Blog Archives

The KE0VH Hamshack for January 2019

January 30, 2019
By

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2019!

Last month I wrote about the new Yaesu rigs and using them in conjunction with the Zumspot hotspot to communicate in the YaesuFusion to DMR mode and we are having a great deal of fun with that system.  As of this writing myself, Shane KØSDT, Cris W5WCA, Matt KEØLNU, Kenny K4KR, Tim KAØAAI, Bill WØBX (and on his repeater in Grand Junction)  and others are on DMR TalkGroup 310847 connected to the Rocky Mountain Radio Leagues KI0GO DMR repeater in Denver.  Some of us are using straight DMR.  Others using Yaesu Fusion.  The local (DMR) on air frequency is 449.750, time slot 1 on the repeater.  Last month as the pictures below show Shane was in Rocklin CA while I was in my office in Denver and we were communicating via this system.  Shane and I both since the last newsletter have obtained new HT’s from Yaesu and our friends at the Denver Ham Radio Outlet.  Shane bought the latest full featured true dual band HT from Yaesu, the FT2RDR, which is essentially a FTM-400 in handheld form.  I bought the C4FM & WiresX capable FT70DR, very similar to a VX-6 yet will do all the latest modes.  In the pictures below we are having a QSO on DMR TalkGroup 310847, while using our respective radio’s and hotspots.

Shanes FT2D on the top, my FT70D on the bottom while we were is QSO from California to Colorado!

Also in the picture on the left is Shane’s Zumspot.  Below is a shot of my FTM-100 during the contact.

You can see on the bottom half of Shane’s FT2D the APRS frequency of 144.39 as he was beaconing his position while there.  Below is a screenshot of his location at the time.

Anytime you want to see where I am, you can go here:

https://aprs.fi/#!mt=roadmap&z=12&call=a%2FKE0VH-2&timerange=3600&tail=3600

Also anytime you want to simply monitor the DMR TalkGroup 310847 you can go to this website:

https://hose.brandmeister.network/group/310847/

By changing the number in the above site you can also monitor any other DMR TalkGroup you want.  For instance, to listen to the nationwide group known as TAC 310, simply change the 310847 to 310.  The Emergency Talkgroup for the USA is 9911.  The Tennessee statewide TG for instance is 3147.  Colorado statewide is 3108 .  California statewide is 3106.  NorCal has two for instance, 31068 and 31069.  SoCal 31066 and 31067.   Worldwide it is a HUGE list.  Lots of information and a good jumping into point can be found at: https://wiki.brandmeister.network/index.php/Main_Page

Those radios seen above and so many more can communicate world wide via the Brandmeister system.  Not near a repeater?  A hotspot device puts you on the air across the internet.

So what is the difference between the DMR system and the AllStar system that I have written about (and still use BTW)?

In my opinion, DMR for the first thing is digital, so when the signals are there the audio is great and clean.  AllStar though being analog of course isn’t as susceptible to digital drops and “maxheadroom” noise.  DMR is much easier to use though with Windows GUI’s and interfaces and plenty of ready made software, much of it free, to manipulate radios’s and hotspots.  AllStar still has software that must be manipulated with command lines in linux and can be quite complicated.  The information so far that I have found on the internet is not easy to contend with.  Works great if you know what you are doing.  Or have an expert like Skyler KGØSKY to help you (read “do it all for you”)………  One thing that I really like about using the hotspot aspect of things is that the Zumspot that I am using is so easy to deal with in the software manipulation and GUI!  AllStar is not.  The Zumspot also has several different modes.  It will do the DMR mode, plus Yaesu Fusion, D-Star, and several other modes.  PLUS, and I like this since I LOVE my Yaesu radio’s I wrote about above and last month, the Zumspot will cross the Yaesu mode to DMR!  So I can use those radio’s while having my DMR TYT MD380 handheld for carrying around easily when traveling.  Those are the primary  differences as I see them.

My good friend, Chris Kirby WXØPIX writes a byline in the “Hamshack” this month about his ham radio adventures at no less than W1AW in Newington Connecticut ARRL Headquarters!  What a great time he had, here, let me let him tell you about it!

***********************************************************************************************

Recently, my job took me to Hartford, Ct., for a week to support a very busy go-live project.

Every hour of the day on these work trips just seems to be packed with group activities leaving little or no time for much else.

The local purchasing manager for our Ct stores overhead me mention how I wish I could have had time to visit the ARRL headquarters in Newington – the same place he took a school tour as a child.  Little did I know he had a surprise in the works.

Wednesday morning, Dec 12th, he surprised me with one of my Ham Radio bucket list items.

Dave, WA1OUI, led the manager and I on a full tour of the facilities.

We saw the infamous Faraday cage where extensive radio testing is conducted, we saw the library and QSO sorting room, and we saw the many different departments that support our hobby.

As any red blooded ham can imagine, the moment of excitement came when we were led across the parking lot to W1AW.

Walking in was almost magical in itself. Our tour guide pointed out the various antennas and beams as well as taking time to fire up the spark gap generator.

I was honestly caught off guard when our guide turned to me and asked on what band I would like to transmit.  I felt like an overly excited kid inside.

20m has always been my favorite, so he walked over to a huge wall panel to set the jumpers to the beam out on the tower.  He then asked where to point it.

Had I had any sense of being in my body, I would have quickly texted KE0VH, but …. with slim minutes away from work, I sat down to put out a call.

Before I made my call, I told my non-ham friend…”watch how fast we get a reply.”

The moment my foot touched the foot switch, the realization of it all – almost a form of sacrament hit me. I quickly thought about all of the hams who had graced that chair and the golden Heil microphone.  It was moving.

On my third call of CQ, I was working KK5NO in Arkansas with a 5/9 20+ report.

I called QRZ, worked another and a final third to KS0TD as he was mobiling across Kansas.

