02/20/13

My Resources

Some of the resources I use.

I make and fabricate a lot of the things I use. I make most all of my antennas, at least my none mobile antennas. All my wire antennas and a couple yagi’s. I’ve not made a lot of yagi’s. I made a 2 meter to get into a repeater well and a 6 meter antenna. The rest have been some kind wire antenna. Dipoles and Inverted V’s. I enjoy the challenge and learning aspect of making. As well most of my creations are a little cheaper than commercially available units.

» Ham radio band plan via ARRL
http://www.arrl.org/files/file/Hambands_color.pdf

» I use this site to calc my dipoles. I know the formula but I don’t always have a calculator on me.
http://www.kwarc.org/ant-calc.html

» After my fan-dipole project is over my next is a Delta Loop for twenty.
http://w5sdc.net/delta_loop_for_hf.html

» Where I buy most of the commercially built products is Gigaparts. At one time I lived in Huntsville, where they are located, so I feel I should help out the home town folks.
http://www.gigaparts.com/radioindex.php

» Ham Radio Practice Tests, this is where I prep before a test. You can choose individual parts to focus on or take an entire test. The feedback it gives on your test is useful in instructing you on what to study.
http://www.w8mhb.com/exam/

» QRZ.com, the goto site for ham stuff. Callsign lookups, forums, and just generally a lot of ham stuff.
http://www.qrz.com/

11/21/12

Second Operating Positon

Following my experience from Field Day 2012 I’ve been thinking. What can I do? I did help as much as I could with setup and operating, but I did not really contribute anything. So between now and the ARRL 2013 Field Day I’m trying to get things together. Being I am now a General Class operator with plenty of operating privileges I will be acquiring a HF capable transceiver. I’ve also recently gotten a mobile dual band rig. As written about previously.

What I did today was wire in a second operating position in my SUV. Version one of what I did was to simply run 2 CAT6 cables from the radio mounted area to the back of the SUV and crimped on RJ-45 connectors. I then used f-f couplers to hook everything together. This worked just fine, but had 2 flopping cables in the back. You know, flopping around. Well that was version one.


Version 2 is a little more buttoned up. I’ve maintained the same cables running to the back from the radio. Now, instead of 2 RJ-45 connectors at

 

the end of these two cables, there are two keystone sockets. One to plug microphone and one for the control head. This way the look i cleaner and a little more flexible interface. To house all this I picked up a slim electrical box. I put some 3M Velcro strips to hold it in place. And finally I simply mounted my keystones in a 6 port face plate. See the keystones you buy with various sockets and plugs are a universal square snap in fit.

Why go through the trouble you ask? Well as I mentioned I’m doing this in preparation for Field Day. I imagine myself sitting in a chair working my radios from the car. This is so I can go flip the two cables and plug up to setup a station in the back. That simple. I don’t have to un-mount the radio, find power in the back, plug everything in and then be on the air. 1 minute and I’m going. I would love to find some switching device that would let me jump back and forth without having to go to the radio and switch cables.

What do I have left? Well not much if I’m honest. Directly for this project I need audio in the back. 2 speakers. Specifically the MFJ 281 ClearTone Speaker. What I’m planning on doing is fabbing up a bracket to mount the speaker right inside the SUV to the roof. I’ll setup an audio switch of some kind to send it to the back and I’ll have either 1/8 jack keystones or

02/27/12

No Mic Included…

My radio came Thursday of last week but due to my excitement I missed the fact that it did not come with a mic. Of any kind. I tried to rig something together but it just didn’t work. So right now I’m in limbo. Ugh, its killing because I could at least work some of 10 meters, 6 meters and 2 meter cause it operates VHF as well as HF.
Good weekend at the Battleship, more to come about that. BB55 or NI4BK
***updated via Droid phone***

02/18/12

Antenna Tuner

As stated previously; I’m new to the hobby of Ham Radio. I am a Tech right now, soon to be a General. Right now I’m slowly amassing gear to put together a shack/station that can operate HF freqs. I have bought a second hand ICOM IC-746 Pro with match ICOM power supply. Well I want to take care of my investment so I also have bought a in store display antenna tuner. The tuner I bought is the MFJ-945e tuner. It covers 1.8 mHz all the way through 6 meters, up to 200 or 300 watts. Which is prefect and plenty for me. MFJ I guess has it listed as a “mobile” tuner but they do mention, as do other users, it’s perfectly at home in the shack. I’m pretty excited! This coming weekend is the NC QSO Party and I’m really hoping I’ll have my station up and operating for it. As still being a Tech I’ve only got a portion of the 10meter band to work with but I’m still going to try. Should  I not be up and running I’ll be at the Battleship North Carolina(which if you take part is 50 point station) station operating, NI4BK.

