Blog Archives

Ham Radio AO-51 Satellite with Randy, K7AGE

Randy K7AGE does a great job explaining how the satellite pass will work with minimal ground station equipment.  It is a really cool way to communicate and anyone with a Ham Radio License can do it!!!  Think about it… you are shooting signals to and from something the size of a Cantaloupe that is more than 22,000 miles away from the earth… and MOVING at 17,000 miles per hour in a circular orbit… with a $30 handi-talkie!

 

 

 

 

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How can you become a Ham Radio operator QUICKLY?

Ham It Up_HR-RGB

You won’t believe how easy it can be!  You take it in bite-size chunks of information and at your own pace.  NO MORE MORSE CODE REQUIREMENT!  (But Morse Code is a blast to still use and also the most efficient form of radio communication!  I had to be able to send and receive 5 words per minute for the old Novice License… 13 wpm for General Class… and 20 wpm for Advanced and Extra Class licenses.  There are no longer any Morse Code requirements and the Novice and Advanced Class licenses are no longer available.)  For more than 100 years ham radio operators have been exploring the world and beyond from their own little ham shacks / ham station / living rooms.  It never gets old and there is always something to explore!

What can you do with a ham radio?  Talk to people all over the world with as little as 1 watt or less… or even 1500 watts.  Assist in Emergency Communications.  Assist with branches of the US Armed Forces.  Build your own radios and equipment.  Experiment with your own antennas.  Go to fun “Hamfests and Flea Markets” to learn and get great bargains.  Find new friends who are hams in your local club.  Participate in the Annual ARRL Field Day Contest and exercises!  Talk to the astronauts on the International Space Station.  Talk to other hams around the world THROUGH many ham radio satellites orbiting the earth!  Use your local VHF/UHF Repeaters to talk to family and friends from the car, handheld radio or from home.  Track ham radio equipped balloon flights.  Work with hams with disabilities.  Refurbish or collect old time ham radio equipment.  Teach others ham radio courses and/or help with exam sessions.

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There are three different licenses you can obtain and they are designed in a way that as you study to get the first license, what you learn there will help you understand the next license study material.  The really nice thing about it is that you will have ALL the multiple choice questions in each exam pool AND THE EXACT ANSWER TO EVERY QUESTION!  That’s pretty good to have all the Q’s and A’s to study!  The sample questions in your study materials are the EXACT questions you will see on the exam.  A score of 74% gets you the license!  There are also FREE practice exams you can take online or even from your smartphone!  (I took a couple practice exams each evening as I sat watching TV in my favorite chair in my living room.)  Soon the questions you have missed in the past practice exams are embedded in your brain with the correct answers reinforced!  Each question will have four (4) possible answers; and on most of the questions you can just about eliminate two of the possible answers just by looking at them.  (I will give you some good pointers about how to study and prepare for the exams at the end of this post!  Read them before you buy any study guides or books!)

ham-radio-test

You will just need to do some interesting and fun reading, look at the questions (and the exact answers) from each chapter of the book… and before you know it you will be ready to take the exam!  You are going to learn some really cool stuff each time you read the material.  PLUS, as you advance to a higher class of Ham Radio license you can pick your own call sign!  (In the early 1980’s my first call sign was KA8LJO from the FCC as a Novice Class licensee… then I was assigned KB8FIR by the FCC when I got my Technician Class license… and better yet, when I got my Extra Class license I picked my own call sign, WT8WV… “Whiskey Tango 8 Whiskey Victor”.  I chose it for three reasons… I am fond of an occasional taste of good whiskey… I love my state of West Virginia… and phonetically it stands out and sings in a pile-up during a Ham Radio contest!)

GWTW14Stech

The first license you study for is called the Technician License and the exam has only 35 questions!  You will learn some very basic things about electricity, how your radio signals move through the air, some of the rules that the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) expects us to abide by for best practices, antennas, radios, the frequencies you can use in your new radio, and much more!  You will gain legal access to some very good frequencies for both voice and data communication in several excellent ham bands.  You could be ready to take this exam in a couple weeks of study!

