Monday, August 21, 2017

Antenna Test

You can't blame a guy for trying. Tried to get my Yaesu FT-60R to work inside my office. Hung the N9TAX 2m/440 ladder line antenna outside my office on an air line about 15' up so I could get reception. My office is a normal wood and drywall structure but sits inside an all metal walled building. Unfortunately I did not hit any repeater on either band but when keying up I did make the intercom pop. Looks like I am going to have to get an antenna outside if I want to listen in.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Winning the Battle

So, last night I was tuning around and tried to pull in the Ohio slow code net. They hold muster every evening at 2200 UTC on 3535.35. I did not have much luck and when I did QSB quickly took the signal away so I did not stick around long. Not finding much else going on in the cw area that I could even hope to copy at my current skill level and the fact I needed to complete some paperwork for the Harley class I just taught I decided to just move to voice and tune around and listen while I worked.

As I tuned around 40m and heard the usual evening nets and ragchewers I stumbled across a Spanish station calling DX and requesting North America stations. There were some big power players in there with booming audio and he could not hear me. His signal faded in and out over the twenty minutes or so that I listened and called and finally I heard it. "W9B station, come again." My heart jumped up in speed as I repeated my call sign. "W9BRZ you are 58 into Barcelona, QSL?" W9BRZ? The old heart dropped a bit as I quickly responded with "Correction on the call. Whiskey 9 Bravo Romeo India India India."  "Copy W9BR India." I returned his signal report with a 59+ into Indianapolis and we finished our call. It was a great feeling to put my first SSB DX into the books. I have had JT65 DX but never a voice contact. 100 watts and a wire to Spain. Felt pretty good about that one.

EA3JE Spain flag Spain
LluĂ­s Parellada Roig
Puignovell, 39
08221 Terrassa
Ham Member Lookups: 302592 
Lookups302592 (377700)
QRZ Record#1000999
Last Update2011-07-24 06:55:44
Latitude41.564589 (41° 33' 52'' N)
Longitude2.006955 (2° 0' 25'' E)
Grid SquareJN11an
Geo SourceUser supplied
Bearing56.3° ENE (from W9BRI)
Distance4418.3 mi (7110.5 km)
Long Path20438.6 mi (32892.7 km)
Sunrise05:03:03 UTC
Sunset18:48:56 UTC
ITU Zone37
CQ Zone14
QSL by Mail?No (e.g. Will this ham QSL by Postal Mail?)
QSL by eQSL?No (e.g. Will this ham QSL with eQSL?)
Uses LOTW?No (e.g. Does this ham use ARRL's LOTW ?)
Admin For(1) EA3JE
Map data ©2017 Google, Inst. Geogr. Nacional
Explore on HamGrid Maps

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Are You a Fanboy? (Or Fangirl)

We, as humans, all have different interests. We find those things that bring us pleasure and we pursue those things. We believe in those things and we tend to be happy to promote and share with others. Sometimes we become very passionate about the things we enjoy. Our hobbies help us to find peace and relaxation away from the everyday work load and daily stresses of living. My chosen hobbies involve amateur radio, motorcycling, firearms, and chasing my daughter around while she plays fastpitch softball.

Whatever your chosen hobbies are they, most times, involve tools or products that you use to participate in your interest. Radios, tuners, amps, motorcycles, riding gear, guns, calibers, etc. I could go on and on with the choices available to me in any one of my hobbies. When we become truly passionate about something we are sometimes referred to as fanboys. I have become pretty much exclusive Yaesu for the main gear and LDG for tuners. But, I also know many hams who just like good equipment and have multiple rigs in the shack from all the big producers.

I am curious who you are a fanboy, or fangirl, for. Icom? Elecraft? Kenwood? Yaesu? Begali?  Those are the big ones. Have some "off the beaten path" manufacturer you are a fanboy of? Throw it in the comments and let us all know about your favorite gear, who makes it, and why you give it the thumbs up.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Follow Me

Good Morning All.

