Showing posts from 2018

GSBARC Fire Island lighthouse activation

On August 19, at the invitation of John, W2HCB, President of The Great South Bay Amateur Radio Club (GSBARC) and EC/RO for the town of Babylon, NY , I visited the Fire Island Lighthouse to help them activate the lighthouse for International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend (ILLW). They have been an amazing and active club for many, many years and I was all too happy to visit. The lighthouse itself is an amazingly pretty sight to see with some of the most beautiful and absolutely pristine seashore in this area. I took a tour of the lighthouse, and climbed all the way to the top. I also met up with two of my YL friends - Caryn, KD2GUT and Salli, K2RYD. I operated SSB and CW and many were happy to work me. GSBARC absolutely rolled out the red carpet. They met me, shuttled me to the light from Robert Moses Field, and even gave me a personal tour of the lighthouse. The drive from NNJ wasn't too bad at all. I used to actually go out to Long Island quite a lot when I was a contract p

Contesting and DXing - no shame here.

One of the things I'd like to touch on here is that my opponent and his friends seem to think that the message that "contesters and DXers are elitists" is a winning strategy with the ham radio public. For the record, I am a very avid and active DXer and contester. I have 324 countries confirmed (326 including deleted), 9 bands DXCC including 160 meters and DXCC challenge at the 1500 level. I also have numerous contest wins, both on my own and on VHF with Andrea, K2EZ who owns and operates a Ford Explorer rover. Interestingly enough, my opponent is also a DXer and contester. In fact, he is even on the DXCC honor roll. This means that he is in the top 10% of DXers worldwide in terms of new countries worked. Wow. It takes a lot of dedication to do that. He's also a member of the Order of Boiled Owls of New York, a well known, but small contest club. So as it turns out, he's one of us, and in some respects more elite than I am. I sincerely don't get why he g

YLRL convention

Less than 2 months from now, a group of dedicated women amateur radio operators (YLs) will convene in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma for the YLRL convention 2018. This year the convention was organized by YLRL district 5. Thanks especially to the hard work of Michelle Carey, W5MQC and Leah Ohse, W3LEO. I will be a speaker and talking about digital modes in amateur radio. I'll be talking about both HF modes and VHF/UHF modes. It will be a fun presentation, and it is something I enjoy doing. Andrea Slack, K2EZ will be talking about her rover operation. Should be fascinating. Carol Milazzo, KP4MD will also be talking about DXpeditions and her amateur radio adventures. NASA research scientist Nancy Hall, KC4IYD will also be in attendance and speaking at the banquet. This will be very exciting! Nancy is a true role model to women, especially girls looking to get into STEM fields. Many amazing women will be here and if you are a YL, it's a great way for you to network as well. O

Campaign updates - website, media appearances, clubs, field day

It's been a busy week! The outpouring of support has been truly immense. More importantly, the locals in Hudson division have been throwing their support behind my campaign. This is a very good sign. I do especially appreciate the financial support, but even if you can't contribute financially, please do spread the word. However, there is still much work to do. First of all, the website is in full swing at Look there for details of my platform and how you can help. Yesterday (06/19) I made an appearance on HamRadioNow, which is a video web talk show. Here it is: I got some great feedback. I do truly want to be a director who engages her division. You, the division member will be my first duty. Yes, I will have a duty to the league, but the league is you and not some faceless corporation handing down edicts without regard for your opinion. I want to be a director for every radio amateur. Gary made a comment ab

3Y0Z Team Bouvet headed back to Cape Town

Update from the team: MV Betanzos South Atlantic Ocean 5 February 2018 --  0930 UTC Our captain has decided that it is in the best interest of safety and expediency to proceed directly to Capetown, South Africa rather than Punta Arenas, Chile.  We are currently heading north to avoid the possibility of encountering ice.   Currently there is no ice in sight or on radar.  In due time we will head easterly toward Capetown. Our entire team is safe.  Most are resting in their bunks and in good spirits.  We will keep the amateur radio community and our families informed as we continue our journey. Ralph - K0IR Bob - K4UEE Erling - LA6VM

ARRL BoD meeting minutes released

The much talked about BoD meeting produced some decisions and the minutes of that meeting was finally released. Here it is. It seems odd that they released it on Friday evening. Then again, not so odd. Releasing bad news on Friday is a very common tactic among politicos. Release a bunch of news on Friday, because nobody reads the paper on Saturday. It seems like Newington is taking a few lessons from Washington? Either way, the minutes are worth a read, if for nothing else but to see what your league is up to.

Z60A - $20 for a QSL? Not really.

We all know that the ARRL BoD is not the most popular entity these days. But one of the things they did recently made a tiny Republic which was part of the former Yugoslavia into a new officially recognized DXCC entity. Yes, this is Kosovo, and it's now an official DXCC entity. Well, our friend from Finland heard of this news and flew in to Pristina pronto, as he wanted to be "on the ground" to get things well activated. Love him or hate him, he is "Martti on the spot" when it comes to new DX entities. Immediately the pileups came through thick and ferocious. Electric power consumption increased worldwide as transceivers and amplifiers fired up, beaming glorious RF to the newly recognized entity. Ah, but there is one wrinkle. When it's done, it ain't done until the paperwork is done. You see, the contact is one thing, but DXCC rules require written confirmation. You do this either with a QSL card, a letter, or through ARRL Logbook of The World (LoTW).

