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[#] Mon Sep 30 2013 10:42:46 EDT from Sig

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So there's an amateur radio place. Easy to <z>ap for those who don't care.

[#] Mon Sep 30 2013 18:43:31 EDT from ax25

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Oops, did not mean to diddle.


[#] Mon Sep 30 2013 23:33:16 EDT from ax25

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So Sig, have you checked out the UDR-56?

Wow, I see from the quotes on the website that you did not miss it.  Lucky.  I registered for the pre-order as well, but never had a response.  Probably just as well as my fun money is about out for the year after purchasing a new furnace for the winter :-)


[#] Tue Oct 01 2013 10:38:11 EDT from Sig

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I hadn't even heard of it until the DCC, but I was thoroughly impressed byt their goals as presented. The theme of open hardware was pervasive throughout the conference. I still haven't preordered one, though in a comment on my blog post about it, they told me to send them an e-mail address and I'd get added to the lis at pre-order pricing (which was nice). My Capri may need major engine surgery, however, so that will probably be deferred somewhat.

Their quote is driving a significant portion of my insignificant blog traffic.

[#] Fri Nov 08 2013 11:35:11 EST from Sig

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I hate that I've spent a ton (for me) of money on all of this sweet radio gear, and I just have not had time to really get into it. I really should have worked hard to get a good antenna set up for the house before the weather turned absolutely evil.

I'm considering trying to implement a wire-dipole-in-the-attic arrangement like I keep reading about. Even though I have a half acre and live in a redneck neighborhood where no one cares in the slightest about antenna towers, I'm fascinated by the "stealth antenna" schemes of apartment dwellers, etc.

[#] Sat Nov 09 2013 22:54:09 EST from ax25

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Better to experiment with designs you can reach than waste time with something up a pole in the backyard that is snowed in most of the winter.

[#] Sun Nov 10 2013 15:39:46 EST from IGnatius T Foobar

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The attic dipole setups described on the Internet seem to rely heavily on the use of carefully placed traps to right-size the antenna spans for each band. Which bands are you transmitting on?

[#] Sun Nov 10 2013 21:28:57 EST from vince-q <>

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I would very strongly recommend an outdoor vertical (trapped) for 80m to 10m (some are even available including the "WARC" bands).

There are some outstanding designs commercially available that do not require the use of groundplanes (radial wires). Very much "counter-intuitive" to us old-school types that were brought up believing that "anything vertical" required burying hundreds of feet of copper wires to act as a counterpoise. Apparently these newer designs do it electronically and it does work. Back in NJ I used a Cushcraft "thing" without radials and it worked well. Surprisingly well. But be prepared to spend between $300 and $600 for the right antenna, and do your homework (which means get out to a club meeting or three, and find out what folks are actually using and get opinions).

The *worst* outdoor antenna will out-perform the *best* indoor antenna on HF just about all the time - not even close.

--Vince (K2NE)

[#] Mon Nov 11 2013 11:15:47 EST from IGnatius T Foobar

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You guys are making me want to take on another hobby now. How dare you threaten my wallet like that :)

What's the range of a modest HF rig? Would we be able to reach across the continent?

[#] Mon Nov 11 2013 11:35:58 EST from vince-q

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What's the range of a modest HF rig? Would we be able to reach across

the continent?

The range of *any* HF rig is directly (and almost solely) dependent on the antenna you are using.

With a reasonable outdoor antenna (half-wave dipole at any height over 40 feet) you can expect to communicate easily over the distance appropriate to the band on which you are operating and the time of day (conditions change with position of the sun relative to the midpoint of the path over which you are attempting to communicate).

Just about all multi-band HF rigs cover the basic ham bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, and 10 meters.

Depending on propagation conditions and a reasonable antenna you should be able to communicate on a range from 400 miles to world-wide depending on the band on which you choose to operate at that time.

