Monday, April 29, 2013

Survey of practice radio tests

In the course of upgrading for my amateur radio license, I've come across several Amateur Radio test preparation tools. In this, I hope to give some details about each of them, and in general, review them. This list includes both online tests and Android programs.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Installation of a Wire Antenna in my Small Attic

As previously mentioned, I've recently built my first wire antenna. In order to really test it, I decided to skip the step of a temporary outdoor deployment, and just go ahead and put it in to it's final location. It was a lot of work, but I've gotten a lot better at things, and I'd say overall it works pretty well. Also, as previously mentioned, my antenna is longer than my attic, so I had do so some creative bending to get it all to fit in there correctly. Overall, I'd say it worked pretty well. The initial deployment only took me 30 minutes, plus a bit of time to feed the antenna line. Much better than the last time, for sure!
Antenna Layout

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Lesson 6- Types of Amateur Communication

There are a number of types of communication. Here's a few common definitions which you might need to know, for taking the Amateur Radio test, for understanding Amateur Radio laws, or just for general purpose.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Yaesu 2900 Review

So it's been a few months now that I've been using my Yaesu 2900, and I decided it was time to post a full blown review. I believe I've used it enough to give a fair review of it, and so here goes.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Building my first Wire Antenna

 For some time, I've been working through what type of antenna I should get. I've finally decided to make the plunge! My antenna of choice is an OCF antenna, as included in ARRL's Wire Antenna Classics, which is a great read for anyone thinking about making their own wire antenna. It has helpful tips, and quite a few great designs.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Lesson 5- Basic laws and rules

There are a large number of laws and rules relating to Amateur Radio, as explained by the FCC in Part 97. These are to keep the hobby safe, not interfere with others, encourage Hams to learn more, and make the best use out of the bands. Here's a few of the basic rules that are given.

Monday, April 15, 2013

ARRL Wire Antenna Classics

I've been looking in to antennas for a while, specifically meant to be placed in a small space. A 40m yagi isn't in my domain for sure! However, I still really want to get on HF. What can I do?

Enter ARRL's Wire Antenna Classics. There is maybe 50 or so articles on how to construct wire antennas, ones that serve all kinds of purposes. Many of these don't apply to me, as I'm still limited in space, but there was definitely a couple which I should be able to take advantage of.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Antenna Tuners

I live in a small townhome, with no land to speak of. I would like to be able to talk on 80 m. Ideally, a quarter wavelength antenna is best, put at a quarter wavelength above the ground. That means 20m, or about 70 feet, which is longer than the length of my home! Given all of that, how can I get HF from my home?

One solution that I have is using an antenna tuner. There are some radios, such as the Yaesu FT-450D, which have a built in antenna tuner. While I plan on getting a radio like that some day, I've heard that a dedicated antenna tuner is far superior to a build in one in a radio. Having both should give me a bit more flexibility.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Good Inexpensive Used HF rigs

Given a limited budget, I've been looking carefully at used HF rigs. Here's a list of potential candidates that I've been looking at, hopefully I'll find a good radio among them at a good price. These have come from a variety of sources, mostly my Ham Radio Club, but there have been a few others as well. Hopefully I can help some of those in the same predicament that I am in.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Lesson 4- Saftey

Amateur Radio can be a fun activity, but it does involve high amounts of electricity, and radio waves. Also, if you are working on a tower, it can cause some safety issues. I'm going to talk about some safety precautions to ensure that you can have fun in this sport, but not pose a safety risk to yourselves or others.I'm going to break this down in to 3 areas, namely Physical Safety, Electronic Safety, and Radio safety.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Looking to MARS

Recently, I've been looking into Mars. I find it very fascinating, with a whole world of possibilities. And for the record, I'm not talking about the red planet, I'm talking about the Military Axillary Radio System. This is a system by which the US military uses licensed Amateur Radio operators to assist in backup communications.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

HF antennas

Someday I'm hoping to get an HF rig, to be able to talk across the world. I've been doing a bit of research both into the antenna as well as the transceiver that I might buy. This will talk about a few of the HF antennas that I am looking at.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Getting off the grid

There are frequently times where I am camping, or otherwise unable to plug in my gear. Also, there's always the worry of being through some kind of a storm where there simply isn't any power available for a period of time. Communication is often vital in such instances. There is several options on how to manage this, the most interesting to me is solar power.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Radio Voice Quality

I've been challenged this week to improve my radio quality, and it's been somewhat of a challenge. There are several key things which can improve/degrade quality, which I will cover.