Worked All Twitter

A year and a half ago, I bought myself a Kenwood TS480SAT, and a local ham strung up a quick 10m dipole on my apartment balcony. I could hear stations, but I never could make contact with anybody. Despite the numerous articles online and in QST over the years about how to put stealth antennas up in your restricted condo or apartment, I haven’t taken the time to find an arrangement that would work for me. The dipole has long since been returned, and the Kenwood has been sitting there feeling very unloved. Sad, I know. I completely agree!  I’m fixing that by installing it as a mobile rig, so simmer down now.

During this time without HF, I remained active in the ham community. I worked both Field Days since I got my ticket; I worked my first Bike-A-Thon last year; I attended club meetings; I’m a member of ARES; I got my SkyWarn Storm Spotter certification; I serve as a VE; and I’ve been known to ragchew on the local 2m repeater.

And then there’s Twitter.

To say I’m active in the ham radio community on Twitter might be a bit of an understatement. In a move that is backwards from how most people do it (and I’d do it the normal way if I had it to do over again), my personal account on Twitter is my call sign, and my ham radio account on Twitter is @Bionic_Nerd. On my personal account, I don’t restrict my tweets to ham radio, but that’s how it all started. Today my tweet count topped 28,000. I’m active.

I’ve met hams from all over the world, hams who are involved in practically every aspect of the hobby. We met each other through our shared interest of ham radio, but we have gotten know each other on a deeper level as well. Though I have never met them in person, a great number of them are people I consider friends just as much as those friends I know in person. On an extremely personal note, when my mother died unexpectedly just over two months ago, these were the friends who sent flowers, who called every day to make sure I was holding up okay, who sent cards in the mail, who prayed for my family, and who did everything they could to help me through those most difficult first few days and weeks.* I joke that because I haven’t met these people they are my imaginary friends, but the people and the friendships are most definitely real. </extremely personal bit>

When I go back to my hometown for a visit, I always play in Dad’s shack on his Icom 7000. I love HF. When I went back for Thanksgiving in 2011, I created a hashtag on Twitter to help arrange QSOs with my tweeps: #WATwitter. Instead of WAS or Worked All States, I told them I wanted to “Work All Twitter.” I figured a couple people would head down to their shacks and try to contact me, and we’d have a little fun. But what happened instead surprised me. People got excited about getting on the air. Lots of us tried to work each other, and several of us were successful. I got Alaska on my first try, and I was able to collect enough Ten-Ten numbers to get my own membership. [I’m 76198. For reference, my dad is 8286.] What was even better is that the buzz didn’t die down when I left Tennessee to head back to Florida.

Of course to work literally everybody on Twitter is impossible, but that’s probably not going to stop us from trying. Stefano (IZ3NVR and KD2BGM), Tomas (OK4BX), and I are still kicking around the idea of having some type of award for making contact with a certain number of hams who are also on Twitter. Tomas has created special QSL cards to use for his #WATwitter contacts, and Stefano has created a prototype for a certificate. Stefano is in Italy; Tomas is in Czech Republic. The buzz is worldwide.

I’m looking forward to seeing how many Tweeps can work each other during my trip this summer. Are you going to play along? We’d love to work you. If you’re not already active on Twitter, set up an account. Check the list of people I follow and people who follow me on @Bionic_Nerd, and start by following them. Use hashtags #hamradio, #WATwitter, and #occupyhamshack to find people to interact with. Then just start interacting, online and on the air.

73 de NR4CB, Connie


*My family and Florida and Tennessee in-person friends supported me a great deal as well. I couldn’t have made it through that time without all of you. Thank you.

I love you and miss you, Momma.


Are We There Yet?

There are only two things that aren’t tentative on this trip: my forum at the Atlanta Hamfest on June 2 and my brother’s wedding in Boston in June on Field Day weekend. Everything else is tentative. I have a pretty good idea of where I’ll be and when, but it could all change. I’m sure the trip will evolve both before and after I get on the road. That’s part of the adventure, right?

Below are the routes on the agenda as of today. Did I mention this is tentative?

