Louisville Ham Radio

On the Air in Kentuckiana


Welcome to the Amateur Radio Kentuckiana ham radio resource website.

Feel free to look around and find information including local Ham nets, repeater information, club info, license information, local Ham events and more.


Louisville Ham Radio



Low Power FM Broadcast is Alive in Louisville

Thanks in part to various interests of mine, Low-Power FM radio (LPFM) is near and dear to me.  As such, I was happy to see the Radio Free Louisville article in LEO.

Since its inception in the early part of the 20th century, radio has commanded an unparalleled place of cultural power. The narrative of the apocalyptic radio broadcast — a staple in our contemporary “prepper” zombified zeitgeist — reveres radio as the most imminently durable and reliable technology. In countless pop culture references (from “Under the Dome” to “Walking Dead”), radio is the last voice of the people, the last available communication tool capable of saving civilization.

With four local stations recently awarded their FM broadcast licenses, Louisville is finally seeing the effects of the 2011 Local Community Radio Act, which made dial space accessible to Low Power FM (LPFM) stations and opened up the playing field to voices outside corporate and National Public Radio. That it has taken so long for the airwaves to become available to diverse public voices speaks to the economy of a medium long outpriced and regulated beyond grassroots reach.

Finish reading the article here and, if you’re the LPFM guy I talked to at the Vette City hamfest, get in touch with me!

The Amazing $130 Windows 8.1 SDR Gizmo

Toshiba Encore Mini with SDR dongleBy now, most hams have probably heard about the cheap SDR dongles that everyone is getting.  Meant for DVB-T use in other parts of the world, radio amateurs have figured out that these powerful, affordable devices are great for listening to local traffic across a sizable chunk of the RF spectrum.

All you have to do is just plug it into your computer’s USB port, fire up the software of your choice and you’re on your way to listening to local amateur, commercial, and aircraft traffic, tracking aircraft positions, and more.  If you’re a radio head, it’s (almost) the most fun you can have in front of your PC screen – but who wants to be stuck at their desk or mess with their laptop just to listen to a little radio?

If you like to go mobile with your tech, you’re living in a golden age.  The market is flooded with cheap, no-name Android tablets that may or may not work as well as their brand name counterparts.  Microsoft and other manufacturers have been cranking out Windows tablets, but the Windows RT versions are neutered and can’t run much useful ham software while the Windows 8.1 “Pro” models still have sky-high prices.  iPads… Well, some of the older models are coming down in price, but there just isn’t much there for radio amateurs.  Enter the new generation of affordable tablets.


For our demo, I’m using a Toshiba Encore Mini (WT7-CT16) – a 7″ touchscreen tablet with USB support that runs Windows 8.1 and has an MSRP of just $100 for the 8GB model that I got.  With flash memory chips’ capacity going up and prices going down, 8GB models are getting harder to find, though, so you may have to “settle” for the 16GB model.  I gather that the non-signature edition comes with some bloatware, but I’m not sure since I do have the MS signature version.  This is a pretty amazing deal, considering that an OEM copy of Windows 8 by itself costs about as much or more.  This tablet is perfect for this application (and lots of others!).  Since it runs a full version of Windows 8.1 and has a quad core Intel Atom x86 processor with a gig of RAM, it can run “real” Windows software.  Since it’s a touch screen, it doesn’t need extra gadgets like a keyboard or mouse to use it, although a stylus may help avoid “fat fingering” the controls.

Next, of course, we need the SDR dongle.  We’re using the Nooelec RTL2832 + R820T dongle.  The dongle, stubby antenna with cable and useless remote control sells for right around $20.  There is nothing Continue reading

RIP NM4K – Silent Key

NM4K operating W1AW.  Photo via QRZ.com

NM4K working W1AW. Photo via QRZ.com

Shared via Facebook:

Bill NM4K passed away late this morning. Bill was a friend to many and will be greatly missed by all in the local ham community.

According to Bill’s QRZ page, he had been a licensed ham for the last 34 years, receiving his extra class license after only 14 months of involvement with the ham radio community.  Bill’s amateur radio interests included DXing and contesting.  Bill participated in both national and local radio organizations as a member of the ARRL, Derby City DX Association and the Kentucky Contest Group in addition to  his participation with the Louisville Electronic Homebrewers Club.


SKYWARN Recognition Day 2014

NWS Special EventSKYWARN Recognition Day was jointly created in 1999 by the NWS and the ARRL to celebrate the contributions by volunteer SKYWARN radio operators to the National Weather Service.  The 2014 Event will be held on December 6.  For more details, visit the official SKYWARN Recognition Day page.

View the event in the Louisville Ham Radio Calendar.

Unlike during last year’s SKYWARN Recognition Day event, there will be no local participation at the Louisville WFO on Theiler Ln (WX4NWS).  Don’t worry though, you will have plenty of opportunity to work the many participating stations.

