Blog Archives

The KE0VH Hamshack for June 2017

June 12, 2017
By

June 2017

Welcome to summer, finally!

 

How about this for a QTH? A REALLY TINY HOUSE?

No, it’s the UHF/VHF antenna setup for Jeremy, N6JER in Rocklin CO. Jeremy was experimenting with this antenna setup from his house and thought it would setup nicely on the hillside behind the little playhouse.  I think its pretty clever!

Last month in May I went on a mission trip to Gallup NM and I took the CS-800 DMR/Analog mobile on the trip. I learned how to program in some New Mexico frequencies and of course the RMHam Albuquerque (I learned too how to spell Albuquerque) Rocky Mountain DMR link was something I really was excited about using to talk back to Denver.  So about the time I got to a point just east of Santa Fe on I-25 heading south I started being able to get into the Albuquerque Rocky Mountain machine, located on SanDia Peak.  Most of the TV and FM’s are located on this very prominent mountain NE of downtown Albuquerque.  An amazing site for a ham radio repeater, but I did notice that as I was driving west on I-40, the system didn’t seem to hear me past about 30 miles or so to the west on the way to Gallup.  I could hear it just fine, but it couldn’t hear me.  I was talking to Cris W5WCA, Rich W9BNO, and Greg WB7AHO on the way down there, and then Cris and Greg on the way back a later that week and it behaved in the same manner.  But the audio quality was great as you would expect.  Those guys have created a great DMR system, and I was really happy with the performance of the 45 watt CSI CS-800 mobile radio. See my full review in last months issue.

The RMHam “Rocky Mtn” DMR linked system

As you can see the network covers a major part of Colorado and around Albuquerque.

 

By the way, I would like to welcome Rich Anderson, W9BNO to the EMF Engineering family. Rich is taking over the Western Region Manager job for EMF/K-LOVE/Air1.  Rich and I have known each other for many years and I was his employee back around 200 at what was then Jones Radio Networks.  I am excited about being able to work with him practically daily and for the leadership, expertise, and knowledge he brings to the table.  He is an expert engineer, systems integrator, networking guru, satellite guy, and is great with the people who work with and for him. I cannot wait to see all that we can accomplish with him on the team! WELCOME and QAPLA! (Klingon for SUCCESS!) Rich!

 

We are getting into a new system here in Colorado and beyond. AllStar (https://allstarlink.org/) is a system similar to IRLP but much more versatile, better sounding, and not so proprietary that you can’t do many more things with it simply and easier with a Linux based operating system.  AllStar allows many interconnect nodes (both radio and computer “hubs”) to be a will connected, interconnected, disconnected and communicated thru.  It can even cross mode to DMR and other digital connections thru bridges setup depending on the network node operators.  Our good friend Skyler, KDØWHB has built nodes for myself, and Jeremy N6JER using the Debian Linux “DIAL” software available for free from the AllStar network.  As of this writing Jeremy will be putting his node on the air from Rocklin CA so we can have connected comms just by picking up the handheld radio!  KE0VH1 Allstar node, #46020 is on the air on 449.500 as a simplex node from our Lakewood K-LOVE office using a Comcast public network WiFi, and gives us instant communication connected thru the KD0WHB hub into the local WØGV repeater on 448.975 here in Denver.  That hub then in turn is connected out into the world by whoever wants to connect into it.  Get a look at the example of how my node is connected by going to this site: http://stats.allstarlink.org/getstatus.cgi?46020. With my handheld or a mobile rig getting into any node via whatever repeater I can get into any connection thru AllStar.  Now some could say that this isn’t “pure radio”, and I supposed that’s true from a certain viewpoint.  It definitely isn’t radio to radio like HF comms, BUT, it does allow radio communications to be facilitated thru VHF and UHF very reliably.  SO, with that, I think of it as “just a long mic cable” or audio lines to a transmitter. I will be writing more about Allstar in future articles.

The KEØVH Allstar node 46020 being built on the workbench.

A look at nodes connected on a certain day. The bottom two, not visible in this picture, are connected to the UK!

The KEØVH AllStar node in the rack operating with a re-frequencied re-purposed Motorola Maxtrax radio as the simplex repeater radio.

 

Now some could say that this isn’t “pure radio”, and I supposed that’s true from a certain viewpoint. It definitely isn’t radio to radio like HF comms, BUT, it does allow radio communications to be facilitated thru VHF and UHF very reliably.  SO, with that, I think of it as “just a long mic cable” or audio lines to a transmitter.

