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Our Mission:

Do radio stuff.
Have fun doing it.
Tell others how much fun it is.

Do radio stuff. Have fun doing it.
Tell others how much fun it is.


Entries in ham radio (25)

Thursday
Jan162014

Happy Birthday, Baby

What do you get a ham radio humor website that has everything?

A cake with a Baofeng candle!

A year has gone by since we started HamHijinks.com. In that first year, we:

  • Published 93 HILARIOUS stories.
  • Deleted 3,538 spam comments.
  • Received 91 "Is this real?" inquires.
  • Got syndicated around the world.
  • Redesigned the site 1 time.
  • Crashed the server 2 times (see bullet point above)
  • Made $0.

Thank you for reading our site and putting up with our silliness. We sure have fun with it.

73 de The Noise Blankers Radio Group

Thursday
Dec192013

Wreaths, Radios and Road Cones

The Noise Blankers decided it was high time to do some more public service. So, for the second year in-a-row, we volunteered to coordinate parking at the Fayetteville, Arkansas, Wreaths Across America event on December 14, 2013.

It was much colder than last year with snow still on the ground, but who are we to complain? It's humbling to participate in a ceremony where more than 7,000 wreaths are placed on gravesites in the Fayetteville National Cemetery. Thanks to support from Walmart, every grave in the cemetery gets a wreath.

Our job was to greet incoming vehicles and direct them to park at Baum Stadium and ride a shuttle bus back to the cemetery. We also coordinated parking for news media and disabled participants and controlled vehicle traffic moving through the cemetery. This resulted in a few confused looks, some mildly annoyed responses, and two traffic cones being run over.

 We really stepped up our game this year by ordering custom vests with the words "RADIO COMMUNICATIONS" on the back. We know they were effective because one gentleman asked if we were doing a live radio broadcast of the event. And in a nod to our outstanding forthought and planning, the vests were a last-minute addition. Because, as we always say, "SAFETY THIRD." Just kidding, kids.

Last year, simplex communications proved to be difficult at times because a new apartment complex had been constructed next to the cemetery. The buildings like to block RF in certain spots. In addition, the Baum Stadium parking lot was on the other side of a small hill, sometimes leaving Jeff K3DEI in static. Our trick was to use K5KVN's Kenwood D700 crossband repeat functionality, transmitting 2m in and 70cm out. This worked perfectly and properly covered the cemetery and parking lot down the hill with RF.

And to top it off - because we are complete overachievers - this was the first test of new Beofeng HTs for WBØRUR, K5PO and K5KVN. The Beofengs worked great and continuosly for the 5-hour event. Thanks to Gary WB0RUR, Andy K5PO, Kevin K5KVN and Jeff K3DEI for doing this public service event.

Tuesday
Nov122013

Your Club Is Doing It Wrong

A Noise Blankers Editiorial By K5KVN

I'm not saying our club is the greatest on earth, but I would rent a limo and ask it to the prom.

I have done the club thing since I was first licensed in 1994. Back then, I was a member of the University of Arkansas club (W5YM). I was president for two years, too. After I graduated, I helped start a new club called Amateur Radio Klub of the Arkansas Northwest (ARKAN). I was a charter member and president.

Work and a baby took priority for the next few years and club politics became an unfortunate burden, too. So, I backed out of the club scene...until we started The Noise Blankers Radio Group last year.

Here are three points that make The Noise Blankers Radio Group work well.

Like-minded
We act, work and play similarly. That's not earth shattering, is it? We all know that people who think the same way tend to get along.

The Noise Blankers have a similar "don't take things too seriously" viewpoint on the hobby. We think making fun of ourselves is healthy. Our members must share the same viewpoint and be active on social media and the radio. Our mission: “DO RADIO STUFF. HAVE FUN DOING IT. TELL OTHERS HOW MUCH FUN IT IS.”

Find your strength
Our club quickly found a "niche" and began to exploit our best qualities. Put it this way: find your club's strength and use it to its full potential. Your club may have a membership full of talented webpage programmers. If so, perhaps you set out to have the best ham radio club website on the internet. Or, maybe your club has an abundance of "tinkerers" and you help school kids build kits. For us, it was a common background in professional broadcasting, communications and public relations. We use our similar professional experience (the stuff we do well and get paid to do) to enhance our enjoyment of the hobby.

