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I achieved my Technician license in December 2016, and quickly upgraded to General in January 2017, but I have been interested in radio and electronics for a very long time. I'm currently busy planning my shack and what equipment I want to put in it. Until then I'm working from a temporary location in my house.

I found out quickly that the number of radio's you own can quickly multiply. The catalyst for my finally entering the hobby was the price point of the Baofeng radios. I purchased one from Amazon shortly before I got my license, however, I have never used it. I found a great deal on an Icom ID-51A Plus, and my license appeared in the ULS one day after I got it. I quickly dove into the world of D-STAR, and have been enjoying it quite a bit. I enjoy using my home hotspot to explore the extensive number of reflectors that are available. I liked my HT so much I bought an Icom ID-5100A for my truck. Wow do I like that radio!

I recently decided to host an Xreflector in AWS (Amazon Web Services). The installation and configuration was fairly straight forward if your are comfortable with Linux based operating systems. I am in the process of getting it added to the various sources of host file information, which allow the various software packages to resolve the address of the reflector. You can use the reflector today if you are comfortable with updating your own host file. The URL of the dashboard is http://xrf858.ke0lmx.net, and xrf858.ke0lmx.net is the entry you would add to your host file. I chose 858 because Minnesota became a state in 1858, and my intent is to provide a reflector for repeaters and stations in Minnesota, but anyone anywhere is also welcome to use it.

At home I was using my HT and a mag mount antenna on a cookie sheet for quite a while, but quickly became frustrated with the limitations of that antenna setup. Once the weather got warm enough to work in the attic (I live under an HOA) and install a better antenna I put up a j-pole made out of 1/2" copper pipe. What a difference! I could hear and reach repeaters that used to be impossible. Because of that I wanted something better than an HT to see what a bit more power and better receiver might do for me. I picked up a Yaesu FTM-400XDR so that I could also have Fusion, and since the HF rig I will eventually buy (an Icom 7300) doesn't have VHF/UHF. I also picked up an MD-380 so I could also get on DMR. So far I have been greatly enjoying the versatility of having FM and throee modes of digital available to me.

I can't wait until my "official" shack is completed and I can get on HF, which should be later this fall.




8376314 Last modified: 2017-10-08 13:53:16, 2782 bytes

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