I started with the FT-991, I've documented the 7300 config below (easy)

I wanted to run a Winlink Express app (email application) and use HF radio to send and receive email messages.  The Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES) team that I’m on uses Winlink along with its built in standard FEMA forms.  It helps ARES accomplish their mission to support local hospitals, clinics and associated agencies during an emergency.  Using HF setup for sending email during an emergency is appropriate if the affected area is large (no internet for 100 miles).  This is because you can move messages into and out of the affected area using relay stations that have internet service that are 100s or over 1,000 miles away.  For instance, if there was an earthquake in my area, I’m better off trying to get a message to a hub station that is outside of the affected area which could be all of Southern California.  Because of it’s range, HF is perfect for this scenario.  Station to station transmission could be achieved using the lower HF bands as well, or using VHF modes like VARA FM or packet.  I’ve been successful using packet radio from my 5w FT-817 but packet stations are slowly disappearing. 
(click on images for larger)