About my "Blog"
(see below): As I think of some subject that I want to make a short comment about, whether it be something new on the site,
or something of import elsewhere, I will make an "UPDATE" to this home page. The latest "UPDATE" will appear at the top of
the "LATEST UPDATES" text below. As older "Updates" become dated or no longer of importance, I will remove them from the site.
FROM N1GY'S RADIO ROOM
About 8:30 pm this evening,
my web site finally began to operate properly. I have no idea why or how it got fixed, but for the moment it is OK. I am still
going to have to rebuild the site on another host and I am reviewing the available hosts and web building services. As soon
as I make the decision, I will start to reconstruct the site. I probably will look a little different because the "themes"
available on Site Builder that I used will not be available on a different service. However, as I said before, the domain
name will stay the same, it will just redirect the viewer to a different URL. At least it will keep me busy for a few weeks.
Big changes are going to have to come to my web site. I was informed today by a tech from Verizon that
they are discontinuing all web site hosting and site builder from the services offered by verizon starting supposedly in March
of 2014 and all sites now hosted on Verizon will be gone by September 2014. Wonderful! The only reason I have stayed with
Verizon this long was because my web site was hosted on it. Since I will have to find a new home for my site anyway, there
is a good chance I will be changing ISP providers as well. Without question, Verizon has the worst system for getting tech
support in the world. Their phone system for getting to tech support is a total disaster. I tried this morning to get assistance
for the problems everyone has been having getting into my site and navigating around it. After four calls and no help, the
automated answering system actually hung up on me, saying they could not process my call any longer. A visit to the Verizon
store got me the information that they were dropping web site hosting altogether. There is no question that Verizon has the
worst customer service ever. Let me make it clear, I am not talking about the actual people that eventually answer the call.
The system to get to that person is what is the problem.
In any case, if you
have problems getting to any other page on this site, it does still exist and you can get to the page, you may have to reload
or copy the url from the error message and search for it, but it is there. Today I begin the search for a web site host that
will be more customer attuned and I have backed up all of the html pages in a file on my computer. I will have to rebuild
the site somewhere else, but at least I have the backup so I will not, I hope, be starting from scratch. Wish me luck, I have
a feeling I am going to need it.
was a disaster! My web site which up to now has been pretty stable has suddenly gone all wonky. Sometimes I can get onto the
site and sometimes my browsers just say it is unavailable. It happens on IE and Chrome and AOL for that matter. When one tries
to access a particular page, having gotten at last to the home page, it may load or it may not, or it may load without the
pictures. My son, in CT, got the same problem from his computer, so I doubt that it is a problem in mine. Verizon was of course
of no help whatsoever. The funny thing is that if I go into the editing function via Verizon, every thing is OK. I will try
Verizon tech support again on Monday but for now all I can suggest is to keep trying and use the refresh or reload button
a lot. I have no idea why it is doing this, so at present I have no way to fix it. For that I am sorry.
There have been few projects around the radio room for a while. I am still awaiting word from my supplier
about the PC headsets that I ordered months ago. They said they would be manufacturing them in November but they have not
sent me any more info. I do not want to re-start making the adaptors until I have the headsets in hand. In the meantime I
have taken delivery of several A-B data switches that will be converted into mic selectors as soon as I have orders for them.
These selectors can be configured either way. That is, two mics to one radio as I use it or one mic to two radios. I can build
them either way, but I do have to know what radios the buyer plans to use. There are some combinations that will not work
due to incompatibility between designs. I recommend that users stick with combinations that use similar pin-out configurations
for both radios. As an example, recently I built a unit for a friend that wanted to feed one aftermarket mic to two radios.
