Techtech

Wed Sep 11, 2019, 02:00 PM

A little different (ham) radio pics

Since the 'Hog is getting lonely over here, I'll try to post some amateur (or "ham") radio pics here for anyone interested. I've got a couple of older ones handy, and I'll try to get out and take some more recent shots.

Here's a rather fuzzy shot of my home ham radio desk, otherwise known as my "shack" from a couple of years ago.I'll leave it fuzzy for now for a reason, so certain personally identifying information may not be resolved.



The main position is to the left, with the computer, UPS, monitors, etc. Radios and accessories and test equipment for HF, VHF and UHF are on the shelves to the right. Below is the backup gel battery and inverter that can power the whole desk for some period of time until I get the backup generators started or the solar power system reconfigured. Power switches from grid to backup instantly and without interruption.

The black cabinet and rack configuration to the right is another complete ham radio communications station with HF and VHF capability. It is normally left disconnected from power and antennas. If a lightning strike or EMP was to take out my main desk I could hook this rack back up to emergency power, antennas and laptop computer and be back up on the air with near full capability in about 5 minutes. Also if needed, that whole black rack is on casters and could be rolled out and transported to another location if needed. (That rack is currently being re-configured, modernized and upgraded to a full capability HF, VHF,UHF, Phone, CW, and digital capability that will go into our new County Emergency Operations Center (EOC).

This is a little smaller, more portable configuration known as a "go-box". It is in a 6U equipment rack and weighs about 50#. It can be transported to an EOC, shelter, or other temporary facility that needs ham radio backup communications.



Again, this unit has full capability for Phone, CW, and digital (email) communications on HF, VHF and UHF bands for local, regional and global communications capability. This box and my ruggedized laptop can do about anything ham radio related. It has a built in 120VAC power supply, and provisions for battery and solar power, but they are provided by other boxes.

So that's just a couple of the things I build and configure for use with the local civil emergency folks, both city and county. It keeps me out of the bars at night. If there's any interest I'll snap some pics of the emergency power setups, both generators and solar charged batteries, and later some of our field expedient antenna setups. Anyone interested?



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Arrow 21 replies Author Time Post
Reply A little different (ham) radio pics (Original post)
fools_gold Sep 11 OP
oldenuff35 Sep 11 #1
His Daughter Sep 11 #5
D26-15 Sep 11 #2
MeatSandwich Sep 11 #3
fools_gold Sep 11 #8
MeatSandwich Friday #14
fools_gold Friday #17
MeatSandwich Friday #21
wonderwarthog Thursday #10
MeatSandwich Friday #15
His Daughter Sep 11 #4
fools_gold Sep 11 #7
MeatSandwich Friday #16
fools_gold Sep 11 #6
wonderwarthog Thursday #11
wonderwarthog Thursday #9
fools_gold Thursday #12
wonderwarthog Friday #13
MeatSandwich Friday #18
fools_gold Friday #19
MeatSandwich Friday #20

Response to fools_gold (Original post)

Wed Sep 11, 2019, 02:03 PM

1. Thanks for the post. We have a few HAMS in the family, but not me.

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Response to oldenuff35 (Reply #1)

Wed Sep 11, 2019, 04:38 PM

5. You should get at least your technicians license. Trivial with your background

The APRS location functions in the aircraft alone would be worth it.

During emergencies the local ham emergency net can be a great source of information, sometimes better than law enforcement. Friends in Ridgecrest found that out recently.

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Response to fools_gold (Original post)

Wed Sep 11, 2019, 02:07 PM

2. DAMN! Nice setup, fools_gold.

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Response to fools_gold (Original post)

Wed Sep 11, 2019, 04:23 PM

3. I like the shack.

All my equipment is Kenwood, a 570D/S HF w/ 6 meter, a lone 2Meter, and both Bencher straight and electroinic keyers. (your straight key has seen a day or two) A 35 Watt PS to an inverted Vee (G5RV) up about 40 feet. I do about 80% CW. I understand the PII, especially with the QSL cards and what not.

