On this web site, as my comfort level with building the site grows, I will add articles and links to other ham-related
My purpose is to develop a resource for those hams who are intrigued by DIY amateur radio, but do not want to get
into a major project right off the bat. "Walk before you run" is a good way to approach homebrewing electronic devices. I
want to help other electronically challenged hams like myself to get comfortable with this wonderful hobby.
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.
LATEST UPDATES FROM N1GY'S RADIO ROOM
Today, I added a short addendum to the page about the HF
Mobile antenna. It is now much easier and faster to remove it when the car has to go through the carwash. Operationally, there
is no difference in the performance of the antenna, just the speed and ease with which it can be removed and re-installed
on the vehicle. Living near the Gulf of Mexico means that the car should be washed frequently. The modifications to the mounting
system make this much easier.
The 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.
Back on 04/18/13 (below) I mentioned that I was waiting to test
a new adaptor I had built for a friend to interface his Bao-Feng UV-5R dual band HT with a headset. I have built these adaptors
many times before but not for that particular radio.
Stan, NW3Q, came over today and brought the radio. In our initial
testing, all functions worked, but there was no transmitted audio. A quick check inside the adaptor revealed a grounding wire
that was loose and a perusal of a couple of wiring diagrams revealed that we would have to add 2K of resistance to the circuit.
With that done, we tested again. Unfortunately, it worked once and then quit again. This time we could not even get the PTT
to work. Another scan of the circuitry showed that the wires I had used to connect the cable to the various components in
the adapter were just too brittle and kept breaking.
I promised Stan that I would rebuild the circuit using more
flexible wire and new components. After he left, leaving behind the HT for further testing I got to work and did just that.
The only component I reused was the enclosure. After the reconstruction, it worked but the transmit audio was very low. On
a hunch, I replaced the headset with another brand new one and the audio came to life.
This just goes to show that sometimes even a brand new
component can be bad. The upshot of this little tale is that a circuit to adapt a PC headset to a radio like the Bao-Feng
is available and works great once you get the proper materials. I will be posting a new page on my site in a few days with
picures and the circuit for those who might like to duplicate it. By the way, Bao-Feng uses the same wiring standard as Kenwood
does with most of their HTs so this circuit will also work for Kenwood HTs that use the two prong 2.5mm/3.5mm connectors for
the speaker mic or headset.
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!
Well, I found a new project. I just didn't think it would be
a repair. As I have mentioned before, the headset that I use was wired through a selector switch to allow me to use it for
both radios at the operating position. A few days ago this selector switch steadfastly refused to pass the transmit audio
to the FT-7800. It worked fine with the IC-706 MkII G however. My attempt to diagnose and repair the problem went to max frustration
very quickly. I even printed out the circuit diagram and tested all the pin positions for continuity. It still refused to
work with the 7800. I finally gave up and reinstalled the second headset for the 7800 and removed the offending selector switch.
I went so far as to completely rebuild the selector without any positive results. I know I am missing something that would
be blindingly obvious to a trained technician, but since I am not said technician, I decided to take the easy way out and
give each radio its own dedicated headset. This does clutter the desk up a bit, but better that than continuing to bang my
head against said desk. Sometimes it is better to simplify the circuitry and add an extra device than to complicate matters
trying to keep the item count down. Maybe I will take another crack at the headset/radio selector another time. For now everything
works as intended and my frustration level is back down to a manageable level.
For the past few days I have been casting around for a new project
to build. I do not want this to sound like tooting my own horn, but I have just about run out of things to construct for my
radio room. If you have any ideas for a different project that falls into my "simple" category, please send me an email with
your suggestion. If I feel capable of doing the project I will take a stab at building it.
It is Thursday evening at our house and I have just finished
my duties as Net Control for the WCF Section Technical Net. This net is on every Thursday evening at 9:00 PM on the NI4CE
linked repeater system and provides a means for hams both brand new and with lots of experience to ask and answer technical
questions about amateur radio. This evening the subject of Field Day came up in relation to a comment that Canada has revised
their method of assigning numbers to call signs. This requires an update to all logging software to account for the new methods.
