Amateur Radio Station KG4IGC

Summerville, South Carolina EM93va

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KG4IGC's adventures with ham radio

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Hoo's Tree Is It Anyway?

Posted on June 10, 2013 at 6:40 AM Comments comments (2)

12/25/2010 Just a good story to share....

 

WHO's tree is this anyway?

Well , another Christmas has come and gone, boy how the years past! This has been a very hard year for the wife and I,  so this year, we decided not to trade gifts and just be thankful that we are still surviving in this retched recession  My XYL, Sarah works for the Medical University of South Carolina, so unfortunately she had to work Christmas day which left me to my lonesome here on the home front. I decided to make the most of the day and went to work on the mess in the garage, which so far has been a 3 day venture. I got as far as untangling some old used rope and was over cleaning the garage really quickly. I took this tangled mess outside to work on and hung out with my three dogs while I sat and enjoyed the WX ,which was in the upper 40s and clear . The reason that I even bothered with this  mess is as I said earlier, times are hard and I am fresh out of antenna rope. Naturally, my loop was down due to rope failure so I had to deal with the tangled mess. Long story even longer, I eventually got the rope untangled and produced about 70 feet  of usable recycled rope, so I decided to take advantage of the good WX and rehang the fallen corner of the loop. After gathering all the necessary implements of destruction, (slingshot, 30 lb test strength fishing line, 1 inch nut covered in red tape for easy recovery in the green foliage)  I began my quest to rehang my loop. You know, using a slingshot, unless you are a really good shot, it is not so easy to get over a 60 foot pine tree as it seems. I  must have had the luck of the antenna gods because sure enough, after two tries, I made it over not one, but two pine trees, the second tree being a little higher than the first, which was a plus. It did not take long to spot my  my tape covered nut which was of course, in the neighbors yard, quite out of my reach so I pulled the fishing line slowly to avoid entanglement in the branches of the pine hoping that I could drop the line a little closer so that I could fetch it and secure my worn out rope to it. While bobbing my line up and down trying to get it to drop in just the right place, something really cool happened. Readers, I simply must take you back in time about a week or two, so you fully understand the nature of this rant. We recently have had the distinct pleasure of having an owl nest near our house, which in itself it a real pleasure. When we first bought our house 18 years ago, we were sort of "out in the country" and we were pleased to know that there was always owl's present. It was really cool to hear their call in the early morning hours, but unfortunately, the developers came to Summerville , tore down the woods and built subdivisions all around us so needless to say, the owls moved on. As I said earlier, after many years , we have been hearing an owl hoot for a couple of weeks in the early morning around 4 AM. Well for some reason, we have not heard the owl in about a week so Sarah was concerned that the owl had moved on, which would be sad for us as we loved hearing her delightful call first thing in the morning. Fast forwarding to today, the "really cool thing" that happened was while I was bobbing my fishing line the "missing" owl came swooping out of her nest and was fixated on my fishing line and nut, The only thing that I can figure, is that while bobbing the line up and down, I must of hit her nest and pissed her off, of which I had no idea that it was even there to begin with. My abition to hang my loop quickly became a venture to capture a picture of the elusive owl so I hobbled quickly into the house to find my camera. After several minutes of trying to figure out "where the hell is my camera?" I finally found it and hobbled back out hoping that this elegant bird was still there to photograph. Fortunately, she was still sitting on the branch and I was able to get a picture.  If you study the picture closely,you can see my line to the left of the bird and notice that she is looking up, studying her prey, the nemesis red nut, which is unfortunately out of view in the picture. I still was trying to get my loop up so after photographing the owl, I put the camera down  and resumed bobbing the fishing line to get it in a position that I could grab it and attach the rope. Three times, the owl attacked my line and nut and two times she was successful and captured my line and started to fly away with it, but lost the line and nut simply because of the fact that I was still holding on to it. Man, I have to say, it was too cool! Of course, the camera was sitting on the deck of the pool while all this was happening so I have no proof of my tall tale, but I assure you, dear reader, that this actually happened. After about 3 hours of battling the owl and also dealing with the used, several sections tied together rope getting stuck in the branches, I finally got the loop back in the air just before dark. I know this was a long story, but I felt it was worth telling, because this time Murphy was an owl with a vengeance!

NEW QRP PAGE

Posted on June 6, 2011 at 11:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Hello All!

Just to let everyone know, I have created a new QRP page. It will be dedicated to various QRP projects that I build and will have some tips as well as resouces to help the new or well seasoned builder. There are several completed projects ready for viewing, so be sure to check out the new page. Best wishes and thanks for looking!


Frank KG4IGC

Rock- Mite 40 Meter QRP Kit

Posted on December 18, 2009 at 3:15 PM Comments comments (3)

Well guys, Christmas is once again upon us and for some reason this time of year I get the builders bug. I have been tossing around the idea of building one of those  "Altoid" tin QRP projects. I looked around on the internet,  finally took the plung and ordered the Rock-Mite 40 meter kit from smallwonderlabs.com  

 It has been quite a while since I have built any sort of kit or done any antique radio restorations so my already bad builders skills are quite rusty and need to be honed.  I really hope that this kit will be a success, I am quite sure it will be a challange to say the least. 

 I would like to hear from some first time builders and read about your projects, as well as welcome any suggestions, comments or tips on this project. Well, nothing to do now but wait by the mailbox, :)  more on this in the near future!

Questions or Suggestions about this site?

