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Episode 494 – Fred Hopengarten – K1VR

Fred Hopengarten K1VR, and his wife Betty, were guests in my home after an afternoon of touring with me the unusual sites around Jerusalem and Gush Etzion, where I live a few years ago.  Fred has a long history in amateur radio and took to the law rather than engineering as a profession specializing in communications law and antenna regulations for both commercial broadcasting and amateur radio.  His book, Antenna Zoning for the Radio Amateur, is a must read for hams that need and want external antennas at their QTH.  K1VR discuss antenna law, contesting, and his elaborate station in this QSO Today.


The total amounts contributed as sponsorships and/or donations since Episode 1 in July 2014 are listed below, and only those who agreed to be publicly recognized. This list does not include “Buy Me A Coffee” donations.
New Sponsors and Donations Last 30 Days
Total Sponsorships, Donations, and Transcriptions since July 2014

ARRL Sweepstakes Contest
Array Solutions Stack Match
Stacked Tribander Antenna
Product Manager
Product Marketing Manager
F1 Satellite
Society for Broadcast Engineers
Community Associations Institute
Remote Ham Radio
Walden Pond
Charles Regatta
St. Elsewhere (St. Elizabeth’s )
ARRL New England Division Director
New England Sci-Tech

Excited by amateur radio being so many different hobbies.

Advice to new or returning hams: more land is gooder.  Ham radio is many hobbies within a hobby. 

Podcast Summary: 
The QSO Today podcast featured Fred Hopengarten, K1VR, discussing his ham radio journey starting in childhood. Fred emphasized the importance of antenna zoning and regulations affecting ham radio operators. He highlighted challenges such as housing restrictions limiting outdoor antennas and initiatives like New England Sci-Tech for scientific education among youth. Fred encouraged exploring different hobby aspects and modes beyond traditional voice communications, including CW and digital modes.

Fred shared insights into key milestones like obtaining his license at age ten and building his first transmitter. He expressed enthusiasm for hobby engagement diversity, respecting new hams’ varied interests. Fred addressed remote station operation trends and community involvement in promoting amateur radio. The meeting provided perspectives on legal issues impacting enthusiasts, strategies to attract younger members through educational programs, and practical advice for deeper engagement tailored to individual preferences and interests.

Throughout the conversation, Fred reiterated the need for support to protect ham radio interests. He underlined the role of antenna zoning amid increasing challenges. Fred referenced the importance of hands-on activities for youth in sparking scientific curiosity. He advised individuals to explore hobby facets complementing their passions, noting the dynamic nature of amateur radio engagement beyond traditional methods.

Fred’s insights reflected a holistic approach to amateur radio, blending personal experiences with broader industry perspectives. He emphasized the ongoing need for advocacy and adaptation to evolving regulatory landscapes. Fred’s guidance resonated with the call for innovation and inclusivity within the ham radio community, promoting continuous learning and engagement across generations. The meeting encapsulated a wealth of knowledge on navigating legal frameworks, fostering youth involvement, and fostering a vibrant ham radio ecosystem reflective of diverse interests and evolving technologies. 

Episode Outline:
Chapter 1: Fred’s Journey into Ham Radio (01:33 – 16:59)

  • Fred’s introduction to amateur radio and overcoming challenges in obtaining his license at a young age.
  • Academic achievements leading to law school and business school at Harvard.
  • Transitioning from law to becoming an expert in antenna zoning.

Chapter 2: Career and Entrepreneurial Ventures (24:13 – 45:20)

  • Fred’s entrepreneurial endeavors, including building a remotely controlled cable television tap.
  • Becoming an antenna zoning expert and authoring books on the subject.
  • Involvement in the telecommunications industry and interest in HF communications.

Chapter 3: Broadening Horizons in Ham Radio (51:47 – 59:54)

  • Exploration of digital communications on sailboats and high altitude balloons.
  • Evolution of packet radio into the FTN world.
  • Engagement with regulatory aspects and advice for those interested in ham radio.

Chapter 4: Podcasting and Sponsorship (31:50 – 58:22)

  • Discussion on commercial sponsorship models and the value for value business model.
  • Creation and dissemination of valuable amateur radio content through podcasting.
  • Encouraging listener support through sponsorships, donations, and transcription sponsorships.

Chapter 5: Concluding Thoughts and Call to Action (1:00:07 – 1:03:21)

  • Advice for individuals interested in ham radio to find their niche and explore the diverse aspects of the hobby.
  • Information on supporting the QSO Today podcast through sponsorships and subscriptions.
  • Acknowledgement of podcast syndication and use of podcast platforms for easy access to episodes.

Action items:

  • Work on making your station remoteable and automated (44:03)
  • Open up your station to kids who might not have their own stations or friends who are hams and have been forced by time and circumstance to downsize (45:20)

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