GREAT JOB CHRIS!  WHAT FUN AND A HAM RADIO DREAM COME TRUE!

So another project for this month was replacing the old incandescent lamps in my MFJ antenna tuner with LED’s for better and sharper visibility for my eyes!  Although I really liked the “nostalgia” of the older style and color, the LED is MUCH better!

THE OLD and………….

THE NEW!

Yes, I left the old in for a bit of an incandescent “tint”

And another DMR radio and hotspot, these belong to Chris WX0PIX.  His Raspberry Pi with Hotspot board, yet another incarnation of the linking tech we can use these days.

Check out this Flight Simulator rig for 3d motion.  https://mobile.twitter.com/boredpanda/status/1035263503748288512?lang=en

My friend Matt KEØLNU had some really interesting problems with his TYT MD-380 handheld that we want to report on here.  Seems his radio would “go to sleep” on receive after loading the MD-380 Tools software that has become very

popular for changing frequencies and other parameters on the fly from the front panel menu system.  Matt reports here:

To All DMR-Obsessed HAMs,

I took delivery of a TYT MD-380 70cm handheld in November 2018, to pair with a Zumspot DMR hotspot. Out of the box it functioned fine, with no issues found.

I installed MD-380 Tools using a virtual machine software with code from GitHub. After installing MD-380 Tools, the radio would receive DMR transmissions as long as those transmissions were within 5 to 6 seconds of each other. If there was greater than 5 to 6 seconds between transmissions, the radio would not receive the transmission. The behavior is illustrated in this video.

Transmitting was not affected. Other stations could hear transmission, but if there was a delay greater than 5 to 6 seconds, the return transmission could not be heard. To continue receiving transmissions, the radio could be “re-awakened” by briefly switching to another channel and then back to the desired channel.

Research found the issue described in this google group post. A solution was found in the form of a tweak available in the virtual machine software. Including the nosleep.enable tweak when installing MD-380 tools was reported to remedy the problem. Code for the nosleep.enable tweak is available here.

Upon using the radio after installing the nosleep.enable workaround, DMR functionality was fine, and a problem appeared in the analog functionality. I did not notice this problem previously, though I was using analog repeaters prior to installing MD-380 tools. I did not try to make contacts on analog repeaters during the short time when I had MD-380 Tools installed without the nosleep.enable tweak applied. The radio would not receive analog transmissions. Period. I could transmit and stations could hear me, but transmissions could not be received.

Research revealed this discussion, which included this statement from Dale Farnsworth on 8/2/18, “The md380s produced in the past couple of months do have a new version of firmware (version D14.04) and md380tools doesn’t yet support this model. The current version of editcp makes it easy to restore the original version. Just select ‘Menu->Radio->md380tools->Write original firmware to radio.’  Then select the version of the original firmware you need.”

I downloaded editcp software, flashed the firmware to D14.04, and the radio is now working fine. It no longer has MD-380 Tools, but it is working fine. Basically I returned the radio to factory settings. I appears the most recent versions of MD-380 Tools available are not compatible with the new version (Version 5 apparently) of the MD-380 radio.

The editcp software is windows-based, which avoids the need to structure a virtual machine as required by software available on GitHub. Editcp is a code plug editor, and includes functionality to write factory firmware, install MD-380 Tools, and write the user database to the radio. The latest version of MD-380 factory firmware listed as compatible with MD-380 Tools is D13.20. I tried to write the D13.20 version of firmware to my radio, and was greeted by an inverted front screen of the radio, which indicates an incompatible firmware version was written to the radio. I must use firmware version D14.04, which is not compatible with MD-380 Tools.

One open item of investigation is determining where the cut off point is between compatible and incompatible radios. Of five MD-380 radios with MD-380 Tools installed, mine was the only one exhibiting the behaviors described above. Mine was the most recently purchased (November 2018), and it was also the only one with a serial number beginning 18. All other serial numbers began 16. The other four radios functioned fine with MD-380 Tools installed.

The bottom line appears to be radios shipped with firmware versions newer than D13.20 are not compatible with available versions of MD-380 tools. The firmware version of the radio can be found at Menu…Utilities…Radio Info…Versions (Firmware Version can be viewed on that screen).

Respectfully Submitted,

Matt

KE0LNU

For more information you can look at: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/md380tools/58G8Lo4Vq6E

And this from Jim KCØRPS:

If you want to beef up the next revision of this email (which is really good), https://github.com/KD4Z/md380tools-vm is the link with the instructions for installing the virtual machine and the vm MD380Tools installer.

Ever had a package stolen off your porch?  This engineer takes revenge to a “glittery” new level!                       https://youtu.be/xoxhDk-hwuo

FCC Rules Updated Daily at http://www.hallikainen.com

As you may know by now, we lost our dear friend and colleague Barry Thomas, the Chief Engineer for KOOL-105 and the Kroenke stations here in Denver after a long battle with Cancer.  We will miss Barry more than can be told.  He was past National SBE President, KSE Director of Engineering, Father and Friend to the broadcast industry.  He helped me and MANY others out with his friendship and expertise.  He will be missed greatly.

AND, lets end the newsletter with some SUPERCUTENESS!

Our little Liu Liu and Jinki!  CHRISTMAS PUPPIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

3 YEARS AGO:

http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/wp/2016/01/   

4 YEARS AGO

http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/wp/2015/01/  

5 Years AGO:

http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/wp/2014/01/

6 Years AGO:

http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/wp/2013/01/

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

AllStar, Echolink, and DMR (Talkgroup 310847) Hamnet, every MONDAY EVENING

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

Broadcast engineering and amateur radio.

Details on how to join us 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’ from “the Shack” & God Be With You!

