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! 

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