Another upgrade to the KEØVH Hamshack in June. The latest version of the RTL-SDR USB dongle.  You can see one at: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B0129EBDS2/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

This dongle can tune 500 khz to 1.7 gig with 3.2 Mhz of bandwith. Easy to interface with your computer thru USB and connect to any antenna with an SMA male to any adapter also available at Amazon.  As I have written in the past you can use the free SDR Sharp software and HDSDR to control and use the dongle to provide a visual interface making a powerful software defined radio for only $20.  Many have even used these to create a frequency display for radios such as a Kenwood TS-2000 and more.  Check out a lot of uses, software, and so many things available and to learn more go to: http://www.rtl-sdr.com/. ADSB aircraft “radar” is even do-able as I have written about in the past.  And for $20?  I can’t even have imagined this sort of thing growing up listening to radio!

HDSDR Sharp using the new dongle receiving 1510 am in Denver

 

A closer look at the spectrum at 1510 kHz in the HDSDR software

Tracking aircraft with the ADSB software included in the SDR Sharp (AirSpy) software

SEE back issues of my articles available now! Copy or click these links into your browser to see previous installments:

http://www.ke0vh.com/hamshack/archives/TheKE0VHHamshack201701Jan.pdf

http://www.ke0vh.com/hamshack/archives/TheKE0VHHamshack201702Feb.pdf

http://www.ke0vh.com/hamshack/archives/TheKE0VHHamshack201703Mar.pdf

http://www.ke0vh.com/hamshack/archives/TheKE0VHHamshack201704April.pdf

http://www.ke0vh.com/hamshack/archives/TheKE0VHHamshack201705May.pdf

 

I will be adding more to my website archives here soon.

Or see the complete archives at:

http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/wp/

AND

 

Don’t forget the SBE Chapter 73’ Of The Air

IRLP (and Echolink) Hamnet, every MONDAY EVENING

At 7pm Mountain time (9pm Eastern) for radio discussions, both

Broadcast engineering and amateur radio.

Details on how to

join are at http://www.ke0vh.com/net/net.html. I hope

You will be able to join us and share your engineering and

Ham exploits! 73’ es God Be With You!

 

 

 

 

 

The KE0VH Hamshack for May 2017

May 3, 2017
By

 

                                                     May 2017

DMR (Digital Mobile Radio) is taking over the amateur radio VHF and UHF airwaves big time here in the front range of Colorado. If you have heard the digital audio available now on cell phones, the audio on DMR radios is very similar. Radio’s for this mode are easily available, (even on Amazon.com) not expensive, and with the groups using them they are very easily set up due to pre written “code plugs”, which include many analog frequencies and DMR repeaters.  The TYT MD-380 and Connect Systems Inc (CSI) CS-800 UHF are now part of the KEØVH mobile hamshack.  Jerry Wanger, CEO & owner of CSI has been instrumental in bringing DMR affordability and ease of operation to ham radio.  Now the price, performance and ease of programming the radios via free software makes DMR exciting and FUN!  . The radio’s interface to the computer with an easy to install USB cable.  I had no trouble with Win 7 installing the programming cable and talking to the radio’s.   Connect Systems Inc has amazing customer service.  Chris Edwards, KK6MLY at CSI was really kind and helpful in helping me with my order of the CS-800.

With the CS-800, I was impressed right off the bat with how the radio was shipped and packaged. CSI ships the radio in a very well put together box that has a pretty intricate folding of the compartments within to really protect the unit.  Did you guys use an origami idea for this?  VERY cool how the different sections of the box went together protecting the contents.  That’s the first thing I noticed upon opening the shipping box.  Downloading the software was quick and easy, and actually very similar to the TYT MD-380 HT that I own.  Downloading the local codeplug very expertly put together by the Rocky Mountain Ham group. (www.rmham.org) and loading into the radio literally had me operating the radio within about 10 minutes of getting it out of the box. I was making contacts quickly and easily.  The radio has a programming cable (actually 2, one for the faceplate of the radio for upgrading the firmware, and one for the rear view DB type connector.  The radio essentially has a USB interface/drive built in and the USB to DB type connector will act as a drive when connected to your computer.  The software then communicates with the radio and you can read/write like any other radio.  I really want to thank Chris at Connect Systems as he was very helpful and really went above the call to help me with questions and getting the radio to me.  I called him late one Friday to pay for a radio, and it came by Monday via US Mail.  I was impressed to say the least!  By the way the radio is easily upgradable thru the firmware on the Connect Systems website.  The audio is great from the radio, loud enough in a mobile environment, and as you will see in my pictures of my mobile install the face plate separates with a simple CAT 5 cable.  Makes installation in just about any vehicle a snap.  Here is the radio out on the desk being programmed with the RMHam Codeplug.

