03/7/12

What is Amateur Radio?

Amateur Radio (or “ham radio”) provides the broadest and most powerful wireless communications capability available to any private citizen anywhere in the world. This worldwide community of ham radio operators use their radios for emergencies, experimentation, and fun!

03/7/12

What is Amateur Radio?

Amateur Radio (or “ham radio”) provides the broadest and most powerful wireless communications capability available to any private citizen anywhere in the world. This worldwide community of ham radio operators use their radios for emergencies, experimentation, and fun!

02/19/12

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
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

02/5/12

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

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.

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

02/1/12

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.

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.

12/16/11

Pearl Harbor Day and Ham Radio…

p081_ussnc

This is a shot of the USS North Carolina right after she arrived in the 60’s

If there is anyone, beside me, reading this you know I’m a new Ham Radio(Amateur Radio) operator. I’m only at the first, of 3, levels in which you can be at in the US. With that said I am still, over all, getting my feet wet in what is out there. There are a 1000+ ways to go at the hobby. I am a hands on kind of guy, so I like building things. Particularly circuits and antennas. Nothing to crazy, but I have built myself a very well tuned ground plain antenna for 2 meters. One of the other things I am doing is trying to be active in the ham community locally. I have attended several functions the club has put on over the past 2 months and also joined the local ARES chapter. One of the functions I took part in was the Pearl Harbor Day radio ops the local club put on.

Azalea Coast Amateur Radio Club is the club here in town. Several of the members have over many years restored and worked with the USS North Carolina Battleship here in town. These folks have gone in and explored the battleship, restored rigs, and operated on them. Plus all the gear surrounding the radio operations; generators, wiring, etc.. So every year for the past several they have radio events on the battleship. This year I took part in one and it was awesome!

Sitting probably in the Cape River in Wilmington, NC

Sitting probably in the Cape River in Wilmington, NC

This all went down on the 6th and 7th of December 2011. On the 6th we went in and tested the waters, so to speak. Course the night of the 6th the airwaves were basically silent for us. Three contacts were made and that’s it, no more. Now with that said some guys had met the previous Sunday afternoon to this and managed many contacts, plus they contacted a station at Pearl Harbor and another ship in San Diego, CA. On the 7th we met on at a fine local eating establishment for breakfast and then proceeded to the ship. There are several radio rooms on the ship but for our activities the guys doing CW/morse code worked 4 decks down in Radio II(I believe) and my group worked SSB voice on 20meters in Radio Central(I believe).

At sea in the 1940's

At sea in the 1940’s

Working this day on 20meters was awesome! Probably one of the coolest things I’ve done! I was the 3rd operator to take a 30 minute shift. It was nerve racking and absolutely awesome all at the same time. I have no, nil, nada experience on the HF bands and the etiquette down there is very specific and, for me at least, difficult to grasp that day. There’s all this verbal short hand and jargon, that in passing I’ve heard, but had no clue how to implement it. But with that said the guys in the room were super nice and patience with this noob. I made roughly about thirty contacts. Including 2 from Canadian, 1 UK and even another museum ship, my fav, in Tampa, FL. It was the USS American Victory, W4AVM. During the operation we logged roughly 140 – 150 contacts. To my knowledge we had 5 to 7 countries, 25ish states, and 2 museum ships. During that time we also talk to one ham whose father was on the USS North Carolina during it’s tour and one ham who was a chief engineer in the yard in which the ship was built.

Over all this was a day that I hold high, not only did I get to operate my first HF comms, but I did it to help celebrate the memory of the USS North Carolina and Pearl Harbor Day.

The USS North Carolina sitting in the Cape River across from Wilmington, NC

The USS North Carolina sitting in the Cape River across from Wilmington, NC

12/16/11

Pearl Harbor Day and Ham Radio…

This is a shot of the USS North Carolina right
after she arrived in the 60’s

If there is anyone, beside me, reading this you know I’m a new Ham Radio(Amateur Radio) operator. I’m only at the first, of 3, levels in which you can be at in the US. With that said I am still, over all, getting my feet wet in what is out there. There are a 1000+ ways to go at the hobby. I am a hands on kind of guy, so I like building things. Particularly circuits and antennas. Nothing to crazy, but I have built myself a very well tuned ground plain antenna for 2 meters. One of the other things I am doing is trying to be active in the ham community locally. I have attended several functions the club has put on over the past 2 months and also joined the local ARES chapter. One of the functions I took part in was the Pearl Harbor Day radio ops the local club put on.

Azalea Coast Amateur Radio Club is the club here in town. Several of the members have over many years restored and worked with the USS North Carolina Battleship here in town. These folks have gone in and explored the battleship, restored rigs, and operated on them. Plus all the gear surrounding the radio operations; generators, wiring, etc.. So every year for the past several they have radio events on the battleship. This year I took part in one and it was awesome!

Sitting probably in the Cape River in Wilmington, NC

This all went down on the 6th and 7th of December 2011. On the 6th we went in and tested the waters, so to speak. Course the night of the 6th the airwaves were basically silent for us. Three contacts were made and that’s it, no more. Now with that said some guys had met the previous Sunday afternoon to this and managed many contacts, plus they contacted a station at Pearl Harbor and another ship in San Diego, CA. On the 7th we met on at a fine local eating establishment for breakfast and then proceeded to the ship. There are several radio rooms on the ship but for our activities the guys doing CW/morse code worked 4 decks down in Radio II(I believe) and my group worked SSB voice on 20meters in Radio Central(I believe).

At sea in the 1940’s

Working this day on 20meters was awesome! Probably one of the coolest things I’ve done! I was the 3rd operator to take a 30 minute shift. It was nerve racking and absolutely awesome all at the same time. I have no, nil, nada experience on the HF bands and the etiquette down there is very specific and, for me at least, difficult to grasp that day. There’s all this verbal short hand and jargon, that in passing I’ve heard, but had no clue how to implement it. But with that said the guys in the room were super nice and patience with this noob. I made roughly about thirty contacts. Including 2 from Canadian, 1 UK and even another museum ship, my fav, in Tampa, FL. It was the USS American Victory, W4AVM. During the operation we logged roughly 140 – 150 contacts. To my knowledge we had 5 to 7 countries, 25ish states, and 2 museum ships. During that time we also talk to one ham whose father was on the USS North Carolina during it’s tour and one ham who was a chief engineer in the yard in which the ship was built.

Over all this was a day that I hold high, not only did I get to operate my first HF comms, but I did it to help celebrate the memory of the USS North Carolina and Pearl Harbor Day.

The USS North Carolina sitting in the Cape River across from Wilmington, NC