Monthly Archives: June 2009

New toys…

I haven’t posted anything lately but that doesn’t mean that nothing has been happening.

First, a couple of weeks ago I found a Kenwood UT-10 1.2GHz module for my TS-790A. I’ve been looking for one of these for going on two years. Finally my eBay alert came through and I was able to pick it up within my budget. Of course that also means that I need a new antenna, low-loss coax, and some N connectors. Never fear, the Internet is here!

The Antenna
So I talked to a few people and was sent to Directive Systems in Maine. I called them up and talked to the guy that was busy building antennas but had enough time to answer some of my questions. After about a half-hour of microwave antenna theory I decided on the 2325LY which is a 1.2GHz (23cm) beam that uses loops for elements instead of dipoles. The antenna is 6-feet long and has approximately 17 dBi of gain. Not too shabby. With 10-watts in and around 1 dB of loss in the coax and connectors I should be seeing nearly 400 watts EIRP.

The Coax
Okay, so I have a transceiver and an antenna coming. I must missing something, right? Yeah, something to hook them together. I’m lucky. At the house I have a relatively short run to the radios (around thirty to forty feet) so it won’t cost me an arm and a leg to connect everything together. Even so, The Wireman has just shipped me 17 pounds of wire. Yep, LMR-400, rotator wire, and a couple of N connectors. I bought enough LMR-400 to get my 432MHz beam on the air as well (23-elements). See what happens with the wife leaves me at home… alone?

The End Result
Well, I can’t really talk about the end result because I’m still waiting for everything to get in. But I’ve been doing my prep work. I pulled the rotator out of storage and I’m going to get it prepared for installation. The 432MHz (70cm) antenna has been brought out from storage and is on the deck partially assembled (still need a couple of screws and four U-bolts). Today I swapped out a 2m/70cm J-pole for a 6m J-pole at the top of my “tower” (I worked quite a few VEs (using CW) on that J-pole just minutes after it was in the air. Amazing how it outperforms the dipole (not really amazing)). Unfortunately I have to figure out something else to do with the J-pole as the 23cm antenna has to go at the very top without anything running through the antenna. Looks like I’ll be putting up another pole soon.

So that’s what’s been going on. As soon as I start getting stuff in the mail I’ll try to remember to take pictures and post them here.

73

Found a UT-10

Last night eBay sent me an e-mail saying it had located a UT-10 for me. I jumped on it! I’ve been looking for one of these for about two years. The price was right, too, so now I’ll have 1.2GHz in the TS-790A in a couple of weeks! Oh yeah, I’m excited!

Back but not ready for Monday

I got back from Cary, NC last night around 6:30P. It was an exciting but extremely exhausting weekend. The Tour de Cure went off with only a few minor problems but none really related to the communications operation (which is what I’m in charge of). I was pretty excited when I couple of people stuck their head in to say “hi” to have them pause and say “wow, are you running Fedora?”. Yep, we Fedorians are all over the place.

Someone outside the race wanted to know how I was using Fedora during this event. Amateur radio provides the communications between all the rest stops along the route (100 miles each day) and between the Support-and-Gear vehicles (SAGs). We relay position reports of where riders are, provide that initial emergency support, and handle logistics. There is a system in the amateur radio world called APRS (Automatic Position/Packet Reporting System) which transmits the position of the SAGs and also allows messaging. Thanks to the Amateur Radio SIG, many useful pieces of software have been packaged for Fedora. Xastir is my top pick for APRS. So with Xastir running on Fedora (a perfect match) I’m able to actually see where the SAGs are and comunicate with them via typed message, both of which reduces voice communications and improves efficiency.

So with another event under my belt I have a couple of months before the “Ride Without Limits” is upon us. This time a figure-8 in the Wake Forest area. Maybe I’ll remember that I should probably stay in NC for an extra day to help myself recover. Alas, I didn’t do that this time and I have to get ready to head in for a 9AM meeting.

ADA Tour de Cure this weekend.

I’ll be leaving around noon tomorrow (EDT) for Raleigh, NC. This is the weekend for the American Diabetes Association’s Tour de Cure of which I’ve volunteered for via Carolina Helping Hams for going on ten years now. This is an excellent event where bicyclists ride either 80 or 100 miles on Saturday and roughly the same on Sunday all in an effort to raise money to help researchers do what they need to do to get rid of this horrible disease. Diabetes hits really close to home as my Dad had it and my sister-in-law has it so I’d like nothing more than to find a cure.

I’ve loaded up my Fedora laptop with some open-source goodness that will help me manage all the resources I’ll be managing coordinating during the event. Now all I have to do is hope for sunny skies and no rain!