N1GY- The simple Approach to Ham Radio

UPDATES from the RADIO ROOM Page 10

January 23, 2019

           After much reflection and consideration of my current physical abilities or lack thereof, I have decided to thin out several items from my present accumulation of ham radio gear.  The list follows: Yaesu FT-2200 2 meter mobile rig $70 OBO, 25 watt Jetstream Dual Band Mobile rig $35, 2/440 mag mount antenna $15, 12.5 amp Power supply $15, Collapsible dual band Arrow style J-pole $15, Aluminum telescopic mast 12 foot $20, aluminum telescopic mast 22 foot $40, 33 amp/hour SLA Battery in enclosure with charger $50,. All are in good working order. Local pickup or shipping and packing charges will be extra. Regarding my previous post, any items that remain unsold will be donated to the local ARES group or my local ham radio club. E mail me at n1gy@arrl.net if interested in any of the above gear.

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January 20, 2019

         Another change has been accomplished at N1GY. I swapped out the Yaesu FT-2200 single band 2 meter rig for the FT-7900R that had previously been assigned to my "large Go-Kit". The large go-kit has been summarily retired and dissasembled into it's component parts. The 2 meter transceiver has been compiled with a dual band mobile antenna and a 12.5 Amp power supply. This package may become a loaner rig or I may just offer it as a prize at one of our club meetings. It has become obvious to me that my days of being deployed during a disaster are well behind me. With my various ailments and medical limitations I am far more likely to be a problem rather than an asset to the responders. I see my future assistance  being more likely to be building or repairing the gear that the first responders of the ham radio community will need . I am well equipped to be a net control station or a source of information, but I am no longer able to spend unknown numbers of hours or days in the field. 


January 16, 2019

      After the somewhat "neverending" task of cleaning out my radio room of extraneous materials I have been taking a couple of days off to just admire the much neater room and operating position. Tonight I got back at the work bench and built a couple of power distribution blocks, an 8 + 1 and a 6 + 1. It felt good to be building again so I forsee more of that in the future. You can see what the blocks look like on the "A New Design for PowerPole Power blocks" page further down the Navigation Panel to the left. 

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 January 12, 2019

         The Net Book picture has been resized and added to the LCD repair page as well as the original picture on that page was of my 15" laptop. I left that picture up as well since it is a better view of the Commander Program display.

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January 11, 2019

        I finally added a picture to the Radio Room page that shows the new-to-me Net Book that now displays the frequency of the IC-706MkIIG. It took Ed NI4MX longer than it should have because of errors that I made but once he figured out what I had done wrong it now works just dandy. The picture probably doesn't do it justice but I can now see the frequency clearly.

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January 6, 2019

            I have finally gotten around to posting some new pictures of the radio room. There have been several changes recently, a new radio, a new computer connected to my IC-706MkIIG because of a deteriorating LCD display in the 706, a new shelf added to the right side of the operating position for an expected net book for the computer software that will display what the LCD no longer can. I also added another shelf on the far side of the room to spread out some of the tools. A new bending brake was added thanks to my son KC1AJC. In order to do all this a ton of old catalogs and other junk was tossed to make room for the changes.

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January 1, 2019

              just a quick note to thank all those who have visited my humble web site over the last year. I just compiled the total visits for 2018 201,425 amazing‚Äč!!!!

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December 31, 2018

          To all a very Happy New Year in 2019. Today I received a replacement headset that is identical to the one I use with my FT-7800R. The new one has replaced the somewhat gaudy gaming headset that was installed with my IC-706MkIIG. The audio on the gaming headaset was fine but I was so embarassed by the over the top design of the device that I had to replace it even though no one but me would ever see it. It even lights up for crying out loud. The lighting serves no purpose and I just could not stand any more. The new headset covers only one ear and the audio both in and out is just fine. It is also much less bulky than the gaming headset. and thus does not obscure the monitor for my PC.

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December 29, 2018

                 As I mentioned a few days ago, the control head for the IC-706MkIIG in the radio room has a problem with the LCD display. It has begun to go black. Right now it is kind of a gray cloud in the middle of the display but already it is obscuring some aspects of the LCD. To solve this problem I ordered a CT-17 cable and downloaded a program called "Commander" from the Internet. Well the CT-17 cable arrived and while the instructions said that it would work as "plug and play" since it was a FTDI cable, I did have to update my laptop before the appropriate drivers were available to the cable. Once that was done fverything went off without a hitch. A ham buddy of mine has volunteered to donate a "netbook" to the cause to replace my laptop as the alternate display of the "Commander" software which will make the computer side of the setup much smaller and thus easier to integrate into the operating position. If I may say so, a neat solution to a problem that may affect many older radios that use older LCD screens.I have added a new page to the web site about this project.

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December 20, 2018

                 Christmas came a little early today. When I returned home after running an errand, I found a box on my front steps. It turned out to be my christmas present from my son, Steve,KC1AJC. I have been talking about getting a small bending brake for quite a while but have never gotten around to pulling the trigger on the purchase. Steve took it out of my hands by presenting me with just such a device. It is now firmly mounted to a work surface in my radio room/workshop. Now I will be able to construct metal enclosures for projects for nothing more than the cost of some scrap aluminum sheet goods. For the small projects that I usually build this will be nominal in the extreme. 

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December 17, 2018

              There are now four transceivers in the radio room at N1GY. Two of them are equipped with what I call mic selectors that let me switch from the stock hand mic to a headset with the flip of a rotary switch. These are made from obsolete A-B data switches and there is a page here in the site devoted to constructing these switches. The other two radios, my 220 rig and a recently acquired 2 meter rig sit on the shelf above the other pair and while they have external speakers that match the other speakers in the room, they had no simple way of changing to earphones if necessary. That deficiency has been addressed. A simple toggle switch set up that feeds the receive audio from each radio to either the external speaker or to a pair of jacks, one stereo the other mono that face the operator and reside under the front panel of each radio. The external speaker is plugged into the audio selector and flipping the toggle switch down feeds the audio to the headphone jacks. Flipping the toggle up feeds it to the external speaker. If anyone wants to do something similar just email me and I will be happy to send you the schematic diagram. It really is very simple to build.

