I took a little drive today to my favorite park outside of town to work a few stations in the CQWW contest. I usually don’t work very many contests, but anytime I hear lots of stations on 10m I just have to try a few QSOs. Using the FT-857D in the mobile at 100w and ATAS120A antenna, I was easily working DX. In a short period of time, I worked SN3R (Poland), IR8C (Italy), GW9T (Wales), G5O (England) and F5TTI (France). I setup the video camera and captured these contacts. (sorry about the shaky shots, should have used the tripod)
While I was running some errands yesterday, I decided to tune around the HF bands to see how conditions were doing. I noticed numerous DX stations on 10 meters, but wasn’t sure they’d hear my little mobile station. I stumbled across EA1DR (Oscar) in northern Spain who was coming in pretty strong. I pulled over into a parking lot and tried answering his CQ DX call numerous times, but to no avail. I pulled out of the parking lot and decided to try him one more time. Success! It was a short 30 second contact, but he said my mobile station was doing a great job into Spain. Amazing how one little contact like this can brighten up my day.
Something I’ve been trying to do more of is recording the audio of my HF QSO’s, at least the DX ones. I remembered to hit the record button on my iPhone audio app and captured this nifty QSO.
I recently got a wild hair to stream some ham radio audio. I’m already familiar with the streaming process as I stream the Champaign, Illinois NOAA weather radio on Wunderground. My plan was to run a stereo feed with the left channel going to one repeater and the right channel going to the other repeater.
I found a decent deal on some Bearcat BC350A’s on eBay, so I purchased 2 of them. I debated on adding a second sound card to the computer streaming the weather radio, but decided it’d be easier to just use a second computer. Luckily I had an old Dell Optiplex GX260 here that would be suitable for streaming. I have the scanners hooked up to my old Samlex 1223 power supply. I had mixed feelings if this would even work as it had some issues with the HF rig, but so far it’s been running great. The antenna setup is tricky since I am unable to put up anything outside.
The scanners came with a simple window mount antenna with suction cups, but the gear was too far from any windows. When I first tested the audio, the signals would fade in and out and they were picking up interference from surrounding electronics. I did some research on splitting antenna signals and decided to go the cheap route. I found some RG6 quad shielded coax and used that to stretch across the room to the window. I have that hooked up to a 4-way cable TV splitter. I have several adapters converting from F to BNC. Some folks say that will cause a lot of signal loss, but in my situation it shouldn’t matter too much. I live within a mile of the tower that the repeaters are located on, so the using suction cup antenna in the window should suffice.
I decided to use Radio Reference to stream my feed. They mainly focus on public safety feeds, but they also allow ham repeaters on their network. Basically I send my stream to their servers and they stream it to whoever wants it. They can support tons of traffic vs me trying to run the feed from my home DSL line. I was hoping to get my feed approved ASAP as we were expecting some severe weather during the week.
I was approved on May 23rd and went live in the morning on May 24th. On May 25th, we were expecting some nasty weather. One of the repeaters on my stream is the local ARES repeater which runs weather nets as needed. Sure enough, we were under a tornado watch and even had a tornado spotted outside of Champaign. I checked the stats afterwards and discovered I had 35 visitors during that time. That made me feel like my efforts to get the stream going were put to good use.
As mentioned earlier, the stream consists of 2 repeaters split across the left and right channels. That is, you’ll hear one repeater on the left speaker and the other on the right speaker. The repeater on the left is the K9CU repeater on 146.760 Mhz. This repeater is connected to Echolink and is a general purpose repeater. It has a weekly Thursday night net open to all ham operators. (9pm local time) The repeater on the right is the K9SI repeater on 444.100 Mhz. This repeater is the Champaign County ARES repeater which runs the weather nets. They also have a weekly Tuesday night net for both ARES members as well as any other hams who wish to check in. (9pm local time)
There are several Android and iPhone apps that interface with the Radio Reference streams. There is one app for iPhone called 5-0 Radio that has my stream available. If you want more details on the stream, here is the link to my feed page at Radio Reference:
If you have any questions about the stream that I didn’t cover, please post them in the comments section. Thanks!
