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Showing posts from 2018

Victory.

Friday, November 16 I received the phone call from ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR. It was to inform me that I was elected as the new ARRL Division Director for the Hudson Division. My term begins on January 1, 2019 at 12 noon. You can see the results and vote tallies here.

Of the five challengers, only one lost their election, namely Valerie Hotzfeld, NV9L. I was saddened by this because I felt she had a lot of value to offer.

But I'm still happy that four challengers won, because let's face it - many are of the opinion that ARRL needs some serious change, and a shakeup of this magnitude will facilitate exactly that.

I did reach out to my opponent, Mike Lisenco, N2YBB. I left him a voicemail on his cellphone, with no reply. I still would like to thank him for his past 6 years of service. He did some good things during his tenure evven though we disagreed on some other issues.

I am of the firm belief that Amateur Radio wins. In my opinion, we now have the ability to enact f…

Today is the day!

Ballot sorting and counting is underway at ARRL HQ.

I would like to thank everyone for their support.

Also, please stay tuned as I have some other things after the election is over.

Long overdue updates and what you get by voting for us

It's been a while, but there have been updates.

Balloting is underway. If you haven't gotten a ballot by October 15, email Dan Henderson at the ARRL - dhenderson@arrl.org. Remember, if you joined by September 10, live in any of the five contested divisions (Hudson, Central, New England, Northwestern, Roanoake) and have a valid license that allows you to operate in the USA - it does not have to be an FCC issued license, but must be valid for reciprocal operation in the USA (by-law 1(a)) you are a full ARRL member and can vote.

Support for me has been very, very strong. I have had a full email inbox for a week and more since the ballots started hitting mailbox. Many of these are also first time voters, and many of those first time voters have been ARRL members for many years. I attribute this to having a strong campaign ethic, a powerful message and a detailed platform with a real vision for ham radio's future.

And now, we wait. If you haven't returned your ballot yet, p…

Ham spam

Yesterday I received an email from our NNJ section manager espousing support for my opponent and including a nasty attack on me, my candidacy and my now infamous 75 foot tower. It was sent to a distribution list of what appears to be ARRL members in the NNJ section. He claims that he is, "sending this to email addresses I compiled while campaigning using my private email account and private email server."

The problem is that I requested to be unsubscribed from his campaign email list over a year ago. He told me then that he had honored the request and sent me an email saying that I had been removed. The problem is that I am still getting these emails today.

Spam is no joke. Spam is also illegal under the CAN-SPAM Act and can carry penalties of up to 5 years in prison and fines of $250,000. I spent well over 10 years in a professional setting taking great pains to ensure compliance of our mass mailing systems. I have had to work not only with ISPs but under guidelines of Gove…

The problem is not numbers of hams! It's membership

My opponent is now claiming that "the number of active hams is declining." I guess he hasn't been on FT8 lately, nor operated a contest. Fact is, there are many, active hams today. In fact, license numbers in the past few years are the highest they've ever been.

I'll tell you what is steadily dropping - ARRL membership. Of these new hams, I was told that something like 6000 join and 600 remain after 1 year. This is extremely troubling, and my opponent makes absolutely no mention of this.

To stem this tide, the ARRL needs to completely reinvent itself, and get rid of some of the old ways things have always been done. To begin with, an emphasis has to be placed on member service - accurate, quick, efficient. People aren't wasting $49 per year only to endure processes that are broken. And no, "the needs of the corporation" should never, ever outweigh the needs of the membership. This is a fundamental, non-negotiable disagreement we have, and I am absol…

New ARRL CEO appointed. I am cautious

The CEO choice has been a controversial topic among board governance matters. The last CEO who resigned (and blamed the tax law) had numerous issues, which we will touch on in a bit. I can therefore understand the apprehension of watchful ARRL members who want to ensure that we get a CEO who not only is a good CEO but is also a good steward of the ARRL, and who is also invested in Amateur Radio.

