This year i wanted to set some targets around my amateur radio activities and as a new ham there’s plenty of them. I was inspired to do this by G7AGI’s blog post outlining his plans for 2014, it just took me a month to write my own! I intend to blog around each of these targets and do a wrap up at the end of year to show my progress (or indeed lack of!).
1. Portable Operation
I made a start on this during 2013 in so far that i purchased and built an Elecraft KX3 and took it out for a test drive in a local park. This year i intend to do more operating outside and visit the local hilltops to see how much of a difference an outdoor antenna and no electrical interference makes, even when operating QRP.
I’ve purchased the ingredients to make a inverted V trapped dipole as well, so now i’m just waiting for the Spring/Summer to arrive and this target will be a go.
2. Activate a SOTA summit
An extension of the portable operation target is to activate at least one SOTA summit. I live 6 miles away from Wendover Woods (G/CE-005) so this is a natural first choice. The activation will either be PSK31 or SSB on one of the HF bands.
3. Operate Abroad
Now i am a full licensed ham (passed at the end of last year) i have an additional privilege of being able to operate in foreign countries and i fully intend to use this.
I will be heading to Munich, Germany in the summer for my sister in-law’s wedding, so i plan to pack the KX3 while the XYL isn’t looking and get on the air from mainland Europe.
4. Make an SSB Contact
Since getting licensed i’ve only been active on data modes, while this is very interesting i would like to broaden my horizons by using the mic’s that have been bundled with my various radios! These have been brutally neglected during my exclusive use of PSK31, so this year i plan to check they work!
I recently worked out how to voice key my KX3 so i’m all set to achieve this objective.
5. Start Worked All Britain (WAB) Award
One of the joys of operating on 40m is the UK contacts i can make, this is currently a novelty after only being active on 30m+ where you very rarely make contacts that close to home unless it’s via ground wave propagation.
I plan to start working towards the Worked All Britain award to continue my contacts with amateurs within the United Kingdom and it also gives me more incentive to operate SSB.
6. Build a Transmitter
Even before getting my license i was interested in the construction side of things, so this year will be the year i build a functioning transmitter.
Last year i put together the Elecraft KX3, but this didn’t involve any soldering, just the mechanical construction so this doesn’t count.
I purchased the Hans Summers Ultimate3 QRSS/WSPR transmitter before Christmas and have built this during the dark nights of January (see my finished kit to left). I just need to get a suitable 5v regulator to test it using a 12v battery and hopefully this target will be complete.
7. Make a VHF contact
Since getting my license i have operated on the HF bands exclusively, time for that to change! I purchased the ICOM 7100 last year, so that i would have a base station rig with VHF capabilities including D-Star, but this year i’m actually going to make use of it!
I’ve also got a Baofeng UV-5R handheld, so i may also try a few FM simplex contacts from some nearby hilltops while out on bike rides.
In conclusion 2014 is going to be a busy year, there’s plenty of new areas for me to get stuck into and explore this hobby of ours a bit more. I’m aiming to blog about the progress of these targets throughout the year in the hope this will keep the mind focused and hold me publicly accountable for my progress!