Category Archives: Ham radio

Saturday morning ham radio fun

This was a normal Saturday morning for me with the radios. I started out with a quick cw contact with K7FU, who was running mobile in western Oregon on his way to a fishing trip.

After that I moved to 80 meters AM and listened to the Midwest Classic Radio net. I forgot to check in, so just lurked.

Then I moved down the band to 3840 and listened, and checked in, to the Vintage SSB net that starts sometime between 8:30 and 9: I enjoy hearing the old radios, and use my Yaesu FT-101 as my vintage radio. I’m getting the bug to get more vintage gear, but holding off so far. If you nose around on their web site, you can hear audio of me checking in, if you wonder what all this sounds like. I’m going to start adding more audio and video to the blog.

Test from phone. Getting ready for w9dxcc

It works

First contact with the new mobile this evening while coming home from Rockford. N4YG, Joe, in Huntsville, AL. We both had good signals, so I think the new setup is working. I got the MFJ remote antenna controller and it works. You push the button to raise or lower the antenna for best SWR. Yes, I can’t change bands while driving down the road like I could with the Yaesu radio, but the Icom IC 7000 is a much nicer radio. More on that as I spend more time on the air. Listen for K9OZ/m around 7030 mornings and late afternoons.

Getting the mobile bug

Hello to K2CZ who commented on my Mini Cooper silliness. Yes, I need HF mobile in it. I’ve got 2 meter/440 with the Yaseu FTM-10 — that strange little radio designed for motorcylcle work. It does work well in the Mini, the control head has the speaker and the mic in it, so that’s all I really have up front.

But I miss my HF mobile. I ran a Yaesu FT 857 and ATAS 120 antenna for years, but the ATAS has died and my wife gave me an Icom IC-7000 for Christmas. I can see having the 7000 driving a Hamstick on the back of the Mini. I do a 90-minute commute two days a week, so I have plenty of mobile time to kill.

That’s my Spring project, if Spring ever arrives. Stay tuned.

Slow winter for ham radio

I thought it was jut me, but last month in both CQ and QST magazines, there were articles about how bad the bands have been this winter. Ok, that’s my excuse for not getting on enough and not blogging.

Actually, I’ve just grown lazy on the blogging. I was on last weekend and had three very nice CW rag chews. They were Bruce, K6ZB, in Thousand Oaks, CA; Tony, N2ATB, in Chrerry Hill, NJ: and Bill, KA1RVM in Hollison, MA. All three were nice conversational contacts, where we talked about a wide range of things clipping along at 25 wpm or so. That’s when CW is really fun for me.

Contest season is about over. I tried to get on the the 160 meter phone contest last weekend, but my dipole antenna blew down a couple weeks ago. Instead of a dipole at 50 feet, I now have a dipole at 50 feet on one end and 10 feet on the other. It still gets out ok on 80, but I could tell the difference on 160. Oh well, spring will be here soon and I’ll get a new rope up to the top of that tree and get it back up in the air.

Enough of this, I hear a CQ on 40 meter cw….

Straight key night

Every year on New Year’s eve and New Year’s day there is an event called Straight Key Night, when cw operators get out the old straight keys and pound out a few contacts. I made eight this eyar, and it was enough to remember how much work is is to send with a straight key. Today we all use electronic keyers, much faster and much easier, but maybe not as much romance.

I’m always surprised my fist — that’s how well you send cw — isn’t that bad with a striaght key. I used two different keys, a Vibroplex I picked up at a hamfest a few years ago and an old miltary key — it says WEP 1940 –on the bottom

The K3 is here

I ordered my K3 from Elecraft on May 12, trying to get ahead of the orders placed at Dayton. It arrived September 9. The first picture shows the boxes unpacked and unopened about 7 p.m. After a quick trip to pick up an anti-static mat, I started assembling.

The second photo shows my stopping point the first night, after a couple hours. The third photo my ending point on Wednesday night. The fourth is late Thursday night, where I had it together and on the air. All in all, it was maybe a 6 hour process.
The result is a very sweet little radio. More on that later.

Field Day is coming

Field Day, where Hams all around the country spend a weekend “in the field” operating under emergency conditions is coming. Next weekend I’m travelling to Nebraska to mount an operation with my cousin Brad, KG0GY, from Juniata, Nebraska.

Brad and I have similar operating interests, and we’ve been talking about doing this for years, so it should be fun. He’s been active with the Lincoln Amateur Radio Club for years, and I’ve been active with the Wheaton Community Radio Amateurs. We’ve both been active in Field Day with those clubs, and have both been very active in those clubs. We also share the view that we’re tired of clubs, but like Field Day, so this is our solution.

We’ll be operating 80, 40, 20, and 15 meters, primarily on CW, but may run a little SSB, if we’re bored. We’ll be running my Elecraft K2/100 and his Icom 746Pro. I’ve got a small Honda EU2000 generator that will provide our power.

My Field Day philosophy has always been “if I have to spend more than a couple hours in preparation and more than 30 minutes in setup, it’s too complex.” For the 20 and 15 meter antenna I’m using my Force 12 vertical dipole. I’ve used it past Field Days, and it meets my antenna raising criteria: “If the antenna is too big for my wife to put up, it’s too big.” I’ve included a shot of the antenna broken down and ready for transport. The base is the biggest part of the package.

I’ll post more details from the Field Day site next week, and more photos and summary after the event.

Look for us on 80, 40 and 20 CW as KG0GY, 2A NE.