Monday, December 28, 2009

SOTA Summits on the Air.

 On November 14th of this year I made a whopping 5 QSOs, including the Goatman! . It was not a very large number, but considering it took a good bit of hiking a portion of the Appalachian trail and following of both GPS and trail map directions , it was pretty respectable. We were out for a Summits on the Air activation. SOTA is a Amateur Radio program that promotes both outdoor and indoor transmitting and monitoring. With interesting awards like the "Mountain Goat" and "Shack Sloths" I think it may become a fixture on the HAM scene.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

ARRL Website redesign.

I was just listening to Jerry Taylor's Practical Amateur Radio Podcast Volume 2 Episode 32 with an interview with Katie Allen, K1KRB. Jerry's interview covers the upcoming redesign of the ARRL website. Jerry also mentions the QST article on the same subject in the Dec. 2009 edition page 55. I have to admit, I am looking forward to the upgrade as it should make finding out information about our hobby much easier. It is good to see such helpful resources get updated. I think it will help to grow our hobby. It is through the web that I have found information on our hobby and I am sure I am not alone. My hope is that this update will help bring more people into our ranks as the years progress. The new website should be launched in late January 2010.
Happy Holidays to everyone and I will see you in 2010.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Gordon West, WB6NOA, stops traffic in NYC.

Last night the Hall of Science Amateur Radio club had their 2009 Holiday party. We were fortunate to have Gordon West WB6NOA in attendance. "Gordo" was in the New York and visiting clubs in the area. He was a huge help during our party, pushing raffle ticket purchases and giving an encouraging speech about future of our club.

On the trip home, we chatted about possible kit night plans and ideas for promoting "Ham-ology" as he calls it. He was an absolute gentleman, with time for everyone who asked him a question. It was great chatting with the man and discussing the state of our hobby.

Tom N2YTF and wife drove us through Manhattan with Mr. West enjoying the sights of Christmas in New York in the back seat. We pulled up to his hotel and Gordon hopped out to checkout the HoSARC repeater with the transceiver in his hotel room. Gordo waved to us from the hotel lobby and we were just getting ready to pull out into Manhattan traffic when suddenly we heard from behind us. "Don't worry I will get the traffic for you". Before we knew it, Mr. West was waiving down traffic for us on 8th ave! It was great seeing him again and we are looking forward to his next visit in February.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Al Klase - N3FRQ of Northern New Jersey was nice enough to give a talk at HoSARC on clandestine military radios 11/13/07. Here is a clip of the spy radio portion. The five minute talk covers RCA Miniature tubes and radio model numbers SSTR-1, AN/PRC-1, and CMS.
He brought a truck load of equipment to show us and explained how each item was designed for military service. I thoroughly enjoyed his very informative talk. No glitzy HollyWood James Bond stuff here, just the real deal spy stuff from yesteryear. For more information of HoSARC please visit For more information on Al Klase and his collection of military radios, please visit

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

27 Mhz kids toy

27 Mhz kids toy, originally uploaded by kc2rbe.

While at a friends house I noticed this childrens toy walkie talkie working on 27Mhz where you could clearly hear CB'ers chatting away. It seemed to be tuned between channels as I could hear 2 different conversations at one time. Some of the conversations had squelch tone some did not. Here is a link to a similar story except with an example of much saltier CB conversations being heard. The toy in the picture I have uploaded here is clearly marked 27mhz on the back. I am not sure if such frequency overlap is the best idea.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Ttl2usb adapter

Ttl2usb adapter, originally uploaded by kc2rbe.

Here is the adapter I have been using with my Yaesu VX7. It works very well with Jim Mitchell - KC8UNJ's famous Commander series of software. Just install the driver for the adapter, check what port your windows machine has assigned it under device manager, point the commander software to said port, and you are ready to read and write memory settings. You will find the driver available at the website along with a very informative "Quick Start Guide".

The commander software makes repeater setting entries a breeze. It also makes for a very handy backup of your current memory settings that can be exported as a cvs for use in other programs. The icon editor in vx7 commander will allow you to even add your own custom icons. the price for the software is free and the adapter and cables are reasonable at $49 . It is a hight quality unit and is made right here in the USA. Lastly, you will need to get the additional CT91 Yaesu adapter to connect Yaesu's threaded four-conductor miniture jack at the top of the HT. You can find those on Ebay for just under $20 with postage.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Just ordered a Warbler

I just ordered a Warbler from Small Wonders Labs. I am very excited about getting into PSK31, and this unit looks like an easy way to enter the digital radio domain. As a computer consultant, it is pretty easy to find an old dead laptop to refurbish into a portable digital station. My only big concern is the surface mount soldering in this kit. I will be sure to review the Amateur Logic TV episodes on surface mounting before I do anything. It will be my first time working with surface mount components and I am hoping I won't end up with a $55 doorstop on my hands. I plan to bring this unit to Field Day 2009 to get a few QSOs. If all goes well, it may even be a USB Warbler conversion. Thankfully there is plenty of documentation out there to help me get this project off the ground. Wish me luck.

Monday, March 16, 2009

HoSARC Changes

With all the changes this downturn in the economy has wrought, the one affecting my Amateur radio world the most has been the loss of our Hall of Science amateur Radio Club space in the Queens Hall of Science. The club has been at the Hall for 35 years and has helped numerous HAMs get their tickets; myself among them. I for one will be very sad to see such a great resource be forced out into an unsecured future.

We have a few possibilities for future homes, and I look forward to getting started on them. I still am sorry to see the old station go. It was a good setup and I wonder how long it will be until we are back on the air at the same strength as we once were.