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Showing posts from May, 2010

KH6JRM's Amateur Radio Blog

Things are quiet at the KKBG-FM/KHLO-AM news room on this Memorial Day.  I just finished an exciting 2 days at the Hilo Drag Strip where the Big Island Auto Club celebrated the 40th edition of the Memorial Day Drags.  The station has broadcast coverage of the drag racing season for 27 years and that falls under my job description.  Extensive use of the FRS (family radio service) and MURS (multi use radio service) is used at the track to maintain contact with the tower, pit areas, drivers, security, and track crew.  Low power UHF FRS radios (0.5 watt TPO) and VHF MURS radios (2 watts TPO) give those of us in the tower a good 1.5 to 2.0 mile range.  The track also has a legal, 100mw AM station for the fans, who can tune in on the tower chatter at 1610 kHz. The 8' whip is on top of the tower and gives a decent signal out to a mile.  My reports are cell-phoned to the station (4 miles away) for broadcast.  Racing fans may want to get a good hand-held scanner and follow

KH6JRM's Amateur Radio Blog

Another week at the KKBG-FM/KHLO-AM news room is just about over.  There has been plenty of events to keep this new hound busy--from that BP oil leak to the latest crisis in the Middle East.  After the morning shift, I'm more than ready to head for the shack for some quality radio time.  The 20- meter vertical dipole is working well.  The antenna is supported by a 31-foot "jackite" mast and fed with 450-ohm balanced line.  I've put a bit of top and bottom loading to compensate for the short- ness of each element (about 1 1/2 feet).  The dipole fees well and the old Drake MN-4 seems to match everything up.  The antenna is usable on 20, 15, and 10 meters.  The performance on 40 leaves a lot to be desired, but I have a separate 40 meter vertical elsewhere in the yard, so that band is not a problem.  Getting on 80 meters is a tad difficult from my postage stamp lot, but perhaps I can erect a homebrew vertical helix tuned for 80 meters to take care of th

KH6JRM's Amateur Radio Blog

'Back again after another exciting week in the KKBG-FM KHLO-AM news room.  Never a dull moment around here with more than enough oil spills, intrigue, and local corruption to cast forth on the airwaves. ' Sort of makes me glad to close shop and go back to the ole Swan 100-MX for some cw therapy.  I just finished reading an interesting series by Eric Nichols, KL7AJ, on "Plasma Physics for the Radio Amateur, I-IV."  This series is pretty good stuff, fully understandable, and easy to apply to one's current antenna situation.  You can find the series at hrrp://www.eham.com.  My antenna activities are doing well, with another vertical antenna modification in the works.  This time around the Smith Chart, I'll be building a vertical dipole for the 20- meter band.  I'll use my old 33' MFJ fiberglass mast for the project. 'Should be fun.  Meanwhile, under the house 40-meter loop is doing well as a NVIS antenna.  The loop also does a pretty

KH6JRM's Amateur Radio Blog

How the time flies when you're having fun. Not that working in the radio station newsroom is all doom and gloom, but now that my weekend shift is just about over, I'm glad the cares of the world and our financially-strapped state can be left behind until early Monday morning when the news cycle begins anew. I'm happy to squeeze in a few hours of amateur radio operations--this provides a needed break from the concerns of the "real" world.  The 40-meter loop beneath my house is doing well for a "cloud warmer". The noise level on this balanced lined antenna is very low and it's a joy to listen to contacts without the usual level of noise in my area.  Proximity to power lines surely doesn't help, but the loop seems fairly insenstive to this type of vertically polarized rfi.  The loop is great for my local Hawaii state contacts.  The backyard vertical does alright for DX, considering the dinky lot that encloses my rental house. I'

KH6JRM's Amateur Radio Blog

After a few busy weeks at the radio station news- room, it's time to break away and head for the amateur radio station at the ole qth.  I really haven't done to much operating because of work requirements...news is a 24/7 require- ment these days.  Anyway, it's time to re- place the old, weather-beaten MFJ mast which has taken a real beating from the trop- ical sun and rain.  I'll reposition my Jackite mast, which has served as a temporary back- up.  This mast is well-made and should do better than the MFJ.  The temporary arrange- ment using a 33' piece of wire, base tuner, and 4-tuned counterpoise wires will be used until I get some time to do a quality installation.  This system will be used with my under the house 40-meter loop to provide good local and DX contacts.  Nothing fancy here...but it works. Have a good weekend...good DX.  Aloha and 73 from the Big Island.  KH6JRM (Russ).