Another feature I really like about the CS-800 and by the way the way the software for programming the radio is the way you can set up your scans for whatever DMR “Zone” you happen to be operating in. I have one of my scan lists setup to monitor the 3 local analog repeaters I use too while on DMR.  As the radio scans though, it does send out a quick transmit signal to handshake with each DMR repeater you have set up to scan.  This is a normal operation of a DMR radio.  On the TYT HT it does use a little more battery, but of course that doesn’t effect the mobile rig setup powered off 12 volts.  Here is a shot of the software talking to the radio and starting setup.

The CS-800 will let you program the buttons to use the functions you want, so it is totally customizable. One thing I really like is the above feature where you get a display of the buttons on the radio so you know which is which as you program.  I read in some reviews that the users really like this feature, making all the buttons do what you want.  Many DMR radios cannot be programmed from the front panel, but the CS800 can now be programmed without having to use the software. Great idea for on the fly, but I haven’t attempted this yet.

My name, callsign, and codeplug name in the “turn on radio” display.

One suggestion from a RMHam DMR guru was to program the last date of the codeplug into the radio display at power on. That way you are reminded to check for updates.  You can customize it to whatever you want.  I did add the date in at a later time, plus I have customized my own code plug now.  Remember too, a “codeplug” is simply a list of frequencies you have programmed into the radio.

The radio on the Thorodin Central RMHam repeater system in this shot

 

Another cool thing about the CS-800, the radio has tremendous functionality for hams (can have 2000 channels and over 64,000 contacts) which is pretty tremendous. Going to be very hard to fill that up as once again all is customizable. Plus remember you could have several codeplugs to program into the radio if you travel. And since it is all saved on the computer, you can reload the radio to have what you want for and after traveling. Very easy with the FREE software.

Ready to be mounted in truck after programming.

Another great thing here. The PRICE. At $280 direct from Connect Systems, you just cannot beat it with 45 watts (selectable HI/Med/Low power) and yes the mic touch tones work. I was able to access IRLP and AllStar nodes and connect with the microphone. I believe I had read in the past that the touch tones weren’t operating, but they do now with the latest firmware. Motorola’s are available, but at 3 times the price this is a MUCH greater value. The radio is built too for the mobile environment very well and I have been very pleased with the way the DMR repeaters work around the mountain drives I have to make as a K-LOVE Broadcast radio engineer. Getting ready to mount the radio in my worktruck was very easy too. I already have a mobile radio dual bander in the truck, so I used the mounting board I have under the drivers seat to also mount the CS-800. The radios both fit easily and wiring went well as the control heads are of course up in driving view. As you see in the below pictures I use Anderson power pole connectors in the usual configuration for easy in/out if I need to remove the radios from the truck for any reason.

NOTE the cat 5 cable from the CS-800 MPU. Man I like that, so easy and no having to order a special separation kit.

The Radio mounted on the center console of the Tacoma

The front firing speaker in the faceplate provides plenty of audio in the mobile environment as mentioned earlier. I really like not having to use an external speaker.  Connect Systems also provides a service manual downloaded from their website, and a programming manual.  I am super pleased with the CS-800, it really fits my needs and desires in a mobile DMR/Analog rig, and I am more excited about this purchase and every day use than any radio I have used in a long time.

 

I only had 1 issue, and that is one time I made a change (actually an edition of the codeplug had updated) and I added in the user name, callsign and number of a friend locally, and for some reason I was getting an error “Please check whether the USB is occupied or not connected” when trying to connect and read the radio with the software. The radio was recognized correctly as a drive by the laptop, and the little connect “ping” sounded when the radio was plugged in, all looked good so that elliminated the programming cable being bad, and the radio itself. But I still couldn’t get the radio to read/write.  A few emails and a call to Chris at CSI and he said to do a software re-install and change the drive letter in the drive management software on my Windows 7 laptop.  Still no luck.  BUT, then I thought, well change the drive letter again, and lo and behold, all started working properly again.  This is not a problem with the radio, and according to Chris has only happened a couple of times in many radios sold.  It turns out to be a Windows issue, but is as written above very easily fixed. I have had no problems since.

In QSO with KØSDT, Shane on the RMHam Denver Central repeater system on the CS-800.