Operating Procedures are as follows:

  1. Object For all amateur stations to exchange QSO information with as many National Weather Service Stations as possible on 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6, and 2 meter bands plus the 70 centimeter band. Contacts via repeaters are permitted. SKYWARNTM Recognition Day serves to celebrate the contributions to public safety made by amateur radio operators during threatening weather.
  2. Date NWS stations will operate December 7, 2013, from 0000 – 2400 UTC.
  3. Exchange: Call sign, signal report, QTH, and a one or two word description of the weather occurring at your site (“sunny”, “partly cloudy”, “windy”, etc.).
  4. Modes: NWS stations will work various modes including SSB, FM, AM, RTTY, CW, and PSK31. While working digital modes, special event stations will append “NWS” to their call sign (e.g., N0A/NWS).
  5. Station Control Operator: It is suggested that during SRD operations a non-NWS volunteer should serve as a control operator for your station.
  6. Event and QSL Information: The National Weather Service will provide event information via the internet. Event certificates will likely be electronic and printable this year. Stay Tuned!


NRA 143rd Birthday Special Event Operation

Second Amendment advocacy group National Rifle Association is celebrating their 143 birthday this year and that birthday is being celebrated by radio amateurs.  To commemorate the anniversary of the Nov. 17, 1871 founding of the NRA, the Yavapai Amateur Radio Club (YARC) of Prescott, AZ, will operate a special event station from 1500Z to 2400Z.

The special event station will operate from the Gunsite Academy campus in Paulden, AZ. The special event call sign will be K7NRA.  Planned frequencies for special event operations include 7.250, 14.050, 14.250 and 21.335 MHz.  All amateur stations, especially those operated by NRA members and Gunsite alumni, are urged to participate.  A special certificate will be awarded to those stations making contact during the event.

QSL with a 9 x 12 SASE to:

P.O. Box 11994
Prescott, AZ 86304

GLHA Announces 2015 Louisville HamFest Date

The date for the 2015 Greater Louisville HamFest has been announced as Saturday, September 12, 2015 from 0800-1400 Eastern time.  As usual, the event will be held at Paroquet Springs Conference Centre in Shepherdsville.

The GLH includes both indoor and outdoor vendor spaces, license testing, presentations, prizes and more.

Tickets are $7 in advance and $8 at the door and include entry for the door prizes and main prize drawings.  Tickets ordered by mail also include an extra drawing ticket.  For ticket purchasing and more information, visit the GLH website.

RIP KI4EZN – Silent Key

Shared via Facebook:

Amateur Radio in Kentucky lost one our own yesterday. Donald Z. (Don) Messer of Louisville was found by his daughter at home dead. His call sign was KI4EZN and was an active member of Navy-Marine CORPS MARS in Ky. He was retired from Naval Ordnance Station. Visitation will be Monday, Nov. 10th from 9:30 am until 11:30 am with a service at 11:30 am at Rattermans on Cane Run Rd. RIP old friend.

Red Cross: More Enamored with Perception of Success than Success?

One crucial aspect of the Amateur Radio Service is emergency communications.  When disaster strikes and infrastructure fails, ham radio shines.  From local to long distance communication, the knowledge and equipment that radio amateurs bring to the table is invaluable.

When cell towers go down, traffic handling systems can quickly relay information to friends and family across the nation or around the globe.  When the power is out, hams know how to run their rigs from alternative power sources.  When disaster relief teams show up, practiced radio amateurs know how to efficiently coordinate their communications to ensure that aid is given where it is most needed.  As such, ham radio and Red Cross often go hand-in-hand (in fact, I even took my ham radio license exam at the Red Cross in downtown Louisville).

However, a recent report from Pro Publica’s Justin Elliott and Jesse Eisinger and NPR’s Laura Sullivan indicates that Red Cross operations might not be running at quite such a high level of efficiency.

Top Red Cross officials were concerned only “about the appearance of aid, not actually delivering it,” Rieckenberg says. “They were not interested in solving the problem — they were interested in looking good. That was incredibly demoralizing.

Read more at The Red Cross’ Secret Disaster.

ARRL 2015 Handbook Now Available

2015 ARRL HandbookThe 2015 ARRL Handbook for Radio Communications is now available.  This 92nd edition of the handbook provides valuable information for radio amateurs of all skill and experience levels.  In addition to discussing radio theory fundamentals, the handbook also includes circuit designs, information about digital operations, antenna construction pointers, and more.

The Handbook, available in both hardcover and softcover editions, is a must-have for the ham shack with 1320 pages of information on building your shack – including station design, equipment troubleshooting and repair, and RF interference reduction.  New projects in this years edition include a simple adjustable tracking power supply, tri-band moxon yagi antenna, legal-limit bias-t and an 8-channel remote control antenna switch.  The new edition also includes updated material on the state of Solar Cycle 24, the annual transceiver model review and a suite of applications on CD-ROM from Tonne Software, including a new version of the ELSIE™ filter design program.

2015 ARRL Handbook for Radio Communications Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-62595-020-8
2015 ARRL Handbook for Radio Communications Softcover ISBN: 978-1-62595-019-2