Category Archives: Random Thoughts

New Site Title and Call Sign

Those of you that have been to my site before might be a bit confused. This site used to be called KBØASQ after my Amateur Radio Call Sign. After dragging my feet for awhile, I requested that the FCC reassign to me my original Call Sign WDØDXD.

It is the first call sign I had when I got my ticket in 1978. It wasn’t reassigned after I lost it when my novice license expired after the 2 year period that they were good for back then. They changed the rules and allowed you to reapply and keep the novice license if it had not been expired for more than 1 year or 2 (I don’t remember how long it was). So I reapplied and got a new sequential license.

Nothing has changed, just got the old call back and should have some new content ready for you soon.

73
Allen
WDØDXD

Second Week with the Genesis G59

Spent the last week or two working out some of the kinks on the G59.  I had run PSK-31 and JF65 and I was having really great success.  Made close to 100 contacts in a two week period and was getting great reports on my signal.

I had a few nagging problems the biggest being that at the start of transmission and end of transmission, I would get a HIGH SWR alert on the software.  It didn’t seem to be actually be high swr on the meter or on my external meter, so after awhile I just kind of ignored it.

Then I decided it was time to move forward and try and make some SSB contacts.  I ordered a Heil Proset 6 and when it came in, I thought I would be in business.  No such luck.

Every time I would try to transmit, the mux indication would come on and the SWR ALERT would show up and I would have no output.

To make a long story short, I spent the next three days trying to figure out what was going on.  With the help of Bruce and a couple of other people on the Yahoo Group, I finally figured out that I hadn’t completed the jumpers on the mic preamp circuit and since the Heil uses a HC-6 element which is dynamic, I needed to install a 1 uH blocking capacitor.  I built a little adapter with the blocking cap in it and viola, everything works great.

I made several contacts using SSB to Oregon and Nevada.  I received very good audio reports from both.  Really enjoy working with the kit.

Know what you want to do

It’s been almost a year since my last post.  To be honest, I wasn’t sure I even wanted to keep doing a blog.  I seem to get all excited and work on it for a couple of weeks and then life comes and smacks you in the face and it takes you a year to recover.

I won’t go into any personal details, but will give you a quick update on my ham activities.

First, the last few posts about the ham shack upgrade/redo.  Just ignore them.  I enjoyed it for about 11 months and then we decided that someone else in the house needed to have their own bedroom.  So the ham shack has moved out into the garage into my office.  While I enjoyed having the shack in the basement, it has worked out being in my office.  When I have a little down time from the business, I can turn around and work JT-65 and now JT-9.

Read more »

Re-Using a Astatic D-104 Mic

I have been busy blowing up the Ham Shack and re-building it this summer.  More on that later.  Astatic D-104

One of the primary goals in doing this, was to make sure as much as possible everything in the shack served a purpose and got used.  We live in a small house and space is at a premium.  I looked around the shack this spring and realized that all but a few things I had in it where basically just for decoration.

One of those “Things” was an old Astatic D-104 Mic.  I got it when I purchased a Heathkit HW-101 about 3 years ago.  The PO threw the mic in since I didn’t have one for the HW-101.  I kept it because the XYL and one of my daughters thought it looked “Cool”.  Well if I could get them to show at least some interest in may obsession, I wasn’t going to complain, so it just sat on the desk.

So, I decided to see if I could make it useful again.  It wasn’t wired to work on any of my new Kenwoods and from what I researched, the original mic elements where pretty tinny and this one had been replaced at one time with only god knows what.  I did a little more research and found the Heil Sound made a retro fit kit to put one of their elements in the D-104.  I was excited about that and went to all the usual sources to order one.  unfortunately, no one had one and one site said it was discontinued.  I then went to Heil’s website and sure enough, I couldn’t find it listed.

So in desperation I emailed Heil and asked if I could at least by the components to rebuild the d-104.  I was surprised to get a response back almost immediately from Bob himself.

“Allen

We make the kit with the new HC  5.1   Best to call Jerry at 618 257 3000.
He can help
Thanks
BOB HEIL, K9eID”
So I called Jerry and the element was $50.00 plus shipping and I had it in 2 days.  Wow, talk about customer service.
I followed the instructions and put the element in.  Then I rewired the switch in the stand to make it work with the Kenwoods and put a new mic cable and 8 pin connector on it.  I have gotten really good reports back and am using it on my TS-790 for now.  So for $50.00 and an hours worth of work, I now have taken something from the bench and put it back to work.
Till Later, 73
Allen
KBØASQ

America at a crossroads

I just read a really informative article interview of  Neal DeGrasse about our space program.  I agree with a lot of what he says.  It seems the last couple of decades we have invested money in making money out of thin air.  Wall Street, the financial markets you know the “Services industry”.

While that is important, we seem to have lost our way in the world and ultimately the universe.  If we won’t or can’t make investments in science and technology, we will just have to accept the fact that we will eventually suffer the fate of all great empires.  Mediocracy.

Fall Ham Shack Activities

The ham shack has been pretty quiet since Field Day. Getting work done, other hobbies and vacation.

At the beginning of October, I got to work again and made some changes on my antenna. I added a Comtek W2FMI balun from DXengineering and changed to using a LDG AT-1000Pro antenna tuner. What a difference! No rf in the shack any more and instant tuning.

I have been running JT-65 HF mostly and I am playing with the latest version of JT-Alert. It’s a great upgrade and Laurie, VK3AMA is doing a wonderful job with the upgrades on the program.

That’s all for now, as winter sets in I will post some more info on the various projects I will be working on.

Heathkit is back in the Kit business!!!

For all of you that are fans of the old Heathkit products, finally you have hope.

Take a look at heathkit.com and you will see they are launching two new kits this August with more to come.

They are asking for ideas for new kits, so email them at info@heathkit.com with your Amateur Radio ideas.

I have been a big fan of Heathkit for a long time and love building kits, so this is great news to me.

How about Switching Power Supplies, Antenna Tuners, Small SDR Transceivers?

Better Late than Never?

That is a question not a statement.  I will admit it, I am a procrastinator.

When I got back into the hobby a few years back, I didn’t have any QSL cards.  When I got my General ticket and started making contacts, I thought I would just print out some QSL cards for the few that I got by mail and that would be good.

KB0ASQ QSL CardWell of course I fought the printer when feeding the card stock and then I didn’t like the design I came up with and of course when I designed them, I needed to send them in an envelope and they didn’t fit in a standard envelope.

So of course they just piled up on my desk.

Not anymore.  I finally got to the point where I was feeling guilty and just ordered some from www.cheapqsl.com.  They showed up in about 3-4 days and today I spent about an hour filling them out.  To anyone that was waiting on a qsl card, I sincerely apologize and promise to not let it happen again.

A couple of things I have learned from this:

1.  Keep it simple.  I need to just have a card that I don’t have to mess with putting in an envelope.  One that I can just fill out, slap a stamp on and mail.

2.  I don’t need to mess with label printing programs.  Since most of my qsl’s are through eQSL.com, I don’t really receive too many in the mail.  So for me it’s just best to hand write them out and get them taken care of before I push them under a pile of papers.

Sometimes I tinker too much and end up not fulfilling my obligations.  I really need to take that to heart with everything else in my life.

« Older Entries