AND, Connect Systems, as of this writing, will soon be introducing the DUAL BAND version of this radio, the CS-800D! This edition should be available to buy in the latter part of May.  Stay tuned! Although it seems that most DMR activity is on UHF, there is quite a bit on 2 meters, and of course the reason I keep my dual band analog radio in the truck now is for the use of 2 meters on the Colorado Connection repeaters and the like that operate there, plus some others around Colorado.  The CS-800D will be a great buy, utilizing both modes.  That is going to be cool!  See all of the offerings of Connect Systems at: http://www.connectsystems.com/index.html.

BTW, go to the www.RMHAM.org website for great information on this mode and the setup here along the front range in Colorado. See also the DMR-Marc Network at http://www.dmr-marc.net/ for a great look at what DMR is and how it is being utilized now in amateur radio. I am sure that I will have more adventures and things to say about this really cool fun and exciting mode.

My TYT MD-380 handheld. The MD-390 has a GPS feature too.  These are available easily on Amazon.

 

As I stated earlier, the RMHam group has done an amazing job of setting up linked DMR UHF repeaters here in Colorado. Eventually they have plans to

cover the entire state. Their repeaters essentially all have 2 TDMA time slots and as you may know that enables one repeater to carry two voice conversations simultaneously.  You can read more about all the particulars on how DMR works on other sites, so I won’t cover all that here.  But again RMHam is using top equipment at their sites and I wanted to include a picture or two of one of the repeater sites.  This one actually occupies rack space right next to one of my K-LOVE sites.  And the Colorado Connection has their repeater for this particular area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The top and bottom sections of the RMHam Rack in NE Colorado

Excellent work and THANKS RMHam!

During the month of March my Estes Park site suffered from our translator receive antenna being blown nearly off its tower. And when I went to investigate an AT&T monopole tower had been installed less than 30 feet from our antenna.  That really blocked and antennuated the signal that we were receiving from the parent signal nearly 120 miles away.  So, it was time to move the receive antenna.  We obtained permission to get on the monopole tower and I called my great crew from Galvanized Endeavors in Colorado Springs, and up we went to take the antenna down, and put it back up even higher than before, enabling us to receive the Denver signal and rebroadcast that to our listeners in Estes Park Colorado.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The monopole tower blocking our antenna (on the smaller tower behind the tree), and one of Galvanized Endeavors guys up the monopole

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rafael and Chuck taking the antenna up!

Working at about 65 feet and job done!


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to Raphael, Chuck, TJ and Derrick! My Boyz!

Also THANKS to Daniel, for getting it all together quickly to get Estes Park back on the air!

If you need tower or antenna work done, call these guys,

they are THE BEST!

http://www.galvanizedendeavors.com/

 

You got to see the article in RadioWorld Magazine about our K-LOVE/Air1 Network Operations Center in a great article by EMF’s own Jeremy Preece (N6JER). Here is the Link: http://www.mazdigital.com/webreader/49128

GREAT JOB JER!

 

SEE back issues of my articles available now! Copy or click these links into your browser to see previous installments:

 

http://www.ke0vh.com/hamshack/archives/TheKE0VHHamshack201701Jan.pdf

 

http://www.ke0vh.com/hamshack/archives/TheKE0VHHamshack201702Feb.pdf

 

http://www.ke0vh.com/hamshack/archives/TheKE0VHHamshack201703Mar.pdf

 

http://www.ke0vh.com/hamshack/archives/TheKE0VHHamshack201704April.pdf

 

I will be adding more to my website archives here soon.

Or see the complete archives at:

http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/wp/

AND

 

Don’t forget the SBE Chapter 73’ Of The Air

IRLP (and Echolink) Hamnet, every MONDAY EVENING

At 7pm Mountain time (9pm Eastern) for radio discussions, both

Broadcast engineering and amateur radio.

Details on how to

join are at http://www.ke0vh.com/net/net.html. I hope

You will be able to join us and share your engineering and

Ham exploits! 73’ es God Be With You!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The KE0VH Hamshack for April 2017

April 11, 2017
By

 

                     April 2017

 

Greetings all for the month of April!

