Showing posts from February, 2013

Funny Velveeta commercial featuring ham radio

Funny (but flawed) commercial featuring ham radio.  Can you spot any of the flaws?

Good DX and 73, NJ2X

Amateur Radio Supplies Announces Giveaway to Promote Youth in Amateur Radio

Haverhill, Mass., February 2, 2013 – Amateur Radio Supplies of Haverhill, Mass., announced today a new biannual giveaway to promote youth in amateur radio DXing and contesting. “Getting on HF (high frequency) in today’s economy is very challenging for many, but especially for our youth operators,” said Jeff Demers, owner, Amateur Radio Supplies. “Many youth operators are unable to purchase the needed equipment to get on the air. Here at Amateur Radio Supplies, we want them to experience the joy that has propelled us in this hobby for many decades. Thus, on June 1, 2013, we’ll be doing the second of many station sponsorships to support youth in DXing and contesting.” 
Amateur Radio Supplies will give a complete HF (high frequency) station to the selected applicant, including:  Alinco DX-SR8T/E 160-10m All Mode Transceiver & 30 Amp PSLDG AT-100 Pro II Desktop Antenna TunerChoice of Rugged All Band G5RV or HyGain DX-77A Vertical 100’ of Premium RG-213 CoaxVibroplex Brass Ra…

Built to trash: the totally defective HT clone cable

I admit it.  I like to save money and I love to home brew, repurpose, and recycle.  Ham radio seems to fit really well with this way of thinking.  A ham radio project is simply more fun when you are engaged with your own two hands and applying your own creativity.  Some my call it being "thrifty" but it really goes well beyond the dollars and cents.  Fundamentally, it is the human need to create that is at work here.

However, occasionally the home brewing and repurposing (and money saving) goes awry.  Case in point: the totally defective HT clone cable. 

I had an idea for a project that involved interfacing our Kenwood HT audio-in and push-to-talk switch.  I mulled over various approaches including buying and soldering 3.5mm and 2.5mm jacks.  Using two jacks would certainly work and was easy-enough but the result would not looks as nice as the commercial dual-prong moulded connector used on the HT's headset.

I happened on a super-cheap eBay listing for Kenwood HT clone …

Home Brew 17 Tube Hoofus-Doofus

This 1929 Polymet ad gave us a chuckle.  Wouldn't you love to see the home-brew 17 tube "Hoofus-Doofus"?

Good DX and 73, NJ2X

Project: PicoKeyer Plus Kit

Back in 2010, we built the PicoKeyer Plus (V3.8) kit from HamGadgets (N0XAS Dale).  We really enjoyed building and using this kit and wanted to share our experience and a pictures of the finished product.

What is a PicoKeyer Plus? The PicoKeyer Plus is a diminutive Morse code memory keyer that comes in kit form.  The PicoKeyer Plus is available fully assembled too.  This photo provides a little perspective of the relative size as compared to a Hamkey.

Why the PicoKeyer Plus? There are a fair number of keyers on the market.  We choose the PicoKeyer because it fit really well with what we were looking for.  Namely:
Value - Hard to beat this much keyer for under $20.Code Practice Oscillator - The built-in speaker was attractive since the keyer could be used for learning Morse code.Kit - There is nothing quite as satisfying as building your own device and then using it.Appearance - We really like the quality looking finished product with its attractive and durable case.MCW - The small size…

Vintage Electronics Ads - A Window Into The Past

One enjoyable way to pass a little time is to flip through vintage periodicals.  Each page is a window into the past that allows you to see how people lived. 

This ad shows a radio phonograph selling for $81.88.  That was a lot of money for the time.  You couldn't buy anything like this made today at any price.

Good DX and 73, NJ2X

GlobalQSL Service Review

We love receiving a batch of QSL cards from the ARRL 2nd District QSL Bureau.  It is fun for the whole family to look through the cards and marvel at the pictures of far away places, exotic names, and the creativity and artistry of each card.  QSL cards seem as varied and different as people - each one is unique and special.  We file each card away by country of origin in a big box.

The ARRL QSL Bureau performs a wonderful service for the US amateur radio community.  We are amazed each time we receive a packet of cards at what must go into the process.  We had an opportunity to stop by the ARRL HQ in 2012 for a tour and saw the operation first hand.  Kudos to all the ARRL QSL Bureau volunteers.

We are enthusiastic users of the ARRL Logbook of The World (LoTW) service for the majority of our contacts.  It is easy to use, convenient, fast, and a less expensive way to QSL than traditional paper QSL card.  However, not everyone is a subscriber to the LoTW so we also return paper QSL's…

Power of positive thinking...

“If you think you can, you can. If you think you can’t, you’re right.” -- Henry Ford

What are common-mode currents?

You may have heard of common-mode currents in reference to transmission lines, baluns, common-mode chokes, SWR, RF in the shack, and a long list of other RF-evil.   So it is clear common-mode currents are to be avoided but what the heck are they?

The key to a basic understanding of common-mode currents is to recognize that the word "common" is used to describe currents flowing in the same (common) direction on both transmission line conductors.  This is in contrast to the optimal situation (with no common-mode currents), where transmission line conductors will have currents flowing in opposite directions exactly balanced.

Common-mode currents appear on transmission lines due to asymmetry in the antenna system.  For example, common-mode currents appear when feeding a balanced antenna such as a dipole with unbalanced feed line (coaxial cable).

Good DX and 73, NJ2X