Blog Archives

The KE0VH Hamshack for January 2017

February 16, 2017
By

 

                     Greetings all, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

Well this time last year I was writing about my experience with treatments for my head and neck cancer that was affecting me then. I am so glad and grateful to God and my doctors for the healing and at this time I am still cancer free and loving life.  This only gripe I have: winter has come to CO and it has been COLD!  No riding the motorcycle.  Oh Well!  I am alive and happier than I have ever been and just grateful to be here working, loving my family and God!

 

As I wrote about last month check out the newly available Xiegu X-108 HF Radio (Wouxun built I believe)

http://www.wouxun.us/item.php?item_id=346

The Xiegu X-108G HF 1-20 watt Transceiver also available with a companion portable HD Multiband antenna. .5 to 30 MHz, Really looks pretty cool.

And here is a video (there are a few) comparing this new radio to the Yaesu FT-817ND. Our friend Ralph, AA6GM and Arizona area EMF/K-Love Air1 engineer picked one of these up, and I hope to hear a report on his experience with it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFhxoagp8M8

 

Have you noticed that the Weather Channel has started naming winter storms now and using this feature in their reporting? Yes we have named hurricanes forever, and now I guess someone figures that this is a good marketing ploy to generate drama.  That’s what I think anyway.  It isn’t enough now that we get to see Jim Cantore and his colleagues soaking wet or getting blown around or frozen.  We gotta have these regular winter occurrences named too!  I am laughing out loud as I write this!  Here is a shot I took off our TV during one of the winter blasts that occurred in December!

I am still laughing at this. Really folks, come on!

 

Well it took a while but I finally have APRS going again for KE0VH-2 in the truck. Looks like I have a bad GPS antenna on the Tacoma.  I got it to work for a while again before switching over to my better Motorola GPS antenna on the Ford F-250 (Truckzilla).  I changed this out and you can track me again in real time at APRS.fi, (no www) by putting KE0VH-2 into the “track call sign” box.  Or you can see it at map.findu.com/ke0vh-2 but you have to refresh that page to get updates.

 

Speaking of APRS, I am getting ready to deploy KE0VH-10 up at our Sterling site to cover that part of NE CO that has no real APRS coverage. The Ubuntu Linux unit will act as a receive only IGATE and will fill in a huge void in coverage in that area.   I actually started working on this last year, but didn’t have much time in the last few months to learn my way thru the Linux commands.  Art, KI4GYZ came and helped me out and has become my Linux guru.  In a couple of hours he had the IGATE computer and the KPC3+ talking to the computer and now you can also see KE0VH-10 at its location east of Sterling CO.  While as of this writing it isn’t deployed, I really hope to do it in the next month so it can be activated.  This also will help out the Edge of Space Sciences (www.eoss.org) group that flies & tracks high altitude balloons and scientific payloads.

Art, KI4GYZ working on the Linux commands

The site near Sterling in NE CO along I-76 with no current coverage

And a zoom in on the beacon information

 

My buddy Steve, K0TTT here in Denver has a beautiful old restored Grunow Super Teledial console radio that is just amazing. During a really relaxing evening at he and his wife’s house during the Christmas Season my wife and I enjoyed a wonderful time listening to Christmas music on Denver’s 1430 KEZW thru this radio as we visited.  Very nostalgic and pleasant way to spend part of the season.  Thanks Steve and Laura for a lovely evening!

The dial has radio call signs such as KOA, KSL, KOMA, and many more “voices from the past! Amazing find Steve!

And this past month, we had a failure in the who knows how many year old breaker box in our home. The old breakers were of a brand that most electricians these days recognize as a fire hazard anyway.  The one that was on our refrigerator and garage circuit one night started (while we were at home thank God!) arcing instead of breaking the circuit.  And there was NO problem on the circuit.  You can see in the picture the age of the box and breakers.  So long story short, (and part of the reason I include it here) is since our house was built in 1960, it was most definitely time to replace it, and I even put in a complete new 20 amp circuit for the KEØVH Hamshack!  All on its own dedicated breaker now.  My brother in law Jason, and his buddy Nathan not only recommended the upgraded Siemens box and breakers that would make our home safe, but did an amazing install job in just one day!

