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  #1  
Old 05-18-2010, 02:06 PM
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Kamakiri Kamakiri is offline
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Smile Fellow hams, unite!

Welcome to the new Amateur Radio forums!

As a licensed tech-plus since 1990 (N2LCJ), I have an interest in what's been going on with things on the bands, as it's been over a decade since I checked into any of the ARRL message nets.

Back in the days of Desert Storm, I was a local relay for MARS (Military Amateur Radio Service), delivering messages from loved ones in the Gulf, to their families here in Western New York.

Post your call if you like, share your field day stories, learn about the old times, and catch up on the latest technology.....

Welcome home
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Old 05-18-2010, 03:58 PM
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The WB8NHV story

I'm Jeff Strieble, WB8NHV. Was first licensed in June 1972, but I didn't get on air until 97 days later. First station was a 60-watt rockbound (quartz crystal controlled) 60-watt Heathkit DX40 transmitter and a Hallicrafters SX-101A receiver, ham bands only, and a 25' loaded vertical. I'll never forget my first contact as Novice class WN8NHV, in October 1972. W9PQO in (at the time) South Bend, Indiana answered my sixth (!) CQ call; I gave him my name, location and RST (signal report), then I couldn't think of a thing to say to him after that.

I was off the air for eleven months after my Novice ticket expired, but in May 1975 I took and passed my Technician class license test (the Tech class only allowed operations from 50 MHz on up in those days) and was back making contacts shortly thereafter. Worked 6-meter AM voice with a Heathkit Sixer transceiver, initially rockbound on 50.35 MHz; I later got a crystal for 51.0 MHz when I found out about a six-meter ragchew net in the neighborhood (Cleveland Heights, east suburban Cleveland) in which I was living at the time. I'll never forget the first station I heard on my new (to me) Heath Sixer with its makeshift antenna (a random length of lamp cord) -- WAØSDK in South Dakota! Never did get back to him, but even after 35 years I've never forgotten hearing him in suburban Cleveland, while using a rig with a superregenerative receiver and a hank of wire as an "antenna." (That so-called antenna really caused TVI problems, both in the house where I was living and the neighbors' homes as well.)

When I moved back to my hometown of Wickliffe, Ohio (far east suburban Cleveland) after graduating high school in 1975, I got back on six meters with my Heath Sixer and a home-brew antenna, but worked only one station -- WA8CSQ (now off the air -- I looked up his call on QRZ.com the other day, or tried to, but found that the license had expired some time ago).

From 1976 until 1982 I worked exclusively 2-meter FM, and was a member of a radio club in suburban Cleveland that operated two repeaters, one east and one west of the city of Cleveland. In summer 1982 I reactivated my Novice station under new Technician rules (Techs now had HF privileges on the Novice HF bands) and worked several states with the Heathkit/Hallicrafters combination, now feeding a loaded vertical once again--not unlike the one I had during my Novice days. The difference between that vertical and my 1982 Tech-Plus antenna, however, was that the latter was a no-tune all-band system, 80 through ten meters, whereas with my Novice vertical one had to move a tap up and down a loading coil to change bands.

I operated CW and 2-meter FM exclusively for the next 17 years, upgrading to General in 1985 and becoming a member of the Lake County, Ohio Amateur Radio Association of Painesville, Ohio (30 miles east of Cleveland and only three miles [!] from where I live today) two years later. In late 1999, I had to give up my HF station, after working 49 states and a handful of foreign countries on 20, 30 and 15-meter CW. I moved in late '99 into an apartment, was off the air for ten years (except for 2m FM), then discovered Echolink about a year ago. EL got me back on HF (I am using the standard EL software, with the EchoBase 100 virtual transceiver addon, installed in my IBM Aptiva 595 computer), and I am still active on 2 meters with the Lake County radio club I mentioned above. If you live in, near, or are planning to visit the northeastern Ohio area, please look me up. On 2 meters I listen on the Lake County ARA repeater, N8BC, 147.81-.21, and participate in the club's weekly 2-meter net. The repeater does not have the fantastic coverage it once did, but it covers Lake County and eastern Cuyahoga County quite well from its new location (as of about four months ago) atop a medical center near Painesville.