The KE0VH Hamshack for December 2018

January 30, 2019
By

Well November was really busy all the way around for me with travel, new puppies at home, getting back into DMR radio, still with AllStar ham radio connections, 3 new rigs, and more to write about here at the end of 2018 than I expected.  Still keeping up on Flight Simulator stuff as I can, AND I did live shows on WFLI “The Big Jet Fli” in Chattanooga Tennessee during my visit to the scenic city in the month.  That was a HUGE highlight for me and a literal adult dream come true!  And thanks to John Bisset of TelosAlliance for publishing my article about my home made tilt over mast mount in one of the issues of RadioWorld Magazine.  You can see that here online if you haven’t yet:

https://www.radioworld.com/columns-and-views/build-this-inexpensive-and-versatile-lazy-susan-mast-mount

 

There are two new rigs now in the KEØVH fleet of radios, I wrote about the Yaesu FTM-100 and 400 in last month’s article, along with the Zumspot hotspot that does DMR, D-Star, Yaesu Fusion C4FM, and has the bridge from Fusion to DMR ability.  That is what I am mainly using with those radios (along with analog to 449.450, my AllStar nodes and other repeaters of course) as the C4FM digital is really great too.  The crossover to DMR is done in the Zumspot and works extremely well.  SO when mobile, or in my office I can scan all the frequencies and modes I use with the FTM-100 and the same with the FTM-400 in the truck PLUS beacon my APRS location as KE0VH-2.

 

Honestly, I really like using the Zumspot even better than AllStar, and it will become my traveling radio companion both in the truck on work journeys and traveling around the country.  I use my TYT MD-380 handheld to access it and the Rocky Mountain Radio League KI0GO DMR Brandmeister repeater here in Denver.   The Zumspot is much smaller, no Linux software and its complications you have to deal with as it is easily accessible thru a Windows GUI.  EASY with its own WiFi to configure to whatever internet WiFi you happen to use in a hotel, (the AllStar Linux system IS NOT!) your cellphone hotspot or other, plus it is its own node radio with the raspberry PI-0 in a much smaller package.  There are ways to cross over from DMR to AllStar and more.  I will be exploring those possibilities and write about them in future articles.

The Zumspot on my simplex frequency of 446.075 MHz

The control head of the Yaesu FTM-100DR monitoring DMR Talk Group 310847 thru the YSF (Yaesu Fusion) to DMR settings in the Zumspot

During my recent trip to Chattanooga Tennessee while on the drive from the Nashville airport to Chattanooga I used the FTM-100 to beacon my APRS position as KE0VH-9, while using the MD-380 and the Zumspot accessing the internet thru my cell phone hotspot and using Brandmeister DMR TalkGroup 318047 setup in the Zumspot was able to talk to the guys back in Denver, Kenny in the Chattanooga area, and Shane KØSDT in Montana (he was using the same setup as me while on the road up there).  Communications were solid and worked better than expected really.  Then, when I got to my mom’s house in the Chattanooga area, I accessed the talkgroup utilizing her WiFi, and stayed in touch with above mentioned folks and more including Glen, WNØEHE in the Phoenix AZ area, and Joe W0TX in Denver on the Bransmeister DMR repeater.  I am SOLD!  And the funny thing is I had all but given up on DMR radio as the other repeaters in the area I had tried just didn’t seem to work that well.  The Rocky Mountain Radio League DMR repeater is really solid with a large coverage area, plus it just plain works.  The Rocky Mountain Ham group has a really great working system, but it doesn’t connect to the Brandmeister network so there isn’t country and worldwide coverage at this point.

BTW, these hotspots are ON SALE at Ham Radio Outlet during the Holiday Season.  HMMMMMMMM……………….

The documentation on the Zumspots is getting better on the ‘net, but if you get one and need some help drop me an email at ke0vh@outlook.com and I will be glad to talk you thru it quicker than trying to decipher some of the internet instructions.  We can set up a time and get on the phone.  Shane KØSDT helped me, I helped Cris W5WCA and Matt KEØLNU get theirs going.  Once you understand the setup then making adjustments and/or changing DMR TalkGroups will be easy depending on your situation and who you would like to communicate with.

For more on the Zumspot using the Pi-Star software see this website:

https://amateurradionotes.com/pi-star.htm

 

However, and this is important, when you buy the Zumspot you get both the radio and PI-0 with a mini SD card ALREADY LOADED with the PI-Star operating system!  So no flashing of a card and all that goes along with the setup on the webpage above.

Tell Clayton at Ham Radio Outlet DENVER I told you to call!  J

Understanding DMR can be complicated and not easy if you are a beginner.  I am still understanding more and more as time goes on.  Jerry Wanger at Connect Systems INC, manufacturer of some fine DMR rigs (I’ve owned one) put together this explanation and permitted me to include it in this month’s article.  Thanks Jerry!

Check out their line of amateur and professional products at:

http://www.connectsystems.com/

APPLICATION NOTE: UNDERSTANDING KEY PARAMETERS (of DMR)

General
There are only a few key parameters that needs to be understood if a DMR radios. The key parameters are as follows:

Frequency
Time Slot
Color Code
Tx Contact
Rx Group List
Radio ID/Digital ID
Frequency
Frequency is the part of the Electromagnetic Spectrum that you are licensed to operate your radio. Each country has their own government entity that grants a license for you to use a specific frequency or a range of frequencies. If you are a Ham, then you are allowed to use in the United States the frequencies shown below. There are also some frequencies above 1 GHz that amateurs are allowed to use but not shown here.

