Ham Radio Contesting /M with
a PocketPC PDA
Raise your hand if this has happened to you. You're
driving the XYL to the market on a Saturday afternoon and decide to sit in the
parking lot and play with the radio while she shops. Tuning around a bit, you
hear an interesting contest. You think to yourself, "I've probably got an
hour or two to waste sitting out here and I'd love to jump into the contest, but
it's one I'm not familiar with... I don't know the bands, exchange, times,
sponsors,... I guess I'll have to take a pass."
Well, one possibility would be to take along all your
prized ham radio magazines and hope junior doesn't use it to mop up a spilled
Big-Gulp. Maybe you could just keep a paper calendar in the car with notes on
the rules, contest exchanges, and so on; then markup the calendar with the
contest timing (let's see... is Field Day the 3rd weekend in June or the
4th... who remembers those things anyway?). OR you could simply whip out your trusty PocketPC PDA and pull up the contest
I use the AvantGo service to synchronize my iPAQ once a week with these two great links from WA7BNM:
and his annual calendar:
AvantGo is a useful (free) utility that allows PocketPC and Palm users to
download virtually any webpage for later use. You can setup AvantGo to pull
down USAToday news headlines or set it up to monitor your own webpage.
By the way, my thanks to WA7BNM for providing a great resource to contesters.
You can see that his site includes the exchange, bands, modes, time,
classes... pretty much everything you need to jump into a ham radio contest
in a nutshell. Great for that spur of the moment impulse in the parking lot.
You can always look up the full rules when you get home if you don't have
full internet access to your PocketPC PDA while on the road.
Not only does this help me in the "stranded in the parking lot during a
hot contest" scenario, but I'm also able to plan ahead when my wife asks
"you're not planning on doing any ham radio stuff six Saturdays from now, are
you?" - simply by having the full contest calendar available on my
Of course, if you're also using Microsoft Outlook and keep your schedule
sync'ed up on your PocketPC - you'll also know if you have any non-ham radio
conflicts on that day.
If you'd like to log your QSOs on your PocketPC PDA while operating /M,
supports a "Pileup mode". In this mode, you can keep entering QSOs
without having to reenter frequency, mode, band, etc. Just pop in a new call,
enter exchange info in the notes field, click "+" to add it and work
the next one!
See you in the pileups.