In March my son Aiden, began studying for his Tech class Ham license by using the Ham Radio School.com book and website with the practice questions for the exam. I found this book at Ham Radio Outlet here in Denver and it was really recommended by Clay (K3CRS) the manager there, so I decided to check out for Aiden.  I already have 3 other licensed kids in my family, and although they aren’t really using the ticket they will have it one day if they want.  We essentially used ham radio as a home school subject too for the kids, so who knows, they may want to get on the air one day!  So as I was looking for a study book at HRO Clay sold me on this one!  The book and website are authored by Stan Turner, WØSTU.  Stan, a Colorado resident,  wrote the book and website as a training tool for his children, featured in pictures and captions throughout the book.  I think this is absolutely outstanding, and am really happy to support a local guy and especially another amateur operator who wants to help bring new folks into the hobby.  Each chapter has actual test question numbers by each subject and explanations for the topic.  Very simply written and explained.  The chapters are only a few pages long at most and make good sit down sessions with your child to study and spend some time with.  THEN, after you go over a chapter, you can go to the website and take practice tests for THAT chapter, with the pages and test question number stated along with the actual Tech test exam questions.  I am really impressed and will recommend this study guide in the future to others!  Glad HRO decided to carry this book!  And, thanks to Stan for a` GREAT PRODUCT!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The book by Stan Turner, WØSTU and Aiden studying!

 

 

 

 

Robert, KC8GPD, a major Part 15 enthusiast, runs an carrier current AM and part 15 transmitter setup in his apartment complex in Lakewood CO. He has quite a studio setup.  Robert sent me the following article about a Tenant Run Apartment Network, with none other than Les Paul, one of the performers and operators of the apartment station.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So one night watching the Andy Griffith Show on MeTV here in Denver these great shots came up of good ole’ Barney Fife in the Mayberry Sheriffs office with the “police” radio’s in full view. So I shot these pictures and have always wondered what kind they are.  Any ideas?

 

                                 What about the old microphone?

 

As it turns out, according to some hams on QRZ.com: The ham rig shown in the early show was an Eico 720 cw transmitter, and 730 modulator. Some tine later, an Eico 723 Cw transmitter was shown. It is interesting to note the ham gear mentioned was shown along what should have been considered a ‘proper’ police type radio at the time…a control console and mike from a Motorola base station. And, as it turns out, the microphone may have been from Motorola of the day, but in this case it was plugged into what was the CW key jack on the Eico. Very interesting!

And another cool radio that bears the answer to the question, “what the heck is this? This is from the Netflix series “Frequency” which is based on the movie of the same name starring Jim Caviezel and Dennis Quaid. The plot is the grown child finds his dads stored away for years ham radio and talks to his dad in the past due to an aurora borealis phenonmenon. They then go on to solve a series of murders. The “TV” show on Netflix uses the same premise, character names, etc (with a few differences). And this is the radio used in the series:

WHAT IS IT?

 

 

By the way, wanna see a list of some famous ham radio operators, go to:

http://www.oocities.org/siliconvalley/campus/4400/famous.htm

Here is the Pica.cz Model P75/P175 FM analyzer

This little handheld battery powered unit is a really cool little audio/RDS/MPX RF carrier monitor and analyzer that is easy to carry around and even hook up to your computer with many features to monitor your FM signal. Check out all the details at Pica.cz.   It also can be used as a remote modulation monitor with free software to see the parameters of the FM signal you want to look at.  It decodes all RDS information and the text data too.  It shows you deviation and audio levels, pilot injection and more.  Basically everything you want to know about your signal.  The software will show you all this and more simultaneously and can serve as a remote modulation monitor with alarms to alert you to problems.

A screenshot of the monitoring software hooked up via USB to the handheld unit showing audio levels, MPX spectrum and levels, RDS information, modulation peaks and averaging, and carrier information.

 

NEXT MONTH!  DMR (Digital Mobile Radio) is taking over the amateur radio VHF and UHF airwaves big time here in the front range of Colorado.  The TYT MD-380 and Connect Systems CS-800 UHF are now part of the KEØVH mobile hamshack, and I am going to let you know about their performance and a review on both of those radios for DMR!  BTW, check out the www.RMHAM.org website for great information on this mode and the setup here along the front range in Colorado. See also the DMR-Marc Network at http://www.dmr-marc.net/ for a great look at what DMR is and how it is being utilized now in amateur radio. If you have heard the digital audio available now on cell phones, the audio available on DMR radios is very similar.  Radio’s for this mode are easily available, not expensive, and with the groups using them very easily set up due to pre written “code plugs”.  MORE NEXT MONTH!

 

Check out the back issues of my articles available now! Copy or click these links into your browser to see previous installments:

 

http://www.ke0vh.com/hamshack/archives/TheKE0VHHamshack201701Jan.pdf

 

http://www.ke0vh.com/hamshack/archives/TheKE0VHHamshack201702Feb.pdf

 

  http://www.ke0vh.com/hamshack/archives/TheKE0VHHamshack201703Mar.pdf

 

I will be adding more to my website archives here soon.

