Sunday, January 12, 2014

Hamboree 2014: Branson Here We Come!

The 3916 Hamboree for 2014 is scheduled for May 30-June 1, 2014.  This year the event moves to Branson, Missouri.   The is very excited having our event in Branson.   As you know, the Branson area is home to a wide variety of family-friendly events and entertainment, not to mention world class lakes, fishing and other outdoor attractions.  And based on preliminary feedback from 3916 members, many of you plan to attend and bring your family!
Hamboree 2014 - Branson, Missouri

We're in the process of finalizing a location for the event and will be following up with more information soon.  In the meantime, we encourage you to reserve the dates on your calendar!   You can learn more about what Branson has to offer by going to  

The Hamboree is sponsored by The 3916 Nets:  The Rag Chew Crew, The Tailgaters and The Freewheelers Net!   

See you at Hamboree 2014!!


The 3916 Hamboree Planning Committee

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Santa Nets on Amateur Radio Announced for 2013

For the 8th consecutive year, the 3.916 Nets will be giving good boys and girls a chance to talk to Santa Claus via the magic of ham radio.   The '3916 Santa Nets' will be held on 15 different evenings starting Friday, November 29 through Christmas Eve, December 24th.    The Santa Nets are open to all licensed amateur radio operators who wish to invite kids to their shack to talk to Santa.  Third party rules will apply. 

Pete Thomson (KE5GGY), commented on The 3916 Santa Nets.  He said, "Christmas is our favorite time of year on The 3916 Nets.  Each year on the Santa Nets we are blown away by the response.  It's incredible to hear the excitement in kids' voices as they talk to Santa Claus on Ham Radio.   Once again this year we'll be having 15 different Santa Nets on 3.916 MHz.  This should give everyone a chance to get involved."    Thomson added that The Santa Nets are a great way to let kids experience both the magic of Christmas and amateur radio.  He said, "We encourage hams to get their kids, grand kids and even neighbor kids into their shacks to participate in the Santa Net.  The kids love talking to Santa and we get an opportunity to show a young person how amateur radio works." 

Each evening, The 3916 Santa Net will start at 8:30 PM (Central) on 3.916 MHz.  Pre-net check-ins will be taken on the air starting at 8:15 PM.   You can also do a pre-net check in by emailing

Below is a schedule of the 2013 Santa Nets on 3.916 Mhz.  Net Starts at 8:30 PM (Central)

Friday, November 29
Saturday, November 30

Tuesday, December 3
Thursday, December 5
Saturday, December 7

Monday, December 9
Wednesday, December 11
Friday, December 13

Tuesday, December 17
Thursday, December 19
Friday, December 20
Saturday, December 21

Sunday, December 22
Monday, December 23
Tuesday, December 24

For more information on The 3916 Nets or The Santa Net, contact Pete Thomson, KE5GGY at 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Santa to Appear on 3.916 Amateur Radio Nets

(Dallas, Texas)  We just confirmed that Jolly Ol' St. Nick will be appearing on The Tailgaters & The Freewheelers again this year. And as a result of the 3.916 Hams being extra good this year, Santa's going to be checking into 3.916 SEVERAL NIGHTS before Christmas.  We'll even be talking with Santa on Christmas Eve, Monday, December 24th!!

Of course, children are welcome to check in to all the Santa Nets via 3rd party rules and regulations.

Here's the schedule for the 2012 3.916 Santa Nets (All Times are Central):
    Friday, November 30, 8:30-9:00 PM
    Tuesday, December 4, 8:30-9:00 PM
    Thursday, December 6, 8:30-9:00 PM
    Tuesday, December 11, 8:30-9:00 PM
    Friday, December 14,  8:30-9:00 PM
    Monday, December 17, 8:30-9:00 PM
    Wednesday, December 19, 8:30-9:00 PM
    Friday, December 21, 8:30-9:00 PM
    Saturday, December 22, 8:30-9:00 PM
    Sunday, December 23, 8:30-9:00 PM
    Monday, December 24, 8:30-9:00 PM

    If you have any questions, please contact Pete Thomson (KE5GGY) at KE5GGY@GMAIL.COM

    73 & Merry Christmas to all from the 3916 Tailgaters & Freewheelers!!