Frequency                              Generic name    Generic Band

1.800 MHz     to        2.000  MHz        160 Meter           HF
3.500 MHz     to        4.000  MHz           80 Meter           HF
7.000 MHz     to        7.300  MHz           40 Meter           HF
10.100 MHz     to      10.150 MHz           30 Meter           HF
14.000 MHz     to      14.350 MHz           20 Meter           HF
18.068 MHz     to      18.168 MHz           17 Meter           HF
21.000 MHz     to      21.450 MHz           15 Meter           HF
24.890 MHz     to      24.990 MHz           12 Meter           HF
28.000 MHz     to      29.700 MHz           10 Meter           HF
50.000 MHz     to      54.000 MHz             6 Meter          VHF
144.000 MHz     to    148.000 MHz             2 Meter          VHF
219.000 MHz     to    225.000 MHz        1.25 Meter         VHF
420.000 MHz     to    450.000 MHz           70 cm                UHF
902.000 MHz     to    928.000 MHz           33 cm                UHF

By common (gentleman’s) agreement, each band is subdivided with each sub band designated for certain functions.

Time Slot
A DMR radio is based on Time Division Multiple Access technology (TDMA). The DMR is designed as a two slot TDMA with each slot being 30 millisecond long. They are designated as Slot 1 and Slot 2.

The advantage of the DMR radio is the ability to have two voice channels in a 12.5 KHz wide band, lower power dissipation because the transmitter is only transmitting half the time, and no need for additional hardware to make a two channel repeater system.

It is best to visualize the two slots as two different frequencies. Therefore if you listen to a repeater, do not expect to hear both channels at the same time.

Color Code
The color code is a way of allowing multiple repeaters in a given area to share the same frequency without being keyed by the wrong radio. That does not mean that both repeaters can transmit at the same time without interfering with each other but it prevents multiple repeaters from being keyed by the same radio. A better approach would be to separate the repeaters by a large distance but that is not always possible.

Radio ID
Each radio is programmed with its own individual ID. For the Amateurs, the DMR Marc Group assigns the ID. For commercial users, the ID is assigned by the owner of the repeater. Connect Systems has a unique feature that allows the ID to be assigned on a per channel basis if desired. This allows the radio to be assigned the DMR Marc ID for the Ham channels and a different ID for the Commercial Radios. To apply for a DMR Marc ID, go to the following Internet address: http://dmr-marc.net/contact.html.

Tx Contact
The Tx Contact is what defines who you transmit to and who you receive from. The Tx Contact can take on three forms.

  1. Private Call
  2. Group Call
  3. All Call

Private calls allows you to transmit between two radios. To work both radios have to be set for the complementary private call number. That means Radio A has to have the Tx Contact set to Radio’s B ID number and Radio B has to have the Tx Contact set to Radio’s A ID number. A private call cannot be put in the Rx Group to allow you to monitor multiple private calls.

Group calls allows an individual radio to speak to multiple radios at the same time and can be put in the Rx Group list to allow you to monitor multiple groups at the same time. Note that you can only transmit to one Group per Channel so hearing the Group on the channel does not mean you can press the PTT and speak back to the person unless you change the channel. Group calls ignore the individual ID’s in each radio.

All Calls allow you to transmit to all radios on your repeater time slot and should not normally be used for amateur applications. An all call cannot be put in the Rx Group to allow you to monitor all calls. For that you need to use the Digital Monitor Mode.

 

Here are some examples of programming with the CSI software available for their radios.  FREE SOFTWARE by the way.

Thanks again to Jerry Wanger at Connect Systems INC for allowing me to share this information in the “Hamshack”!

 

Here is another find that I think you may enjoy.  In the September 2018 edition of the QST from the ARRL on page 58 at the bottom they wrote an article on the MFJ 1708 B RF Sense SDR Receiver TR Switch.  It will allow you to use an SDR receiver connected to your ham antenna’s on one connection while using your regular rig for transmit on the second connection using a RF sense switch to switch between the two.  If you remember back in May I wrote about a panadapter board for my Kenwood TS-2000.  See that at: http://www.ke0vh.com/hamshack/archives/TheKE0VHHamshack201805May.pdf

This eliminates the need for any board additions or rig modifications to give ANY RIG you want to use SDR receive capabilities!  WOW!  Wish I had known about this back when I was doing that project.  The MFJ unit is right at $100 so not that bad!  Think about it, now you can use ANY current or OLDER HF rig, even up to 440 and above.  And with the grounding of the SDR receive and switching out during transmit the SDR is protected.  I like the fact that it also has the TX indicator light on the front.

Yep, I may have to try this out.  I am using SDR Sharp with this SDR

  • RTL-SDR Blog R820T2 RTL2832U 1PPM TCXO SMA Software Defined Radio (Dongle Only) for about $21 on Amazon. It has a a 1 PPM temperature compensated oscillator (TCXO), SMA F connector, aluminum case with thermal pad for passive cooling, software activatable bias tee circuit.
  • Can tune from 500 kHz to 1.7 GHz and has up to 3.2 MHz (2.4 MHz stable) of instantaneous bandwidth. (HF reception below 24 MHz runs in direct sampling mode)

Well back to the Zumspot and how it works, here are some pics of me talking to Kenny K4KR in Chickamauga Georgia (SE of Chattanooga TN) and the display as he using DMR comes thru the system to my Zumspot then transmitted to the Yaesu FTM-100DR.

As these pictures show the ID of the ham you are contacting is shown and in the pic below the DMR Talkgroup is ID’d.

On my aforementioned trip to Chattanooga while using the FTM-100DR for APRS I used my TYT MD-380 and Zumspot for DMR mode communications and while in the rental car (and my worktruck) I use the USB port to run the Zumspot.  While at home, office or hotel room I have a USB PS wallwart that provides 5 volts at about an amp.  While away from AC power or having to be portable I use a USB battery charger that I carry with me.  The pictures below show me talking to Shane KØSDT while he was in Wyoming and I was in the Nashville airport.

I don’t know how long the Zumspot will run on that USB Charger device, but I talked to Shane for 20 minutes or so at the airport anyway without killing the battery.  More experimentation is needed to determine its runtime.  One website states:  Current needs peak at <400mA for the Pi 3 Model B and <300mA for the Pi Zero W with steady state being about 100ma less than peak.

