Orlando Hamcation QSO Party & Virtual Hamcation Set

Orlando HamCation has announced it will sponsor the HamCation QSO Party over the February 13 – 14 weekend (UTC), “to create a fun way for amateurs to celebrate the Orlando HamCation experience over the air.” The HamCation QSO Party will be a 12-hour event on HamCation weekend. HamCation 2021 was to host the ARRL National Convention, which now will take place in 2022.

“The QSO party will replicate the camaraderie and social experience of attending HamCation and provide a way to have fun on the radio, since HamCation 2021 will not be held due to COVID-19,” the HamCation QSO Party Committee said. The HamCation QSO Party will run from 1500 UTC on February 13 until 0300 UTC on February 14. It will be a CW and SSB operating event on 80, 40, 20, 15, and 10 meters. Any station may work any other station.

Categories will be High Power (more than 100 W output), Low Power (100 W output or less, but greater than 5 W), and QRP (5 W output or less). All participants will be single operators; there is no multioperator category. The exchange will be your name and state/province/country, and the outside temperature at your location. “We are including temperature at your QTH as a way of highlighting Orlando’s mild February weather,” the committee said.

Nine HamCation special event stations with 1 × 1 call signs will be on the air with combined suffixes spelling out HamCation (e.g., K4H, W4A, K4M, etc). Each contact will count as one point, and stations may be worked once on each band and mode. Entrants will report their scores on www.3830Scores.com; no logs are required. Final results will be based on the information submitted to the website.

Station guest operators must use their own call signs and submit their scores individually. Plaques and certificates will be awarded. 

Virtual HamCation Set

The Orlando HamCation Special Edition online event over the February 13 – 14 weekend will take the place of what would have been the HamCation 2021 in-person show.

The online event will include youth, technology, contesting, and vendor webinar tracks. ARRL will also present two webinars on Saturday, February 13.

  • ARRL Member Forum at 1 PM EST, moderated by ARRL Southeastern Division Director Mickey Baker, N4MB.
  • Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES®) presentation at 3 PM EST, moderated by ARRL Director of Emergency Management Paul Gilbert, KE5ZW. The ARES presentation will include panelists from ARRL Section Emergency Coordinators in Florida.

Live, online prize drawings also are scheduled during the HamCation Special Edition online event. 


Dayton Hamvention Cancels 2021 Show

Dayton Hamvention® will not take place for the second year.

“Unfortunately, several setbacks in the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic make necessary the difficult decision to cancel Hamvention 2021,” a January 11 announcement from the Hamvention Executive Committee said.  Sponsored by the Dayton Amateur Radio Association (DARA), Hamvention was set to take place May 21 – 23 in Xenia, Ohio.

“Hundreds of volunteers have been working to do everything necessary to bring this Hamvention to the many amateur radio enthusiasts and vendors who support the Dayton Hamvention. Vaccine distribution both in the United States and around the world is lagging behind what was planned. In addition, the emergence of a more communicable form of the COVID-19 virus increases the potential for further public health problems in the next few months. We make this difficult decision for the safety of our guests and vendors. Those who had their tickets deferred last year will be deferred again.”

The committee said the show would return in 2022 and hinted at a QSO party for Hamvention weekend. In November, Hamvention had announced that “The Gathering” would be the theme for the 2021 show.

Hamvention is the largest annual amateur radio gathering in the US and was host of the ARRL National Convention in 2019. The ARRL Hamfest and Convention Calendar includes a searchable database that includes other canceled in-person events.

New year, new month, let’s have a meeting!

The January meeting of the Lakeland Amateur Radio Club will be Monday, January 11 at 7 p.m. at the Aerospace Center for Excellence, 4175 Medulla Rd, Lakeland FL 33811. We’ll be meeting in the Education Building which is at the intersection of Medulla Rd and Rocky Rd. You can’t miss it as there’s a C-47 parked on one side and a helicopter parked on the other.

Amateur Radio license testing starts at 5:30.

Y’all come!

Ham Radio Resolutions for 2021

A new year is upon us, and like life, ham radio goes on. So what would you like to accomplish this coming year in this fabulous hobby of ours?

Work a contest? There are lots of them (and you can find them listed in the “Contest Corral” on the ARRL website).

Do some public service? (Here’s hoping as the world gets back to normal we get some events that need communication!)

How about becoming a Volunteer Examiner? It is extremely rewarding and the club can always use more (and you get to go to Scotland hihi)

How about EmComm? Organizations like ARES, Skywarn and CERT can always use more help.

Maybe it’s time for some new wallpaper in the shack. Have you got your DXCC (DX Century Club, for working 100 individual countries), WAS (Worked All States) or WAC (Worked All Continents), Certificate of Code Proficiency or any of the many operating awards that are available? The pursuit is fun, and getting that certificate up on the wall is a proud moment!

If none of these are your cup of tea, how about just being more active this year? There is a whole world of ham radio out there and many hams never scratch the surface. Be active on the air, be active in your club, be active recruiting and elmering new hams and just be active building up ham radio. Let’s make this coming year the best year ever in Amateur Radio!

