N1GY- The simple Approach to Ham Radio
and My Model Railroad Hobby
Updates From The Radio Room Page 14
July 19, 2023
I am up to 131 locomotives and self powered cars and I think I will take a break from buying more for a while at least. On another note, I had placed photos and some text on "My Model Railroad Page 28 about a box cab loco I was scratch building. I have since removed both photos and text because the project was not going the way I wanted it to. The project is still ongoing but with a new design and no interim coverage will be posted. WEhen it is done to my satisfaction I will post text and photos of the result.
April 29, 2023
Number 100 arrived today and it is a great looking locomotive. DCC equipped and all. All the paperwork came as well. I may need some assistance to position it on my display shelf as I don't do well on ladders or step stools any more. That is easily solved however. A landmark moment in the history of my model railroad.
April 24, 2023
I have been cleaning out my radio room/workshop area of a ton of paper that I have been saving for 20 plus years. Mostly Amateur Radio related, but it was stuff I finally realized that I was never going to use or even look at. As a result The trash collector probably got a hernia and I have 18 clean binders to get rid of. I will see if anyone at either club can use them. On a model railroad note, I have taken delivery of a 2-6-0 steam engine, Number 99 in the roster. As soon as the other dealer gets off his duff and actually ships number 100 I will then have completed my collections for a while. No guarantees, but at least I can truthfully say "I have no more room.
February 23, 2023
A lot of the electronic parts and equipment that I had in my workshop are gone. A present to a fellow ham who can make better use of them than I can. On the other hand, I have added significantly to the rolling stock and locomotive roster including an entire train, the Southern Pacific Daylight. This is on a new shelf over the backdrop on part 2 of the layout. See the picture at the bottom of "My Model Railroad Page 26". The rest of page 26 covers most of my recent additions in both rolling stock and locomotives.
December 30, 2022
I have been very busy with my railroad projects, adding shelving and rolling stock, not to mention several locomotives, so I am planning to give away most of my electronic parts and equipment in the near future. I have enough discrete parts to stock a Radio Shack store, better in fact than they ever were. I will be making an announcement on next week's Traders Net on the i46.820 repeater.
December 23, 2022
I know it has been a long gap in updating this series of pages. My only excuse is that I have been busy with constructing and repairing a number of Ham radio gadgets for others and myself. You can find most of these gadgets elswhere on this website. I have also been volunteering at the model railroad club I belong to as the store clerk among other positions. I have just added a couple of pictures to Page 25 of "My Model Railroad" elsewhere on the site as well. One of my conundrums is that I am also maintaining my Facebook Page covering both Ham Radio and Model Railroading. THus I offer this little nugget of advice. If you do not see anything new here then check my Facebook page to see if I put anything new up there.
October 12, 2022
Some time ago I had removed the mic selector boxes that I had constructed for my main radios. Recently I have been asked to cover the local club info net frequently enough that I felt I needed to re-activate a mic selector on at least one of my radios as a way of keeping the optioon open of being able to use a headset should the need arise. I had to completely rebuild the selector box I had on hand as it was originally built for a different radio that used a different type of mic connector. Other than being somewhat tedious it really was not difficult. I also decided to make the headset adapter with long enough cables so I could place it on the left side of my operating position so I could keep my right hand free to make notes, write checkin calls etc. While I was doing all this I discovered that I still had a working "earset". This is a single sided headset that is like the ones we used to use with our cell phones before the age of "Bluetooth". Instead of clasping ones head like the larger headsets, this one clips over the ear and the mic and boom is quite small and very light. This one was a wired unit and had the older twin set of stereo 3.5 mm plugs on the end of the wire unlike the newer ones that use a 4 contact plug of the same diameter, now standard on most cell phones and almost all laptop computers.
