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The KE0VH Hamshack for May 2018

June 20, 2018
By

A BLAST FROM THE PAST!  Circa 1979!

Currently “KEØVH” then “WD4HPO” ON AIR  in Lafayette Georgia (35 miles or so SE of Chattanooga TN) on then 1590 WLFA, now WQCH!  Look how young!  Doin’ the afternoon show!  This 5000 watt daytimer was my 3rd job at the time.  The station still exists pretty much now as was then, the cart machines and McMartin control board are of course long gone.  Then GM and PD Rich Gwyn is still there today, having taken over from his father the late Charlie Gwyn who founded and owned the station.  You can see the station’s website at http://wqch.net/ .  The building and 5/8’s wave antenna are still pretty much the same too.  Take a look!  Part of my history!  It was a very exciting time for this then 19 year old!  I actually have an aircheck from this station at this time.  If I get brave enough I may put it on YouTube!

And, this is really cool, just before the above part of my DJ career, as I have written before, WFLI Lookout Mountain Chattanooga, a 50,000 watt mid-south powerhouse top station in the 60’s and 70’s has come back on air playing the HITS from the time period.  This station was beloved by so many of us growing up in the area, and is the only station in town to have the same call letters and the same building on O’Grady drive just west of the city.  Still to this day I have dreams about WFLI!  It has been a lifelong radio love to many who were on the station.  Now so many of us remember those years when Top 40 boss jock type of radio was king of the airwaves and the DJ’s of the era were upbeat, LIVE, and very entertaining.  I was very fortunate to get on the air there as a young almost 16 year old High School guy!  That was in the day just after you had to have a 1st Class radiotelephone certificate to operate a directional AM, thank God!  I still though had to study and go to Atlanta FCC office to test for my 3rd Class Radio Telephone operator permit (I still have it).  I learned about radio from my first program directors Jim Pirkle and Max O’Brien, and had a lot of fun being on air, driving station vehicles, meeting people, and the music was just incredible.  SO I was SO sad to hear that the heritage station was going dark after nearly 50 years of broadcasting!  But then, a couple of entrepreneurs  in the Chattanooga area, Evan Stone and Marshall Bandy, longtime fans of WFLI were going to buy the station and a week after the sale turned it back on with basically a news/talk format with some of the original music thrown in here and there.  Evan told me that the response to the music blocks was such that they decided to return to the stations roots and put the “pop, soul and Rock n’Roll back on the station full time.  So Monday April 23rd, the station after its morning news show (very good I might add, wish Denver had a REAL news station, they could take lessons from these guys) turned on the old WFLI music with all the old production elements, positioning statements, and format!  Of course today they are also streaming, taking the audio off a real air monitor!  This is SO COOL because for me, I can stream the station here in Denver and pipe it thru to my old tube Zenith radios and such.  Man the nostalgia of this is absolutely amazing!

The station was known as “The Big Jet Fli”, with a special jet sound effect that was a staple of the station, and so many times that sound was the signature effect of the programming.  There are a lot of great stories about that.  One of the really cool things too about the transmitter plant for the station was the distilled water cooled Western Electric transmitter that started its life actually at WTOP in the NE. See a full article on this at https://www.thebdr.net/articles/prof/history/HPH-WFLI.pdf.  (Thanks Barry)  Back in 1992 there was a video shot by Stanley Adams and put up on YouTube that gave a nice tour of the facility, and believe it or not little has changed since the 70’s, it is almost like a time capsule of what the times were like in radio back then.  Now, the Western Electric is still there and is capable of operation, but a Harris DX-50 handles the daily on air operations and of course is much cheaper to operate.  And these days parts for the Western Electric are nearly impossible to find, but ran until just a few years ago, being lovingly maintained and kept on air by a couple of longtime broadcast engineers from FLI.

My Kawasaki Vulcan in front of the still there WFLI building during a visit last year

So after hearing the news about music coming back to WFLI from my friend David Carroll of WRCB TV3 in Chattanooga, I got in touch with Evan Stone, and offered to do liners and voiceovers for the station, and sure enough, I sent some promo’s and production to them, and now you can hear ME on WFLI!  AFTER 40 YEARS!  Glad I have improved since then!  Unfortunately I don’t have any air checks from my days there, but you may hear me again on WFLI as a jock just for fun!  Stay “TUNED”!  Check it all out at https://tunein.com/radio/WFLI-1070AM-The-Legend-s28777/

Speaking of “vintage”, check out these OLD films on ham radio.  These are really AWESOME!  A real look at what is was YEARS AGO!  Old chirpy code, a look at Field Day, homemade antennas and more!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0igVLrt3uY

And some of you may remember K6DUE (SK), Roy Neal of NBC back covering the space program.  I actually got to contact him and have Roy’s QSL card!  Check out his video here on YouTube promoting ham radio.  In this video he is talking about upgrading from CB Radio to Ham Radio!  I have to admit that I was a fan of his when he covered many Apollo flights and more, then I got to contact him via ham radio!  SO COOL!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ba1S6bnyr1s

By the way if you aren’t familiar with hamspeak, SK means “Silent Key”.  Roy passed on in August 2003

By the way, yes I have a real affinity and affection for CB Radio.  That’s how I got started in 2 way communications!  I also happened to live in an area growing up that had some very friendly and helpful people on the CB!  In this video, in the first few minutes, you can see my first ever CB, a Realistic TRC-24C 23 channel radio.  AND a Signal Kicker antenna.  So that along with shortwave listening, was the beginning of what I do today!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMeFe68vDCc

My first CB!

