There are many reasons to get a Ham Radio License, and if you are one of those people who think Ham Radio is dead, you can probably skip this post. However, if you were interested but didn’t want to throw a lot of money on a station, [KE6MT] has some good hint to you. He says you can have a great time on ham radio for about $ 100 spending.
The position is the advice he wished he had received it in 2015 when he received his license. It turns out that you can get on the air very cheaply these days, especially if you’re not scared of building equipment out of kits.
There are some limitations. For low-powered devices, you may want to stick to Morse Code, a mode that makes it much easier to socialize. He didn’t mention it, however PSK31 is also good for when you’d rather enter code than code. He borrowed a “big radio” from a local ham and spent some time on the microphone, but he still prefers the code.
He found an interesting solution to problems of socializing with people. He attends SOTA, or Summits on the Air, where you take your gear up a mountain top and people try to find you. This is a pursuit where the small portable devices come in handy. However, if you don’t have mountains nearby, there are other ways to become a rare stop. There are hams that try Work islands, for example. Or rare US Counties. If you can make yourself a rare stop, you can sit back and let these hams chase you! Great idea.
If you are not familiar with the code, now is the time to pass a code test. [KE6MT] has some online resources for you including the amusingly named Morse Toad iPhone or Android app.
The heart of his station, however, are the QRP Labs QCX kit. Although he praises the instructions, he adds a few things about winding the receiver input transformer toroid. Of course you also need an antenna, which it also covers with another kit. The kit is rounded off by a CW paddle that you build yourself.
You don’t need the paddle to send code, but many people prefer it to a straight key. With a straight key, the dots and lines are formed by hand, while with a paddle (and an associated keyer) pressing one side of the paddle creates dots while the other side creates lines. Press both at the same time and you will get an alternating pattern. For the ultimate in convenience, a computer generates the exact length of dots and lines required for the desired speed. Handy but not necessary if you are really on a budget.