October 5, 2022
I received a query from a reader who asked how I was faring after Hurricain Ian. I decided to answer on this page. My house had very little damage at all. One piece of fascia at the back half of the carport had to be reattached, (thanks to Harry, KF4CFZ, who very kindly came over and did all the "heavy lifting" and climbing of ladders etc.) One window in the screen room (or Florida room if you prefer) blew in and popped a small tear in another window. Thanks to my daughter and son in law that was put right in very short order. My antennas, amazingly all came through with no damage at all. I got my power back on Saturday and my internet back on Sunday. Thus all is back to normal at N1GY. (Whatever that means)
August 18, 2022
I have been quite busy for the last month but I do have some news. Recently, a former member of the model railroad club I belong to passed away and most of his railroadiana came to the club. I was thus able to obtain a somewhat large quantity of DVDs about both real railroads and the modeled variety. A new DVD player was mounted over my 20" TV in my office and I have spent several enjoyable hours watching some of the DVDs. I had a larger DVD player in the train room/man cave/ living room but it wsas mounted so low to the floor as to be unusable by me in my current physical state. I am going to see if a cable can be constructed that will allow me to place that DVD player in a more accessible location to connect to the TV under the layout. Time will tell.
July 12, 2022
I must sincerely appologise for not keeping up with comments on this page. One must think I have abandoned amateur radio entirely. Not so, while I admit that most of my time has been taken up with my duties at our local model railroad club, I have, in the past few weeks, made two sets of headset adaptors and some other radioo related devices for other members of my ham radio club. I also built two new headset adapters for my own use. Also I have built several foot operated PTT switches for both my own use and for others. Once again I am very pleased as building gadgets to improve my and others use of ham radio gives me great pleasure. I am still heavily involved in both hobbies and will continue to be for as far as the eye can see.
October 6, 2021
I am chagrined that it has taken me 4 months to add to this page.My collection of Railroad memorabilia has grown and I spent the intervening months as a once a month net control for the Tech Net while Jack Ham was away in Indiana. Jack has returned to Florida and so will be taking over the slot once again. I have been busy with the RealRail model railroad club (previously the Sarasota Model railroad club). I volunteer as a clerk in the club shop twice a week. There are frequent donations of model railroad stuff, engines, cars, track, buildings and the like which the club tests and repairs as necessaryand then offer for sale in our shop. Between that and the QCWA and the Editorship of the Newsletter for the Manatee ARC, I am kept humming along quite well.
June 5, 2021
I am happy to report that the IC-706MkIIG that I had given my son has been cheerfully returned in dad's hour of need. I once again have HF capability at my operating position. The dysfunctional 706 (mine) is already packed up and ready to be shipped off to be repaired. nce it has been fixed and returned to me I will save it for my son next time he is in town and he can take it back with him. n the meantime I am very happy to see four lit-up faceplates at my operating position in the radio room/workshop/office.
May 20, 2021
This evening I operated my first stint as Net Control for the WCF Tech Net. It went quite well at least from my point of view. I did discover that I needed to construct a headset system for my FT-7900 as using the hand mic was not very convenient. Construction complete and tested. Unfortunately, I also discovered that my favorite IC-706Mk II G has decided to lose all transmit power so that will have to go on somebody's workbench to be repaired if that is even possible nowadays. The whole situation meant tearing the operating position apart and since I do not have (at the present time) a mic selector for the 7900 it has now set up for headset use only. I still have the FT-7800 for everything else but I sense a new HF radio is in my future. The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.
April 19, 2021
Today I made a major decision about the model railroad. I am going to remove Phases 3 and 4 and return the West Wall to a bookcase format at least in part. I have already stripped off the salvageable structures which will be donated to the model railroad club I belong to. When I can arrange for some assistance the benchwork will be removed from the West wall and the South wall including the extension behind the recliner. THe resulting smaller layout will, hopefully, allow me to keep it in good operating condition, something I currently am unable to do. This will also allow more space for my growing collection of railroad memorabillia which currently is jammed in wherever I can find space or stored out of site in a filing cabinet. I must admit I am sorry to see that part of the layout go but go it must in order to keep at least some part of the layout functional.
April 11, 2021
I have been doing a bit more amateur radio this week, I checked into a couple of nets on the NI4CE system and assisted a fairly new ham with adding Power Pole connectors to the radio he is going to mount in his car. My guests, he was accompanied by his wife and a buddy, were impressed with the model railroad and my modest ham radio room and since they were from the same area of Connecticut as myself, we had lots to talk about.
