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Surfin’: iTouching Ham Apps


By Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU
Contributing Editor

This week, Surfin’ discovers the iPod Touch -- and its proliferation of ham radio apps.

My sister Jeanette always buys us scratch-off lottery tickets as Christmas stocking stuffers. This past Christmas was no different -- except that I won $105 on the first ticket I scratched clean.

I also received a $100 gift card from Santa. I never squander money that arrives out of the blue and I tucked the $205 away in my wallet.

Do you Woot? I do and every morning, I receive an e-mail from Woot revealing their deal-of-the-day.

Often, the Woot deal-of-the-day is an electronic gadget. For example, I bought a TomTom GPS from Woot last fall, and last month, I bought an notebook computer for the Wolcott Historical Society, where I am treasurer and webmaster.

Three months passed and I was still sitting on the $205, then Woot came up with a deal I couldn’t refuse: a refurbished 32-gigabyte current generation iPod Touch for $224.

I think iPhone without the monthly phone bills.

I think traveling sans laptop, but still having Internet access.

I think that the $205 in my wallet is not increasing in value.

I think I will go for the deal-of-the-day. And I did.

It arrived one week ago, and although refurbished, it looked brand new out of the box. I have spent the past week breaking it in (and breaking me in on how to use it).

I have downloaded an astronomy and panoramic photography app, but nothing ham radio-related -- yet. I am overwhelmed. Since the last time I checked, the number of available ham apps has grown considerably.

Searching the App Store from my iPod Touch for “Amateur Radio” apps returned 120 apps; searching for “ham radio” apps returned 228. I don’t know why, but searching the App Store from iTunes on my computer returned a lot fewer ham apps.

Some apps are free, some apps cost money and some of the apps are very intriguing. There are the usual suspects, and there are some unique ones: apps for ham radio exam study, Morse code practice, logging, radio calculations, antenna design, digital mode on-the-air operation and more. I don't know where to begin downloading! 

Until next time, keep on surfin’!

Editor’s note: Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU, seeks the unusual in radio. To contact Stan, send e-mail or add comments to the WA1LOU blog.



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