Tuesday, October 3, 2017

New QSO's

Bruce KA8TNK
As of October 1st I have decided that I will start using my K2 again to try and finish off my 2017 Worked All States QRP CW attempt.  The HW8 is not going anywhere as I have become quite attached to that little green radio.  I will also be doing some Alexloop time with the K2 as well.  I am looking forward to wrapping the WAS effort up, and then trying it again next year.

Last night on 40m I was able to have a nice QSO with Bruce KA8TNK, he lives up in Trenton Michigan near the big city of Detroit.  Trenton has historical significance as it was part of the Michigan area that was captured by the British during the War of 1812.  I was on the K2 at 5w to the attic dipole and Bruce was running an old Heathkit SB-101 on his end.  It sounded awesome and his fist made for easy copy on 7034 Khz.  I noticed he lives in Wayne County...Bruce in Wayne...do you think he's Batman?  Did I QSO with BATMAN??

This afternoon I had the K2 warmed up and firing out 5w to the 20m band at about 20:30Z  and got a nice call back from Jim K1GND  in Rhode Island!  Jim was QRP as well running 5w from his KX2 near Providence.  QSB started getting pretty bad after about 10 minutes, so this was no ragchew but it was still a load of fun.

Jim K1GND with a basket of Quahogs (Hard Shell Clams)
Jim likes to cook what he digs up in the bay...feast your eyes on this!
Fresh - on the half shell - with homemade cocktail sauce, consisting of ketchup, horse radish,
Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce and a dash of lemon juice.
Looks pretty good to me!

Thanks for the QSOs guys!

Best 73 de KB9BVN

Friday, September 29, 2017

Good Tech Talk Last Night

Last evening, Ed Valasek K3HTK came to the IEN Tech Talk to discuss using the Raspberry Pi in different amateur radio projects for the shack.

Ed is a long time IT professional with experience galore in playing with technology and his experience working with small board computers is vast.  Ed runs a good website at http://indyham.com and you can email him by sending to edvalasek@hotmail.com - he is also available on Twitter @indyham and is happy to answer any questions. 

ED K3HTK starting his Pi Presentation

Projects covered: 

FLDGI on the Pi - Ed has created a time saving script that is available on the website.  His script runs on the Pi and goes out and grabs all the latest fldgi software and dependencies from all over the net. Give it a try.

GPredict - a cool satellite tracking program for the Pi

SkyPi40 - A nice little WSPR transmitter for propagation study

EchoIRLP Node - How to run a IRLP node off your Pi

And several others.  We had 11 hams there, counting Ed, and I think everyone, especially me, walked away with some great ideas and project options. 

Thanks Ed! 

Our next Tech Talk is October 26th at 6PM, Solar Conditions and Radio Wave Propagation will be discussed by Bob KN9RES.  Bob has 30 years in the Navy as a Radioman and was responsible for compiling reports on propagation predictions.  He promises to make this subject interesting and fun! 

Best 73 de KB9BVN

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Another Fine 'chew on 40m Tonight

This is my first evening to not be on call for work in a week.  I even managed to leave on time and got home with plenty of daylight left and to my poor neglected radio buddy, my K2.  So I setup the Alexloop tonight on the back porch, it was sunny and about 88 F...started out on 20m and heard a few stations but they were not too loud, went up to 15m and then 10m and found nothing.  It was still pretty early, like 5:30PM and I figured 40m wouldn't be hopping for a few hours but I tuned in 7036 Khz and heard Karl KA1FSX calling CQ from the far northeast corner of Pennsylvania.  Looks like about 560 miles on the map from my QTH here in New Whiteland IN. 

When I heard the 1 call I was hoping for Maine or Vermont...but I was not disappointed in my QSO with Karl.  KA1FSX has been a ham since 1980,  but he went inactive for a bit and just started back on the air this August.  He's running a IC-718 to a dipole and using a LDG autotuner with his setup.  Karl had a very easy copy fist, even in the mild QSB we were experiencing.  I did not have headphones on, the guy next door was mowing his lawn, and I was fighting off a flock of Indiana sweat bees...and I was still 100% copy...that just how good his fist was.  If you hear KA1FSX on the air, WORK HIM, he's armchair smooth.  We were moving along at about 17 wpm....fast for some...slow for a lot of others...but it was very enjoyable and relaxing after a hard day in the computer mines.