That fact engendered the thought that it is not too early to start planning for Field Day 2013. There are several good articles
in the past few months of QST that are applicable to FD operations. Now is the time to build those projects so that there
is time to test them and make sure they work well and are ruggedised for the needs of FD ops. One that stands out is a device
that guards against a runaway generator causing damage to your expensive transceiver or computer. One of the hams on the net
tonight recommended using a good quality UPS battery backup between the gen set and the load. The surge protection built into
a UPS will prevent the high voltage of a malfunctioning generator from causing havoc in the operating location. If you are
going to build a new antenna support for Field Day, you need to build it now and test it thoroughly before the big weekend.
An antenna that is heavier than the one you used last year may cause the mast to exceed its load carrying capacity and
fail, possibly catastrophically. Don't take the chance, build and test now so you know the project will work. Just a thought...
The medical problem in my family has become better understood
in the past few weeks. While it has not gone away, it is under treatment and we are very hopeful for a happy outcome. That
said, the generation of new projects is still very much on the back burner for the moment. We have had a chance to simplify
the non-radio set-up in my Chevy Blazer, turning it back into a 5 seater and removing some devices that seemed like a good
idea at the time, but that have been under-utilised and no longer make sense. The radio set-up is still the same, an Icom
706 MkIIG with an LDG RT-11 autotuner feeding the HF antenna and the VHF/UHF side feeding a dual band mag-mount antenna. This
has worked very well for several years now and I see no need to change it. I may make some changes to the fixed station in
the future but they will be minor at the operating position. The main improvement I want to do is to upgrade my home HF antenna.
This will likely require a new antenna and a new support for said antenna although I may bring the "Octopus Antenna" out of
storage and add it to the home station. It was originally built for field use, but at my age the field ops are a little difficult.
The "Octopus" works very well and it would be a shame to let it sit unused. I have no time frame for getting all this done,
but I am at least making plans for the future.
My updates may become a little less frequent in the near future
as there are serious medical problems in my family which will require my full attention. I hope my readers will understand.
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.
When I have to work on the back panels of my radios, which seems
to be all too often, in the past it often turned into a semi-disaster. The two radios, an Icom IC-706 MkIIG and a Yaesu FT-7800R
were just stacked on top of the mic selector boxes I built for each one which were also stacked on top of my power distribution
box which selects either from the power supply or a 12 volt deep cycle battery. In addition, there are two speakers and an
LDG Z-100 autotuner on top of the radios. I think you can see the probability that something is going to fall if or when I
need to move them to get at a coax connection or re-route a mic cable.
At my previous QTH all five of my radios were mounted on plywood
and ABS racks that could be slid out when I had to work on them. I even had some limited access to the back of the operating
desk if needed. Unfortunately, with the move to our new QTH, the positive of now having a real indoor room for the radios
instead of being in a "Florida room" was offset by the negative of not having any access to the back of the operating position.
So I decided to do something about it. A slab of plywood was cut to
fit the width of the power distribution box but several inches deeper. The distribution box was secured to that with several
screws. A piece of aluminum angle was secured to the rear of the plywood and several rectangular holes were cut in it to mount
Power Pole connectors. These not only feed power to the radios but also provide a grounding block for the radios to be connected
to the station ground. The various boxes that contain the mic selectors and the new headset/radio selector were secured, this
time with short self tapping sheet metal screws, to the power distribution and base assembly. The FT-7800R, which is
a relatively light radio was secured to the heaset selector box that it sits on with the mobile mount. It turned out that
the IC-706 is heavy enough that it stays pretty much where it is placed even when I move the entire assembly to get at the
backs of the rigs. I also made sure that the coax, ground and power cables had enough slack to allow me to pull the assembly
out and turn it at least 90 degrees without placing stress on those connections.
The speakers are on long enough wires that they can be
set aside when I need to work on the stack and the Z-100 is connected to the 706 by cables that keep it in place. The whole
assembly is now much easier to work on and nothing falls over or down the back of the operating position any more. I was going
to add little felt pads to the bottom of the plywood deck but it moves quite smoothly without them.