Posted on June 27, 2008 at 8:50 PM Comments comments (0)

If you have anything that you would like to suggest or any questions pertaining to anything on my website, feel free to post them here. I will be happy to answer any questions to the best of my ability and am always open to new ideas or suggestions.

TNX es 73,

Frank KG4IGC

Digital problems

Posted on September 23, 2007 at 11:15 AM Comments comments (0)

When I bought my Yaesu Mark V Field, I also purchased a Rascal GLX interface with two cables to do the digi modes. Recently, I discovered that I was having problems transmitting PSK31. I could key the rig no problem but no power output and I could not hear my transmitted signal on the station monitor. It was also reported to me by more than one ham durring contests that my .wav recordings of myself for contests sounded terrible. I thought for sure that I must have some settings wrong in either the rig , the N1MM contesting software, or the PC. After spending several hours of time trying to figure out what was wrong, I got frusterated and gave up. Well, turns out, the problems did not end there. I also run a Yaesu FT-847 hooked up with a totally seperate Rascal interface to the same MSI Mega PC. A few weeks later, I tried to check into our local two mter PSK63 net using digipan and could not get any power out of this rig either! Right then, I knew for sure that I hade a problem with the soundcard. Turns out, after hooking the speaker  plug to my line out jack that I could only hear one side of my speakers. The plug also felt a little loose to me.  If I played with the plug, I could get one side or the other to play but never both. I then took the plug and put it into the mic jack and discovered a nice snug fit. Bad thing is that on the MSI mega PC model 651 the sound card is on the motherboard. Even worse, there is only one PCI slot on the board and it was occupied by my TV card. Well, I weighed the options of either being able to watch cable TV on my PC or doing digi modes so obviously, it was a no brainer seing that I have a 19 inch TV in the shack! I started to yank a sound card out of my PC graveyard in the garage but then got to thinking what a pain it would be to locate drivers. I thought about it and since I have been wanting to upgrade my PC speakers, I went to Best Buy and got a Creative Labs Blaster Audigy SE card for about $32.00. It is a nice soundcard with 24 bit advanced HD, EHD HD sound effect capability, and support for stereo 5.1, 6.1, amd 7.1 speaker systems.The installation was very easy and after hooking up my Rascals all digital problems have went away. I am now able to transmit full power in all digi modes on both rigs. So far I am very happy with this soundcard and with the results of my troubleshooting. I hope that this is some help for anyone who experiences a similar problem.

Just in time...

Posted on May 25, 2007 at 2:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Well, two weeks ago I made the decision to take my two remaining extended double zepps and make a lazy H out of them. Just so happened that the Volta RTTY contest was going to be on the next day so naturally, I wanted the antenna ready for battle! Thankfully, I only work half days on Friday and had plenty of time to phase the two antennas together.

       "Shouldn't take no more than two hours max" says I!  As per Murphys law, I found out that it was going to be more work than anticipated. and that my original assessment of the amount of time was wrong and it wound up taking all day. My N/S zepp was falling apart at the center insulator due to stress and a bad solder joint. I thought the best thing to do was to just completely rebuild this antenna and this time due it the right way:)

          After the antenna was completed, I cut myself a 23' piece of ladder line and phased the two antennas together making sure that I inverted the ladder line at the second antenna feed point. I tell you, it was more trouble getting the antenna in the air than it was to build it! Somehow, while pulling the antenna up, it managed to hang up on anything and everything from shingles to tree limbs. What a pain! It sure does pay to have help when raising antennas...I must have made 50 trips up and down that ladder to unhook it from whatever it was holding on to.

       Anyway, the finished product tunes up no problem on twenty meters and worked very well in the contest. I tried using all of my HF antennas during the Volta test and this one seemed to due very well despite the poor band conditions.I also was able to tune it up on 40 and 15, but am not sure how it will perform. One of these days maybe I will learn how to use one of those antenna modeling programs, I'm sure that it would make my life so much easier. Does anyone know if there is a tutorial for beginners on these programs anywhere?

From flat top to inverted V

Posted on April 22, 2007 at 12:15 AM Comments comments (0)

      We had some bad weather come through the area last week which brought along very high wind gusts at the tune if 40 to 50 MPH which of course reeked havoc on all of my wire antennas. My 160 meter inverted L came down, one of my extended double zepps got caught up in my 70 cm beam, and another one of my zepps just flat out came down to the ground.

      Well, after getting my inverted L back up last week and wrestling the one zepp out of my beam today, I figured that maybe I would try something new with my downed pile up buster. In the past, this particular zepp was set up as a flat top and pointed toward Europe. The antenna performed fairly decent and I always seemed to get pretty good reports.  The only problem that I had with it was that elements were too long for the space I had between the two trees. This meant that the elements were touching several branches in both of the trees which I am sure was messing up my radiation pattern.

     Anyway, I decided to try an inverted V configuration as an experiment. I do not know how well this will perform as of yet but just listening around 40 meters I am recieving most stations that I can hear anywhere from S7 to S9. This is an antenna that is cut for 20 meters but tunes up very easily on 40. Naturally, by the time I got the antenna up in the air and finished doing battle with my two 35 foot tree supports by trimming all the branches that were touching the antenna, 20 meters was closing. Unfortunately, I will have to wait until tomorrow to do some real testing of this setup. I am curious to know if there are others (I'm sure that there are) that have tried this configuration with an extended double zepp and what kind of results they have had.


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