The old box. The red 20 breaker was the bad one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The old outside meter box and the wall after it came off

 

 

 

Jason installing the new meter box and he and Nathan installing the new breaker box inside

The new box in the wall inside, and Nathan wiring it up. Notice the yellow wire in the left hand pic.  That is the dedicated feed to the Hamshack!

Nathan wiring the feed to the house back up. New roof pole and weather hood too.  GREAT JOB GUYS!  THANKS!

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

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

Broadcast engineering and amateur radio. The first and

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

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

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

Ham exploits!

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

 

The KE0VH Hamshack for December

December 12, 2016
By

hamshack-logo

 

     DECEMBER 2016

jacks-shack

 

                    Greetings all, and MERRY CHRISTMAS

 

Check out the article I wrote for “The BDR.Net” talking about the time our own EMF’s Steve Wilde (Also of American Amplifier Technologies) provided our bandpass filter and great help at our Denver K-LOVE/Air1 station. Here is the link.

http://www.thebdr.net/articles/rf/site/AAThelps.pdf

 There are a plethora of new Chinese ham radio gear available these days (just in time for Christmas maybe?) that actually could be a real alternative to some of the usual fare from the big 3 companies. Check these out:

Wouxun http://www.wouxun.us/item.php?item_id=346

The Xiegu X-108G HF 1-20 watt Transceiver also available with a companion portable HD Multiband antenna. .5 to 30 MHz, Really looks pretty cool.

radio

These are available also thru a seller on eBay for around $510.00. http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_sacat=0&_nkw=Xiegu+X-108G&_sop=15
Here is a video from DO7PSL on the rig: YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9br0Gd_J_iI

The video shows the unboxing and a QSO with the rig. Also the really great audio and reception from the rig.
AND, Reviews: QRZ http://qrznow.com/hf-x108g/ Eham http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/12587 http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/12214

 

There is also a web forum for the rig at: https://x-108.com/.

Check out the Portable all band antenna (which comes with a convenient travel carrying case by going to:

http://www.wouxun.us/item.php?item_id=364&category_id=67

 

Another project I have wanted to get done was connecting my D-104 microphone into the TS-2000 in the shack. These mic’s are really great for giving you a DX punch during a pileup and since this is the amplified version I didn’t have to use a buffer stage between the mic and the radio.  The voice amplifier in the mic is all the buffer you need.  I had previously used this mic on my Kenwood TS-120s I owned years ago, and I used it on a Yaesu FT-757 GXII in recent years.  So all I had to do was look up the pinouts and take of the 4 conductor connector on the coiled mic cable, and put on the new 8 pin connector.  Plugged it in and made my first D-104/Kenwood TS-2000 contact with Darren, KG5LGK in northwestern New Mexico on 3.989 MHz!

d104

The D-104 connected to the TS-2000 in the Shack

Cool mic flag from http://www.hamcrazy.com/

Get one for your station!

 Shane Toven, KØSDT and his wife Andrea at the end of November decided to get aware from the cold and wind of Laramie WY, and take a Caribbean cruise! Shane wanted to operate HF from the ship, and so he borrowed my Yaesu FT-897D for shipboard operations. Here are some pics from Shane’s MM QTH!  

rail-antenna-1

 

 

 

 

 

rail-antenna-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

The portable antenna at the ships rail

shanes-radio

 

 

 

 

The Yaesu FT-897D with AT897 antenna tuner ready to go!

face-of-radio-7161

 

 

 

 

antenna-match

 

 

 

 

 

Pretty good match for 40! And, WHAT A GROUND PLANE!

shane-on-radio

 

 

 

 

 

 

KØSDT at the mic, ready to maritime mobile it up!

I will report next month on how he did on the high seas! As of this writing he was still awaiting permission from the Comms officer and the CAPTAIN of the ship to operate. How cool though, he definitely was going to be in some rare grid squares!

