Scribbles, &c.

Putting the Amateur...

…in “Amateur Radio.” After a couple decades of putting it off, I got my Tech and General licenses this past summer.

Current gear:

  • Yaesu FT-60R HT
  • Yaesu FT-450D
  • Kenwood TM-V71A
  • Uniden BCD396XT scanner
  • Mobilink TNC2
  • Elk 2M/440
  • Diamond NR770HN (for mobile work)
  • Diamond SRH77CA
  • Homebrew 40m dipole

The FT-60R goes with me when I fly. I also use it with the Elk for working satellites and the APRS digipeater on the ISS. When I’m not working satellites (which is not often, because it’s cold outside right now), the Elk sits up high in my office feeding the scanner. It works extremely well for both applications.

Satellites are a ball to work, by the way. I’m just a wimp when it comes to the cold. My first attempt to hit the UHF digipeater on the ISS made it into one of KG4AKV’s Space Comm videos.

The TM-V71A resides in my office most of the time, though my truck is wired up appropriately for a mobile installation as well (hence the mobile Diamond antenna). When it’s set up at home, the Kenwood feeds an Ed Fong Dual-band J-pole in the attic. I run an RF->IS iGate most of the time via Xastir on one band; the other VFO scans local repeaters. I took the NWS Skywarn classes, then joined the local club and ARES groups to help out during the bad weather (read: tornado) season.

I play around a (very) little bit with SDR in Linux, generally for decoding digital stuff on FM.

The HF rig is new. For the dipole, I picked up an Alpha Delta center insulator, some good coax, and a big roll of wire. Owing to the peculiarities of our property, it also has to live in the attic for the time being. My first contact was about 500-some-odd miles away, so it seems to be working pretty well. I want to get some more contacts under my belt and then start looking into some of the digital HF modes.

Until I put my foot through our bedroom ceiling fooling around with it. In any event, my attempts to add 20m elements haven’t yielded a whole lot of luck quite yet. I probably need to invest in an SWR meter to make sure things are tuned correctly. As it happens, the local club meets in a couple of days. I’ll ask around and see if anyone has one they’d like to sell. I tried to hand-build my first satellite antenna awhile back and could have used one then, too.