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Showing posts from November, 2010

KH6JRM's Amateur Radio Blog

Now that Thanksgiving is officially over, it's back to the newsroom routine.  The Sunday news cycle is fairly slow, so I should be able to wrap up the basic maintenance and log chores in short order.  After I secure the news room update the meter readings, I'll pick up a few things at the supermarket and head home for some time at the old Swan 100-MX before calling it a day.  Saturday's inverted vee project  went well.  The 40-meter vee has provisions to add 33' of additional wire should I desire to explore the 80-meter portion of the spectrum.  The 55' of 450-ohm twin lead seems to go well with the 4:1 balun and the Drake MN-4 ATU.  I can get a 1.2 to 1 SWR on all bands between 40 and 10 meters. The antenna was simple to make and erect.  Not a DX buster for sure, but it does the job.  You can get other simple ideas for easy to erect antennas in Doug DeMaw's "Novice Antenna Book" by the ARRL.  This book is probably out of print, but any

KH6JRM's Amateur Radio Blog

Somehow I survived the Thanksgiving holiday.  I didn't eat too much at the neighborhood gathering and managed to squeeze in a few hours of cw to round out Thursday. Presently, I'm holding down the fort at the KKBG-FM/ KHLO-AM news room.  Other than the usual meter readings and daily forms to complete, this appears to be a fairly quiet day.  Following the news shift, I'll head home for some antenna maintenance work.  Although the back- yard 40-meter vertical is working fine, I'm thinking of con- verting the old MFJ fiberglass mast into an inverted vee or a delta loop.  Both antennas have served me well in the past. I have just enough room to squeeze in a 40-10 meter vee (33' on  each side).  With 55' of twin lead, the spare 4:1 balun, and the trusty Drake MN-4 ATU, I'll be ready in no time.  I've also fed this arrangement with coax, which largely restricts the vee to 40 and 15 meters.  Purists will shake their heads at this rough and tumbl

KH6JRM's Amateur Radio Blog

Somehow, everyone in my household survived Thanksgiving.  For once, all of us gathered for our neighborhood feast ate moderately.  It seems we had just enough to make a good dinner and to have some goodies to take home.  The best part was the good fellowship of our neighbors, the ex- cellent weather (it rained just after 1900 W), and the relaxing atmosphere provided by the season. I surely needed a break from the news room after this week's disturbing news about Korea and the crippled U.S. economy.  I even got a chance to fire up the old Swan 100 MX for a few contacts after dinner.  I trust that your feast met your ex- pectations.  Enjoy what you can while you can.  Be sure to squeeze in a few hours for amateur radio--it could keep  you sane in an otherwised confused world.  'Til next time, Aloha es 73 de KH6JRM.

KH6JRM's Amateur Radio Blog

Thanksgiving is fast upon us.  It's hard to believe the holidays are coming so quickly.  I guess time seems to accelerate as one gets older.  Despite all the doom and gloom surrounding us, there is still much to be thankful for--the ability to get up in the morning, good health, decent food, and the love of family. Others would add the basic freedoms guaranteed by our founding documents--I agree, but these freedoms are getting eroded daily by the growing crudeness, crassness, and lack of respect for nearly everything these days.  I run into this situation every- day as I prepare and read the news on the commercial station I call my home away from home.  Sometimes, I wonder what kind of society we call these United States.  Every now and then, I feel we as a nation have lost our way and have failed to take responsibility for our own lives.  That's why I retreat into the amateur radio universe after a long day.  Despite the well- known problems on the amateur ba

KH6JRM's Amateur Radio Blog

Just when you think everything in the ole radio shack is running smoothly, there comes a surprise that rearranges your weekend radio activity.  Last night was such an event.  A band of intense thunder- showers rolled past Hawaii Island last night, giving us Big Islanders some needed rain along with very strong winds which played games with power lines, yard furniture, and various loose objects.  Although I can't consider my antenna farm a piece of lawn furniture, the effect of the gusty winds will put me into maintenance mode for the weekend.  A small tree limb took out the 450 - ohm feedline, so I have to restring another 33 feet of line to get the vertical back into operating condition.  The antenna appears intact, so it's back to the wire cutters, the soldering gun, and insulators for another round of antenna follies.  At least I can get some exercise before I warm up the ole Swan 100-MX.  All in a day's work.  Before I leave the commercial radio statio

KH6JRM's Amateur Radio Blog

I've just finished reading a truly inspiring article by James Deane, KD7QDG, in the 12 November 2010 edition of http://www.eham.net/ .  James penned a tale of his path from General to Extra entitled "General to Extra Class--learning a lot."  James does a good job explaining why he made the final plunge into the "Extra" pool.  What moti- vated his journey was the desire to learn more about amateur radio from a more technical point of view.  Many of us have made the same trip through the license structure.  My 33 years in this wonderful hobby has visited every license class except for Tech Plus.  Like James, I wanted to learn more and took up the challenge to master the math and regulations necessary to get the Extra. Besides, I wanted  the Extra for my own sense of ac- complishment.  Of course, the additional 25 kHz at the bottom of most bands meant some new DX and a perfect way to polish my meager CW skills.  If you want to attain the Extra Cl

KH6JRM's Amateur Radio Blog

Veterans Day on Hawaii Island has been quiet. The day provided a welcom respite from the usual "crisis by the minute" routine found in the radio station news room.  I even had a few listeners thank me for my past military service--that was a surprise, considering the reception I received when I returned from active duty in the early 70's.  Those were the days. As soon as I wrap up the day's news coverage, I'll head for the home station and some time "pounding the brass" until my daily jog with the XYL, dinner, and a slow retreat under the covers.  I trust your day was a good one. 'Til next time, 73 es Aloha from Hawaii Island. KH6JRM.

KH6JRM's Amateur Radio Blog

Veterans Day will be observed on Thursday--a time to remember those who served our nation in both peace and war.  In my former life as an Air Force Officer and before I became an amateur radioi operator, I was aware of the vital service provided by MARS operators.  I even used this service a few times to contact family at home.  I am indebted to those ham and military operators who kept our morale up and provided a lifeline to our loved ones.  The tradition continues, as MARS operators and other radio amateurs provide support to our military personnel around the world.  The technology, of course, has improved, but the mission is still there.  I will not forget your service to those who serve our nation. So, on the advent of this Veterans Day, I wish all amateur and military operators a deep thankyou for your dedication and ability to keep our spirits up in difficult times.  Aloha, 73 de KH6JRM.

KH6JRM's Amateur Radio Blog

What a busy series of weeks.  First there was the rush of holiday promotions, high school games, and the busy cycle of the news day.  Then add the hype surrounding the mid-term elections.  The negativity and hypebole surrounding the transfer of legislative power were  more scary than Halloween.  Sandwiched between this sped up news cycle was a few hours of amateur radio--what a relief to just sit down in front of the old Kenwood 520, pound some brass, and rag chew with a few friends.  I'm still  altering some of the antenna farm as Hawaii's salt air and acid rain (from the Kilauea Volcano) does its work of digesting wire and connectors.  All of this keeps me busy and out of the shopping malls.  Besides, the exercise gained from tilling the family garden and lugging around pvc pipe, wire, and twin lead has some benefit for the ole waist0 line.  My XYL and I manage to keep in shape with a simple, nutritious diet and daily walks.  Time before the rig gives the mi