    Monday, December 26, 2011

    New Year's Eve on 3.916 Mhz

    Amateur radio operators are all welcomed to the 3916 Tailgaters & Freewheelers New Year's Eve Party.   The fun will start on 3.916 Mhz Saturday night, December 31st at 8:30 PM with the Tailgaters Net.  The Tailgaters is a 'Ham Radio Game of Tag' with everyone getting a chance to be 'Net Control'.    At 10PM Central, The Freewheelers take over to continue the countdown to 2012.  KC0MQS, Jimmy from Festus, Mo, will be the net control to usher in 2012! 

    The 3916 Nets have always welcomed new stations to amateur radio airwaves, ever since being founded by W4FCW (sk), Ken Odom in 1998.  Over the last several years, the net has been a popular destination for young hams, including several as young as 11 years of age. 

    For information on The Tailgaters or Freewheelers Nets, contact Pete Thomson, KE5GGY at

    Sunday, June 5, 2011

    HamCom & Field Day.....June's Blockbuster Ham Radio Events

    Summer is high season for ham-fests around the U.S.   And over the next several weeks, two amateur radio events will happen in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area.

    HamCom Flea Market
    Ham-Com 2011:   Amateurs from across the country come to Plano for one of the biggest ham shows each year.  The 2 day event, June 10 and 11 is held at the Plano Centre in Plano, Texas.   I love HamCom because it has something valuable for everyone.   All the major equipment manufacturers and vendors will be on hand.  Additionally, there's a very active flea market that gives hams a chance to sell and buy used gear.  And, HamCom especially shines from an education standpoint.  Each year features different speakers as well as training for hams who want to learn more about specialized aspects of amateur radio.   HamCom is an excellent venue to introduce kids to Ham Radio.   And with more digital/computer applications of ham radio being introduced and developed each year, there's lot of exciting new technology that is very kid-friendly.   For more information on HamCom 2011, go to

    Field Day Hams 'On The Air'
    Field Day 2011:   The weekend of June 25-26, Hams from across the country gather at camp grounds, parks and other remote facilities to demonstrate portable operation skills.   Thousands of ham radio clubs will be participating in the event.   Field Day is an actual roll out of emergency communications.   Many radio operators will be using generator, solar and battery power to simulate operation in an actual emergency.   Field Day is also a contest for hams who work to compete for prizes and recognition for contacting the most stations during the weekend.

    Field Day 'Under The Stars'
    Field Day is my favorite weekend of the year.  My son Mac and I enjoy stopping at several radio club events throughout Dallas-Ft. Worth.   It's exciting to hear the ham bands totally full of stations doing demonstrations and participating in contesting.    It's also an outstanding promotional event for ham radio.  Because many Ham Clubs hold their Field Day activities in high-visibility parks, the public (and especially young people) get a chance to see ham radio in action.

    For more information about Field Day and to find a Ham Club Field Day event near you, go to

    -Pete Thomson - KE5GGY
    'Voice of Ham Radio'

    Wednesday, February 9, 2011

    Voice of Ham Radio Daily

    Hot off the press every day, Voice of Ham Radio Daily features the latest news & views from Ham Radio and beyond.   Equipment to contests to high tech to boat anchors....Voice of Ham Radio Daily has it all.  Edited by Pete Thomson, KE5GGY.

    Thursday, February 3, 2011

    A Funny Look at Ham Radio and Marriage

    Are you up for a good laugh?  Check out this spoof of what happens when a Ham Radio Operator buys a new radio with his family's rent check.  

    Pete Thomson
    twitter:  @voiceofhamradio


    Tuesday, February 1, 2011

    Ham Radio's Demise.....Greatly Exaggerated!!!