Note that when I mean "invested in Amateur Radio" I do not mean that someone has to have several hundred thousand dollars in ham equipment and an antenna farm to rival K3LR. What I do mean is that I personally want someone who knows the hobby, its participants and is at least somewhat active. This way she/he knows the issues on the ground and can relate to member concerns. Two examples come to mind - GM and the USPS. Both of these have CEOs who worked in the lower levels of the organization and who know how it runs. They therefore know what the effect of their decisions made. That is…

Week ending September 1, the calm before the storm

I can't believe that Summer 2018 is almost over. Summer is by far my favorite season. The heavy coats come off, the summer dresses go on, the beaches are open, the kids go out to play, car traffic thins out and motorcycle traffic picks up.

Well, that's all coming to an end. And September is going to be THE height of election campaign season. I have a pretty packed calendar, going from several clubs in NJ, to ENY, to NLI, even in the NYC section of NLI.

This Thursday I'll be at GSBARC, one of the premier clubs in Long Island. Should be a fun time. Can't wait to meet up with the crew again! What a great bunch of hams.

If you've had antenna work, activations or other activities this summer I'm sure you have had fun. I still have some antenna work outstanding but I'm going to wind it down pretty quickly before the snow flies. And while I like summer, I'm eager for contest season to start so I can enjoy some good time behind the radio. Who doesn't?


GSBARC Fire Island lighthouse activation

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On August 19, at the invitation of John, W2HCB, President of The Great South Bay Amateur Radio Club (GSBARC) and EC/RO for the town of Babylon, NY, I visited the Fire Island Lighthouse to help them activate the lighthouse for International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend (ILLW). They have been an amazing and active club for many, many years and I was all too happy to visit.

The lighthouse itself is an amazingly pretty sight to see with some of the most beautiful and absolutely pristine seashore in this area. I took a tour of the lighthouse, and climbed all the way to the top. I also met up with two of my YL friends - Caryn, KD2GUT and Salli, K2RYD. I operated SSB and CW and many were happy to work me.

GSBARC absolutely rolled out the red carpet. They met me, shuttled me to the light from Robert Moses Field, and even gave me a personal tour of the lighthouse.

The drive from NNJ wasn't too bad at all. I used to actually go out to Long Island quite a lot when I was a contract pyrotechni…

Contesting and DXing - no shame here.

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One of the things I'd like to touch on here is that my opponent and his friends seem to think that the message that "contesters and DXers are elitists" is a winning strategy with the ham radio public.

For the record, I am a very avid and active DXer and contester. I have 324 countries confirmed (326 including deleted), 9 bands DXCC including 160 meters and DXCC challenge at the 1500 level. I also have numerous contest wins, both on my own and on VHF with Andrea, K2EZ who owns and operates a Ford Explorer rover.

Interestingly enough, my opponent is also a DXer and contester. In fact, he is even on the DXCC honor roll. This means that he is in the top 10% of DXers worldwide in terms of new countries worked. Wow. It takes a lot of dedication to do that. He's also a member of the Order of Boiled Owls of New York, a well known, but small contest club. So as it turns out, he's one of us, and in some respects more elite than I am.

I sincerely don't get why he goes a…

Petition approved

This week I received a note from Dan Henderson, N1ND, assistant secretary of the ARRL, saying that my petition was approved by the Ethics and Elections Committee. This is great news! It’s the first hurdle. Second of course is the actual election. Much work still to be done, but I’ve kicked campaign mode into high gear.

I have a very packed calendar with tons of club speaking engagements, and other campaign activities. I sometimes bring my kids to tour with me, and they enjoy seeing the sights. I’m working on their licenses, one day at a time. They do enjoy tuning across and listening. They’ve said hello to my regulars on 40 and 80 and on the local repeaters.

I would like to thank everyone who signed on, and even if you didn’t get the chance, not to worry - the real important thing is to remember to vote.

My opponent said I wasn’t serious well before I announced my run. Let’s show him how serious I am about bringing ARRL back to you by electing me as your director. See https://Hudson.n…

New endorsements, and a note about the truth.

Greetings, Hudson Division election fans! I have several new things to report.

As I write this, I am enjoying a wonderful FT8 opening to Europe on 6 metres. But even bigger than that, my friend Joe Taylor, K1JT has graciously offered his endorsement. Joe says, "I would be pleased to offer my endorsement - and I am delighted that you are running." This is no accident, folks. There are many who realize the direction that ARRL needs to go. We do need to focus on transparency, accountability and sound governance. We need to bring back ARRL fully to member service and member involvement. Joe joins a rapidly growing list of people who are behind me.