Another activity with ham radio this month I got running was setting up my Kenwood TS-2000 and Winlink RMS Express and then setting up the TS-2000 internal TNC and using WInlink to send and receive email via VHF packet radio.  Its text based email, so nothing fancy, send me one at ke0vh@winlink.org.   I have been doing this via HF for a while and have a demo video on running this at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kR5dnDS65DA .  I will try to get a demo up of doing it on VHF and how to setup the TS-2000.  Actually very easy to do, and a lot of negative reviews on the Kenwood TS-2000 on board packet TNC are out there but with the right setup works great!  There is already a video on how to do this from Rick, K4REF.  You can see it at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XTGlp2Gkow

See Ricks ENTIRE Kenwood TS-2000 training series at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxvd7Hts-hw&list=PL0-gH_7Nm60Zkogw5sdlSTcOseWaefHI6

This month I have installed a small buffer board in my TS-2000 to be able to have basically a full SDR panadapter utilizing a RTL SDR dongle and rig control from the free HDSDR and Omni-rig software available.  You can also use SDR Sharp.  This essentially takes just about any HF rigs 1st or 2nd IF and uses it to feed the dongle and display the range of frequencies for whatever band you are using.  This really almost can replace any of the higher priced SDR radios that are on the market. Plus this allows you the pleasure of operating your older HF rig with all the advantages, filtering, and visual display of the full SDR radios.  I really have been fascinated with this, and love working on projects in the Hamshack so this was a fun and pretty easy effort too, thanks to all those whose information can be looked up so easily!

And again just about any rig where you can tap into the IF can be done in this manner.  Some of them even have an IF port on the outside of the radio, but modifying is pretty easy regardless.  The TS-2000 has a readymade spot for the buffer circuit to go in where for a digital voice recorder could go, so that was easy.  Connections for the 1st IF required just a small modification of the connection point, the first IF connection (giving more visible bandwidth due the fact that it is before the roofing filter which limits you to about 30 kHz bandwidth but does provide some susceptibility to dongle front end overload) is an open pinned test point easily accessible.  I then used the HF receive only RCA antenna connection to get the buffered signal out of the radio and with a piece of coax connects to the dongle.  Works GREAT.

The bottom cover of the TS-2000 has to come off to get to the connections needed.  As you see in the picture below the buffer board (a PAT 12 from https://www.sdr-kits.net/ is in the upper left, the connection to the input of the board is from TP 4 or CN6 which is right after the 1st IF before the roofing filter.   The red wire is from a 12 volt tap off a diode on the other side of the radio’s RF board to power the PAT 12.  The coax on the left side output is going to (in my case unused) HF receive only antenna input to the radio.  The buffer board gets its negative power from the coax shield.

Another couple of good websites to check for more information are:

http://www.hamradioandvision.com/hdsdr-accessibility/

https://kd2c.com/

And by the way, live near a high powered broadcast facility and RF is wiping out your receive on HF?  Check this out:

https://kd2c.com/filters

 

Our friend Skyler KDØWHB while in school in Socorro New Mexico is getting a chance to intern at the Very Large Array radio telescope facility this year.  Take a look at how they move these gigantic antenna’s in this video shot and edited by KDØWHB https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QyLfQjxrYYk

You know you can find anything on YouTube of course, and I really enjoyed watching this set of 2 videos on the repair of the sensitivity of a Kenwood TS-2000 from the “TRX Bench” YouTuber.  A fine example of systematic troubleshooting and repair.  Glad to know where this one is in case I ever need it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FjSme0C5B8

One night on the Monday night SBE NET George, NO7O brought this up as a topic of discussion.  You may want to check this out:

From Amazon:

Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II

 

Code Girls reveals a hidden army of female cryptographers, whose work played a crucial role in ending World War II…. Mundy has rescued a piece of forgotten history, and given these American heroes the recognition they deserve.”—Nathalia Holt, bestselling author of Rise of the Rocket Girls

Recruited by the U.S. Army and Navy from small towns and elite colleges, more than ten thousand women served as codebreakers during World War II. While their brothers and boyfriends took up arms, these women moved to Washington and learned the meticulous work of code-breaking. Their efforts shortened the war, saved countless lives, and gave them access to careers previously denied to them. A strict vow of secrecy nearly erased their efforts from history; now, through dazzling research and interviews with surviving code girls, bestselling author Liza Mundy brings to life this riveting and vital story of American courage, service, and scientific accomplishment.

Thanks George, sure this would be really great reading!

Visiting my friend Harold, W6IWI at his home QTH was a lot of fun one day earlier in April.  Harold has a very nice setup in his shack and his HF rig is a Seacomm SEA245

Harold at his operating position

Harold’s remote antenna tuner.  It tunes his multiband dipole seen in the picture below.

 

A close up of Harold’s rig

 

The power for the radio and power conditioner/charger for the battery power

 

See Harold’s site at www.w6iwi.org for more details

 

What do you do when you drive up to a site (to investigate an off air situation) and find this:

Unfortunately one day someone had accidently backed into the dish feed and broke the feed horn!  But he is a great guy and left a note and STUFF happens!  So, take it apart, re-piece it together, a little electrical tape, and station BACK ON THE AIR!