The radios in question were an Icom IC-7000 and a Yaesu FT-8900. It did not work on the Yaesu at all. Once he switched an
Icom IC-2720 in for the FT-8900, it worked beautifully for both. The mic was originally designed for the Icom IC-7000
and apparently is not at all compatible with the Yaesu, a view that was confirmed by the manufacturer of the mic. Live and
It gives me great pleasure to announce that N1GY once
again has a functional HF antenna for 75, 40, 20 and 15 MHz. Today, after a subdued but happy birthday brunch for "your obedient
servant", my son Steve assisted me in adding an Octopus antenna to the top of my 22 foot flagpole. The flagpole used
to be an antenna in it's own right, but my health problems prevented me from adding enough radials to make it a truly workable
vertical. Hence Plan B, to repurpose the 22 foot flagpole as a mast for the mounting of the Octopus quad "hamstick dipole"
featured elsewhere on this site. It was a monumental improvement. Tuning is accomplished with the use of the same LDG RT-11
autotuner I have been using for the past few months, but the received signals are now booming in. The "Octopus" was originally
designed for temporary and portable use, but since I do not go portable on HF as much as I used to, this seemed like a better
use of the design. At 22 feet up, the pattern for the lower bands like 75 and 40 should be pretty much omnidirectional.
The higher bands, 20 and 15 may have a slight directionality but time will tell. For now, I am just happy to be back on the
HF bands with a working antenna.
I also have a new LED TV with 1080p capability
in the radio room, courtesy of my son and his family. It works well and certainly is much nicer than the old analog TV which
it replaced. Birthdays can be fun!!
I want to salute all of the veterans out there who gave so much to protect our country. We perhaps don't say it often enough
but your acrifice is truly appreciated and acknowledged. Tomorrow is Veterans Day. Thank a veteran for his or her service.
Around the radio room this week, not much has been constructed. I just finished sorting and re-arranging some
of my stock of components for the headset adaptors that I build to order. I am still waiting for word from my supplier as
to when I can expect a new shipment of the "cell phone" style headsets that I have found to work best. Hopefully, later this
month, I will have a sufficient supply, but no word so far. They assure me that as soon as they are manufactured, they will
let me know.
A new small supply of the A/B data switches that I convert
into mic selectors (or radio selectors) has been delivered, and I now have a good supply of all the other parts required to
construct the gadgets that are featured on these web pages. I can supply kits or fully assembled units to order. I will be
displaying these devices at the Tampa Bay Hamfest in early December at the Quicksilver Radio booth, assuming John gives me
permission to do so. He is a good friend and I usually help him out when he comes to hamfests in Florida.
There is a page on this site that describes a simple mic selector made from an obsolete manual data switch,
the kind that one used to have in the early days of computing if one shared a printer between two PCs or needed to access
a printer and a scanner before USB ports arrived. These data switches used to be available for as little as $1 at flea markets
and hamfests but they are getting harder and harder to find. With that in mind, I thought I would try to design a switcher
using easily available relays that could be powered by the same 12 volts that power the radio. I got a good deal on some 12
VDC DPDT relays which were quite small and built a prototype. The big differences are that it does need power and that it
uses only a simple toggle switch to cycle between the two microphones. The only enclosure I had on hand was a unpowered half
of a PC speaker set but there was plenty of room inside for 5 relays (10 switched lines, 8 for the mics and 2 for the receive
audio) The wiring was tedious but simple and it works really well. I use a headset for nets and the hand mic for casual operating
so I set it up so that if power is lost, the hand mic is the default selection. The external speaker was already built in
as it came from the manufacturer, so the addition of two RJ-45 jacks and one mono 3.5mm jack for the earphone was easily added
below the speaker. Plus the toggle switch of course. It all fit together quite well and I plan to add a new page about it
shortly. On another note, I received a request from a buddy to build a switch for the opposite case, that is one microphone
to either of two radios. In the process I discovered that those two radios probably should be of the same make and with similar
microphone elements. To use an electret mic for a radio that usually has a dynamic mic is not impossible but it adds a layer
of complexity that makes the task difficult. Luckily, my friend was able to swap out his mobile rig for one of the transceivers
in his radio room to match both of the base radios to one manufacturer and they both even use the same mic pin-outs. While
I am a firm believer in variety in my choice of rigs, if I was going to feed one mic to more than one radio I would certainly
match the rigs for manufacturer if only to simplify the task.
a little fiddling about with the link to the NIST web site, I have finally gotten the page to load properly (sort of???).
The page now shows the same time widget that my son and I downloaded to my web site along with a note that admits the NIST
display is down for repair. I guess it wasn't my computer after all. While it is nice to be right once in a while about computer
problems, I sure hope that the wonks at NIST get it up and running properly soon.