Wow, bad day to be at a tower site! From the recent fires in LA/Thousand Oaks.

https://youtu.be/0CbWkfCA9tc

How’s this for a ground connection!?!?!?!?!?!? NO NO NO NOT on my watch!!!!  From a Facebook post! L

See past editions of the newsletter at:

                                                                    2 YEARS AGO:

http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/wp/2016/12/

3 YEARS AGO:

http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/wp/2015/12/   

4 YEARS AGO

http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/wp/2014/12/  

 5 Years AGO:

http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/wp/2013/12/

 6 Years AGO:

http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/wp/2012/12/

 

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

AllStar (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 us 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’ from “the Shack” & God Be With You!

The KE0VH Hamshack for November

November 26, 2018
By

November 2018                     

BUSY Fall SO FAR!  The weather turned wintry in Denver the week of October 8th!   An ice storm above 6500 feet, which of course effected Denver area broadcasters, then a 60 plus degree day, then a Sunday not out of the 20’s, then a week of clear sunny skies and 50’s to 60’s.  I LOVE COLORADO on the front range!

Now for the Monday Night SBE Chapter 73’ Of The Air, we are on the web with the live stream of the Rocky Mountain Radio League repeaters at: https://www.broadcastify.com/listen/feed/25448/web. If you can’t check into the NET please listen in there and then email me that you are listening over the internet, and I will count that as a check in!

Details on how to join us on the NET are at 

http://www.ke0vh.com/net/net.html.

As many may or may not know, I am doing a radio show on WFLI Chattanooga Tennessee as they have gone back to their 60’s and 70’s Top 40 roots.  I am loving doing it for fun as an almost screaming Top 40 DJ really up tempo delivery like back in the day.  I’m on from 10-1a Eastern, 8-11 mountain with the same kind of fun we had back then!  With the setup in the Hamshack voice tracking is easy and pretty quick.  I was asked to show how I am doing it.  I get the logs from the FLI guys, then cold track them as the automation system they have at this time doesn’t have remote tracking capability.  I remember the music and can even preview a song thru my collection or hear it off YouTube these days J.

I am using Audacity as the recorder, Radio DJ for playing bits and drops, and the 3rd computer on the left for internet information and such.  A pretty functional radio studio as well as hamshack and flight simulator setup!  See this edition for the Flight Sim Setup:  http://www.ke0vh.com/hamshack/archives/TheKE0VHHamshack201804April.pdf .

The voicetracking setup with the Heil Classic Pro microphone, Radio DJ computer using the “Instant Player” feature for playing drops and bits, essentially as a “cart” machine!

The log for the midnight hour and a voice track below in Audacity

Check it out the station when you can at:

www.WFLIOnline.com

And this is really cool!  The week of 11/14-17 I will be doing my show live from the WFLI control room in Chattanooga as I am taking time to visit my mom in the area and stopping in to have some fun ON AIR LIVE! 

Now the cool thing about this is that this is the very first Control Room I EVER WORKED in radio!  The station itself is largely unchanged over the years, and so it will be very nostalgic and fun!  I will post pictures here in a newsletter article soon, and even a video aircheck on my YouTube channel (I hope!)

MANY MANY things are going on in amateur radio in the KEØVH base and mobile hamshacks.  I am back into operating some DMR with the addition of the Zumspot DMR Hotspot.  Lots of activity with these very small and compact, plus easy to operate units when you can’t hit a DMR repeater or you are mobile using the hotspot thru the cell phone hotspots.

It sounds a bit complicated but really isn’t.  The little Zumspot is available thru HRO, and of course it isn’t the only offering available.  DMR to me had been troublesome and not really very effective with operating around Denver, with the exception of the RMHam (Rocky Mountain Ham) groups linked repeater systems around the state, but they are not hooked into the Brandmeister world wide networks to facilitate for instance talking to Kenny K4KR in the Chattanooga Tennessee area.

SO with the sale of several pieces of gear and a couple of radios, I was able to get some new gear for the KEØVH Mobile hamshack.  The first is the Yaesu FTM-400 true dual band Yaesu Fusion rig with built in GPS and APRS.  I absolutely love this radio with the 3.5 inch touch screen.  Menus are easy to navigate, something I have found that almost all Yaesu radios have in common.  50 watts out makes it a mobile with punch on both UHF and VHF.  APRS is fully operational in one band while monitoring on another frequency on the other.  This includes the digital Fusion C4FM system that is operational in many repeaters around the country.  You can also do DMR with this rig and a hotspot that translates the Fusion system to DMR.  With the screen size too it makes viewing during mobile operation really easy.  There are so many features available with this rig you need to check it out for yourself.  The faceplate is totally mountable to your dash in many configurations, or however you may want to do so.  It comes with a separation cable I have mounted my radio under the seat with the control head on a dash mount easily viewable.  The microphone plugs into the main radio, and not the control head, so that was one possible negative as you don’t have a lot of standard cable length to play with.  However, you may obtain a Yaesu factory microphone extension, but it is kind of pricey.  HRO actually has an aftermarket extension cable that they offer for much much less.  I bought one of these and am really pleased with the length and quality.  Works great in my installation.

The FTM-400 control head with dual band display.

As you see in the picture above, another great feature not selected here is a bandscope.  The radio will also with its onboard GPS will display altitude, number of GPS satellites in view, and more.

The APRS function of this radio being built in is surely a really big deal.  It will also display the information, distance to, and direction from the station being received.

HEY! It’s my buddy Robert KC8GPD with a status beacon just sent

A shot of the screen with me talking to Kenny K4KR using the radios Yaesu Fusion to DMR function of my hotspot utilizing simplex 446.075  & digital mode. More on that later!

AND, although there is a normally hefty price tag for this radio, Ham Radio Outlet has it on sale thru the beginning of the year that you simply must check out!