Or see the complete archives at:

http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/wp/

AND

 

BY THE WAY, check out Icom’s new APRIL offering for hams: http://www.icom.co.jp/fb/170401/

 

Don’t forget the SBE Chapter 73’ Of The Air

IRLP (and Echolink) Hamnet, every MONDAY EVENING

At 7pm Mountain time (9pm Eastern) for radio discussions, both

Broadcast engineering and amateur radio.

Details on how to

Join are at http://www.ke0vh.com/net/net.html. I hope

You will be able to join us and share your engineering and Ham exploits.  73s and God be with you!

The KE0VH Hamshack for March 2017

March 17, 2017
By

 

Greetings all for the month of March!

This is a very cool website that I saw at our EMF Engineering Summit meetings that they had displayed in our Network Operations Center. It is a map of current VHF Propogation going on around the world.  This is a picture of what was going on in the Continental US at the time I wrote this.  Check out the website at http://aprs.mountainlake.k12.mn.us/ for the legend to the map and scalability thru google maps. This is really cool for us who like to look for 6 meter openings!  Our NOC uses it to see if there are any interference patterns going on that might be interrupting some of our service.  I check it frequently to see if I can call CQ on 50.125!

                 The Legend you will see on the website

In the past you have seen me write a bit about my 5 BTV vertical antenna (now sold by DX Engineering) and how I added 12 and 17 meter wires to make it a “7 BTV” J antenna. One thing that was always a pain was the fact that to work on the antenna I had to take it totally off its ground mount water pipe driven into the ground along my back fence where the antenna is mounted.  I wrote about the project where I put in the PVC pipe into the ground carrying the coax to the antenna, and so on and so forth.  The next project for it was to homebrew a tilt mount so that taking the antenna into a position to make it easy to work on without having to spend money on a store boughten mount (see DX Engineering’s page if you want to purchase one: https://www.dxengineering.com/search/part-type/hf-vertical-antenna-mounting-tilt-bases). Now these range from not terribly expensive to really expensive and I thought “I bet I can come up with an idea to circumvent spending that kind of money”.  So the idea of a “lazy Susan” planted itself in my mind and I thought of the various ways to possibly accomplish this.  So, at least for proof of concept, this is what I came up with.  After I made a trip to the local ACE hardware (grew up around an ACE hardware and love going there instead of HomeyDepot or even Lowes) I found what I needed for around $7!  I am not sure of the wind handling capabilities of my finished setup, but I sure can tug on the antenna with my weight and it seems to be just fine.  I do have another idea that I will try in the future and report on here, but for now, this system is working great.

The antenna on its base before the conversion

 

 

 

 

 

 

Side view of the original mount and the wind broken spar and “spider”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The lazy Susan turntable attached to the new antenna mounting pole

Self tapping screws secured the turntable to the antenna mounting pole easily enough. I sank several extra screws for better security in the mount.

 

The antenna removed from the mount and horizontal. You can see the broken spar and spider underneath the 40 meter section.

 

The antenna can be lain over on the fencing for work here, but of course loosening the U-bolts on the ground pole (seen above left in the picture) takes time. Plus it puts a strain on the feedline turning it up like this.  Hence this project!  Here you see the new antenna mount on the ground pole

 

 

And the antenna mounted on the ground pole. The tilt mechanism works great!  Now I can fix the broken part!

The antenna upright and locked back in!

Project complete, and the broken spider repaired!

 

This month I also put up a YouTube video demo about a demo of RMS Express HF email thru the Winlink 2000 system. This free software, my Rigblaster advantage and my Yaesu FT 897D allows me to send and receive email via the HF airwaves.  My Winlink email address is KE0VH@winlink.org. I will check this a few times a week by logging into the system on nodes on 40 or 80 meters usually.  Very versatile for WHEN the internet will go down, or out in the field when there is no internet or no other communications possible for email.  Many ARES and other amateur services are using this system.

 

Screenshot of the video. Catch it at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kR5dnDS65DA

 

Seen at the Adams County Hamfest! Boy did I drool over this.  A COMPLETE HeathKit SB station!

Unfortunately this signifies another “SK”, Silent Key. This group was selling this well loved station on behalf of an Amateur’s widow.  While great to see, I hate to think of someone’s wife having to deal with this.  This group had graciously offered to help with the sale of this gear.  I hope that they were able to sell this beautiful station for what it is worth, both monetarily and emotionally, and not have to part it out.

 

On the other hand, look what I ALSO found!

A refurbished HeathKit Model 1410 keyer!

