Ham radio update:
a) Was AC3BP, now K3GMQ (sentimental reasons: I had the novice call WN3GMQ in high school). Couldn’t think of anything cleverer for a vanity call sign.
b) The antenna went up a week ago (see pic)….it’s a 130 ft end-fed half-wave. Wire highlighted in red for visibility. The far end is about 80-90 feet up that big tree. Launched a 1-1/2 oz sinker (10 lb. line attached) over the tree with a Daisy B-52 slingshot. Then pulled up masons line, then the final 1/8″ dacron to hoist the pulley for the antenna. Tunes up easily on 80/40/30/20/17/15/12/10 meters using only the internal antenna tuner on….
c) The rig: Icom IC-7300 (second pic). Before I got my ham ticket I was doing a lot of listening using RTL-SDR dongles and an SDRplay RSP-1. The 7300 is pretty much in the same idiom, except it can transmit too. All in one box. 100 watts max.
d) Started out doing digital modes (mainly FT8) and have made DX QSOs (distance exchanges) on every band listed above, using only 10-25 watts. Most of them were to South America (Rio, Santiago, Sao Paulo) etc. in the 5000 mile range. Best one so far is Johannesburg, South Africa (over 8000 miles away). Maybe it’s just the time of day I’ve been using it, since the antenna is aligned to have more signal directed towards Europe.