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Mobile install finished

Last week I had the Icom 7000 in the Mini Cooper, but was running the power for the radio from an accessory jack in the boot (trunk.)  That worked, but we all know that's not the best way to do it in the long term. Sunday morning I was on a Mini Cooper web site   and did a search for running power lines through the firewall. It turns out it was incredibly simple, with Mini leaving a space to do exactly that, and right next to the battery. So I now have a fused power line running direct from the battery to the radio in the boot. This solved a couple of issues, and I can now crank the power up to 100 watts without fear. Of course, I had to drive around a make a couple contacts. I am impressed with the 7000 as a mobile radio and am getting the hang of going to the right menu on the fly. I'm happy, and ready for the road trip to Dayton next month.

It works

First contact with the new mobile this evening while coming home from Rockford. N4YG, Joe, in Huntsville, AL. We both had good signals, so I think the new setup is working. I got the MFJ remote antenna controller and it works. You push the button to raise or lower the antenna for best SWR. Yes, I can't change bands while driving down the road like I could with the Yaesu radio, but the Icom IC 7000 is a much nicer radio. More on that as I spend more time on the air. Listen for K9OZ/m around 7030 mornings and late afternoons.

Three antennas

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Now I'm a true ham, with three antennas on the Mini.

HF mobile in Mini Cooper

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I spent most of Saturday getting the Icom IC 7000 installed in the Mini Cooper. It was a trick, but it's in and seems to be working fine. I'm running the Yaesu ATAS 120A antenna, and have a gizmo on order that will allow me to tune the antenna manually. For right now, it's tuned to 40 meter cw and that's where it will be this week. I had picked up a neat little paddle at Dayton a couple years ago, and hadn't had a chance to really use it. I screwed it to the top of the Cooper's ashtray, and it should work great there. The position is perfect. I'd like to have the control head higher -- closer to line of sight, but for right now its sitting next to the shift lever. Not great, but doable. If you really want to mess with the radio, pull off the road.

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 hou

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
Here's me and my Mini cooper http://www.miniusa.com/crm/ecard_holiday_2008/MyCard?pid=1016765&check=BMPVGK3QQT6ITLBN

Second op

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Gus the cat likes ham radio, or at least chewing on the cords.