That's the "WB8NHV story" in a nutshell. Even after nearly 38 years in this hobby, I still enjoy it, my antenna restrictions as of a decade ago notwithstanding. Since Echolink makes use of RF links in conjunction with the Internet (the latter using a technology known as voice over Internet protocol or VoIP), making contacts with it, especially (in my opinion) when using the software with the EchoBASE transceiver addon, which gives EL the look and feel of a real amateur transceiver, I feel like I never really gave up my HF ham station at all. The links to the grand bunch of fellows in the Lake County ARA via the local repeater help out a lot as well. Been a member of that club since '87, just renewed membership a couple months ago, and will not give it (or ham radio itself) up any time soon--I like the hobby too darn much!


73,

Jeff Strieble, WB8NHV
Fairport Harbor, Ohio USA
Grid square EN91go
Echolink node #331660
Member Lake County, Ohio Amateur Radio Association (N8BC/R, 147.81./21)

Station:

HF: Echolink v9.0208 with EchoBase addon; IBM "Aptiva" 595 PC
2 meters: Icom IC-T22A, 1.5 watt HT
"Hamming it up" since 1972
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Zenith. Gone, but not forgotten.

Last edited by Jeffhs; 05-18-2010 at 04:06 PM. Reason: Title change
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Old 05-18-2010, 04:09 PM
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Sandy G Sandy G is offline
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Ahh, all y'all Hams ain't nothin' but a buncha glorified CBers...."Breaker, One-Nine, yew gotcha one ol' Parts Boy comin' back atcha, breakity-broke ! Howzit bein' lookin' back over yer donkey on this ol' I-81 superslab, mawm back ?!?" Mbwahahahahahaha....'Course, I used to love to listen to 3898 & 3868 at nite...There were a bunch of I-Dots on there who were ALMOST as Rude, Crude, & Socially Unacceptable as me am...My wife won't let me put an R-390A on the nightstand, evil woman that she is, so I miss out on all the fun anymore....
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Old 05-18-2010, 04:58 PM
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Sandy, there has never been a better time than right now to get an amateur radio license. The FCC dropped the Morse code requirement for ham licenses a while back (last year or the year prior, I'm not sure), so now all that's required is a 74-percent or better score on a 55-question written exam, and you're in. You already have half of your station now, with your R-390a; all you need now is a license and a transmitter to go with it. Living on a farm as you do, you should have plenty of room to put up a decent antenna as well. I lived in a Cleveland suburb for years and used verticals, long wires and dipoles with no problems at all, except one with a 70-foot all-band dipole I had for my amateur station. There was a huge apple tree in my back yard; the feedline (450-ohm ladder line) of necessity had to snake through it to get to my station equipment, which was located in my bedroom. Needless to say, every time the tree swayed in the wind (and I can remember some fairly bad wind/snowstorms in my area in the years I lived there), the feedline would move with it, eventually breaking the connection at the antenna.

The ham radio station I have today, in my apartment 15-some miles from my previous residence, is actually in my computer, powered by a system called Echolink. This system uses voice-over-Internet protocol (VoIP) to connect to other amateurs in this country and world-wide by way of this technology and RF links -- without antennas of any kind needed at the user's end, unless an Echolink user wants to set up his or her own HF or VHF "node" for the use of other hams.

If you don't feel you want to deal with antennas and so on, EL may be the perfect way for you to get on the air. The only catch is that you need an amateur license to use Echolink, but as I mentioned above, getting that license is much easier today than it used to be, for example when I got my first license almost 38 years ago.

"No code" does not necessarily mean, either, that ham radio is now nothing more than a glorified Citizens Band. Nothing could be further from the truth. CB and ham radio are two completely different communications services, with ham (amateur) radio being the more sophisticated of the two. Hams are much more polite (and follow the rules of the road, outlined in detail in Part 97 of the FCC amateur regulations) on the air than CB operators, thanks to the efforts of the FCC to track down and silence scofflaws permanently.