    As I was reading a recent article about the 'decline of ham radio' the famous quote from Mark Twain came to mind.  Responding to rumors that had circulated regarding his death, Twain is said to have quipped, "The rumors of my demise are greatly exaggerated."  

    Read the article below and you'll get the feeling that amateur radio is on life support and that it's just a matter of time until father time unplugs a respirator.

    So, fellow hams, what's it going to be....plans for a funeral or a plans to reignite the amateur radio/communications hobby?

    Just for fun, let's get back to the Daily Herald article and look at the issues that the writer and even some hams are citing as the 'cause of death'.

    Hamfest Attendance is Down:    It's true hamfests are not attended at the level they have been in previous years.  However, attendance declines at hamfests is not a problem unique to ham radio.  Because of audience fragmentation, a number of consumer shows across multiple industries are facing attendance challenges.   Talk to promoters of home, car, outdoor and even gun shows and you'll hear that it's becoming more difficult to attract an attendance like they could in 'the good old days'.   And even though 15%  fewer people might be attending a home show, it doesn't mean that consumers are abandoning the housing market.   What we're seeing is a hyper-competitive marketplace that is requiring promoters to embrace different strategies in order to maintain and grow attendance.   For amateur radio events, this will mean not only promoting differently but also changing the agenda of the event to draw new and younger consumers.   This will mean bringing new technology into shows as well as aggressive outreach to teens and even pre-teens.
    Kids & Ham Radio:  Get 'em interested when they're young!

    Kids Just Aren't Interested In Ham Radio:   First, see issue of fragmentation above.  If we want to get kids interested we better get off our collective butts and promote to this demographic. Instead of promoting a ham fest by 'word of mouth' or on-the-air, we need to embrace Twitter and other social media.  Instead of promoting ourselves as amateur radio operators, why not position the hobby as amateur and experimental communications?  And let's quit expecting kids to meet us on our turf.  We need to be in the classroom sharing the vision of where ham radio is going in the future.  And, I believe it's essential that we introduce kids to ham radio at a young age.  Instill a interest in amateur communications at a young age and we get a new ham for life.

    Get Out of Your Comfort Zone:   Many of us have comfort zones in the hobby...areas of operation that consume over 80%  of our time.  Personally, I love 75 meters at night and hang out on 3.916 Mhz 7 nights a week.  However, to take amateur radio 'to the streets' all of us need to make time for learning new aspects of ham radio including new technology that is more likely to be of interest to youth.  Recently, I've been active in Twitter and Facebook and am actually trying to target my blogs, tweets and other communication toward younger people.    Hats off to hams who do demonstrations in schools or are active with Boy Scouts.   More of us need to contribute on this kind of level.

    It Starts with Us!   Ham radio's future, to a large degree, will be determined by the rank and file of our membership.  ARRL can lead the way in protecting the spectrum and being a champion of other initiatives, but 'selling' the future of amateur communications to the next generation is our job.   I don't know about you, but I can understand how Mark Twain must have felt when he said, 'The rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated."   After making the comment, Twain went on to write some of his best works.  How will we respond?

    Monday, January 31, 2011

    Ham Radio.....A 'Dying' Hobby?

    Is amateur radio a 'dying' hobby?  Read the article below from The Daily Herald below and you might just start planning funeral arrangements.  As for me, I believe amateur radio's best days are still ahead, but only if we change the way we think and promote the hobby.   Stay tuned, more on ham radio's future in an upcoming blog post.


    Pete Thomson
    Denton, Texas
    twitter:  voiceofhamradio

    Sunday, January 23, 2011

    Inside The KE5GGY Shack!

    Here's a shot of KE5GGY in Aubrey, Texas. I'm currently using a 746 Pro into a Heathkit SB 1000 1KW Amp. I've got an 80 m Van Gordon diapole that is fantastic (at 40 feet). Also, I have a G5RV up at 40 feet. My audio chain consists of a Heil PR-40 microphone and the W2IHY Audio Processing (both boxes).