Station upgrades coming soon!

I’m working on some significant upgrades to my ham radio station. I finally received a Mercury IIIs amplifier. I was on the waiting list for about a year. I also got a Palstar HF Auto tuner to handle the increased power from the amp. For outside the shack I also got a K4KIO Hexbeam antenna. The only problem is that I don’t have a tower for it yet. That will be next, and hopefully soon! I’ll make additional posts as I bring the new equipment online.

New QSL Card Art from K1NSS

I wanted to incorporate some of my most recent ham radio activities into a new QSL card. I reached out to my friend Jeff, K1NSS, and gave him a basic idea about what I wanted. I wanted my DX hound buddy Luke the Catahoula featured in the card. As usual, he worked his magic and came up with a fantastic design that captured my vision, and then some! What do you think? This version will be going to the printer soon.

I got a new callsign!

I’m not sure exactly why I did it, but on a whim I decided to apply for for a few 1X2 and 2X1 vanity callsigns in call area 4 that were becoming available. Much to my surprise, yesterday I received a notice that I had been granted a new callsign – N4MI. It was not at the top of the list that I submitted to the FCC, but it turns out this is a great callsign for CW: -. ….- — ..

I did not realize how many things would need to be updated with a new callsign. To name just a few:

ARRL and Logbook of the World
VE credentials
DMR id
D-Star registration
Echolink logbook and callsign page
Reprogram hotspots and D-Star, DMR, APRS radios
Updating the name and domain for this website
New Email address (if it’s based on your callsign)
New QSL cards, shirts, hats, name tags (any physical item with a callsign)
New license plate with new callsign
WSJT-X, JTAlert, JS8Call, Ham Radio Deluxe, logging programs, Winlink, etc.
… and probably several other things I’ll discover later!

If you’re an active ham, when you apply for a new callsign do yourself a favor and make a list of things that will need to be updated ahead of time. Some of these changes are easy, but others are more involved and require time to complete.

Hamshack Hotline

A local ham friend shared a link with me for Hamshack Hotline, which is a free dedicated VOIP service for the ham radio community. In order to get on this network, I purchased a used Cisco SPA504G IP phone from eBay for $29. There are several other IP phones that will work with the service, but the SPA504G works great, and the price was right! It is important when purchasing a used phone to ensure that it is unlocked. The Hamshack Hotline website has all the information necessary to get started.

Once I received the phone, and connected it to my home network, I followed the instructions on the web page, and submitted a ticket for a new line using the HHOPS Help Desk. The Help Desk web page also includes a knowledge base and downloadable documents that are a great help for installing an IP phone on their network.

Within a couple of days, I had a response from the Help Desk team with my new HH phone number, and a link to a provisioning document for my phone. The instructions were easy to follow, and the team has created a process for provisioning that is nearly foolproof. I say nearly because I did have a slight issue with my home network, but the Help Desk team came through again and got me up and running very quickly!

My Hamshack Hotline phone number is 11642.