And, I decided to go ahead and get a companion backup rig to the 400, the Yaesu FTM-100, also on sale at HRO.  This radio is a perfect backup and addition to have in the office, and for utility carry around use.  I am actually taking this radio with me on my above mentioned trip to Chattanooga for APRS, beaconing as KE0VH-9, (look for it 11/14 thru 18) Fusion to DMR use with the hotspot (still to come in this article) and for talking on the analog AllStar W4YI repeater in Chattanooga to tie into K1DUN 449.450 in Denver.  This is going to be a fun trip with this radio along in the rental car!

The FTM-100 DR/DE front panel

This radio does basically all the 400 does except isn’t a “true” dual bander, doing only one function and band at a time, with the exception of being able to “Dual Watch”, listening on one frequency and frequently sampling another for a signal.  And, one more limitation, while beaconing APRS, you must manually turn off the APRS modem in a menu, otherwise a beacon could be sent out on the repeater frequency you are talking on.  All the menu functions of the 100 are essentially the same as the 400, without the touch screen.  Easy to get up and operating from the unboxing though.   By the way, this radio and the FTM-400 also include the Yaesu programming cable, and a separation cable for control face units.  The other difference here too is that the FTM-100 faceplate will attach to the radio unit making a single unit radio.  The FTM-400 faceplate control head does not.  It must be used separately.  They both come with control unit mounting brackets and mobile mounting brackets.

I hope that one day in a future firmware version you could program one of the Yaesu microphone buttons to turn the modem on and off.  Good idea for this radio huh?

SO finally, information on the Zumspot hotspot that I have been using with these radios and my TYT MD-380 DMR handheld.  My buddy and colleague Shane KØSDT turned me on to this really cool little unit that runs off USB power.  A wall wart power supply runs mine while in the shack or at home, and mine has a USB socket on it, so I can plug in the USB cable to a USB Battery charge, or a vehicle USB port.  The hotspot will allow you to setup your own simplex or duplex “repeater” on whatever UHF frequency you choose.  I am using a standard UHF simplex repeater frequency of 446.075.  This device will do DMR, D-Star, Yaesu Fusion, Yasue Fusion to DMR crossover mode, PX-25, and a couple of other modes I had never even heard of.   When you power up the unit for the first time, it will send out its own Wi-Fi signal that will allow you to connect to it and begin programming it for how you want it configured.  Then as with most Wi-Fi devices you can store different Wi-Fi connections in the unit so that it will automatically logon to the Wi-Fi at hand.  I have several set in mine, home, office, & cell phone hotspot at this time.  When in a new location it is easy again to get on for instance a hotel or airport Wi-Fi by simply using its on board Wi-Fi to access all configuration functions.  I am really pleased with this unit as well, and being that I had practically given up on DMR because of signal and data issues to many DMR repeaters, this has made me enthusiastic about being able to keep in touch with DMR advances in communications.

My Zumspot hotspot dashboard showing several stations that I talked to via the radio interface.  Kenny K4KR in Chattanooga TN, Shane KØSDT while in Kalispell Montana, and Glenn WN0EHE in the Phoenix Arizona area.

The unit is super compact.  Only 2.75×1.5×1 inch in size.  Note its little antenna.

The hotspot comes with the Zumspot board, a Raspberry Pi-0 board and the antenna.  The operating system and software for Pi-Star is included on a SD-Mini card that comes with the set.  The case you see it in above is extra, but really protects the two boards and is worth the extra $10 or so.  There is also as seen on the right hand side LED indicators for power, mode, receive status, and other functions.  If you would like more information, send me an email, and again these are available thru Ham Radio Outlet.  And of course there are many other hotspot systems in use and for sale you can find on the internet.  But for the price, the versatility, and the modes and ease of use available thru this unit I really like it and really look forward to using this a lot.

My good friend Matt KEØLNU and I got together on a Saturday recently and I rode the motorcycle on a beautiful Saturday to help him tune up his Alpha Delta DX-LP multiband 160 thru 10 dipole.  And of course I got to see his really nicely apportioned shack.  Tuning the antenna with the Sark 110 antenna analyzer went smoothly, and so now since Matt has upgraded to General Class and JUST barely missed the Extra exam, he is going to have a great time operating HF from his awesome home in the mountains NW of Golden Colorado!

The operating position for KEØLNU with the TS-2000. MFJ autotuner, and Heil Microphone!  It really sounds and looks GREAT!

KEØVH looking at the antenna measurements for the KEØLNU antenna via the Sark Plots software

Hey congrats to Harold W6IWI on his find at a local hamfest recently!  A Dentron Clipperton L Linear!

Harold had to replace a couple of resistors and caps, but now all is fine! 

So, I have had an old Alinco DR-570 working well dual band rig but the little incandescent light bulbs behind the display had quit working with age.  So I ordered some LED’s and lo and behold, it lit up beautifully!  Then I thought, well why not do the same with the backlighting on the buttons on the front?  Well the first one went great and the FUNCTION button lit up all pretty! Then on to the next one under the ABX button.  Should have stopped with the screen.  Did something, now the LCD display is all lit up but no numbers or indicators.  Perfectly operating true dual band rig with crossband repeat capability.  Now you just can’t tell what frequency you are on.  Robert KC8GPD decided to take on trying to repair this as I ran out of time.  A new display from a dead radio might do the trick.  So if you know of one…………

AND, seen on the Netflix show “Designated Survivor”.   Just happened to catch this in a scene from that (in my opinion) EXCELLENT SERIES!  Looks like a Baofeng to me, but can’t quite make it out.  Inexpensive prop probably huh?

 

A great article on setting up a node radio for AllStar!  Simply and inexpensively!

http://crompton.com/hamradio/baofeng888/     

 

What would happen if a DJi Drone hit a general aviation aircraft?