I’ve had my Yaesu VX-8R HT for about a year and a half now. It’s been a nice little radio except for an annoying issue with the audio. When pushing buttons, the audio sounded weaker and scratchy. I noticed that pushing down on the speaker improved the quality. I’ve lived with it for all this time and finally had enough.
I started browsing various internet forums and ran across a solution that seemed to fix the problem. It appeared to be a simple fix which required no soldering and very little tools.
The author of the article posted a nice video on YouTube showing the steps he performed to fix the same problem on his HT. The basic solution was to slightly bend the speaker contacts on the main board of the radio so they would make a better connection with the speaker on the front of the case.
I figured I’d give this a shot. I dug out my small tip screwdrivers and followed his steps to open up the radio. I adjusted the contacts and put the radio back together. I felt energized until I turned the radio on and it said ‘Clone’. At this point I was thinking I had damaged something on the board. I took a deep breath and dug back into the radio again. I bent the contacts down a bit just to make sure they weren’t touching something else on the radio.
I put it back together and turned the radio back on. It came up normally this time. I pushed a ton of buttons and the audio was perfect, no scratchy audio this time. Yay!
I did take a few pictures while I had the radio apart just for kicks.
Total credit goes to the unknown author’s detailed description and YouTube videos from the forum below.
Source: Worldwide DX Amateur Radio Forums (unknown author)
Have you experienced this issue? Did the solution described above fix your problem? Let me know in the comments section.
After yesterday’s 6 mile walk, I figured I’d dust off the bike and take it for a spin this morning along the same route. It’s due for a check-up this week so I wanted to make note of any issues or strange noises to share with the local bike shop. One of the great things about the bike is the storage bag on the bike where I can stash a few goodies. I brought along my Canon A590 point and shoot camera so I could take a few pictures. (wished I’d had it on my walk yesterday morning) No bike ride for Stan is complete without a GPS and ham radio and today’s ride was no exception. Last month I bought a new handheld radio (Yaesu VX-8R) and bike mount so I was anxious to try that out as well.
I departed my apartment at 6:21am and headed through the path at Kaufman Lake. I quickly got a chance to see how my bike would handle on gravel and bumpy terrain. (suspension might need a little adjusting?) 🙂 I made my way towards Parkland College and stopped near one of the softball fields to grab some water from the fountain. Even this early into the ride my legs were showing me just how out of shape they are so I took it easy for a bit. As I approached the main entrance of Parkland, I noticed dozens of geese roaming around which definitely warranted a photo shoot. 🙂 I pulled over and snapped several pictures and the geese really didn’t seem spooked by me at all.
I continued my way to the northeast and found a few flowers that wanted their picture taken. Despite the sun not yet making its way to this part of the complex, the pictures didn’t turn out too bad. After that I headed over to the tennis courts to take a few shots. Then I found a soccer field that called my name, so had to get a few shots of the nets which were pretty cool. As I walked back to my bike, I heard what I thought was a lawnmower in the distance. Suddenly I saw this flying contraption coming towards me which definitely required some picture taking. I’m not sure what it was, but it was a one-person machine with what looked like a giant fan behind him and a wing above him. He flew on by so I went on my merry way.
I made my way around Parkland and headed back towards home. I stopped at Heritage Park and took a few pictures of the lake and tried (failed) some macro shots of a bug. I continued on the path home and took a detour to avoid spooking a rather large dog being walked by their owner. 🙂 I made another stop on Country Fair drive to take a few more flower pictures and then headed home.
Yeah, I know I really didn’t ride very far compared to what normal people do but it was fun. I just need to ride more often to get my legs conditioned. It was very comfortable out this morning and the breeze was welcomed. I need to figure out why my ham radio did not transmit my location to the internet, not sure what happened there. Some other lessons learned this morning:
- My legs are really out of shape
- My ham radio was unsuccessful at getting my location transmitted.
- You burn more calories riding a bike than walking the same path.
- Always have spare batteries for your camera (which I luckily had!)
Total Mileage: 5.79 miles
Total Time: 69 minutes
Click here to view all photos from this trip.