I've also been endorsed by Frank Fallon, N2FF, who was the director until 2011 when he retired. Frank has offered much help and support. I am really thrilled that Frank has come on board to help, as his knowledge and experience is invaluable.

Last night, August 7, I also visited the QSY Society in East Fishkill, NY. My friends Scot…

New website sections, endorsements, myth busting

I have added two new sections to the campaign website.

One is endorsements. I have a lot of people supporting me and endorsing me. I am adding them in due course. Thank you for your support. One thing you will notice is that my endorsements run the gamut - these aren't just ARRL insiders or people supporting me for a political purpose, but they are ordinary hams just like you and me who want a strong ARRL and who want a transparent ARRL driven by the membership. There are also a few on the list who make extraordinary contributions to ham radio, science and technology. I am also proud to have their support. I am a firm believer in science, technology and ham radio as a vehicle for such. The list isn't finished, it is ever growing. If you support the positive change I can bring and would like to have your name listed, please let me know. You don't have to be a donor or anything (although that would be nice, as campaigns are expensive). You just have to support the mission an…

Parity act pulled from NDAA

As expected, the Amateur Radio Parity Act language was removed from the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This was expected, and anyone who knows how Washington deals with these sorts of things knows that it would take something pretty extraordinary for it to stay in and pass, especially with Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) opposing it, and facing a tough election this year.

There are also many problems with the act. I will defer to legal expert Fred Hopengarten, K1VR on this matter. He wrote an excellent analysis on the act and its many flaws, which you can read and understand why this proposed legislation in its current form was a bad bill and in some cases would achieve the exact opposite of its intended objective.

My opponent is of course doubling down and trying to get this bad bill passed. I ask, how much time and money are we wasting on this, when we could better focus our efforts elsewhere?

Sussex Hamfest this Sunday

Reminder: I'll be at the Sussex County Amateur Radio Club Hamfest this weekend, on Sunday July 15. I have a table inside and you should see the banner. Come by, say hello, and bring your friends.

I'll also be there on July 14 helping the club set up (I am a member).

See you at Sussex!

73
Ria, N2RJ

Welcome QRZ members - ads are running

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Banner ads are now running on QRZ.com and soon to appear on some other websites. This targeted campaign will hopefully bring more awareness of the campaign. Ads aren't cheap, but they are definitely worth it. They are especially worth it if you would like to win back your Director's seat in the Hudson Division.

So a big welcome to all of you. And please, tell your friends in the Hudson Division why we need this positive change.

Of course, if you'd like to help display more ads and get the word out even more, you can easily do so.

For those of you who haven't seen the ad, it's here:



73
Ria, N2RJ

Website updates

I've added some parts of the website that spell out in detail what my position statements and plans are. Go to https://hudson.n2rj.com and have a look.

I also interviewed with Dan, KB6NU Yesterday (July 5) for his "no-nonsense Amateur Radio Podcast." If you have or know of a podcast or other ham radio media that would like to have me on, let me know and let them know.

Next weekend is a busy weekend as I'll be at the Sussex hamfest on Sunday. Should be fun! Come out, meet and greet.

Happy Friday!

Metro 70 hamfest, KCRC and 4th of July week

Sunday 7/1 I had the pleasure of visiting a small hamfest up in White Plains, NY. It was the Metro 70 hamfest run by Metro 70 network. It was a pretty small, low-key event. ARRL was there with the ENY SM - John, K2QY and his wife Linda, K2QYL N2YBB was also there at the ARRL table.

Nomar, NP4H was there with me to help with the table and it was nice having the company. I also remotely made FT8 contacts in between talking to people.

Quite a few members of WECA were there and we chatted for a good bit. I am speaking at their club meeting in September. Quite a number of others were there and had various things to talk about. It is clear that the campaign is gaining serious momentum as we prepare for positive change in Newington.

On July 3rd I will be at the Kings County Radio Club (KCRC) meeting in Brooklyn, should be fun.

Info is here:

https://www.kingscountyradioclub.com/club-meeting/

I'll also be operating the 13 colonies special event. It's a fun event where you can work the 1…

Field day visits and observations

Field day is Amateur Radio’s open house. We get to show off the best that our hobby has to offer and even get some folks operating who have never done so.