 

And yes, winter is here in Colorado and Wyoming. Shane and I had to go up to Pilot Hill east of Laramie in the middle of November to ascertain why the K-LOVE station there was behaving strangely with high SWR and the transmitter power was fluctuating crazily. Well, we saw the reason pretty quickly:

icy-antennas-1

 

 

 

 

Yep, WINTER!

icy-antennas-2

 

 

 

 

 

icy-antennas-3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EVERY ANTENNA had at least 2 inches of ice incrusted on! Ours is the very top 8 bay

icy-antennas-4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEAUTIFUL, especially against a western blue sky!

BUT, unhappy antennas! I might get these pics framed!

So with all that, Merry Christmas!

And may you be granted an extremely prosperous, healthy, and happy

NEW YEAR!!!!

little-radio-station

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

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

Broadcast engineering and amateur radio. The first and

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

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

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

Ham exploits!

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

 

The KE0VH Hamshack for November

December 12, 2016
By

hamshack-logo

                                            NOVEMBER 2016

jacks-shack

Greetings all, and Happy Thanksgiving!

I am VERY THANKFUL now that we are entering the Holiday Season to our God for His Grace and Mercy, for my wife & family and for life, friends and my work. I am humbled that He in His Love saw fit to let me get thru cancer earlier this year and here I am a year after being diagnosed with cancer, free and looking forward to every day of life. Really I am having so much fun and enjoyment every day it is amazing. So I wanted start out this months writing with that.

With that, a project that I was excited about was getting a computer setup in our local Denver K-LOVE rack room that will allow me to keep an eye on all my sites from the office central point. Our IT guys back in Rocklin are the absolute best and they set it up to do what I needed, so when it got here I setup some functions that essentially turned it into a “mini NOC” for my Colorado sites. One of the functions that I wanted was to have a spectrum picture of the local Denver stations to be available to keep an eye on our HD signal and local translators. So I ordered a new version RTL-SDR USB dongle as I have written about here before. This one installed much easier than the previous versions and the latest versions of SDR Sharp, are even more functional than the last. As before you can order these thru Amazon, and while costing a bit more than the usual USB dongles ($21), seems to work much better and Windows 7 even installed the drivers for it automatically. I still then recommend running the “Zadig” software that is included in the SDR Sharp software (after running the install file in the SDR Sharp software). The specs are better than the less expensive versions and you can get all the information by seeing the new version dongle at: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B01HA642SW/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

usb-dongle

By the way, “smile.amazon.com” allows you to choose a charity to donate part of your purchase price to a worthy cause. Check it out if you are not familiar with it. This SDR has an aluminum case and SMA female connector that I adapted to F connector (adapters also available thru Amazon) for connection into our receive antenna system. A while back someone asked me to write a tutorial on how to set these up. I actually follow the directions written very well at this page: http://www.rtl-sdr.com/rtl-sdr-quick-start-guide/ This is a pretty accurate and easy to follow guide that I am using now when setting these up.

mini-noc

 

The system even decodes RDS. You can take a look at the MPX spectrum too, seeing L+R, L-R, Pilot and RDS levels. Below is the 88.9 signal in Denver.   Above is 91.1.

screen

Have you seen the latest MFJ Catalog? They now have calibration loads for antenna analyzers available. This is very cool as this will help make measurements that much more accurate. I am going to order a set of these for my SARK 110 analyzer here in the near future.

mfj-loads

As you can see they have available for different connectors on the analyzers too.

ham-map

Hey Look! I made QST! Guess I was spotted on 6 meters during an opening on May 23rd of this year. This is from page

98 of “The World Above 50 MHz” article in the August 2016 article in QST! I am doing SOME operating still! Gonna fire up more this winter, as I try to work all states on 160 & 80M WJST HF 65. More on that in the months to follow.

 

Meet Dave, DU9/G8IRC! He is a regular now on the Monday Night Net from his home and IRLP node in Davao City Philippine Islands! Dave is from England originally of course and is now transplanted with his wife in the Phillipines, hence the G8 original call.  Very glad to hear him on with us on the Net.   Thanks Dave!  Great to hear you every week via IRLP.  Dave’s well appointed station:

dave-ham

 

Wanna see a BEAUTIFUL drone flight in North California? Jeremy, N6JER, flew on a beautiful fall day and this is the link to the video of his drone flight!

http://youtu.be/uJrE7TLDfYA

drone-view

The view from Jeremy’s drone

And one day I was out for a ride on my Vulcan 900 Classic LT up thru a canyon near our home on the NW side of Denver. Check it out at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NcVFwo6mW9k

jacks-bike

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

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

Broadcast engineering and amateur radio. The first and

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

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

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

Ham exploits!