The BUC just temporarily taped up until the new mount arrived

Repaired, cross-poled, and note the reflectors for future reference!  J

 

                                                                    2 YEARS AGO:

http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/wp/2016/05/

 

3 YEARS AGO:

http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/wp/2015/05/   

 

 

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! 

The KE0VH Hamshack for April

April 23, 2018
By

April 2018

Still keeping on with the Society of Broadcast Engineers Monday Night Chapter 73’ of the AIR VHF/UHF Hamnet.  Details on how to join us at the bottom of the article here.  Sure would like to have you join us from ANYWHERE in the world!

 

So with lots of flying flight simulator and drones for both EMF and for fun there hasn’t been a lot of ham radio activity for me the past couple of months.  Talking with my great friend Cris W5WCA on the 449.450 repeater most mornings here in Denver (mostly about flying!) and the Monday night net, plus checking into the Columbine Statewide Net on 3.989 MHz 7:30 MTN time has been most of my ham radio operations lately.  Earlier in the month of March my good friend Tim KAØAAI stopped by and we did some setup on his DMR handheld, and I have been talking some on the WØTX Local DMR machine with Kenny K4KR in the Chattanooga Tennessee area a bit.  Plus we are still on the ALLSTAR network usually connected into the KDØWHB Skyhub (node 46079) and on the WØGV AllStar repeater locally here in Denver.  The WØKU 449.625 repeater can also connect into the AllStar network via IRLP.  Pretty versatile stuff and we hope to expand the capabilities of all soon.  Stay tuned!
As mentioned flying both my company issued drone for work and my personal Phantom 3 Advanced for practice and fun has been a source of real enjoyment for me.  Getting to fly up and around towers in my zone are going to be quite informative and money saving for our company.  It gets you up and close to the antennas on the towers of course without having to have a tower crew and the expense.   This past month I put up a video on my “ke0vhjacktv” YouTube channel flying one of our sites.  It was a bit of a windy day and I got QUITE close to the antenna and guy wires on the tower.  WHEW! But I kept a close watch and am learning how to fly the drone (a Phantom 3 PRO) to get some great footage and detail on the upper reaches of the structure.  If you didn’t already take a look at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7v2ceKfqyY

Due to the current rules of flying near airports with controlled airspace you must now use a system that can take up to 90 days or so to get FAA permission if your tower is located within that space.  I have a tower that is in just that position that I really need to do an inspection at.  SO, at this time I have applied for the permission to do so but am waiting, and so I expect that it will be May before I get the OK to do so.  Details on how to apply are at: https://www.faa.gov/uas/request_waiver/  This web site shows a list of waivers granted, so I keep a look on it for mine to come thru: https://www.faa.gov/uas/request_waiver/waivers_granted/

 

However the FAA is beginning a program to make this process almost instantaneous.  That will certainly make things quicker and easier especially when you need to inspect a tower in controlled airspace quickly.  Take a look here:

http://aopa.org/news-and-media/all-news/2018/march/08/faa-expands-drone-authorization-program?utm_source=drone&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=180320drone

 

The FAA UAS data delivery system website is absolutely outstanding at showing permitted flight levels and areas of the whole country.  This includes an amazing map that is movable and you can zoom into the area you are interested in.  Take a look at it at: http://uas-faa.opendata.arcgis.com/

 

Another discussion says Part 107 operations do not require that you contact nearby airports in Class G airspace.  That is a Section 336 (recreational) requirement.  Please follow up with any further inquiries at UASHelp@faa.gov.  Additional information is also available at https://www.faa.gov/uas/.  Please select:  UAS Safety and Integration Division AUS-400.

I am having a great time with my Flight Simulator setup in the hamshack.  I now have 3 monitors so it is very easy to simulate the “cockpit” with this setup.  It gives you a really 3D feel with depth perception, with a peripheral vision feel. I bring the monitors in so that they are together in what I call Flight Sim Configuration.

The computer screen on the left is switchable between the sim computer and my Win 10 machine so I can look up other airport and flight info.

As you can see the ham radio shelf is behind the center 32 inch monitor and inaccessible when I want to operate ham radio in this config.  So I took a wall mount and set it up in a vertical way so the monitor will hinge up and rest on the shelf.  That then makes the radios accessible and is in “ham station” mode!

Another view with the simulator in progress flying a Cessna 172

Making a turn to land at Centennial Airport in south

Denver

See my Flight Simulator X landing a 737-800 at KATL Atlanta’s Hartsfield Airport at night here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Op8wOfeG0kg

See my Flight Simulator X Piper landing at Centennial Airport Runway 28 here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZCiNSwrlx8

This picture shows me “flying” the Beach Baron over our building in the Denver area!

With the Megascenery Colorado Flight Sim software flying over the state is really accurate and almost like using Google Earth!    Pretty cool!

Right under the trailing edge of the wing is our transmitter site buildings near Denver!

