Monday, April 9, 2018

Some Ham Radio Activities

The Arctic Amateur Radio Club built a radio-in-a-box to lend out to newly licensed members who didn't have a radio to play with use. It is a Yaesu FT-2980R/E 2M radio with a maximum power rating of 80 watts. Accompanying it is a 12 VDC power supply rated at 30 amps. Both are installed into a 50 mm ammo box. There are a 120 VAC power and SO-239 antenna connectors on the top. They also provided a 2M antenna with a magnetic mount base. After setting up the radio for the Ester Dome repeater, I talked to a couple of local folks whom I had run into before. They said that this radio sounds much better than Baofeng BF-F8HP HT (8  watt unit) that I've been playing with. Apparently, when using the Baofeng, it sounds like I’m talking into a can. Maybe two cans with a string between them. While I’m borrowing this rig I should use the HT just to hear what it sounds like through the repeater.

I've been researching mobile HF radios for a couple of months and have it narrowed down to a couple of models. One of them has a matching screwdriver antenna that adjusts for bands from 70 cm through 40 M with a touch of a button. To me, that sounds convenient especially since I'm looking for a solution that'll work in the RV. I've been talking to Mike, another club member, who is getting ready to pick up his motor home and is planning a much more elaborate installation but, then again, he has been doing this radio stuff for quite a few years.

I rode to the club meeting on Friday evening and there was a fair bit of interest in the Ural. Some questions were just on the bike and there were quite a few inquiries on whether I was considering installing an HF radio. I'm told that talking to someone in Alaska is very popular. They were not suggesting talking while riding but more using the rig as a platform for the radio and antenna at a remote location such as the Arctic Circle.

On Thursday evening, the first class of the CW Academy level 2 course met. This is the morse code course that I had mentioned. The other students are from Nevada, northern California, and Oregon. I hope that I will be able to keep up. The goal by the end of two months of classes is to decode and send at around 18-20 words per minute. I'm barely half that right now. There are two software packages that I need to install for the class and both run on Windows. One of them, a contesting simulation program called MorseRunner, I found with a WINE wrapper (WINE Is Not an Emulator). Basically, a way to run some Windows programs within Linux or OS X. The other program is Windows only. Specifically XP. I dug out my Windows computer, a Lenovo Helix Ultrabook, and it needed a ton of updates including a major update to Windows 10. I guess I should restart this device more often. I think the last time was over a year ago when testing out the solar charge controller.We'll see if I can get it running under Windows 10.

And lastly, on the ham radio front, I met with two others to administer the licensing exams which are offered on the first Saturday of the month. I have received certifications to administer exams from two organizations. Unfortunately, no one had signed up to take the tests today.

And, finally, the temperature this afternoon was over 50°F here at the house. Hopefully, the snow will start melting quickly.

7 comments:

redlegsrides said...

Oh, a mobile radio station on a URAL on Atigun Pass! Now that's something that's probably not been done! :)

I've seen cars with Ham Radio call signs on their license plates, even seen antenna hardware bristling from them on rare occasions; I'd be curious to see how'd you'd power such a setup....a small generator in the tub perhaps.

RichardM said...

Most ham radios are designed to be run off of 12vdc with many mobile stations using a couple of solar panels. No plans for anything at the moment...

Lynne Goebeler said...

At this stage in life, the more toys, the better, right? 😉 I am sure you will get a lot of enjoyment from the radio, both in the RV and the Ural.

RichardM said...

Is that how it’s supposed to work? I don’t think I mentioned it before but I decided to try and learn Morse code (or CW) more for the mental exercise. But since then I've learned more about QRP (very low power radios). I think it may be responsible for renewed interest in morse code.

Lynne Goebeler said...

😁

Canajun said...

I'm reminded of a competition I saw a while back (probably on YouTube) between a couple of experienced Morse Coders and 2 texting teens. The Morse Coders were able to send the message faster. (But I think I'll stick to texting.)

RichardM said...

Having seen the speed that a lot of folks can text, that's pretty amazing. But then again, Stanislau Hauralenka, EW8GS, set a morse code record with a maximum speed of 195 words per minute. I don't think I can even talk that fast...