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.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

2019-03-23 Middle Pk. To Brazil

I wanted to hike Middle Peak again and try going up the north side for the final summit push.  The last time I was up there, 11/25/2018, I went up the south side based on the best topo research I could do.  It’s been activated a few times so I knew it was doable.  During that last hike, I followed a false trail and ended up in a horrid bushwhack to the activation zone, followed by a horrid bushwhack back to the road.  After that trip, my SOTA Yoda, K6ARK, said I should have gone to the North side and used the unpublished trail.  So that was the mission of the day.  I charted out a new course on Alltrails in case I missed the trail...

The weather was beautiful up there today, starting with clear sky then moving to partly cloudy.  There was a slight breeze keeping it cool but not cold.  I could see the clouds moving up the mountain from the coast.  It was nice to be out in the sunshine not freezing my tail off.  I found the cairns that marked the trail to the summit (lat/long of 32.98287, -116.60007) and the tail to the summit was 10,000 times easier.  For one, that side of the mountain  wasn’t nearly as overgrown as the south side, and there was a cut trail that has been heavily used.  It’s beginning to get overgrown but not bad.  A huge shout out to Adam, K6ARK, who told me about the alternate route. 

Monday, March 18, 2019

2019-03-16 Sheephead Mtn.

Today’s hike took me back to Sheephead Mtn. (W6/SD-020 - Sheephead Mountain).  I went out there a couple of times last year, once in January of 2018 and again last February.  One of the reasons I went up there a second time was to test my new (at the time) CHA MPAS antenna.   You can only get points for a particular peak once per year, but it was still fun.  Today’s hike was nice and came with a few extra miles and a lot of wind.  This is the normal route,  this is the route Sulu and I took today.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Ham Ninja’s DMR Tip 0, How to Get DMR Repeater Info

I'm starting a Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) tips series.  In the spirit of being digital, I thought I would start with post 0 (zero).  In this installment, I’ll cover one of the most important things you should know how to do, getting important details about about a repeater that you would like to use.  Obviously, you need to know how to connect to it like any other repeater, but you can get a lot of other great information that is very specific to DMR.  This includes things like what DMR talk groups the repeater is subscribed to all the time (static talk groups),  or how busy the repeater has been, or what timeslot you should use for groups that are configured on it.  All of this information is LIVE!
(NOTE:  If you don't know what DMR is, take a look at my post "DMR Defined")

Sunday, March 10, 2019

2019-03-10 Viejas Mtn to Portugal

Today’s hike was up Viejas Mountain (W6/CC-039 - Viejas Mountain).  I contacted Adam (K6ARK, AKA the “SOTA Yoda”) yesterday and we hatched a plan to be on the summit at the same time as Jamie (N6JFD) would be on Boca Hill (W6/NS-264) summit north of Lake Tahoe.  Jamie was just about to cross over to “Goat status” by racking up a 1000 activator points and he was also going to crest 1000 chaser points at the same time, thus earning the “shack sloth” award. Adam knows him pretty well so he wanted to make sure he was able to contact him on the big day.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

2019-03-09 SOTA to W6/SC-365 - Hill 1109

I attended an ARES meeting this morning but decided to get a walk in with the dog.  There is a small hill not too far from the house in 4S Ranch.  I last did this one in 2017 and you can read about it HERE

It’s been rainy for the past few days but today it was mostly cloudy to partly cloudy but no rain.  I was nice to be able to get a quick hike in.  The RF fishing was poor today and I’m not sure why.  You get a day like that once in a while.  While I goofed around with the radio, Sulu took a nap. I struggled to get 4 contacts on 20 meter and then went over to the 40 meter band and got a couple more, nothing like the pileup that I had in 2017.  The signal reports that I got varied from OK to poor.   My SWR meter indicated that I didn’t have an optimal antenna setup for sure.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

2019-03-03 Big DX

“DX” is term used by ham operators to mean a contact made outside of one's own country and today I got quite a few DX contacts.  I was itching to get out and do a little hiking.  It rained all day yesterday and although it threatened to rain today, I thought I’d hike up to San Marcos Mountain, W6/SC-331.  There was a world-wide contest going on today so it allowed me to contact a lot of long distance stations that may not normally be up.  That’s because contester’s have some really nice directional antennas with tons of power.  The large antennas allow them to hear me and the power definitely helps me hear them, and the contest keeps them up and on the air all day. 

Friday, March 1, 2019

DMR Defined

This is a introduction to Digital Mobile Radio, DMR.  This post helps support my series on DMR tips and other DMR articles.  This is the best place to start if you don't know what DMR is.
(Click on images for larger)

DMR: DMR starts out as scary and mysterious for existing hams, but all it is is a way to send your voice to another radio in digital form.  It's mostly used on repeaters but you can use it for simplex communications too (and there are advantages to doing this).