Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Hello 2014!

January 1, 2014

Well 2013 is behind us and the 2014 is ahead. I started out this year by adding a new monitor for the shack computer and a shelf to put it on.2014-01-01 15.47.53 HDR

The monitor is a 24″ AOC LCD/LED unit from New Egg. The 16:9 ratio really makes the N3FJP logging program really pop. As you can see I have all the HF gear on the shelf. The HW-101 and the HW-8 are project rigs. that is why they aren’t lit. They both work and still need a little work. With a little leftover holiday cash and the winnings from an office NFL pool I plan to add a Vibroplex Iambic paddle to the shack soon. One of my true goals for this year is to get back to CW proficiency.  I have played with it but it is time to get serious. If you look close there is no Mic only the Speedex straight key and The American Morse Products DCP (Dirt Cheap Paddle). Kind of hard to work SSB in this configuration. Happy new year to All!

It’s Aliveeeeeee! My HW-8 Project Rig that is.

June 28, 2013

Yeah I know it’s been a while. Life has gotten so busy and work is another story! But any way I have made a decision to carve out more radio time from my busy schedule and I have a project to drive it!

The Green Machine

The Green Machine

I obtained the above the unit above from Nelson NE4LS. He responded to my email to QRP-L looking for a non-working HW-8. Also included was Mike Bryce’s “The HW-8 Handbook.” I am happy as a lark to have this baby as a project and am ready to get started! The reason I looked for an HW-8 is purely nostalgic. The first rig I ever owned was an HW-8. I think I struggled to make 1 QSO with it. I found a picture of my first station a few months ago. You can see it below. This time I will make sure I am able to make QSO’s with it. I plan to have it in a place of honor in my current shack.

1980 Ham Station

My 1980 ham station (KA8DRS).
Left IC-215 2m rig. Right HW-8.

The old gal is quite deaf. The only signal I was able to hear on any of the bands was W1AW code practice on 20m. So I know the receive works.  I investigated a little more and found that Q1 has been replaced and there is an extra lead hanging free in the air. Another 2N2222 has been installed on the bottom of the board instead of through the holes from the top. I have some question about the wiring on the TR relay. all the solder joints look good at first glance. Only time will tell the true story.

The clam shells have been painted a different green. A trip to Wally World is on the list to see how close I can get. The knobs and front panel are in excellent shape. There is a little dust on it but that will be easy. The 21 Mhz push button looks to have been attacked by a  soldering iron.

There was quite a bit of microphonics in the audio. The AF gain pot is a little scratchy, otherwise the controls all seem to work ok for the moment.

Below are some other pictures from today’s trial run. Next up will be testing the TX side.

It's Aliveeeeee!

It’s Aliveeeeee!

Impressive details of a past life!

Impressive details of a past life!



Underside installation.

Underside installation.

2012 in review

December 30, 2012

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,600 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

It’s been a crazy summer!

November 13, 2012

Wow I really let this blog go. It has been a crazy summer and fall so far. I have had too little time for radio recently, but I think that’s about to change. I will be changing positions within my company on 11/26. My hours will change from the 3 12 hour days that causes me to get up at 3:30AM. I will be on a regular 8 hour daytime schedule Monday thru Friday. I also will return to the technical end of things doing repair and maintenance on Dialysis equipment. With the change of positions and seasons, I hope to get active again in radio.

Last week along with all the end of season yard work I was able to put up another antenna. It is an old HyGain AV-18s vertical. I have about 50 feet of 7/16 hard line feeding it. Mounted in the back yard on a deck post with the base at about 5 feet above the ground. I am going to replace the base coil with a home brew one that hopefully will give me something better than my G5RV Jr. for 80 meters. I will post some pics when I get a few.

I did get to work a bit in the CQ WW DX Phone the other weekend. Got 3 all time new ones and some band fills. I am also planning to work the SS Phone this weekend.

I also picked up 3 12 volt 7 AH UPS units and am working on some plans for their use.

It’s good to be back.

NOOK Tablet for Ham Radio (and other uses)

May 27, 2012

What is it?

A while back there was an email thread on QRP-L that was about E-Readers for Radio use. I had been giving that some thought since I am not a smart phone guy and my Dell Axim handheld was the equivalent of a boat anchor. So I read what everybody said and did lots of independent research. My budget was around $250 and I was not interested in an Ipad. I looked into the various Android Tabs, Kindle Fire, and the NOOK Tablet. My basic requirements are listed below.

  • Portable but not more than handheld size
  • WiFi capable
  • Extra storage available
  • Ability to side load data from my PC
  • Basic Apps available
  • Ham apps nice but not necessary
  • Good battery life
  • Ability to read e-books in multiple formats

I opted for the NOOK Tablet for meeting all of the above requirements and because the YL already had a NOOK Simple Touch. She liked the book selection available and we had the ability to share certain items between our NOOK’s. She had been storing recipes in PDF format from Cute PDF and it handled the nicely. Price wise I was able to obtain my 8GB NOOK Tablet for around $150 with discounts. That left me $100 for more radio stuff!

I have had the NT since mid April and have been impressed so far. It is light enough that i can carry it in my hand or in my lunch bag without too much trouble. The screen is bright and clear with nice color. The dual processors make it pretty fast. I am not one to watch a lot of video so the slower speed due to the 8GB RAM is not on issue for me. Initially I found no issues with the NT. The only downside so far is that you can only get apps from NOOK. It will not run all Android apps. This has something to do with the user interface that is used. It has not been a real issue as I am not an app snob, but it is worth mentioning.

NOOK and cover.

Above is a Picture of the NT in a cover I made for it. I used an idea from Intstructables for this. I cut the inside of a book out. (Nice title for a ham) Glued felt inside of the cover. Installed an elastic band to keep it closed like a Moleskine Notebook. Attached the “fingers” side of Velcro to the back of the NT and then stuck it directly to the felt. Works like a charm. Not only protects the NT but makes it a little less likely to be stolen. Who would want to steal a book on solid state troubleshooting? You might wonder if the Velcro is strong enough to hold the NT. At Hamvention I was showing it to a friend. She was trying to take it out of the cover and actually pulled the NT off of it’s back cover! She was trying to take it out by pulling up on the edge of the NT. So now I know how to open it up. Maybe some mods are in the offing?

Speaking of Hamvention, while there I noticed another drawback. The color display is a little hard to read in the bright sunshine. I had my shopping list on a spreadsheet and I had to turn up the brightness all the way to see it well in the sun. It is usable but I am sure the battery life would be diminished if I used it long term that way. I picked up some E-books from Ed Brensiser WA3WSJ on Pedestrian mobile operation. What you see in the picture below is the front page of one of his books, “Amateur Radio and the Great Outdoors.”


Ed’s Book


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