I decided to take the opportunity to go and talk to some clubs, meet and greet, as well as explain what I’m doing and why I’m doing. That went rather well, but I did hear some things which make my run all the more important.

There were many who said they wanted a change in the Hudson Division leadership and the board in general. But many others have also said that they dropped their membership because they feel left out of the league. I won’t get into the specific complaints but many had felt that the league had stopped representing them and became more like a business rather than a member services organization.

To me this is unacceptable. The League needs to return to member service as its focus and it needs to happen quickly otherwise we will never regain the faith hams  once had in the ARRL.

But generally apart from the ARRL gove…

Who else is running?

This election is critical to the survival of the ARRL. We need good people who believe in a more transparent and open ARRL to step up and help fix what is wrong.

So far in the Northwestern division, Mike Ritz, W7VO is challenging Jim Pace’s (K7CEX) successor - Bonnie Altus, AB7ZQ. I like many of Mike’s ideas and we share many of the same ideals. Therefore I would encourage those in the NW division to support him.

But who else? I’ve heard rumors about a possible challenger in the Central division. If true, I would
absolutely support them. The candidate I’ve heard about is a passionate advocate for the hobby, just like myself. Hopefully they decide to run, and soon.

There is New England. Anyone there? What about Roanoake? The time is now. If YOU are a considering a run and would like some advice and assistance, talk to me. I’ve got political experience and real campaign experience. I am also social media and media savvy. I can give you real strategy advice for engagement and GOTV. My em…

Separating truth from non-truths, and why this election is important

On the news front, my campaign is being noticed by a lot of people. By a lot of prominent people. This is GREAT news. Keep it going! I want to be your advocate in Newington, and I need your support to do it.

Of course, some people are now apparently running scared, because they know that positive change is coming. What do they then do? Counter it with negativity. One person in particular, a retiring director has taken the track of rehashing the same, old, tired "inexperience" argument over and over. But I know the people of Hudson division will see past the negativity and realize that we do need this positive change.

But let's address that first.

When my opponent was first running for director in 2012 (not that long ago), he ran against a sitting director who was previously an experienced vice-director. My opponent's previous field organization experience was primarily as a Section Manager. Did experience matter then? Should we have elected the more "experienced…

YLRL convention

Less than 2 months from now, a group of dedicated women amateur radio operators (YLs) will convene in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma for the YLRL convention 2018. This year the convention was organized by YLRL district 5. Thanks especially to the hard work of Michelle Carey, W5MQC and Leah Ohse, W3LEO.

I will be a speaker and talking about digital modes in amateur radio. I'll be talking about both HF modes and VHF/UHF modes. It will be a fun presentation, and it is something I enjoy doing.

Andrea Slack, K2EZ will be talking about her rover operation. Should be fascinating.

Carol Milazzo, KP4MD will also be talking about DXpeditions and her amateur radio adventures.

NASA research scientist Nancy Hall, KC4IYD will also be in attendance and speaking at the banquet. This will be very exciting! Nancy is a true role model to women, especially girls looking to get into STEM fields.

Many amazing women will be here and if you are a YL, it's a great way for you to network as well.

OMs? You can…

Campaign updates - website, media appearances, clubs, field day

It's been a busy week! The outpouring of support has been truly immense. More importantly, the locals in Hudson division have been throwing their support behind my campaign. This is a very good sign. I do especially appreciate the financial support, but even if you can't contribute financially, please do spread the word.

However, there is still much work to do.

First of all, the website is in full swing at https://hudson.n2rj.com

Look there for details of my platform and how you can help.

Yesterday (06/19) I made an appearance on HamRadioNow, which is a video web talk show.

Here it is: https://youtu.be/JUPbsYEkpzc

I got some great feedback.

I do truly want to be a director who engages her division. You, the division member will be my first duty. Yes, I will have a duty to the league, but the league is you and not some faceless corporation handing down edicts without regard for your opinion.

I want to be a director for every radio amateur. Gary made a comment about diversity. T…

N2RJ on HamRadioNow

I just completed an interview with HamRadioNow. It's live on the facebook page. The edited one will be up on their website soon.


https://www.facebook.com/groups/1603310419934646/permalink/2048964225369261/

73!