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The second license is called the General Class License and also has only 35 questions.  This course adds to what you learned in the Technician Class study.  It really dives just a bit deeper into some common things you will find will help you get more out of your antenna, radios, contesting, which ham bands magically open at specific periods of the day and year, some simply explanations of a few electronic circuits we use every day, and much more!  You will also gain even MORE frequencies on the ham bands to use at your pleasure!  You could be ready to take this exam in 2-4 weeks of easy study!

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The third (and highest class of Ham Radio license) is called the Extra Class License and consists of a 50 question exam.  This study course really dives deeper in what you have learned in the Technician and General Class license preparations.  It will take a bit more time to study and prepare, and has a few more questions on the exam.  You gain ALL frequencies allotted to Ham Radio communications, with several excellent niches within certain ham bands reserved for ONLY Extra Class licensees!  You could be ready to take this exam in 30-60 days with some good study and practice exams under your belt!

ARRL-Logo

The Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL) also offers all sorts of study books for not only all the licenses but a myriad of way cool ham related stuff for every facet of this vast hobby!  I have been a member of the ARRL for years and the monthly QST magazine alone is worth my dues!  Plus you get discounts on all the other books and items.  You can even find a local ham radio license class!  http://www.arrl.org/find-an-amateur-radio-license-class  Here is a link to the ARRL study guides for the three licenses.  They are much more in-depth than the Gordon West series of license books and a good addition to your study… but I personally feel the Gordon West series in the best way to get that license quickly.  Below for more information.   http://www.arrl.org/ham-radio-license-manual

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License Exam Study and Preparation Tips

Select which study book you will use for the license you are going to test for.

Find a quiet place to read.

Have a yellow highlighter handy to highlight things you might need to refer to for a question.

Study about 20 minutes a day.  That way you won’t overload your brain!

Download a smartphone app with the ham radio practice exam questions and answers.  I used this all the time whenever I had to wait around for something or someone… or in a boring meeting (once in a while).

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.iversoft.ham.test.prep&hl=en

Watch free YouTube videos to help you prepare or further understand the chapter.  I have watched all of Dave Casler’s YouTube videos and they were a tremendous help to UNDERSTAND not just the question but the concept for every ham license book.  He does each video by chapter or topic and they a short enough to consume in a sitting.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fEWmiMotimY&list=PL07A7D1C9D7BF7F48

I highly recommend the Gordon West Technician Class License Value Pack for getting your Technician License quickly!  I don’t get paid for saying this!  Grin.  However, I will tell your this is the best investment in getting a license you can find.  Gordo makes it fun to learn and he tackles every question and answer in a way that will etch it deep in your memory.  You will absolutely burn through the questions and he’ll teach you ways to remember even the questions that seem difficult for some reason.  I have met him at the Dayton Hamvention and he’s a wonderful person and so helpful.  He even gives you his personal telephone number to call if you have a question!  I suggest burning the CD’s to an MP3 format and put them on your iPod, iPhone, Android or other device so your can listen to them anywhere… car, at lunch, on the treadmill, working out, hiking, etc.  Worked for me every time I did my 30 minutes on the treadmill and lifting weights!  (After I completed my Extra Class license with his book and CD’s I sold them for half-price to another General License ham in our club who is now studying with them!  You could recoup some of your cost, too!)

http://www.w5yi.org/catalog_details.php?pid=78&sort=4

I highly recommend the Gordon West General Class License Value Pack for getting your General Class License quickly!  http://www.w5yi.org/catalog_details.php?pid=59&sort=4

I highly recommend the Gordon West Extra Class License Value Pack for getting your Extra Class License quickly!  http://www.w5yi.org/catalog_details.php?pid=43&sort=4

Practice Exams, Practice Exams, Practice Exams, Practice Exams, Practice Exams!