MFJ - 945E

MFJ – 945E

02/17/12

My Actual First HF Rig…ICOM IC-746 Pro

In the previous post I discussed about wanting to pass the General License exam and getting my first HF radio transceiver. In the article I talked heavily about the Yaesu FT-950, well I did not buy one. It’s a great great rig but I was about to get a little better deal for what I got. I got a ICOM IC-746 Pro. It’s like the predecessor to the ICOM IC-7100, that’s a beast of a rig. Basically what it came down to was the Yaesu was out of the budget. So after that I started looking into the ICOM IC-718 but I just wasn’t into that radio; there’s no 6 meter or VHF. Which the 746Pro has both plus, of course, the HF bands.The 746Pro also has IF digital filtering, so no need to fill up my radio with expensive filters. All I have to do is go through the bands, select the operating mode and adjust the bandwidth of the filter to my liking. Pretty cool. But listen I just bought the radio yesterday and haven’t even got it yet, so I do begin to know where to start explaining it. So I’m going to leave you with some pictures and links to reviews and info of my new cool radio!

eham.net Review – ICOM IC-746PRO

universal-radio.com – Icom IC-746 Pro

ICOM IC-746 Pro

ICOM IC-746 Pro

02/4/12

My First HF Radio…***Updated Above***

So I’m on the hunt for my first HF rig. Next month I’ll be passing my General license exam. Which in a nut shell will give me HF band privileges. The exact band plan for General class folks can be found online so I won’t list it, plus I don’t fully know them. But that’s ok for now. To get back on topic, yes, I am looking for my first HF radio. I’m preferring to buy something late model. Very late model. I looking for something at least 100watts cause I do want to get my DX on, I’m looking a reliable brand, and I would like to have something I can upgrade at a later date with filters. Price is kind of a option; I’d really like to say under 800 to 900 dollars, or less of course.

I really really like Yaesu radios! My first, a HT, was a Yaesu and I just feel comfortable with the make. There is just something about the Yaesu’s, they look the way a supreme rig should look, out of the box they have some extra nice features, and my Yaesu options work with an antenna rotater.

Yaesu FT-950

Yaesu FT-950

So what have I got you ask; well what I like are the Yaesu FT-950 also the FT-450(closer in budget) and the ICOM IC-718. Both, all 3, meet really what I want and are pretty close to budget. Now here’s honestly what I want, I want the FT-950, really really bad, it’s a beast of a beginner rig. Maybe even more than I need but let me tell you when I get into a hobby, I get INTO the hobby. So very soon I’ll be able to use every bit of that radio. But unfortunately it’s to much money, average retail for the 950 is $1400, the ICOM is at $700 USD I think. I do have the Yaesu FT-450 I could buy, but buying that to me feels like I’m buying a mini radio and I just can’t break the from my mind. So anyways I’m still deciding, I will be buying it this month, hopefully before the NC QSO Party. I’ll let you all know.

IC-718

IC-718

FT-950 Sales Page

FT-950 Sales Page

01/31/12

My HT and it’s new Case

So I have not really covered it yet, but I own a HT, handheld ham radio. And I’ve found a basic, good and useful storage case for it. First, let me tell you, briefly, about rig I have a Yaesu VX-8DR and I love it! It has multiple features; operates 6 & 2 meters and 440mhz, supports APRS with GPS dongle, tough as nails and compact. I run the stock battery just for slim-ness of it, I have the shoulder mic and a upgraded antenna. Normally when I carry, which with it’s size is a lot. Most of my backpacks are molle compatible, so I normally carry it in a 5.11 Tactical Radio Pouch. Some times when all I have is my side bag I’ll tuck it in a side pocket of that.

 

But on occasion I do pack it in something, it might be luggage or it just might be, actually, inside my backpack. And that’s what I’ve got today. A little back-story first. With this school semester I am transitioning back and forth between 3 bags. Well when I carry a bag, whether it’s one of my 2 backpacks or my messenger bag, there’s a certain set of tools and things I like to carry. No matter what. So after switching 3 times a week for 3 weeks now I’m tired of it and I have been researching smaller bags to keep the actual things in. So instead of moving 20 things, I move 5 to 6 pouches. Much better.

 

Well I picked up the Zeikos IR-NEO36 Black Neoprene Carrying Case. It’s a nice little case and when I ever pack my little HT in something I will use this little case for it’s protection. It’s got a nice padded feeling to it, the inside is lined with a nylon fabric, the outside is neoprene and it has a solid feeling zipper. The best part is that the total with tax and shipping, out there door to mine cost me $1.09. I will b buying more. I will probably buy several more for other radio parts, cables, and etc.

 

At a later date I’ll do a more detailed review of the radio and case but for now info can be found at the links above.

11/6/11

First Post…

So I’m a relativity new ham radio operator. My callsign is KK4EQM. I’m active on 2 meter and 70cm and I would be active on 6 meters but eastern north Carolina is basically silent down in the 50 mhz area.

I’ve got an ICOM mobile rig in my truck, dual bander, that my dad gave me (KA4HOT) and a Yaesu VX-8DR, a handy talky, that I picked yup. I also am very active on EchoLink and have an APRS becon APP on my Droid cell phone. My HT can do APRS but I haven’t been able to buy the GPS unit for it yet. I really like my Yaesu HT! It works 6m, 2m and 70 cm. According to the booklet it will do 1.25m, 220 mhz I think, with an output of 1 watt but I don’t think I’ve ever tried it.

I also am a big fan of building antennas. I’ve built a few dipoles and an awesome ground plane antenna out of nothing but a SO-239 connector and some 14 gauge copper wire. Works great at 16 feet on my painters pole mast!

For now I’ve gone on enough, but check back often as I hope to write as I continue to learn. My next step is to get my general.