The Thrills and Agonies of Radiosport

Scott WestermanBy Scott Westerman – W9WSW

How many of us remember Jim McKay’s introduction to ABC’s Wide World of Sports? “The thrill of victory… And the agony of defeat!” Such are the joys and frustrations for enthusiasts of Radiosport.

Radiosport, the term coined for the dogged pursuit of the many certificates and awards available to those who love injecting watts into a wire. Many still call it contesting. My XYL would call it an addiction in our house. Any way you slice it, it can be great fun! Read the rest of this entry »

Meeting the Media – 7 Steps to Building Productive Relationships

Scott WestermanBy Scott Westerman – W9WSW

The best way to build your network is before you need it. That’s why we practice emergency communications skills at events like Field Day and participate in Radiosport. That was the motivator for the famed Rocky Mountain Hams to build a state of the art broadband microwave network to facilitate high speed multimedia modes. Smart people who are thinking of a career change, get to know people who can help them before they come above the radar.

And so it is in the public relations realm. We live in a world where relationships rule. It’s crucial to get to know the key media contacts in your area before you need them. Here’s how to do it. Read the rest of this entry »

The ARRL 2016 Hurricane Preparedness Webinar

How contesting skills can prepare you for public service communications

The American Radio Relay League‘s Ward Silver’s terrific webinar on leveraging contesting as training for public service communications.

VHF saves the day in Star Trek Beyond


Great to see the Star Trek crew use VHF to beat the bad guys in “Beyond”. 6 meters turned out to be the Magic Band, “when all else failed”.

MSUARC Memories – The 2015 Virtual Tailgates


Memories of the 2015 football season. MSUARC offered commemorative QSL cards for contacts made during our virtual tailgate parties prior to each home game, complete with a suitable-for-framing poster to display them. Thanks to Gregg WB8LZG for organizing the event and to Francie at the Michigan State University College of Engineering for her artistry.

MSUARC activates NPOTA AA07

Bruce, K2BET and Ed, W8EO at AA07 near St. Ignace, Michigan. Learn more about The ARRL’s National Parks on the Air here.

Ham Radio 101: How to read a resistor


The story behind “The NPR Sound”

Neumann_U87_Condenser_Microphone_-_Studio_A_In_Your_Ear_Studios-771x514For years, the Electro Voice RE20 was the studio standard we radio announcers loved. It seemed to enhance the bottom end of our voices, giving us a three-pack-a-day throat without the cigarettes. Today the SURE SM7B and the Heil PR40 often supplant RE20s in the control room. But NPR uses Neumann U87 mics, considered the best, and most expensive in the business. And they do one additional thing, enabling a bass-roll off setting to make the sound as flat as possible. This create’s NPR’s “signature sound”. Now days, we listen either in our cars or through the small speakers on our smart devices and flatter vocals are easier to understand in those environments. The U87 is a classic in the recording studio, but it’s price point ($3,000 a piece, the equivalent of about 6 RE20s) is a deterrent for budget conscious broadcasters. I use Rode NT1s for my analog work and a Blue Yeti in USB audio applications, still emphasizing those low frequencies that NPR rolls off. But how I wish I had just one U87 so I might try my hand at saying, “This is NPR, National Public Radio.”

A cool new NASA app for Apple TV Gen 4

Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 10.27.02 AM

Space fans with 4th generation Apple TV’s are in for a treat with a new NASA streaming app.