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Response to MeatSandwich (Reply #3)

Wed Sep 11, 2019, 05:24 PM

8. Yeah, that morse key is a WWII Signal Corps J-38 key

Still one of my favorites. I also like the WWII Navy Ship key with the sealed contacts and the "Navy" style knob.

I have a Bencher paddle and my radios all have built in keyers, but I have never gotten used to the side-to-side thing. I don't do a lot of CW, mostly chasing DX, but what I do I always use a straight key. (Since 1961.)

I just today got two little straight keys I ordered from a kid in East Texas that builds them on a 3D printer for lightweight field use. I haven't used them yet but they look pretty cool and feel good.

https://cwmorse.us/

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Response to fools_gold (Reply #8)

Fri Sep 13, 2019, 11:14 AM

14. I prefer the straight key, but when you're chatting with someone at 25 wpm or greater, it's much

easier with a paddle, and for "field day" when everyone is rushing to make contacts and going a mile a minute.

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Response to MeatSandwich (Reply #14)

Fri Sep 13, 2019, 11:25 AM

17. I wish I could do that

I'm a 15 wpm guy at best. I managed to pass the 20 wpm test for my Extra ticket back in '93, but was never comfortable with that speed.

When I chase DX in CW I can throw my call out at 20 wpm (or more likely use the memory keyer in the radio) and since I pretty much know what the response from the DX station will be, all I have to do is be able to hear my callsign at speed. But I can't "chat" with anyone above 15 wpm. I sure wish I could.

OTOH, my Dad, now a SK, could paddle along at 35 wpm, carry on a conversation with someone in the room, and watch the ball game, all at the same time. I didn't get those genes.

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Response to fools_gold (Reply #17)

Fri Sep 13, 2019, 11:47 AM

21. After a while, letters become words.

When you think of the word "the" many might hear the T, then H then E. I hear "Dahdididitdit" as the word "the." I'm sure that's how your dad did it as well. 73 dit dit.

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Response to MeatSandwich (Reply #3)

Thu Sep 12, 2019, 05:52 PM

10. Very nice!


I have a no - code Technician license.

Will have to upgrade asap.

Morse code can punch through interference when SSB and a.m. voice (phone) can not, and can get a signal out around the world with very little power needed.

It will never be obsolete.


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Response to wonderwarthog (Reply #10)

Fri Sep 13, 2019, 11:20 AM

15. I'm an Extra, but came up when you "had" to have code for the other higher licenses.

Once I learned to be proficient in CW, I really just started using it almost exclusively. I like CW because, like you said, it can get through on fairly low power using extremely simple equipment and antennas.

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Response to fools_gold (Original post)

Wed Sep 11, 2019, 04:36 PM

4. Dad's shack was also in a rack

It is still in storage, but I may be getting some or all of it out soon. Hubby passed his general and we are looking at putting up a multiband antenna to go along with our triband UHF.

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Response to His Daughter (Reply #4)

Wed Sep 11, 2019, 05:09 PM

7. My two main antennas are multi-band

My main antenna is a 66 ft (40 meter) off center fed dipole with a 4:1 balun at the feed point. It tunes acceptably on 6, 10, 12, 15, 20, 30 (sometimes), 40, and the low end of 80 meters. It doesn't like 17 meters with my particular feedpoint ratio. It's only up about 20 ft in the air, which is way too low by conventional wisdom, but I have worked all states and over 100 countries with it, so it works. If you have some more room and some height a 135' (80 meter) version would be even better.

My other favorite wire antenna is a 72' wire with a 9:1 UNUN on the end, fed with 25' of RG-8X coax, which also works as the counterpoise. Yeah, I get some RF currents on the shield, but it has never been a problem. here at the house the feed point is at about 8' high at the eave of my house, and the end of the wire runs up about 25' into some trees where I tie it off with paracord. It works fantastic. For field ops I just take it down and at the park just find a tree or a picnic bench corner to mount the feedpoint and then just literally throw the other end up in some trees. It works. There are other pseudo random lengths of wire that will also work, but 72' works good for me.

Get that stuff out of storage, throw some wire up in the air, and get on the air!