These are free and a good way to see what areas you need to focus on so you can master a question.  I did this about every evening during commercials watching TV!  Great feedback on how you are progressing in your studies.  When you begin scoring 80% on these practice exams you will be ready to sit for an exam!  (If you buy the ARRL study books, they come with a CD with all the questions in the pool, the answers, scores your exams, shows you the areas you need to focus on, and tracks your progress by each section of the question pool.)  

http://www.eham.net/exams/

Getting you Ham Radio License is NOT rocket science… but it will be fun!  It’s a hobby that is ageless.  What happens if the cellphone towers don’t work, or if there is a prolonged power outage, or a natural disaster prevents normal communications?  Ham radio operators are often the first folks getting the word out and getting the help coming in!  I doesn’t have to be an expensive hobby, either!  I have pieces of equipment I have either built myself or purchased dirt cheap at a flea market.  I have also saved my money for some other items in my ham shack.  It’s also a fun hobby to share with family, friends, and associates worldwide!  GET ON THE AIR!       

Click on picture below to enlarge it so you can see the frequency privileges you get with each license!

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Heil Pro 7 Headset from 2015 Dayton Hamvention

Pro7-3-B

Having lost a signification amount of higher frequencies in my hearing over the years, I added this to my WT8WV station. Bob Heil spent a few minutes with me on how to set them up with my Icom 761. He’s a great fella! Can’t wait to get them on the air!

The Pro 7 offers a feature set that compliments the Heil Sound standard for headset design. Unlike copies of various aviation type headsets, the PRO 7 is not a copy. It brings newtechnologyto the headset industry. The 2″ thick gel foam ear pads provide extreme comfort for extended periods of time while exhibiting passive noise reduction rated at -26dB, ideal for use in high ambient noise environments. Using technology Bob Heil learned from Paul Klipsch back in the early 70’s, the ear cup enclosures were tuned to the free air cone resonance of the speaker cone thus providing very low distortion with maximum voice articulation providing the ultimate sound reproduction for communications. Theexclusive Heil Phase Reversal system (HPR) allows you to acoustically move the signals forward and creates a spatial widening of the sound field. This feature makes it easier to pull a weak signal from a pileup – useful for DxPeditions and contests as well as a stress reliever as your change the phase angle of the program source. A speaker balance control allows preferred level between the speakers.

The PRO 7 has interchangeable microphone system allows the microphone element to be easily changed in the field for different types of applications. The low distortion Dynamic HC-7 element exhibits a frequency response of 100 Hz – 12 kHz with the -3dB points at 100 Hz and 12 kHz. The traditional Heil speech articulation rise is centered at 2K -4KHz with properly balanced highs and lows. The impedance is 600 ohm. The HC-7 is one of our best microphone elements for speech articulation.

Designed exclusively for iCOM radios, the iC Electret element has a -3dB fixed point at 35 Hz and 12kHz with the sensitivity of-48 at 1500 ohms output centered at 1kHz. The iC element solves the problems with LOW GAIN ICOM radios but can also work with great results on newer Icom models. Bias power is applied to operate the iC electret element. The Pro 7 iC is supplied with our ADl-iC eight pin iCOM adapter cable.

The Pro 7 and Pro 7iC come in black, red, blue or pink.

The balance control located on the LEFT speaker, controls only the left speaker. Begin by setting a comfortable right side speaker level with the AF gain of the receiver. You then adjust the left side speaker where necessary to balance the audio between the speakers. In most cases the balance control will be close to or maximum.

http://www.heilsound.com/amateur/products/headsets/pro-7

QRP and Tuna’s! (Two Tinned Tunas, that is…)

How to set up and operate a complete QRP ham radio station using the Two Tinned Tunas transmitter, Sudden Storm ][ receiver, and Tuna Helper T/R switch from http://qrpme.com/ 

Ham Radio Deluxe (HRD)…

I love Ham Radio Deluxe software!  It has it ALL for your hamshack!  This is serious software for the serious Ham Radio Operator.  It integrates with soooooo many other Ham softwares, rigs and rotors.

