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Showing posts from July, 2010

KH6JRM's Amateur Radio Blog

Anticipating more economic chaos ahead, I'm well on my way to assembling a backup station, spare parts, and assorted tools to tide me over in case my main rig goes to the big ground plane in the sky.  The ole Swan 100- MX is holding its own, but one never knows when some non-obtainable part gives up the ghost. So, I'm cleaning up a Kenwood 520 the family of a Hawaii ham who went SK a while back.  The rig is is pretty good shape.  I've ordered a spare power cord, alignment tools, and a spare 12BY7A driver turbe.  The original 2001 finals are still serviceable.  I have a few spare 6146Bs in the "tube" bin in the event the old tubes die.  My standby Yaesu FT-7 QRP rig (10 watts) is in excellent shape after I cleaned it up and got the oxide off switches, etc.  My collection of coax feedline, 450-ohm twin lead, and assorted lenghts of #16 antenna wire is adequate to build several antennas. Along with my solar panels, deep cycle batteries, and a trusty

KH6JRM's Amateur Radio Blog

One of the things I've been looking for in this tight economy is a good, reliable back-up rig that could be used while I repair my other two "ancient" rigs (Swan 100-MX and Yaesu FT-7).  One of my fellow broadcasters across town dropped off an old Kenwood 520 that once belonged to his wife's father, a Hilo ham that died a few years ago.  Using a temporary hook-up, I found the old rig is in excellent shape.  The original finals are a bit soft, but can still put out 50-60 watts on 20 meters.  The rig came with the MC-50 mic and a Heathkit power/swr meter.  All told, an excellent acquisition.  I'm looking for the 12- prong ac plug and cord.  If you have one, let me know at kh6jrm@gmail.com or at kh6jrm@arrl.net .  Right now, I'm running the old 520 with a jury rigged set up. I'll let you know how my back-up station is developing.  With the economy being like it is, a new rig is out of the question for now.  While I'm restoring the 520, t

KH6JRM's Amateur Radio Blog

Maintaining your amateur radio hobby during this time of recession can be challenge, especially when un- employment and furloughs loom over many of us. What I'm doing to maintain the hobby is not for everyone, but my approach enables me to enjoy amatuer radio while keeping the family ship afloat. Once I get the bills paid and cover monthly ex- penses, I still have a little left over for heating the atmosphere with rf.  I'm putting off getting a new rig and instead I'm keeping the older equipment repaired and operational.  I'm also working more with home-brew antennas to cut costs.  Just keep an eye out for surplus wire, pvc pipe, and cast off RG-6 from cable installations.   Even old RG-58 and RG-8 can be used for something.  The old braid has several uses as well as the basic copper inner wire which can be used for radials.  Since this recession will be run- ning for awhile, I will defer most purchases in favor of learning to do with less.  Yes, I rea

KH6JRM's Amateur Radio Blog

How will you keep your amateur radio station alive and active during this time of economic distress?  Even a cursory reading of the business media indicates that "experts" believe the nation's economy is battered and won't really be in decent shape for more years.  The reality is the U.S. economy is broken.  So, how do you keep everything afloat, assuming you are still working?  I can only speak for myself, so take everything I say with the proverbial "grain of salt".  I've had to live with a budget for many years and know how difficult it is to have necessities with so many "nice to have" temptations around us every day.  Once I take care of my immediate family needs and the usual run of bills, I can turn my attention to my favority hobby.  I've had to put off purchases, repair the older rigs, and build a lot of my antennas when it would have been a lot easier to plunk down the plastic and worry about the cost later.  This f

KH6JRM's Amateur Radio Blog

Just a quick note from the radio ranch in Laupahoehoe. While I was waiting for the soldering iron to warm up for one of my antenna experiments, I came across an interesting weblog called "The Economic Collapse", dated 12 July 2010.  The ariticle gave several tips for coping with the continuing economic recession that has turned this country into one of the world's largest debtor nations.  The article argued that most of us know that economic disintegration is around the corner and that we must take steps to prepare for shortages, reduced incomes, and act responsibly with our financial resources.  Although I don't agree with the generally gloomy stance of the piece, I feel we ignore the trend at our peril.  Don't spend what you don't have and get out of debt if you can.  Pretty good advice.  In future articles, I will outline what I'm doing to avoid the debt trap and remain free of unnecessary financial burdens.  I will also explain what I

KH6JRM's Amateru Radio Blog

The Homebrew vertical "antenna farm" is doing well at the Laupahoehoe QTH.  The most recent project is a nearly out of sight vertical helix that works well on 40 and 15 meters.  I had a 10' piece of schedule 40 PVC pipe under the house which I pressed into service this week for an easy-up antenna.  I wound 66' of number 22-gauge hook- up wire around the mast in a helix configuation and topped it off with an 18" stinger for some top loading.  A 3' to 6' capacity hat would probably be more helpful in raising antenna efficiency, but I opted in favor of the single wire on top.  I strung out eight 10' foot radials and attached the creation to some RG-6 I had on hand.  I fed this into the Drake MN-4 ATU.  The Drake handled the mismatch and the Swan 100 MX seemed happy with the arrangement.  The bandwidth is quite narrow, but retuning is no problem.  This antenna might be of interest to those of you bothered by nosey neighbors or for those ne

KH6JRM's Amateur Radio Blog

Happy 4th of July to everyone. How about a simple, almost free antenna for your back yard?  This antenna is not original, but it does a pretty decent job on 40 m through 10 m with a an ATU or plays well on 40/15 m with ordinary coax.  While I was cleaning up an old MFJ 33'fiberglass mast in the back yard, I attached a 33' piece of #14 gauge wire to the fully extended mast, cut 6, 33' of old #22 gauge wire for radials, and attached the wires to an old Budwig connector.  I ran some RG-8 I had in the shack to my Drake MN-4.  A 3'\ piece of RG-8 ran from the MN-4 to the Swan 100 MX. Nothing fancy.  But I had fun running some contacts on 40- meters.  Fifteen meters was a bit dead early this morning, so I won't try that band until later today.  Even with 10-15 watts out, I had a lot of fun getting some cw done on the lower 25 kHz of 40 meters.  I just did this on a whim and had fun in the process. I hope you have a good and safe holiday. 73 de KH6JRM.