This is flying SW of Pueblo Colorado over towards Greenhorn MT near our Rye Colorado site.  WISH I could really get there this quick!  J

One weekend in March we had what the natives refer to as “Thundersnow” in Denver.  Sure enough, lightning struck near our Denver transmitter site and took out the ham radio connection to the 449.625 repeater up there AND our Nanobridge studio to transmitter backup link to our Trango main STL system.  Not a good thing.  Funny thing is the studio Nano was communicating with the unit on the mountain but the transmitter side wouldn’t pass any network data.  Checked the cable to the transmitter building and it was fine.  So, to make a several day ordeal short the transmitter site Nanobridge was taking power from the building but passing NO traffic.  Brought it down to the studio workbench and sure enough the network card was working from one side but not the other.  SO, we switched out the whole Nanobridge M5 system (no longer made by the way) for the Ubiquiti PowerBeam 5AC 300 system.  I won’t list here all that it is capable of doing, but it is really outstanding in 2 ways that I will tell you about here.  The first is if you need to change frequency to a different part of the 5 gig spectrum (5730 to 5840 MHz) you can tell the end you are working with to change and it will CHANGE THE OTHER END FIRST, then lock up both units together!  OUTSTANDING!  It has an onboard software alignment tool, speed testing, discovery mode, and a spectrum analyzer called “Airview”.  VERY updated from the old Nanobridge system.  BTW, the price is only right around $100 per unit.  The GUI has immediate real time monitoring of all parameters, signal strength on both ends, isolated capacity and throughput, signal to noise and interference, data rates of both ends, etc.  This was one of the easiest to aim and get working projects I have ever done.  Cris W5WCA helped me with the initial bench setup, Robert KC8GPD and Shane KØSDT helped with the studio and transmitter site setup.  Robert and I ran a brand new cable and lightning protector up at the transmitter and then I “sight” aimed both ends and we walked it in for maximum signal from both sides.  All tested well and I look at it just about every day.  Should our Trango system fail it is ready to go.  And soon, when our April pledge drives are over, we will put the PowerBeam on the air so we can do some needed work to the Trango system feed.  More about that in a later edition!

Transmitter site PowerBeam

STUDIO SITE UNIT WITH LIGHTNING PROTECTOR

A picture of the GUI for the Transmitter site end

 

And the studio site end.  As you can see the noise floor is higher at the transmitter end as might be expected.  We put a bunch of Ferrites on the network leads up at the dish to reduce the noise floor from -92 to -98, improving the Interference + Noise from a -79 or 80 level to -88.  Of course with a high power FM and UHF TV station less than 100 feet away this is outstanding performance almost as good as the parameters at the studio end.  I am really impressed with these units and recommend them.  Thanks to Cris for the original heads up about the Nano bridges and now the POWERBEAMS!  And since we ran our network link and HD2 audio for the better part of a year using these prior to the install of the licensed Trango system I am confident that they will do the trick!

Check out this article on the use of a solid state analog TV transmitter as a superconducting electron gun power amplifier.  https://accelconf.web.cern.ch/accelconf/IPAC2012/papers/thppc071.pdf

 

 

                                                                 TWO YEARS AGO:

http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/wp/2015/04/

THREE YEARS AGO:

http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/wp/2014/04/

 

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 March 2018

March 8, 2018
By

 

From my great friend and fellow EMF Engineer Shane Toven KØSDT, he leads off the March edition with this:

Item 1: Portable Allstar node using a 7” LCD touchscreen (and matching case) for the Raspberry Pi along with a small wireless keypad for control. This setup allows manual operation without a node radio using a standard USB audio interface and headset. The display and keypad are also handy for troubleshooting. The Pi, case, LCD, headset, and audio interface were all sourced locally from MicroCenter. I used the latest Allstar node image for the Raspberry Pi posted at hamvoip.org, which made it really easy to get started. Oddly, the display needed to be flipped 180 degrees. The appropriate Linux magic was simply adding the line lcd_rotate=2 to /boot/config.txt.

I also purchased a USB Radio Interface (URI) from DMK Engineering (http://www.dmkeng.com/Products.htm) and plan to press one of my handhelds into service as a node radio. The next challenge will be finding a good way to power it from my truck in a mobile environment without introducing electrical noise. At some point in the future I will look at ways to permanently integrate a node into my truck.

Item 2: Super simple APRS tracker using a Raspberry Pi, GPS “hat”, and Baofeng handheld. This project is a fun one and requires minimal work—no special TNC and radio cable or modifications required! The Baofeng is set with both VFOs tuned to 144.390 and VOX enabled. A simple 3.5mm audio cable is connected from the headphone jack on the Pi to the microphone connector on the Baofeng. Once the GPS is locked, the Pi begins playing properly formatted APRS beacon packets from its headphone jack, which triggers VOX on the Baofeng for transmission! Is it perfect? No—but it works surprisingly well! I used the “Ultimate GPS Pi HAT” from Adafruit, but any GPS (USB or serial) which will output NMEA compatible data should work just fine. This makes for a very compact all-in-one solution (just add radio). Since this particular GPS uses the Pi’s onboard serial port (which is initially configured for terminal access) it required a few small tweaks to disable that feature, but I’ve found it to be rock solid. An onboard battery maintains the last known position and real-time clock to avoid the full 30 minute “cold start” acquisition. There is a connector for an external antenna, but I have found the internal “patch” antenna to be more than sufficient in most cases. That said, you may want to attach an external antenna or place the unit outdoors in a clear area to obtain the initial fix. A bright red LED on the board clearly indicates the status of position fix. As a bonus, breadboard space is provided for additional modifications and experimentation. While there isn’t a pre-built “image” for this setup (yet) most of my information was drawn from here:

http://midnightcheese.com/2015/12/super-simple-aprs-position-beacon/

Information on the Adafruit “Ultimate GPS Pi HAT” can be found here:

https://learn.adafruit.com/adafruit-ultimate-gps-hat-for-raspberry-pi/

Ultimate GPS Pi HAT

Lately Kenny K4KR and I have been talking a lot on the DMR Brandmeister link from the Chattanooga Tennessee area to the WØTX Brandmeister DMR repeater locally here in the Denver area.  It is a great system when you are in good range of the repeater, but digitally glitches or is not there at all if you don’t have a good signal into it.  The digital audio when the signal is strong though is really amazing.

