Monday, August 25, 2014

Nick Builds a 2 Meter Copper J-Pole (portable & collapsible)

Nick KE0ATH working 2 meters 
Now that my son Nick (KE0ATH) has his ticket, he is putting together a 2 meter "Go Box".  First on the agenda was a nice J-Pole antenna.

He did some searching and found a J-Pole design that collapses down to about 20" long.  The 1/2" copper pipe segments are held together with a bungee cord run internally.

Nick found a couple different designs and combined them to meet his needs.  He plans to use this while camping, etc.

When you watch the video, check out his smile at about the 4:00 minute mark when he makes the first contact on his new antenna - priceless!

(if it doesn't play just click here:

We had a blast building this together, and Nick learned several new skills - so it was a great success!

If you have any questions, be sure and give me a shout.  You can also see my other videos on YouTube here:  N0HYD YouTube Channel

73 - Burke

Friday, August 22, 2014

Getting My Radio Fix - QRP Portable Today!

I was finally able to sneak off at lunch time for some quick portable QRP op's with the KX3 and my Portable QRP Antenna from the local park.

I did a quick scan of the bands when I got there, and made one quick contact with a mobile station...

N7IV/M 14.056 599 both ways.  I am not exactly sure where he was, but had a little pileup going. (UPDATE: I found him on APRS - I appears he was in Wisconsin)

Then I decided to just plant myself on a frequency and call CQ to see what happened.  I spotted myself on Twitter hoping to maybe make contact with a Twitter follower.  VA3QV sent me a Tweet and said he was listening but could not hear me.

But I did manage to get some replies to my CQ on 14.057!

W4FO Pat in Florida
KD3CA Don in Pennsylvania
W9DCQ Doug in Wisconsin
WD9DWE Dennis in Indiana

Thanks for the QSO's guys!

I then decided to spin the dial a bit.  I heard W1AW/0 in ND, but could not break the pileup.  It sounded like he was working some DX but I could not hear the DX.

Then I went to 17 meters and worked...

W1AW/8 in Ohio - it took a bit to bust the pileup, but I finally made it!

So a fun lunch hour on the radio today!  Thanks to everyone that worked me, and to those on Twitter that tried to work me.  It was a fun adventure.

Here is where I was spotted by RBN:

One strange thing did happen today at the park.  A car pulled into a parking spot about 6 spots away from me.  There were a couple guys in the car.  On the trunk was mounted a large antenna with a wide spaced coil.  I suspect it was a CB radio antenna.  The problem was that they were talking on it!  Every time the talked I got a loud static noise on my rig.  I wonder if they were hearing my 5 watts also??

Eventually they left, but gave me a long slow look as they drove past - pretty funny - but I was glad they left because they kept messing up my QSO's!

The list of projects is huge!

I have been having serious radio withdrawal - I am really itching to get on the air and operate!  Unfortunately, life is happening and I have had zero time to operate.

When this happens I usually watch a lot of videos and read blogs.  This then leads a big list of "I wanna do that" type projects.

So I thought I would list the top 3 or 4 here and set a goal of getting them done by Christmas:

1.  Get a long wire inverted L 9:1 UNUN antenna installed at the house.  I have the UNUN built and I have the small gauge "stealthy" wire from the Wire Man - just need to get it up in the trees!

2.  Rockmite 40 - I have had this kit along with the Mitybox for several years - just need to get it built.

3. DIY Powerpole Distribution Block - There are some great plans for this here:

4. Magnetic loop antenna with automatic controller.  I have the board, just need some components to get the board built up and working - I really want to get this going early this fall!

The list is much longer - but this is the top four I want to get done right now.

What is on your project list?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Pelican 1200 for Elecraft KX3 Case

After I published my video of my portable operation, I have received several questions about the case that I use for my Elecraft KX3.

I did a bunch of research before I landed on what I use - which is the Pelican 1200.  I bought this based on my specific needs - mostly it is used in my car to get from work to the park.  But I have also taken it on numerous camping trips, etc.

As usual, let me know if you have any questions - I am happy to help!

My 5 Minutes of Fame!

I like listening to the podcast of Ham Nation - which is both in video format and audio format - during my commute to the office.  Every other week they have a segment with user supplied videos.

So I submitted my video of my lunchtime operation to Dale (K0HYD).  

As a side note, I met Dale on the local repeater within the last couple of months.  He lives near my QTH.  My 9 year old daughter wanted to see me talk to to someone, so I put a call out and Dale came back.  Our call signs are very similar which was neat.  He also talked to my daughter which he actually remembered, and you will see him mention in the episode.

Anyway, my video was played on Ham Nation last night.  Kindof a thrill for me!

Here is the link to Ham Nation on YouTube:

I have several more videos about ready to publish to my YouTube channel.  Be sure and subscribe to my channel so you don't miss anything.....

N0HYD on YouTube <= Visit NOW!

Monday, August 11, 2014

QRP 1,000 Miles per Watt....from the Campground

KX3 bathed in light from my red headlamp
The kids are starting back to school this week, so we thought we would get in one more family outing before life gets crazy.  So last week we went camping from Wednesday morning until Saturday morning.  Its great to be at the campground during the week - almost nobody else is there!

It rained every night - the days were hot and humid.  We spent most afternoons out on the lake in my Dads boat he loaned to use - nice and cool with lots of swimming and tubing.

Friday night I had time to play radio!  I setup the KX3 running on internal batteries on the picnic table.  Hooked up the portable QRP antenna that I lashed up to the canopy and I was off to the races.

I used my headlamp with a red light to see what I was writing and the radio controls.  This worked exceptionally well - and kept the bugs away.  I have used the white light before and it really draws in the bugs!

When I turned the rig on it was on 20 meters - I expected it to be dead since it was about 03:45 UTC (10:45 PM local) - but I immediately heard signals.  As I tuned around, I was hearing DX everywhere!

I listened to some of the exchanges, and could tell it was a contest - RST and Serial was the exchange.  Turns out it was the Worked All Europe HF Contest.

So I dove into the mix and started pouncing!  Wow it was fun....

UA7K - Russia (I think, could not find in QRZ)
UW2M - Ukraine (1,172 miles per watt)
UT0U - Ukraine (1, 134 miles per watt)
AI6O - California
K1XM - Massachusetts
UY5ZZ - Ukraine (1,115 miles per watt)
RW1A - Russia (1,091 miles per watt)
RM5D - Russia (1,091 miles per watt)
YP9W - Romania (1,139 miles per watt)
HA8VV - Germany (1,055 miles per watt)
S57DX - Slovenia (1,054 miles per watt)
HG7T - Hungary (1,091 miles per watt)
HG8R - Hungary (1,115 miles per watt)
DJ5MW - Germany (1,004 miles per watt)
SN6A - Poland (1,019 miles per watt)

I finally shut it down at 05:21 (12:21 AM local time) - but the band was still hoping.  I did tune around 40 meters and heard some signals, but the antenna just needs to be longer for good 40 meter operation.

What a blast!  Almost everyone came back to me on the first call - only 3 times did I have to repeat my call.  Everyone I called, I worked!

It was fascinating to think about working Russia and Ukraine with all the tensions in that part of the world right now - guys are still having fun playing with the radio.

I am really enjoying dipping my toe into these contests - it is a great way to work a bunch of stations - and some DX to boot.

Nick KE0ATH working 2 meters
Nick (KE0ATH) also did some operating on 2 meters using a collapsible portable J-pole that we built together.  He had a blast.  He is working on putting together a go-box 2 meter station for camping and outdoor adventures.

Be sure and check out, and subscribe to my YouTube channel - I am working on several more videos - stay tuned!