Welcome to Brandon Clark Labs!

Amateur radi ooperator for the CQ WW VHF
Operating the CQ WW VHF contest and SOTA

My hobbies have involved some pretty complicated stuff over the years: navigation, electronics, networking, radio communications, welding, reloading, exterior ballistics, and other topics. Throughout it all I’ve been mostly self-taught . . . which was a terrible way to do things.

One resource I always had was the internet, and especially the sites that others put up showing how they accomplished things. Without others posting what they learned I never would have come this far. This site is my chance to give back.

Amateur Radio

Amateur radio operation has come a long way since the time of the first transatlantic tests. These days the hobby uses portable equipment, digital modulation, and software-control to allow communications in ways that were impossible a generation ago.

A lot of us get started in amateur radio with goals such as emergency use, public service, or CERT, but there are also lots of just-for-fun activities out there. One of my favorite is contesting, where you go on-air with thousands of other operators and make as many contacts as you can.

If you’re a glutton for punishment you can also try one of my other loves: Summits on the Air (SOTA). As an “activator” I hike to the top of a mountain and sets up a portable station. The “chasers” operate ham radio from home, contacting activators like me. Whether you chase or activate it is a ton of fun. Looking through some of my past trips is a great way to get an introduction to the hobby.

Another interest of mine is the Parks on the Air program. POTA is a lot like SOTA, except the action happens at ground level. You simply find a local park from the online database, set up, and make at least ten contacts to “activate” the park.

Take a look through the amateur radio pages to get ideas for fun things to do on-air.

Updated 2022-05-12

Outdoors Life

If you’re like me, working 8-5 in an office isn’t enough. I’ve always been happiest when I have dirt under my boots, the stars overhead, and a rock for a pillow at night.

I think I’ve been lucky, having myself how to be at home in the outdoors while managing to not lose any body parts. Leaving the pavement behind is fun, but if you don’t know what you’re doing it can get real ugly, real fast.

Browse through the Outdoors Life pages for tips, tricks, and projects to help you get off on the right foot (or snowshoe) when leaving civilization behind.

Shooting Sports

Here in the United States, our system of government was founded on the principle of rulers being accountable to the ruled. This is in opposition to how things are in much of the rest of the world where people are subjects, rather than citizens. Our second amendment is an insurance policy to ensure that things stay that way.

The projects in the Shooting Sports section will help you learn how to build and service firearms, load your own ammunition, calculate trajectories, understand terminal ballistics, and other topics so that you can exercise your rights responsibly.