The point of all this is that you must have access to the back
of the radios for maintenance, repair and modification. If you have to disassemble your whole station just to add a new mic,
for example, you probably will put off tasks that should not be delayed. On the other hand, if you can gain access easily,
maintenance will be much less of a chore and likely to be done more frequently. So it is with my station. Now that I have
good access to the gear, I am sure it will be kept up that much better. Life goes on.
I am happy to report that my trusty IC-706 MkIIG is back from
the repair shop in fine working order. Steve, KG4LJB made a few mods to the unit, but the main problem, I am embarassed to
report was that the contacts between the control head and the main body needed a good cleaning. I was surprised by this,
since the unit is not remoted and the head has been on the main body from the beginning. It just goes to show that often,
the simplest fix is the first thing to try. My new headset to radio selector is working fine with both radios and so the operating
desk is a little less cluttered with wires from multiple headsets. The boom mic only goes to the 706 and it is fully operational
I am not quite sure what happened today, but I suddenly got
a major attack of "projectitis". In the space of one afternoon and evening, I redesigned both of the mic selector boxes under
my radios and to top the day off I designed and built a "radio selector for the cell-phone style headset I am used to using
for nets. The selector is a simple A-B data switch and it feeds either the mic selector for the IC-706 2G or my
FT-7800R. It only controls which radio the headset feed is sent to, and the PTT. I really did it because I wanted
to clear up some of the clutter of wires and cables that have gradually increased. Yesterday I had three headsets plus
adaptors on the desk. One for each radio plus one for the computer. Now I have one headset and one adaptor for both radios
and I can switch from the 706 to the 7800 with the twist of a knob. I do plan on revising the computer headset too, but that
can wait for a few days.
The main improvement has been the much cleaner appearance
of the selector boxes since the radio specific units now only have one mic jack (for the hand mic) on the front. Everything
else gets plugged into the back of the selectors. The headset/radio selector has no front mounted jacks, everything enters
and exits via the back panel.
I will update the radio room pictures on the web
site once I get my 706 back from the repair shop. I think you will agree that it looks better than before.
I have added the page I mentioned in my last "update".
You will find a link to it in the navigation panel on the left side of this and all the pages on the site. Enjoy!
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 system.
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".
Over the past couple of days a few new projects have been completed.
An RF sampler to connect my occilloscope to the coax from my primary radio. This has allowed me to monitor my outgoing signal
which may or may not be critical, but it sure looks cool. I also discovered, after a recent redesign of the electronics package
in my cars passenger compartment, that the lower area between the front seats has turned into a sort of "black hole" at night.
I assembled an array of three red LEDs with a switch and inserted the array into an unused storage cubby in the front of the
console between the seats. With the LEDs switched on, a soft red glow illuminates the area without compromising the driver's
night vision at all. Sometimes, "homebrewing" does not always mean ham radio. Once in a while it means building something
that just makes life easier.
First of all, I want to thank everyone who has visited
my site over the years. The web site just hit 25000 hits today. I am happy that so many people have viewed my projects. From the
emails that I recieve, a fair number of hams have built some of these gadgets, or at least the items have sparked an idea
for something similar.
On another note, the page on external HT power omitted one aspect
that was done after the project was finished. I inserted a set of Power-Pole connectors into the coil cord that connects the
power pack to the HT. I discovered that this little power pack is also good for supplying 12 volt DC during presentations
when I need to demonstrate some of the DC powered devices such as ON AIR signs and the like. Since these projects all use
Power Pole connectors, it made sense to use them for my portable power block that is usually used to power my Alinco HT. If
you do similar demonstrations during club meetings or talking to other groups about ham radio, this little power supply is
fully capable of powering an HT, a scanner, or any low draw device that normally runs on 12 VDC.
This is my first post of the new year, so I thought I would
first thank all those who have taken the time to add a comment or two to my "Guestbook Page". Your comments are truly appreciated
and I just want you to know that I do read them.
