Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Books For Ham Radio By Gordon West And ARRL

  One of the best books I ever bought was the 1986 ARRL Handbook. I bought that way back in 80s when I was in college in Electrical Engineering. Back then I was not in Ham Radio, I was using it for Electronics in college. I was always looking at all the information on Ham radio and thinking about going for my license. Well I was young, married and had my first daughter. I was so busy with everything I just never got to it. I finally got my Technician License and then my General License in June of 2010. So as you can see I have not been a Ham all that long. I am always learning something new or thinking or building some kind of antenna.
  So if you are looking for good books on Ham Radio, Studying for your License, Building Antennas or whatever you are doing look into one of the ARRL Handbooks. If you are studying for one of your Ham Radio Licenses I would definitely recommend one of the books by Gordon West. I had bought some through Radio Shack years ago and I still have them. I do like the newer books by Gordon West, because they are easy to read and learn from. I intend on buying one to use to study for my Extra License pretty soon.
 

  There are plenty of other books available through Amazon, Ebay or from one of the local Ham Radio Dealers on the internet. Some of my favorites are Universal Radio, DX Engineering, Ham Radio Outlet and AES Electronics. Of course there are other very good Ham Radio Dealers out there as well to choose from. You can also find good books on building Ham Radio Antennas if that is what you like to do. I would also suggest books on shortwave radio as well. The list of books just goes on and on. If you find a book I would look at the reviews on it and then decide if you want to buy it.
  If you are looking for a book or license manual check out the stores below the posts.
  Thank You for reading and Happy Holidays from Dan KC2YTI 73s.
       

Saturday, December 6, 2014

A Couple Of Repair Tools If You Are Running Windows Besides Linux


    If you are running windows xp, vista, 7, 8 or 8.1 this tool can save you a lot of headaches. The tool I am talking about is a repair tool from tweaking.com and is free. I recommend this to anyone who is a computer technician or if you are trying to repair your own system. I have used it a number of times and it has saved the time of performing an in place upgrade or repair mask on an older windows xp system. You can find this tool at this website link http://www.tweaking.com/content/page/windows_repair_all_in_one.html . Basically all you have to do is either perform a clean boot on the system and then run the tool. You will see on the website how to perform a clean boot on various operating systems. I generally set the system I am cleaning viruses on to run in the safe mode with networking. This basically does the same as a clean boot and I have not had any problems. It is a very useful tool unfortunately it does not work for any Linux or mac operating systems.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Kenwood Ham Radio Transceivers Make An Awesome Christmas Present

  Thinking of a special Christmas Present this year. I would look into one of the Kenwood Ham Radio Transceivers. They do have a few different models to choose from. I believe considerations would be decided on whether you are just starting out in the Ham Radio Hobby or have been in the ham radio hobby for a few years. I myself have a Kenwood TS-2000 and I love it. Yes it does have quite a few different gadgets on it, but that's why I love it.
  One of the Kenwood Ham Radio Transceivers that I have kept my eye on is the Kenwood TS-590S. It is High Frequency HF Transceiver that will transmit from 6 meters to 160 meters. This would give an excellent number of bands and frequencies to choose to transmit and receive on. There are plenty of menus and a nice big lcd display for easy viewing. What I like is that it has that big boxy look like a radio should. Well that is just my preference and I say if you like a different look that is okay too.
Kenwood TS-590S Transceiver


Saturday, November 8, 2014

Why Not A Yaesu HF Transceiver For Christmas

  Christmas is getting even closer so why not go for a Yaesu HF Transceiver with all the bells and whistles. I absolutely love the look of these Ham Radios. I have said it before, but I love the big boxy look with all the awesome controls for everything. Of course if you plan to transmit you will need your Ham Radio License. I would start out with at least the Technician and then go for the General License. Then if you want study and go for the Extra License. There are plenty of good study materials out there on the internet for studying for your Ham Radio License. If you want to buy study material go for the Gordon West books, cd and audio materials.
  Okay now back to some Yaesu Ham Radio Transceivers. The Yaesu FT-DX3000D is one of those awesome radios that seems to be made for contesting. Although Rag Chewing and DX chasing is no problem either. This transceiver will put out 100 watts and will certainly work in most situations. Of course if you really want to bust up that pile and get through I would add an awesome ameritron  amplifier. I have seen some new one come out in the Ham Radio Outlet 2015 catalog and yes they are solid state which makes them much lighter. The Yaesu FT-DX3000D does have a 4.7 out of 5.0 rating at eham.net. That is out of 90 reviews when I checked last. That is not bad and shows it is a popular model. Here is some information on it below.