There is a new toy (tool) on my workbench. I spotted a ad in the Sunday paper for a bench drill press at a very
good price this morning so I went to the store and picked one up. I also got a new set of drill bits to go with the new power
tool and a few other small items. It only took a few minutes to set the drill press up and while it does kind of overpower
the left side of the bench, there is still enough room for me to work easily. A drill press makes a number of tasks that require
some level of precision a lot easier and I have no doubt that this new addition will be well used in the future projects I
have in mind.
The NIST Time display (their web site) still does not work in either of my browsers. Every time I bring it up, I
get some kind of error message from Java. Maybe the problem is in my browsers but I doubt it. In the interim I will continue
to use the NIST time widget that has been loaded onto my website. See the Navigation Panel to the left to get to my NIST time
page. Aint computers wonderful?
I received an email back from the NIST that they saw no problem with the time display. However, a few hours later I was informed
by a fellow ham that the NIST time display is now noted on the web site to be "under repair" and they are displaying the same
time widget that I now have on my web site. Funny how that works......
Since the government has gone back to work, at least temporarily, I had hoped that the NIST time page would work as I use
it frequently to time the start of several nets that I am Net Contol for. Unfortunately, it appears that someone at NIST forgot
to turn on the animated clock on the web page. My son, who works in IT was able to insert a bit of HTML code into a new page
on my web site so I now have a widget on my new NIST Time page that gives the time to the second in any time zone I want.
It is coordinated with the official NIST time clock every 10 minutes so it cannot really get too far off the mark. It is setable
to either 12 hour or 24 hour form readout and one can change the time zone easily. Until the IT wonks at NIST get their act
together, this little widget will do nicely for timing the start of my nets and as a general time indicator.
Yesterday, I took a ride over to Melbourne Florida for the annual Melbourne Hamfest. I took along several examples of
the headset adaptor that is featured on several of the pages on this web site. I wanted to demonstrate that they are very
easy to build and get some feedback from other hams. I was surprised that a couple of hams wanted to buy them on the spot.
After I returned home I evaluated the stock of parts I had on hand and my sources for the specific headset (earset) that I
have found to work well with the adaptor. The source for the headset has agreed to sell them to me in smaller quantities than
they usually require and they should be here in a few weeks. All of the other parts I obtain by on line ordering and since
I have been stocking up recently I have decided to once again offer them for sale.
Since the headsets are not yet in my possession (They are scheduled for production in November) I will make an announcement
on this site when I have kits and assembled units ready for shipment. The prices will be $30 each for the kit of parts
and $40 each for the assembled units. I am planning that each unit (kit or assembled) will be shipped within two working days
of the receipt of an order.
understand that I am making these adaptors available only because I have found a workable source for the headsets and I need
something to fill my days since my wife passed away. I am not trying to make a ton of money and my "production facility" is
the workbench right next to my operating position. This is a labor of enjoyment for me and if I can cover my costs so much
I was reminded the other day about one of the things
our local club does to try and recruit new members. It also answers the question of what to do with old issues of QST
if you don't collect them as I do. One of our members brought in about two years worth of QST magazine in case anyone wanted
them. With no takers, (most of our members are also members of ARRL and get their own copies of QST), I grabbed them up and
took them home. After blanking out the members mailing label with a permanent marker, I covered the label with another that
gave the name and meeting place and time for our local club. People sitting around a doctor or dentist's office are always
on the prowl for something to read. Why not add QST to their options. I distribute these magazines to various medical offices
as I do my chores around town. I always ask permission of the office manager and I usually get it with no problem. Putting
amateur radio magazines out where the public can read them is a good way to spark interest in our hobby. I know it has worked
for us, maybe it can work for your club too. Just a thought.
Just to keep busy today, I built a couple of headset
adaptors, one for the Icom IC-706 and 703 series of radios. It also works with the IC-7000. I also am building one for the
Yaesu FT-757, 797, and 817 radios. It would have been done but I ran out of the little push button switches I use for the
Up/Down functions on the adaptor. I feel a trip to Radio Shack in my near future. I try to keep my workbench stocked up with
parts and supplies but when I get on a building kick, I can run through a bunch of parts in short order. There will be a parts
order going out to one of my sources tomorrow as well as I am also out of the strain relief devices that I like to use. Luckily,
I just sold a couple of adult tricycles that we had accumulated over the years. Life works like that sometimes.
