First 10 years as a ham has come to a close!

As of 4/11/18, the callsign KD8IZD has been renewed until 7/8/2028. I’m good to go for 10 more years! By the way, it’s a very easy process to complete on the FCC website. Anyone with questions on how to do the free FCC renewal, feel free to inquire. I’ll be glad to assist.

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A perfect example of tornado vortex signature.

Not a lot of weather posts on the blog that is supposed to be 1/4 weather, so here’s one.

A perfect example of a TVS. This was the radar image taken around 6:10 pm on 4/15/17 outside of Danville VA. Very easy to see the red/green couplet.

A Reflection On Sixteen Years 9/11/2001 – 9/11/2017

Today, we remember. We reflect on the lives of those lost on September 11, 2001. Today marks 16 years since terror and tragedy struck our great nation and we still stand free and taller than ever.

Sixteen years ago today, we lost thousands of innocent Americans to acts of terror that are unthinkable. Today, we remember the lives and selfless acts of the first responders who entered the towers and gave the ultimate sacrifice to try to rescue people they didn’t even know. The destruction of the Pentagon and those who died without reason. The passengers of United Flight 93 who pulled together and rushed the cockpit, those aboard giving their lives to save so many others. The military personnel and all veterans, who before and after 9/11, fought to maintain our freedom, and still fight for our freedom today. Those that survived to tell their story so that the rest of us could understand what happened on the ground in NYC that day. And, possibly most importantly, may we remember the outstanding acts of kindness displayed by our fellow Americans that followed the attack. That kind of courage and willingness to pick up the pieces and become stronger as individuals and as a nation may be the cornerstone of what it means to be an American. That may be the most important lesson of all. We didn’t allow those who tried to drag us down to succeed! We persevered and came back stronger than ever!

We as a people were changed forever following the events of 9/11. Today’s children only know from their history books and the TV shows that are ran at this time of year what happened. I feel that it is imperative that today’s students learn and understand what happened that fateful day and understand the importance of why we reflect, as a nation, every year on September 11.

I pray that as we reflect on this day, that God bless these United States and watch over it’s people!

9/11/2001:  WE WILL NEVER FORGET!

Baofeng… The best little HT I’ve ever owned!

I was skeptical at first, but pulled the trigger on the UV-5R. It’s a decision I will NEVER regret. This is the best performing handi-talkie I have ever had the pleasure of operating. Other than the somewhat confusing menu abbreviations and the backlight that comes on during recieve, I love it. Now that backlight can be set multiple ways, but turning the recieve light off is a minor inconvenience because it is also the standby light. The keypad won’t light up if you have it off and push a button.

This little radio outperforms my Motorola tenfold with just a stock antenna at 5 Watts. In fact, it works best with only the stock antenna. I have both a Comet and Nagoya and neither one works as well as the 10″ “rubber duck” that came with the radio. I also bought the upgraded full-sized, aka “extended” battery. At 3800 MAH,  it should be able to stand by for a week with no charge and provide many more hours of transmit at full power than the regular battery or any commercial radio I have ever owned. The next HT will be the $60 tribander (144/222/440,) the UV-5X3, or the DMR capable DM-5 series.

(Later added:  As a note, I do know all of the negativity behind these radios.  I know that they allegedly produce tons of spurious emission and have no front end filtering.  While I can vouch for the lack of filters on recurve, I can not confirm whether the radio I have produces the giant frequency spurs everyone talks about because I don’t have an analyzer.  However, I have never had complaints of splatter or poor audio as is commonly the case.  Do your homework before buying one of these radios, and only buy from a reputable source; i.e. straight from the company or an authorized retailer.  There are some people out there that produce almost exact copies, re-badge them and put super cheap, extremely wonky components inside them just to make a buck.  This is what most “bad” Baofengs are made of.  Don’t get me wrong, there is the occasion where you will get a bad radio from the source. Of the research I have done, this is few and far between. Don’t let somebody scare you off the airwaves because you don’t have the $150+ radio, but do try make sure your radio still falls within the FCC regulations.)

Hope my few followers are enjoying my blog so far!

73, catch you farther down the coax!

KD8IZD

My Gear, and a little about choosing a radio. (aka. – The missing post)

My home station gear:  

(Note:  This section purposely written in some areas to explain my setups to people who are unfamiliar, or hams just starting out.  This is what I like to use, and though it is my opinion, I recommend you do the research and select the gear that best suits your needs and preferences.  Sometimes cheaper isn’t always better, but sometimes you can find a diamond in the rough for under $50, and with a little research, you may find you don’t need expensive radios and antennas for the kind of radio work you want to do.  If you are a new tech and just want to get on the air on your local 2 meter repeater but cant afford the new Yeasu or Icom mobile everyone talks about, plus the power supply, coax and antenna, a $30 Baofeng HT and a homemade coat hanger antenna may be your answer.)

