Another new era! Satellites!


Orbiting Satellites Carrying Amateur Radio (OSCAR)

Another new facet of what seems to be a never ending source of fun and excitement!  Here I am during the 2018 Field Day at the Daytona Beach Police Department parking lot making my (well, kinda) first ever Amateur Satellite QSO!  Officially, I was using the N4DAB Daytona Beach CERT Amateur Radio Team call sign, so it wasn’t really “me”.  I made the QSO Sunday morning June 24, 2018 at 1449Z with W4DW through the OSCAR AO-92 Satellite.  It was my fourth try during the FD weekend, but I finally made it.  I was using a Kenwood V71 dual-band FM transceiver running 5 Watts out to an Arrow II 146/437-10 hand held antenna.  We got the 100 bonus points too!

A week later, on early Monday morning July 2, 2018 at 0204Z (actually Sunday night) I made a QSO with N4UFO through the same satellite using my own call.  I’m Official!  This time, same antenna, but using an Alinco DJ-G7 HT Transceiver running 1 Watt output on 70cm!  Wowwee!

Here is the QSL Card:


Here’s the AMSAT First Satellite Contact Award Certificate

Egads, what fun! 

2018 Hamvention and FDIM are Over!

Yes, our 2018 trip to Dayton Hamvention and QRP-ARCI Four Days in May is over!    It was a GREAT trip!

My brother John (KI4LOF) and I arrived in Miamisburg, OH at our hotel on Thursday afternoon, May 17th.  After checking in, we proceeded to the CWOps banquet in Dayton, where I accepted the annual award for the Straight Key Century Club (SKCC).  It was a great honor, and a great dinner!  Over 100 CWOps were there.  Here’s a photo of me accepting the award, and the statement that I made:

“This is not my award.  I am honored to accept this award on behalf of the thousands of dedicated members of SKCC, and most importantly, those few members that make the activities and awards possible for hams all over the world.  Morse code is the universal language – CW, TU, SK all mean the acme no matter the culture or country.  It is one of the binding common threads of Amateurs across the globe.  It is my honor to accept this award on behalf of SKCC, one of the premier international clubs that support and perpetuate the continuing use of Morse code using one of the basics of ham radio, a straight key.  Sincere thanks to CWOps for this award”.

Steve WB4OMM SKCC # 8793T –  CWOps # 1943

The dinner was great – we bought some raffle tickets for a drawing on Saturday, but neither of us won anything.

After dinner, we attended the FDIM Vendor Night at the Holiday Inn in Fairborn.  Saw lots of folks, visited and bought a few minor items. 

Early Friday morning, we arrived at Hamvention, where I worked in the ARRL RadioSport booth primarily QSL Award Card Checking and answering questions about Logbook of the World (LoTW) and various awards.  I helped ARRL Staffer Sabrina Jackson, KC1MJW – who just got her license in  April – and I had the honor of becoming her first QSO!!  (2M FM).  A QSL will be on the way once I get home……Sabrina was a terrific partner both days (Fri and Sat); pleasant, knowledgeable, and just a wonderful person!  It was nice to work with her.  Here is Sabrina, my  brother John and I in the booth Saturday afternoon.

Here’s the ARRL Staff Photo at Hamvention 2018:That’s me in the back row on the left side!  Glad I’m kinda tall!

Friday night we had dinner the folks from Orlando Amateur Radio Club (John, Mike, Bob, and Val) – I wish I would have remembered to get a photo!  It was a great dinner, and we talked and laughed for hours.  They are top-shelf folks and we were both honored to get the invite to join them.

Saturday was more ARRL booth, and I also got to visit with my good friend Frank Butler W4RH who was in the adjacent International Amateur Radio Union booth with IARU President Tim Elam VE6SH.  Here’s the three of us Saturday afternoon:

The fella on the left laughing so hard is Gerry Gross WA6POZ who was card checking in the booth with me – he’s howling, because as we had this photo taken, he was doing “rabbit ears” behind Frank and we kept telling him to stop!  He’s a hoot!  He’s also dedicated and dependable!  Always ready to help with the card checking.