From Harold, W6IWI who lives just a little north of me, he and I both experience high levels of noise making 40 meters and 75/80 very hard if not impossible to hear stations on HF.  I encourage you to check out his information and links on his website: http://www.hallikainen.org/org/w6iwi/   And here is a direct link to the form from the ARRL on reporting noise and getting it mitigated.  https://fs26.formsite.com/mbdHCx/form2/index.html?

Setting up my 3.5 inch screen on my Pi3

Another project for the month was setting up a display for the Raspberry Pi 3, which in the next evolution I will use on my portable AllStar Node instead of having to use a program called Terminus on my IPad to communicate and control the node.  There is a great video on YouTube that I used to install the program on the Pi and get it running.  I will work on the next version soon.  In the instructions in the video I had to change one line from his instructions and you will see where this is if you go thru the setup.  That line is: “sudo bash LCD35-show”.  You will see where this is and if you have any questions let me know.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVK9MpPzK44

Here is the Pi 3 Display showing APRS.fi tracking KØSDT-1 (Shane) in Montana

 

Here is my latest find!  Partially due again to Shane

KØSDT

The Pira CZ P275  FM Modulation analyzer

 

This portable Modulation analyzer does a great many things including RDS monitoring and that is very handy to have in such a small package.  In analyzes all aspects of the modulation of a FM radio signal.  Read about its capabilities here at: http://pira.cz/shop/  This company also manufactures RDS Encoders.  There is free software such as our guy in Rocklin, Dave is looking at in the picture below that’s really extends the versatility of these units.  I actually own an older model and use it to look at our signals when I am at one of my sites.  These are re-motable as well via serial USB, and can be set with alarms to let you know when an issue crops up if you leave one setup at a site.  The price is really reasonable as well, and the only drawback though is you have to order them from Czechoslovakia and it takes about 3 months to get here, and so if would follow that any tech support would be an issue.   I certainly hope that maybe they become more available to the US market thru local distribution.

My buddy David Leishman back in the EMF Shop in Rocklin l looking at the Pira CZ software interface

Cris Alexander W4WCA Flight Simulator setup

As I included in last month’s article I have been “flying” a lot and learning how to navigate and use ILS to land aircraft in Flight Simulator X.  With getting into flying drones and getting my part 107 certificate to commercially fly them I really want to learn all I can about piloting AND have fun.  I even had the chance to go flying with Cris Alexander W5WCA in a Piper Cherokee Arrow III one day as he took us on a flight from Centennial airport in south Denver out to the south east to the little town of Limon’s airport, did a touch and go, then flew back to Centennial.  It was great to see Cris in action (a video will be coming soon) and fly with him.  I have been flying from (in FSX) all over the country with a 737-800 as seen in my previous video’s (see them on YouTube at KE0VHJackTV) landing so far in Kansas City, St. Louis, and Nashville as of this writing.  Flight dynamics, weather, air traffic control, all are very realistic and you can download scenery that really looks great and like the area you are interested in.

Cris with the Piper Arrow III we flew in at Centennial Airport

Cris and I talk just about every weekday on the 449.450 repeater locally here in Denver and just about all we talk about anymore is flying.

Using FSX Software, watch what a Southwest pilot would do during pre-flight and pushback from the gate then a whole flight from San Diego to Phoenix.  This is really interesting!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8j09rUsQzk

One of the cool things about the Microsoft Flight Simulators is the ability to get online and fly with other people, both those that fly and those that want to be air traffic controllers and the whole bit.  So one night Jeremy N6JER, (“norcalengineer” Flight Sim screen name) and I joined up on the FSX servers and “flew” together over southern California.  In the picture below Jeremy is flying his Beech Baron over the LA area on the way to KSNA (John Wayne) airport & I am flying the aircraft of his right wing at 2 o’clock labeled “KE0VH” of course!

I am still learning how to take pictures in the Steam version of FSX, so the below are just with my IPhone camera pointed at the monitor.

I am flying the plane in the foreground in this shot, Jeremy at 4 o’clock off my right wing.

This one is out my right passenger window, seeing Jeremy’s plane!  OK, I am HOOKED on this. 

As far as being a real pilot like Cris, this is as close as I will probably ever get, unless when flying sometime the pilot becomes incapacitated, and they yell “is there anyone who can fly the plane”?  Well, even then I am not so sure, but at least I will understand it.  LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Hey I can regularly routinely land my FSX 737-800 so…..

Speaking of flying though, at least I AM a FCC Certified UAS Pilot!  So I can call myself one anyway!  Here are some pics from flying the Phantom 3 at one of our sites last month!  It was a very windy day, so it was good practice as well as getting some pictures I needed.  The tower was about 330 feet or so AGL, and it allowed me to really test my current skills and learn how the drone behaved.  My handheld anemometer said that the wind was in the 20-25 MPH range, the drones top speed is in the 35 MPH range, so it was able to hold its own in the wind, but the tilt at which it was operating was pronounced but these DJI machines are really able to hold position well in the wind.  They are satellite and GPS navigated so they are really very smart and stable camera platforms to be able to take the look at our towers and antenna’s without having to risk a tower crew.  Below is a drone “selfie”!

