Tag Archives: QRPer

Going on a social media diet: Leaving Twitter, investing in Mastodon

Friends, I’ve decided to take a step back from Twitter in 2024.

Since I still communicate with quite a lot of ham radio friends on Twitter (the only reason I still use the platform) this has actually been a difficult decision to make.

So why leave?

Two main reasons:

  1. There’s just not enough time in the day to keep up with multiple social media accounts. I quit Facebook a couple years ago and it had a meaningful positive impact in terms of feeing up time. These days, I need the extra time to invest in answering comments here on QRPer.
  2. I much prefer Mastodon over Twitter.

Twitter has been a brilliant platform and I’ve been on it for over a decade, but I don’t use it like most people who want to follow news, politics, trending stories/memes, etc. I only use Twitter to communicate with my ham radio friends and community.

This year, I’ve noticed that I have less control to keep “trending” stories from accounts I’ve never followed (nor intend to follow) out of my feed. Even when I mute unsolicited accounts, they re-appear a couple weeks later because I assume they’re paying for placement. It all makes the Twitter experience more cluttered and time-consuming for me. And frankly? I know this will only get much worse–likely, by orders of magnitude–during an election year!

In the end, I’m not a “doom scroller”–I do social media for the social part.

More Mastodon!

Instead, I’m going to spend my social media time on Mastodon.

As my teenage daughters would say, I like the somewhat nerdy “vibe” on Mastodon.

Here are some more specific reasons:

  1. Our ham radio instances/servers on Mastodon (https://mastodon.radio/ and https://mastodon.hams.social/ to name a couple) are administered by ham radio operators. When you join a ham radio server, you’re going to be surrounded by other radio enthusiasts from day one.
  2. There are no ads. Mastodon is free (though your server admins will appreciate occasional contributions) and there are no advertising accounts whatsoever. This also means that Mastodon is much more private than Twitter and doesn’t track your clicks or scrolling behavior.
  3. You have better, more granular control of what shows up in your news feed. This is a biggie for me. I’ve been on Mastodon since June 2022 and I’ve yet to see one unsolicited item in my notifications feed. There’s no algorithm behind the scenes that dictates what you see and in what order.
  4. Mastodon is federated and de-centralized. No single company or person can own Mastodon–you’re not going to wake up one morning and find that Mastodon has gone out of business or been sold. If, for some reason, your server admin goes rogue, you can move your entire account along with all of your followers to a different server seamlessly.
  5. My experience on Mastodon has been very positive. It reminds me of Twitter 12 years ago.

In short: I feel like Mastodon is a more focused, permanent, robust, and resilient social media platform.

Come join me on Mastodon!

Selfishly, I’d love it if al of my friends on Twitter opened a Mastodon account, too. (Yes, I’m a big hypocrite asking you to open another social media account when I myself am focusing on one!)

Here’s where you’ll find me: https://mastodon.radio/@qrper

It’s free to join and while there are a number of radio instances and servers out there, I know the admins of both of these:

It doesn’t really matter which server you join, though keep in mind that Mark’s server is in the US and Christopher’s in the UK. You might see a slightly better ping time using a servers that’s physically closer to you.

Down the rabbit hole!

If you’d like a really deep-dive into the world of Mastodon, I would strongly encourage you to listen to the Ham Radio Workbench episode where we interviewed Christopher (M0YNG):

This interview with Christopher will answer all of your questions–it was a really fun episode, to boot!

Thank you…

I hope my friends on Twitter understand why I need to distill my social media down to one platform. I will occasionally–maybe once a month–log in briefly if for no other reason to keep the account active and make sure no one has sent me private messages.

If you need to reach out to me, consider joining Mastodon and following me, or simply comment here on QRPer.com.

Have a very Happy New Year, everyone!

Thank you, QST!

Many of you have reached out this week congratulating me on the article that features my work in the April 2023 issue of QST. Thank you all for the kind words.

I’m truly honored that QST would feature my work here on QRPer.com and my YouTube channel in their pages. Steve (K5ATA) wrote a very gracious article, and frankly, I don’t know what to say other than thank you!