http://www.ham-radio-deluxe.com/

Radio Control

The heart of Ham Radio Deluxe, Rig Control provides a customizable interface to control your amateur transceiver using its built-in computer aided control interface. Rig Control allows you to organize buttons, sliders, and drop-downs to toggle radio options, select modes and filter settings, and control various level inputs via your computer screen. HRD Rig Control brings out features buried in a modern rig’s menus, making it easy for you to optimize your rig with a few clicks of the mouse.
Rig Control takes advantage of computer control features built in by your radio’s manufacturer. Using your interface cable, Rig Control takes control of your radio to make the most of its features. It also provides the interface for the other modules of Ham Radio Deluxe to communicate with your radio: bring mode and frequency information straight into your logbook, key your radio while using exciting digital modes, and automatically adjust for Doppler shift while “working the birds.”

Logbook

Logbook is a complete DX operations center. Beginning with a robust database engine, Ham Radio Deluxe Logbook screams operating convenience. Packed with features, Logbook is the ideal shack accessory for everyone from the novice rag-chewer to the most accomplished paper-hanger. Keep track of all important contact information with the click of a mouse. Look up name, QTH, and other important information about your contacts using a variety of online and offline sources. Interface with the popular QRZ.com call sign database (subscription required), a free look up service, or HRD’s SAM Callsign CD (sold separately.)
Logbook also interfaces with DX Spider cluster servers for spotting the rare ones. The Bandmap feature graphically displays spots within a band with up to 10 bands visible at once. With just a click of a mouse, swing your beam to the DX station’s heading. Once you have the rare DX in the log, integration with Trusted QSL makes uploading to Logbook of the World a snap! Downloading from LoTW is just as simple. In fact, Logbook interfaces with many popular electronic logbook services, including eQSL, HRDLog.net, and ClubLog. Logbook keeps track of many popular awards too. Logbook is packed with features!

Digital Master (formerly DM-780)

Digital Master, formerly “DM-780,” is the all-purpose digital communications package integrated with the Ham Radio Deluxe suite. Digital Master uses your computer’s soundcard interface and radio connection to offer a wide range of communications options to the amateur radio operator. Digital Master is capable of a wide range of digital modes, including CW, RTTY, SSTV, PSK31, MT-63, and more. For the CW enthusiast, Digital Master interfaces with the popular K1EL WinKeyer. True frequency shift keying (FSK) and audio frequency shift keying (AFSK) keying are available for RTTY operation.
You can stay on top of the action with Digital Master’s SuperSweeper, allowing you to copy up to 40 QSO’s at once in CW, RTTY or PSK. Once the QSO is complete, Digital Master interfaces directly with Logbook to record the contact. Digital Master works with a variety of audio and multimode interfaces including the Timewave Navigator, SignaLink USB, and West Mountain Radio RigBlaster.

Satellite Tracker

Ham Radio Deluxe’s Satellite Tracking module takes the guesswork out of satellite operations. Using the latest orbital mechanics equations and up-to-the-minute Keplerian element information downloaded from a variety of trusted sources, you can predict satellite passes with confidence. Customizable visualization keep you apprised of the satellite’s foot print, projected path, and predicted elevation for given passes. A real-time link to Google Earth allows one to see what the satellite “sees” as it flies overhead – great for presentations!
Real-time tracking feeds azimuth and elevation information directly to rotator control for automated positioning of satellite antenna systems. Satellite Tracking automatically calculates Doppler shift for the satellite’s transponders and sends tuning data to Rig Control, keeping your radio locked in the transponder’s passband.

Rotator Control

Integrating with Logbook and Satellite Tracking, Rotator Control manages beam headings via any computer interfaced rotator controller. Many modern control boxes such as the M2 RC2800PX, Green Heron RT-2x series, Yaesu GS-232, MDS RC-1, and HyGain DCU series controllers have computer control capability. Many more can be retrofit for computer control – why not put them to work?
Rotator Control displays a Mercator or great circle projection map that enables click-to-point rotator operation. Drop-down country lists also make it easy to find those rare DX entities: simply select the country name to point your beam and start calling. Rotator Control is the finishing touch for your station integration project.