 

The view of the whole site looking NE from the Phantom at about 250 feet!

And at 350 feet, the top of the tower.  Notice the drone arm upper right.  The Phantom here was tilted into the wind holding position.  It wasn’t moving in this picture!

BTW, my buddy Lee NØVRD sent this picture to me of a lamp created out of tower side lamps.  Great idea, wonder if wives would think it matches a room……… Well great idea anyway!

As a top 40 jock from way back, (glad I got that out of my system!) I LOVED using Cart machines.  See this great article in RadioWorld about how the cart machine made the Top 40 format possible at:

https://www.radioworld.com/tech-and-gear/be-cart-machines-the-first-and-the-last

AND YES, something HAM RADIO!  Have you tried using the WebSDR yet?  This on web HF receiver can really help you to hear some stations that you might just have in the noise at home.  Really awesome tech!  Check it out and listen in maybe even to your own signal at: http://websdr.org/

Here are the links to my article archives

 

 

                                                                 TWO YEARS AGO:

http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/wp/2015/03/

THREE YEARS AGO:

http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/wp/2014/03/

 

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! 

The KE0VH Hamshack for February 2018

March 8, 2018
By

 

 

 

Greetings, Happy February

Lots of pictures to show you this month. So let’s get started!  BE SURE to see the last story though!  It is a real kicker!

 

OK!  I did it!  Last of January I passed the Part 107 Remote UAG Pilots Exam!  I am really excited at this accomplishment and look forward to operating both my and the company’s DJI Phantom 3’s for fun and for work.  Thanks to Sam and Jeremy for the help and encouragement in getting this certificate.  There are a great many study materials available on Amazon.com and the apps on the I-stuff.

There are a lot of rules pertaining to flying drones both as a recreational hobbyist and for commercial use such as inspecting towers and other tall structures, real estate, etc.  A lot of people for instance on YouTube are posting videos that are just downright dangerous and even reckless without understanding and adhering to the FAA rules about airspace and safe operation.  And of course in todays world there are apps that you can have on your phone to assist you in know where you are in the National Airspace, altitudes to safely (and legally fly up to) operate your drone.  See the FAA’s “B4UFLY”.  For instance there is a drone ceiling rule of no higher than 400 feet above ground level, unless flying within a 400 foot radius of a structure, then NO higher than 400 feet above the highest point of that structure.  You must notify airports and heliports of your flight if within 5 miles of said facilitiy.  NO flying over people unless they are inside a structure or automobile unless they are part of “your crew”.  VLOS, which means “Visual Line of Site”.  You must be able to see your drone with the naked eye, no binoculars for primary visual tracking, etc.  So on an so forth.  Even with a lightweight drone.  So before you fly, do know what you are doing!  I recommend 2 study guides that I used, check this link to amazon:

https://smile.amazon.com/Remote-Pilot-Test-Prep-2018/dp/1619545594/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1517499493&sr=8-1&keywords=remote+pilot+study+guide

“TestPrep” is only around $14, and INCLUDES 5 online (very accurate) practice tests.  The other app on my Ipad I used is called “FlighReady”. It costs around $24.  But with these I was ready to go.

After passing the test at an FAA facility here in Denver at Centennial Airport (registration is fairly simple but can be confusing), you must then apply for the license via the IACRA FAA website.  That again took a little understanding from the FAA “helpdesk”.  I have the official directions on what to do so email me if you would like a copy.

!  Check out this video of a 737 flight simulator that a guy in Britain built in his outside garage.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FV8PMwbGh08

And this inside a garage!  Pretty amazing!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J5BmA3ejyHY

 

Near Denver, a 1000 foot tower demolition:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9mE0Z9_G3U&feature=youtu.be

 

I made a ham radio shack video a few years back, you can see an old version of “The KEØVH Hamshack” in this video on YouTube from 2008!  See it at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHhLYk7BiSU at about the 3:05 point in the video.  Everything there is long changed out except the D-104, the code key and headphones, and the Heil mic!

Here is the KEØVH AllStar Node 46020 in the Lakewood office.  Keeping in touch with hams across the country directly via the simplex repeater here.  Holler at me sometime via the node.  Shane KØSDT has a node up and operating soon.  We continue to grow this system and as you can see here it is connected to the Sky System hub node 46079 which in turn is connected to several other nodes, including the N6JER system in Rocklin CA.  If you have any questions or need some help setting up your own node let us know.  You can use an older computer or a Raspberry Pi and downloadable images to get started on your node.

And here is Skyler Fennell KDØWHB , our AllStar guru and EMF Contractor talking to the NOC and calibrating one of our stations in Colorado.  Skyler is a great help for all things AllStar, and runs several nodes including the KC5ORO Socorro New Mexico node where he is a student at the university there.