I'm running for Hudson division director!

I have been considering it, but it's now pretty much official. I am running for Hudson Division Director for ARRL. I think everyone by now knows the crisis that ARRL is facing, and that Hudson is ground zero. So rather than sit on the sidelines and complain, I've decided to step up and do something about it. I'm collecting signatures, and while I've collected more than enough to get on the ballot, I am going to collect as much as I can. This way, you can show your support, and I have "insurance" in case some of them are invalid.

I want to earn your vote and be the best director you can send to Newington. This is what you get if you elect me to be your division director:

Licensed 20 years, in 3 countriesA committed ARRL Life memberA strong passion for the hobby/service. As my friend Allan, EA3HSO puts it, I embody ham spirit.A patient listener. Your opinion as a member and constituent is not one that should be dismissed. It doesn't matter your activity in h…

3Y0Z Team Bouvet headed back to Cape Town

Update from the team:

MV Betanzos
South Atlantic Ocean
5 February 2018 --  0930 UTC

Our captain has decided that it is in the best interest of safety and expediency to proceed directly to Capetown, South Africa rather than Punta Arenas, Chile.  We are currently heading north to avoid the possibility of encountering ice.   Currently there is no ice in sight or on radar.  In due time we will head easterly toward Capetown.
Our entire team is safe.  Most are resting in their bunks and in good spirits.  We will keep the amateur radio community and our families informed as we continue our journey.

Ralph - K0IR
Bob - K4UEE
Erling - LA6VM


ARRL BoD meeting minutes released

The much talked about BoD meeting produced some decisions and the minutes of that meeting was finally released. Here it is.

It seems odd that they released it on Friday evening. Then again, not so odd. Releasing bad news on Friday is a very common tactic among politicos. Release a bunch of news on Friday, because nobody reads the paper on Saturday.

It seems like Newington is taking a few lessons from Washington?

Either way, the minutes are worth a read, if for nothing else but to see what your league is up to.

Z60A - $20 for a QSL? Not really.

We all know that the ARRL BoD is not the most popular entity these days. But one of the things they did recently made a tiny Republic which was part of the former Yugoslavia into a new officially recognized DXCC entity. Yes, this is Kosovo, and it's now an official DXCC entity.

Well, our friend from Finland heard of this news and flew in to Pristina pronto, as he wanted to be "on the ground" to get things well activated. Love him or hate him, he is "Martti on the spot" when it comes to new DX entities. Immediately the pileups came through thick and ferocious. Electric power consumption increased worldwide as transceivers and amplifiers fired up, beaming glorious RF to the newly recognized entity.

Ah, but there is one wrinkle. When it's done, it ain't done until the paperwork is done. You see, the contact is one thing, but DXCC rules require written confirmation. You do this either with a QSL card, a letter, or through ARRL Logbook of The World (LoTW).

The…

3Y0Z - Bouvet 2018 Aborted!

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The much anticipated 3Y0Z Bouvet Island DXpedition has been aborted.

As reported on DX-World, there were issues with getting weather clearance to fly their helicopters, which would delay them for a week and more. The island is pretty, the weather is not. Winds of up to 80 knots and more caused the ship to bob up and down making helicopter takeoff and landing extremely unsafe. Basically as one DXer put it - "it's like a cork in a flushing toilet." 
Then came this update from co-leaders K0IR, K4UEE, LA6VM: During the last 72 hours we continued to experience the high winds, low clouds, fog, and rough seas that have prevented helicopter operations since our arrival at Bouvet. No improvement was predicted in the weather forecast for the next four days. Then, last night an issue developed in one of the ship’s engines. This morning the captain of the vessel declared it unsafe to continue with our project and aborted the expedition. We are now on our long voyage back to Punta Ar…

FlexRadio SmartSDR 2.1 is here!

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At long last the next release of SmartSDR 2.x is here.

You may download it from here.

As you may remember, Flex had released SmartSDR 2.0 in Summer 2017. This made the Flex-6000 series the first ever amateur radio transceiver platform that can become an internet remote base out of the box. Other systems have had remote capability but Flex was the first to do it without having to add firewall rules (for most people) and incorporated modern technologies like social login and multi factor authentication (MFA) for enhanced security. The backend for authentication is powered by Auth0, one of the leaders in the industry.

