Its a bit early to start thinking about my summer project, but once Visalia IDXC and Hamvention are over – we will be on the cusp of Summer. I usually spend most of the summer working on antennas, but I am so pleased with my current setup, my attention will turn elsewhere. Last summer I worked on the u.RAT, and the summer before 160M RX antennas. Since I have made 9BDXCC – and had gotten really bored with 160M (there simply isn’t enough new opportunities often enough on the West Coast), that I lost interest once I made DXCC on that band.
The ICOM IC-7610 offers one possibility – it has so many “windows” onto the inner working of the radio via its Scope screens that I can really get serious about learning SDR architecture. I say this because its Scope screens offer what I think is “DX University in a Box”. I never got into using a Panadapter or the second receiver with the K3 and P3 before – but that has changed dramatically since getting the 7610.
The second thing is to start studying propagation in more detail. The most “magical” part of this has been my epiphany on 40M – and how my phased vertical array is the “go to” antenna for Short Path, and my UrbanBeam is my go to antenna for Long Path. I never had done serious A – B antenna testing on 40M, and so now I realize just how much that matters, and how much you can learn.
I also just love playing with the Wellbrook Loops and the NCC-2 – but on the AM broadcast band. Its pure magic to be able to mechanically and electrically “steer” what I receive – even between several Clear Channel” stations.
Maybe there is another Maker project hiding in the wings? Maybe a Raspberry Pi based SDR, where I can poke around hands on with it? Sadly, Ten Tec tried to go this route right before they tanked.
I also still have a nostalgic bent on CW – and want to be able to increase my speed where I listen by ear and not by writing anything down. Maybe I should start listening to the ARRL CW bulletin on 80M every night since I had always avoided 80M – but now I have a great 60′ vertical up – and so it could be fun to start really understanding 80M propagation and how it compares to 40M. The same for 30M – how does it compare with 40M? I used to love Winter mornings when 30M behaves like 40M, but that doesn’t last long, and so 30M still is a bit of a mystery to me.
Lots to think about and play with – which is why this hobby is so much fun – there is always “unfinished business”!