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Design, build, hack....zap and repeat!

ARRL DX SSB 2014 Fun and Earache

Posted on Mar 4, 2014 | Comments Off on ARRL DX SSB 2014 Fun and Earache

I was active this weekend in this year’s ARRL DX single-sideband contest. . . . .well at least active for me. I’m not a hardcore contester, but besides meals and sleep and a few hours of TV with the XYL, (wife for you non-hams),  I was pretty much listening and sitting at pile-ups waiting for the big boys to clear out. Patience had its rewards! I worked 22 new countries and 61 new prefixes over the weekend! Even more interesting was that I could walk down the bands and work several stations first on 10m, then 15m and then 20m. If I had antennas for 40/80/160 meters, I probably could have worked them some more. One black eye was how inconsiderate some hams, or maybe they’re radio pirates, could be. I’d be straining my ears listening to make contact...

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Overcome with technology!

Posted on Jan 4, 2014 | Comments Off on Overcome with technology!

My-oh-my I was inundated with technology throughout December! It all started in November when I received a Kindle Fire HDX 8.9,  ordered in September. That kept me busy through Thanksgiving as I ooh and ah’d and converted my iPad friends. But even though the screen res is great and it’s fast, it still has the same problems as Windows tablets and phones. . . .lacking apps in the Amazon Store. If they would just open the platform to Google’s Play Store, it would be a great tablet. I still can’t get all the apps I can run on the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. . . .which brings me to the 1st week in December. I traded in my HTC WinPhone for the Note 3. I really liked the Winphone and probably would have upgraded to a Win8 phone, but Verizon...

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Is Heathkit back?

Posted on Aug 25, 2013 | Comments Off on Is Heathkit back?

So I went to a Tailgate Fest sponsored by the Cuyahoga Falls Amateur Radio Club today. I didn’t find anything I was looking for because I wasn’t looking for anything, but did see a lot of interesting stuff. The one that caught my eye was a complete Heathkit amateur radio station with transceiver, speaker, ‘scope, and tuner. It was nice and clean and functional. And boy did it bring back memories! I was a very avid Heathkit builder back in the 60’s to 80’s era….my first ham radio, my first VTVM, my first oscilloscope, and my first computer, among a whole bunch more. I loved putting those kits together, testing them and then using. But Heathkit eventually went out of business, several times if I remember correctly. And I sold off each of those kits over the years for bigger,...

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Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

Posted on Jul 28, 2013 | Comments Off on Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

So I went to the Portage Amateur Radio Club HamFair today (7/28/13) to see what nifty little pieces, parts and gadgets I could pick up on the cheap. And I did find some inexpensive variable capacitors. Check out this bounty for $6 bucks: Unfortunately, this hamfest wasn’t that well attended or participated and I was all done walking through all the tables and car trunks. . . three times in 90 minutes. I even caroused around with some of my fellow CFARC members to see if they found anything. I thought, what a bummer. I had budgeted more mad money than 6 bucks and had hoped there would have been more displays and vendors. Oh well, it was still a fruitful endeavor and started back to the car. On the way out I noticed a sign that read “VE...

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TS930s goes digital

Posted on Nov 11, 2012 | Comments Off on TS930s goes digital

After playing with the TS930 for a week or so, I found that I can not interface to a computer since there was no RS232 or USB interface. I wanted to use a computer based logbook, DXLab,  to keep records of my QSOs and keep track of QSLs. That was not to be. The big problem with the 930 is that it that the radio wasn’t designed for computer control, and lacks any sort of computer port.  That’s what I get for buying a 80’s style rig. . . .I’m re-learning as I go. I found a savior though. PIEXX TS-930SE enhanced microprocessor board, which is  plug-compatible replacement for the original unit in the TS-930. The new board takes advantage of the advances in microprocessor design that have taken place since the TS-930 was designed, first and foremost to do away with the requirement for backup batteries The...

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Got ’em

Posted on Nov 4, 2012 | Comments Off on Got ’em

I got my new call: W8AJV and I got my Kenwood TS-930s. The only thing missing is an antenna!  I’m excited with the new radio. All I did was connect a long wire to the antenna jack and started to tune around. Listened in to some QSO’s, a lot of them one-sided because all I could pick up was the close by ham but I could tell they were talking with a DX station. Oh man, I want that antenna even more! I’m on a small city lot so thinking that vertical will be the way to go. Lots of trees around also. Even the vertical will be a challenge. I’m cramming on antennas using the ARRL Antenna Book. You can get it directly from the ARRL or from Amazon. My first goal is a triband vertical and then...

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Still waiting

Posted on Oct 19, 2012 | Comments Off on Still waiting

Still waiting for my vanity call sign. But in the mean time I got the itch to go HF. . . .10, 15 and 20 meters were calling me. The cost of new rigs were way more expensive than I remembered so I trekked on over to eBay. Transceivers were available but still expensive. Patience is the key when shopping on eBay so I just set up some searches and watchlists and started reviewing the various items on sale. I did a lot of Googling of make and model numbers to investigate. There are several places to read reviews from other hams: QRZ.com,eHam.net, NK7Z.net and don’t forget to ask your fellow hams. After partaking in a few bidding wars, I was high bidder on a Kenwood TS-930s but upon completion I got a message “Reserve not met” and just kicked the filing...

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