Working on the shack

I’ve been working on the shack again.  Here’s the latest setup below.  The laptop is a new acquisition.  It’s a HP Elitebook 6930p that I picked up for a great price.  It’s running Slackware 64 14.2.

IMAG0222

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Better late than never

I mounted the hamstick dipole on a 10′ tall piece of aluminum conduit and mounted it to a wooden fencepost about three feet high.  I guyed it to the fence and to two large grounding stakes.  Using my antenna matcher, I’ve gotten the antenna to work on 15, 17, 20, and of course 40 meters.  I’ve been listening more than talking.  Work has been crazy for me lately and I just haven’t been in the mood to get on the air.  I am hoping to do so tomorrow morning and maybe, if I can hear them over the mains noise in the background, try to check into Norcars for the first time in forever.  I’ll try to get some updated pictures also of my new shack and the antenna.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tinkering with antennas

I’ve decided to try out the 40-meter “hamstick dipole” set up I bought once again now that I have my station set up semi-permanently and properly grounded.  I have just been really busy with work, working both day shifts, night shifts, and occasionally pulling a “double”, to have any time to “ham it up”.  Soon, though, I’ll be back on the air.  I’m also wanting to work on getting out all of these QSL cards sitting here…

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Making progress

Taking advantage of the beautiful (if occasionally stormy) weather this weekend, I set up a computer in the shack for my logging and callsign lookup purposes.  The computer itself is an old HP dc7700 ultra-slim desktop.  Very tiny computer and it fits perfectly on the laptop desk that I am using for my shack desk right now.  I am, of course, running Slackware 64 Linux 14.1 on it.  I scrounged up a very nice Dell 20″ widescreen monitor and my Logitech K400 wireless keyboard with touchpad on it to complement the setup.  I need to install all of the ham radio-specific software but that will come later today or this week.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Shack progress

Dad decided to pound the eight-foot-long copper-plated ground rod into the ground next to the shed, so I was able to ground my radio and tuner properly.  What a difference!  Little to no line noise that I suffered from when I had the station here in the motorhome.  I’m rather happy about that.  I’m also able to trick that 20 meter dipole into tuning nicely on 17 meters.  I’d tinker some more with the station tonight but I’m tired; it has been a busy (in a good way) day.  Time to get some sleep.  Tomorrow, I’m going to try to hunt down a computer to use in the shack.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A new shack

The new 12’x20′ wood shed my parents had built was set up yesterday and I have a little corner of it with a window for my shack.  I’m using a small laptop desk right now but with the relative small size of my station equipment, I still have plenty of room for a netbook and space to write in my paper log on the desk.  I’ll get a picture of it soon.  There’s no electricity in the shed yet so I have to run off of an extension cord for the time being but my dad and I are planning on wiring up the shed soon.  I can’t wait to have a little spot of my own again to operate from.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A new project

I’ve been feeling a bit restless lately so I decided to resurrect an oft-thought of but seldom-worked on project: I’m writing my own console mode amateur radio logging program. It’s nothing fancy and is pretty bare-bones for now, but I haven’t seen a good cross-platform (more than just Linux and Windows) program yet. I’m writing it in Free Pascal for compatibility with the operating systems I’m targeting: DOS, Win32, Win64, Linux (32 and 64 bit), OS/2 32-bit, and if I can get some help, OS X also. I’d like to even get this on the BSDs if I can too. First, however, a working shell of a program is needed and that’s what I’m doing now.

I’ve taken down my station temporarily in anticipation of a new 12’x20′ shed my parents and I have gone “halfsies” on.  I have a window in my half of the shed and that is going to become my ham radio shack.  I’ll have a lot more room in the shed for my equipment and computer as well as my workbench in there so I have somewhere to work on equipment safely.  Can’t wait.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Keeping busy

Even with a three-day weekend, I’ve been keeping busy and haven’t turned on the radio much.  I am working on either setting up an end-fed antenna or a dipole that can actually work on 80 meters correctly.  It’s just been trying to find the time to sit down and do what I want.  I’m also wanting to become a VE but that too has been taking a back seat.  All in good time.

Something I -am- trying to work on is getting my logs straightened out.  Sadly, I am missing several years’ worth of logs and am trying to reconcile those.  I did finally get a small batch of QSL cards from my incoming bureau and will be sending off QSL cards in kind hopefully Monday.  I will make a note of whose cards I am sending out.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Getting active again

I worked 4V1TL last Sunday (3/13) and haven’t been too active until today when I worked KP4KDE on 15 meters.  I don’t use 15 meters that much but I think I should start working it more.

I’m also working on setting up an end-fed antenna using a matching transformer.  I bought this little doodad off of eBay for a good price.  I’m waiting for a new custom-built wooden shed to be delivered here and then I’ll try to set up that antenna.  I really want to start working more 40 and 80 meters.  I have several ham friends that are close to my QTH physically but I can’t use 20 meters to contact them.

Feels nice to be active again in ham radio.  Just can’t wait until I can have my own place to set up antennas and be done with them.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Beautiful evening

It’s a beautiful evening here in the metropolis that is Limestone, Tennessee.  The sun is setting in a partly cloudy sky and it’s a balmy 64° F out.  I turned on my radio and heard 4V1TL calling on 14.289.  I was able to work him with a beautiful 59 signal right before someone evidently put him on some DX spotter somewhere and the frequency exploded.  I’m still amazed at how my little setup works.  However, it wasn’t all peaches and cream listening to the frequency after my QSO was done…

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment