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Showing posts from March, 2009

Novice QSL card

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A few years ago I was visiting my uncle Merrit, WA0HFH and we went down in his shack and started going through his old QSL cards. I was amazed he had one from me, that I had sent him shortly after getting my license. It's not often you find something you wrote and sent as a 12-year-old.



This was sent in late October 1965, and I got my license in August. So I think, from reading the message, I had just gotten these fancy printed QSL cards, and was proud to send him one. During my novice days, I carried out a schedule with my uncle nearly every Saturday afternoon, chugging away at low-speed CW. At the time I didn't think much of it, but looking back now I realize the time he put in to help a nephew get on the air.


My novice station was a Globe HG 303 transmitter and a Heath HR-10 receiver. My dad and I had built the receiver from a kit -- a weeks-long endeavor that I'm sure was a chore for my dad, but again, he willingly put in the time to help.

Going mobile

I was talking about getting active mobile again, that's opertating cw HF from the car by my definition. I put the ATAS 120 back on the Chevy Equinox, and unfortunately, it seems to have died. I've run the Yaesu FT-857/ATAS 120 combo for a quite a few years and really like it, but the antennas don't seem to last that long. This is my second one that has died, so I don't think I'll buy a third.
So I'm at a quandry -- what do I use for an antenna. I ran Hamsticks for years, and may go back to that. They are simple, cheap, and you don't feel bad when a $18 antenna fails. I'm also debating what radio and what car to do this in. I spend most of my road time in a Mini Cooper, but I spent a few hours trying to figure out how to shoehorn a HF rig into that car last weekend, an didn't come up with a solution.
I presently have a Yaesu FTM-10 in the Mini, which is perfect for a limited-space installation of a 2 meter/440 radio. The microphone and speaker are hous…

Getting the mobile bug

Hello to K2CZ who commented on my Mini Cooper silliness. Yes, I need HF mobile in it. I've got 2 meter/440 with the Yaseu FTM-10 -- that strange little radio designed for motorcylcle work. It does work well in the Mini, the control head has the speaker and the mic in it, so that's all I really have up front.

But I miss my HF mobile. I ran a Yaesu FT 857 and ATAS 120 antenna for years, but the ATAS has died and my wife gave me an Icom IC-7000 for Christmas. I can see having the 7000 driving a Hamstick on the back of the Mini. I do a 90-minute commute two days a week, so I have plenty of mobile time to kill.

That's my Spring project, if Spring ever arrives. Stay tuned.

Slow winter for ham radio

I thought it was jut me, but last month in both CQ and QST magazines, there were articles about how bad the bands have been this winter. Ok, that's my excuse for not getting on enough and not blogging.

Actually, I've just grown lazy on the blogging. I was on last weekend and had three very nice CW rag chews. They were Bruce, K6ZB, in Thousand Oaks, CA; Tony, N2ATB, in Chrerry Hill, NJ: and Bill, KA1RVM in Hollison, MA. All three were nice conversational contacts, where we talked about a wide range of things clipping along at 25 wpm or so. That's when CW is really fun for me.

Contest season is about over. I tried to get on the the 160 meter phone contest last weekend, but my dipole antenna blew down a couple weeks ago. Instead of a dipole at 50 feet, I now have a dipole at 50 feet on one end and 10 feet on the other. It still gets out ok on 80, but I could tell the difference on 160. Oh well, spring will be here soon and I'll get a new rope up to the top of that tree and…