You say Lauriann won't let you have an R-390a on your nightstand...well, there's a way around that. (Where there's a will, there is a way, as the expression goes.) If you can find a small AM/FM/SW radio (I'm sure they can be found about anywhere these days, including Radio Shack) that you can listen to via headphones, she probably wouldn't mind. These radios are nowhere near (and I mean nowhere near) the size of an R-390A (many of these are small enough, in fact, to fit in a coat pocket), so even the largest of the former would probably fit nicely on your bed table with room to spare. Some of the better ones have the same refinements as your R390A, including a BFO (beat frequency oscillator) for copying CW (Morse code) or SSB (single sideband voice).

A bonus feature of having a small SW set like this is that you will also have instant access to the most accurate time in the world, thanks to radio station WWV in Fort Collins, Colorado. This station boasts 1kW signals from individual transmitters on 2.5, 5, 10, 15 and 20 MHz, so you should be able to hear it 24/7 where you are. Never again will you have to call your local time and temperature number (if your phone company has one) to reset your clocks after a power outage; just tune in WWV on the frequency that comes in the best in your area, note the time stated by the announcer, and there you are. WWV states the time of day in 24-hour UTC (universal) time, which in the eastern/southeastern US is either four or five hours different (depending on whether or not Daylight Savings Time is in effect, except of course in Arizona and Hawaii) from Eastern Standard Time. The conversion can be tricky at first, but once you get used to it it will become second nature, or close to it.

The world is as close as your radio (or your computer, if you use Echolink) when you have an amateur license, and as I said, it's so much better than CB it isn't funny. I wouldn't have stayed with it 38 years myself if I didn't believe that as strongly as I do.

73 (best of regards),
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Collecting, restoring and enjoying vintage Zenith radios since 2002

Zenith. Gone, but not forgotten.

Last edited by Jeffhs; 05-18-2010 at 05:12 PM.
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  #5  
Old 05-18-2010, 06:24 PM
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Sandy G Sandy G is offline
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Oh, I know, Jeff, I was just tryin' to Start a Ruckus... Actually, I have a JRC NRD-545 that would sit quite nicely on my nightstand...If only I could run an antenna into that bedroom... I'd give my eyeteeth for a short- 20'-40' tower to put up so I could mount my big Winegard FM antenna, I LOVE DXing FM, too, & I bought the module for the 545 where it goes way up into the MhZ bands, too. Of course, I also have an ICOM R-7000 that goes up to 2 gig, so I can cover from 15 KC w/the R-389 all the way to 2 gig w/the R-7000...Not too shabby, I guess...(grin)
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Old 05-18-2010, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Sandy G View Post
Oh, I know, Jeff, I was just tryin' to Start a Ruckus... Actually, I have a JRC NRD-545 that would sit quite nicely on my nightstand...If only I could run an antenna into that bedroom... I'd give my eyeteeth for a short- 20'-40' tower to put up so I could mount my big Winegard FM antenna, I LOVE DXing FM, too, & I bought the module for the 545 where it goes way up into the MhZ bands, too. Of course, I also have an ICOM R-7000 that goes up to 2 gig, so I can cover from 15 KC w/the R-389 all the way to 2 gig w/the R-7000...Not too shabby, I guess...(grin)
How does the VHF performance of the NRD 545 with the VHF module compare to the R-7000? I am presently using an Icom R- 8500 for my DC- to- Daylight Rig. I think the VHF performance of the 8500 is similar to the 7000, I have never had my grubby hands on a 545. I do far better on the FM broadcast band with a Sony XDR-F1HD... This is an amazing FM dx tuner for only a 100 bucks ! In my set-up it takes up no space, as it is small enough to sit on top of my Yaesu rotor control box.

jr
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Old 05-18-2010, 07:43 PM
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73 de WA2ISE

Got my license in the summer of 1976, as a tech (later would be a tech plus). Had to go to the FCC field office in NYC. Had to send as well as receive code, at 5WPM. I expected to have trouble with the code, and to ace the written, but it turned out the other way, aced the code and barely passed the written (embarrassing for a double e college student). The FCC was recycling callsigns back then for a while, once found that a previous WA2ISE lived in upstate NY. Wondered if the examiner, thing I'd be a code fan, gave me ISE as it's a very short code sequence (all dits). A few months later found out my callsign while at college, and went to the college ham club's shack and got on a novice band for the first contact. Turned out to be someone else maybe ten miles away, this on 80 meters IIRC. Went home for Thanksgiving, and grabbed my mom's HT and got on 2m repeaters to use the new license.