Note: I’m planning on operating from every state, DC if I can find a place to park for a while without the secret service getting suspicious, and both Canadian provinces.

Segment One: Central Florida to Chattanooga, TN

  • leave Central Florida in late May (exact date TBD)
  • Pensacola, FL
  • drive through part of Alabama
  • drive through part of Mississippi
  • New Orleans, LA
  • Lake Pontchartrain Causeway (longest bridge over water in the world)
  • drive through part of Mississippi
  • drive through part of Alabama
  • Atlanta Hamfest on Saturday, June 2, 2012 — Forum: “On Air, Online, and Eyeballs: The Social Side of Ham Radio”
  • Chattanooga, TN


View Larger Map

Segment Two: Chattanooga, TN

  • There’s a lot on the agenda while I’m in Chattanooga, my hometown. We’ll discuss that in a future post.

Segment Three: Chattanooga, TN to Charlottesville, VA

  • leave Chattanooga, TN on Tuesday, June 12, 2012
  • Knoxville, TN
  • Seymour, TN
  • Gray, TN
  • Unicoi, TN
  • drive through part of North Carolina
  • Charlottesville, VA

View Larger Map

Segment Four: Charlottesville, VA

  • I’ll visit Washington, DC while I’m staying in Charlottesville

Segment Five: Charlottesville, VA to Boston, MA

  • Leave Charlottesville, VA
  • Drive through Washington, DC
  • Ft. Meade, MD
  • drive through part of Delaware
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • drive through part of New Jersey
  • drive through part of New York
  • Newington, CT — W1AW and ARRL Headquarters
  • drive through part of Rhode Island
  • arrive in Boston, MA the evening of Wednesday, June 20

View Larger Map

Segment Six: Boston, MA

  • Pre-wedding and wedding festivities for my brother and new sister-in-law, through June 23
  • I’m hoping to visit a local Field Day site on Sunday morning, June 24. Can you help me find one? I’d like to operate phone there for a couple hours for the local club. Leave me a comment if you can help me find a location. Thanks.

Segment Seven: Boston, MA to Steubenville, OH

  • leave Boston after Field Day activities on June 24
  • drive through part of New Hampshire
  • drive through part of Maine
  • drive through part of New Hampshire
  • drive through part of Vermont
  • cross into Quebec, Canada
  • Montreal
  • drive through part of Ontario
  • cross into New York (not randomly; for an Eyeball QSO)
  • cross back into Canada
  • Toronto, St. Catharine’s, and Niagara Falls
  • cross into New York
  • drive through part of Pennsylvania
  • drive through the sliver of West Virginia
  • Steubenville, OH

View Larger Map

Segment Eight: Steubenville, OH

Segment Nine: Steubenville, OH to ….?

  • Leave Steubenville, OH probably July 9
  • More of Ohio, exact location TBD
  • drive through part of Kentucky
  • Possibly stop in Pikeville, KY. Does anybody need grid EM87?
  • Chattanooga, TN for a while
  • leave Chattanooga at the end of July or early August
  • drive through part of Georgia
  • Charleston, SC (lots on the agenda here, including an invitation to operate as WA4USN from the USS Yorktown)
  • Savannah, GA
  • Brunswick, GA
  • Jacksonville, FL
  • Central Florida
  • Find a place to live*, move in, put up an antenna, and stay on the air :-)

View Larger Map

*And by “find a place to live” I mean choose a city, get my stuff out of storage, and move there. I really don’t know at this point where I’ll end up living in August. Talk about an adventure!

Are we there yet?!? :-)

73 de NR4CB, Connie

Now With 100% More Eyeball

Most of my online friends only know me by the following picture, which we lovingly refer to as the Mysterious Green Cyclops. This has been my avatar on Twitter for a long time now.


Mysterious Green Cyclops

So for all of you who want to know what I really look like, complete with both eyeballs and an entire face, here’s a picture of my dad and me from February 2011 at HamCation:

WA4BXC and NR4CB, February 2011


Don’t worry. There will be many more pictures from the trip this summer.

How many of you will be in the pictures with me? I can’t wait to meet you.

73 de NR4CB, Connie