N1GY- The simple Approach to Ham Radio

December 15, 2017

         Our local amateur radio club (The Manatee Amateur Radio Club Inc.) held it's annual Christmas Party at its usual time and place at the beginning of December. A good time was had by all and your humble servant went home with a very nice award and a brand new Yaesu FT-70DR which was one of many door prizes at the event. This is my first radio capable of digital operation (Yaesu's Fusion system) and once I got the hang of it, programming it manually was a snap. I still have not gotten the programming cable to talk to the PC but for now manually doing it is not hard at all. Nice little HT with more memory slots than I will ever use.


December 3, 2017

       It has been a while since my last post. I will blame it on the fact that I turned 75 in November and I had family visiting from both Canada and Connecticut. Then Christmas shopping began in earnest right after Thanksgiving, etc, etc. In any case I rebuilt my home station just a few days ago after another RFI incident. I discovered that somehow the cables and wires behind my operating position had turned into a rats nest. I don't know how it happens but it always does. Anyway, after about 3 hours of hard work I got everything working again without any RFI. Only time will tell how long this condition will last. It did bring up a good point about designing the radio room. Always have a way of accessing the back of the operating position so that one is not working blind trying to sort out cables, wires and the other stuff that lurks back there. I did not follow my own advice and now I am paying the piper.


October 22, 2017      

      This past Saturday a friend and I drove down to the Camp Miles Boy Scout Camp near Punta Gorda Florida. We were asked to provide an JOTA (Jamboree On The Air) amateur radio station capability for a Cub Scout event where 1700 cub scouts and 400 staff were encamped. I and Tony, KB9A comprised one team and Jim, KE4INM also brought his gear down as well. That was a very good thing as I had problems with my VHF/UHF setup so Jim provided all the opportunities for the Cub Scouts to actually get on the air and talk to ham operators in other parts of Florida. Also in attendance were Ken, WW4KS and Ben, KM4GPL an Eagle Scout. Both were part of the staff at the event as well as coordinating the JOTA station.  To be fair Camp Miles is really pretty remote from the repeaters we had planned on using but Jim found a local repeater and a couple of hams Stan, NW3Q, and Popeye, (who's call sign escapes me for the moment) who were truly vital to the whole show. Jim and Ben were supremely patient at showing the youngsters how to use the PTT switch on the mic and coaching them to answer questions posed by the hams at the other end of the contact. Stan was outstanding at getting the cubs to ask and answer questions over the air, Popeye did a great job sending each cub the cub's name in Morse Code which delighted everyone. 

      Unfortunately, propagation was not playing nice this day as we could hear stations as far away as Scotland but the return trip was not in the cards. Approximately 400 Cub Scouts were able to talk to hams via radio. (That estimate is very rough. It could be less)

      Tony was absolutely fantastic at explaining amateur radio and it's possibilities to the cubs that came through the station. He patiently explained things like moon bounce (also known as EME) and the various layers of the atmosphere that allow our signals to go around the world.

      Ken, WW4KS was the coordinator for the JOTA station, using a public address system to invite cubs over to the station setup to participate in the activity. Since we were not the only demonstration at the event, we were competing in a way with such disparate displays as Indian dancing and Search and Rescue demos using drones and dogs, jump houses and boating on the lake, He did a tremendous job.

     All in all, it was a great day for the Ham Operators in attendance and hopefully, for the Cub Scouts in attendance. I think I can speak for all involved to say thank you for the opportunity to participate in this event.


November 6, 2017

        Well, my base IC-706MkIIG has taken ill, it would appear. Last Thursday as I went to start the Technical Net, the output of the radio decreased from 50 watts on 2 meters to about maybe 10. The audio was also very scratchy and difficult to comprehend. For the duration I switched over to the FT-7800R which was fine and the net continued. Because my son-in-law and I had taken down the dual band antenna the previous day to effect some repairs to the house and then put it back up again once the repairs were completed, I made sure the next day to attach the MFJ antenna analyzer to the VHF/UHF coax and test. The coax and antenna tested fine with SWR's between 1:1 and 1:2 throughout the 2 meter and 440 bands. My son has volunteered the use of his 706 until I can get mine repaired. He will arrive in about 9 days so until he gets here I will be down to two transceivers, my FTR-7800R and my JT-222M 220 radio. Instead of mailing the sick 706 off to Maine I plan on taking it personally to one of the local repair facilities listed elsewhere on this web site. In the meantime, life goes on.


Updates from the Radio Room Page 6