Technical Support

HRD Software offers multiple forms of support. You can talk to a live person by calling or emailing the support department. An email opens an automatic trouble ticket which is responded to by a member of the support team. You can check also check on your Ticket Status via the Internet. Our support team may recommend a remote session using Teamviewer to ascertain where an issue may be and to fix it. There is also the option of using the Forums for peer to peer support. HRD Software has a YouTube Channel that features several videos that can be used to help configure your system.

Updated Fixes and New Features

  • Fault on connection with IP logging enabled – fixed
  • Norton 360 – fixed
  • LOTW upload and download – fixed
  • ODBC error – fixed
  • Winkey 3 Support – fixed
  • FT-1200 Support added
  • OMNI VI Support added
  • HRD Voice
  • Updated Label Maker
  • ADX Support
  • FT-767 GX II Support
  • IC-9100 Satellite Mode to use VFO B
  • WA9PIE-2 Cluster Support
  • Unicode Support
  • Improved K3 and KX3 Support
  • Flex 6700 with SmartSDR Support

  • Windows 8.1 Support
  • Yaesu SCU-17 Support
  • Orion KY Keyer Support
  • ClubLog Support
  • Dstar Icom Radios ID-3 and ID-5 Support
  • FSK fixes (updated)
  • PSK Reporter fixes
  • Logbook and Cluster fixes
  • Radio Control fixes
  • Icom A/B and QSX fixes
  • Line colors based on WSI in Logbook
  • ID-5100 Support
  • Updated License Manager
  • RC fix for VCP ports
  • Multiple QSO’s on a singel label
  • Make your own QSL Card
  • Alinco support DX SR8/9, DX77
  • HRD WSI Filters
  • FTDX CAT Controlled Rotors Support

Logbook of The World (LOTW)… not as difficult as you think!

I set up LOTW and it was not as hard to do as I was led to believe!  I have the TQSL’s for all 3 of my ham radio licenses dating back to the 1980’s… KA8LJO… KB8FIR… and now WT8WV… here are some helpful videos to assist you in getting it up and running fast and easy.  (I learned a lot by watching the videos before I even downloaded it!)  I will add links to LOTW at the end of this post so you can get everything you need.

http://www.arrl.org/logbook-of-the-world

Best Way to Coil Coax and Audio Cables

Any one who has EVER coiled wire, coaxial cables, audio cables or even a hank of rope knows UNCOILING it has at one time or another created a “rats nest” of tangled mess that will increase your blood pressure, makes you exceedingly cranky and often has caused Tourettes-like symptoms.  Fighting an unruly coil of coax or audio cable wastes a lot of time when setting-up a gig, a Field Day site or even coiling a power chord at home!  Having spent years working in television studios, control rooms, and other audio gigs on a daily basis, I learned early on from the engineers that there is ONE way to coil cabling… W2AEW shows that in his video!  (P.S.  Engineers can be especially grouchy if you don’t coil correctly and THEY get to untangle YOUR improperly coiled rats-nest from a previous gig tear-down as they work on an important production. Time is money.)

Radio Propagation 101 (N9LVS)

Excellent tutorial by Dan Vanevenhoven (N9LVS) on what all the numbers in a propagation report mean to amateur radio operators and their ability to broadcast every day.

K1AR Contest Tips… boosting your contest scores!

QRP 20 Meter Phone

QRP 20 Meter Phone

Understanding how serious Ham Radio contesters rack-up big numbers in their final score tallies will add to your own scores.  This is another excellent QRZ.COM article from John H. Dorr (K1AR) about Contest Operating Tips.  This fellow knows how to contest!

K1AR Contest Tips

Pre-Contest To-Do List… CHECK it out!

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CQ Contest… CQ Contest… CQ Contest !!!

Ham radio contesting is exciting and fun to participate in regardless if you are a Rookie Contester or a Seasoned Pro-Contester!  As with any big project, proper prior planning makes all the difference in your final score.  This QRZNOW.COM article about developing a Pre-Contest Checklist will add to your QSO tally!  Click link below for the full article…

Pre-Contest Checklist – CQ WW

How Does a Multimeter Work?