March 21, 2021
With my reception of my final brass locomotive, a box-cab electric loco of Pacific Electric Interurban lineage, I am done collecting brass locomotives. I am still working on my railroad memorabilia but I am also slowly getting back into amateur radio. I have volunteered to take over a friend's slot once a month on the Tech Net once he goes back to Indiana for the summer season. I also still have plenty of materials to construct the cables necessary for the remote operation of control heads and of course I still am available to supply Anderson Power Pole connectors as necessary to the ham community in my area.
February 27, 2021
With the last two purchases and a couple of bids that might be the winners, I have reached the end of collecting brass locomotives. The display cabinet is almost full and I am beginning to get re-energised about amateur radio. As I have said before about the two hobbies, I am not leaving one to work on the other but simply having more than one hobby. Lots of people do this. I know of several hams within my own groups that combine amateur radio and model railroading, or amateur radio and radio controlled model aircraft etc.
February 20, 2021
My last comment seems a bit harsh as I look at it almost one month later. Since then I have added several new locomotives and I am beginning to get the urge to get back into ham radio for a change. I am still building devicxes for ham radio. Just the other day I got an order for a couple of power distribution blocks and a few days earlier I built some Telecom cables for another ham operator. I never really lefty amateur radio, I just was concentrating on an different hobby for a while.
January 25, 2021
It appears that both the post office and Amazon are cut from the same incompetent cloth. First Amazon simply LOST my order (refills for my glucometer) and wound up issuing a refund. Then the post office seems to have lost track of a brass locomotive I purchased on Ebay. I am astounded and sorely disapointed in just how inept the work force seems to be. This is not a PANDEMIC problem. It was happening even before the COVID crisis began. People just do not take any pride in doing a good job anymore. That is why this country is going downhill. And that is why my essential orders keep getting lost or misplaced. Anything but delivered on time.
January 19, 2021
It appears to me that some of the people who usaed to visit my site for items about and for amateur radio may be thinking that the site has changed to a model railroad only site. Nothing could be further from the truth. All the same amateur radio articles are still here, nothing has been removed. I am still making cables to allow remote operation of the control head away from the main body of the radio and I still charge far less than EBay or any manufacturer of ham radio gear. I casn build and test modular cables with 4, 6 or 8 contacts and wires. That takes care of any Yaesu radio with a remotable head unit. And probably several others that I aqm personally unaware of at present. I now have TWO hobbies and I have not given up on either one.
January 10, 2021
Yesterday, I took delivery of some more parts to enhance my ability to provide a service to the ham community. I got a large quantity of 6 conductor telephone style flat cable and about 50 more RJ-12 long tab m,odular connectors. I now have plenty of resources to build 8 conductor, 6 conductor or 4 conductor remoting cables for almost any radio that uses modular co9nnnections for such things. I am of course talking about primarily the Yaesu line of analog and Fusion radios including the 7800 through 8900 series and any remotable Fusion Radio such as the FTM-300, 400 etc . So, if you need a remoting cable that is an odd length or to replace a lost cable, send me an email I can definitly solve the problem.
January 1, 2021
Here it is, the start of a new year and hopefully a better one than any of the past four years of veniality and incompetence by some of our ELECTED officials. It is also a new year for this site and so some new additions are coming, both to the site and to both of my hobbies, Amateur Radio and Model Railroading. I have already made three new purchases for the railroad side of things and we will see what the new year brings to the ham radio side.
December 2, 2020
Once again I have reached the limit on Page 20 of My Model Railroad so I have started page 21. Nothing on it yet but more news is coming. Just noted in passing, the other night on our Amateur Radio Club meeting, it was announced that your obedient servant was awarded the "Elmer of the Year" award along with my fellow member and good friend, Ed Skalecki. I am very humbled and pleased by such an award although I have trouble believing that I would deserve it.