I bought this for $10 from a guy at the hamfest. He had put in new IC’s and cleaned it up!  I am now working on getting my CW speed “up to speed”!  I can do about 10 words per minute so I am slow, but I am finding plenty of others like me on the CW bands to practice and make QSO’s with.  A lot of fun it is!  So many new hams these days have abandoned even trying to learn the code.  I am a 13 wpm Extra.  I had to take the 13 wpm for my General test way back when I had to take the amateur test IN the Atlanta Georgia FCC office.  Pretty heady stuff back then!  And you know, I don’t know if I have ever written about this, but I also had to go to Atlanta to take the 3rd Class Radio Telephone Operators Permit test with the Broadcast Endorsement!  And I still have the Certificate!

You can see the “Issuing Officers” name, it was Angelo Ditty. Mr. Ditty was a big Italian man who struck fear into the heart of us who had to take tests under him in the Official FCC Field Office!  Actually I am sure he was a nice man, but I do remember he had that “official” bearing and mannerism’s you might expect.  Especially for a 16 year old at the time!

 

By the way, if you would like to see past editions of the KEØVH Hamshack articles, you can see them at:

 

http://www.ke0vh.com/hamshack/archives/TheKEØVHHamshack201701Jan.pdf

 

http://www.ke0vh.com/hamshack/archives/TheKEØVHHamshack201702Feb.pdf

I will be adding more to my website archives here soon.

Or see the complete archives at:

http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/wp/

AND

Don’t forget the IRLP (and Echolink) Hamnet, every MONDAY EVENING

At 7pm Mountain time (9pm Eastern) for radio discussions, both

Broadcast engineering and amateur radio. The first and

3rd Mondays are also SBE Chapter 73’ of the Air NET nights. Details on how to

Join are at http://www.ke0vh.com/net/net.html. I hope

You will be able to join us and share your engineering and

Ham exploits!

73’ & God be with you. See you next time! De KEØVH

 

The KE0VH Hamshack for February 2017

February 16, 2017
By

 

 

WINTER IN COLORADO!

UNBELIEVABLE on Castle Peak at 11,000 feet

 

During the first weeks of January Colorado received a barrage of snowstorms that left the mountains under feet of snow, avalanche danger, shut down roads, and even Interstate 70 was closed down due to avalanche’s on the highway west of Denver. The radio site above hosts one of our broadcast facilities and Eagle County’s communication sites among others.  The FEET of ice (by the way took our station there off the air by interrupting our STL feed) was some of the most severe I have ever seen.  As of this writing, we are off air and only some of the Eagle County facility is working.  Evidently according to my buddy Mick at Eagle County, this crew went up on one of the largest snow cats in the region and used a crowd control gun too literally blast the ice off antenna’s to regain coms.  I am looking for a solution for us at this time.  We are also working on an alternative site for an auxiliary facility at this time.

Lately in the Denver area, we have been hearing noise that is really obstructing the 75 and 40 meter bands. It has almost completely wiped out me checking into the Colorado Columbine Net on 3.989 and finally fades away down around 3.7 MHz Cris Alexander, W5WCA has been reporting an interfering noise “signal” on 40 meter frequencies he uses a lot too. There are a bunch of us who talk regularly on 7.166 and the noise has been there too. Cris also reports that the signal goes away during the summer.

Greg Beveridge, W87AHO adds this byline to this month’s newsletter.

Says Greg, I observed an elevated noise floor on the approximate upper half of the 75 meter phone band yesterday (about S9 in the afternoon), and decided to see how wide it really was. One of my HF radios is an ICOM 756, equipped with spectrum display.  Set for +/- 50 kHz window, I dialed back in frequency from 3805 kHz and observed a sudden noise floor drop from S9 to about S3 between 3805 and 3800 kHz.  Dialing above 3805, the S9 noise floor remained there continuously all the way to 5148 kHz, then steadily dropping off to S5 at 5158 kHz, for a total  and uniform elevated noise floor span of approximately 1.3 MHz  My HF antenna system is a multi-band inverted-V with apex on top of my second-story chimney, lowest resonance at 7150 kHz.  For the above measurements, I used direct connection to the radio without a tuner.  When I do operate on 75m, I load the entire feed line and antenna with an external tuner against ground.  Since my test spectrum sweep was nowhere near antenna resonance and the mismatch was expected to be more or less the same over a very wide HF frequency range, receive-only observations were assumed to be reasonably uncontaminated over the entire 1.36 MHz test view.  I spoke with Jack yesterday evening, and he was able to independently replicate my observations at his QTH, which suggests that, whatever the actual source, it appears far-field to both of us.  Whatever the actual source, seems to me that uniformly raising the noise-like level by 3-4 S units over some 33% of the frequency band of interest (with relatively tight frequency corners) is more than a little strange, suggesting to me something like megawatt over-the-horizon radar or HAARP influence.

