Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

To all my friends and family i would love to wish you all a safe and happy thanksgiving.
Sorry i have not been Blogging to much been busy with other things but had a great time at the ham fest in Lawrenceville early this month. I did not buy to much expect for a 2mtr rig for local chat the radio is a Yaesu FT-1900r but when i hooked it up the radio would not power up.
I checked the volts to the rig 12volts getting to it. I thought typical i get the only bad radio so i took a trip back to the ham fest and he hooked it up and bingo the rig powered up straight away!!.
Me red faced thanked him and came home hooked it up again and guess what still dead with me and still getting 12v to the radio.
Yes you guessed it my power supply is kaput. I figured this out when i hook the rig to my car battery,This time she powered up.
We got hit by lighting and my HF rig would not turn on so that was the only rig i had at the time that was connect to the power supply i thought that was it just the radio well at least now i know that i now need a new power supply.

Another thing that i have been working on is my  40m qrp cw rig the Ten Tec 1340. It has been fun but this is the first kit i have worked on and have made a number of mistakes but i hope it all works in the end.
That is just an update just want to wish all my American friends and family a very happy thanksgiving.

73 de Steve KJ4PXH/G0OMM

Friday, October 29, 2010

Stone Mountain Hamfest

Just a reminder for those Hams that live in the South East USA or any other part. That the Hamfest on Saturday November 6 and Sunday November 7.At the Lawrenceville(Gwinnett County) Fairgrounds.Times will be
Saturday 8am to 4pm and Sunday 8am to 2pm.

Talk-in frequency 146.760 - pl 107.2
Backup frequency 145.450 - no pl

Gwinnett County Fairgrounds are located at:
2405 Sugarloaf Parkway, Lawrenceville, Georgia s
see you there :)



Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Joy Of CW( Continuous wave)

Not that long ago if you wanted to get on the HF bands ie 1.8mhz to 29mhz you had to pass a 12 wpm (Word per minute) Morse code test. This was mainly due to shipping sending out distress calls and you should be able to pick up the call. Today with satellite and other digital communications  Morse on ships is a thing of the pass.
Today Morse is still used today with Radio Hams around the world and if you do tune around the bands you can still hear the Morse code being sent by fellow Hams even your local repeater can only send its call sign in Morse.
Next time you open up your local repeater and it has not been used for a while you will hear it send out its ID in Morse.

Samuel Finley Breese Morse
So where did the Morse code start? It all started with Samuel Morse (1791-1872). Samuel Morse was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts and spent most of his young life as a Painter. On the sea voyage home in 1832, Morse encountered Charles Thomas Jackson of Boston who was well schooled in electromagnetism. Witnessing various experiments with Jackson's electromagnet, Morse developed the concept of a single-wire telegraph, and Painting was set aside. The original Morse telegraph, submitted with his patent application, is part of the collections of the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution.In time the Morse code would become the primary language of telegraphy in the world, and is still the standard for rhythmic transmission of data.
Morse Code

For More details of Samuel Morse you can read more on

As you can see the Morse code Alphabet is made up with dots and dashes. to hear the Alphabet To send Morse you need what is known as a Telegraph Key Or Morse Key.  Morse keys come in all shapes and sizes. The most common and that is used by a lot of new comers is what is called the straight key.
Morse Straight Key
The good thing with Morse or as its known with Ham Radio is CW( Continuous wave) is that you do not need to use to much power. Plus you can use simple radios that you can build yourself like the Ten Tec cw kits for 80,40,30 and 20 meters running up to 5 watts. Also with Morse you take up less band width( only 10hz when cw is sent at 12 wpm)

Below is a video of a QSO with one of the kits from Ten Tec on 80 meters

Personally as long as Ham Radio will keep going so will CW. Learning Morse is not easy and you will get mind blanks learning it but once you do learn its a grate mode and you will hear Morse where ever you go.
Good luck in learning or wanting to get back on the mode.

