Monday, June 29, 2015

Field Day June 2015

Not being part of any club at this point, I planned to see the activity from where I was this weekend. My family has a boys camping trip every June on the last weekend in June every year. We've been doing so for over 35 years! 40+ family members, 2-80 years old. This year it was WET! very WET!!

I was planed  to bring my HT (Baofeng UV82) and my FT 817nd to test out from the wilds of Neversink NY. I brought all my antennas to try out. The weather wasn't very cooperative. With the Sun doing its thing for the past two weeks I didn't expect the bands to be in the best of shape. I had no computer setup, everything came out of a small bag... Really portable.  For antennas I had the extended rubber duck to the HT, and my 2M JPole and mag mount dual band for the truck.

2M wasn't the best... Although there is a repeater in the area, I wasn't able to pick up anything. I was running Simplex but I think the HT wasn't setup for the repeater. I did hear one or two on 2M but too weak to make contacts.

I still haven't been able to hear anything on 2M on the 817... I'm suspecting a dead 2M band on the radio. So far Ive only been able to notice receive function that the is dead. This week Ill try to test the xmt output, to try and narrow down the issue. The other bands showed signs of reception, the S meter was. Still getting all the pieces needed to function portable. Before I mount the mag antenna on the roof and run the cable permanently I need to get a cap for the base for weather protection...

But the weekend was wet... VERY wet... rained Sat and Sun... so my first field day effort was all of a half hour. Next year if I reach my goals... I'll be doing HF and morse... at least SSB...  So the TO DO list grows for my Ham Radio hobby.... more antennas, finish the manual tuner kit I just got, install the mag mount 2M/70cm antenna. Think about a mobile antenna for HF, setup a portable HF longwire, make a 70cm jpole, this time with twin lead, get a laptop or UDOO/Raspi running Linux for field use. I have an old Osborne 1 waiting to be converted into a field box for all sorts of radio use. I have all sorts of ideas for antennas..I Want to keep it light for the beginning so I can also backpack to a location of choice. Then a transportable for the truck... using a tire base plate to mount a vertical (screwdriver like antenna) or a better longwire arrangement.

Monday, June 15, 2015

A new "old" radio

I'm not one for spending LOTS of money in a hobby...where I need a second mortgage to run... So me being cheeeep... I got the used route... at least for now... So what does one look for that can serve as a base station AND portable operation as a SOTA op, backpacking anywhere type scheme, vacations to the beach, mountains, is small, battery operated and covers all bands! QRP output...120M to 70cms... cover all modes AM, FM, CW, data, satellite comms, weather...even EME etc etc etc.... Hey throw in the broadcast bands AM/FM and even LF. And if it can wash dishes and do the laundry so much the better. A tall order.... not for rolling your own or bread-boarding Manhatten-style. Well... not me anyway...

I'll do kits and small projects along the way, I'm not afraid of the old soldering iron. QRP is still my goal. But I want to get up to operation quickly. There's so much to experience. And so little time.

I attended a club lecture on EME, portable and low power too... Lots of roll your own stuff of course. What intrigued me was the fact that you really didn't need a super large array or a Jigawatt of power...  Well it helps but these days with the fantastic digital modes and things like WSPR the possibilities are endless.

I was sold. A little research and perusing the net for possibilities I found lots.. But it was what the speaker pulled out of his bag that convinced me... A Yaesu FT-817. Sure its older... discontinued even. It has a new and better follower but its popular, reasonable and has all I wanted and more. Versatile it is. A large following, lots of accessories and support.

And as luck would have it there were a few on Ebay. I was just getting used to spending $25 maybe $50 on a product online.. Ive never bought anything  do pricey... I would never had bought it new....but the radio gods were with me.... I managed to find one, well taken care of. I put in a bid at the last minute and won! It came across the US quickly and in my hands last Friday... It even has some interesting history.
Yaesu FT 817nd

 I haven't put an antenna to it yet. No transit yet.. I have a manual tuner kit on order and some long wire waiting....  I need the CAT cable to interface to a computer for programming and operation..... I have a Ni-MH battery already but want to get or make a 3 amp power supply.I didn't get the default 3 piece antenna that would get me coverage for 6M, 2M, and 70cms.... I may get one just to have for quick portable use. I have a J Pole for 2M and a 2M/70cms yagi in the works. Once I get the tuner finshed (Ill do manual to start) and some wire, I'll be ready to go.

Emtech ZM-2

This will cover 80-10M. And any kind of wire or metal you connect it to... My kind of tuner.

I'll make something for 6M.

With what I found on the net for support, between Yahoo and Facebook there's plenty of support.  I'm happy with this acquisition to my shack. It will keep me busy for quite a while...The QRP rigs will have to wait....

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Changed the blog title and changed it back

A temporary change for now....

Took the General exam tonight...... passed!... on to morse code. And get those QRP rigs built....

Wow... so much change so quickly... in one week... I snagged a BY-1 Bencher key and a Yaesu FT-817nd qrp transceiver. The opportunities came and I grabbed them.... Now for an antenna or two and tuner...

One little disappointment though, I got my notice from the FCC and I have the same callsign.. I was looking forward to a shorter callsign.... Somewhere along the line in filling out those forms during the test, the box wasn't checked for a reissue of the callsign!!! So for now I'll wait.... and stay KD2HTN...

Maybe look into a vanity call later... Guess I should warm up for the Extra exam !

J pole update

Took long enough... But I finally got it done.... Made a quick portable mount from a photo light stand and a few pieces of PVC.... Used hose clamps to secure the coax for now...(initial try soldering a pl259 - failed)

Added a few turns of the coax and about 30 ft of cable... This will also be used in the attic... Until my swr/power meter comes in to test it out, I'll leave it be. There should be enough gain to compensate for the losses.... we'll see.

Next a hand held VHF/UHF yagi for satellite comms.