UPDATES from the RADIO ROOM Page 10

N1GY- The simple Approach to Ham Radio

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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