YAESU FT-DX3000D


    Sunday, October 26, 2014

    Yaesu 450D Transceiver Sill Going Strong

      Looking around the internet and I see the Yaesu 450D Transceiver is still proving to be a really good Ham Radio Transceiver . I was looking at the reviews on Eham.net and they seem to be very good. They tend to be ratings of 4.5 to 5.0, which is at the top of the scale for an excellent review. I think this being a smaller Transceiver with the capability of fitting it into a mobile capacity gives it a nice edge. I could easily see how it could be installed into a SUV type vehicle or maybe into a mobile home for traveling. I am sure there is some ham radio logging software such as ham radio deluxe where you will be able to control the radio from your computer. For being a mainly base transceiver it has a very good price range of about $850 new. Here is a video below that will give a pretty good look at the Yaesu 450D. I would also check out any other videos online for various Ham radio Tests Online at youtube.

                             

    Wednesday, October 22, 2014

    Building A Moxon Antenna For Ham Radio

    Moxon Antenne 20m
    20 Meter Moxon Antenna On Top
      Looking around the internet at different types of Ham Radio Antennas to build I came across the Moxon Antenna. It is basically a wire type antenna made to act like a two element ham antenna. It is a directional type beam antenna. It can be made light enough to be used with a light duty antenna rotor. There are various places on the internet where you can buy a fairly low cost antenna rotor. Sometimes you can just use a heavy duty tv antenna rotor.
      The Moxon Antenna can be made from some fairly cheap building components. I have seen small two meter and six meter ham radio moxon antennas made from PVC Pipe. My advise would be to use the grey electrical pvc pipe , because it is uv protected and may last longer in the weather. Another way to design the Moxon Antenna is to use the 16 foot long Fiberglass Crappie Fishing Poles . They basically telescope out and can be shortened depending on what ham radio frequency you are planning to transmit on. I am planning on building a moxon antenna for maybe the 17 meter band or the 20 meter band. It is possible to make it a multiband antenna and it can cover multiple frequencies. I am going to use a heavy duty plastic cutting board from Target as the center mounting hub. I will use some u-clamps to hold the fiberglass crappie fishing poles in place. The wire for the antenna can be from home depot or lowes. I would not use too heavy a gauge wire, because of the weight. Yon find Ham Radio Antenna Wire on Ebay.  I myself use antenna wire from dx-engineering or universal radio.
      As far as designing the moxon antenna you can find a variety of moxon antenna calculators online on the internet. Here are a few links to some of the websites with antenna calculators http://www.moxonantennaproject.com/design.htm . Here is another link http://www.ac6la.com/moxgen1.html . Here is a link where you can find information on building a 6 meter moxon with pvc pipe http://www.jpole-antenna.com/2014/06/11/building-the-6-meter-moxon-antenna/ . There are numerous websites out there with information on building Moxon Antennas. I have thought of other designs using aluminum mast tubing, aluminum angle and u-clamps to support the pvc frame. This website has good information on building a moxon antenna http://www.qsl.net/dk7zb/Moxon/Moxon.htm . My advise is to check out all the websites on building Moxon Antennas and then think up your own design.
      Thank You for reading from Dan KC2YTI  73s.
      

    Friday, October 10, 2014

    Nice New Laptop Computers For Your Ham Shack Running Linux

    Dual Boot with Linux and Windows 8.1
      There are some decent Laptop Computers on Amazon and Ebay that are running various distributions of Linux. If you are buying new I would check with the manufacturer to see if they have an extended warranty or an accidental warranty. This way if you damage it by breaking the lcd display or spilling something on it you can get a replacement. I have seen way too many times when a laptop is out of warranty the manufacturer will not do anything and just say were sorry you are out of warranty by a week for example. Yes there are some manufacturers that will help out a customer, because they know it is good business and customers will keep coming back.
    Has Windows 8.1 so Add Linux
      So you may be asking what are the best brands of laptop available today. Well I see a wide variety of models and brands come in for repair. If I am going to recommend some I would say Asus, Lenovo, Dell, Sony and Toshiba. If you go for a Hewlett Packard just check on the warranty. There have been groups of various models that were known to have motherboard problems. It is true that any brand may have a bad component from time to time. Unfortunately you never know how it was handled in manufacturing. In fact today as I was walking through shipping I saw the person checking in a motherboard coming in for a customer. The person had the motherboard sitting on the static bag. This is a big problem, because the board can be damaged by static electricity and you will never know it. The second problem is the person is not using any ESD Protection. They wonder why a new board does not work or only lasts in the field for a short time. I love it because they blame the place where the board came from. Not a good way to run a business.
      Some of these laptops may be using Ubuntu or maybe Mint. The nice thing is you can always make it a multiboot system and install a different distribution of Linux. It just depends on what flavor of Linux you like. You can of course have a windows 7 or windows 8.1 system and dual boot it with a Linux Distribution. There are many many good brands of laptops available. So check out the Laptop Computers on Ebay for some good deals. Of course there are many programs for Ham radio, such as Loggers that are open source to use. There are some full programs for Ham Radio that I have mentioned in other posts on this Blog. Nowadays the hard drives in the systems have plenty of room to install the programs you may want to run. Microprocessors are much faster and more memory can be added. So take advantage of the awesome Linux operating systems and do some rag chewing.
      Thank You for reading from Dan KC2YTI 73s. 