Stay loose!
Here's a catchphrase that WBØRUR sent me a few days ago: "Loosen Up The Squelch Bro!" He mentioned it to me and other club members in our 24/7 chat room. (We currently use Facebook Messenger.) That chat room really is active 24/7. It’s where we take care of club business, send jokes, post DX spots, send pictures or share random thoughts.

That "open line" is where we have our best ideas. It's our 24/7 club meeting. It's where we came up with the name "Noise Blankers Radio Group." (Have you noticed we don't use the word "club" in our name?) One day, we were sending funny ham radio news headlines to each other. There was much LOL. And that's how hamhijinks.com was born! Then there was the time that one of us suggested in the chat that we should get our VE credentials. That was 11 a.m.; by 3 p.m. we had all passed the VE exam.

From day one, we have worked to keep it simple with a light-hearted focus. We stay in touch with near real-time communications amongst ourselves, take quick action on things that need a decision, keep a "GET 'ER DONE" attitude and have NO burdensome and antiquated voting/meeting procedures. In this group, there shall be no “analysis paralysis.”

That’s how we roll. It’s a situation that works for our “club.” Your mileage may vary. What works for you? What makes your club great?

Wednesday
Oct302013

3rd Annual Worked All Twitter Contest Nov. 27 – Dec. 1

It’s time again for the Worked All Twitter Contest (#WATwitter). This is a fun, loose “contest” to bring together those that love amateur radio and Twitter. The contest was the idea of Connie Bird Mah NR4CB three years ago to help amateurs that often chat on twitter about ham radio to get on the air and actually meet each other through the radio. The contest has traditionally occurred over the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

The Noise Blankers are a big fan of Twitter and of the #WATwitter contest. Most of the club has been active on Twitter for a number of years with dedicated amateur radio-focused Twitter accounts. I personally feel that given how much passion we have about amateur radio, it’s best to dedicate a Twitter account just to the topic. It allows you to use your callsign as your Twitter handle and keep the conversations fun and focused. Heck, The Noise Blankers collectively maintain five amateur radio focused twitter accounts in our small club alone!

In fact, we actually met one of our club members on Twitter! After exchanging a few Tweets with Nathan Shinn K5KAC, I realized that he shared our same odd sense of humor and lived just a few miles down the road. A short time and a few Tweets later we extended an offer to join our sorry excuse for an amateur radio club, WR5P.

And of course we have out ham-based humor account @HamHijinks where we post absolute rubbish stories mocking mostly ourselves. But I digress—the contest! I’ll leave it to Connie herself to explain the basic rules of the loose contest:

- Dates: Wednesday, 27 November – Sunday, 1 December 2013
- Who: Any licensed operator, especially those who use Twitter
- Where: All bands, all modes. To let as many people as possible participate, use the portion of the band open to the most people, i.e. the technician class portion of 10m, the general class portion of 20m, etc.
- Exchange: your normal exchange plus your Twitter handle, especially if it’s not your call sign.
- Spotting: Self-spotting is practically required. Tweet your frequency, interact with people on Twitter, set up skeds, get those states you’re missing for WAS, work old friends for the first time, and make new friends.
- Hashtags on Twitter: #WATwitter and either #hamradio or #hamr. Use these hashtags in your tweets, and search for others who are using them. Interact!
- Have fun! Log your contacts, tweet your tallies to others, but there are no scores or awards. This is about enjoying our hobby and connecting with fellow hams over the long holiday weekend.

We look forward to working many of you on the air. If you’re new to Twitter, that’s fine too! It’s a great opportunity to meet (and follow) many new ham friends and connect with them through one of the most popular social tools. It’s clear us hams like to connect and Twitter provides a laid-back, low commitment way to do it. The Twitter ham radio community is vibrant, growing daily and has been a great place to share DX stories, gear advice, make skeds and more.

For the latest on the contest check out Connie’s blog at http://bionic-nerd.com, check back here, or follow the #WATwitter hashtag on twitter!

73,
Andy, K5PO