I found a buyer for the 1954 Admiral TV that I have had for a few years that came from Glenn, WNØEHE for myself and Greg WB7AHO to restore.  Greg did a great job in replacing tubes, capacitors, and doing alignment procedures to get the set operating and fully functional again.  The TV now has a home outside of Phoenix in a home that is dedicated to all things 50’s!  No kidding.  The new owners were so excited to find this set and I am really glad that it will actually be used (I sent an HD converter box with it) at its new home.  Will post pictures of it in its new home when they send them.

Greg doing some final tune-up and adjustments on the Admiral

During our 2018 Engineering Summit at K-LOVE HQ in Rocklin, we had the opportunity to go to classes for various pieces of equipment we use and great follow up information and updates for our technical resources.  Steve Wilde, who is our transmitter and antenna expert, and who is in great demand around the country for high power transmission operations was on hand to teach a class or two on using the Field Fox Cable/Network/Spectrum analyzer.  Very informative and educational from essentially the ground up on the extremely useful and portable tool.  Thanks Steve!

Basic Field Fox Op’s

High power transmitter operations, tuning, and troubleshooting the PA circuits

I love watching some the shows on Netflix especially when you spot radio gear in the scenes.  Here are some more great pictures of gear used in the programs.  These are from the show “The Crown”.  Note the microphone the Queen, played by actress Claire Foy is using at an address being given in one of the scenes:

You know this one, an Astatic D-104 in a suspension mount.

From the series “Stanger Things” on Netflix, a Heathkit (I believe a DX-60 Phone & CW transmitter)

A Heathkit speaker/PS, the DX-60, an HG-10 VFO for the transmitter, an HW-16 CW Transceiver,  and a GE Desk mic

Unsure of course why they teamed up a transmitter and transceiver, other than to just look cool!  J

By the way here are some more pictures from our engineering summit.  Here is my portable AllStar link that using my hotspot in my cell phone, I was connecting to the WØGV repeater in Denver where I talked to Jim KCØRPS, Gerry WØGV, Matt KEØLNU, and connecting into the KC5ORO AllStar repeater in Socorro NM had a nice chat with Skyler KDØWHB.  The system worked well, and Shane KØSDT had his portable link in his hotel room across the hallway checking it out, and of course I had to help him test it!

The Baofeng UV-5R handheld that is my general carry around HT, and the portable AllStar Raspberry Pi3 and Yaesu FT-170 that is my 2 meter “node” radio.

 

By the way, here is “professor” Shane KØSDT, teaching a class on our remote control system at HQ during our engineering summit!

And also from HQ, a Pano picture of the engineering “museum” of old network equipment:

Split into two pictures, note the Sparta Mixer on the right and the tower section top picture.  YES, it LIGHTS UP!

 

I just HAD to share this with you.  EMF Engineer Mike McGregor had to come up with an absolutely outstanding solution to come up with an answer to a perplexing problem experienced recently with the installation of a used transmitter building enclosure at a site in his area.  The building was bought used and had no tubular framework or supports on the lower side of the building for the crane lines to go thru after the building was lowered into place.  The lines from the crane supporting the building are very expensive, and the crane operator didn’t want them damaged or destroyed as the cost would have been enormous.  But when they lifted the building over the foundation to set it down, there was NO WAY to remove the lines.  This presented quite the dilemma!  What to do about this?

The building being lifted off the transport.  Note the lines on the flat building bottom!

Uh OH! There’s the problem!

Well, you can remove one cable, but not the second one.  2×4 isn’t the answer, hmmmm…..

So Mike and his crew came up with an ingenious answer, apparently hearing that ICE would be usable in bags and when it melts would of course since the building was in place on one side, would then lower the building into place.  SO, Mike and his crew went and bought bags of ice, and here you go!

A couple of hours later:

Cable is removable now!

Going DOWN!

LOOK AT THAT!  PERFECT!

 

SUPER KUDO’s to Mike and his crew!  What do you bet that could be used again?

The FINAL setup, in place perfectly and ready for equipment!

 

A new service from our favorite airline? J

 

 

 

 

ONE YEAR AGO:

http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/wp/2016/02/

TWO YEARS AGO:

http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/wp/2015/02/

THREE YEARS AGO:

http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/wp/2014/02/

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

AND

 

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 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 January 2018

March 8, 2018
By

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

FROM Colorado Public Radio

http://www.cpr.org/news/story/this-radio-station-helps-colorado-seniors-dial-back-the-years

Thanks to Jim, KCØRPS for this link.  A senior living radio station at a facility here in Denver!  What an absolutely wonderful idea!

 

Well I am getting on studying for the FAA Part 107 Drone Pilots license.  Back in December I ordered the “2018 Remote Pilot Test Prep 2018: Study & Prepare: Pass your test and know what is essential to safely operate an unmanned aircraft” from Amazon.  At only $13 it is quite a buy and easily available.  To fly a drone commercially you must have a FAA Part 107 certificate.  At EMF several of us field engineers are prepping for this so that we can fly aerial missions around towers and sites to help find problems with towers and antenna’s, and to survey sites and the like.  This is really fun and to that end I am even buying my own DJI Phantom drone.  More on that next month!  I can’t wait to post some of my own video and pictures here in “The Hamshack”.  If you want to take a look at the book with all supplements supplied Plus 5 FREE online practice tests you can go to:   https://smile.amazon.com/Remote-Pilot-Test-Prep-2018/dp/1619545594/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1514918117&sr=8-2&keywords=2018+pilot

 

Yours truly (under the direction of Remote Pilot in Command) Jeremy, N6JER near Roseville CA, getting the DJI Phantom 3 ready for flight and just after takeoff in a hover