Also Saturday, I was able to get into the SKCC Group photo with several members:

I was also able to get a “Special Photo” with my good SKCC/NAQCC friends Karen W4KRN and Curt WA2JPG – these two regularly work me during various sprints, contests, parkpeditions and whatever.  They are great “ham friends”.  It’s always nice to see them in person!  I was glad we could get this special photo.

I purchased some minor stuff again, and John did too – our best “mutual” purchase was a LASER engraved Yeti Cup with the Dayton 2018 Hamvention logo on them along with our call signs – they are beautiful!  We kept checking for a door prize, but neither of our numbers ever came up.

We left at Saturday’s closing bell, and proceeded to the FDIM banquet.  It was a good meal, I visited with a few regulars, and we won nothing – in three separate raffles!!!!  Neither of us has any luck in winning stuff!  Oh well……

I’m writing this in a hotel room in Cleveland, TN on the way home.  Another great trip.  John was a great traveling companion – we listened to lotsa really loud music (my new Rogue has the BOSE sound system!), laughed a lot, and had a ball.  I hope to get my brother George into one of these future trips.  I know it would be a hoot!

And as a final aside to the adventure, here’s a photo of John and I with Kentucky’s Most Famous Person – Col. Harland Sanders, of KFC fame in his original restaurant in Corbin, KY.  Ya’ just can’t make this stuff up!

Hope you enjoyed “the trip with us!”

2018 Hamvention Bound!

Headed to the 2018 Hamvention in Xenia, OH today – stopped for the night at a Hampton Inn in Cleveland, TN.  While here, I operated 30-CW mins in the NAQCC May Sprint – and got 6 member Qs in 5 states using 5W to a Hamstick on the car!   This QRP stuff never ceases to amaze me.  My brother John KI4LOF is with me, he grabbed a picture of me operating in the parking lot.  Look for more!

Another Toy in the Toy Box

The QRP-LABS QCX Transceiver

The “QCX” is a 5W, single-band, high performance CW transceiver kit with WSPR beacon, and built-in alignment/test equipment. It is available for 80, 60, 40, 30, 20 or 17m bands.. It has rotary encoder synthesized tuning, VFO A/B/Split, Iambic keyer, CW decoder, and more… $49.00 USD.  See it – buy it at –


  • Easy to build, single-board design, 10 x 8cm, all controls are board-mounted
  • Professional quality double-sided, through-hole plated, silk-screen printed PCB
  • Choice of single band, 80, 60, 40, 30, 20 or 17m
  • Approximately 3-5W CW output (depending on supply voltage)
  • 7-16V recommended supply voltage
  • Class E power amplifier, transistors run cool… even with no heatsinks
  • 7-element Low Pass Filter ensures regulatory compliance
  • CW envelope shaping to remove key clicks
  • High performance receiver with at least 50dB of unwanted sideband cancellation
  • 200Hz CW filter with no ringing
  • Si5351A Synthesized VFO with rotary encoder tuning
  • 16 x 2 blue backlight LCD screen
  • Iambic keyer or straight key option included in the firmware
  • Simple Digital Signal Processing assisted CW decoder, displayed real-time on-screen
  • On-screen S-meter
  • Full or semi QSK operation using fast solid-state transmit/receive switching
  • Frequency presets, VFO A/B Split operation, RIT, configurable CW Offset
  • Configurable sidetone frequency and volume
  • Connectors: Power, 3.5mm keyer jack, 3.5mm stereo earphone jack, BNC RF output
  • Onboard microswitch can be used as a simple straight Morse key
  • Built-in test signal generator and alignment tools to complete simple set-up adjustments
  • Built-in test equipment: voltmeter, RF power meter, frequency counter, signal generator
  • Beacon mode, supporting automatic CW or WSPR operation
  • GPS interface for reference frequency calibration and time-keeping (for WSPR beacon)

Build time:  3 evenings, about 14 hours.  Here is my unit, Serial # 2481 – puts out just under 3W with 12.5V.  Easy to build, easy to align – worked on first power up without an issue!  Nice receiver, quiet….and lots to play with.  Made the first two QSOs with a straight key (#2 was K3Y/1); then using the keyer/paddle at 30 WPM (#3 was KG9X in the afternoon session of CWOps CW-T) .   A neat little radio. 