I’d like to thank all of you, readers, for making QRPer.com what it is today with your contributions, guest posts, field reports, hints & tips, and words of encouragement to others in the comments section. I’m honored to have even played a modest role in your radio journey, and your feedback and contributions have taught me so much, which, I feel, has made me a better field operator.

So…Thank you!

Server hiccups…

Quick announcement:

Those of you checking QRPer.com between about 6:00-11:30 UTC  the past couple of days may have noted that the site has been down and displaying the message: “Error establishing a database connection.”

Our host, QTH.com, is trying to identify the cause of this and I’m sure they’ll sort it out soon.

Thanks for your patience!


The QRPer Board: A new discussion board for QRPer.com

Friends, I’d like to share some good news with you!

The short version:

I’ve created a QRPer discussion board that anyone can join, free of charge, at QRPer.net.

My hope is that this will be a spot for community members to get quick answers to questions and connect with other like-minded operators.

Everyone is welcome and this board is already populated with a number of moderators who will make sure that all questions–no matter how simple–are welcome. Trolls and rude people will be weeded out.

I would encourage you to create an account and check it out: http://qrper.net

The long version:

In the past, I’ve mentioned in posts that email from readers and subscribers (of both QRPer.com and the SWLing Post) has increased to a point that I can no longer keep up with them. It became very evident when I went camping in West Virginia last month and came back home to find no less than 60 messages in my inbox. These 60 messages were all ones needing some sort of reply or acknowledgement–they didn’t include notifications and SPAM.

I take pride in replying to each and every message I receive, but sadly I can no longer keep up with the volume. Sadly, I don’t have enough time especially with my busy family life.

In fact, I realized recently that replying to emails is actually taking a large bite out of the time I have to do content creation. I can’t let that happen, because that could quickly lead to burn-out. Both of my sites are pure labors of love and I enjoy them immensely. Continue reading The QRPer Board: A new discussion board for QRPer.com

QRPer Notes: NG2E activates 7 summits in one day, K4OGO discovers QRP in Hawaii, New Icom Software, and TX-500 Firmware Update

Because I receive so many tips from readers here on QRPer, I wanted way to share them in a concise newsletter format.  To that end, welcome to QRPer Notes, a collection of links to interesting stories and tips making waves in the world of radio!

NG2E activates 7 summits on one December day

Many thanks to Jack (NG2E) who shares this Storymap post outlining his effort to activate seven summits in one day.

Jack notes:

[…]My plan was to activate four primary peaks along the Skyline Drive. I then planned to skip over two peaks–Stony Man and Hawksbill Mtn–as I’ve previously activated these peaks. Once activating Hazeltop Mtn farther to the south, I planned to backtrack and pick up the bonus points only for Hawksbill and Stony Mtn if I had enough time and energy.[…]

Click here to view his activation map and narrative on Storymaps.

5 Watts SSB on the Beach in Kauai, Hawaii (K4OGO)

Many thanks to Tommy (N4KBM) who shares this video of K4OGO making his first QRP SSB contact on a beach in Hawaii:

Icom IC-705 Firmware upgrade

Many thanks to Markku Koskinen who writes:

New software available from Icom.

ST-4003W | Firmware / Software | Support | Icom Inc. (icomjapan.com)

The ST-4003W is Windows software, which allows you to set the radio’s time from your PC’s time by connecting the radio to the PC.

Compatible radios (as of November 2021)

Use a USB cable to connect the radio to your PC.

The USB port type differs depending on the radio, so please check the radio’s port type before preparing the cable.

Before downloading this software, please thoroughly read the “ST-4003W INSTRUCTIONS” for installation details and what is required for the installation.

New Discovery TX-500 Firmware Update

Lab599 notes via Twitter:

New firmware version available v1.12.00

    1. Improved AGC algorithm
    2. Added beacon mode activity indicator
    3. Added reference frequency correction (TCXO adjustment)

You can download it from here.