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December 14, 2018

              The IC-706MkIIG that is mounted in my van has a problem. Over several years of being exposed to heat and humidity and sunlight, the LCD display has begun to turn dark. Right now it is a cloud about 1" by 3/4" in the center of the display and I am still able to read it, but the die is cast so I have come up with a kind of a solution. First I am going to devise a protection to prevent it from happening to a swapped in replacement control head. I am actually going to swap the control head from the 706 in my radio room with the one from the car. Suitably protected it should last me for the rest of my life. The sun damaged control head will then be attached to the main body of the 706 in the radio room. In order to view the data that will be partially blocked on the display I have ordered a CT-17 CI-V cable which will link the 706 to a laptop with a freeware control program called Commander. Since I do not need the much greater capabilities of HRD I  am quite comfortable using the freeware  program. The only information I need from "Commander" is the frequency and other info that is displayed on the LCD display. Coincidentally, clearing a space for the laptop gave me an opportunity to clear out a great deal of junk like old catalogs, old paperwork etc. It was truly a prodigious effort to get the junk out to the trash but when it was done I was able to install a new shelf in one of the book cases and reposition a number of tool and supplies. The radio room now looks a lot neater and I can find tools and supplies that were hidden from view before. I also made a simple loop of 3/32" welding rod to keep certain longer items from falling over as I am working around the room. The CT-17 cable should arrive in a few days and I am going to impose on one of my ham friends to assist with setting up the control program which I have already dowloaded and installed on the laptop.

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December 9, 2018

               As I mentioned in my last entry, I went up to Plant City for the Tampa Bay Hamfest on Friday. I met a bunch of old friends and purchased a replacement stock of Power Pole connectors. No new radios or antennas, just basically restocking my parts selection. I had planned to go up Saturday to assist in manning the ARRL booth, but when I woke up Saturday I was not feeling up to par so I called and begged off. While I was up on Friday I did buy a ticket for the Orlando Hamcation in February. BTW Orlando is now officially the #2 Hamfest in North America, topped only by the Dayton (now Xenia) hamfest in May. 

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December 6, 2018,

             Tomorrow I will be heading up to Plant City Florida for the 1018 Tampa Bay Hamfest. This is our local section major hamfest and while it is not in the same class as Orlando or Dayton (now Xenia) it is the biggest one in our ARRL section. There will be vendors from as far away as Wisconsin and Connecticut among others. Manufacturers like MFJ are usually well represented and it is a great opportunity to connect faces to the call signs you talk to all year long. The tailgatre area is well represented and there are the outstanding strawberry shortcakes in good supply. Join us at the Strawberry Festival Grounds this weekend, you are guaranteed to have a good time.

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November 28, 2018

            Today, I finally completed a minor revision to my "scooter radio" that has a much larger consequence. The bracket that holds the dual band antenna to the battery box has at last been turned 90 degrees to the rear. It does not sound like much but it necessitated a new bracket as the old one was not long enough to make the turn without running afoul of the battery box hinge. The major problem was that the bracket stuck out to the side far enough to prevent the scooter from being driven off the lift in a forward direction. Having to back the scooter off of the lift could be a bit hazardous depending on the parking situation. Being able to roll on roll off is the much preferred method. The turning of the bracket only cleared about one inch from the overall width of the scooter but it was just enough to solve the interference problem. On a side note- I was never very positive about thoise so called "Tiger Tails" that  some some used on their HT's but after 3 different projects where "Tiger Tails" meant the difference between an antenna that worked well or one that was essentially useless, I am converted. The best thing is that they are super simple to make. Just a 1/4 wave length of wire and a ring terminal. Simply secure the ring terminal close to the base of the antenna and it's job done!There does have to be an electrical connection from the Tiger Tail to the grounded base of the antenna. In my situation the aluminum bracket provides the connection. If one were using a non-metal mounting point you would have to connect the shell of the coax connector to the tiger tail.

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November 24, 2018

            After a quiet Thanksgiving it was back to the ever-evolving list of projects. After a few days of use with the new speaker placement in the van it became apparent that the initial method of securing the speakers was inadequate. Today I moved the speakers so that they were between the two rods that hold each headrest in place. They were then secured to those same rods with a couple of zip-ties each. They now stay in place and do not spin around so that they face the back of the van. I thought that the headrests themselves would apply enough friction to hold the speakers in place but that was not the case. Now they will stay put and still no holes drilled in the top of the seats.

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November 21, 2018

           Today I finished building the last of 4 simple homebrewed straight keys to go with the morse code oscillators that I built over the last few weeks. Each key has been checked and is working in fine shape. This is not anything fancy, just a piece of aluminum strap bent to shape and screwed down to a small slab of 3/4" plywood. The cable to connect it to the oscillator is semi permanently attached to the key. It will be fine for learning and practicing CW but I would recommend a more precise key for over the air use. If anyone would like to purchase one of these oscillator/key packages I will sell the ones I have on hand for $15 plus shipping. THis includes the oscillator, the key and the 9 volt battery that powers the device. In order to build more of these I will need to order more parts.

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November 21, 2018       
             As you can see I have added a further page to the UPDATES group. My criteria for doing so is quite simple. When the text on the previous page exceeds the length of the Navigation Bar on the left side of the page, it is time to create another page of UPDATES. Thus this new Page.

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