Additionally, I continued to scan for other periodic RF noise artifacts that have the familiar audio characteristic of ragged 60 Hz power-line harmonics and found prominent appearances every 303 kHz from 6128 kHz to 10685 kHz.  I don’t believe that these are related to the very wide elevated noise floor described in the above paragraphs, and I can easily cancel them with my MFJ-1026 unit when they land on a DX frequency of interest in the 40M band.

 

We will have more on this as it develops, or we discover the source. Maybe an over the horizon type radar? Something from Buckley AFB on the east side of the Denver metro? Very interesting but noisy! JJJ

Rich, W9BNO, had a wonderful visit from Mrs. Santa (a.k.a. his wife) and is now the proud owner of a Yaesu FT-400DR! He has this mounted now in his vehicle and is beaconing APRS as W9BNO-9.

Our EMF/K-LOVE/Air1 2017 Engineering Summit was held in January, and it was so good to see everyone after I missed last year due to the cancer treatments (BTW, still feeling great and no sign of disease!) The gathering was in Rocklin CA and while we met off campus at another site, we spent some time at HQ with some other activities, such as a presentation from Nautel, and flying the DJI drones to see what it was like.  A lot of us are going to be studying for our UAV Pilots licenses which are a requirement to fly these for the company inspecting towers and such.  This event was a highlight of the summit week, but for me it was SO GOOD to see everyone again after missing last year.  Thanks to Jeremy and Sam for this afternoon of fun and seeing what it is like to fly a really stable camera platform in the DJI Phantom series.

A Group picture from the drone. Notice Jeremy (N6JER) with the controller in the middle of the picture.  Yours truly lower right in the Zenith shirt!

A shot of HQ from the air! Notice everyone lower left on the grass that was flying that day.

On one of the days we got to make a field trip to the Econco tube facility not too far away from Rocklin. This was another highlight of the week getting to see this fine, mostly done by hand work!  Very amazing how they do this and the facilities they have built over the years at this plant.

Cut tubes with the tops removed and a basket of filament assemblies

Cutting the seal of the tube to separate the base from the top cooling fins


 

The top removed and the inside of the defective tube

The machine for winding filaments and an employee winding by hand on the jig

What the wire looks like on the screen of her monitor

Getting ready to attach the new filament assembly.

Newly refurbished product ready for shipment

 

It was amazing to see how Econco has made and refurbished the great products we have used in broadcasting over the years. And, another great thing that day was to meet the employees many of us have talked to for a long time.  Debbie Storz being one of them.  So nice to finally meet her in person!

 

K-LOVES Teri Shaw and Econco’s Debbie Storz

 

Steve Flyte, K7SF, our K-LOVE Engineer from the Portland Oregon area brought his portable setup to the hotel at Rocklin where all the engineers were staying for the week. Steve used his Ten-Tec Jupiter and antenna tuner to load up a wire out of his 3rd floor room.  Steve worked CW contacts around the country and the Sacramento net on 80 meters from his setup there.

Steve and his portable station from the Hotel in Rocklin

 

Steve has kind of re-kindled my interest in CW. I am going to break out the old Radio Shack brass key which was my original key at a novice back in the late 70’s, and since I have kept it nice all these years, I am going to put it back to work.  It is fun and I sure would like to get my CW speed back up.  Steve can have conversations at 50 wpm so I think I have my work cut out for me.  I am also a 13 word per minute Extra class.  They dropped the code requirement before I obtained my Extra, but when I took my General the 13 wpm requirement was still in place.  AND, you had to take the ham tests in the FCC office, which for me was in Atlanta Georgia.  Now I tell you that was an experience!

 

Busy month, more in March! Lots of projects and things going on!  Thanks for reading!

 

By the way, if you would like to see past editions of the KEØVH Hamshack articles, you can see last month’s edition at:

 

http://www.ke0vh.com/hamshack/TheKE%C3%98VHHamshackLast.pdf

 

Or see the archives at:

 

http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/wp/

AND

Don’t forget the IRLP (and Echolink) Hamnet, every MONDAY EVENING

At 7pm Mountain time (9pm Eastern) for radio discussions, both

Broadcast engineering and amateur radio. The first and

3rd Mondays are also SBE Chapter 73’ of the Air NET nights. Details on how to

Join are at http://www.ke0vh.com/net/net.html. I hope

You will be able to join us and share your engineering and

Ham exploits!

73’ & God be with you. See you next time! De KEØVH

 

 

 

 

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