Up to date

The FCC finally updated its database and I’m officially on the books as an Extra class licensee. My friend, Scott, is now KN4UWP.  I have been getting ready for Field Day with the Andrew Johnson ARC in Greeneville (TN).  At the club meeting last night, I decided to step up and will be the “digital modes” captain at our FD operation at Kinser Park in Greeneville.   When I come home for the evening, I want to get on my radio and try operating Feld Hell for Field Day…just for something fun and different.  Though the ARRL says that FD is not a contest, I treat it as it is but I really, really enjoy FD with my club and solo.

No word on being able to get the Mosley up for Field Day so I will just make do with the hamstick dipole.  I moved that antenna back to its original location near my shack and it seems to do better at the old location.  I’m thinking about sticking up a G5RV Junior (10-40 meters) next to my parents’ garden in an inverted V configuration.  That’s a work in progress still.

I’m working on getting my 706 together with my other MFJ antenna matcher with my “portable EFHW” antenna (84′ wire connected to a 9:1 balun with a 17′ counterpoise with coax running to the radio) to try operating portable later this year after my personal life settles down a bit.  It would be fun to get out and try to activate a few places like the Unaka Mountain Overlook and the Beauty Spot to operate.  The Beauty Spot is only about 200 feet from the Appalachian Trail.  I’d have to take the Pathfinder up there since the road has deteriorated badly over the past several years.

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Extra class!

I earned my Extra class license today!  I took a “cram n’ exam” session sponsored by the Andrew Johnson Amateur Radio Club in Greeneville.  I was sweating bullets when it came to the afternoon as I was afraid I wasn’t going to retain enough information.  However, I was cool as a cucumber when it came to test time and I didn’t go back and erase any of my answers, heh.

My good friend Scott Anderson sat for his Technician license and passed with flying colors so now the wait is on to see what callsign he gets assigned.

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More on the Mosley

I heard back from Mosley about the RV4C.  The base is $24.95 but with $16 shipping and handling.  So it’s going to have to wait for a while before I can get it fixed.  I think this weekend I will try to work on at least getting the antenna put back together by using fine steel wool to clean off all of the electrical contact areas.  I bought stainless steel machine screws to attach the sections together.  It’s going to be a scorcher this Memorial Day weekend: 90F+ temperatures!

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The Mosley RV4C

When we moved to our current home in 2015, I stuck the unassembled Mosley under my ham shack.  I pulled it out today and laid everything out:
The antenna is 33 feet tall normally but if you look at the bottom of the antenna (far right in the picture), the base of the antenna is broken off.  Dad had it installed on the roof of their previous home and the old plastic on the base gave way, causing the antenna to fall over.  Right now, I can’t see any way to attach radials properly and the antenna is designed to be mounted on a metal pile at least six feet in the ground so the antenna can be grounded properly.

The last time I called Mosley (which would be probably close to ten years ago now), the base was $50.  I’m going to email them and see what the price is on this part.  If so, I will find the money to get the part and get this antenna set up.  I think that this, for the price, is the way to go for an antenna for now.  Not only that but I can mount this in an out-of-the-way place and put the four 25′ radials I will use in places that aren’t normally disturbed.

More on this as I find out more information on the base.  Would be nice to get it going again.  I paid $125 for this quite some time ago.  You can buy one new from Mosley without the 80 meter coil at the bottom of my antenna for $395.  The coil is at least $100 more.

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Site survey

So I decided to do a site survey tonight which really means I stood around outside, chin in my hand, for 30 minutes and thought about six different types of antennas I could set up.  I’m still planning on putting the Mosley back up but it seems that I’m still wanting the myantennas.com EFHW for now.  Someday, when I get a house in the woods, I might put up a big doublet with 600-ohm antenna line for a feed into a 4:1 balun to run coax into the shack but that’s pretty far down the road.  I’m wanting to do something quick so I can get on the air for Field Day and the upcoming 13 Colonies special event.

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Another antenna

I forgot that I have my Mosley RV-4C vertical (10-40 meters and I have the 80 meter coil on it).  The base of the antenna broke off quite some time ago.  I can get a new base for $50 from Mosley but my dad KD7SXQ has offered to build me a base out of wood to get the Mosley back up and going.  So I am working on this project now so I can try to have the Mosley up and going by Field Day.  I’ll take down the hamstick dipole but I want to use it for portable use with something like the MFJ-1919EX 10′ telescoping fiberglass pole with a tripod.  I still want to get the MyAntennas.com 6-80 EFHW antenna one of these days.

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So far so good

The 40-meter hamstick dipole is doing surprisingly well being it’s close to power lines.  I’m hoping to get a set of 80-meter hamsticks and relocate the antenna further in our property, away from noisy powerlines.  If the finances allow, I’d love to get a remote-control TV antenna controller to rotate the antenna to allow for better reception with the narrow bandwidth available on a hamstick dipole setup.

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The shack

I finally took a picture of the “operating position” in my tiny shack.  It’s an 8′ x 10′ room so there’s not much room in it.

The 706MKII is sitting on a shelf to the left in this picture.  Seen are my Kenwood TS-430S, Yaesu FT-450D, Yaesu FTM-3100 2m radio, and my MFJ-969 Deluxe Versa Tuner II antenna matcher.  The computer is running Slackware 64 Linux with Xfce.  The certificates above the shelf are my Feld Hell Club and American Legion Amateur Radio Club membership certificates.

It’s a small modest setup but it works for me.  I like to use the TS-430S for SSB and the FT-450D for digital.

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Configuring the serial port under Linux

I discovered that this new computer has its physical serial port at address Ox3F8 but on IRQ 10.  I wasn’t sure how to correct this problem so I dug deeper.  This is specifically for Slackware Linux but this should apply to other Linux distros because I am using common tools.

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Using the tw suite under Slackware Linux

Tonight I decided to install most of Ted Williams’ WA0EIR suite of Linux-based amateur radio programs on my new shack computer running Slackware 64 Linux 14.2.  It was a very simple install with a minor variation you need to be aware of.

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