SmartSDR 2.1 is the next incremental update, and is mostly designed with new hardware in mind. That said, I don't have one of the new radios, but I do have my 6700, and for us with the previous generation of radios, we have inherited the new features that are non-hardware dependent. This includes visual enhancements like shaded panadapters and tuning guides. It also inc…

ARRL CEO Tom Gallagher to retire, cites tax laws as reason.

Press release from ARRL:

http://www.arrl.org/news/arrl-ceo-tom-gallagher-ny2rf-to-retire

I found it somewhat surprising, since President Rick Roderick, K5UR recently dug in his heels when it came to league governance, citing a "misinformation campaign" which was really nothing more than members becoming rightly concerned about the move toward less transparency and the dilution of their vote.

Gallagher has often been subject to much criticism, and many have cited his leadership as part of the reason that the league is in such turmoil with membership lately. I am trying to keep neutral on this, and personally I do not know if he was directly responsible, but it would seem to me that all of these new moves toward reshaping the league started on his watch. So this is either a great coincidence or he is the one responsible.

Personally I don't care who is responsible, except for possibly removing bad actors from office in order put the brakes on any detrimental changes. That s…

Team Bouvet enroute

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The biggest DXpedition of the year (unless someone can somehow convince P5 to issue a license) is about to get underway. Yep, that's the 2018 Bouvet island DXpedition. Over a decade in planning, it is about to become reality, and sure to make many happy - and frustrated - when they make or don't make a contact. But that's just how DX goes.

Surprisingly, I don't need Bouvet as an all time new one, since I worked Petrus, 3Y0E in 2008. One of the few to do so, as he was pretty weak. In fact, in Northern NJ nobody heard him for weeks until there was a magic opening. However, a combination of hilltop location and a MonstIR antenna helped me bag that one pretty easily. However I am appreciative for bandfills, and I hope I can work them on every band that I can.

Anyway, my friends are off to Bouvet - and on this team you will find some of the best operators in the world. You'll also find that they are using Flex-6000 radios, on bands from 160 through 2 meters EME, along w…

Renaming

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As with all things, sometimes you have to reinvent yourself.

So, as of today, this blog will be known as "Ria's Shack." I've been contemplating this change for a long time now, and much of it has to do with my plans for other amateur radio ventures to help every one of you become better at our esteemed hobby. This especially includes my YouTube channel which I plan to add more meaningful content to.

So, here's to the new and improved blog - henceforth known as "Ria's Shack"



88
Ria

myARRLvoice

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Are you concerned about the direction of the ARRL? This has been on the minds of a lot of US radio amateurs lately. DX hams I am sure are a bit worried as well, since ARRL tends to influence DX, radiosport and awards programs worldwide. Take some time  to visit and make your voice heard.

Web: http://www.myarrlvoice.org
Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1181497555327577/

We are actively discussing plans, next steps and activism. But they need you, the ARRL member, and also just radio amateurs in general to step up and make your voice heard.

By the way, you ALSO need to make your voice heard to your director! myARRLvoice has put together this handy graphic. How about e-mailing this to your division director, along with some words of your own? Or how about discussing this with them in person? You voted for them, they should be listening to YOU. I will be doing a more comprehensive post about this, but for now, here is this.

2017 year-end and post holiday wrap-up

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2017 by far has been a banner year for me in Amateur Radio. Here are some of the highlights.

FlexRadio  It's no secret that I'm 100% a FlexRadio fan. This is not without good reason. Ever since I learned about amateur radio I have dreamed about a radio with the capabilities that they have made a reality. As such I have spent a lot of time on their community forum and privately advising their users and prospective users about capabilities of the radio and ecosystem. I have also helped many users get on their radios remotely, not just with the new SmartLink capability in SmartSDR 2.0, but also with VPN access using Raspberry Pi. Flex decided to honor me with one of their customer awards which brings me immense pride, and has earned a prime spot in my shack.

Did I just use the word ecosystem? You typically hear that about Apple, Google and other companies that make computers and electronic gadgets. Well, in this case it is true about FlexRadio. They are really growing their opera…