Showing posts from June, 2016

Project: Fabricating a Anderson PowerPole to 3.4mm dc connector for the Kenwood TH-F6A

In our prior post, "Project: Hacking the Nomad 7 Solar Panel for Amateur Radio Use", we explained how to replace the stock 12Vdc 8mm male connector with the more useful Anderson PowerPole connector.

In this post, we describe how to make a pigtail cable to connect the Kenwood TH-F6A triband HT to a 12Vdc power source via an Anderson PowerPole connector.  As our starting point, we purchased a Kenwood PG-2W cable from Universal Radio.  The Kenwood PG-2W cable comes with fuses already installed.

Step 1: Slide on a short length of heat shrink tubing

Slide on a short length of heat shrink tubing over both the tinned ends of the PG-2W cable.The tubing will be used to dress the cable and provide a little strain relief.

Step 2: Solder on Anderson PowerPole contacts

Solder (or crimp) on the Anderson PowerPole contacts onto the tinned ends of the PG-2W cable.

Step 3: Install the Anderson PowerPole housing

The positive wire is clearly tagged on the PG-2W.Install the Anderson PowerPole hous…

Design your own language...

"If you decide to design your own language, there are thousands of sort of amateur language designer pitfalls." -- Guido van Rossum

Field Day 2016 is here!

ARRL Field Day is the most popular on-the-air event held annually in the US and Canada. On the fourth weekend of June, more than 35,000 radio amateurs gather with their clubs, groups or simply with friends to operate from remote locations.

The objective of Field Day is to work as many stations as possible on any and all amateur bands (excluding the 60, 30, 17, and 12-meter bands) and to learn to operate in abnormal situations in less than optimal conditions. Field Day is open to all amateurs in the areas covered by the ARRL/RAC Field Organizations and countries within IARU Region 2. DX stations residing in other regions may be contacted for credit, but are not eligible to submit entries.

Field Day is always the fourth full weekend of June, beginning at 1800 UTC Saturday and running through 2059 UTC Sunday. Field Day 2016 is June 25-26.

Hope to hear you on the air.

Good DX and 73, NJ2X

Project: Hacking the Nomad 7 Solar Panel for Amateur Radio Use

In our earlier article, "Backpacking Amateur Radio Power: Alternatives" we explored various solutions to powering electronic devices (iPhone and an amateur radio HT) while backpacking.  The Goal Zero Nomad 7 solar panel met our requirements the best.

In this post, we explain step-by-step how we modified the Nomad 7 solar panel to make it more convenient to use in amateur radio applications.

Goal Zero has made a very handy little solar panel in the Nomad 7.  It provides power via a USB port and a 12Vdc port.  This makes it possible for us to recharge our iPhone (5V USB) and Kenwood TH-F6A (12Vdc) from the Nomad 7.  One of the great things about standards is how many of them there are. There are innumerable standards for 12v power connectors.  We prefer the Anderson PowerPole connector for our 12Vdc applications.  Unfortunately, the Nomad 7 provides 12Vdc via an 8mm connector.

In order to connector our Kenwood TH-F6A to the Nomad 7 we would need to make a pigtail.  We consider…

Learning Python is a lot easier than C, C++, or Java

"Now, it's my belief that Python is a lot easier than to teach to students programming and teach them C or C++ or Java at the same time because all the details of the languages are so much harder. Other scripting languages really don't work very well there either." -- Guido van Rossum

Backpacking Amateur Radio Power: Alternatives

In our prior post (Backpacking Amateur Radio Power: Requirements) we discussed our requirements for powering our electronics in the backcountry including an HT and an iPhone.  We defined our requirements in the form of a user story with acceptance criteria.

USER STORY: As a backpacker, I need a way to use my TH-F6A radio and iPhone 6 during my backpacking trip and not run out of battery before the end of the trip so that I can have fun with the devices during the trip and have them ready for use at any time during the trip in the event of an emergency to call for help.

Must allow the backpacker to use the device a little or a lot as needed.Must be flexible enough to allow the backpacker to use the solution regardless of duration (our typical backpacking adventures range from from 1 night to 15 days).Must not add significant weight to the pack (i.e. < 1.5 lbs / 0.68Kg).Must be able to maintain power for an iPhone via the USB connection (5Vdc USB power).Must be abl…

Light is electromagnetic waves...

"light is electromagnetic waves: the speed of electromagnetic waves experimentally agrees with the speed of light in a vacuum, and neither experiment depended on the other view." -- J. C. Maxwell

Backpacking Amateur Radio Power: Requirements

So how do you bring an iPhone and HT on a backpacking trip and use them without running out of battery before the end of the trip?  In this post, we explore this question and the requirements in implies.

We have been doing a lot of backpacking lately in the mountains of Northern California.  Backpacking is great exercise, physically challenging, and a great way to immerse yourself in nature.  A backpacker must carry everything needed for the trek including food, water, shelter, clothing, and personal items.  Our 3-day/2-night pack weighs in around 30 lbs / 13.6 Kg.  Weight comes at a big cost to a backpacker so the objective is to minimize.

When trekking in the backcountry there is often no mobile phone coverage.  Mountain peaks sometimes provide a line of sight to a faraway cell tower which can yield one or two bars of signal.  In our experience, the valleys are barren of mobile phone signal.  We still carry our cell phones on backpacking trips because the phone provides a good camer…

I turned off the light...

I'm so fast that last night I turned off the light switch in my hotel room and was in bed before the room was dark. -- Muhammad Ali