    Sunday, September 14, 2014

    Looking For A Good Satellite Tracking Software

      If you are into Ham Radio and satellite tracking there are quite a few different pieces of software out there for Linux. There are the free open source category of software programs to choose from and some are very good. You can also find some paid versions of satellite tracking software as well. My best advise is to look around the internet and you can find plenty of good free software. To protect yourself you can always use Google and check to see if a particular piece of software causes spyware or adware and brings in unwanted programs such as pc optimizer pro or search protect to name a few. Believe me I work on computers all day long and clean up more viruses, malware, spyware and adware than I care to talk about.
      One of the free programs I came across is called Gpredict. It is a free satellite tracking program. I came across it by searching on the internet. I found it at this website link http://radio.linux.org.au/?sectpat=satellite . There are other programs on this website as well. I did install this on my windows 7 system, but it can be installed on different Linux distributions as well. Just follow the directions to install it. I ran the program and it seems to do pretty well. Here is a picture of it below.
       

    Sunday, August 24, 2014

    SDR Software Defined Radio For Ham Radio Operators

                 
                    Free Software + $20 USB Dongle = Software Defined Radio, Hak5 1524
                                                              by Hak5

      I had seen various websites talking about an SDR Radio. I had found one SDR Radio for shortwave listening. When my Kenwood TS-2000 went down and had to be sent out for repair I was looking for something to at least receive signals on. I did not have my Grundig Satelit 750 at the time, which is an awesome radio for shortwave listening as well as listening to the Ham Bands. I installed the SDR Radio Software on my windows xp computer and it was awesome. I was listening to quite a few different Ham Radio Operators. I also found the program for my Linux Ubuntu and Mint systems. This software installed properly and worked just as well and even better than the windows xp system. Of course today with the non support for the windows xp operating system I would be very Leary of going on the internet. My best advise for using Linux is to download the current iso distribution or update whatever you are using, whether it is Ubuntu, Mint, Zorin, Fedora or whatever you are using.


    Sunday, August 3, 2014

    One Of These Days You Will Have To Repair That Laptop Or Desktop Computer



      One of these days you desktop or laptop computer is going to break down in one way or another. So I would recommend for anyone to have a good computer repair kit. It may also come in handy if you are going to do any repair on any of your Ham Radio Equipment. Small screwdriver bits have come in handy for me when I worked on my MFJ 993b Antenna Tuner. I replaced the on off push button switch with a toggle switch and have had no more problems. These tool kits will almost always have a soldering iron as well as other tools. The tool kits can go from being very simple to a more advanced tool kit with a digital voltmeter and a whole variety of tools.  
      If you are going to repair computers you are going to need a good tool kit. The same thing goes if you are planning on being an Electronic Repair Technician.  I presently work as a computer repair technician and a tool kit is very important. Even when I worked as an Electronic Technician I had my own tool kit. If you are just going to learn to repair your own computers I would recommend a have a tool kit that has various screwdrivers, soldering iron, solder, magnetic telescoping screwdriver and a flashlight. I would also recommend that you have some tweezers in your toolkit as well as a desoldering tool to remove the solder. Another good tool is some of the dry wick for removing solder. You will find that the screwdriver with various bits especially torx bits can be an important item for working on laptop computers. You should also have a esd wrist strap to protect the computer you are working on from damage by static electricity.
      If you are working on your own computers it can be extremely important. All of us big kids have our grown up toys, such as the Ham Radio and various computer equipment that we may be using in our Ham Shacks. So I guess in a way you could consider the tool kit a toy for a big kid to repair our toys when we break them. There are quite a few different ways to buy a tool kit. You can buy locally, off amazon or ebay. You can also buy other tools to put in your tool kit off amazon, ebay or from your local home depot or lowes. Another nice item is a tool box or tool brief case. You can keep all your tools in this case and it will make it easier to carry on your on site repair calls. There are some tool kits that come in this type of case and have an excellent variety of tools.
      In the computer repair service you generally do not repair by troubleshooting the actual circuit. Most of the time it is a repair by replacement or a board swap situation. So the most important item in the tool kit for me is the screwdriver. The main time you may need the soldering iron and solder is if for example you are working on a laptop. This is generally when you may be replacing the dc jack for example.
     Thank You for reading from Dan KC2YTI  73s.

