In my annual retrospective, I get a chance to look back at all my articles on this blog and highlight the most popular selections. In publishing a new article every 1-2 weeks, there was plenty of content to choose from. What I find interesting are the types of articles that resonate with my readership. As my target audience is the newer ham and those interested in emergency communications, it’s no wonder that the ‘back to basics’ style articles are the most popular. So looking back at 2014, here’s the ten most popular articles based on the readership statistics of this site:
10. How I worked with city hall to ensure an amateur radio exemption in a municipal cell phone ban.
Starting out the list is a slightly controversial subject. Studies have shown that texting and other cell phone use can impair driving. This issue has caused municipalities and state government to draft legislation, banning their use. This article recounts how I worked with my local government to ensure that a cell phone and electronic device ban wouldn’t wouldn’t interfere with licensed amateur radio operation.
9. Get a better signal out of your handheld radio
What’s the first radio the new ham purchases? Usually it’s a handheld radio. These little radios are quite useful, they don’t call them hands-talkies for nothing. But the ‘shack on the hip’ has limited range and performance. If you find yourself trying to stretch the signal in your HT, you may want to try some of these tips.
8. Knots for antennas and support structures
I wrote this article out of frustration. Every Field Day I’d run into a situation where a ham couldn’t tie a proper knot to secure an antenna, guy, or support line. Tired of trying to untie goobered up knot piles, I produced a series of video clips on a variety of simple and effective knots.
7. I just got my ham radio license, not what do I do?
This is my personal favorite article. I remember more than 15 years back when I got my license. I was excited to get on the air and communicate with other hams. I set up a station, connected a simple dipole, and proceeded to make my first contact. Nothing. I continued to proceed to make my first contact. Still nothing. Why can I hear others, but they can’t hear me? It’s a frustrating experience. In that regard, the message in this article probably would have saved my a bit of grief during those early days.
6. Building the 6 meter Moxon antenna
Six meters, the magic band. The Moxon, a magic antenna. Maybe not really magic, but it is an easy to build directional antenna that is a great choice for the magic band. Want to build a Moxon antenna of your own? This article takes you step by step through the construction process.
5. Cross band repeater operation
Most dual receive dual band base/mobile radios have the cross band repeater function. What is cross band repeating, and how does it work? This article will tell you more.
4. Build the 2.4 GHz waveguide cantenna antenna
This year I really got involved with 2.4 GHz mesh networking. Playing with mesh gives you the chance to experiment with microwaves without having to invest in esoteric transceivers and downconverters. A wifi router is all you need. This article introduces you to mesh networking and shows you how to build an 18db antenna for about $10.
3. Antenna gain explained
What is antenna gain? What does it mean? Gain isn’t a magical force that makes an antenna more powerful, but really just a numerical representation of how an antenna concentrates RF energy. Say what? Read more on this non mathematical explanation of antenna gain.
2. Amateur radio connectors
SO-239, PL-259, BNC, SMA, N . . . These are all styles of connectors found on amateur radio equipment and cables. This article illustrates the most common connectors and shows you which connects with what.
1. Mounting ideas for VHF/UHF antennas
I think the most common question I answer (besides what connector is on my antenna) is how should I mount my VHF/UHF antenna. Over the years I’ve collected quite a few examples and share some of the best and most popular ways to mount your J-Pole or Slim Jim antenna.
Was your favorite article in this list, or did it not make the cut. Feel free to share in the comments below.