Monday, March 7, 2016

First Satellite Contact: SO-50

Monday, February 29, 2016

Working Portable with Friends

I have always thought that ham radio was a fun hobby, but it is even more with friends. My good friends Jordan(KI4HBO) and Austin (about to take his exam) had a great time working portable tonight. While we were out in town we randomly decided to grab all of my gear and take it out to the park in Madison, AL to work portable. It was a little cool, but it wasn't raining. It was extremely nice. We strung up my 80 meter wire dipole and tuned it for each band we worked. Of course it was after 10pm so the only bands that were of any use was 40 and 80.

I managed to work Oregon and Conneticut on 40meter PSK-31. We had a blast hanging out, looking up information on each others laptops, and just discussing how everything works. 
We are surely going to make this a regular thing. As always we are gambling with good or bad band conditions, but that is the name of the game. 73 guys! de N5WXW

Saturday, February 27, 2016

My New Comet 5/8 Wave 2 meter Mobile Antenna

 Earlier today I decided to stop in at Gigaparts here in Huntsville Alabama. A lot of people are very familiar with their online store but I actually have the pleasure of getting to shop around in person. That is something not many hams get to do. There is very big lack of ham radio shops or so it seems. I usually do my casual talking, skywarn activities, and listening in on scanner traffic on the 2 meter band. I have been using the run of the mill quarter wave mag mount antenna from MFJ which comes at a very reasonable price of about $25. I also had a few other mag mounts on the top of my car from previous use with better weather radio and cb radio coverage, but today those came off. 12790223_10156660748845171_1750896458_o 
 Below is my newly installed Comet 5/8 wave 2 meter antenna. Yes, my radio is a dual band(2m/40cm) but all I personally need is 2 meter. I just have never really had a use for 40cm. It stands 48 inches tall making it really stand out in a rugged way which I personally love. It is mounted where my rear spare tire mount use to be. When I got the vehicle it was already bent so it has been removed for a while, leaving a perfect sturdy spot to mount a good quality antenna. So far I have gotten great results from this antenna. I have gotten great signal reports all on low power. When I had my simple quarter wave I would sometimes have to bump my power up to 20 watts to get into the repeater clearly. Now, 5 watts is all it takes. I cannot wait to try this out at a longer distance!

 73 guys!



Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Portable 20m MFJ Mini Dipole Project

When I first purchased this antenna from MFJ I was worried about my limited amount of height I could reach. After I borrowed an antenna analyzer to really see how well this antenna was performing. I found out my swr was nearly a 6 which is awful. After some testing I got it down to 1.4 to 1 which is very acceptable. 
I figure the higher I can get it the better. I also tried the same set up vertically and could never get the swr below a 4. The horizontal option was the way to go. In the pictures below I have constructed a portable mast setup to get the dipole about 12 feet off of the ground.
While I hooked my icom-725 up to test I was astonished at how well it performed. I made 59 contacts to Connecticut, Texas, and West Virginia all on about 50 watts, I even tested this same setup with the same operators running 10 watts and still had a very acceptable signal report. About a minimum report of 55. Over the coming days I will be working on getting a few more pipe sections to raise it up to about 23 feet and a guided wire system so I do not have to worry about high winds threatening the setup. I will also be looking into getting more dipole sticks for different bands. Write now I am limited to 20 meters.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

20 Meter IARU Contacts

For my first time being on HF during the IARU contest I decided I would participate for a few hours. I considered going portable but I didn't have the time to grab my things to set up. After I got off work that night I decided to try and see what contacts I could make on the 20meter band. This has usually been my hot spot for contacts with my set up although I can work anywhere from 10-40 meters. Little to my surprise I would contact many of the states and even 20 other countries including some rare contacts with small islands of the Atlantic and Pacific. I am continuously amazed by ham radio. It truly is a wonderful and interesting way of life. Here is a video of a few of the contacts I made during the contest.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Rebuilding CDE TRA-4 Rotor

Earlier tonight I stumbled upon some picture by picture instructions on how to rebuild my rotor. This rotor is for small antennas but is perfect for what I need it for. A great friend of mine donated this to me and after a little testing it works really well just has a little noise to it. I think it actually set up for a few years not operational. So after breaking the rotor down I'm going to re-grease it and clean out all of the internal parts. I love working on little projects like this especially older equipment. I find more value in restoring something old to working condition than buying something new. Now that I have all the parts broken down I can clean them do a little sanding and re-grease them before putting them back together. Here are a few images of the rotor broken down:

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

20 Meter Contact with the Canary Islands

                  In the early hours of Wednesday Morning(July 9, 2014) I was scrolling around 20 meters and heard a few DX stations. I noticed one station in particular with a very unique call-sign. After plugging it into QRZ I discovered it was a DX station calling from the Canary Islands which is a small area of volcanic islands off the African West Coastline. With an Icom-725 running 100 watts and an inverted "V" MFJ 10-40m dipole strung up in the trees in my back yard all it took was one call to snag this contact. Later I came to find that the location I contacted was around 4,300 miles away! That is INCREDIBLE! What a great hobby we are involved in. I find it so fascinating to be able to talk to other areas of the world under the right conditions! Other stations were amplified to 400 watts trying to make this contact while my 59+ 100 watt signal made it through even stronger! Make sure to check in to my blog often, 20 meters has been booming! I have some great things to come in the ham radio world! 73 N5WXW