I was watching a You Tube video today when the presenter used a little device he described as a coax tester. He didn't make
any further mention of it, but it triggered an idea for me. I built a simple circuit that will light an LED if a short is
in a length of coaxial cable or in the connector attached. The circuit includes a push button to test the circuit to make
sure the LED will light up when presented with a short circuit. After I built and tested the device I wrote up and added a
new page to the web site. A very easy project to build and a handy one at that. Enjoy!
On another note, I have uploaded new photos of the QTH at N1GY. I was looking at them today and realized that many changes
had been made since the ol;d pics were posted. So I replaced most of them with up to date pictures of the radio room.
I know I just updated this page yesterday but I just made a major change to my operating
position and I thought I would pass it along. At my age, my eyesight is not quite as sharp as it used to be. Working with
my laptop PC right on my desk seemed like a good idea when I did it earlier this month but with a few weeks of experience
under my belt I decided to go back to the monitor and keyboard method. The monitor screen is much larger than the laptop screen
and the keyboard just feels easier to use than the keyboard on the laptop. Instead of putting my printer on top of the laptop
dock and monitor stand like I had it before, now I have the set top box for my TV on top of the monitor stand with the laptop
docked underneath it. The only iffy bit is that the monitor cable (the one with 15 pin D connectors is barely long enough
to make the distance so I am going to look for an extension or a longer cable. My desktop is now less crowded and the screen
is easier and more comfortable to read. As we ham operators age, however gracefully, it makes sense to accommodate our
gradually diminishing senses and thus continue to operate easily and accurately. Makes perfect sense to me.
This week, I finally got back to the workbench and built something. A fellow club member had purchased
a BaoFeng HT and was interested in a headset adaptor I had constructed for that device. It also works on Kenwood HTs as well,
which is a plus. I had already constructed a spare unit for such a request and after a little searching I found it. However,
while digging around to find it I spotted the Kenwood circuit diagram and noted that although both connectors for the speaker
mic use stereo plugs, on the phones plug both the ring and the ground connections are wired to the same point. That got me
thinking, would a mono plug work in that jack just as well?
The result was that I sat back down at the bench and built another adaptor only this time I used a mono
2.5 mm plug for the receive audio part of the circuit. I won't know if it works or not until I get together with the club
member at our club meeting next week and test it out. It should work fine since both the ring and shaft are wired to the same
point in the circuit so using a mono plug in a stereo jack will not change the connection to the ring contact in the jack.
If it does it will simplify the sourcing of parts for the adaptor since mono 2.5 mm plugs are available at any Radio Shack
store but stereo 2.5 mm plugs are a lot harder to find.
This kind of experimentation is what keeps my interest in ham radio fired up. Just going out and buying
all my gear ready made would be kind of boring. These experiments don't always work out but the ones that do far outweigh
the few that do not. Keep building stuff, we are the only radio operators that are allowed to do it ourselves.
My entire family got together this past weekend for a "Celebration of Life" in honor of my late wife, Audrey. We had a very
nice picnic at a park that she loved and earlier in the day our three children and I took a short boat trip into the Gulf
of Mexico to place her ashes on an "eternal" cruise.
While our son and his family stayed with me, I mentioned that I was going to have my kitchen floor re-done because the stone
tiles were cracking. My son, Steve, immediately volunteered to do the job and said he could get it all done in one day. I
was astounded and very pleased when, as he said, in less than one day, the old floor was removed and replaced with new vinyl
tile. Outstanding!!. I know this has nothing to do with amateur radio but I just had to brag about my family and their talents
a little. I hope you will understand.
A few minutes ago, the regular edition of the WCF Technical Net concluded and for a change, I was not
the Net Control Station. Recently, two other fellow amateurs, Phil, N8IPS and Darrell, KT4WX have agreed to share the NCS
duties with me on a round robin schedule. Tonight was Phil's turn and as usual he did a magnificent job. I was in attendance
but just as a ARRL Technical Specialist. Each NCS has their own way of running the net but they all cover all the bases that
need to be covered and I am happy as can be to have some help with the Tech Net.
