In my freelance work I write blog posts for a number of clients, both under my own name and as a ghostwriter. One sure way to lure readers to your blog is to publish a “listicle.” That word is a combination of “list” and “article.” So, here’s my own ham radio listicle, my Top 10 Ham Radio Moments.
Top 10 Ham Radio Adventures Blog Post Categories
If I look over the categories on this website, summarizing the 235 blog posts that I’ve written since I established this WordPress website in 2010, I find the following Top 10 Categories:
- Radio Contesting
- Radio Scouting
- Radio Equipment
- Radio Software
- Website Development
That comes pretty close to defining my top 10 favorite aspects of the hobby. But what about my blog audience?
Top 10 Most Popular Blog Posts and Pages
Heading to Google Analytics and covering the range of 2011 to 2015, beginning when I started using their tracking codes in January 2011, here’s what I find are the Top 10 Most Popular Blog Posts and Pages:
- Ham Shack
- FSK Interface
- Flex 1500 SDR
- Vee Beam
- HF Verticals
- Moxon Beam Post and Moxon Page
- About K5ND
- Uncle Fred Flits By Podcast
- Tuning HF2V Vertical
- Elecraft W1 Wattmeter
The measure I used here was page views, with the top ranked entry hitting 6,750 and the bottom ranked hitting 2,200. It’s clear that my readers are interested in building and setting up their stations.
My Top 10 Ham Radio Moments
Enough about readers and writing categories within this blog and website, what about my own Top 10 Moments during my ham radio lifetime, which began in 1973? Here they are:
1 — Building Antennas with Dad
My dad and I both got involved with amateur radio at the same time. I’d moved on from the U.S. Air Force where I worked as an avionics technician to working as a television broadcast engineer at the Nebraska Educational Television Network. We had a great deal of fun working together to build matching 2-meter cubical quad antennas so that we could try to communicate between Omaha and Lincoln. It was a blast spending time with him on a fun project.
2 — Writing for Wayne Green, W2NSD
While teaching electronics in 1975 to 1977, I began writing articles for Wayne Green’s 73 Magazine. I was also able to write a book for Wayne titled SSB: The Misunderstood Mode. I had made at least one other attempt at writing, for Broadcast Engineering Magazine, but Wayne was the first to actually publish my work. This toe hold in writing helped me gain my next moment in ham radio.
3 — Heathkit Educational Writer
In late 1977, I landed a job at Heathkit as an education writer. After editing a number of book projects, my first full writing project was the General Class Amateur Radio License Course. It consisted of two full binders of written materials with everything from DC to Antennas There was no question pool in those days, you had to learn the material. I also used Heathkit’s very early personal computers to generate Koch method code-practice cassette tapes. I was at Heath for the next 11 years in several positions. I have lots of fun stories about amateur radio and many other items.
4 — QRP DXCC
I earned QRP DXCC in January 2011. That involved lots of CW contesting at QRP levels. My big breakthrough was putting together a two-element 15-meter moxon beam. I rotated it using the armstrong method, which was fairly easy to do – pointing it at Europe in the morning and moving toward the Pacific in the evening. It was really a blast to work so many countries for the first time and doing it with 5 watts.
5 — Jamboree on the Air
Getting appointed the Boy Scouts of America National Jamboree on the Air Organizer in late 2010 was a real honor. The request that I give the volunteer position consideration led me to research the guidelines provided by the World Organization of the Scout Movement. This, in turn, led me to establish the BSA National Radio Scouting Committee. Then it became a matter of publishing support materials on dedicated web pages, developing registration and reporting systems. This led to some huge numbers growth in the early years but some disappointing declines in the last few years. Even so, this is a major top moment in amateur radio for me.
6 — K2BSA Amateur Radio Association
It’s been a challenging but satisfying journey to revive this association — recovering the IRS 501c3 classification, building their website, and growing membership from 8 to 105 at this writing. It’s the perfect vehicle to build Radio Scouting in the USA and around the world. There are lots more to do to ensure it continues to grow and extend the reach of amateur radio within Scouting. But we’ve made a good start.
7 — K2BSA National Scout Jamboree
During my professional career in Scouting, I had avoided Jamborees. However, in 2010 I was recruited to serve as director of the Media Center, with roughly 150 staff members running the newspaper, radio station, press liaison, crisis communication, photography, video, and hometown news. It was a real eye-opener. I was working with the best of the best making things happen for Scouting. For 2013 at the Summit in West Virginia, I got to do the same thing with the K2BSA amateur radio operation. We did some great things and had a blast. Definitely a top moment in ham radio.
8 — Six Meters and ZL1RS
I’ve found six meters to truly be the Magic Band. Although at time it can also be the Tragic Band. My breakthrough was working TEP openings into Argentina and Chile. Next, was a truly inspiring moment of working ZL1RS in New Zealand with my two-element moxon and 100 watts on CW – absolutely amazing. What I like most is the absence of pile-ups, the courteous operators, and the size of the antennas that allows me to fit something into my yard. Joel Harrison, W5ZN, says VHF allows average stations to achieve outstanding results.
9 — VHF Meteor Scatter and Digital Modes
Another aspect of VHF work is using digital modes to work meteor scatter, ionoscatter, and extend your reach with Es and tropospheric scatter. The modes developed by Joe Taylor, K1JT, are truly amazing and he’s continuing to bring on even more new modes. I’ve used JT65 for Es openings and achieved a few FSK-441 meteor scatter contacts. The newer JT9 modes look good as well. This is a highlight as it takes my RTTY and other digital mode experience and applies it to VHF propagation modes.
10 — Writing and Website Development
Finally, it’s great fun for me to write these posts and continue to develop this website. That first involves experiencing and experimenting with something in the world of amateur radio. Then it involves writing it up, taking photos, sometimes doing drawings, and tweaking on the website layout, theme, etc. So this, too, is a fun and top moment in amateur radio for this blog writer.
I think I may have actually over done the listicles thing. This would normally be three different blog posts and three top 10s. Oh well. It’s just another aspect of my ham radio adventures.