What would a blog be without the traditional year-in-review-and-here-are-my-New-Year’s-resolutions post?  For a general overview of amateur radio in 2011, Jeff, KE9V, has a rather excellent summary over at KE9V.net worth reading.  From a personal standpoint, it was a year that I spent less time on the air and more time tinkering with stuff.

Much of my activity was centered around the Arduino CW Keyer.  I’m especially proud of the Winkey emulation mode which enables interfacing to many logging and contest programs and the PS2 Keyboard code.  It’s been really satisfying to hear from folks, especially DX, who are using the code in their shacks.

Another project was the Yaesu Rotator Controller Emulator which interfaces most any rotator (not just Yaesus) to a computer for control via a terminal session or logging/contest program.  It’s cool to be running Ham Radio Deluxe and just point-and-click to where you want to go and have the beam rotate automagically.  Yea, I’m amused by simple things.

One of my 2011 resolutions was to do Summits On the Air or SOTA in a big way.  I ended up doing only three SOTAxpeditions, but I’m finding outdoor operation much more interesting than sitting in a shack trying to bang out cookie-cutter QSOs.

I tried Weak Signal Propagation Reporter or WSPR.  It’s an interesting novelty, but I’m not sure it will hold my interest for long.

My blogging suffered a bit.  Quality over quantity has always been my goal and my post drafts folder continues to be littered with unfinished posts, half-baked ideas, and posts that never saw the light of day because I felt they were too controversial or critical for the intended tone of this blog.

My summary of 2011 wouldn’t be complete without acknowledging the influence of G4ILO on my daily thought.  Julian’s announcement of a statistically-incurable brain tumor was a shock to all of us here in the amateur radio blogosphere, myself included.  His writings in both his amateur radio blog and One Foot In The Grave have helped me remember what is really important in life and how valuable our time is.  Now that I’m in my forties I’m realizing I need to start figuring out how to better spend my finite time here and do rather than just dream.  Julian, I wish you the best for you and Olga in 2012, and know that your insights have helped this radio artisan.

So what’s on the roadmap for 2012?

Many more SOTA expeditions and outdoor operating in general.  I’ve been talking for years about doing a spring Appalachian Trail overnight expedition.  Time to just get some friends together and do it.

VHF Contest Mountaintopping.  This goes along with the outdoor operation theme.  Just do it.

Arduino CW Keyer.  I may add more features in 2012, like LCD display support and CW decoding, but I’m probably going to focus my efforts on facilitating community efforts to build complete units.  Oscar, DJ0MY, who has been helpful in suggesting and testing keyer functionality has recently been working on an “open source” design PC board and an enclosure.  Perhaps kitting would be the next logical step.

Build an Az-El satellite antenna array using cheap homebrew yagis and a homebrew Frankenstein rotator setup with my Arduino rotator interface.  That should make the neighbors wonder what I’m doing.

Develop the RadioCubeCache idea further and see where that goes.

Build an Arduino-based automatic antenna tuner.  This one has been on my list for awhile.  Like the keyer I think I can build something as good as commercial offerings and offer it to the community.

Try JT6M, JT65, and all the JT modes.  I think this is going to be the bulk of my home on-the-air time in the new year.

Anyway, thanks for reading and have a Happy New Year!

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