Happy New Year!

I'm no different than about 99% of all other bloggers out there that I have at least one post on at least one of my blogs devoted to New Years Resolutions.  I decided to take a different approach this year.  The main reason behind this is that there's a lot of other things going on, and a contest score or number of contacts is just a number - the larger goal is to have fun.

Last Year's Recap

The goals from last year were:

  • Learn CW well enough to casually contest.
  • Work a VHF contest this year
  • Participate in more contests this year
  • Operate more!

I've learned CW a little bit, and enough that I tried to make a QSO with a fellow SKCC member.  I've been closer and closer, but I haven't had the time to do anything like QRS nets (which IMO would really help hone my receiving skills).

I didn't work a VHF contest this year, and I don't think I did more contests, although I did a few that are new to me - the CQ WPX and CQ DX.  Both were fun, and that 10m opening to Europe during the CQ DX contest in October rocked.  I really wanted to play on the 10m contest in December, but a poorly timed vehicle breakdown screwed that up.

Operating more wasn't as difficult as I made it.  After a while of working two jobs, I had no time to get into the shack unless I was using my scanner to scan portions of textbooks for PowerPoint slides.  During that time, I noticed that the "morning group" on the repeater was there, but there were several times I was driving home and nobody was out there, so I finally decided to put my IC-706 in my truck and started hitting DX on 10m during my afternoon drive (and also a few after doing morning traffic counts, which put me on the road to the office at 9:00 AM).  It's amazing what a hamstick will do on 10.  I haven't even tried 6 or 20 yet, and the 40m hamstick isn't tuned.

There are a few things that never made it to the goal list last year.  One is that I started work on a mobile logging system, and the idea netted me a free ChipKit WF32 through Dangerous Prototypes.  I fixed my Ten Tec Omni base station rig (which was nice when that second job was on hiatus for longer than expected).  I presented about Arduino microcontrollers twice (to the Cincinnati FM Club and the Oh-Ky-In Amateur Radio Society).

I also learned a lot about electronics.  A lot more than I would have expected.  I never thought I'd be building with and using decade counters and DDS chips and the like.

This Year

I want to do some portable operating.  That generally means CW (generally... easily).  I have more trips for work this year than in years past, so having something better than an HT to go with me would be nice.  That being said, I need to finish my CW education and obtain a portable rig.

I want to do more 'casual' contacts.  By 'casual', I mean not-in-a-contest and not-in-a-net (which is fine, since I generally get on one net on 2m).  I want to do more QSOs while on my way home from the office.  This means two things:

  • Finish the mobile logger.
  • Figure out a better setup such that as soon as I'm on I-471, I'm either searching or calling CQ (maybe an expansion of the mobile logger?)

I want to play with more technology.  Every year, something new comes out, like the Raspberry Pi, then the Beaglebone Black, and now the Arduino Yun.  There's been new Arduinos, like the Due and the Leonardo.  The Chipkit WF32 is awesome (wifi FTW!!!).  The Ten Tec Rebel was released.  The future there is exciting.

I want to integrate things together.  I want to be able to easily log from my desktop, laptop, or my Nexus 7.  Yes, I want LoTW support.  No, I'm not going to begin writing it... yet.

I want to build more things.  This past year was great - I built several small things.  There's a few more things I have in mind that I want to get done and to the blog.

Speaking of the blog, last year I started (without a goal, mind you) doing posts on a weekly basis.  I want to continue to do that this year.  The other thing on the blog: new design.  The design I have is a free design.  It's okay, but I did start on a new one and I should finish it sometime soon.

Non-Radio Goals

That part above about 'a lot going on' is truth.  The goal I can think of that isn't radio related is that I want to complete my first half-marathon (that's 13.1 miles) this year.  That goal's pretty much low-hanging fruit since I've already registered for it and have been ahead of my training schedule.  The extension of that is I'm considering running a full marathon by the end of 2015.  I may hold off, but we'll see.

There's a few more non-radio things going on, but nothing too detailed...yet.

Well, I think that's it.  I hope 2014 is a great one for all of us.


Category: General Stuff

About the Author

Andrew is the owner of this blog and enjoys computer programming, building things, and photography. He's a pretty busy guy, which explains why updates to this blog are so infrequent.

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