UPDATES From The Radio Room Page 12

N1GY- The simple Approach to Ham Radio

November 16, 2019

           My model railroad layout has received an extension. It is now an L-shape 11 feet north-south and 8.5 feet east-west. Both legs are 18" wide. The extension added about 27 more feet of track, 6 more turnouts and at least 3 to 4 more industries. Of course there is nothing but track on the extension now but all in good time the industries, scenery and structures will be built and added. We, my son and I only started on the extension Friday afternoon and by Saturday night all the track and roadbed was down and functioning. I call that pretty good progress for an old fogie like me. See the new photos on the Model Railroad page to see what I mean.


October 27, 2019

           It has been over a month since my last entry on these pages so I think an explanation is in order. A visit to a Model Railroad club in my town awakened a desire to return to a hobby that I last was involved in over 40 years ago. When my son came down to visit, the tool table I mentioned last time took a back seat to the construction of an 11 foot by 18 inch shelf layout for some model trains. The hobby of model railroading has changed markedly since I was last involved with it. Locomotives and rolling stock (freight cars and passenger cars) are much more detailed now. THe locomotives move prototypically and make all the right noises. They are also much more expensive that htey were back in the day. A good locomotive in HO scale now costs about the same as a Yaesu FTM-400 digital radio. I have not left amateur radio although I am cutting back on my duties as Section Technical Coordinator and Assistant Section Manager. This new hobby is taking a fair amount of my time to get everything built and operating smoothly. I still plan on being Editor of our club's newsletter and the radios are still in my car and my office. I note that I am not the only ham operator with more than one hobby, so wish me luck.


September 23, 2019

            My son, the expert woodworker (among other things he is very good at) is coming to visit for a few days, along with his spouse. We have been discussing how we can improve the usability of the new nibbler tool. The main thought is to add a table, kind of like a router table to the current setup so that I can use things like fences to keep the cuts straight and smooth. He has offered to assist with the project which is great. When we get it finished I plan on adding a new page to the site so everyone can see just what I hav e been writing about.


September 19, 2019

         A few new additions have been made to the workbench in the last few days. A power nibbling tool has been assembled and works very well. It will take a bit of practice to get my skill level up to what is needed to make it work truly smoothly for me but that will come. I have obtained an empty reel from Harbor Freight and after much struggle have loaded about 180 feet of the new cat 5 cable onto the reel. When this stuff arrived it was very neatly rolled up and contained by a couple of wire ties. Of course, as soon as the wire ties were off, the neat roll exploded into a snarled up mess. Now that it is on the reel, hopefully some semblance of order can be maintained. I have not even unpacked the other 200 feet of the cable in hopes that we can keep the snarled up mess in the past.


September 16, 2019

         I received a shipment of CAT-5 cable from Amazon a few days ago. It has worked out well with a few snags along the way. This cable is somewhat thinner than what I was used to, using 7 foot jumper cables before. This has made getting the thinner individual wires to make solid contact with the punch down positions at the back of the CAT-3 jacks difficult to say the least. I have had to redo the punchdowns several times and in one case actually had to substitute larger gauge wires which were then soldered to the corresponding wires in the CAT-5 cable. I should explain that when I have to build an extension cable for a mike that uses a 6 pin modular plug, I generally use CAT-5 cable and simply ignore the extra pair of wires, usually the brown and brown/white pair. I guess that mainly the problem is one of frustration at having to redo a job several times to get the proper connections. I have almost 400 feet of this thinner cable, so I guess I will have to get used to it. 


September 8, 2019

         Recently, I ordered and received supplies that will now allow me to construct cables for the FTM-400XDR. Both the mic extension cable and the control head extension cable will be available custom made to the exact length the purchaser requires. The mic extension cable can be supplied with a mounting bracket at slight additional cost. Just another way to keep the old man busy or at least busier.


September 2, 2019,

         As I write this I and my fellow Floridians are waiting for Dorian (the Hurricane) to decide whether it is going to turn North and away from us or continue West and take a big bite out of Florida. Personally, I think it will turn and rip up the East coast of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and points North and leave us on the West Coast of Florida relatively unscathed. Lets hope I am right. As far as things around the workbench are concerned, I have ordered some supplies of Cat 5 and Cat 3 cable and some RJ-9 modular connectors. These supplies will allow me to construct extension cables for the FTM-400 and the FTM 100. Time will tell if there is any demand from my fellow hams.


August 17, 2019

       A new page has been added to the site detailing the latest radio installation on a mobility scooter. At my age I need the scooter to get around hamfests, any kind of ARES deployment, in fact anywhere that would require me to walk long distances or stand for an extended period of time. I could of course use an HT for communications but I figured that 10 watts is better than 5 watts especially when it can be cranked up to 25 or even 50 watts should the need arise. I normally leave the radio at 10 watts. At his level the radio will stay nice and cool and the 12 amp hr battery will power it for plenty of time.


August 8, 2019

       Recently, I removed the dual-band transceiver from my mobility scooter because it was acting intermittently. My son is sending me down a Yaesu FT-90R that I had given him some years ago. It will eventually replace the Jetstream 10 watt radio that I removed. I am also making some significant changes in the layout of the new rig. The radio will be mounted in front on top of the steering controls of the scooter. The battery will be changed out for a 12 AH unit  that I have already test fit to the scooter in the same place as the 7AH used to be. The antenna was tried in several different placements but eventually it was decided to place it mounted to the right hand arm rest mount. That way only the "stinger" of the antenna needs to be removed before storing the scooter in the back of my van. Hoppefully, the radio will arrive next week and I can have everything ready before the start of Hamfest Season here in Florida.

August 1, 2019

       I just added this page the other day and one of my friends called to say that the page was empty. I told him there was nothing wrong, I just hadn't gotten around to writing something on it yet. It is good to know that people are reading what I write. Just to bring the page up to date, I am getting back one of the radios I gave my son a few years ago when he got his license. The little 10 watt radio I mounted to my mobility scooter seems to getting a bit erratic so I am going to replace it with my son's FT-90R. I will of course turn the output down to 10 or 20 watts as I do sit a bit close to the antenna. Of course, I am 76 years old so what can a little RF do that I haven't already done anyway. I probably will change the location of the radioas well as I find that the current location on the right armrest is a bit unwieldy. Enough for now, 73