ARRL: TI-1 Day 2   Leave a comment

Day 2 of the American Radio Relay League’s (ARRL) Teacher’s Institute has been fun. We spent the morning using a Parallax USB oscilloscope, as well as a few educational boards that demonstrated the basic building blocks of radio.

The boards themselves were pretty neat. All frequencies were in the audio range for demonstration purposes. They had several blocks where one could attach a set of probes and monitor the output signals at each stage. There was a mixer, a carrier signal from an oscillator, filters, a demodulator via diode and so on.

During lunch, I got to operate the W100AW station on 20 meters!! I gave out a few dozen contacts all over the southeast and into the Caribbean. I’ve never operated a station quite like this: Yaesu FT-5000 with some sort of linear amplifier (1000W) into a five element Yagi at 130 feet. It was quite the setup.

After lunch, we got a tour of the entire ARRL headquarters, including their radio lab, office spaces, QST development area and museum.

The ARRL has radio kits assembled and ready t
o deploy in case of a disaster. These have seen use in Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Sandy, wildfires, tsunami risk areas (Alaska in recent history), and other disaster areas.

One of the rooms had several printing blocks from the early days of QST. These were likely lead or some low melting point alloy, placed onto the wood block.

We also toured W1HQ, the ARRL employees’ club. I especially enjoyed the fact that they had a Heathkit 6 meter amplifier and a map of grid squares (crossed off as they were contacted).

I took a few photos around the museum and have posted them here.

There were several spark gap radio stations about the site. These are no longer used (illegal to use, I believe), but they were neat to see.

One thing I learned is that Icom used to make a 3W 6 meter SSB crystal controlled transceiver similar to the 2M models my parents used to use in the car when I was a child. I have turned up empty on e-Bay thus far, but I will own one of these sometime in my life.

I hope you enjoyed this post!

ARRL: TI-1 Day 1   Leave a comment

Today was my first day in the ARRL Teacher’s Institute (TI-1) electronics course. I have been looking forward to this program ever since I first heard about the program at the end of April.

Today, we covered some basic electronics- Ohm’s law, resistor color code, multimeter and breadboard usage. We also went out and collected data from a satellite that passed overhead.

At the end of the day, our assignment was to solder together a 24 hour clock kit. Mine is completed, tested and awaiting a box and power supply. I have attached a photo of my completed kit.

The ARRL headquarters is something neat to see. Perhaps I will take photos at the site tomorrow. I will try to operate as W100AW around lunch time tomorrow as well.

This course has been great so far!

Daily Radio Report: 7/11/14   Leave a comment

I checked into the Albuquerque SCAT Net on 2 meters several times this week, including this morning.

This week has been active on the 20 meter county hunter net, as folks travel to the annual county hunting convention. However, I have been sitting in on an online photography seminar, and haven’t been able to operate in the middle of the day. By the evening, the monsoon thunderstorms are present, and I have my radio antenna unplugged.

I am currently listening on 20 meters, tuning through hoping to pick up a few late night stations.

I will operate more over the next few days, I can promise that!

I hope you enjoyed this post!

Daily Radio Report: 7/6/14   Leave a comment

I added up yesterday’s six meter opening: 10 QSOs in 8 new gridsquares!

Today, I didn’t make any contacts on six meters. I did, however, make a number of county hunting contacts on 20 meters, as well as work Finland on 17 meters (after 0Z) and Quebec on 20 meters.

It is great to be on the radio again!

Magic Band – 6 Meters!   Leave a comment

Today, I made a few county hunting contacts on 20 meters throughout the day, as well as LY5A in Lithuania on 17 meters this evening. These were great, but the highlight of the day was a giant 6 meter opening.

First, I heard a station calling CQ on 50.125 MHz. I responded, and heard that there were like 20 stations all calling CQ at the same time. I scanned through the band working as many of them as I could.

After that, I found an open spot and called CQ myself. I worked another handful of stations. AA5B here in Albuquerque called and said there are many more stations responding to my CQ, though I could not hear them.

Apparently, there was a giant opening to Europe earlier in the morning, so I’ll have to look again tomorrow morning and hope that it repeats itself!

I have not made it through my voice recorder from today’s six meter pileups, but I will post more information on here as soon as I can. I know I had a pipeline into the Sacramento area for sure, and worked a number of stations there.

I hope you enjoyed my post! Get on six meters, it’s great!

Successful Radio Day!   Leave a comment

I replaced the alternator and a cable in my car and suddenly the Yaesu FT-857D works. I made one county hunting contact on it, though I need to adjust my antenna since banging it on a tree branch.

Inside, I made a few adjustments to my station. I am now running the Kenwood TS-450S through an MFJ-891 to see my output power. I moved a bunch of my radios around to better suit my operating habits.

From inside, on 20 meter SSB, I worked W1AW/7 in Utah and E79D in Bosnia and Herzegovina! That’s a new country for me!

Stay tuned, now that my radios are all working again, I will be unstoppable!

Field Day 2014   Leave a comment

I spent the afternoon and late evening with the High Desert Amateur Radio Club in Rio Rancho, participating in the ARRL Field Day event.    I made a handful of 20 meter SSB contacts, including Hawaii (PAC). 

Field Day brings back so many memories for me, of friends distant and gone.  Mike Knight had formed the New River Wireless Association in 2002 after a Morse Code class he taught wished to keep radio communication going among US.   I was a charter member as well.   We ran several stations on a mountain in Southwest Virginia, and had a great time.

I wore my New River Wireless Association polo shirt when I operated this year.   I am sorry I won’t hear Mike on the radio again.

I did make some new friends this year and am considering joining the club. 

Field Day is great, and if you haven’t operated in one, try it out next year!

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