About ten years ago, the FCC abandoned all Morse code testing, so I studied up and took the advanced and extra writtens, and come No Code day April 15, 2000, cashed in the CSCEs for an extra class license. Bought a used rig, a Kenwood TS440SAT, tossed some wire in the attic craw space of my apartment to create something vaguely resembling a dipole, and got on the SW bands. Made a contact with this setup to someone in Antartica.

Haven't been on much lately. Mostly 2m repeaters with an Icon ICu2AT.

Now with analog TV gone, and almost no digital TV stations transmitting on channel 2, 6 meters should be more useful. Back in olden analog TV days, hams in towns with a channel 2 avoided 6m to avoid TVI complaints.
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Old 05-20-2010, 01:14 AM
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ChrisW6ATV ChrisW6ATV is offline
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Hello, fellow radio operators, and thank you to N2LCJ for starting this forum (as well as Audiokarma/Videokarma itself!).

The short version of my story is, I got my license in 1991 (I went from license study guide purchase to passing Amateur Extra in seven weeks), and I enjoy many types of operating but mostly ATV (Amateur Television), which is two-way mostly NTSC TV sending and receiving. Usually, I get on the air with a bunch of my antique TV sets in the background of my video picture, and the other viewers often ask questions about my collection.

If anyone wants to hear the long version of my exploits in radio, let me know.

73!
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Old 05-20-2010, 01:18 AM
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ChrisW6ATV ChrisW6ATV is offline
Another CT-100 lives!
 
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Ahh, all y'all Hams ain't nothin' but a buncha glorified CBers...
Yep, just like a working RCA CT-100 is a glorified 12" color TV set.

P.S. I really AM a glorified CBer. I still have my FCC CB license, applied for the day I turned 18.
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Quote from another forum: "(Antique TV collecting) always seemed to me to be a fringe hobby that only weirdos did."
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Old 05-20-2010, 11:11 AM
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...all the way to 2 gig w/the R-7000...Not too shabby, I guess...(grin)
2GHz, what's up that high? I know that old uhf ch 83 went up to close to 900Mc, but I didn't think anybody ever broadcast anything at any higher frequencies than that.
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Old 05-20-2010, 12:45 PM
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Nothin' I've ever been able to get...Think there's sposed t'be some ham stuff around 1850 meg, I dunno. The cell phone freqs. were kinda fun at 1st, but how often do you REALLY wanna hear- "Maw, I'm at th' Store-Ya want me t'pick up inny Aigs ?" Now, everything's digital/scrambled, & even back when it wasn't, a lot of the time all you could hear was 1/2 the conversation, & then they'd about always go BLERP ! & quit when they went to the next cell tower's area. The FCC & the media made such a big deal of people listening in on cellphone calls, it was kinda silly I thought, not that many people had ICOM R-7000s, or anything else that would go that high. Yeah, they WERE in the old UHF band, but the chances of someone picking one up on an older TV seemed to be pretty remote. Plus, IIRC, they are narrowband anyway, & TV sound was/is wideband, it just really wouldn't work.
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Old 05-20-2010, 02:37 PM
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Some stuff that I have heard above 1000 mHz:

Airport Radar - 1030, makes a "swoosh" noise as it scans.
Aircraft transponders - 1090, they emit a "buzz" (identifying code of some sort), when the plane is hit by radar. (fun for plane watching)
Tacan aircraft beacons - up to 1214, transmit CW identifier.
Ham band (23cm) 1240-1300 at least one fairly active repeater in my area.
Geos weather Satellite - 1691, Using an old 10 foot C-band Satellite dish, I have downloaded images of the earth taken from approx 23000 miles up!
Misc Buzzing noises - around 1800 and above 1930, Digital cell phones, data links?

