Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Winterfest 2017

I have reserved a couple tables at the fest for myself and a friend.  I have an IC-706MkIIG HF/VHF/UHF rig and an Amp Supply LK-500ZA.

 The 706 has been with me for a long time.  It was my second 706, the first was a MKII with only 2m.  This is a fine rig, it has been mobile, but not beat up.  I try to take care of my gear.  No problems that I am aware of, I ran it mobile for HF and also VHF/UHF, so I put it through it's paces and haven't seen any problems in operation. Currently, it is in the shack for 2m/440.  I always get good reports on the rig, it's just time to sell it to reorganize things.  It is MARS mod'ed , as I used to be in MARS.

 The amp isn't the one I was rebuilding, I actually sold that amp to Charlie, KT9D who converted it to running a pair of Russian GI7B's.  This amp I bought with a few issues, like the meter shunt going out and the blocking caps aging.  I used the power supply board from the ZC and replaced the meter shunts with some higher wattage resistors than original and replaced all the DC blocking caps.  I had a brand new plate choke for the LK-500, so I also put that in while I was at it.  I fashioned a piece of plexi glass into a divider between the tank circuit and tubes to force more air through the tube sockets and out the holes that had been drilled under the tube sockets.  I really struggled with selling this amp, I have always liked the Amp Supply equipment and it has been a good amp that is easy to tune and holds up well.  I just need to sell it and some other gear to reorganize between my mobile and shack.

John(KB9UDE), is bringing several items, some 800MHz commercial handhelds, a Yaesu FT10(I think) dual band mobile, and some used audio gear as well.  Who knows what else he will dig out of the storage room!

40m Ground Mounted Vertical Project

I am in the planning stages for a ground mounted 40m vertical.

Design Criteria:

1. No Guys (Impractical?)
2. Efficient as practical
3. Good Ground System (30+ radials?)
4. Simple Feed (tapped coil, folded monopole)
5. Mounts to a single post or tube.

I have a design idea for the mounting insulators that is built from vinyl 3/4" trim boards.

Mounting system for 1" copper tubing and tapped coil feed mounted on a 4x4 post.
I question the copper tubing standing up to the weather here in Illinois.  We get some pretty good winds in my area with thunderstorms and winter weather.  I don't want to put this up and have it fold over during a winter storm, but going to larger copper increases cost quickly.  The larger tubing also doesn't work with the material I have on hand for the insulators and I would need to come up with another solution for that.

My next thought is much the same, but feeding it as a folded monopole.  In this case I would feed the antenna via a wire cage built around the copper antenna above.  The wire cage could be used to help support the copper tubing.


Well, I am back after a long break from doing much with radio at all.  What can I say, life happens...

This was actually written and saved as a draft for some time now.  I am still interested in building such an antenna, yet not sure when I will get around to it.  I am a do it yourself type guy with rather low budget for radio.  So, if you have any ideas that fit the design criteria, please offer your suggestions.

Saturday, January 3, 2015


I got a call from a friend who had is information blocked, deleted, banned from QRZ.  Why?  Because he gave an honest observation in his profile and it offended some moderator.  If you got here from my QRZ bio, you read the "Rules" and they are set up such that you could really be banned for posting pretty much anything that the powers that be on find offensive.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Daiwa CN-801 HP

I've been in need of a decent meter for some time for HF.  I had been looking at a few and decided on the CN-801.  I put it inline and it seems to be accurate enough.  I have noticed that with a carrier it reads a bit higher on PEP than what it shows for AVG power.  I don't have a bird element to compare against.  The cross needle SWR reading matches what the rig shows for SWR, so it can't be too far off can it?

I like the large meter face and look of the unit.  The back lighting is a nice bright blue/white LED scheme.  The meter has two switches on the rear for PEP hold and turning the lighting on or off.  The only controls on the front are for PEP/AVG modes and to select ranges 20W/200W/2KW.

I don't have any complaints with the meter, but the error in reading between avg and pep makes me question things a bit.  I needed something to watch to load my LK-500 and this fits the bill nicely.  I don't know of any other 2KW true peak reading meter that covers HF-2m on the market for $150 shipped to the door....

Friday, April 27, 2012

Kenwood V71A

I put a new 2m/440 rig in the shack, the Kenwood TM-V71A.  It does cross band or one way repeat and has capability for voice and morse ID when in repeater mode.  This helps keep me legal, but it TX's every 10 minutes even when the link is not in use.  I really like the way the memories are organized and the ability to link banks and scan banks or groups of banks on one side and a different group on the other.

A good rig.

Jan. 2017 Update

I did have to send it in for repairs.  It seems Kenwood has a known issue of electro migration in the filter caps that causes the radio to slowly go deaf.  This is due to a manufacturing process that causes the water and organic flux to create an electrolyte that causes the silver to form microscopic filaments that shorts them.  I contacted them and they took care of it without cost.  That was impressive as it was not under warranty.

After running this rig for some time, I still love it.  I now have it in the mobile and would love to get another for the shack.  That may happen at Winterfest!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

160m/75m/40m Fan Dipole

After having a problem with the 75m bazooka I decided to put up a fan dipole for the winter.  The bazooka, which was made of two pieces of RG-213 soldered in the middle, failed this fall.  I believe the solder joint came apart inside the conduit body that it was epoxied into.  I was looking at putting up a remote coax switch and running multiple bazookas.  This gives me multiple bands on one feedline without the switch.  It is resonant on 160m, 75m, and 40m.  It also happens to work on several other bands as well.  I can move quite a bit on 75 and 160, very much to my surprise.

Center spreaders, support, and feed insulator.

The next two photos are of the wire legs, fiberglass rod spreaders, and strain insulators on the ends.
  I cut down driveway reflectors to use the rods as the spreaders, they seem to work well so far.

Sep. 2016 Update:

After 5 years of service, I have a failure.  Well, sort of.  One of the dogs chewed a guy rope off and my daughter got into the wire with the tractor while mowing.  This caused some of the fiberglass rods to split.  The center insulators took the abuse, but I will have to take the entire antenna down to measure and replace the elements that got chopped and wound up in the tractor mower.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011