See it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QH0V7kp-xg0&feature=youtu.be

 

Flying a drone, please do it legally and check for TFR (Temporary Flight Restriction) areas.  THIS APPLIES TO EVERYONE.  You may be being watched as YOU watch:

https://www.krqe.com/news/balloon-fiesta/hundreds-violate-faa-s-no-drone-fly-zone-at-balloon-fiesta/1510662538

See past editions of the newsletter at:

                                                                    

                                                                     2 YEARS AGO:

http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/wp/2016/08/

 

3 YEARS AGO:

http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/wp/2015/08/   

 

4 YEARS AGO

http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/wp/2014/08/  

 

5 Years AGO:

http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/wp/2013/08/

 

6 Years AGO:

http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/wp/2012/08/

 

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

AllStar (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 us 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’ from “the Shack” & God Be With You!

The KE0VH Hamshack for October

November 9, 2018
By

October 2018

 

Welcome to Fall!  To start off with, I want to congratulate Matt KEØLNU for his BEAUTIFUL blue LED display Kenwood TS-2000, which he bought from a ham in Louisiana from the QTH.com classifieds section

REALLY GREAT LOOKING SCREEN!  I may do this myself for mine!

There was a lot of work done on the KEØVH QTH the past couple of months, we had new windows, siding, and a roof installed.  Then I had to paint the exterior with 2 coats, BEFORE the work on antenna’s and upgrading some of the hamshack ops were done.  Looks beautiful and ready for winter!

So with that, one beautiful late day in September, Harold W6IWI came over and we put up the Alpha-Delta DX-LB Plus 160 thru 10m dipole for the KEØVH antenna farm.  It fits my space at 100 feet long with loading coils along its length for 80 and 160 meters, in a fan dipole configuration for 40, 20, 15 and 10 meters.  I ordered mine from HRO (https://www.hamradio.com/detail.cfm?pid=H0-005123) and it arrived in a few days, then with busy weekends on the house had to wait a bit for getting set up.

W6IWI unreeling the antenna and separating the fan section elements

 

KEØVH Hoisting up!

Hoisted up to about 25 feet.  Yes is needs to be more but for now this is its home.  Is quieter than the vertical and tunes fairly well on all bands!

Plus its much quieter on receive than the vertical.  And since the work on the house was done, it was time to remount the 6 meter/dual band j-pole antenna pole (after sitting on the ground for the past couple of months, see last month’s article).  Once again Harold W6IWI came over on a Sunday afternoon with a mount that he had in his junk box and helped me get the antenna back up and properly mounted to the hardibacker siding we had installed.

Installed and it ain’t goin’ nowhere!  That Hardibacker is tuff stuff!

You may remember from a previous hamshack article the “lazy susan” rig for tilting my 5 BTV vertical antenna.  To see that go to: http://www.ke0vh.com/hamshack/archives/TheKE0VHHamshack201703Mar.pdf  .  I have been wanting to improve on that for some time so I thought and thought about it, and after looking at some commercial offerings (pretty pricey all the way around I came up with this:

A couple pieces of zinc coated angle iron (cut from 1 piece purchased at the Home Depot, some self-tapping screws and some planning resulted in a much sturdier, MUCH less expensive tilt mount for a vertical antenna!

The beauty here is that it will tilt both directions to make the coax mounting point easily accessible!  COOL and STURDY!  AND did I mention Inexpensive?  

Harold W6IWI with the antenna tilted 1 direction, then….

Tilted the other way!  Really more versatile than anything commercially I have seen!  KEØVH designed homebrew!

Also in the month of September my wife and I hiked 11,000 foot Estes Cone, seen here from the trailhead at Lily Lake just west of Estes Park CO.  14’ner Longs Peak is to the left in this pic.  Lots of fun but PAIN coming down.  The last .7 mile is very steep up the rocky slope of the summit.  Ham Radio fun here as with my TYT handheld I could hit the 449.450 repeater back in Denver and worked W9BNO, K0GPA, and KC8GPD.  Great day with my wife and ham radio!

 

KEØVH ON THE SUMMIT!

My good friend Lee NØVRD submitted this recently.  3D printing a KU Feed horn!  Will let you know how this works out.  What a cool idea!

And, seen on an episode of “Star Trek Enterprise”!

An alien version of a Heil Classic Pro?  J  Really interesting they should use this!

And, I got this “fortune” at a local Chinese Restaurant during lunch with my wife!  We HAD to LAUGH!  Only ME!

AND, FINALLY, Ham Radio across the Colorado Connection repeaters back to Rich W9BNO in Denver from 11,000 feet Castle Peak north of Eagle Colorado!  What a great Field Day site someday!

See past editions of the newsletter at:

                                   2 YEARS AGO:

http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/wp/2016/08/

                                   3 YEARS AGO:

http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/wp/2015/08/   

                                   4 YEARS AGO

http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/wp/2014/08/  

                                   5 Years AGO:

http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/wp/2013/08/

                                  6 Years AGO:

http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/wp/2012/08/

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

AllStar (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 us 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’ from “the Shack” & God Be With You!

 

The KE0VH Hamshack for August and September

November 8, 2018
By

August & September 2018

Greetings all, this has been a CRAZY couple of months so we are going to revisit in part a couple of writings from last year.  I have had a lot of questions about AllStar for ham radio, so I want to look back at a previous article and include it again for informational purposes.

As you may know now we have a new AllStar remote base that ties into the 449.450 HUGE area coverage repeater in Denver.  It has now become our main base of operations both locally and thru AllStar.  It connects on command to the 46079 AllStar Skyhub system so that other AllStar nodes can connect into the hub and come out on 449.450 locally here in Denver.  There is a web interface that I will share with you if you want to connect to use here in Denver.  We are affiliated with the Rocky Mountain Radio League and I want to thank Dunnigan, K1DUN President and repeater trustee for allowing us to set up the Remote Base connection to 449.450.