Afrotechmods is a very insightful and easy to understand YouTube channel to follow on basic electronics.  Here he talks about multimeters and their usage in our ham shack.  I have several different digital and analog multimeters and their usage often depends upon the application and project.  He does other excellent videos, so check him out!

WM2U’s PSK31 Webpage

This is BAD PSK31 signal identification... keep it clean!

This is BAD PSK31 signal identification… keep it clean!

Good article on PSK31 by WM2U that has all sorts of good information.  Also his Tip List is below.

http://www.qsl.net/wm2u/psk31.html

 WM2U’s Tip List for PSK31

  • Set sound card sampling rate to 11025Hz
  • This must be at least a 16 bit sound card.
  • No Signal observed? Check your WAVE slider is not zero.

  • Set Rx and Tx frequencies to 1000Hz.
    NOTE: This value will get you up and running but if you plan on using a filter change it to the center frequency.
  • If using LSB check the “Inverted QPSK” box.
  • Too much noise! Try using a narrow CW filter.
  • Using a Word Processor, write your buffered messages and save them as .txt files, placing em! in a folder called ‘buffers’ created in the main PSK31 folder.
    NOTE: This is NOT a form of type ahead buffer. It is simply a method to pre write ‘Standard’ messages hence saving you keyboarding time.
  • READ THE HELP FILES.
    • Your sound card output must NOT overdrive your Mic Input.
    • Do not overdrive the sound card input from the Radio.
    • Get used to the Waterfall/Phase indicators for tuning.
    • Do not use your Speech Processor.
    • Be patient. This is a new mode. You will not find all the features you are used to yet!

Who is W2AEW ?

Check out his website and all of his YouTube videos!  His bio follows…

His website can be found at http://www.qsl.net/w2aew/  

His YouTube Channel can be found at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiqd3GLTluk2s_IBt7p_LjA

intheshack_web

My name is Alan Wolke. I am an Electrical Engineer, currently working as an RF Application Engineer for Tektronix – which means I get paid to play with Spectrum Analyzers and other fun RF and high frequency stuff. As a Field Engineer, I am on the road a LOT. Fortunately, I run an FT-857D in the car, so I can be found playing radio during my trips between various customers around the Northest. Former work focused on hardware validation of read-channel circuits for hard disk drives, and also concentrated on applications support for analog, high speed, RF, and backplane/datacom/telecom circuit and integrated circuit designs for various communications and fiber optic applications to well over 10Gb/s, and involved various circuit technologies including Silicon bipolar, Silicon-Germanium HBT, CMOS, and BiCMOS processes, GaAs MESFET and HBT processes, and various 850nm and 1300nm LEDs, PIN photodiodes and Laserdiodes. Shameless self-promotion links: here are links to things I’ve done that are published on the web (at a previous company): Paper 1Paper 2Paper 3Patent (some of the Paper links are broken, since the company has since been bought out…). You can read more about me from my interview as the Featured Engineer on the EEWeb site from 2 April, 2012.

I was originally licensed as a Novice Class in the late seventies while in High School as KA2IZZ. We had an Amateur Radio Club there (Matawan Regional High School in NJ) under the direction of WA2SLK. I dropped out of the hobby when I went to college at NJIT, and then entered the workforce. Some friends at work got me interested in Amateur Radio again (N3GH, K2TW, K4MMG, W2PI), but my renewal privileges on KA2IZZ long since expired. So, I started over as a Technician with the call KC2BOG. After about a year and a half, I upgraded to Tech Plus and bought some HF equipment in September 1998. I applied for the vanity call W2AEW in September also, and received it in October 1998. I spent October working on my CW with some friendly “encouragement” from my friend and co-worker WA2NDH (now W2CSK), and upgraded to Advanced Class in November 1998. So, since my HF privileges are fairly new, I find myself working new states and countries all of the time. Great Fun!!! I frequent many of the local 2m repeaters in central NJ, and spend most of my HF time on 20m and 17m. I tested for the Extra Class license in February 2000. I passed the written test, but missed too many questions on the 20wpm code test (I did better than I thought I would though ;-). So, I became an Extra-Lite or Advanced-Plus after April 15th, 2000 anyway, HI HI!