On another note, if you decide to build some little project featured
on this web site and, for one reason or another, you run into a problem, please feel free to e-mail me for any advice or suggestions
I may be able to offer. I want people to succeed when they begin to "homebrew" some accessory for their station, so please
contact me if you have any difficulty with any project on these pages. I will do what I can to solve the problem and get you
back on track. I have a "contact me" page on the web site but you can reach me at email@example.com as easily as at any other email address.
I have just spent a few minutes editing and updating some of
the text about the headset adaptors on the pages devoted to them. Some of the modifications to the original design proved
uneccessary and some designs have been slightly adjusted to reflect the virtual disappearance of wired cellular headsets.
The design has been modified to accommodate the use of computer style headsets that use two 3.5 mm stereo plugs to connect
to the adaptor. I have yet to find a method of adapting USB headsets to ham radio use. If someone does have a solution, I
would be most interested. I also culled several of the older updates from this page. It was getting a bit long and the updates
that I removed were no longer that important.
I have just added a new page to the web site about a neat little
gadget I read about in QST. This is a very small device that verifies the polarity of any power pole equipped voltage source
that you might want to connect your radio or other electronic device to. This may not be a problem at your home station, but
what about when you get deployed to an ARES activation and the power supply for your radio is unfamiliar to you. Or at a Field
Day site where you may be using someone elses power supply. It pays to be sure. Having to correct a power supply feed is a
lot cheaper than having to repair your multi-band radio. Just a thought...
Today, with all the holiday shopping done and my dear wife in
the kitchen making cookies (I offered to help, but she just laughed), I had a chance to build something I have been wanting
to do ever since one of my cordless tool batteries went belly-up. I gutted the battery pack, leaving only the one cell that
holds the contacts in the case and rewired the case with a power cord. The new cord connects via power pole connectors to
my bench power supply which is capable of 12 amps at 13.8 volts. The tools normally use 18 Volt batteries but I could not
see much difference at 13.8. The drill which I use at the workbench quite often now works just fine as a tethered tool and
I can still use it with the other (working) batteries as needed. Ther one remaining cell in the case is only attached to the
circuit at one end so it plays no part in the power circuit. It is just there to support the contacts in the battery case
that make contact with the ones in the tool itself. All in all, a great afternoon just puttering in the workshop.
73 and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all.
Today was the first day of the Tampa Bay Hamfest, held at the
Manatee Civic Center in Palmetto, Florida. The event covers two entire days and offers many venues for the amateur radio operator.
Besides the usual vendors and "tailgaters" there are forums on a multitude of subjects, from DX to NXDN ( an recent addition
to the world of digital voice and data communications). There were DIY sessions on Saturday that had attendees building Antennas
and Headset Adaptors. On Sunday there will be both Basic and Advanced Skywarn Training for ham radio operators and non hams
alike. The course is free and the graduates of the courses are of great help to the National Weather Service during any form
of severe weather. This year, the "tailgaters" were moved inside the building to free up sorely needed parking space outside.
Ticket sales were up over last year according to one source. I personally assisted an old friend with his vendor space this
year, as I did last year. We were quite busy in the morning hours and customers kept coming through the afternoon. All
in all it has been a good event this year and hopefully demonstrates a gradual turnaround of declining attendance at hamfests
in general. An increase in hamfest participation is a really good thing because ham operators need to stick together and one
of the best ways to encourage that is the conversion of "that voice on the radio" into a "flesh and blood" pal. By meeting
and interacting at events such as hamfests, hams become familiar with and friends of their fellow operators. With these personal
interactions, the avocation of amateur radio is enhanced and revitalized.
To my great relief, the sign-up form has been posted on
the Tampa Bay Hamfest web site. Just go to the Forums page of the web site and scroll down past the schedule of forums to
the descriptive paragraphs at the bottom. You will find a link to the sign-up form there. The kits are all ready to assemble
and should not take more than 30 to 45 minutes to build. All the heavy work has been accomplished like drilling the holes
in the enclosures and pre-constructing the cables for most of the radio types available. If there are different cables needed,
they will be built for you when we get your reservation prior to the hamfest. We are hoping for a good turnout so that more
hams can get a start in home-brewing projects. Being able to say "I built it myself" has such a great sense of accomplishment
to it and we want to encourage more people to do just that.