Be sure to post your 2021 Ham Radio Resolution on the email list.

73 and Happy New Year from your friendly neighborhood blogger, AB4KA

FCC Announces $35 Amateur Radio License Application Fee

In a Report and Order (R&O), released on December 29, the FCC scaled back to $35 the fee for a new license application, a special temporary authority (STA) request, a rule waiver request, a license renewal application, and a vanity call sign application. All fees are per application. There will be no fee for administrative updates, such as a change of mailing or email address. The FCC has agreed with ARRL and other commenters that its proposed $50 fee for certain amateur radio applications was “too high to account for the minimal staff involvement in these applications.”

The effective date of the fee schedule has not been established, but it will be announced at least 30 days in advance.


Dust off those Keys…Straight Key Night is coming!

Every New Year’s Eve, starting at 0000 UTC starts an operating event like no other. It’s Straight Key Night!

Straight Key Night is not a contest…there are no points scored. It is a 24 hour operating event that celebrates our CW heritage. Contacts are strictly for fun and it’s a fabulous opportunity to hook up that straight key (or your trusty bug) and get on the air. See the attached link for details. Have fun!


‘Twas the Night Before Christmas…

‘Twas the night before Christmas,  
And all through two-meters,  
Not a signal was keying up  
Any repeaters.

The antennas reached up  
From the tower, quite high,  
To catch the weak signals  
That bounced from the sky.

The children, Technicians,  
Took their HT’s to bed,  
And dreamed of the day  
They’d be Extras, instead.

Mom put on her headphones,  
I plugged in the key,  
And we tuned 40 meters  
For that rare ZK3.

When the meter was pegged  
By a signal with power.  
It smoked a small diode,  
And, I swear, shook the tower.

Mom yanked off her phones,  
And with all she could muster  
Logged a spot of the signal  
On the DX PacketCluster,

While I ran to the window  
And peered up at the sky,  
To see what could generate  
RF that high.

It was way in the distance,  
But the moon made it gleam –  
A flying sleigh,  
With an eight element beam,

And a little old driver  
Who looked slightly mean,  
So I though for a moment  
That it might be Wayne Green.

But no, it was Santa,  
The Santa of Hams,  
On a mission this Christmas  
To clean up the bands.

He circled the tower,  
Then stopped in his track,  
And he slid down the coax  
Right into the shack.

While Mom and I hid  
Behind stacks of CQ, 
This Santa of hamming  
Knew just what to do.

He cleared off the shack desk  
Of paper and parts,  
And filled out all my late  
QSLs, for a start.

He ran copper braid,  
Took a steel rod and pounded  
It into the earth  
Till the station was grounded.

He tightened loose fittings,  
Resoldered connections,  
Cranked down modulation,  
Installed lightning protection.

He neutralized tubes  
In my linear amp…  
(Never worked right before –  
Now it works like a champ).

A new low-pass filter  
Cleaned up the TV.  
He corrected the settings  
In my TNC.

He repaired the computer  
That wouldn’t compute,  
And he backed up the hard drive  
And got it to boot.

Then, he reached really deep  
In the bag that he brought,  
And he pulled out a big box.  
“A new rig?” I thought!

“A new Kenwood? An Icom?  
A Yaesu, for me?
An Elecraft, TEN-TEC
Or Flex, could it be!”  
(If he thought I’d been bad  
It might be QRP!)

Yes! The Ultimate station!  
How could I deserve this?  
Could it be all those weekends
I worked Public Service?

He hooked it all up  
And in record time, quickly  
Worked 100 countries,  
All down on 160.

I should have been happy.  
It was my call he sent.  
But the cards and the postage
Will cost a month’s rent!

He made final adjustments,  
And left a card by the key: 
“To Gary, from Santa Claus. 

Then he grabbed his HT, 
Looked me straight in the eye, 
Punched a code on the pad, 
And was gone – no good bye.

I ran back to the station, 
And the pile up was big. 
But a card from St. Nick  
Would be worth my new rig.

Oh, too late, for his final
Came over the air.  
It was copied all over. 
It was heard everywhere.

The Ham’s Santa exclaimed
What an old ham expects: 
“Merry Christmas to all, 
And to all, good DX.”

Here’s wishing everyone a very, Merry Christmas from your friends at the Lakeland Amateur Radio Club!

FCC to require email addresses for all hams

The FCC has announced that they will be transitioning to all-electronic communication and will require that all amateur radio operators have a valid email address on file. The date that the requirement will take place is still to be determined, however it appears it will be in the summer of 2021.

There’s no time like the present to make sure Uncle Charlie has your correct mailing address, and be sure to get that email address listed!



Tampa Bay Hamfest is this Friday & Saturday!

The annual Tampa Bay Hamfest is this weekend! It is once again being held at the Strawberry Festival grounds, however due to virus concerns it is primarily going to be held outside (so far the weather looks like it should be good). It starts Friday, December 11 at 1 p.m. and runs through Saturday, December 12 at 4 p.m.

See the attached link for details. See you there!