This has been a fairly busy week at the workbench. I built a headset adapter and a mic selector for a friend who just got
a "new to him" IC-706 MkIIG. He says he loves it and plans on adding a jack to the adapter to enable the use of a homebrewed
foot switch for PTT. Had I known that he wanted that capability, I could have built the jack in from the get-go. I also built
another headset adaptor for another pal, this time for a Kenwood TS-430. Since he has not picked it up yet, I do not know
if the values I selected for the components are exactly right. I do not own any Kenwood gear, with the exception of an old
Kenwood external speaker that I picked up at a hamfest tailgate table years ago. I still have not used it, I just liked the
look of it and figured I could build something else into the enclosure sometime in the future. As soon as he collects the
new adapter and the accompanying mic selector, I will have my answer. Does it work or not? I know that the pin-outs for the
adapter are correct since I took them directly from the TS-430 manual, I just want to make sure that the transmit audio sounds
I also attempted a repair on an Icom HM-103 hand mic that came along with my friend's 706. The locking clip had broken off
the RJ-45 plug on the mic cord. I successfully spliced
on the end of a CAT-5 cable with a "complete" RJ-45 on the end and all the pinouts turned out to be correct. Unfortunately,
I then discovered that the mic had other problems. The transmitted audio was down at least 10 to 15 Db! I rechecked my solder
connections and found no errors so I have to think that the transmit audio is the fault of components inside the mic. I will
let him decide whether to attempt a repair or just buy a new mic. Personally, I would do both, since the new mic may eventually
have a problem and if the old one can be repaired, he will have a spare. Having built various microphones for the 706 series
of radios over the years, I am quite sure we could gut the interior of the old HM-103 and build a very workable mic with just
a few components (and even retain the UP/DOWN switches on the top of the mic. It would look identical, but with an entirely
new interior and much better performance than the way it is now. That will be up to him and I will await his decision. UPDATE
addendum: My pal gave me the OK so I replaced the mic element in the HM-103 with another I had in hand and also redid the
splice on the cord. The mic now works fine and the only change is a slight lengthening of the mic cord at the plug end. Yay!
The other day, I became dissatisfied with the trio of switches I had mounted on the right hand side of
my operating position. They just looked haphazard and sloppy. They worked just fine, controlling the power supply, the selection
of the power supply or the battery back-up, and a lamp over a table to the right of the position, they just did not look the
way I thought they should. The solution was to build an enclosure from ABS plastic sheet that would house all three switches
and be wide enough to mount the radios and their respective mic selectors upon it. While I was designing the enclosure, I
realized that there was enough room on the front panel to relocate the "ON AIR" sign which had recently lost it's mounting
position due to the removal of a book shelf. I had to make the "ON AIR" sign somewhat smaller to fit the space available but
it worked out quite well. There is no apparent effect on the signals from the radios, probably because I did not include
any volt or amp meters in the design. For the moment there are no problems and all of the wiring is identical to the way it
was before the use of the enclosure. It's three inch height raises the radios to a better position for visualization and operation.
So far, so good. I will add a picture shortly. UPDATE: The page and picture of the enclosure has been added and you
can find the link to the page on the left hand side of this page in the Navigation panel.
I have returned from my visit with my son and his family. I enjoyed my time in CT very much but it is
time to get back to things at home. I have been making some adjustments to the radio room and there is much left to do. In
addition, the washing machine decided to let me know that it had had enough and dumped the water in it all over the laundry
room floor. The repair tech said it would be cheaper to buy a new one than to repair the problem so one more thing to add
to my shopping list. Life goes on.
It is with the proudest joy possible that I announce that my son, Steve, has passed his Techician Class License exam and now
holds the call sign KC1AJC. He becomes the third member of our family to obtain an FCC license. My late wife was licensed
as KJ4YMX and I of course hold N1GY. There are many proud moments in the life of a ham radio operator. One's first contact,
first DX contact, and so on, but one of the most satisfying has to be when a family member joins the fraternity and gets their
own license and call sign. We are already preparing for the advance to the General ticket and scouting promising sites on
his property for HF antennas. There are no shortage of possibilities on a multi-acre lot that is surrounded on three sides
by mature trees that are up to 80 feet tall. Being on top of what passes for a mountain in southern New England does not hurt
either. What a day!!!