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

The KEØVH Hamshack for September/October 2016

November 9, 2016
By

Top Picture

Second PictureThe KEØVH Hamshack for September/October 2016

Greetings all, a VERY busy couple of months with proofs to do and site visits to make before the onset of cold weather in Colorado. Plus, I now have a new hobby that is taking up some time, and actually has nothing to do with ham radio at this point.  I am now the proud owner of a beautiful 2006 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic LTD.  I have wanted to do this for a long time and my wife and I decided to start looking.  It has been a long year with the cancer treatments to getting the Denver HD project done and completed.  I had ridden a Honda 350 when I in my early 20’s, then getting married, having kids, work and life of course takes up all of your energies and mind!  Good things all of course, but now its time to think of some other fun things!  My wife and I are looking forward to cruising around the state visiting some of our beautiful scenery and locations in Colorado and around.  Earlier this year after finishing cancer treatments and getting back to speed I took a motorcycle training course, got my license endorsement, and then promptly got busy with work that needed to be done, and saving some money.  Then, about a month or so ago started looking and found a beautiful motorcycle.  By the way, this is the best time of year to look as many many bikes are for sale.

jack-bike-and-gal

KE0VH and his girl on the Vulcan

And by the way, always when riding use ALL THE GEAR ALL THE TIME! Before she and I take off together, I am going to practice practice practice.  At least a thousand miles before she rides with me.  Gotta get used to doing everything safely before carrying precious cargo believe me!

nice-bikejack-on-bike

 

SO, AWAY I GO!

And, actually a couple of new things on the Ham Radio horizon right now, still operating the net on Monday nights, and I have made a couple of new ham radio friends in the past month. I am looking forward to “elmering” Steve, K0TTT who I met at a family picnic at Little Sisters of the Poor where my wife works during a family picnic there.  He asked me for help in setting up his stations and basically helping him get on the air.  I am looking forward to do that.  I have also become part of the SBE mentoring program so I am expecting a call from someone that maybe I can help out in future.  Please, anytime that you get the opportunity to help a “newby”, please do so.  I will be reporting on both of these in the future!

 

SEEN IN THE OFFICE of my friend Ray, AA0L!

unplug-me

That’s an engineer for ya!

birds-on-wireless

computer-tech

Don’t forget the Monday Night Broadcast Engineering

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

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

Broadcast engineering and amateur radio. The first and

3rd Mondays are also SBE NET nights. Details on how to

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

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

Ham exploits!

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

 

 

 

 

The KEØVH Hamshack for August 2016

September 3, 2016
By

Top PictureSecond Picture

Well here we are in August and things haven’t slowed down a bit for me. And above is the latest pic of my Hamshack with the new Kenwood TS-2000.  Lots of projects continue, including the Denver HD project.  We (along with help from contractors Shane Toven KØSDT and Greg Beveridge WB7AHO got the Harris transmitter at KRKA working well now with a new blower fan and a repaired Digit exciter that was having a problem with a whine in the audio.  Harris had put out a service bulletin a while back about this particular issue.  Yep, replacing a bunch of dried out electrolytics did the trick.  With the MCI antenna switch and the “homebrew” controller made by Greg this site is now really ready for winter and visits by anyone who wants to see a really nice setup!

I am working on setting up a LinuxMint 17 APRS I-Gate that we will deploy out at Sterling CO hopefully in the next few weeks. There is really NO APRS coverage out there at all, and I am learning (somewhat painfully) that Linux, while really a great operating system, definitely isn’t point and click all the time.  There are a lot of operating commands that must be entered from a terminal window to get things going, serial ports talking, etc.   I really want to thank Art, KI4GYZ and Richard, NØEB for their help and teaching me how to make it work.  I am running a machine at home as seen in this screen shot designated KEØVH, and the one that I will set up at Sterling will be KEØVH-10.  I hope the coverage in NE CO will facilitate APRS needs of the high altitude balloon flights for the Colorado Edge Of Space Sciences group (www.eoss.org) and for other APRS users on that NE corridor of Interstate 76.