Morse Code Teacher from

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

New Ham Radio Group on Facebook

Andrew Powers 2E1DXV has started a Ham Radio Facebook Group called 
Amateur Radio ops in the UK & worldwide

 Andrew can be reached via Email or Facebook

Good Luck Andrew with the group




New York Judge Declares Amateur Radio Is Not a Cell Phone.

 Steve Bozak WB2IQU was fined for using his HT while Driving.

The Following is from the ARRL Website

In many states and localities, it is illegal to talk on a cell phone (without a hands-free device) while behind the wheel -- doing so can result in a ticket and possibly a large fine. But on May 30, 2010, when a New York ham was talking on his mobile rig, he didn’t think he was doing anything wrong. Except that the officer who pulled him over and cited him with a $100 fine didn’t quite see it that way.
Steve Bozak, WB2IQU, of Clifton Park, told the ARRL that when he was pulled over while driving to Troy -- about 16 miles away -- he assured the officer that he was not speaking on a cell phone, but on his handheld transceiver. But according to Bozak, the officer said “it was all the same to him.” So Bozak decided to fight the ticket in court.
“Honestly, it’s not the fine or the ticket, but that all the other hams who use mobile radios have to hide the fact we are mobile in Troy,” he told the ARRL just days after he was cited. “I will do my best to settle this politely and correctly, for all of the ham community. So I will follow the course and have my day in court, to ‘tell it to the judge.’ This matter affects 38,000 hams in New York State.”
Unfortunately, when Bozak had his day in court for a pre-trial conference, the prosecutor refused to dismiss the case. But he didn’t give up and took his case to City Court where, on September 8, where at the request of Bozak's attorney -- ARRL Volunteer Counsel (VC) Jeremy, Rase, KC2JRD -- the judge dismissed the case in Bozak’s favor. Bozak argued that his use “of a handheld Amateur Radio does not fit the definition of a mobile telephone, and as such, the present charge should be dismissed.” The prosecutor’s office did not submit a response in opposition.
Saying that New York’s Vehicle and Traffic Law defines a “Mobile Telephone” as a “device used by subscribers and other users of wireless telephone service to access such service,” and that a “Wireless Telephone Service” is defined as “two-way real time voice tele-communications service that is interconnected to a public switched telephone network and is provided by a commercial mobile radio service,” the judge decided that Bozak’s handheld transceiver did not fit that description.
“A review of 47 C.F.R.§20.3 reveals that Citizens Band Radio Service is defined under private mobile radio service not commercial mobile radio service,” the decision read. “Therefore, the Court finds that the use of an Amateur Radio device does not fit the definition of a mobile telephone as defined under the Vehicle and Traffic Law” As such, the judge dismissed the case in Bozak’s favor.
“While the court cited the Citizens Band Service instead of the Amateur Radio Service, the ruling very is favorable to amateurs on the precise point of law raised,” said ARRL Regulatory Information Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND. “The principle of law is spot on. This is a great ruling in New York and exactly what we had thought would happen.”

Monday, October 18, 2010

Building a 2 Meter J pole

The fun thing about Ham Radio is what is known as home brewed. In other words build it yourself. The cheapest things to build are the antennas.
The antenna is the most important part of any system. It does not matter if you have a $11,000 radio if the antenna bad then you will not get the best for your radio and of course if you are limited on space this can make a difference as well. Remember this as well the band you want to work will make the difference on the size of the antenna you want to build as the lower the band you use the antenna you want to build will be larger due to the wave length. Even if you want an antenna at half wave length on 40 meters (7mhz) you will still need an antenna at 20 Meters (787 inches) of course you can build at ¼ wave i.e. 10 meters (33 feet).
All lot of new Hams get into the hobby via the technicians Class Ham License and most buy 2 Meters Radio(1444mhz to 148mhz). Now with this band you can build a ¼ wave antenna at 19 inches.
You will see a lot of this Symbol   λ when working with Antenna’s this is this symbol for a full wave length so when you see ½ λ You know it means half wavelength ¼ λ quarter wavelength  and so on.
Here is an Antenna that is easy to build and gives you a good performance due to its low angle of radiation. I will cover radiation at a later time but not to send you to sleep.The Antenna is called a J pole. It was designed by the Germans back in the days of Zeppelin air ships. Here is a run down of the J pole antenna.