BTW, here's the bestest ever thread on building an OCFD. It's the source I used for mine. Jupiter7200 is a legend at the AR15dotcom ham forum.

https://www.ar15.com/forums/outdoors/Let-s-Make-an-OCFD/22-690848/

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Response to fools_gold (Reply #7)

Fri Sep 13, 2019, 11:23 AM

16. I agree, 20 feet up or better and you can work the world. I have WAS and about 20 countries using

a G5RV and an MFJ manual versa-tuner.

"It's only up about 20 ft in the air, which is way too low by conventional wisdom, but I have worked all states and over 100 countries with it, so it works."

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Response to fools_gold (Original post)

Wed Sep 11, 2019, 04:54 PM

6. One more pic I had handy ....

This was taken in my shed when I was testing a "minimalist" configuration. HF only, but all modes, Phone (voice), CW (morse code), and digital (think email). I use a 40 AHr LiPO4 battery for power, and have a 100W solar panel and charge controller available. The radio is a rugged Icom-7200 HF rig. On top is the intelligent auto antenna tuner that tunes the 72 ft end fed random wire I usually use as a field antenna.



This has become my favorite field config for just throwing the couple of Pelican cases in the back of the truck or SUV and go set up at a park or somewhere while my wife runs around with the grandson. You'd be surprised how many folks come and ask questions when set up at a picnic table.

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Response to fools_gold (Reply #6)

Thu Sep 12, 2019, 05:54 PM

11. SWEET!


Thanks for the post and pics!


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Response to fools_gold (Original post)

Thu Sep 12, 2019, 05:46 PM

9. Makes me blush!

This is professional grade equipment, and fools_gold is light years above the license category known in ham radio as "Expert Class" (the highest license level awarded) in knowledge and proficiency.

I am most grateful to get a peek at this level of Starship worthy comm gear!

Also hope he will be gracious enough to post more radio eye candy!

There is something missing from his shack though - a good high powered telescope, so he can see the galaxy he's talking to!


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Response to wonderwarthog (Reply #9)

Thu Sep 12, 2019, 07:34 PM

12. Thanks, 'Hog.

You don't need to blush. I've just accumulated a lot of stuff (and experience) over the years (decades).

I was a radio head at an early age, got my Novice class license in 1961 at age 12. Played with radio stuff in Boy Scouts through high school, and went on to get a degree in Electrical Engineering. Then into the Army Signal Corps as an officer and a 40 year career in Army communications and RDT&E, mostly in commo and EW stuff. So, I kinda cheated!

No telescope in my shack, but my son has one. And my son is also an Extra Class license holder, and holds my Dad's old Extra Class call sign.

I'll try to post some more pics about emergency power and antennas. My main interest is in emergency communications, so it will mostly be field deployable stuff.

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Response to fools_gold (Reply #12)

Fri Sep 13, 2019, 12:11 AM

13. Hats off!


Your credentials speak for themselves.

There is nothing to say, except thank you!


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Response to fools_gold (Reply #12)

Fri Sep 13, 2019, 11:27 AM

18. Emergency communications is key in Ham radio.

I am an ARRL Official Relay Station and belong to a state network that sends and receives messages (in CW) during emergencies.

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Response to MeatSandwich (Reply #18)

Fri Sep 13, 2019, 11:37 AM

19. CW traffic is a great capability that I wish I could do

But I'm just not good enough at CW.

Our club is more into digital EMCOMM. I work with our county ARES guys and set up Winlink 2000 stations at our EOCs and potential shelter sites. My interest is mostly in portable or mobile HF Winlink 2000 email capability to get emergency email traffic out of the area when our grid and internet infrastructure is completely down. I use HF to hit gateway nodes in Little Rock, AR on 40m and Tampa, FL on 20m daytime. From here in Central Texas those skip distances are most reliable.

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Response to fools_gold (Reply #19)

Fri Sep 13, 2019, 11:42 AM

20. For emergency comms we also use 20 and 40. They seem to work best.

I've seen the Winlink stations in use, they are awesome. And even though CW is no longer required for the higher licenses, I still highly recommend learning and becoming proficient in it. It's a valuable tool to have in the Ham tool kit.

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