Karl lives in Montrose PA, this town was settled in 1812 and is named from the French word mont, which means mountain, and Rose which was the last name of Dr. L.R. Rose (he was a prominent person in the area).  Started out with about 90 people in 1812 and by 1912 was a thriving town of over 1800.   The population now is about 1610 according to census data.

Downtown Montrose PA - 2017

Karl if you ever hear me out there, give me a shout!

Best 73 de KB9BVN

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Neat Antenna Idea from W9ILF

I was talking with Ivin W9ILF yesterday and he was asking me if I remembered the hamstick verticals he made a couple summers ago. I remembered I had one of the stands/connectors he had made for me.  It's pretty straight forward. 

Ivin basically took a piece of flat aluminum, and drilled in a hole for the antenna stud and a smaller hole that he threaded for an aluminum "spike" about 12-14 inches long, made from aluminum rod and threaded.  The way this works is you push the spike in to the ground, connect the hamstick to the antenna stud, and connect your radials to  the wingnut.   Yesterday Ivin was using this antenna on 20m with a set of 8 radials each about 12 feet long. He worked Hungary on CW with 5 watts of QRP power.  Pretty cool huh? 

Here is his setup from yesterday:

So what you need is some flat bar aluminum stock, 1/4 inch aluminum rod material, antenna stud, and a tap and die set so you can tap the small hole and thread the aluminum rod, and a ham stick. Sounds like a trip to the local hardware store.  The antenna stud hole does not need to be tapped. 

Best 73 de KB9BVN

Thursday, September 21, 2017

We have NEW HAMS!!!

KD9JIE and KD9JID - Newest Hams in Morgan County! 
My grandkids, I am so proud!  They passed their Technician Exam on the first try!


Sunday, September 17, 2017

Another Ragchew on 40m

Saturday afternoon I had some spare time so I fired up the K2 and ran a few stations in the Iowa QSO Party. 40m was in decent shape although there was some slow rolling QSB taking place.  I tried calling 7049 for about 10 minutes and wasn't getting any bites so I moved down to 7034. Threw out a few CQs and got a 599 callback from John WZ9I from way down in Winder Georgia.   John was running a TS590GS into a dipole up about 40 feet at 50w.  I was running 5w from the K2 into my antic dipole that is apparently aimed due southeast. 

John and his family moved to Georgia a couple months ago from Wisconsin, he told me they had to move because he broke his snow blower and he was looking forward to no more 20 below zero temperatures.   He's retired and has been a ham since 1960 according to his QRZ biography page.  It was hotter here in Indy than it was in Georgia today. 

Winder is an interesting town, it started out in the mid 1700's as a Creek Nation trading outpost called Snoden.  By the 1790's settlers and farmers had moved in and changed the name to The Jug...then later Jug Tavern...population 37,  About that time the Humphrey Brothers built Ft Yugo and sold it and 167 acres to the county for $127.00 - the cool thing about Jug Tavern, it was the intersection of three counties.  Gwinnett, Walton, and Jackson counties all met in the middle of main street. 

Soon afterwards the railroad came through and Jug Tavern became a main stopping spot on the way to Atlanta parts further south.  In 1893 they changed the name to Winder, named after the general manager of the Seaboard Railway, John H. Winder.  

Being situated in three counties caused continuous legal problems and governance confusion for the residents and businesses of Winder. It required almost 75 years, following many aborted efforts, for Barrow County to be established. Finally, on July 7, 1914, the Georgia General Assembly carved territory from Gwinnett, Jackson and Walton counties to create the new county, with Winder as the county seat. Each of these counties utilized a river as the line which would separate the donated land in the former counties from the future Barrow County. The new county was named for the Chancellor of the University of Georgia, David Crenshaw Barrow. A new courthouse, designed by James J. Baldwin, was completed in 1920 at a cost of $133,400; the building is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Other towns brought in with the establishment of Barrow County included Auburn, Bethlehem, Carl and Statham.

Barrow County Courthouse.

Thanks to Wikipedia for the info on Winder Georgia.  John and I closed out the QSO after about 28 minutes, so he will be issued CW Ragchewer Award #2 from KB9BVN.   Great fist, good copy, and I hope to work him again. 

73 de KB9BVN