YAAC Map

YAAC software showing the location of KEØVH in the Denver area

I am using the YAAC (Yet Another APRS Client) software in this picture from my home in Wheat Ridge as a test setup to learn the software before I deploy another computer for Sterling. The software is free and written and supported by KA2DDO.  Check out the website at: http://www.ka2ddo.org/ka2ddo/YAAC.html

Radios in Box

Here is the really cool NØEB APRS I-Gate and Digi operated by my friend Rich, NØEB in Thornton CO

I continue to catch ham radio use in movies and television lately. Here is a shot from the series “The Flash” that I saw as I was watching an episode recently on the DVD’s that I received last Christmas.

Radios on Shelf

I am not really sure as to the identities of these particular radios. Probably a Yaesu and an Icom.  That is definitely a power supply on top.  Couldn’t really get enough resolution here though to see if it is actually powering the radios though.  Any ideas on what they are?  Email me at jack@ke0vh.com!

I have met another new ham buddy thru the use of APRS by the way. Gary, AAØRX up in the Fort Collins area happened to spot my APRS beacon on day and since part of my message says to text my phone number for a frequency (KEØVH-2) he did so, we got together on 146.52 simplex, and had a great chat one day while I was on my way to Buckhorn Mountain NW of Fort Collins.  Gary operates a lot of digital modes, D-Star, DMR and has several Raspberry Pi’s around his home doing various functions and a lot of really cool stuff.  I must admit that I was somewhat (read that A LOT!) amazed at what he can do with his various setups and digital connections to around the world!  Plus, he has really just about every frequency and mode you can think of pertaining to amateur radio.  His shack is EXTREMELY well equipped with several Icom, Kenwood, and Yaesu radios.

Gary Nice Shack

Gary AAØRX, NICE Shack!

 

Finally, 91.1 KLDV is ON THE AIR with the new Nautel GV-40 transmitter and operating HD here in Denver! We have our Air1 channel on the HD2, and it will soon be feeding the 88.9 translator too that fills in nicely the area not covered by our 103.9 signal out of Ft. Collins.  This has been a large project with a lot of help from some really great engineers and tower guys.  I am on a learning curve with this of course but am really enjoying how incredible the GV-40 is already.  Plus, it sounds great to have that HD kick in when tuning in 91.1.  Thanks to all who have helped with this project.  Now I can relax……………  A bit anyway!

Filters

The New American Amplifier Technologies 40 kW Bandpass Filter

Plumbing

Mike Cooper Not a Ham

Some of the new “plumbing” in place at KLDV, and Mike Cooper (not a ham, but working on him!) fitting feedline to the Nautel

Jack Cuts InnersGuys on Tower

Yours truly KEØVH cutting inner conductor, and later, Dan and TJ from Galvanized Endeavors on the tower for fine matching adjustments

Curve on MeterSteve with NX40

WOW! Look at that curve!  Doesn’t get much better, and Steve Wilde (KI6FAO), our transmitter and antenna “whisperer” Jedi Master from Rocklin.  He did a great job bringing all into proper operation!

30.8 KW

A bit fuzzy pic, but there it is! Full POWER TPO!

Analyzer screen

AND what it looks like at home on the RTL SDR receiver, with the MPX Spectrum below allowing the analog L+R, L-R, Pilot and RDS signals to be seen!

You know I gotta say I work for the BEST Company I can imagine. Again, thanks to all who made the HD possible in Denver.  When I had cancer earlier this year, I had times that I didn’t think I might get to see this much less oversee the project.  I work for amazing people and with a great team for sure.

See a great article on EMF/K-LOVE/Air1 and how we operate here:

http://www.radiomagonline.com/facility-showcase/0032/emf-innovates-in-creation-of-national-network/38048

 

 

Don’t forget the Monday Night Broadcast Engineering

IRLP (and Echolink) Hamnet, every MONDAY EVENING

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

Broadcast engineering and amateur radio. The first and

3rd Mondays are also SBE NET nights. Details on how to

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

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

Ham exploits!

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

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