Other interests besides the radio include MGB carsRX-8mountain-bikingNASCAR racing (go Mark Martin!), woodworking, home improvement, and TV/VCR repair (previous life) and of course, diddling around with circuits for fun.

My wife Nancy and I are busy getting settled in our new/old house. We moved in during the summer of 2009, and absolutely love the place. The shack and HF antenna went up in October 2009 – back on the air after a several year hiatus.

 

Basics of RF Mixers in Radio Receivers / Mixer Tutorial / Frequency Conversion by W2AEW

This video describes the basic properties of RF mixers, in the context of using them for frequency conversion/translation such in the application of a radio receiver. The input and output signals are shown on the oscilloscope, and the spectrum of the output is also shown, illustrating the various frequency components that are produced by the mixing process. The concept of IF filtering in a receiver is also illustrated. The video does not go into the design of mixers, the different types of mixers, or how to select a mixer for a given application.

What is a dB, dBm, dBu, dBc, etc. on a Spectrum Analyzer? by W2AEW

This tutorial video gives the basics of the typical amplitude units used on a spectrum analyzer. It gives a basic description of the electronic definition of the decibel (dB), some of the properties of the dB, why it is used. It describes that the dB is a relative measurement. These relative measurements can be expressed as absolute measurements when a known reference is used/implied. This is where the terms dBm, dBu, dBmv, etc. come from. Finally, the term dBc is described. Each of the descriptions is followed with practical examples and demonstrations on an oscilloscope and spectrum analyzer.

Spectrum Analyzer Basics / Tutorial, and the Tektronix 1401A by W2AEW

I picked up a Tek 1401A Spectrum Analyzer at a hamfest recently, and it inspired me to do a video or two. This one presents a generic block diagram and tutorial of what a conventional swept spectrum analyzer is and how it works. It also shows a quick demo of the Tektronix 1401A Spectrum Analyzer Module from the mid-70’s.

Coax, Wires, Cables, Connectors, Insulators, Rope for the Amateur Radio Operator

coaxcable

If you are looking for coax, antenna wire, connectors, rotor cable, insulators, rope or the tools to make antennas Davis RF Company is a place I like to use.

 

Click link below to go to the Davis RF website…

Davis RF Company

antenna-7

Magnets that grab your attention

800px-VFPt_cylindrical_magnets_attracting.svg    This is a good website to find all sorts, configuration and strengths of magnets for all kinds of projects. (I made a inexpensive stir-plate to propagate larger volumes of yeast to pitch into batches of homemade beer using Neodymium magnets glued to an old computer fan.)

Click link below to go to the Amazing Magnets website…

http://www.amazingmagnets.com/  

neodymium-discs

Ham Nation Episode 36: Connect An Audio Mixer To Your Transmitter

Another great YouTube show!       Ham Nation

This episode speaks about hooking up and audio mixer to your transmitter with Bob Heil and Gordon West, et al.  Every show is packed full of information about many different facets of the hobby.  Watch them all! (Segment begins at 41:45 in the video…)

Hosts: Bob Heil (K9EID), Gordon West (WB6NOA), George Thomas (W5JDX), and Leo Laporte (W6TWT)

 

 

 

Ham radio equipment I have used over they years…

I has been fun to own, sell and trade some good equipment over they years!  I enjoyed every one of those old friends and worked many stations with them.

