CQ CQ CQ – Ham Radio Saturday

To all you Hams out there, some news.

I decided the get the General License exam under my belt, so I am studying diligently every day.  I haven’t seen math like this since physics about 30 years ago.

Also, I received recently a Radiogram from a station, perhaps a priest ham’s, in Cincinnati.  I’m not sure what to do with this, or how to respond properly according to good ham usage.  I believe one of you mentioned responding through NTS the last time I got a radiogram, from Harrisburg, PA  Alas, I didn’t.  My bad.  Maybe you hams out there should push me a little and break it down Barney style.

Also, I haven’t yet done anything with Echolink.  Perhaps we should jump start that?

That’s that.

It still have almost no equipment, other than my little YAESU VX8-DR and a whip antenna, which one of you dear readers sent me some time ago from my wish list. I often say a prayer for the sender when I switch it on.



Oh yes… I figured out how to pick up PSK31 with an app on my phone. Rather cool.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Ham Radio and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Susanna says:

    Great news… will pray you obtain that precious license soon. I assume you are aware there are an abundance of Internet sites that offer free online practice exams.

  2. Yes, I know about the practice exam sites and I use a couple of them, for some variety.

  3. moon1234 says:

    Radiogram? Do you mean QSL card? If a physical card though the mail then it is proper to respond in kind. [No. A radiogram.]

  4. acardnal says:

    That was me that sent you that mag-mount antenna for your car. We then got you up and running successfully on APRS through the jungle of MadCity.

  5. Yep, that equation is very familiar, though at first glance I had to make sure that was not referring to the differential of the magnetic field (symbol B)..but the math for that isn’t too painful. Here’s praying you do well Father.

  6. Allan S. says:

    I suggest trying the W9YT Echolink node near you. You can reach it on your radio as well at Band: 2m Freq: 146.685 MHz. Pick a time and we could ‘meet you’ there.

  7. Sword40 says:

    Sorry for being rather ignorant of Ham protocol, but what the heck does CQ CQ CQ refer to?

    Being an old military radio operator, I have never been able to figure this out.

  8. CarpeNoctem says:

    I just earned all three tickets in the last couple months… indeed, I took physics some 25+ years ago as well, and it was a great refresher on concepts I probably really didn’t understand too well back then. Anyway… I did not discover it until the Extra exam, but the best resources I found out there were the YouTube videos by Dave Casler… yes, they take some time to go through, and it isn’t a “memorize the answer” kind of program, but I really came to understand the material pretty well when I went back to study questions and answers. Antenna theory was hard to get my head around, and maybe that section needed a bit of help in his materials, but a review of some 1950’s educational movies done by the Canadian miliatry on antenna theory filled in the gaps I needed there… Good luck!

  9. CarpeNoctem says:

    Hmmm… I stand corrected… I just went back to YouTube and see that he has just released new sections on antenna theory for the Extra exam which were not available when I took the exam. Maybe I’m grumping about the antenna discussion from his General set. In any case, it is an outstanding series, and I probably shouldn’t be offering any critique at all, considering the quality work and extensive effort that has been made.

  10. CarpeNoctem:

    It’s good to know about those videos. Once I get that General under my belt, I’ll move on to Extra.

    … and Morse Code….

  11. Art says:

    Just earned all three tickets while waiting for my HT to arrive in the mail. Now to program it and get on the air. Morse code is next.


    CQ CQ CQ = Calling any station

    Here is a list of abbreviations used in ham radio.

  12. exNOAAman says:

    Sword40…the way to remember the general calling of CQ is to sound it out as “seek you”. Give it a spin and see who replies.

  13. MWindsor says:

    Hi Father Z,

    I got my Extra ticket last summer. Truth be told, I don’t think I’d do it again if I had it over. I don’t think I’ve ever used the Extra parts of the band plan. And I seem to use 10m more than any other, so Extra doesn’t gain me anything there either. All in all, the Extra stuff was not something I really needed. Your mileage may vary, of course.

    And if you ever get on HF and want to practice CW, just let me know. I’d love to find someone that I can practice with at 10 or 12 wpm. Everyone I bump into is going so fast I get lost after the first dit.


  14. The Masked Chicken says:

    This math is best done on a slide rule :) but if you have to use the evil modern calculators, the formula (they, really, should number their formulas), P1 log^-1 (dB/10) = P2, is much more easily written as: P2 = P1 * 10^(dB/10), where the up caret, ^, stands for exponentiation.

    The Chicken

  15. Max says:

    I’m glad to hear you’re doing the Ham Exam. Ham Radio Operators have been instrumental in rescue situations for saving lives. They’re the best!