Setting up a portable AllStar node for being able to get back into the Denver K1DUN 449.450 repeater and the Denver AllStar Skyhub (Skyler, KDØWHB) is something I have had a as a project for this summer.  Skyler has been so instrumental is setting up AllStar systems for myself and other folks here in Denver and we really appreciate the time and expertise of this fine young engineer.  Skyler has spent a lot of time experimenting and perfecting the software setup and hardware to make all of this work.  So one day he and I got together after I had gathered all the parts and he helped me to get my portable simplex node going.  I gathered up a Raspberry Pi3, a Syba USB CMedia CM119 Sound adapter, and a Yaesu VX-170, to use as a portable AllStar node (46372) for connecting to the AllStar systems via WiFi.  I am planning on using this when on the road thru my iPad hotspot, or in the hotel rooms I stay in thru their WiFi or Ethernet.  There are a lot of directions on how to do this available, but Skyler has figured out how to use these ($5 on Amazon) Syba sound cards instead of buying some of the $50 or more interfaces available.  Very simply done too.  The Raspberry Pi3 has on board WiFi so it can connect to the internet.  The soundcard is the interface to the radio for the transmit and receive audio, and the PTT to the radio.  The VX-170 I had on hand had a proper 4 conductor mini plug along with the interface wiring from an earlier data project.  The same line off the radio for mic audio had a capacitor and resistor already attached for the PTT thru the resistor and passing the audio down the line.  This speaker mic cable by the way, like just about everything else can be obtained thru Amazon.  Many other radios are usable and adaptable to this system.  Here soon it will be my intention to do a full “how to” write up on how we setup my node.

This is my schematic for the pinout on the waterproof cable for the Yaesu VX-170.  As you can see in the schematic below, I had already installed a capacitor and resistor on the cable from an earlier project for data in and out of the radio, so we incorporated that into the schematic for the Syba USB soundcard interface.  Skyler showed me how he had wired up the soundcard for past projects and he did a beautiful job putting the components in and getting them to fit into the case of the Syba as the pictures will show.

The Schematic for interfacing to the VX-170.  This interface should work for most radios, the cap/resistor upper right is for the VX-170 combined mic/PTT line from the radio:

$5.00 soundcard from Amazon.  Must be the CM108 or 119 Chip

One of the connections to the Syba USB soundcard, takes a little bit of care in soldering to the pins on the chip

 

The final component layout all connected to the soundcard and plugged into the Raspberry Pi3

Another view of the soundcard and Pi3

Since the Yaesu VX-170 is a 2 meter radio only, I am using a 2 meter frequency

coordinated for using as a simplex repeater node.  This also makes powering the easy as you can put 12 volts directly into the battery charging port.  I will be including pictures of the setup into a carry case in a later edition of “The Hamshack”.

The testing setup, using a Baofeng radio to test into the VX-170

Testing the node on the network at home

Another way to connect into the AllStar system is thru your cell phone!  It is a portal that will connect into whatever AllStar node/repeater you want to dial into.  Just think of it as a remote audio link to your radio, repeater, or connection into the AllStar system.  I have used this thru my motorcycle helmet blue tooth communicator into my iPhone to connect into the local Denver repeater or Skyler’s Skyhub.  Jeremy, N5JER showed me how to set up an automated dialer contact in my phone to one button dial like a regular phone number.  When you dial into the phone portal you must tell it what node you wish to connect to, your personal PIN number (given to you when you register with AllStar) and whether or not you want to use VOX or a command to “PTT”.  You can program this into your cell phone contacts.

My cellphone dialed into the KDØWHB AllStar hub (Node 46079).  You can see part of the automated dialing process, (my pin blocked out) easily done on a cell phone.  Once again, just think of it as a “long mic cord” to a radio system!

And below you can see the AllStar connection chart with the phone connected:

To use the phone portal, you must register with AllStar (https://allstarlink.org/).  You don’t have to setup a node or do anything other than register if you want.  Then even where there is no coverage by radio, repeater, or AllStar repeater you can get into whatever node you wish.  VERY COOL SYSTEM!

Thanks again Skyler!

And another radio prop from the FX series “The Americans”, A Hallicrafters receiver used by the “Russian” consulate in the series.  COOL PROP!

 

Thanks to Rich W9BNO for spotting this in Colorado during the VHF contest weekend!  Looks like this guy is ready to mountain top for sure!

The KEØVH 6 meter beam and dual band 2m/440 J-pole down for maintenance while the QTH gets new siding and painting.  Unfortunately this occurred during the VHF contest weekend. It does provide though a good chance to maintenance the antenna as it hasn’t been down in a few years.  Maybe almost 10!  All looks good as it will go back up when the siding and painting of the house is done in September.

Take a look at this.  Robert KC8GPD, who is a low power Part 15 enthusiast, has this beautiful little AM station on the air from his home in the Denver area.  Robert is a great radio engineer and assists me in the area that I work in, and really has the understanding of the FCC rules for low power unlicenced operation according to the FCC Part 15 rules for unlicensed stations.  More hobby than anything, many regular broadcast stations would be envious of his well appointed setup!

Roberts “control room” for his Part 15 AM, WOW!

Garden House AM and KC8GPD, Robert

The transmitting antenna and transmitter, plus official rules box at bottom of the support pole.  The part 15 station SOUNDS GREAT!

As seen ONLY in Wyoming!  Or maybe Nebraska!  J

And finally, thanks to Jim KCØRPS

See past editions of the newsletter at:

 2 YEARS AGO:

http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/wp/2016/08/

 

3 YEARS AGO:

http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/wp/2015/08/

 

4 YEARS AGO

http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/wp/2014/08/

 

5 Years AGO:

http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/wp/2013/08/

 

6 Years AGO:

http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/wp/2012/08/

  

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

AllStar (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 us are at 

http://www.ke0vh.com/net/net.html.

 

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

Ham exploits! 

73’ from “the Shack” & God Be With You!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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