September 25, 2020

TH-F6A Power Jack Vulnerability

The Kenwood TH-F6A is a wonderful tri-band HT.  I have owned one for many years and enjoyed operating.



The radio's design is flawed in one aspect.  It is important to plug in the power connector into the jack on the radio before plugging it into the wall, cigarette lighter, or other external power source.  This is because an internal surface mount fuse can be blown if an energized power connector is plugged into the radio power jack.  Replacing the fuse is possible though difficult since it is a surface mount component.  This typically requires the radio be sent to Kenwood service for repair.

A better design would allow the power connector to be inserted or removed without risk to the radio.  Also, it would be desirable to design fuse replacement so that it can be performed by the owner and does not require the radio be sent to a service center for an expensive repair.

Good DX and 73, NJ2X

September 18, 2020

Transmitting using a vintage Radio Shack center-loaded telescoping antenna

I have a vintage Radio Shack center-loaded telescoping antenna from the early 1990's.  It has a BNC connector and a loading coil in the middle of the telescoping sections.  It ordinarily sits in a box along with other radio odds and ends that I don't use regularly.  Radio Shack made these for ages and you can still find them for sale online.


Radio Shack center-loaded telescoping antenna with all sections collapsed


I was recently working on a vintage Kenwood TH-22AT 2m HT that still has its original rubber duck antenna.  The antenna wasn't pulling-in stations very well so I decided to dig out my old Radio Shack telescoping antenna and give it a try.  I was happy to find that the Radio Shack antenna worked better than the stock rubber duck.

As I was setting it up, I remembered that some adjustment is required in order to use it for transmitting.  The antenna can be used on a transceiver or a receiver such as a scanner.

Receiving: 25 MHz through 1296 MHz
Transmitting: Can be used as a 1/4 wavelength transmitting antenna from 130 MHz through 535 MHz.
  • Caution
    • When you use the antenna to transmit, you must always collapse the section located just above the loading coil. If you do not collapse this section, you might damage the antenna and your radio.
    • When you use the antenna to transmit, you must calculate the 1/4 wavelength and adjust the antenna length accordingly. If you do not do this, you can damage your transmitting equipment due to an improper standing wave ratio (SWR).
      • Use this formula to calculate the proper length for a 1/4 wavelength transmitting antenna: 2834 / Freq. in MHz = Antenna Length in Inches 
Common 2m Band Antenna Lengths
  • 144.000 Mhz --> 19.7 inches
  • 144.500 Mhz --> 19.6 inches
  • 145.000 Mhz --> 19.5 inches
  • 145.800 Mhz --> 19.4 inches
  • 146.520 Mhz --> 19.3 inches
  • 147.570 Mhz --> 19.2 inches
  • 147.990 Mhz --> 19.1 inches

When receiving only:
  • 25 Mhz to 136 Mhz - Extend all nine sections of the antenna
  • 136 Mhz to 174 Mhz - Extend only the top four sections
  • 174 Mhz to 1296 Mhz - Extend only 1 to 3 lower sections

Good DX and 73, NJ2X

September 4, 2020

Migrating Ham Radio Deluxe to a New Computer

I have been migrating my applications and data to a new computer.  My old computer served me well for many years and has been exhibiting a growing number of issues indicating it was time to be retired. The next step in the transition process was to migrate Ham Radio Deluxe (version 5.24.0.38) to the new computer running the latest version of Ham Radio Deluxe (version 6.7.0.301).

I am very excited about this upgrade to HRD as I am looking forward to running a well supported high-quality application and discovering new features and enhancements.  HRD has been the rug that really tied the shack together.  This will also be the first version of HRD that I have had to pay for as I have always relied on the free version.


My strategy was to migrate my HRD log using a backup as well as custom DM780 macros and then manually configure the application.  I chose this strategy since it was straightforward and would assure a clean migration.  This strategy would also afford me the opportunity to review the HRD configuration for new settings and features that have been introduced since the old freeware version.

I have shared my migration procedures below in case this information is helpful.  If you have any additional tips or advice regarding upgrading and migrating Ham Radio Deluxe (HRD) to a new computer, please be sure to leave a comment.

Migrate HRD Log Procedure

1) Install the latest version of HRD on the new computer.

2) Backup the HRD log files on the old computer and save the backup to cloud storage (e.g. Google Backup and Sync, Microsoft OneDrive, ...).
  • HRD Logbook --> More --> Backup --> Options
    • Change the backup location to use cloud storage
  • HRD Logbook --> Backup
3) Restore the HRD backup files from cloud storage on the new computer.
  • HRD Logbook --> Backup --> Restore
    • Add the cloud storage location of your backup file
    • Click Restore
    • Confirm the number of records to restore and click, "yes"
    • Confirm the number of restored entries and click, "OK"
    • Click "Finish"

Reconnect HRD to the ARRL LoTW

1) HRD Logbook --> More --> LoTW --> Download
2) Add the LoTW username and password
3) Click download to confirm it is working properly

Migrate HRD DM780 Macros Procedure

1) Save the old Macros to a file on cloud storage
  • Digital Master 780 --> Tools --> Macros
  • Save the file to cloud storage
2) Load the old Macros into the new HRD
  • Digital Master 780 --> Tools --> Macros
  • Load the macro file on cloud storage
Confirm the old macros are available

Reconfiguring HRD Procedure

I choose not to attempt to migrate HRD configuration settings from my old version of HRD to the new version of HRD on the new computer.  I didn't want to deal with having to clean up self-created migration messes to save a few minutes of configuration.  Manually configuring HRD would work just fine for my needs and this would also provide me with an opportunity to discover new configuration settings and options.

1) HRD Logbook --> Callsign (My Info)
  • Name
  • Locator
  • QTH
  • E-Mail
  • HomePage
  • Radio
  • Antenna
  • Power
2) HRD Logbook --> Clock
  • Format - change to GMT/UTC

Reassociate Keyhole Markup Language with Google Earth

During testing, I found that HRD would not launch Google Earth when attempting to do a lookup on a contact.  Instead, Adobe Reader was being launched due to a mis-association in Windows with Adobe and .KML (Keyhole Markup Language) files.  The solution was to re-associate .KML files with Google Earth in Windows.
  1. Go to https://developers.google.com/kml
  2. Click on "Half Dome hike" to save a .kmz file to downloads
  3. Right click on the .kmz file in the downloads folder
  4. Select "open with"
  5. Select Google Earth and check "Always use this app to open"


Good DX and 73, NJ2X




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