I had a need for quick and easy access to the US ham radio callsign database for a project I’m working. This data is freely available from the FCC but in a less than friendly data set. I ended up building a system for myself to quickly query that data and figured it might be useful for others as well, so HamDB.org was born. The database can be accessed in programmer-friendly formats (XML, JSON, CSV) or a user-friendly HTML front end.

After setup for US callsigns, I poked around the web for other countries that publish their amateur radio data and found Canada & Australia have daily updates. While Germany and Czech Republic offer monthly updates. So I added all of these counties to the database (with the help of KD6DL, thanks Daniel!). I’m on the look-out for callsign data so please let me know if there is other published information out there.

The goal for HamDB.org is to offer this data for free. No subscription fee, no account needed, no ads, no session id, and no lookup limits. Just free and easy!

Head over to HamDB.org and give it a spin and let me know what you think.

BaoFeng Echolink Simplex Link

After I moved to my new QTH in Escondido I fell out of range of the WF6OCS repeater. When I heard from its control op, Joe N6JO, that it would soon be on Echolink I got to work on my own Echolink simplex link. I know I can access Echolink directly on my PC or by using the iPhone app but I really wanted to be able to walk around the house with an HT, which an Echolink simplex link would be perfect for.echolink

I was able to pull it together rather cheaply with decent results using a few things I already had. For the link’s transceiver, I used an inexpensive BaoFeng UV-5R. To get the audio in/out from the radio and into my PC I picked up the BTECH APRS-K2 Audio cable and a Female to 2 Male Audio Y Splitter.

After a few minutes of setup with the Echolink software and using the radios VOX feature (setting of 1) to activate PTT, I was on the air!

Build List:

  1. BaoFeng UV-5R Radio
  2. BTECH K2 Audio Cable
  3. 3.5mm Female to 2 Male Audio Y Splitter

If you’re on Echolink and see my simplex link KK6NLW-L online, feel free to connect and give me a shout!

First 2.4Ghz QSO + AREDN

VOIP PhoneI just wrapped up my very first 2.4Ghz QSO! I made contact with Joe, N6JO using a Ubiquiti NanoStation M2 AP flashed with custom firmware created by the Amateur Radio Emergency Data Network (AREDN) group.  Joe and I, along with a large group of other hams in the area, make up a wireless mesh network that exists throughout several of the cities in Northern San Diego county. Using this network, I was able to connect my VOIP phone to an Asterisk PBX system Joe has setup for the Oceanside CERT Communications Team. I was then able to place a call from my home in Vista all the way to Joe’s home in Oceanside, over six miles away!

I was a bit skeptical that a clear call would even be possible but to my surprise and delight, that QSO went very well with only minimal packet loss. I’m excited to see where this new form of communication leads!