You can buy a reasonably "equipped" HF rig (used) for less than $500.00 that will get you up and running on CW (morse code) and SSB (single sideband voice). The unit may or may not include a microphone and if it does, you will most likely want or need a better one. Figure $50 to $100 for that (used).

The dipole antenna? Build it yourself - you will need a 'balun' at the feedpoint (please see a book!) and four insulators (see a good hardware store), some rope, the ability to climb trees (see your local high school kid) and, of course, **trees**.

If you want to use the Morse Code (CW, or Continuous Wave telegraphy), you will need a telegraph key. There are all sorts of those ranging from simple to electronic. You really must start on a simple "straight key." You can progress from that later to such creatures as spring-activated keyers, electronic keyers, memory keyers, and more. Obviously as you progress things get a bit more costly. You can pick up a simple straight key for under $50 if you look around. The electronic stuff runs up in cost depending on the 'bells and whistles' included.

And the rest of the story depends on experience. And the only way to get experience is to jump in and DO it.

Oh - don't forget to pick up that LICENSE first!

--Vince (K2NE)

[#] Tue Nov 19 2013 23:10:10 EST from Sig

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Morse is not a bar to entry any longer, though still worth doing. Worst case, you can (of course) do it in software.

[#] Wed Nov 20 2013 00:50:16 EST from vince-q

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Demonstrating send/receive proficiency in the International Morse Code was never a "bar to entry."

It was (and still should be) our *idiot* filter.


[#] Wed Nov 20 2013 00:54:20 EST from vince-q

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Actually, the code probably wasn't very good at being an idiot filter. But what it did was weed out the merely curious. "Back in the day" getting a ham license required real work regardless of how good you were with "the theory."

I've seen Ph.D. physicists not make it through the "code barrier" that were published in the field (E&M, Prppagation, etc.).
[of course, I've also known Ph.D. physicists that couldn't dress with colors coordinated etc etc - yes, Sheldon is an archetype, but they *are* "out there"!!]

[#] Wed Nov 20 2013 12:14:59 EST from IGnatius T Foobar

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Morse is not a bar to entry any longer, though still worth doing.
Worst case, you can (of course) do it in software.

I figured there would have had to be software encoders/decoders out there.

Knowing how my brain is wired, I could probably absorb Morse code simply by watching the decoder operate while listening.

[#] Thu Nov 21 2013 04:07:22 EST from vince-q

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Learning Morse Code is absurdly easy.... IF you are a musician!

[#] Thu Nov 21 2013 11:43:47 EST from IGnatius T Foobar

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Ok, explain that please. I am a musician. Is there a trick to feeling a rhythm of some sort to understand code?

[#] Thu Nov 21 2013 15:10:25 EST from vince-q <>

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Nov 21 2013 8:43am from IGnatius T Foobar @uncnsrd (Uncensored)
Ok, explain that please. I am a musician. Is there a trick to feeling

a rhythm of some sort to understand code?

Absolutely. The code (as a musician) is *all* about rhythm.

Take "L" for example.
di DAH di dit.
To the rhythm of promouncing the word "fraternity."
Try it.
fra TER ni ty
di DAH di dit

...and so on.

[#] Sat Nov 23 2013 11:22:05 EST from fleeb

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Heh... one always associates 'fraternity' with the letter L. I mean, look at the word! Roll it around on your tongue. It just screams 'L'.

And 'plethora' screams the letter 'S'.

And 'Torus' is obviously 'N'.


Actually, I don't think those words are really doing it for me.

[#] Sat Nov 23 2013 11:23:01 EST from fleeb

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(Although, it's amusing to think that Carol of the Bells does a pretty good job of representing the letter 'B').

[#] Sat Dec 07 2013 12:02:41 EST from Sig

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Well, I'm glad the idiot filter is gone. Us idiots have been scheming for decades on how to infiltrate and destroy amateur radio. It took a protracted effort from our plant Bruce Berens to make it happen, but it was worth it.

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