April 28, 2015
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Recieved my VE credentials from the ARRL VEC today.
April 26, 2015
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I put together the dynamic speech compressor kit with no difficulty yesterday afternoon. The device is a small PCB with most of the really small surface mount components already soldered on. The only things that need soldering are the RJ-45 connectors, one surface mount capacitor, one integrated circuit, two pots and a switch. Assembly proceeds smoothly with the only warning being to ensure the parts are oriented correctly and to make sure the pots are in the right position. They look the same but their values are very different.
This unit is made to work inline with the stock Yaseu MH-31 microphone. I bought this to help the FT-817ND. That being said I tested it out on the FT-450D.
A switch on the device lets you turn the compressor on and off. There is a real difference in the perceived audio with this engaged. I First tested with my rigs monitor mode and really could hear the difference. I called CQ and asked the ham who answered to help me with signal reports. He was about 500 miles from my QTH in Texas and so my signal was about 20 over without the compressor. He reported what sounded like a more distorted audio without an appreciable increase in signal strength. This was true at both 100 and 5 watts. So for now I’d say the jury is still out. Will try and secure a few more signals reports and test in the field with the FT-817ND then report back.
April 21, 2015
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I have been looking at getting some QSL cards made up but so far I don’t like the choices I have in either customization, pricing or order quantities. I came across the following instructions by AJ4VD on how to make your own double sided glossy QSL cards and have been looking at adapting this idea to my own method. Key difference is I have no interest in learning how to use Inkscape for this. Just don’t have the time or inclination to do so. What looks like it will work is Microsoft PowerPoint. PowerPoint allows me to generate a 4×6 slide with a 3.5×5.5 inch active area pretty easily and then save as a JPEG image file. I bought 25 sheets of the 8.5×11″ labels through amazon for $12.70. This will be enough for 100 card backs. Walgreen’s has 4×6″ prints as low as 10 cents each. This works out to $22.70 per 100 cards. I expect this method to produce a very nice double sided custom QSL. Now will work on the card design and I will post more details as things develop.
April 20, 2015
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Finally started working on a DIY Buddipole this weekend. My first steps were to work out the mast issues. I have a painters pole that extends from 8 feet to 23 feet as well as a speaker PA tripod. To get these two components to mate, I had to first remove the rubber hand grip from the bottom of the painters pole.The tripod has a center tube that telescopes in and out of the tripod itself. I removed this and moved the top cap to the bottom of the tube, then reinserted into the tripod. Now the Painters poles will fit into this tube albeit tightly. I am thinking that some Vaseline or WD-40 on the painters pole will help facilitate removal. Next I installed a hose clamp with cables ties and “D” rings as before for guy line attachment. I have 25 feet of guy lines on kite winders ready to go for guying this mast. Finally is the painter pole to 1/2″ pipe thread adapter I purchased from Buddipole.The pole looks pretty sturdy and I am pretty confident it will work good up to 16 feet. Will have to test carefully whether it can be extended the full 23 feet.
On the Buddistick side, I mounted the 3/8″ nut to the 1-1/4″ pipe caps. I have cut the coil forms to three inches long. and tested the overall fit. I now need to wind and test the coils, install the aluminum tubes and set up the wiring. Hopefully will have this completed for the weekend. Will post pics soon.
April 8, 2015
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Portable Antenna Analysis
The link above is to a file containing a EZNEC analysis of various antenna types I am looking at for portable use. These are mainly based on the Homebrew Buddipole and Buddistick designs that I have been working on with an emphasis of operations between 20m and 10m. Right now I have a decent setup with the vertical Buddistick in this range. It is easy to deploy on either band. The homebrew Buddistick has worked great on 10m. The jury is still out on 20m as I have not tested it much yet. The next iteration is a homebrew Buddipole dipole antenna. The EZNEC studies show better 10m performance if the dipole is at least 16ft above ground. Not much difference between the vertical on 20m but the 20m dipole needs additional height which starts getting tricky. The nice thing is that I should be able to use the dipole as the driven element for a two element Yagi on a short boom. The simulation shows good directivity and significant gain increase on 10m at 16 feet. Once again the 20m version requires more height to be effective vs. the vertical.
This analysis is still a work in process but this is showing the direction I plan to take the antenna work. I will use the Vertical Buddistick as my main antenna system for portable use as it is already built and is easy to deploy. Next step is complete the 10m Buddipole dipole. This will work thru 15m as well by extending the whips. I will go ahead and wind the coils for 20m operation even though it looks like at 20m the antenna will be extremely compromised. Once I have played with the dipoles I can use them as the driven elements for a 2 element Yagi. This should provide the best performance on 10m thru 15m. Stay tuned and I will post pictures and maybe some video on my progress.
April 2, 2015
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Ordered a DYC-817 speech compressor for the FT-817ND from box73.com in Germany. This is a kit for an external box that connects in-line with the stock Yaesu microphone and is designed to raise the Peak Envelope Power of SSB voice. The demo on the website is pretty impressive and is supposed to make one S unit of difference in the signal. This could make a big difference working QRP. The cost of the kit is $45. Will post a more detailed review of the kit build and operation once it arrives.