November 14, 2020
My son and daughter in law have come to visit and boy have they been busy. My son noted on his last visit that the floor of my Florida Room was somewhat damaged at the east end by water intrusion because of some torn plastic windows at that end of the room. He had already replaced the windows on his last visit but said he would fix the floor on this one. Boy did he! He laid a whole new floor, replaced the baseboard trim around the entire room. Meanwhile Irene had also been busy repainting the frame of a glass table I have had for many years to match the new trim. My contribution was to go out and buy three new resin chairs to complete the set. My son always has a "job list" when he comes down to visit, lately it has been mostly building benchwork for my new hobby of model railroading. With that copmplete, except for details, the jobs now are mostly about improving the details surrounding my day to day existence. Withjout his and her help, along with the rest of my family I would be in a much less nice place. My eldest daughter does my shopping every week, my youngest daughter's husband makes the best display cases for my growing collection of trains and their wholew family often shows up just to do the weeding around the yard and make sure dad is OK. I love them all and thank them frequently for all their help.
November 12, 2020
Not much to report on the railroad today but I was asked this morning if I could come up with a way to connect a foot PTT switch to an FTM-400. That was an easy one, since it uses the same microphone that Yaesu applies to almost all of their VHF/UHF radios, analog and digital. Make up a short RJ-12 cable and apply it to an RJ-12 female. Splice a wire into the PTT line (pin6) and one more to Ground (pin4) and wire the two of them to a 3.5mm mono jack (ground to shield and PTT to tip) Plug in a suitable foot PTT switch and plug your choice of a mic (desk or boom version) into the female RJ-12. Now you can control the PTT with your foot and have both hands free to log entries. If you look at the diagram on the Yaesu Headset adaptor Page you will see how the PTT is wired into the circuit. To add a jack for the Foot PTT just wire it across the built in PTT switch and you will have your choice, a PTT button or a PTT foot switch.
November 1, 2020
Today is Sunday, November first. I already voted and handed my ballot directly to the Elections office in my city. Election Day is November 3rd, just 2 days away. Make sure you vote this year it is even more important than any other year. Okay, that is as political as I will ever get. The heavy duty overhead crane has been installed on the layout. It will (in concept) provide a way to get visiting locomotives off the Lo-Boy trailer and onto the museum tracks (in real life they use a rail ramp from the trailer to the end of track at a siding but I do not have such a spot on my layout that would also accomodate the trailer). Thus I used an alternate method to accomplish the same thing. The fact that it will be very useful to the Restoration Shop is also great.
October 29, 2020
Well, my attempts to simplify my radio roster have met with some success. I have sold off both of my 220 rigs and my Screwdriver antenna. I have received an offer on my extra IC-706MkIIG which has a bunch of extras along with it. Now the only "problem" is my monumental stash of parts, components and cables, I have no doubt that when I pass, there will be a giant trip to the dump to clean out my office but I will leave that to someone else unfortunately. I do wish there were more builders in ham radio as these parts could be put to good use if only there was someone to take them off my hands before the job gets left to my family. Please, if you need a part, see me first, I probably have more than you can use.
July 8, 2022,
It obviously has been a long time since I posted any kind of an update from the Radio Room. Lately, however, there seems to have been an uptick in radio hobby activity. Two local hams asked me for headset adapters for Yaesu digital/analog radios like the FTM-300DR. Luckily, the mic wiring on the new radios is the same as the old analog radios like the FT-7900R so I was able to satisfy both requests. THe first I solved by selling the headset and adapter that I used here at the radio room to the first requester. THe second I solved by building a new adapter and also selling the mic selector unit that I had been using until I sold the headset and adapter to the first ham. All worked out fine except for one thing. Even though I am not nearly as active in ham radio as I used to be, i missed having the option of a headset to use should I be tasked with running a net should the normal net control station be unavailable.
So of course I sat right down ands built more adapters. The one I built for my IC-706MkIIG showed that I still had it's old problem, a low hum that increases with power output. Luckily I can still hit the local repeaters with low power. The one I built for my FT-7800R had no such problem. I replaced the mic selector with a jack on the side of the external speaker for the 7800 that automatically switches the audio from the external speaker to the earphones on my headset. The hand mic is easily unplugged from the control head and the modular plug from the headset adapter plugged it in its place. Thus I am now equipped much as I was before my slow withdrawal from ham activities. I made this withdrawal for understandable reasons of age and health. I have not forsaken amateur radio completely, just tuned back my involvement in some of the non-radio activities that were occupying so much of my time. I still have a very large quantity of parts and supplies so if anyone is looking for such stuff, please get in touch with me.