Category Archives: stuff

For Sale: Down East Microwave 2304-144 Transverter

UPDATE: This item has sold.

Going through some stuff I’ve had in storage and haven’t used in a while and came across this transverter that I won’t be putting on the air because of the 2m IF.  I bought this from a ham years ago who said it worked but hadn’t had it on the air in a while.  I never had the opportunity to put it on the air so I cannot confirm whether or not it works.  Asking $200 + shipping (o.b.o.) or local pick up or trade for something equally cool (I am trying to get a microwave station setup here).

I will warrant it to be working.

Image of a DEM 2304-144 transverter showing serial number 257

DEM 2304-144 transverter

Picture of the rear of DEM 2304-144 transverter showing a common IF and separate TXRF and RXRF connectors.

Rear of DEM 2304-144 transverter

Image of DEM 2304-144 Transverter specs sheet

DEM 2304-144 transverter specs

Spec sheet indicates 1W output, common IF with a drive of 1-10W.

If you’re interested feel free to contact me!

FOUND: CLOVER2 Board cables

CLOVER2 Board cableYears ago I was given a CLOVER2 board. I later gave it away to someone who was interested in trying to add capabilities to his BBS. I now have found the cables for it! I wonder if I can figure out who got the board or if someone else could use the cables.

New Callsign… WG3K

In 1997 I received my first amateur radio license.  The FCC granted me KF4OTN back then and exercised it the best I could.  Fast forward to my move to Virginia and I decided to drop the “KF” in favor of “W” (it cut down on the time to transmit the callsign on RTTY).  Now that I’m in Maryland, and an Extra, I decided it was the right time to change my callsign, perhaps for the last time.

As of 3:39 AM this morning I am now WG3K.  It’s a mouthful but sounds nice on CW.  Here’s hoping I don’t butcher it too badly for the next few days.

Adding 1.75 MHz of bandwidth to my HF operating portfolio

W4OTN's Extra Class CSCENo more tests for me.  I’m done.

Last year I was one of the CARA members asking for an Extra Class class.  I was really happy when Shawn, N3AE, agreed to teach the class and we started on a three-month class meeting every Tuesday night for three (or more) hours.  After the class, after two weeks of taking practice exams online (and failing most), and after reading back through the material that I was having troubles with, I took my exam yesterday.

I was nervous.  I really wanted to do well as I had invested quite a bit of time and energy into the process of learning this stuff.  I also wanted that extra bandwidth to find those sneaky DX operators that hide there.

Ed, KC3AEN, with Steve, N3IPN, picked me up on Saturday morning and we made our way to Davidsonville for our test.  We had all been in the class and hoped we were ready.  We had pre-registered (#s 2, 3, and 4) so we didn’t have to wait long to get started.  I was pleasantly surprised that most of the questions were familiar and that the others appeared to be ones that I could figure out.  After a couple of hours all three of us walked out with our Extra Class CSCEs!  Another gentleman who was in our class, I don’t remember his name or callsign, also took his Extra exam and passed.  That’s 4 for 4 from the class!  Add two more that took their tests early and that’s about half the class that has passed the exam!

Last night I put a couple of QSOs in the log from the Extra and Advanced portions of the bands.  I even ended up with a new DXCC entity in the books.  Looks like all the studying is already paying off.

Okay, this is a neat attack…

This morning I received an email from my “administrator” saying that I needed to validate my email address within the next 48 hours or my email account would be suspended.  Seeing as how I’m my own email administrator, I couldn’t remember sending out such a message, I decided that this was likely spam.  I’m always interested in seeing how these attacks are actually going to be played out so I clicked on the link.

OWA Verify Screen

OWA Verify Screen

Neat, Microsoft-y looking screen!  And it looks like the backend is WordPress!  It looks like the attacker is using the account system in WordPress to collect the information.  When you submit your information for validation you get this response:

Your information was successfully submitted, please ensure that you entered your email details correctly; to enable us complete your security updates. If you have entered your details wrongly kindly click back and refill in details correctly.

N.B Please be informed that filling in the wrong details will be resulting to the deactivation of your email address.

I’m guessing my address will not be closed down, since I did not provide my correct email information.  I don’t know, maybe I’ll disable my own email… you know, just for the weekend.

An alternative to

If you’ve been a user for a while you probably noticed a lock-down of information in recent years.  The effort prevents amateur radio operators from using automated methods (like logging software) to collect contact information on their fellow radio operators.  And while you can easily establish an account and pay for the service you can also obtain the same information for free. offers the same callsign lookup features for free.  Established as a way to make the CQRLOG logging software function without having to pay for free information, the service provides all the same callsign lookup features, log verification features, and page personalization all at the low cost of free.

