CQmaps – Professional Maps for Amateur Radio is being sold again? For real? For real! You may be asking, “what happened to the original CQmaps and what is Axles And Antennas?”
Lets' begin with the first question. Basically, in the fall of 2016, even while CQmaps was booming, I had an opportunity drop into my lap that I did not want to pass. Without being specific, it was a GIS & cartographic job that seemed to fit my career goals and looked very exciting. Unfortunately, after a few months not all worked out as I had thought it would which led me on a different path than I had originally intended. A major downside to all of this was that I sold all the equipment that was associated with CQmaps. Sometimes it is very hard to predict our futures.
After about a year and half, the cartographic itch was still there. Despite selling all the printing equipment, I did have the foresight to retain all of my geographic data along with the mapping templates. There was an attempt or two by some outside business to buy this, but for very fortuitous reasons, it was never successful.
Which brings us to the second part of the question, Axles And Antennas: Overland & On Air. The answer lies in the tagline. Last year, I purchased my third Jeep, specifically a 4 door Wrangler (a JKU for those in the know!) Part of owning any kind of “cool” car is digging around on the 'net looking for like minded folks. While searching, I came across a website called Expedition Portal (ExPo). Low and Behold! I found this remarkable past time called overlanding.
Overlanding is sort of a mixture of car camping, off roading, and hiking. Most overlanders, as it seems, prefer to kit up their off road vehicles with tents, cooking apparatus, and all manner of fixins that one would expect to find in an RV. The rub, however, is that many of these trips would be very difficult, if not impossible, to take a traditional RV on. In the case of overlanding, bigger is not always better. As for the hiking element, in the past I used to hike and camp quite a bit. I suppose a mixture of aging and youthful indiscretion has taken it's toll and therefore sleeping on the ground is not nearly as fun as it used to be. So this whole overlanding thing really caught my attention.
Ok, fine, but what does this have to do with maps and ham radio? Like many of my fellow citizens, I often dream of running my own business, especially one that is integrated with a hobby or passion. I had that with CQmaps and foolishly walked away from it. So with my first trips into the back country, either by myself or with a group, I kept thinking of a way to carve out my own niche, all the while, the answer was in my face. Literally, the microphone was swinging wildly in my face!
You see, one of the most important aspects in society is communication. The ability to convey information, whether face to face, cell phone, or two way radio, is extremely important for a multitude of reasons. An issue with this is communication parity. That is to say, the method in which we communicate.
Off the beaten path, cell service is typically spotty or nonexistent. Easy fix; put a radio in your vehicle! Easy in theory but fraught with issues in practice. What I noticed when I began to go out with some offroading and overlanding groups is that radio communication was all over the place. Some vehicles had CB Radios, others had ham radios and a few had GMRS/FRS. For all intents and purposes, none of these various types of radio service have the ability to talk with each other.
So with that in mind, Axles And Antennas was born. Axlesandantennas.com is a place where those curious about simple radio communication can come and find a stepping off place for whatever radio service they are interested in. This is not a site for radio theory, in-depth how to's or advance topics. There are too many other really good sites that contain that information (and you will find links to those here)!
Wrapping this up, Cqmaps – Professional Maps for Amateur Radio is back from the limbo that I had pushed into and exclusively sold at axlesandantennas.com. In the very near future our product line will reach well beyond printed maps and hopefully will be the place you and your friends come to when you need basic and simple information regarding mobile communication.