With the problems of the IC-706 MkIIGs behind us, I turned my attention to the question of what to do with the 706 I removed
from my Chevy Blazer. Since I am now alone I do not require two cars. I made the decision to sell the Blazer and keep our
2004 Mercury Grand Marquis. It gets better gas mileage and rides better too. Since the Merc already has a FT-7900 mounted
in it, The 706 from the Blazer was without a home. I decided to rebuild the Radio-In-A-Box from a few years ago. This was
the first RIB featured on the web site, not the later one built into a tool box. It took me a few days to find the Epson projector
case I had used before. I created a new pallet to carry the IC-706 MkIIG, a mic selector, a power supply and a Z-100 auto
tuner. The first three are all fastened securely to the pallet. The Z-100 rests on top of the mic selector box, an external
speaker sits on top of the power supply and a VHF/UHF SWR meter rests on the 706. These devices are all stored in the case
and mounted when the pallet is set up outside the case. As before, the storage space in the hinged top of the case carries
two 50 foot runs of coax and two 15 foot coax jumpers, just in case. It also stores a G5RV Jr. wire antenna. There is probably
enough room for a couple of hanks of parachute cord with which to hang the antenna between two convenient trees, or one if
I want to do an inverted vee instead of a flat-top antenna. Since the first iteration of the RIB also had space for a laptop
and I am going to carry my laptop in a separate bag, I will look for a suitable chunk of foam to keep everything in the bottom
half of the case from rattling around. Now when I travel to visit my son and his family, I can take a radio station with me.
Come to think of it, it will make a pretty good Field Day rig or ARES deployment rig as well.
I do find that concentrating on projects for my amateur radio station helps keep my mind off the recent passing of my dear
wife Audrey. Keeping busy leaves me less time to feel the incredible loss our family has suffered. Audrey was my best friend,
my editor in chief, my soul mate and she taught me so much about life. I miss her so very much.
Yesterday, my pal Steve who is a professional radio repair tech came over and we attempted to find the cause of the strange
noise that has been affecting my IC-706 2G lately. At first we thought that the problem was internal to the radio and made
plans to replace the fan. However, later that evening Steve noted that his 706 which we had also found the noise on did not
have any noise when set up at his QTH. We then figured out that a power distribution and selection (power supply or back up
battery) box that the radios were placed on might be the problem. Today I removed the distribution box and so far the noise
is gone. I will need more on air testing to confirm the diagnosis and cure but things are finally looking up in the radio
I think that maybe my dear late spouse is trying to tell me not to spend so much time on my radios. Last Wednesday the IC-706
MkIIG that I have been using for years in my radio room decided to develop a strange noise on transmit. Since then I have
had no success in tracking the source down. I have eliminated the power supply as a factor and also determined that swapping
the 706 out for the one from my car made only a slight improvement in the noise. I built an entirely new headset adaptor to
no avail. I even tried my Heil Traveler headset but that only made it worse. Since the headset adaptor and the headsets that
I normally use have worked beautifully for years, I have to doubt that they are the cause. This has happened before but each
time the cause turned out to be external to the radios. This time however, there have been no changes in the set-up of the
room. No new gear, no changes in settings or the position of the other devices in the room. I am completely baffled by the
noise. Sometimes it sounds like a bad capacitor ? internal to the radio, other times it sounds like the CTCSS tone is breaking
through. Either way it is not 60 cycle hum but something different. The search continues and if it is resolved I will be sure
to name the culprit on these pages.
On another note, my children have been great at assisting me with the myriad details that have to be attended to after the
passing of my wife and I thank them for all the hard and sometimes emotionally difficult tasks they have done. I also thank
the many friends who have conveyed their condolences along with offers of help. The pain will fade with time, but the fond
memories will stay with me forever.
It is with the greatest sadness that I report the passing of my wife of almost 50 years. She was the most important part of
my life, my best friend, my helpmate, my kindest critic, and my reason for many of the things that I accomplished in my life.