The J-pole antenna, also called the Zepp' antenna (short for Zeppelin), was first invented by the Germans for use in their lighter-than-air balloons. Trailed behind the airship, it consisted of a single element, one half wavelength long. This was later modified into the J-pole configuration, which became popular with amateur radio operators, as it is effective and relatively simple to build.
The J-pole antenna is an end-fed omnidirectional dipole antenna that is matched to the feedline by a quarter wave transmission line stub. Matching to the feed-line is achieved by sliding the connection of the feedline back and forth along the stub until a VSWR as close as possible to 1:1 is obtained. Since this is a half-wave antenna, it will exhibit gain over a quarter-wave ground-plane antenna. The J-pole is somewhat sensitive to surrounding metal objects, and should have at least a quarter wavelength of free space around it.
A well known variation of the J-pole is the Slim Jim antenna, which is related to the J-pole the way a folded dipole is related to a dipole. Invented by Fred Judd (G2BCX), the name was derived from its slim construction and the J type matching stub (J Integrated Matching).
Both antennas should ideally be fed with balanced line, however a coax feed line may be used if a balun is added. Commonly, a choke balun is used, or an air transformer, using about five turns of coax. Typical construction materials include copper pipe, ladder line, or twin-lead. Coax can be used to match the J-pole as somewhere between the closed circuit and open circuit of the stub an exact 50 ohm impedance match exists.

 I wanted to try and build one myself and believe me it was very easy.
The parts list is as follows.

1 10ft 1/2 copper water pipe.
1 1/2 copper elbow
1 1/2 copper tee
2 1/2 copper caps
1 5 pack 1/2 2-hole pipe strap
1 1 foot of 14 awg wire(i could not get bare wire so had to strip the shielding)
1 so-239 Chassis Mount Female Solder
2 packets or 1 packet if they come with 4 but you will need four in total of 6-32 x 1- 1/2 machine brass screws
1 packet 6-32 hex brass nuts
1 packet of brass washer washers
1 roll of solder
1 tin of flux(You can get all the Plumbing stuff from Lowe's)
one propane blow touch
This was the end result when i put the antenna together..

Once you move the 2 clamps up and down until your SWR is good then you can solder the clamps in place to keep the antenna Tuned.
I have also had some luck on 70cms but the SWR goes as low as 1:5:1 but on 2 meters the SWR is at a good 1:2:1.

This video on you tube helped me i hope it helps you.
Good luck on building the antenna.

Friday, July 23, 2010


Had a Good QSO via Echolink today with a number of hams in the UK. I have a laptop and DSL link and the mic i use is a Logitech desk Microphone.
It was good to have a chat to a local London repeater.
I explain what Echolink is. Here is a quick run down of how it works.

EchoLink is a computer based Amateur Radio system that allows radio amateurs to communicate with one another using Voice over IP (VoIP) technology on the Internet for at least part of the path between them. It was designed by Jonathan Taylor, a radio amateur with callsign K1RFD.

The system allows reliable worldwide connections to be made between radio amateurs, greatly enhancing Amateur Radio's communications capabilities. In essence it is the same as other VoIP applications (such as Skype), but with the unique addition of the ability to link to an amateur radio station's transceiver.
Before using the system it is necessary for a prospective user's callsign to be validated. The EchoLink system requires that each new user provide positive proof of license and identity before his or her callsign is added to the list of validated users.
The software is written to run on 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Microsoft Windows. Another edition of the software runs on Apple mobile devices (iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad), and is available from the Apple App Store.

You can also have one to one Chats via your PC or if you using a Hand Held Transcevier or have a rig in your car and link to a local Repeater that has a link to Echolink you can have a qso with hams from all over the world. My local Repeater that runs Echolink is WB4QDX or as its known on Echolink WB4QDX-R

Look forward for a QSO on that Mode one day.
73 De Steve