    Saturday, July 12, 2014

    It's Time To Bust That Pile Up With Some Extra Wattage

    • Frequency 3-30 Mhz, HF amplifier, with 2 cooling fans,
    • Mode AM-FM-SSB-CW (This amp does not work well with Flex or KX3)
    • Input power: 1-15 W AM/FM, Input power: 2-30 W SSB/CW , Output power - 300 W Max AM/FM, •Output power: 600 W Max SSB/CW
    • Supply 12-14 Vcc, Output power level - 6, Antenna preamplifier - 26 dB
    • Made in Italy, This model is for export only, only ship to the address outside of US
      I have been looking at various Ham Radio Amplifiers for my Ham Shack. The Ameritron Amplifiers are very nice, but a little out of my price range. I have been looking at some Amplifiers built by RM Italy. I have watched various reviews on youtube and they seem to do pretty good. The price on them seems to be very affordable. I have heard some people say that they can cause some splatter. They have said they don't care for them, because they are not made in the USA and therefore not regulated. I say try one and determine what you think for yourself. They seem to vary in output anywhere from 150 Watts to about 600 watts for SSB. They could make a nice addition for your Ham Shack, but just remember you are going to need a power supply. Generally a radio putting out 50 watts to 100 watts will be plenty sufficient. It Should be noted that from what I understand they are not legal in the united states by the FCC .
    • Frequency 3-30 Mhz, HF amplifier
    • Mode AM-FM-SSB-CW
    • Input power: 1-15 W AM/FM, Input power: 2-30 W SSB/CW , Output power - 300 W Max AM/FM, •Output power: 600 W Max SSB/CW
    • Supply 12-14 Vcc, Output power level - 6, Antenna preamplifier - 26 dB
    • Made in Italy, This model is for export only, only ship to the address outside of US
      There are other Ham Radio Amplifiers that can be bought through ebay for some really good prices. I would just make sure that you check out the seller thoroughly before you buy anything. I have heard some terrible horror stories about not getting anything or getting a damaged boat anchor. I have seen some excellent used amplifiers made by Yeasu, Collins, Heathkit and Kenwood. You will also find some Ameritron Amplifiers for sale through ebay. The Amplifiers can be of the tube type especially if they are a few years old. I have seen some solid state amplifiers made by Henry, Palomar and Texas Star. You may just find a used amplifier that puts out about 1500 Watts, which is very good. Just remember that none of these amplifiers are to be used on the 11 meter band. That would be against the FCC Rules and they may come knocking at your door.
    • A full range HF amplifier with automatic or manual band switching.
    • Ideal for use with the Yaesu FT817 & FT897 and Icom 703, but suitable for use with any low power HF radio.
    • Frequency : 1.5 - 30 MHz , covers 160 meters, 80 meters, 60 meters, 40 meters, 30 meters, 20 meters, 17 meters, 15 meters, 12 meters and 10 meters
    • This model is for export only, only ship to the address outside of US
    • Input power - 2-15 W, Output power - 300 W Max (Output power SSB - 500 W Max)
      Some advise is that you should make sure your swr reading is as low as possible. If it too high you can damage your transceiver by running a high amount of power. There are many different swr meters available to keep a close eye on your swr reading. I myself use a large cross needle swr meter from MFJ and it works very nicely. If you are using a dipole antenna or whatever antenna you are using I would suggest a nice antenna tuner. I use a automatic MFJ-993b and also a MFJ-949e both of which do a very nice job. My advise is also to check out the reviews on any piece of equipment at eham.net . You can find all kinds of reviews by Hams for all kinds of equipment.
      Well Thank You for Reading and Have A Nice Day fro Dan KC2YTI  73s.   

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