Taking a look at my page you’ll see all the same information from but also propagation conditions and a log search function.  Take a look around and setup your account.  I suspect you’ll find these tools quite useful and at the correct price.

My password

Just reviewed my stats on my blog…  For the person searching ‘sparks password’ you probably won’t find it via Google.  Just sayin’.


Today I boxed up my radios, rolled up the coax, and removed all my antennas from their heights.  This is all in preparation for our move to Maryland in a few days.  We have almost completely packed up everything we own and either moved it to the boat, into storage, or given it away.  Once we completely move onto the boat I’ll be back active on HF using an Icom M-802 and a vertical antenna.

I’m hoping to be back on the air on a regular basis very soon.  Hope to hear you there!

Management skills

I’ve held more than a few positions in my career and I feel that I’ve collected several bits of things should never do.  Here are a few:

  • A manager should balance the needs of the company with the needs of the employee.  Never ask an employee to work an extra day, and thus have the employee loose a day of his weekend, just because the company is shifting the employee’s work week around.  If the company is making the change then it should be up to the company to eat the missed time.
  • An employee should never have to justify asking for assistance with a problem.  If you are the manager of a group where your employees can’t simply ask a question and get an answer without having snide remarks in reply or have to justify the need to ask the question in the first place then you have a problem.
  • Actually listen to your employees.  As much as people think business is top-down ruling if you piss off enough people at the bottom you’re going to have a problem.  Think you have a good team working for you?  Don’t want to lose any of the brain-trust that you’ve built up?  Better open your ears and make working in that team something they won’t want to walk away from.
  • Money does not motivate everyone.  That’s not to say that money isn’t a motivator but when it comes down to it do you really want someone working for you if they are only going to do a good enough job to get paid?  Personally, I’d much prefer to pay someone good money who wanted to be there anyway.  At least that way you know their work and dedication will be tops and you’ll pay them well so they won’t have to even consider going elsewhere.  And if you think you have people that you’re paying that would rather be elsewhere then you had better figure out how to excite them or you’re liable to loose them.
  • Don’t hide in your office.  Leading from the front and being a part of what’s happening not only improves your leadership skills but also lets you see what’s actually happening.  It’s a good thing to get your hands dirty every so often.
  • Make time for your employees.  I once worked for a guy who was constantly on the phone.  You could hardly get five minutes to shoot the breeze or ask a work question because he was constantly being pulled in different directions by meeting and phone calls.  Don’t get me started on his email in-box, either.  A few times a week, especially when he knew he’d been out of touch with his people, he’d go around and spend fifteen minutes or so with everyone just to make sure everything was working well and there were no problems that needed to be dealt with.  He also treated us with ice cream!  Even though he was busy he’d make sure to spend some time with everyone.
  • Trust your employees and what they think and say.  Don’t believe or agree with what’s being said?  Have you actually talked to your employees and understand why they have come to a different conclusion?
  • Handing off management of a task to a subordinate is not failing as a manager, it’s called delegation.
  • Praise in public, correct in private.

There are many others but this is what comes to mind right off hand.  What are some that I’ve missed?

Spring cleaning means… things for sale!

It’s Spring cleaning time, again, and I’m offering up the following items for sale:

  • Kenwood TS-480SAT HF transceiver.  Includes power cable, hand microphone, and original box.  $700 obo + shipping.
  • Kenwood TS-790A with the UT-10.  144/432/1200MHz all-mode transceiver.  Includes power cable, hand microphone, and original box.  This radio includes the modification for full-duplex 9600-baud operation for satellite operation.  $1200 obo + shipping.
  • Midland 70-056C low band transceiver with mobile mount, power cable, hand microphone and telephone-style microphone, two speakers, and three faces.  Midland specs say the unit can be programmed from 40MHz to 54MHz and is 110 watts.  Several six-meter frequencies already programmed!  Trunk mount.  $300 obo + shipping.
  • Ten-Tec Argosy HF transceiver with power supply and mobile mounting bracket.  $250 + shipping.
  • Maha MH-C777 universal charger.  No plug (takes 12-18V input).  $15 + shipping.
  • 1988 ARRL Antenna Book.  Rough condition.  Free + shipping.
  • JT-30 Astatic microphone housing, element, and stand, black.  $150 obo + shipping.
  • Courier Port-A-Lab meter.  Free + shipping.

Pictures available upon request.

Interested parties may contact me at W4OTN@W4OTN.#TIDE.VA.USA.NOAM or