Two Years of Off Grid Ham: A Thanksgiving Message.

Off Grid Ham almost didn’t happen. I was already writing for a non-ham radio related website. I could barely handle what I had already; why take on more? And oh yeah, I also have a full time “real job”.

But I had so many ideas for radio articles, and the calling would not go away. I registered the offgridham.com domain in the summer of 2015 and immediately had second thoughts. I seriously considered abandoning this project before it even started.

I posted the first Off Grid Ham article on November 8, 2015. It was just a simple product review. Then I released a few articles with more substance. Site traffic was light, but encouraging.

off grid ham

GRAPHIC COURTESY OF SACREMENTO ARRL.

Going into 2016, it became obvious that I was onto something. Almost by accident, I found there was a palpable thirst for no-nonsense, practical, off grid amateur radio information, commentary, and affordable DIY projects. The word was spreading.

In the first five months of 2017, Off Grid Ham had more visitors than during all of 2016, and it’s on track to nearly triple last year’s numbers. Off Grid Ham now has thousands of monthly visitors from all over the world, with more checking in every day. What started as a minor side project became a consuming mission. I even drastically cut back on other my other writing assignment to focus on this website.

Being popular is nice of course but it’s not the end game. My real purpose is to make off grid ham radio accessible & understandable to anyone who cares enough to learn. It’s deeply gratifying to hear from readers who have benefitted from Off Grid Ham. I make a sincere effort to respond personally.

It’s not lost on me that none of this happens without you, the off grid ham radio community. You are the sole reason this website is successful.

I still need your help.
When Off Grid Ham started, there was no reader base from which to draw ideas. That’s not a problem anymore; many of the topics that appear here are the direct result of reader feedback. I’m perfectly fine with letting my audience decide what we talk about. Leave your thoughts in the public comments section after each article or email me at solarham@rocketmail.com. Your question or idea might be turned into an OGH article.

The last favor I’m asking is for everyone to spread the word about Off Grid Ham. Post OGH articles on social media and internet forums, tell others during on-air QSOs and in club newsletters. And be sure to invite new hams to come over and see what we’re doing here. The amateur radio hobby cannot grow without highly motivated, skilled operators.

Finally, a huge thank you!
You, the readers, are the true heart and soul of Off Grid Ham. Without you, I’m just some mope who types stuff up and chucks it onto the internet. So thank you very deeply for two years of making a difference to the radio amateur community and giving this website a reason to exist.

We’ve got a good thing going here, but there is more work to be done. I’d like to keep rolling with it.

From my home to yours…Happy Thanksgiving, and peace be with you!

 

11 thoughts on “Two Years of Off Grid Ham: A Thanksgiving Message.

  1. Tony Tucker

    I am considering an idea I have on how to build a faraday cage with an easily removable front panel that can be quickly removed and reinstalled without compromising the protective integrity of the EMP shielding when the panel is reinstalled after temporarily using the radio. I have a Kenwood TS-480SAT with a Palstar AT-500 tuner that is powered with an Astron RS-70M power supply. I use an inverted-V open wire antenna. I am thinking that if I build a 30″W x 30″H x 30″D box out of 1/8″ or 3/16″ plate aluminum with 2″ aluminum angle iron welded to the open edge of the box with the angle iron lip pointed away from the box as opposed to the inside of the box. The lip would have holes drilled every 4 inches with an aluminum nut welded to the underside of the lip which would be used to attach the aluminum removable cover plate. A copper mesh gasket would go between the mating surfaces of the aluminum cover plate and aluminum angle iron lip. Inside the aluminum faraday box, a 3/4″ plywood box would be fitted as an insulator between the radio equipment and the box. A plastic tub could also be fitted inside the plywood inner box also, if desired. To use the radio, the lid would be removed and the only thing needed to operate the system would be the two antenna wires and the main power supply wire to plug the power supply into a 120 volt outlet outside the box. When not in use, the faraday box could be quickly resealed back up by using a small battery operated socket wrench to reinstall the aluminum bolts back into the welded on aluminum nuts on the aluminum angle when reinstalling the aluminum cover plate after unplugging the power supply and stuffing the power plug back inside the box. The antenna wires can be quickly and easily disconnected and left outside the box. All other wires are easily concealed behind the equipment inside the box. Wiring terminal lugs can be applied to an easily constructed terminal strip inside the box if necessary. This is the only way I can describe what I am considering building. With the threat of nuclear EMP attacks on the United Stated by North Korea, Iran, and other rogue states, I feel it is not a matter of IF, but a matter of WHEN. Any ideas, comments, or suggestions?

    Reply
    1. Chris Warren Post author

      Hi Tony, there are tons of ways to do EMP shielding. Some are as simple as a galvanized metal trash can; others are quite elaborate and involve entire rooms lined with sheet metal. The problem with all of them is that unless they are tested in a lab, no one really knows if they actually work. I think your project would probably be effective against EMP, again with the caveat that it is unproven. I say go for it. Even if you’re not certain it will work, it will be a good learning experience.

      Reply
  2. J.R.

    I for one deeply appreciate your efforts and look forward to seeing new articles pop-up in my email. Not having access to a club or Elmer at present, your site has given me ideas and knowledge that I would be hard pressed to find on my own. Thanks for what you do, and, keep up the good work.

    Reply
    1. Chris Warren Post author

      Hi JR, I’m really glad you’ve been able to advance in the hobby because of Off Grid Ham. Thanks for thinking of me, and I’m sure you’ll get many years of enjoyment out of radio.

      Reply
  3. Mike Hohmann

    You had me worried there, Chris. I thought you were about to bid us all farewell. Whew! I’ve been reading since early 2016 and have enjoyed your posts immensely -each and every one. In fact, I’d just received my Tech. License in late Dec., 2015, and found everything in OGH to be of immense value… and still do… even saving hard copies of some of your posts! I used your design for the ‘not-so-random’ long wire antenna (Portable Antenna Options for HF (OGH 12-11-16) and am about to install the Alpha Delta DX-EE antenna (reviewed in OGH 11-13-16) in my attic next week. Thanks for the time you invest in sharing your knowledge, Chris -it’s sure helped this newbie ‘get on down’ the amateur radio road. I’m sure one day we’ll chat on-the-air/QSO and maybe even shake hands in some roadside diner.
    73 de Mike, KEØGZT

    Reply
    1. Chris Warren Post author

      Hi Mike. When I was deciding on what to use as a headline for this article I went out of my way to come up with something that did not sound like a farewell. I guess I blew it on that one! Seriously though, Off Grid Ham has been a complete surprise, to me anyway. It started as a small side project that I did not expect to pull much attention. And now we come to…this. I very much appreciate your good will and I’ll keep doing this as long as I can.

      Reply
  4. Don Gibson

    Hello Chris,
    First, thanks for all the great ideas and information. I have passed some of those along to club members (small club) and they were taken in a very positive manner.

    I have been working on a circuit that will allow the use of a hand held radio directly from a solar panel. I am at the stage to find the smallest panel that I can use for the radio that I have. When I finish the design — it is just a simple voltage regulator — I will pass it along if anyone is interested.

    Reply
  5. Chris Warren Post author

    Hi Don, thanks for being a loyal reader! Please contact me when your project is completed. I’d be very interested to know how it turned out.

    Reply
  6. Mike

    Thank you for your efforts. I don’t know how people keep up with writing a blog. I’m afraid I would run out of things to say before too long.
    Mike

    Reply

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