WSPR You Say?

The other day I was Googling for antenna comparisons (HF vertical vs OCFD) and came across a Youtube video by K5ACL where he uses WSPR to compare his two antennas. I thought this made sense and spent the next morning setting up my Icom IC-718 and laptop to run WSPR.

I left the setup to run for several hours on 20m before I enabled transmitting from my side. Below is a screen capture of showing the map of my first transmission and where I was heard. This is running with only 1 watt of power into a G5RV Jr. antenna at a non-optimal height of about 25-ish feet.

Not bad for 1w

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Grounding the ground rod

Way back in 2014 I documented installing a ground rod as part of fighting my RFI issues. I thought adding  ground rod by itself was enough. Turns out after reading the book Grounding and Bonding for the Radio Amateur that I was quite wrong!

So I bought some 4 awg solid copper “wire” (thickest Home Depot had) and the clamps to connect the shack ground rod to the electrical service ground rod. Fortunately these two ground rods are not very far apart, about 9 feet with a corner of the house in the way.

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NA1SS Downlink Reception

I spotted in my email a notice to my local club members that the ISS would be doing a direct contact today with the Museum of Innovation and Science (miSci) in Schenectady NY. Fortunately I spotted this about an hour before the scheduled contact was to be made.

I setup my base 2m rig to listen on both the primary and backup frequencies. Then I setup my new Zoom H5N audio recorder to capture anything that I could hear. Below is a edited (for time) recording of what I was able to copy of the exchange. My radio equipment included a Kenwood D710 and a Comet GP-1 in my attic.


From the website:

“A direct contact via W2IR with the Museum of Innovation and Science (miSci) in Schenectady NY, is scheduled for Sat 2016-12-10 1019:49:54 UTC 85 deg. The ISS callsign is presently scheduled to be NA1SS. The scheduled astronaut is Shane Kimbrough, KE5HOD.”


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New Radios


It seems I never got around to posting here on the site that I upgraded my HF radio to a Yaesu FTDX 3000. I’ve had the radio since the end of 2014. Sadly it hasn’t seen a lot of use since I got it, for a variety of reasons. But now that my telescoping mast and the OCFD antenna are back in place the radio is getting some regular use.




Recently I was visiting my Dad (WB4EHG) who let me know that he was planning to sell his Yaesu FT-857d. So it followed me home. It is an interesting radio and I plan on using it for operating in the field, preferably using a small solar+battery power source. The radio already has the SSB filter installed and it came with the RT Systems software and programming cable. And a copy of the Nifty Mini Manual!


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Jeep Mobile

IMG_0002Back in February 2015 I traded in my Ford F-150 for a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. Being a Ham of course I had to take out my existing mobile setup prior to trading in the truck and then installation into a new environment is always its own set of challenges.

It has taken me several months to get a working setup. The main issue being that the Kenwood D710 head unit is kind of a pain to mount in a stable, convenient,  yet out of the way location. And since I also do mobile APRS I need the GPS unit in a location where it can get a good view of the sky.

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13 Colonies A Clean Sweep

13-Colonies-2015-medThis year I had the opportunity to participate in the 13 Colonies event as I was on vacation while the house was being painted. It was a fun event, especially as I had a plans to be out of town on the weekend so I had a somewhat limited time window to work on getting a clean sweep. I did manage it and got to use the 40m band a bit which I don’t normally do. I did manage to get one of the bonus stations as well which was nice.

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Dayton Hamvention 2015

Dad and I made the trip to the Dayton Hamvention this year, the first time for both of us. It was a good trip and flying from Atlanta to Dayton is pretty quick. But that also means you can’t easily purchase as much stuff as you have to get it on the plane back with you.

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Site updated

While I like the concept of the Mynt static generator and using static files to serve this website from Amazon, the actual maintaining and updating of the content though is another matter. So, I have made the desicion to migrate the site over to WordPress. Managing content with a CMS makes this a lot easier, and hopefully means that I will make more frequent updates to the site in general.

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Hunting RFI’s, Part II

As part of my RFI hunting adventure I am working to make sure that my station is setup properly. I’ve built a new ham desk that should help me cleanly route all the various cables between radios, power supplies, PC control and coax. As part of that work I have just installed a ground rod right outside the coax entry point to the house.

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Hunting RFI’s, Part I

Since I upgraded to General I have been experiencing near constant S8 level noise on the 40m band. I’ve also had S5 +/- level nois on 20m. So far I’ve determined that the Samsung refrigerator in the kitchen is a bad RFI source, as well as the usb to serial adapter going from my shack PC to my Kenwood TM-D710A TNC which I use for the APRS iGate.

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