I and the rest of our family and friends will miss her more than words can possibly convey. Her long and grueling fight against
cancer is now over. While she came to amateur radio late in our life together, she threw herself into it with her typical
flair. Field Day will never be the same again without her astounding chili. I find it difficult to imagine life without her,
but I will attempt to carry on making every effort to do things the way she would have wanted me to. Rest In Peace, Audrey,
The page about the Variable Power Supply has been updated with a new circuit, new pictures and new text. Steve Senft, KG4LJB
was responsible for the new circuit and also for fixing the many errors I managed to make with this project. The newly rebuilt
VPS works outstandingly well after Steves talents were applied to it and I thank him profusely for salvaging this project
from the scrap heap.
As the Technical Coordinator for The West Central Florida Section of the ARRL, it gives me great pleasure to announce that
the technical newsletter for the section is back after a long hiatus. Darrell, KT4WX, one of the fine Technical Specialists
in the section agreed to take on the job of editing "The Experimenter" for the section and the reboot of the publication is
now ready. I have sent it to the web master for the section web page http://www.arrlwcf.org and it should be posted soon. There are several articles in it that should be of interest. There are also a couple of
items that I submitted that might come in handy. Congratulations to Darrell, KT4WX on a fine job, done under less than ideal
circumstances since he is already very busy with his work, school and other activities.
On another note, I have completed the rebuild of the Variable Power Supply and await only the arrival of a new laptop power
"brick" to bring it to life. The rebuild went very well and I had a chance to construct it with some slight differences (like
using the entire enclosure as the heat sink for the LM-317T). I also replaced much of the wiring with materials better suited
to the low current flow that the unit will likely see. As soon as I get it powered up I will take some new pictures and update
the page on this site.
Here in the West Central Florida Section, we run a weekly net called the Technical Net where we try to assist local hams with
advice and information provided by an ever changing combination of ARRL Technical Specialists and the community of amateur
operators who check in on any given Thursday evening. Sometimes the net is over in around 30 minutes and other times it lasts
over an hour. It just depends on how many questions the net fields and how complex the answers get. When there is time, one
of the Tech Specialists will often do a short presentation on some aspect of amateur radio. Last night was a good example:
KD4MZM, Eric gave a short but very illuminating presentation on Amateur Satellites and working them withnothing more than
a 5 watt HT and a simple antenna. One of our participants reported that he had just finished his first home brew project,
a dipole antenna for 20 meters and it works great. You could hear the satisfaction and true pleasure in his voice. His project
was a success and he did it all by himself. This is one of the true advantages of being a ham operator. One can do it yourself,
whether it be an antenna, an accessory for the radio room, or even an entire transciever. Licensed amateur radio operators
can and do build their own equipment and the complexity of those projects is limited only by the operators imagination and
learned skills. Make no mistake about it, no one is born knowing how to solder or tell a resistor from a diode. They all learned
it somewhere. Perhaps from a helpful ham, perhaps from the pages of QST or CQ magazine, maybe from one of the many books on
amateur radio. They might even get it from one of the many web sites on amateur radio like this humble effort. Any one can
learn the skills necessary to construct what they need to increase their enjoyment of ham radio. You do not have to build
your own gear if you don't want to. Indeed there are many projects that are probably better left to the manufacturers because
of the complex processes that are needed to build a lot of technology. However there are many devices such as antennas, accessories,
power distribution systems and the like that are ideally suited to "homebrewing". So look around your radio room and ask yourself
"what do I need in here?" The go out and gather the materials and get busy. You can do it.
page on the Bao-Feng headset adaptor has been added. This circuit will also work for any Kenwood HT that uses the same two
prong 2.5mm/3.5mm stereo plug type connection according to my sources. I met up with Stan, NW3Q today and delivered his Bao-Feng
UV-5R and the working headset adaptor. I think he was pleased with the adaptor and I know he was happy to get his radio back.
I have not bothered to put any photos of the adaptor on the new page because, other than the radio specific cable, it is almost
identical to the other adaptors on the web site, and there are plenty of pictures of them.