The Colorado State EAS plan has long been in need of an update, and with so many stations changing call signs, frequencies, new stations coming on there are a lot of discrepancies in monitoring assignment and is quite confusing these days.  According to CBA president Justin Sasso, “In 2018, the CBA will call on broadcast engineers, in each region, to submit changes and edits to their Local Area Plan.  The CBA will start by addressing one plan at a time and edits will be made based on the input we receive from broadcasters within that area plan.  Once the edits are complete they will be submitted to the FCC for approval.  Upon FCC approval, we will update that plan online.  Unfortunately, parts of the State Plan are made up of older documents that may require hand transcription, so we can edit the plan moving forward.  While we’re calling on broadcasters to update their area plans, the CBA will begin the process of converting each plan into an editable document, so future changes can be made with greater ease.  While the State Plan outlines other emergency contacts and information, the CBA’s initial goal will be to update the broadcast portions of the Local Area Plans first.  Other areas can be addressed at a later date, once this initial clean up attempt is complete.  We look forward to getting this task underway and appreciate the cooperation of Colorado’s broadcast community in advance.”

We will be having a local Denver SBE Chapter meeting on this, probably in February, I will announce that via an email to our SBE NET email list, and you can watch for it at: http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/ Please, if you can attend this in Colorado “about EAS” meeting we would really appreciate it. 

 

More information on EAS requirements and information can be found at:

https://www.fcc.gov/public-safety-and-homeland-security/policy-and-licensing-division/alerting/general/state-eas-plans

Check this out when you can!  ME landing a 737-800 at Portland Oregon International airport!  (In Flight Simulator X!)  The only way I will ever get to fly one of these!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUhUjWo1ipI&feature=em-share_video_user

The “Hamshack” in Flight Sim mode.  Note the GPS on the small right hand screen and the airport info on the left screen

The table below (Thanks Jim KCØRPS) was produced by a free web site: www.tvfool.com , a very powerful web site that uses the FCC and USGS databases and the Longley Rice algorithm to predict all television stations that can be received at a specific address and the quality of that signal based on the appropriate VHF/UHF antenna at the viewer’s home.  The nature of digital is it is perfect or it is not so let me help explain the numbers for your home:

  • The real channel column is the physical channel our signal is transmitted on.
  • Virt is the virtual channel you select by remote and displayed on your screen. Channel 4.1 is actually transmitted on channel 35.  The significant issue is that channels 2-6 do not work in digital and those channels were relocated to the UHF spectrum; channels 7 & 9 returned to their original high VHF assignments; therefore you must have a VHF/UHF antenna to receive all local signals.
  • Looking at the table below the NM column is the power in decibels over noise; this is a logarithmic function where an increase of 3 dB equates to double the power delivered to the TV.  For your TV to decode a digital signal you must have an NM number higher than 14 dB; we are at 0.8 dB; not a receivable signal.
  • The next column Path where having LOS (line of sight) is optimum for receiving our signal.  1 Edge is relating to single edge diffraction and 2 Edge is a multiple edge diffraction both causing significant obstacles to receiving an adequate signal.  (see graphs further below)
  • You can look at your data for your location at: http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29&q=id%3d513442bbba0129

 

Take a look at this, really COOL!  Live Weather: www.ventusky.com/ this site shows so much more than a standard weather map.  All kinds of weather data, including clouds, wind speeds, air pressure, snow cover, etc.  REALLY USEFUL!

From our VP of Engineering Sam KG6BZU during this winter season:

Be careful out there… take and use layering to keep your core temp up

 

https://insidetowers.com/cell-tower-news-cold-stress-winters-big-safety-issue/

 

And check this out:

 

From “In Radio Tech” of the October 2017 AES meeting at the World Trade Center in New York City.  Details of the TV transmission line and master VHF and UHF antenna installation at WTC.  Although this is not FM this is still well worth seeing.  Note there is some fluff to fast forward through.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPD0b5BMemA

Did you hear about this?  Elenos has bought out B.E!

http://www.radiomagonline.com/industry/0003/elenos-buys-be/39463

The SUPREME Engineering vehicle (thanks Shane KØSDT): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTJUMOzx_zE&sns=em

Protecting Aircraft from Lasers: https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/protecting-aircraft-from-lasers there is a couple of very compelling video clips on this page.  Pass it along so we can educate folks!

 

Here is a video tutorial on how to set up your own AllStar node at home.  Here is a great video how to from Skyler, KDØWHB on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJa0Rsj3ZyY

 

I also have a node template I can send you if you want an example with just a few changes.  I would be glad to help in this in any way I could.  And in the last August “The KEØVH Hamshack” article you can find details on my hardware and setup for a portable AllStar node.  See it at http://www.ke0vh.com/hamshack/archives/TheKE0VHHamshack201708Aug.pdf

 

AND, to have a backup generator on site, good idea or not?  Read about it here:  http://www.radioworld.com/article/standby-power-basic-equipment-or-boondoggle/222769/  Now, I think that having these available are a CAPITOL idea!  LOL!  (Funds for sure!) But we need to stay on the air, so when you can, it is definitely the way to go!  Interesting reading at the above site.

 

 

 

ONE YEAR AGO:

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

TWO YEARS AGO:

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

THREE YEARS AGO:

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

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

 

 

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 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!

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