3Y0Z - Bouvet 2018 Aborted!

The much anticipated 3Y0Z Bouvet Island DXpedition has been aborted. As reported on DX-World, there were issues with getting weather clearance to fly their helicopters, which would delay them for a week and more. The island is pretty, the weather is not. Winds of up to 80 knots and more caused the ship to bob up and down making helicopter takeoff and landing extremely unsafe. Basically as one DXer put it - "it's like a cork in a flushing toilet."  Then came this update from co-leaders K0IR, K4UEE, LA6VM: During the last 72 hours we continued to experience the high winds, low clouds, fog, and rough seas that have prevented helicopter operations since our arrival at Bouvet. No improvement was predicted in the weather forecast for the next four days. Then, last night an issue developed in one of the ship’s engines. This morning the captain of the vessel declared it unsafe to continue with our project and aborted the expedition. We are now on our long voyage back t

FlexRadio SmartSDR 2.1 is here!

At long last the next release of SmartSDR 2.x is here. You may download it from here . As you may remember, Flex had released SmartSDR 2.0 in Summer 2017. This made the Flex-6000 series the first ever amateur radio transceiver platform that can become an internet remote base out of the box. Other systems have had remote capability but Flex was the first to do it without having to add firewall rules (for most people) and incorporated modern technologies like social login and multi factor authentication (MFA) for enhanced security. The backend for authentication is powered by Auth0 , one of the leaders in the industry. SmartSDR 2.1 is the next incremental update, and is mostly designed with new hardware in mind. That said, I don't have one of the new radios, but I do have my 6700, and for us with the previous generation of radios, we have inherited the new features that are non-hardware dependent. This includes visual enhancements like shaded panadapters and tuning guides.

ARRL CEO Tom Gallagher to retire, cites tax laws as reason.

Press release from ARRL: I found it somewhat surprising, since President Rick Roderick, K5UR recently dug in his heels when it came to league governance, citing a "misinformation campaign" which was really nothing more than members becoming rightly concerned about the move toward less transparency and the dilution of their vote. Gallagher has often been subject to much criticism, and many have cited his leadership as part of the reason that the league is in such turmoil with membership lately. I am trying to keep neutral on this, and personally I do not know if he was directly responsible, but it would seem to me that all of these new moves toward reshaping the league started on his watch. So this is either a great coincidence or he is the one responsible. Personally I don't care who is responsible, except for possibly removing bad actors from office in order put the brakes on any detrimental changes.

Team Bouvet enroute

The biggest DXpedition of the year (unless someone can somehow convince P5 to issue a license) is about to get underway. Yep, that's the 2018 Bouvet island DXpedition. Over a decade in planning, it is about to become reality, and sure to make many happy - and frustrated - when they make or don't make a contact. But that's just how DX goes. Surprisingly, I don't need Bouvet as an all time new one, since I worked Petrus, 3Y0E in 2008. One of the few to do so, as he was pretty weak. In fact, in Northern NJ nobody heard him for weeks until there was a magic opening. However, a combination of hilltop location and a MonstIR antenna helped me bag that one pretty easily. However I am appreciative for bandfills, and I hope I can work them on every band that I can. Anyway, my friends are off to Bouvet - and on this team you will find some of the best operators in the world. You'll also find that they are using Flex-6000 radios, on bands from 160 through 2 meters EME, alo


As with all things, sometimes you have to reinvent yourself. So, as of today, this blog will be known as "Ria's Shack." I've been contemplating this change for a long time now, and much of it has to do with my plans for other amateur radio ventures to help every one of you become better at our esteemed hobby. This especially includes my YouTube channel which I plan to add more meaningful content to. So, here's to the new and improved blog - henceforth known as "Ria's Shack" 88 Ria


Are you concerned about the direction of the ARRL? This has been on the minds of a lot of US radio amateurs lately. DX hams I am sure are a bit worried as well, since ARRL tends to influence DX, radiosport and awards programs worldwide. Take some time  to visit and make your voice heard. Web: Facebook group: We are actively discussing plans, next steps and activism. But they need you, the ARRL member, and also just radio amateurs in general to step up and make your voice heard. By the way, you ALSO need to make your voice heard to your director! myARRLvoice has put together this handy graphic. How about e-mailing this to your division director, along with some words of your own? Or how about discussing this with them in person? You voted for them, they should be listening to YOU. I will be doing a more comprehensive post about this, but for now, here is this.

2017 year-end and post holiday wrap-up

2017 by far has been a banner year for me in Amateur Radio. Here are some of the highlights. FlexRadio  It's no secret that I'm 100% a FlexRadio fan. This is not without good reason. Ever since I learned about amateur radio I have dreamed about a radio with the capabilities that they have made a reality. As such I have spent a lot of time on their community forum and privately advising their users and prospective users about capabilities of the radio and ecosystem. I have also helped many users get on their radios remotely, not just with the new SmartLink capability in SmartSDR 2.0, but also with VPN access using Raspberry Pi. Flex decided to honor me with one of their customer awards which brings me immense pride, and has earned a prime spot in my shack. Did I just use the word ecosystem? You typically hear that about Apple, Google and other companies that make computers and electronic gadgets. Well, in this case it is true about FlexRadio. They are really growi