Today I paid a visit to my local Harbor Freight store and purchased a foot operated switch for about $15 (including the sales
tax). They actually had two different versions. The one I bought was the momentary kind where contact is made only as long
as the pedal is depressed. The other one, which looks identical uses a different switch in a push on - push off mode. That
might be fine for a power tool, but not for controlling a transmitter. Once I got it home I disassembled it and removed
the 110 VAC wiring so that I could begin to convert it to use as a foot operated PTT switch for my DIY boom mic featured elsewhere
on the web site. I simply was not happy with the homebrewed foot switch that I originally built for the set-up. It looked
kinda clunky and wasn't really comfortable. After the rebuild was completed, testing revealed somewhat the same lack of comfort
with the new switch. Using it really required lifting the heel of the foot off the ground to operate the PTT. I fiddled around
with a spacer block behind the foot pedal to rest the heel of my foot on, but even at first glance that made the switch far
too big for the space available. Then I tried simply turning the switch 90 degrees so that my foot rested on it from the side.
Perfect! instead of having to lift my heel to get the leverage to push the pedal down, my heel rests on the floor and the
switch is easy to operate from one side. Problem solved. By the way, rewiring the switch for use as a PTT was super easy,
I simply changed the connectors on the old PTT cable to match the new switch and the job was done. Well, almost. I did cover
up the square hole left when I removed the AC receptacle from the switch with a small rectangle of aluminum that also provides
a mount for a 1/8" mono jack that connects to a second PTT switch that is on a coil cord and once was the PTT for the aircraft
I used to do search and rescue in. Just in case I decide some night that I would rather use that PTT than the one on the floor.
I know, but I like to always have options.
After the Tech Net on the NI4CE repeater system tonight, I have added a site that I mentioned during the net. I was actually
surprised to realise I had not added it before now. I refer to it very frequently and it is always most helpful. The latest
project is a headset adaptor for the Baofeng UV-5R dual band handheld. The construction is done but the unit has not been
tested yet because I do not own a UV-5R. The ham I built it for is going to bring the rig over sometime soon so that the testing
can be done. Once we know that the prototype works properly, I will add a page to the website about it. Interestingly, Baofeng
uses the identical circuit as Kenwood does on many of it''s handhelds. Makes the circuit design much easier. Sometimes I wish
all of the manufacturers would agree to use the same pinouts on all of their radios, certainly would simplify homebrewing.
Yes, I know I
am only dreaming!
It has come to my attention that certain part numbers for the key operated hose clamps were omitted from my article on page
30 of the March 2013 issue of QST. I appologise for the omission and present the information here. The key operated hose clamps
are not with the regular hose clamps in the MSC "Big Book" available on line at: http://www1.mscdirect.com/ You need to go to page 4191 in the catalog where you will find the clamps available in regular or stainless steel in a variety
of sizes. Since MSC requires a minimum order of one box (which contains 10 clamps of one size) I reccommend that you figure
out which sizes will cover the range of tubing you plan to use and order only those sizes. Alternatively, one could arrange
for a group purchase and buy a larger range of sizes and then distribute the clamps in groups. They work very well and the
stainless steel versions are impervious to most corrosion. Again, I am sorry for the omission but I hope you enjoyed the article.
My latest project has been completed and I will soon add another page to the site. Just for the fun of it, I built a microphone
the other day. Using a few bits of PVCpipe and an old electret element from a long discarded hand mic (actually the one that
my DIY DTMF pad came from) I wired up the mic using the same set of components I use for the headset adaptor featured elsewhere
on this site. A bit of testing confirmed that it worked well, so well in fact that one reponding ham during a test said it
sounded like I was right there in the room with him. Actually I was about 30 miles away operating through our regional repeater
With the mic completed, I began to think about how best to mount it. I have always liked the look of a shock absorbing mount
similar to the ones that videographers use but the price was out of the question. Then I found some DIY versions that looked
easy to build. The mic was made using 3/4" PVC pipe so I chose a 2" PVC coupler (about 2 3/4" OD and about 2 3/4" long) for
the shock mount. With a little drilling and cutting and a trip to the dollar store for some elastic hair bands, a fairly credible
shock mount was created. Bolted to an inexpensive architect style lamp (with the lamp assembly removed) and with the base
of the boom assembly bolted to a shelf at the back of the operating position, serious testing commenced. A foot operated
PTT switch was also constructed for this mic as the whole point of the mic project had become "hands free" operations. Uniformly,
the reports were of clean, clear audio with no extraneous noise. I would have to say "mission accomplished".