A quick update/radio ramble (17 March 2024)

I do not want people to think I have abandoned this outlet, or my serial project Things Fall Apart. The simple truth is that I have been in the grips of my radio obsession and have not had time left over (or energy, sometimes) either to write about recent experiences, or about the news (which was part of why I started this project), or to get the next chapter of TFA edited and up for y'all.

I am going to dedicate some time early this week to remedy this, because I know that while this audience is not huge, y'all are here for reasons!

For now, here is a quick summary of the most recent Radio Obsessiveness:

  • Friday, I took advantage of good (ish) weather and Daylight Shavings Time's later sunset to go activate Fort Snelling again, this time by myself, without having to fight against a contest, and without the distraction of other hams, talking about ham as much as doing it. Mind you, I also value those kinds of days, but I wanted to see what I could do. The map appears below: 106 or so contacts made in about 90 minutes.
A map of my contacts from Friday, 15 March
  • Saturday, I took what old Ben Kenobi would call my first step into a larger world. I learned how to make an antenna, an End Fed Half Wave that should work on 40, 20, 15, and 10 meters. It still needs to be properly tuned--it's currently slightly long. Because of its length and the need to get it up off the ground a bit (EFHWs are usually deployed either horizontally or sloping from a height), I need to wait for a day that is less blustery and less cold than it's going to be for the next week or so, so I have not made any contacts with it yet.
  • Equally important, in order to make that antenna, I finally learned to solder, and did not burn off any fingers!
  • Sunday, I found myself with a chunk of time, but the dilemma that it was, in fact, blustery and cold. Colder than I felt like sitting outside for. But I wanted to play radio. Plenty of Hamtubers demonstrate how fairly easy it is to set up an antenna either just outside the car, or sometimes, on the car—just because an antenna is too long to drive around with doesn't mean you can't use it with a magnetic mount when stationary. So I went to the parking lot at a trail-head of a state-maintained trail up in St. Paul, fairly close to where I had a dinner meeting at 5pm, and activated that park as well, making 130 contacts in about two hours, and scoring my first European DX--Italy.
A map from my contacts from Sunday, 17 March. Note: Italy!

So, that's the news from Obsessionville!