The kits we have been stocking for the Tampa Bay Hamfest
on December 1st and 2nd. A total of 13 kits were assembled (the parts all sorted and placed in plastic bags) The 13th
kit was put together in about 30 minutes and works perfectly. Alpha testing done, the next step will be the Beta test. A ham
operator with no previous experience in DIY or kit building will assemble Kit # 12 in order to verify that the instructions
included with the kit are clear and easy to follow. Any last minute amendments to the instructions will be completed prior
to the hamfest. This kit will certainly demonstrate that building your own accessory gear for amateur radio is not only
easy but an incredible amount of fun. I hope to see you at the Tampa Bay Hamfest at the Manatee Civic Center on Haben Boulevard
in Palmetto Florida. This year the tailgating will be indoors and air conditioned. Parking, as usual, is free and a good time
will be had by all involved.
The parts ordered to make up the kits for the "You-build-it"
session at the Tampa Bay Hamfest on December 1st are rolling in. Right now I have taken delivery of all of the electronic
components and the enclosures and strain reliefs should arrive in a day or so. I have already printed out the labels for the
adaptors and built a jig so all of the predrilled (by me) holes in the enclosures will be correctly placed. The instruction
sheets for each radio design are written and very shortly will be copied to have enough quantities for all the kits. I have
yet to hear from the organizers as to how many hams have signed up for the session, but the event is still a month and a half
away. Since we are only creating 10 kits, it would be wise to get your reservation in as early as possible to avoid
being left out. The kit goes together very easily with just a little soldering required. You will have to supply your own
headset, but these are available widely for less than $15. I have even found PC style headsets for as little as $1 at one
of the many "dollar discount" stores in our area. If you have not done any DIY ham radio construction projects before, this
kit is an excellent way to start.
I received a letter today from my friends at QST telling me
that my latest submission has been accepted for publication. No word on when it will see the printer but that is usual in
the magazine biz.
The Tampa Bay Hamfest is getting closer (Dec 1 and 2) and the preparations
for our DIY event are ramping up. This year 10 participants are going to get a kit of parts to build the latest version of
the headset adapter featured elswhere on this web site. The difference is that they will then sit right down at the hamfest
and build it right there. The organizers will supply all the tools and supplies necessary to complete the kit and there will
be instructors on hand to assist and mentor the kit builders. The headset adapter project is not the only one. There will
be several similar venues for building antennas as well.
The kit for the adapter will cost $15 dollars which is
the cost of the parts. The builder will supply his own PC compatible headset. These are widely available anywhere from $1
to $15. The participants will walk away with a headset that exactly fits their radio at about 1/3 to 1/10 the cost of
comparable commercially available units. See the Hamfest web site in a few days to sign up as there are only 10 slots available
and payment fror the kit must accompany the application. We will be promoting the DIY seminars on various nets locally for
the next few weeks as the deadline for applications is November 10th. All applicants must tell us what make and
model of radio they are building their adapter for so that we can supply the appropriate cables and connectors. See you at
the Tampa Bay Hamfest.
When we came back from our trip up to CT I noticed that one
of my VHF/UHF antennas was tilted off plumb by a fair amount. This has been an ongoing problem with the place that the antenna
is mounted on, so I resolved to make a permanent fix. I dismounted the antenna from the old spot and moved it to a mast made
from a 10 foot length of conduit and a 5 foot extension of aluminum tubing. This is positioned by a concrete footing so that
the antenna has really only moved about 4 feet from its original position on the roof. After testing I was able to lower the
squelch setting on the radio that uses that antenna by about a third. Note to self: temporary antenna mounts are supposed
to be temporary. Do it properly the first time and you will not have this problem. Hopefully, the more permanent mounting
will resolve the minor problems we had during last weekend's SET. At times I could here some weak stations on simplex, but
at other times they were not audible. Now that the antenna has been repositioned and truly vertical I hope that will not be
On another note, I hear that another of my articles for
QST has made its way into one of the ARRL's many antenna books. I do not know which book it is in yet but hopefully someone
will let me know so I can add that edition to my library. Since I now have a 2012 Handbook, my 2008 edition of the Handbook
will probably find a new home at the ARES meeting tonight.