If you enjoy reading about my Ham Adventures I have made an easy way for you to get an email whenever a new post is published. If you would like a notification please look to your right and drop your email address in the space provided. Blogger will notify you the next time I hit the publish button. Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Off To the Emergency Room

So, my return from the paradise of California has brought me challenges.On the HF side I knew I had a problem before I ever left and, as you know, I traced that back to a feedline that was either hacked by a lawnmower or a weed eater. I picked up the necessary connectors to put that back together again and will work on that this evening.

But, on the VHF / UHF side I thought everything was "just peachy" as the saying goes. So Monday, I jumped in the car to make the trek to work and catch up with my favorite amateurs on the local repeater. We were getting a little rag chewing in and as I sat back and listened it happened.

I know you can't hear through a picture! But, I was sitting right inside the car and the audio came to a tragic end. As I looked down I still saw that the scale was indicating that both were receiving signal I just could not hear anything. I shut the radio off and powered back up. No luck. I made it to work and went inside. Twice before lunch I cycled the power again hoping to get audio again. When I went to lunch I got the idea to throw some earbuds at it. It was working! Positive step, right?

Wrong. Pull the earbuds out and no audio. I shut the radio off again and fired it back up. Radio had audio but it sounded like a twenty year old speaker cone rattling like the paper was deteriorating. And, it only lasted about twenty seconds. I have not been able to get any audio out since other than by wearing earbuds. So, the FTM-400XDR will be boxed up and sent to the ER at Yaesu Community Hospital in Cypress, CA.

The only thing that sucks is that I was only fifteen minutes or so from there during my stay in Cali. Just my luck.


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

What is Your Go To Store?

After writing the HRO Anaheim post I got curious about a couple things. The first thing was if the locations of the various stores were based on the amateur operator population in the states they were in. So I went to Google and checked it out. My research is only based on stores everyone hears about. HRO, DX Engineering, Gigaparts, R and L, Universal Radio, and Main Trading Co. I am sure there are plenty more but these are the ones that we all hear about. Here is what I found.

DX Engineering
Ohio - 27,965

Alabama - 12,002
Nevada -  7,594
**Interesting to find out that there is a Gigaparts distribution center less than 10 miles away.

Arizona - 19,950
California - 104,950
Colorado - 17,008
Delaware - 1,704
Georgia - 18,507
New Hampshire - 5,399
Oregon - 18,662
Texas - 52,141
Virginia - 19,671
Wisconsin - 11,136

Main Trading Co.
Texas - 52,141

R and L
Ohio - 27,965

Universal Radio
Ohio - 27,965

To me, it is quite obvious that most locations are located in states that have a higher amount of licensed operators than others but I do not understand how the NE area gets stores when they are in the bottom tier of licensed operators. HRO has two stores in that area. The area east of the Mississippi River that is lacking covers a large area such as KY, IN, TN, MO, and MI. The only state with less than 10,000 hams in this area is Kentucky so why do we not have a store there? I am lucky that I can drive 2 hours and get to a store but there are alot of people who can't. (You can see the numbers for yourself by clicking here.)

The second thing that I was curious about is what your favorite store is. Let us all know by commenting on this post. You may reveal a smaller store we do not know about. I am sure they would appreciate it!


Sunday, August 6, 2017

Answer to Tuning Problem

The rain stopped earlier today and I decided to go and look at my antenna to see if I had the opportunity for a quick fix so I could get on the air today. If you recall I picked up the Yaesu FT-991A recently and have not had the opportunity to transmit on it due to the fact that I could not get it to tune. I dropped one end of the antenna down as I did not have the balun supported and I am going to pull it back into a tree for support. When I got it down I decided to trace the entire length of the coax to check connections and the integrity of the coax itself.

It did not take long to locate what my problem might be. I am going out on a limb and guessing that this is the cause of all my problems. Ha, who am I trying to kid? I guarantee I found my problem.
What do you think? The only explanation for this is that my stepson cut the coax mowing the yard. Guess I need to bury it as soon as I get it fixed.

Unfortunately, even though my investigation found the problem I did not have any connectors at the house to make the necessary repair to the coax to get me on the air this evening so it is going to have the wait a few days. I am going to run right now and place my order for the items I need and fix the coax on Tuesday or Wednesday when the parts arrive. You all have a great time on the air and I will join you all soon.