  16. LarryW2LJ says:

    Father Z,

    I would suspect that one of the local 2 Meter or 440 repeaters in your area probably runs an NTS affiliated net at some point during the day. Around here in NJ, they run most frequently at 8:00 PM and around 10:00 PM local time. To find a list of affiliated nets in your area, you can go to:

    Traffic handlers are for the most part, very nice and friendly people. If you check into a net, you can mention that you need help in composing a piece of traffic, and I’m certain someone would hang around after the net to help you.

    It’s not all that difficult once you learn the format, and like I said before, most Hams who are into handling message traffic are usually more than happy to help someone generate some message traffic.

  17. rben says:

    I definitely make use of the Extra privileges. If you want to do any DXing, the Extra portions of the band are prime real estate.

  18. you can do it Father!! i took my general and passed. However,things must have changed since then because i also had to attempt the morse code at 15wpm to get the general.never did get the hang of it and that killed my chances for a general license. Wish i had known you then-my license expired and i never went back. Would have been glad to give you the equipment. Had a beautimous quad attenda.

    Was wondering what your call sign will be? Any way they could give you something with the letters HOLY? You can pass. Focus on what you can get-there isn’t going to be as much math as you think there will be.

  19. Hams have been helping in the response to the earthquake in Nepal.

    And… Happy Morse Code Day!

  20. Giuseppe says:

    I know nothing ’bout no Ham radio, but I do know that whenever I see an article about Ham, I start to salivate, thinking it’s going to be about Ham. Mmmm……ham……(drool)….

  21. Fr. Bryan says:

    Fr. Z, glad you got the Radiogram #1501 from my station, and no need to reply. Its good to know that this form of communication is viable and would work in a disaster, or other potential scenario. 73.

  22. Fr. Bryan says: “glad you got the Radiogram”

    This morning I asked the other ham to respond for me, since I am about to hit the road. The next time, however, I’ll do it on my own.

    I need a couple really good local Elmers.

  23. jeffc says:

    Fr. Z, you’re making me want the rain to stop so I can fix my antenna! I’ve been off of the HF bands for too long (too many other responsibilities…kids, etc.). I was licensed as a Novice class ham in 1989, and upgraded to General and Advanced in 1994 (when you had to pass a Morse Code exam ant 13 WPM…my speed at the time was 18 WPM). I upgraded to Extra around the year 2000 when the 20 WPM code requirement was dropped (I never could get my code faster than 18 WPM).

    73s Pater!

  24. Imrahil says:

    I haven’t seen math like this since

    And I haven’t seen the notation “antilog”, even written symbolically as “log to the minus 1”, for a simple exponentiation ever. I would probably interpret it as “take the logarithm and then invert the result (and if you insert 1, you’ve got a problem)”, if seen without explanation. I see, though, that it is an alternative to the “^” notation that avoids having to put a longer term above in small letters.

    Dear Chicken,

    ah yes, for those who learnt to use the slide rule. I do regret they don’t have it in schools, nowadays. I did inform myself how it principally works (which makes me an exception), but nothing like constant training from the need to apply it in practice.

  25. MasterofCeremonies says:

    Father, I would recommend that you put this radio on your wish list:

    (Original UV-5R model)

    I have found that for working simplex/etc. on VHF/UHF, working on FRS and GMRS, and solid durability, this reigns supreme in it’s price class. I’ve used this for altar boy airsoft battles, com systems for A/V at pro life conferences, and listened to local ham groups helping police to track escaped convicts. Perfect for TEOTWAWKI since the low price point increases redundancy. I haven’t got my ticket yet, but I’m planning to within the month! Hopefully I’ll talk to you all on Echolink. 73

  26. MasterofCeremonies says: “put this radio on your wish list”

    Okay, I put that on my list. FYI

  27. Fr. Bryan says:

    Fr. Z, for a good HF radio, with auto-tuner included with the radio, and a good wire dipole antenna, for once you get the General Class ticket, I would recommend you add this to your wish list:

  28. Fr. Bryan says: “add this to your wish list”

    That would the the Yaesu FT-450D. I have the FT-879 on the list right now. Thoughts on that? It seemed a good option for power and, especially important, portability since I can’t build a “shack” where I live right now.

    Someone else instructed me to put the Baofeng UV5R on the list. Since I just added some Anderson power pole items, it is starting to look like an electronics store!

    And then there are the problems of antennas.

    But… back to a couple practice exams.

  29. Fr. Bryan says:

    Fr. Z. The Yaesu FT-897 has been discontinued by Yaesu, the Ft-857 is still being manufactured which is the smaller version. Not sure which is on your wish list. I did see the FT-450 in action at a field day, and it was getting out all over with a simple single wire center fed 80 meter dipole. It’s a nice rig. Its on my wishlist too.

Comments are closed.