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December 2011

2011 ARRL 10M Contest

This coming weekend, 12/10 00:00Z - 12/11  24:00Z, is the ARRL 10 Meter Contest. I am not really a 'contester' but use the opportunity to search out some DX and also test out some equipment. There are plenty of stations on the air, so the opportunity to get someone new is good. .

Capacitors and resistors for a Kenwood SM-220

Started looking for parts for my SM-220 Station Monitor today. I picked this unit up sometime last year at a decent price, unit is clean on the outside, not from a smoker's shack, and had the BS-8 Panadapter, one of the reasons I was looking for one. Anyway... when I first got it, it had been modified to automatically switch from receive monitoring to transmit monitoring. A nice feature, yes, but I was not satisfied with the quality of the mod, so out it came.

Adding GPS to the Kenwood TM-D710

Homebrewing a GPS solution for the Kenwood TM-D710 Dual band APRS mobile radio.

ARRL 2011 10 Meter Contest, follow up.

Well, it came and went, and I didn't get much on air time, outside responsibilities took precedence. I did get a few contacts, and did some bench testing of the SB-200, more on that in a little bit, but in short, it does work, and indications are that it works well. Aside from some tuning issues (maybe user error) on 10M, it seems to put out about 550+ W and almost 800W on 80M. At least that is what my inexpensive Radio Shack meter is telling my. I really need to get a better meter.

The quest for a RF Choke for a dipole

Still looking for some straight forward info on what is required to reduce the common mode current on the outside of the coax feed line feeding my 40/80M Dipole. My best choice seems to be a 1:1 wound on a torrid, but the 4"x4" box it requires would make my stealth dipoles not so stealthy. So I am looking into the ferrite beads that slip over the coax feed line. Have spent a few hours already, and still not much in the way of "use this" but a lot of goof information none the less. I will post updates when I can.

ARRL Antenna Handbook 22nd ed.

In my quest to understand what, and how, an antenna actually does to get the signal out I went and purchased the ARRL Antenna Handbook, as many other hams said it was a good reference. UPS delivered it yesterday, and from just a few minutes of flipping pages, it looks like it is a wealth of info. I will get into it more over the Christmas Holiday.

ARRL Antenna Book follow up

Just a quick follow up to this posting.

After having the book for a few days now I can so far say it is worth getting. While I have not read it all, or anywhere near it, it has a lot of information regarding antennas and their design. Definitely a worth wile purchase!

One year as a ham

Today, 12/28/2011, marks the one year anniversary of becoming an amateur radio operator. And to say the learning curve was steep is an understatement! For the most part everybody is decent to each other, but like every other activity/hobby out there, there are some people that want to mess it up. My view is to just let them be, and they will get tired of talking to themselves. My goals for the next year are to learn Morse Code (CW) and to get on the air more. Hopefully I can get both!

RF Squirrels

What are RF Squirrels? RF Squirrels are tiny little animals that love to eat RF carrying conductors. Conductors such as coax, twin lead, etc.... This weekend I was working on my 40/80 Meter dipole. I wanted to get it up another 2 meters or so, as the 'winter storm' of October 2011 did some tree trimming for me and I can reach up another 6-8 feet with a throw line. It's only up about 25 feet, a little low! When I pulled the center insulator down with the coax feed line, the coax was chewed and/or pecked in several locations. [insert pictures] I even saw some center conductor damage.

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