I have added another page to the site, this time on a
temporary mobile install I did on my wife's car for a long trip. The same setup would be handy if one had to put a radio in
a car for temporary use like the sag wagon at a bike race, or a municipal responder such as fire or police during and after
a disaster. I usually prefer a more permanent install but in some cases that is simply not possible and a temporary solution
will have to do. On another note, I did build a DC powered lamp of sorts to go over the operating position in my radio room.
I hotglued 6 GOW bulbs inside one half of an old and empty VHS video cassette which had two clear windows on one side apparently
to see how much tape was run and ran a length of zip cord over to the DC power bus at the OP. I suspect I will change
the GOW bulbs out for LEDs at some point but for now the OP has the option of 12 volt lighting where I need it most during
a power failure. Once again, a bit of scrap came in handy for a project.
Last night I gave a short presentation to the Dade Radio
Club of Miami about "Homebrewing" amateur radio gear. The interesting aspect to the presentation was that I never left my
home to do it. The presentation was delivered via Skype with my laptop and a web cam and displayed in the EOC in Miami on
the big TV screens there. Full two-way communications were maintained at all times so questions could be offered by the audience
if needed. All in all, it went pretty well and the Dade Radio Club of Miami seemed happy with the result.
For clubs that are having trouble finding new speakers or programs
for their monthly meetings, presentations via Skype can be a good choice.
The available pool of speakers is limited only by their availability and covers the entire country, and maybe
the entire globe. Just think about it: A presentation at your local ham club from a DX star in Japan or Australia. It
bears thinking about, particularly if you are the member of your club who is tasked with finding programs or speakers for
your monthly meeting. Im just saying...
A few days ago I received a request from a ham radio club in
the Miami area to do a presentation on "Homebrewing" for amateur radio. The unusual thing about the request was that I was
asked to do it via Skype. Of course I said yes and then began getting ready. The first order of business was to download Skype
and install it. The second order of business was to purchase a web cam and install it and it's associated software. With all
that done and working well, my next task was to adapt my computer's audio system to permit a little more flexibility in positioning
both myself and the web cam to properly convey the various projects I would be talking about. I created an extension cable
that allows me to keep my headset in use but still be able to move around the room and reposition the web cam as needed. This
actually turned out to be relatively simple. I already have a small enclosure mounted beside my monitor that allows me to
switch from speakers to headset with the flip of a switch. After testing the audio levels, I modified that to accomodate a
headset designed for a computer sound card rather than the cellular phone headset I had been using. I used about 20 feet of
CAT-5 cable to build an extension cable that plugs in where the headset normally plugs in and ran the CAT-5 cable around the
perimeter of the room to my workbench where I connected a pair of 3.5 mm stereo jacks to the CAT-5 so I can plug the headset
in to them. I mounted the two stereo jacks in a small project box and fitted that into a cell phone holster with a belt
clip. The clip can be attached to my belt or to a convenient drawer handle on my desk or my workbench. The audio was tested
again and no change was noted in the levels for the phones or the mic.
Tomorrow I will be meeting with Stan, KK4CDO, who kindly volunteered
a USB extension cable that will allow me to move the web cam from the top of the monitor to a position over the workbench
when I need to demonstrate a project or a non-standard source for parts. Many thanks to Stan for his assistance and
The idea of using Skype or some other video calling software to permit
the presentation of guest speakers at club meetings without the need for the speaker to perhaps drive for a considerable time
and distance dragging all his "show and tell" devices seems to me to be a really neat idea. The advances in computer technology
and software are making solutions like this easier and easier to employ. For those of us who give presentations on a regular
basis it also has a slight "down side". Now we have to clean up our own radio rooms and learn at least the rudiments of video
presentation. Maybe that is not such a "down side" after all.