Ramsey Kits

HR-SERIES

 

I have built four different radios from Ramsey and they are fun to build, easy to layout, and you learn a lot of radio design.  Built the 40 Meter QRP Receiver and Transmitter, the Aircraft Receiver, Infrared Transmitter and Receiver kits.  A great way to pass a rainy day!   (Click link below to go to their website…)

 

http://www.ramseyelectronics.com/  

Operating PSK (Power Point)

psk31-header

 

This is another fine explanation of PKS31 operations.  It is a Power Point presentation by John MacFarlane VE7AXU / VA7PX from 2008… but it still gives you some sound knowledge!  (Click link below to begin…)

Operating_PSK PPT

Intro to PSK31 and a Good PSK31 Guide

Tons of fun on PSK31

Tons of fun on PSK31

 

BPSK31.COM does a great job of explaining how to get on the air with PSK31 technology.  (Click link below for another excellent resource.)

 

BPSK31 Website

Field Day & PSK31 Macros

This is BAD PSK31 signal identification... keep it clean!

This is BAD PSK31 signal identification… keep it clean!

 

Running PSK31 on Field Day in 2014 was a BLAST!  We soon learned that a set a easy to use macros sped up our contacts in the contest.  The link below is an excellent resource to consider.

 

http://www2.mmae.ucf.edu/wiki/Psk31_field_day_macros

 

 

Proper PSK31 Audio Level Setup with a Scope, RF Power Meter, and ALC indicator

Another SUPERB W2AEW video!  I love PSK31 and this is a GREAT video explaining how to have a clean and crisp signal showing up in everyone’s waterfall.

 

 

 

Simple Station Monitor for Ham Radio using an Oscilloscope

W2AEW does a FANTASTIC job of explaining all sorts of nifty concepts in Ham Radio.  I follow his videos on YouTube and spend many evenings learning from this fine gent!  I also have some of his books as reference material.

I am gonna HAVE a scope some day!

 

 

 

 

Collection of Connector Pinouts & Cable Descriptions

rs232-pinout1

 

Need to figure out what cables to use or what the pinout configuration should be?  This is a nice resource for just that!

 

Welcome to the Hardware Book. Internet’s largest free collection of connector pinouts and cable descriptions.   (Click the following link…)  http://www.hardwarebook.info/  

Every Ham Needs To Make A Crystal Radio… AT LEAST ONCE!

crystal-radio

 

My daughter made a crystal radio set over 15 years ago for a school Science Fair.  It worked great!  But she took 2nd Place (to a freakin’ terrarium) because the (freakin’) science TEACHER indicated to me that “the sound wasn’t very loud”… C’est la vie!  (I should have tried to drive my 1 KW linear amplifier with it!)

 

Try one of these great XTAL SET SOCIETY kits…  http://www.midnightscience.com/

 

dunwoody2

Eurorack UB-1202 Audio Mixer Review

This is the 12-Channel audio mixer I picked up at the 2014 Dayton Hamvention Flea Market for $50… and I love it!

 

QRP Kits by Hendrick

srx01         srx03

 

Hendrick QRP Kits… It’s always good to have a mental health break from time to time!  Grab a soldering iron and make some smoke!

http://www.qrpkits.com/

Rainbow Kits

th (6)

 

http://www.rainbowkits.com/index.html    (Click on the link for the webpage to open.)

I have made several of these kits over the years.  Also, they are fun science projects for kids.  If you like to tinker in the ham shack when the weather prevents outdoor activity, try one of these projects!

 

The DI… Direct Box

Do you need a DI (Direct Box) when mixing audio?

 

Setting Up a Little Mixer

Nice little mixer…

How To Mix Audio

This video will help explain how to create and audio mix with a mixing board.

 

 

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/KHZhDA1T2NI” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>

 

Connecting Devices To Your Audio Mixer

This video can be helpful when connecting gadgets to your audio mixer to route to the speakers.

 

Using a Small Audio Mixer for Ham Shack

I picked up a small used 12 channel audio mixer at the 2014 Dayton Hamvention Flea Market for $50 and plan to route all sorts of audio from my radios and computer through my ham shack.  Here is a simple explanation of how an audio mixer can be used.

 

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Tinkertoytech's Blog

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Chronicling my pursuit of amateur radio’s "Worked All Neighbors" award

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"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe." -- John Muir

Hackaday

Fresh hacks every day

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