Fatigue and Waking Up Again

Photo by Isabella Fischer on Unsplash

So last summer I had a significant change in my career. It was overwhelmingly positive, but it also was overwhelmingly….overwhelming.

Time became constrained. Thoughts turned to getting my head above water while simultaneously trying to wrap said head around all the new things I have to drive.

That along with still having two teenage sons at home, a wife, two dogs, and everything else meant that priorities had to shift.

Ham radio took a backseat.

How it is feeling like time to wake up again and get out of my radio slumber. I dusted off my radio and found that winter had not been kind to my vertical antenna out back, so I’ll spend part of this weekend figuring out what happened.

In the meanwhile I have started listening to Morse Code Ninja’s 25wpm practice files again to get my brain back to functional. It’s amazing what 8-9 months of not listening or using CW has done to my comprehension, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much is coming back.

Baby steps…..

Have you ever had to take a break from the hobby and if so, how did you get back into “fighting shape” again?

Parks on the Air – Logbook Self Upload

After posting about my POTA activation just a bit ago, I went off to https://pota.app in order to validate a couple of callsigns based on spots and get things ready to email off for upload.

Clicking through I found something I hadn’t seen before:

I can just upload my ADIF files directly now?

So I did what it said on the screen – dragged and dropped the file into my browser and saw the following:

I’ll let you know if anything goes wrong, but this is a welcome development and great to see.

By the way, I did a quick search and it turns out that this was just released on July 1, 2022. K4SWL did a write-up the same day it launched that I missed. You can see his article on his site at https://qrper.com/2022/07/starting-today-youll-be-able-to-upload-your-own-pota-logs/

Great stuff!

Lab599 TX-500 Firmware v1.13.08

The folks at Lab599 have dropped a new firmware file for everyone.

From the changelog (link):

v1.13.08 (2022.06.15)
- [BETA] Added CW decoder function
- Extended 10-meter band for TX with taking into account the CB range: from 26065 to 29700KHz
- Added quick mode selection by long pressing the MODE button
- Improved VFO/MEM function: fast switching by TUNE/MULTY between stored VFO values
- Added ability to assign alternative functions to RIT/XIT encoder
- Improved LOCK function in Memory mode

You can find it at https://lab599.com/downloads/

UPDATE June 23, 2022

Looks like they issued a quick fix and rev’d the firmware to 1.13.09.

From the changelog, there was a buffer overflow bug that was addressed for CW decoding. All links above are still valid to obtain the latest firmware.

IC-705 Firmware Update 1.27

The folks over at Icom released a firmware update today.

It looks to be a fairly minor change, but you can decide that.

From the change log:

Improved to enable forcing an All Reset by connecting an external power source (*) while holding down [RIT/ΔTX] and [XFC], even if you cannot turn ON/OFF the transceiver by using the [POWER] key.

Amateur Extra Baby!

I upgraded my privileges to General Class back in 2009 and have meaning upgrade to Extra ever since.

Well, tonight – some 13 years later – I finally did.

UPDATE 2022-05-09

It finally updated in the ULS system today. Looks like as of May 2022, it is taking approximately 2 weeks for updates to go through (assuming that the VEs filed within a day or so of my passing)


In the course of studying for this exam, I tried about everything I could get my hands on to not just learn the answers, but to try to understand the ‘why’ behind them.

As such, I’ve gained some perspectives on the various options out there to prepare for this exam, and I’m going to share a few with you.


ARRL Extra Class License Manual (link)

The ARRL Extra Class Manual is THE book. It details not only what the question pools are, but why the answers that are correct, are…well….correct. In many ways it is more than a study guide, it is also a reference manual of sorts.

I am not one of those who can start at the first page of a manual like this and just start reading, so I found it to be an excellent reference as I was moving through the various sections of the question pools.

Well written, but if you don’t have a math or technical background, you might need to reread some things multiple times to put two and two together.

Pass Your Amateur Radio Extra Class Test (Amazon)

This book seeks to shortcut your exam prep by ignoring all the wrong answers in the question pool, and only focus on the correct ones.

The bulk of the books are the questions with associated answers. There is sometimes a bit of explanatory text such as “Message forwarding stations (like Packet) are usually automated. If a station forwards a message that violates FCC rules, the control operator of the originating station is accountable for the rules violation” – pg. 14

Good for quick study sessions for drilling high level concepts, but not for anyone who wants to dive deeper.

Apps (Android and Apple)

Ham Study (link to their portal for specific app stores)

This quickly became my app of choice.


There are other popular apps out there that I actually started on and spent hours using every week. The problem with the others is that their randomized questions seem to omit roughly 40% of the actual question pool. I did so many practice tests with other apps that I thought I was getting the material, but as soon as I installed Ham Study I found myself bombarded with questions that were entirely new to me.

Ham Study seemed to throw me the most curveballs, which I equate to its effectiveness in ensuring that I was best prepared for the exam.

My personal favorite, and since I started using it I stopped the others, so I’m not mentioning them here.

Sorry 😦


If you don’t know who Dave Casler (KE0OG) is, you need to check out his YouTube channel. He does a complete Extra Exam Course using his website and associated YT videos.

He has a teacher’s demeanor, and explains things in easy to grasp ways. I have benefitted immensely from his knowledge and the effort he has put into his content.

Check out his Online Help for Self-study (link)


This was not meant to be an exhaustive list of all the things I used/tried, but some of the things that I found most useful.

If you’ve taken any of the FCC exams (Technician, General, Extra), what tools did you find most effective to getting ready?

Let me know in the comments.

Now, I’m waiting for my new privileges to show up in ULS. Until then, I’m KD0HBU/AE.