Ham Radio Led Me Here


(my Elecraft KX3, state of the art, 160-6m software defined radio transceiver.)

Ham radio led me to UAV's in 2013.  Weird, right?  Well what happened was after spending 20 years as an IT tech and consultant, I decided that ham radio would be an interesting thing to learn.  RF is pretty fascinating, and even though the hobby may bring up images of "Old Men" sitting in their basement talking to a radio, it has a lot to offer these days thanks to modern technology and the internet.

How I got from ham radio to my first in-progress quadrotor build, is that studying for my ham radio license gave me a basic introduction to electronic components I simply haven't been exposed to at a granular level in my IT career.  As part of the learning process, you are introduced to the various components and circuits that make up radios, and at least for me, my interest was immediately piqued.

Ham radio is a very DIY hobby, with lots of neat homebrew projects going on, ranging from antenna design, digital modes to ham satellites in space and connectivity with the internet allowing even more people to get involved with long distance contacts and other activities.  Software defined radio (SDR) kits are amazing these days, and cost very little money compared to the higher end transceivers out there.  In short, the hobby may seem long in the tooth, but let's face it, RF isn't going anywhere, and we are surrounded by it today more than ever.


(My new home maker-space and the beginning of my first UAV)

All of this led me to start tinkering with an Arduino board, and setting up my own work space (pictured) for various projects.  I purchased my first soldering station, and a bin full of parts to play with.  Being interested in robotics since I was a kid, it didn't take long for me to learn about DIYDrones.com, and begin yet another learning experience.  I'm excited to be here, and I am jumping into the UAV rabbit hole to see how far it goes.  When I head outdoors, I'll be bringing my quadrotor, and my portable ham radio.


E-mail me when people leave their comments –

You need to be a member of diydrones to add comments!

Join diydrones


  • Admin


    KX3 is   TRX(with 2 M  band option), though you wanted cheap SDR Rx.  I had & used Icom PCR-1000  but to me it was deaf compared to real HF rigs. Kenwood TS2000 is good in VHF and above for sat works but marginal in HF( computer control is easy and straight). ICOM pro series are pretty good in HF.   Read this forum , may be you will find what you need.

    KX3 is cool SDR rig and is in my wish list too.

  • Thanks, Morli. I've done the "Realtek thing" fun but limited; looking for more serious SDR. KX3 looks good. Any others you have experience with or can suggest?

  • Admin


    Good luck with all-band sensitive RX :). 

    But for >50 Mhz , cheap SDR dongle look for one with Realtek RTL2832U & R820T DVB-T

    Look for good price .  around  11$.

  • I like flying my quad. Also I'd like to get into SDR. Any kit you recommend? I hope to find all-band sensitive RX, with ham Tx capabilities.


  • Hi and welcome... Were Browsing thru the site this morning and found a picture of my favorite gear... KX3 !!!

    73's Mats SMØFPR
  • Interesting story and experience! Thanks for sharing this with the community.  I wish you the best of luck on your journey into the drone hobby/industry!


  • ...

    de  BG5HCO 

  • Admin

    You meant Right wattage which is beyond the reach of regular SWL flier ;).  With ticket , you the access/

  • *high wattage not night wattage
  • Awesome and nice radio. I use my license quite a bit with uav.. Just transmitting night wattage video requires a ham license. Among the many other elements you mentioned. I have tracked a downed uav using rssi and a yagi antenna which is very much something I learned with my license.

    -Mark, KB0WXV
This reply was deleted.