And the Inaugural QSO goes to……..W8FHF!!


QRPp – NAQCC Milliwatt Sprint

There are ways to operate contests and sprints that are more efficient than others and lead to better results. In NAQCC sprints we are concerned with helping newcomers to contesting, and we urge slower speed operation. The semi-annual, “mW Sprint” is similar in format to the monthly NAQCC Sprints (see ) – except output power is limited to less than 1 Watt of RF Power (hence the term, “milliwatt sprint” – makes us “millimen” and “milliwomen”!!).  These pics are from the Dec 21, 2017 mW Sprint.  I wound up in 1st Place in the W4 land category.


The WB4OMM mW Sprint Station – Elecraft KX-3 Transceiver running .9W to a G5RV at 45 feet; a Vibroplex Deluxe Iambic Paddle and GenLog Logging Program. 


Here’s the radio emitting just .9W of RF Power on the 40M Band!! In this two-our sprint I worked 19 QSOs on 40M and 80M, in 11 states – amazing how so little power an a simple wire antenna can work so well – even under poor radio wave propagation.


More importantly, here are the necessary “factors” for success……Earl Grey Tea and Publix Fruit Slices!!  (and a Snowman Christmas cup!)……Hi hi hi!!  Great Stuff!!

The “fruits of my labor”!!

Happy Birthday to Me!

Yep!  I got me a Birthday present……. 

Porta Paddle-II Precision Iambic Paddle Kit – American Morse Equipment

Very nice!  Will bring it to my next Portable Op!

  • Updated original design features solid feel and full Adjustability in a miniature size Iambic Paddle – Now A Kit!
  • Amazing feel for it’s size and weight
  • Only 2.5 Ounces, 1 1/2 x 1 7/8 x 1 3/16 Inch
  • Choice of colors, Blue or Gold
  • CNC Machined from Aircraft Grade Aluminum
  • No machining required – easy assembly
  • Durable Mil Spec Anodized Finish
  • Gap and spring force fully adjustable to individual taste
  • Very solid, reliable design – no delicate parts to fall out of adjustment
  • Drilled & tapped in base for mounting – Leg Mount, Desk Base available
  • Designed and manufactured in the United States – Patent Pending

Flight of the Bumblebees – QRP CW Portable in Colorado!

Yes, I have conquered another state!  While visiting my daughter in Greeley, CO this weekend, I was able to sneak off to Greeley West Park at 10AM local time and participate in the 2017 Flight of the Bumblebees.  The Bumblebees (or BBs) are operating in the field with QRP (5W or less) stations.  I was BB # 60.

Using my trusty KX-3 and MP-1 Portable station running 4W (internal rechargeable AA Batteries), I was able to make 7 QSOs including 3 other BBs.  I had contacts in CA, UT, MT, MO, AZ and WI.  Heard but couldn’t work stations in TX, MS, and IL.

I ran until the batteries gave out – just over an hour.  Had a blast!  WX was great – 76 degrees with a light breeze.  Nice park…..I located it on Mapquest a few weeks ago before my trip, and it looked good.  Was actually great!  No one there but me!  About a 1/2 mile from my hotel, located in a quiet residential area.

Sorry about the selfie of me, but no one was around to take my photo…and I just had to show off my yellow and black BB shirt!!  Hi hi hi…….wore it for the occasion!

As always, click on the photos to enlarge them

72/73 to all!

Steve WB4OMM