When I earned my first amateur radio license in autumn of 2017 and purchased a hand-held transceiver, I wanted to know what frequencies, modes, repeaters, and times-of-day that were popular with other amateur operators near me. To accomplish this, I created a heatmap – a grid on a sheet of paper showing hours of the day down the left-hand column, and various modes and frequencies across the top of the page. Over the period of several weeks I listened to my transceiver and placed checkmarks in the grid whenever I heard activity. After some time and effort, I had a visual heatmap representation of the popularity of amateur radio in my area.
It is now two and a half years later and I continue to enjoy the amateur radio hobby, therefore I decided to take this concept to the next level by creating a software application that can run unattended while I am at work or asleep.
I have successfully used the application for:
Determining popularity of local 2-meter and 70-cm analog and digital repeaters
Determining popularity of 2-meter SSB by monitoring 144.200 MHz
Monitoring the International Space Station for unscheduled 2-meter FM voice transmissions on 145.800 MHz
Monitoring popularity of the 40-meter AM calling frequency on 7.290 MHz
Monitoring VHF air band frequencies, amateur simplex frequencies, and rail/public transmissions
It was five minutes to noon and cold rain fell hard against a troop of girl scouts as they ran with poster-board projects from the door of the Hopewell branch public library to their parents’ idling cars.
Five days from now I will visit my local library and sit for the Level 1 Technician Ham Radio License exam. I feel confident I will pass the exam largely from the help I received by three study resources below.
I discussed a few days ago how a box fan sparked my interest in amateur radio. If like me you’re just getting started with the hobby then you’ve already discovered the passionate discussions online about when to buy a radio and the qualities that make for a good first transceiver.
Two years ago I experienced an interesting phenomena. An inexpensive (dare I say, plastic) box fan randomly behaved like a low-volume, flat-sounding AM radio whenever positioned next to a window in my home.