05 April 2020

Ham Radio Minimus

The Coronavirus has kept me and the XYL at home for the past few weeks. We're both still working (she's an elementary school teacher) so we stay busy most of the day. The weather here in north-central Georgia has been remarkably gorgeous for most of the past two weeks, with cool temps and clear skies. I know Mother Nature will have her way with us later in the season, but for now it's nice.

However, one does get bored when the job requirements for the day taper off. While I've got a full-up ham shack I can hunker down in to 'play radio', lately I find myself wanting to just sit on the back deck and enjoy the weather, eat lunch, chat with the XYL, wave at the neighbors also practicing social distancing and... play radio.

Normally if I want to play radio on the deck I'm dragging all sorts of crap up from my shack - batteries, radios, tuners, cables, computers, etc. But this week I've been keeping it simple. I've got my Chameleon Antennas vertical set up in the back yard and I keep my CommRadio CTX-10 on the porch. It 'lives' in a small Pelican waterproof case and is easy to pull out and set up in just a few minutes - literally, it takes all of two minutes to get on the air, and that's if I'm moving slow. 

What makes the CTX-10 perfect for this situation is it's built-in battery and tuner. If all you want to do is talk on sideband there's no cable mess other than the coax going to the antenna. With a small set of C.Crane's excellent communications earbuds this makes a fun setup. It's so small it doesn't bother the XYL when she's sitting with me out on the deck.

The operating is casual - I'm not working DX. I keep the radio set up throughout the day and when I get a break I'll sit down, turn it on and have a listen on 80 and 40 meters. If something sounds interesting I'll toss out my callsign. For variety I'll tune over to the shortwave bands and try to catch Radio Havana or Brother Stair (where hell does that guy get the money to both pay his lawyers and stay on the air?). The CTX-10 is actually a pretty good all-band receiver.

Next week the weather is supposed to start getting more 'springtime in Georgia'. That means rain, high humidity and higher temps. But for now, it's wonderful on my deck.

W8BYH out

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