Blog Archives

The KE0Vh Hamshack for July

August 2, 2018
By

SUMMER IS HERE!  Lots of projects completed and ongoing!

SO I have written a lot lately about the BIG JET FLI!  I am now voice tracking the 7p-12 midnight (Eastern Time) Top 40 of the 60’s and 70’s show on Monday and Tuesday nights, filling in other time slots when needed!  It feels AMAZING to be on the radio again having fun and playin’ the hits!  You can check it out at

https://tunein.com/radio/WFLI-1070AM-The-Legend-s28777/ or the WFLI App on the phones.

SO when you can tune in and check it out!  Jack Rockin’Roland!  (Works well huh?)

 

As of this writing, this past weekend myself,  Jim Langsted KCØRPS and Skyler Fennell KDØWHB just climbed Torreys Peak, one of the 53 mountains out here over 14,000 feet, topping out at 14,275 feet above sea level.  https://www.14ers.com/route.php?route=torr5&peak=Grays+Peak+and+Torreys+Peak

We all brought HT’s, and so worked Rich W9BNO, Cris W5WCA, and Robert KC8GPD on simplex and thru the 449.450 Rocky Mountain Radio League repeater.  GREAT WEATHER, an early start, and a great round trip hike of 8 miles and a total elevation gain (and down) of 3040 feet from the trailhead in Stevens Gulch near the “ghost town” of Bakerville on I-70 west of Denver.

Hams on the SUMMIT!

Getting started at the trailhead about 5:15am

An hour or so later! Torreys on the right.

 

KCØRPS on the trail about 11,500 feet!

 

KDØWHB heading over the snow trail to the saddle at 13,500 feet

 

Above the snowfield to the SUMMIT at the saddle between Grays and Torreys

 

ALMOST THERE!

View back down the mountain from the summit to the I-70 Exit leading to the trailhead

View off to the WSW of Mount of the Holy Cross, which I hope to SUMMIT this summer!  You can almost make out the “cross” snowfield in this picture

KCØRPS and the EOSS group (www.EOSS.org, Edge of Space Sciences) launched a 2 mylar balloon set carrying a micro solar powered 20 meter APRS transmitter this past June that had quite the adventure and actually really became lost in a circular eddy of winds the the Bermuda Triangle.  NO KIDDING!  It circled for about 3 days in a pattern of wind and finally the signal was lost as it traveled no more.  It was tracked by WSPR stations on the frequency of 14.097 mhz.  It generally remained above an altitude of 30,000 feet until its last day when it dropped to around 21,000 feet and then was finally not heard from again.  The transmitter was a super micro 20 meter unit, flea weight, and was suspended by half of a 20 meter thin wire antenna with the other half of the dipole suspended from the transmitter.  Check the prep and launch of the system here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RVhlBpa1k0

KCØRPS should have a full article up soon about the flight and I will report on that here as soon as possible.

 

Another activity I am involved with and very happy to have become a member of is the Christian Motorcycle Association, the “Riders In The Light” Lakewood Chapter.  I am looking forward to a very long association with this fine group of folks who love the Lord and motorcycles.  Look them up sometime!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

President Todd, KEØVH Jack, VP Tony giving me my RTL patch

Here is the new “remote base” AllStar Node in my shack.  We are using it to connect the AllStar Network to the 449.450 K1DUN repeater in Denver.

The 449.450 repeater covers from Cheyenne Wyoming down to Monument hill and HUGE area’s of eastern Colorado from 11,440 feet on Squaw Mountain 35 miles west of Denver.  Think almost a “clear channel” frequency repeater and it is a BLOWTORCH coverage wise.  We can control the AllStar link radio seen here with a GUI interface and are developing its use on the Rocky Mountain Radio Leagues (http://www.rmrl.org/) repeater.  More to come on this exciting development, and we hope you will join us on the Monday Night Society of Broadcast Engineers “Chapter 73’ of the Air” net at 7pm Mountain time, 9pm Eastern.  Details on how to join us are below in the newsletter article.  Thanks to Skyler again, KDØWHB for the setting up and administration of the link radio AllStar system.

 

And speaking of KDØWHB, here is his well setup APRS system using an old Motorola Radio and Raspberry Pi3 being fed by an inexpensive GPS antenna.

 

And the ham of the month!  Amanda KDØCIC in her neat hamshack here in CO

 

And FINALLY THIS MONTH, trying to learn OHMS LAW!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 June 2018

July 31, 2018
By

                                                     

June 2018

SUMMER IS HERE! Lots of projects completed and ongoing!

Gotta thank my boyz from Galvanized Endeavors for the great and fun install of the antenna’s at the Loveland translator site in May!

Up goes the receive antenna on the VERY busy tower site and the antenna installed:

Thanks to Victor, Shane, Chuck, and Hodges! GREAT JOB GUYS!
Also Daniel and Alex from the best tower guy company!
As I wrote about previously, I’ve been helping out the guys at WFLI in Chattanooga Tennessee. My original first job in radio station. 50,000 watts on 1070 AM, 2500 night. They are going to open up the National Top 40 Radio Museum at the station here this summer. Visit when you can!

And how about this! Still operational, and a part of the museum to open, this 1964 Gates Gateway console from the late 60’s that was still on air when I started in 1976!

More summertime work! Proofs of our stations go on, using the connection back to HQ, the Field Fox, and Bird BPME’s. Makes it easy and quick!

 

Watching on Amazon, in a series called “ Man in the High Castle”, low and behold, a D-104 microphone on the podium!

Pretty cool movie prop!
Well for those of you who know W9BNO Rich, you know that he carries a virtual office with him almost anywhere he goes. So one Sunday afternoon as I am talking to him on the local 449.450 repeater he sends me a picture of his “mobile office” on a Denver RTD Light rail train! Leave it to him! 🙂

Radio in the window on the left, yes he is checking station logs on his laptop! Even on the train! Had to laugh out loud!

Well we had scehduled the new antenna installation at our Denver station for this month and that is why the newsletter is a little bit late! First of all I have to thank my crew from Galvanized Endeavors again for the 2 days of hard work to get this beautiful antenna up and operating, and then our good friend Steve KE6FIO for the QUICK tuning and proofing of the antenna and Nautel GV40 system.

Thanks to the guys from GE!

Chris, Hodges, Tor, Vic (not pictured Brett)

One of the shiny new antenna bays unboxed

The old antenna bay number 1 and tuner unit

The old antenna removed and new antenna ready to be deployed

The Chris and Brett removing the old antenna (drone shot)

Hodges and Tor mounting the top bay
Thanks again to all the crew, and Alex and Daniel at Galvanized Endeavors! By the way I will have some great video of the guys doing the install up soon. I will let you know by email when it is ready.

So again about Rich, while at a Wyoming transmitter site near Laramie, he had just finished getting our station up there back on the air. He walked out the door and saw this!

This thing has to be at least an F3! It passed to the North of our transmitter site there. Rich and I were talking on the IRLP link repeater in Laramie to Denver as the storm marched thru. Some great video of this very photogenic twister here:
https://weather.com/storms/tornado/news/2018-06-07-wyoming-tornado-laramie-albany-county-june-6

There is also animation on this page of the radar and satellite views of the storm. Some of the most AMAZING video I have ever seen!

https://weather.com/storms/tornado/news/2018-06-07-wyoming-tornado-laramie-albany-county-june-6

And finally, if you haven’t seen this:

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 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! 

Page 1 of 16
1 2 3 16