  • Kenwood TS-440S running a G5RV antenna in an inverted V at around 45′ up a tree, I sometimes use a homemade long wire cut for 20 meters.  Software is HamRadioDeluxe (the old free version) for rig control, digital modes and logging.
    • Mic is a cheap broadcast style directional on a scissor and shock mount, but works great.  I have it running into a Shure Mic mixer with custom, home-brew cables going to the rig from the mixer.  (A quick word of advice, ALWAYS verify your mic ohms with the radio before you attempt to connect it.  This will save you a lot of time and headaches later on when the mic won’t work and you have no idea why…  The mixer fixed this for me.)
    • External MFJ inductive tuner (“SuperTuner” style with no meter.)
  • Motorola Spectra with Motorola desk mic.  These things are a bit of a bear to program, but I’ve found the results to be very much worthwhile.

As you’ll see later on, and from the last statement, I prefer commercial radios, particularly Motorola for 2 meter.  I don’t do much with 70 centimeter as there just isn’t a market for it around here.

 Portable:

  • Baofeng UV-5R with battery upgrade.  The best performing HT I’ve ever owned.  Stock antenna performs better than the Nagoya.

Mobile:

  • By far my physically smallest setup, not counting portable… I run a VHF Motorola Spectra in the car, and yes, I still keep a CB in there as well.  Antenna for 2m is a Laird “short” style (5/8 wave?) antenna on a magnetic mount. Coax has been modified to accept the radio’s UHF style connection without an adapter (been there, done that… Every adapter I bought was too lossy and liked to unscrew itself from the radio after a few potholes!)
  • 10m – Uniden President.  A classic 10 meter rig.  In fact, this was my first true base station setup when I was still a Tech and limited to the 10m band.  It is still a good radio, and was recently re-aligned and tuned for better transmit performance.  (Thanks to Scott – WV8SM)
  • Uniden Home Patrol Model 1 P25 digital scanner.  This for the obvious reason, I listen to the active calls on the way in to work.  It is a very handy scanner, because in a pinch, you can program it on the fly with just a city name, Zip code or even GPS antenna connected to the unit.  Of all the digital scanners I have been around, this is by far the easiest to program, with or without the software, and the touch screens highly descriptive menus are much more simple to operate that the traditional pushbutton scanners.  For the technically inclined folks, I bought the unlock code and can also use the HP-1 as a spectrum and trunk analyzer.  These can be really handy once you learn how the features work.

Missing Post

Well, I put about a half hour into a post when I first started the blog.  It basically entailed how I got into ham radio and a couple of general thoughts on gear to go along with the shack pictures I’d posted previously, as well as a description of my gear.  It seems to have gone missing, but it needed updated anyway.  I’ll retype it again here soon and get it posted along with pictures of the mobile and portable radios.

Joining a new radio group.

Tonight at 9PM Eastern, 0200 UTC, I will submit my fourth and qualifying check-in for the Country Cousins Net (Southern Section net.)  Anyone is free to check in on this net. It meets nightly at the above time on 3.970.00 MHz.  Go see what they are all about here… http://www.qsl.net/ww4scc/  (not sure if the hyperlink came through, if not, just copy and paste.)

Feel free to drop in.  This is a “ragchew” style roundtable net, but short-time stations can check and run.  See you on the radio!

73- de KD8IZD

Going to try to get back into the blog again.

To my small amount of followers thus far, I’m surprised anyone stuck around.  I don’t post very often due to my somewhat hectic life of shift work.  At this point, I am on the 0000-0800 hour midnight shift, then back to 1600-0000 afternoon shift for January, so I’ll have a lot of time in the next month or so to get things going.  I do have some new developments in the HF world to share, and finally have the long awaited shack pictures to go along with the descriptions.  I also may be airing from a new QTH soon, more on that after the first of the year, so STAY TUNED!!!

73 de KD8IZD

Long time, no post…

Haven’t been around for a while.  I have been kind of busy.  Haven’t been on the air much for the past few months due to broken dipole ropes, nor have I been here due to how hot the radio room gets.  I have added some new equipment to my inventory including an MFJ-943 Versa-Tuner and will be posting pictures as soon as I clean up the shack a bit.

Since Field Day, I have upgraded to Amateur Extra and got my ARRL Volunteer Examiner credentials.  I also fried my HTs high power final transistor that same day…  I have upgraded it from a Kenwood to a Motorola MT 2000 Jedi top display (model 1 for all you technical folks out there.)  After I got it programmed, I took it apart to fix a speaker that sounds like aluminum cans rattling around and managed to damage the ribbon cable that connects the display and speaker.  Waiting now on a parts radio that if works, i may use full time as it has more features than the one I have now.  I hope everything is going well with any followers I have so far.  Planning on becoming more active with this page in the future, but life gets in the way sometimes.

73 everyone!

-KD8IZD