HF Digital and Packet Training Day

Wow!  What a day!  Ken, K7KBJ, coordinated an HF digital and packet training at his house.  A small group of us gathered in his new ham shack to get a hands-on introduction and do some initial set up and configurations for the guys that brought their stations with them for the training.  I do not have the components needed yet but I attended for the educational purposes and get a better idea of the next direction I will take in ham radio. I learned a lot but just like any other training I have attended, came away with more questions and bewilderment despite gaining knowledge.  The HF digital world is fascinating and I really do want to begin exploring those modes. Packet is a mode that I have been wanting to delve into as well.

Doug, KA7FOO, walked us through the download, install and configurations of fldigi.  This really was the bulk of the day. Our training was a little bit informal as this was coordinated by Ken for the purposes of developing communications protocols for our group.  We had lots of opportunity to ask questions along throughout the training. Doug is ever gracious and generous with his time and commitment to the community. The rest of the guys that were there have all been involved in ham radio and communications in general for a long time.  Many of the questions they were asking were out of my league. At the same time, I learned so much and got a better understanding of the radio world overall.

I was surprised by all the modes available in HF digital and fldigi is straight forward.  I am confident that I will have minimal problems using the program when I can finally get up to running.  I was intrigued to hear about formal traffic handling nets. I didn’t think I would be interested in HF operation.  Honestly, HF intimidated the crap out of me. I didn’t think I would get the hang of HF operation. It always seemed more complicated.  I made it seem harder than it really is, so I shied away from HF. No more. I am ready.

20180908_153028We didn’t spend as much time on packet.  Doug discussed the pros and cons between a TNC and Signalink.  We discussed the differences between Winlink and Outpost. Packet is a no-brainer for our group.  We intend to develop this mode of operation. By the end of the afternoon, Ken and Rob were all set up on their stations for both packet and fldigi.  I have my plans for the future build of my field station. It was a great training and I am excited to move into the next stage of my radio hobby.

Cost is a big issue for me right now.  I have a goal to begin building out my portable go-box for field operations.  Now that I know what components are required, I begin planning and budgeting. This also means that I need to upgrade to the General ticket.  Looks like I have a mission to complete. Time to get working on it. Keep coming back to the blog for more updates.



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