03/7/13

My Station is Down…

That’s right the mighty Yaesu FT-950 is down. Thank god for warranties right! You know I’d like to give you some interesting and juicy details. Something like, it went out in a blaze of glory, but I just have not a clue what happened. I was transmitting and then I wasn’t. Pretty straight forward.

I’m packing it up and shipping it to Yaesu tomorrow. On my own dime I might add. O well. I’ll keep everyone a breast of the situation and I’ll still post projects and what boy as well.

I joined a Hackerspace. Pretty excited, more to talk about there.

Matt
73

***updated from Nexus 7***

Everyone, “will me” me a warm day. I need to work on my mobile.

02/1/13

HF Activity

With my new station I’ve been rather successful with my contacts. I, as you know, have worked a couple different contests on the past could weekends. I have also though just set things up during the week and called CQ. I worked my first DX, during a QSO with a Cubian station. Then, almost, right after got up with a Dominican station. Quite exciting stuff. Right I’ve got QSO’s logged with stations in the US, Canada, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic.

Yaesu FT-950
wire in a tree
20m only

No outside tuner
No tower

150+ contacts over three weekends. I’m pleased.

01/22/13

My First Ham Contest

If you read previous posts, you know this past weekend I took part in my first ham radio contest. It was the North American QSO Party. I was also trying to take part in the ARRL VHF January contest but that was fruitless, completely. Saturday afternoon about 12pm CST I started my setup. I gathered up my antenna supplies, a 20 meter home made wire dipole with a DX Engineering Alpha Delta Antenna kit. Basically it’s just a feed point and two insulators. This was going up into two tree’s outside the radio room’s window, so I also used rubber bands to lash the various pieces in place. Then I just opened the windows a smudge and feed in the coaxial feed line it’s self. This all worked really well!

By this point it’s about 12:40pm on Saturday, 20 minutes to go. I now grab my laptop put it on the desk, turn on the PS and finally radio. I’m using the NAQP program by N3FJP as my logging software. It’s simple, easy-to-use and this program is specifically made for this contest. N3FJP has a whole suite of programs for popular various contests. I had tried to get my radio to interface with Ham Radio Deluxe, but it just wasn’t having it. O well.

It’s now 15 till start time. Everything is on and charged. I tune up the antenna just to tighten everything up. Since I had extra time I tuned around and called CQ for about 13 minutes and 6 contacts so I was feeling pretty good about it. First hour 20 contacts right out of the gate. All over the north, north east, south and south eastern side of the USA and I think one Canada contact. So I take a lunch break and sit with the wife for a few and then get back at it. 26 more contacts in about an hour and a half.

This is awesome, I mean I don’t have a pile up of people looking to talk to me when I’m working CQ, but every single station that I come to that’s calling CQ I get through to. Including a pile up or two that I make it through. Remember home made antenna in a tree that’s not near as high as it should have been. I’m having a ball!

At this point I’m 4 hours into the contest, I’ve stepped away to do something for the wife. I come back and turn the radio back on and my for whatever reason my power supply takes a dump. The fan inside revs up to full speed, as does the voltage read out. It maxs! As quickly as I can I turn it off and unplug my radio from it. I put a voltmeter on the PS and 31.6 volts. AGH! So pissed.

Power Supply is a MFJ-4245MV

My nice, beautiful, expensive, new Yaesu FT-950 was over volted! Then I’m taking another reading and the POS power supply shocks me. I’m touch the metal chassis of the case and the negative terminal. I then, after my arm stops hurting, take a measurement on the chassis. 186.9 volts. At this point I go, pull out my antenna and bring it in. My contest day is over. Tomorrow, tuesday 23rd, I’m calling MFJ.

I’ve always heard the MFJ isn’t the best but I really was trying to buy from an American company. Astron

ft-950 338422

 

02/18/12

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

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

02/5/12

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.