jr
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Old 05-20-2010, 05:54 PM
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electronjohn electronjohn is offline
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KD0DQZ here. First...a note to anyone who's given thought to becoming a ham (Sandy G are you listening?). Go to www.qrz.com. On the right-hand side of the homepage is a link to sample tests. Start w/Technician and see how ya do!! You'll probably be surprised at the amount of knowledge you already have. Plus...you can go back if you get a question wrong & try a different answer. By process of elimination you'll get the correct answer & learn the reason why it's correct as well. NO CODE TEST!!! The sample tests are actual questions from the FCC question pool...just do 'em over & over again until you consistently score 90 or better...you'll be ready for the real thing then.

Me? Well...I should be celebrating about 45 years as a ham...but TOTAL inability to master the code was my downfall all those intervening years. I was even a BOY SCOUT for cryin' out loud...no Morse code merit badge for me. I still have the gear I bought in anticipation of breezing my way to 5WPM...built a Knight-Kit T-60 and bought a National NC-109 w/paper route $$$. It sat in storage until the dropping of the code requirement a few years ago...then it was off to the Legion Club when the local ham club was administering tests. Aced the Technician test...scored 90+ on the General and decided that since I was already here I might as well take the Extra Class test. Hadn't done any prep for THAT one so my results were dismal. I plan on retaking the Extra this fall. Numerous home improvement projects had to take priority to "playing with radios" (quoting my wife there)...but by this fall the shack should be ready & fully-stocked w/vintage gear. I picked up a really cool National 200 transceiver & can't wait to see how that oldie performs. A customer of mine who's a former ham & not interested in further activity has a somewhat later model Kenwood transceiver that's he's giving me on semi-permanent loan. So...I'll have a mix of vintage & more recent gear to play with.
AM station: Knight-Kit T-60 transmitter, RME-45 receiver ($25 garage sale find!)
I need to find a VFO for the T-60 since I only have about a half-dozen crystals & would like a bit more frequency flexibility.
Vintage SSB: National 200. Dates from around 1963-64...a really nice little rig. Typical straightforward National design.
Newer SSB will be the Kenwood I'll be getting on loan.
10 meter SSB: My godfather gifted me a Radio Shack 10 meter mobile. It's waiting for more sunspots.
Matchin' it all up: MFJ-949 antenna tuner
I had a G5RV antenna erected but ice & wind brought it down...so parts of it will be repurposed to a 130' dipole fed w/ladder line.
Down the road? I got to a ham operator's auction too late to get a shot at any gear...but there were still plenty of junkboxes to bid on. Picked up some big coils & air variables...found a 3200VCT transformer in my junkbox. Can you say AMPLIFIER? I know I have a pair of 813s around...that'd be sweet!
Happy hammin'
73s
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Old 05-20-2010, 06:22 PM
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Sandy G Sandy G is offline
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My problem is...I can tell you ALL ABOUT this stuff, but I can't tell you a THING as to the "Nuts 'n' Bolts" of it all...I mean I studied some theory & all like that in books, but I NEVER had an "Elmer" to "Splain" it all to me. This is prolly a HORRIBLE admission, but I don't even really know how to read an ohm-meter...I'd be lost even trying to solder up a antenna connector for one of my R-390As...I mean I dunno even REAL basic stuff..Now, I can prolly quote you who all made R-390As, & when, the HISTORY of 'em, the names of the guys at Collins who designed 'em-Lou Coulliard, Ernie Papenfuss, & a few others-And I CAN change Toobs, check 'em & so forth, but the rest of it, I'm lost...
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Old 05-21-2010, 02:35 AM
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KD0DQZ here. First...a note to anyone who's given thought to becoming a ham (Sandy G are you listening?). Go to www.qrz.com. On the right-hand side of the homepage is a link to sample tests. Start w/Technician and see how ya do!!
I got 57% on the technicians test with no lucky guesses. You're right - I didn't think I'd do that well.
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