Busy busy

It’s snow season at work, and I’ve been busy doing this:

20161227_064029

I whine. None of the drifts were as bad as the front of the main building. Its peak was over my head, and four feet tall in other places. Snivel.

Thursday and Friday were very cold, -25 and -16 respectively. Friday seemed much colder, probably because I wasn’t using HotHands in my gloves and shoes, but I’m guessing the humidity had something to do with it as well. Nevertheless, I ordered a pair of Air Force flying mittens from Sportsman’s Guide yesterday morning, and I’m hoping they work better that the gloves I have. Might have to lay in a supply of oily rags to wrap around my ankles- to keep the ants from crawling up and biting my candy a**.

I spent Thursday afternoon driving a fellow ham around: he’s without wheels, so we piled in the Nissan and ran some errands.

Last weekend was cold, but I managed to install the Yaesu FTM-400XD I purchased (used) on 23 December 2017. The radio fit nicely on a steel panel behind the glove box. I ran the microphone and control head cables temporarily to a spot between the seats, but I’ve ordered a panel mount RJ 12 female X female socket and a 6 pin RJ 12 cable (shortest I could find was 7′). The parts ought to be delivered next week, and I’ll clean up the install shortly thereafter. I’m still looking for an elegant solution to mounting the control head.

I purchased this radio to be able to monitor C4FM and to have a better option for 2M/70cm in the truck. I’ll still use the FT-857D In both trucks and in the shack, but the FTM-400 will stay in the Nissan.

I’m still working on a long wire antenna for the house. I’m still very tempted to buy and install a Comet CHV-5X in the attic, Last Man Standing style.

 

 

Your first HF Station- Brushbeater

So far, in following the Survivalist paradigm concerning radio, we’ve discussed the many uses of hand held sets, due to their overwhelming popularity but far more importantly their largely misunderstood role. Capable of local, or Line of Sight (LOS) communications, they are often the entry-level communications device that most cut their teeth upon. Mobile VHF or UHF sets usually offer more power and increased range, but basically accomplish the same goals with most off the self models leaving out AM and SSB from the upper bands. But from there, the next step seems bewildering at a minimum and inaccessible at worst. The advantages of HF communications however, are numerous and bring to the table tools that possibly get overlooked in other contexts. That being said, getting on HF is kinda tough. You need at least a General Class radio license, which is certainly attainable but no small feat, and the selection of equipment is nothing short of bewildering (as well as expensive in many cases). Hopefully by the end of this, together we’ll get a better understanding of meeting our requirements.

 

I’d like to weigh in on this, but I don’t have nearly as much experience, so I’m reposting Brushbeater’s excellent post, which you can find here.

 

What I wish I’d known when I received my technician’s license

The temptation to buy loads of expensive gear is pretty strong when you get your Tech ticket. Here’s what I would have done differently.

Find a local club, pay the dues, and join it.

Go to the meetings, and ask the old guys (and young) questions, like “what sort of radio do I need/what are the repeaters in the area/what nets are active, etc. Most of them are more than happy to line you out with lots of useful info.

Get a dual band handheld radio, and program every repeater and simplex frequency your area of operation into it.

In my area, there are several repeater and simplex frequencies. Put all your local frequencies into your new radio. This gives you practice doing it (if you don’t know how to USE your radio, it’s an novelty  item) and familiarizes you with the menus in the radio. There are literally dozens of YouTube videos for programming my Yaesu FT-60R. The radio you choose will likely have lots of videos for programming it-keep that in mind when buying a radio.  It also makes you able to access the frequencies the club members are using. That way you get to practice talking to the folks in your area as well.

Buy a dual band (2m/70cm) radio FIRST.

If you have a tech license, you’ll get on the air immediately, whereas on HF, you’re limited to some of 6m and 10m, and some CW on 15m, 40m, and 80m bands. Having a dual band hand held will get you on the air, right now.

Buy a GOOD QUALITY dual band radio.

Don’t buy cheap, even if a club member encourages you to. I have a bit of experience with the Bao Feng line, and I’d encourage you to avoid them. Instead, budget $150- $200 for a name brand radio (Yaesu, Icom, Kenwood) from a local dealer, if you have one. You’ll be glad you did. Don’t listen to the naysayers tell you the “if you drop it in the water, it’s ruined” stories. You’re perfectly able to keep a nice piece of equipment from being ruined, and quality equipment is always better. If all you can afford is a $30 radio, save your money and wait till you can afford a good one. Once again, you’ll be glad you did.

DON’T rush out and buy an HF radio

In addition to the radio, you’ll need a tuner, antenna, coax cable or ladder line, and space to install it. All these items take money, planning, and space to put them in. HF radio can be an interesting part of the hobby, and can also be frustrating to do well. Remember those old guys I spoke about? Most of them are more than happy to let you come over while they operate their equipment-and I prefer to learn by doing. Ask them questions, listen and write down their answers.

When you’re ready to upgrade your license, use the online test websites to help you.

Some are free, some a charge a small fee. I used hamtestonline.com for my general test: I studied for ten days, and passed. It was $30, fast, and pretty easy. I’m not affiliated with them, just a satisfied customer. But there are plenty more, and some are free. Let your fingers do the (internet) walking.

These suggestions won’t guarantee that you won’t be frustrated, but they just might help.

As they say in ham radio,

73.

 

A nice, old piece of gear lands at the Wyowanderer compound

It’s a Hickock 600 tube tester. It was received from a fellow ham who had more than one, and took pity on me.

Hickock 600 tube tester

Little better view of the control panel:

Hickok 600 tube tester

It’s in pretty good condition, and while it’s not the most accurate tester ever made, it’ll help me to identify good tubes from bad ones, and that’s most of what I’m looking for.

Now to do my fellow ham a good turn or two.

 

Great post from Outlander Systems

That said, just remember, by showing up to the polls in November, and yanking the crank that says, “Donald J. Trump,” you, and millions like you, will have effectively sent the biggest, meanest, most hateful bird-finger in the direction of the Deep(Dark) State possible; you’ll have utterly embarrassed them. You will have, if nothing else, given the most thorough, “FUCK YOU,” of your life to the disgusting scum that have floated to the top, while simultaneously illustrating that the biggest propaganda machine this side of Goebbels was utterly incapable of stopping you.

Read the rest here. Caution, hurty words ahead…

BTW- if you’re not following his blog, you’re missing out.

Don’t ever talk to law enforcement

First, watch this:

Then this:

And remember-officer friendly will use every word you speak against you, if he can.

When he asks you a question, it’s best to respond: “can the information you seek be used against me in a court of law to incriminate me?”

He has to tell you yes or no, and the answer is nearly always yes.

Don’t talk, and get an attorney.