Monday, July 31, 2017

Ham Radio Pet Peeve

I have read a list of pet peeves in the past dealing with amateur radio. Things like people saying, "calling cq on 40m" unnecessarily as the station hearing you is also on 40m..
Some hams get a big red face when others use Hi HI.
Others cringe when an operator uses the term destinated.

I thought I would share my pet peeve just to have something to post about. Mine is pointed towards the big retail stores that send you catalogs, namely HRO and DX Engineering. When I am looking at equipment in the catalog I want to see the price listed right there, right now. I want to know if I can afford that piece of gear or do I need to look at a cheaper version. That is my pet peeve. Possibly very trivial to many but a shared pet peeve with other operators I am sure.


Sunday, July 30, 2017

California Dreamin'

--, --- --- -..  -- --- .-. -. .. -. --.

It is a great day here in Santa Ana, CA. I woke up early and got in a little morse code copying practice before getting ready to head to the softball diamonds. Yesterday I sat around the pool while the family went swimming and I read my July QST magazine. I have to catch up as the August issue already arrived.

I like operating JT65 on occasion and I recently was given a Raspberry Pi by a friend. There is a good article in the magazine that guides you on setting up the Pi and WSJT-X. I have been running WSJT-X on a normal computer and it even gave suggestions on setting up the program better. 

They also had a review on a touch key paddle kit called the TKEY-1. The paddles have no moving parts and work off the capacitance that appears when your fingers touch the paddle. Looks like a fun little kit to build. If you are not an ARRL member and do not get QST magazine you can get more info by clicking here.

If you are not an ARRL member how are you supporting amateur radio? The cost of membership is worth it just for the magazine alone as it is packed each issue with awesome reviews and great projects. Consider joining today!

I am going back to practicing and wishing I had a portable rig and a random wire with me.



I tend to stay way too busy with life sometimes between working as a Supply Chain Manager, teaching motorcycle safety classes, acting as manager of the Harley Davidson Riding Academy at Southside HD in Indy, and chasing my daughter around the US for her softball tournaments. I have two new radios, one in the car and one in the shack, but have had little time to learn and play with one of them. The mobile rig, FTM-400XDR, is pretty straight forward in most areas and a fellow ham turned me on to WiresX this weekend. What a fun and neat feature. I enjoy throwing that up while still monitoring my favorite local repeater. I have spent alot of time with the 400 as I have been in the car alot lately.

My frustration level is with the FT-991A. Not necessarily the rig itself but I seem to have some major SWR issues that were not as noticeable with the 857D. I know that my dipole really needs a good tuning and I have a suspect piece of coax that I need to replace. It would be nice if those quick fixes remedy my situation because I really want to get the 991A on the air. That will be the first project once I get back from California.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Is It Christmas?

Yesterday I told you all that I recently got a Yaesu FTM-400XDR for the car. Well, I may have struck gold for the shack as well. I am currently running the FT-857D at the house. I have, since getting my ticket in 2015, always wanted a specific radio but it has been out of reach. I have waffled many times on what rig to get but have always floated back to this one. I have enjoyed the 857 but the chance to get my MWR, Most Wanted Rig, has presented itself. So, tonight the 857 finds a new home and the FT-991A will find its way in the shack.

I have read countless reviews and watched many YouTube videos on this rig. I have listened to the pros and cons presented by the masses but I always go back to one thing. Just like a movie, just because Porky Ham down the street thinks the movie is bad doesn't mean I will. I have to go see it for myself and see if it meets my expectations, not theirs. So, tonight I hope to start testing, albeit in a very limited fashion as I do not have a tuner and I do not think the internal tuner is going to tune up a large area on my 80m OCF dipole. But, I will enjoy playing on whatever frequencies I can. I will be back at a later date to share my thoughts.


Monday, July 17, 2017

It's Been Such A Long Time....

I would bet that some of you have the Boston song in your head right now after reading that title. But, it has been a long time since I posted. Not a ton of amateur radio related things have happened lately but I did acquire a new Yaesu FTM-100DR mobile 2m / 70 cm rig. I loved it. "Huh?" you say? "Loved it?" Yep, loved it. You see, an FTM-400XDR came available soon after and was offered to me. I jumped all over it!! I have only had it for 3 days now and have not even tested half the features but just the dual receiver sells it for me. I will never have anything but dual receive from here on out and may never get rid of this radio!

I started back into my CW adventure and I am starting to be able to copy. I am turtle slow but instead of just listening to the letters on some app I am trading mp3's with another local ham, who, by the way is the one who called me out and kickstarted the blog posts again. I am going to add his blog to my favorites list on the right so be sure to go and check him out! His blog is Adventures with CW. Click on the name and it will take you right there.

Be back soon, or at least alot sooner than this time.