34 years later…

I first became an Amateur Radio operator when I was 14, that was way back in the last century. I went to General class before the 2 year novice license was up. A number of years later, I upgraded to Advance, and had got my current call. Today, I finally took element 4 and passed. Until I am registered in the FCC ILS, I am  KD1IT/AE on the Extra frequency allotments.

Why did I wait this long? I do not know. The thing was, I took the exam at the same time I got my Advance Class, thirty four years ago. I passed the code test for Extra, but failed the exam. I decided not to re-take. Well, my good friend, David, AG7SM, got his extra, a couple of weeks ago,  after being out of the hobby for a number of years, and he got an Extra Class. So I decided to get one, and called the VEC yesterday to ask if I could come in today. I did a cursory brush up on the some of the theories, etc. 

I took my time with the test, and checked my work, over and over. I passed the test, and got my CSCE for element 4. I immediately sent a text to my good friend, K1LO, who lives in Hudson, NH, and David, AG7SM, saying I passed.

The examiners asked me if I wanted to be a VE. I passed on that, this go around, but I might consider doing it, and helping out. The VE test today was conducted by the Oregon Tualatin Valley Amateur Radio Club (OTVARC). Very nice people. There were a lot of people there getting their Technician class licenses. I think there was myself, and another ham upgrading to Extra, and one ham doing a General class upgrade. Good to see a lot of new people joining the ranks of Amateur Radio.

Anyway, I know to some, this is not exciting, and to be honest, it wasn’t all that exciting, other than I just wanted to have it. Now I do, I have more of the spectrum at my disposal, and I can become a VE, to asset others in becoming an Amateur Radio operator.

If you are not a ham, and you want to be one, please visit the ARRL or contact your local Amateur Radio Club. The sunspot cycle is at the bottom, and it can only go up from here. The bands will be much fun again, soon. 

 

73 de Jeff – KD1IT/AE

 

P.S. One of the VE’s said “Why are you upgrading? Advance class is unique now that it is grandfathered”. I said “I want a bit more spectrum for CW”. He smiled and said “Good luck, young man”. (Note: I was probably the same age as he was 😉 )

Moved the uBITX into a new case.

This weekend, I decided to move my uBitX to a new case, and incorporate a Nextion Screen and use KD8CEC’s updated FW for the radio. While here at the QTH, I do not have the proper tools, it did come out ok. Here is a photo of the minimal front. Tuning, Volume, and Display. On the back, There is Power, Power Switch , IF tap for SDR hookup (pan adapter), mic, key, and speaker/headphone hook up, Raduino USB extension, (bulkhead mounted). And the RF out. The only thing left is to get a new tuning knob (accomplished, will incorporate later this week!). (Also, pardon for the messy work bench.)

 

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FT8, my new favorite mode

The weekend before Christmas, I built an audio isolation box (Jeff’s home made RigBlaster, if you will). It allowed me to hook the mic and headphone jacks to the uBitX, to my MacBook Pro.

What was cool,  using WSJT-X on MacOS (Yes, there is a native WSJT-X version, none of that Windows stuff 😉 ), I made a number of contacts over the weekend. Was pretty good, because I was pushing only 4W on 30 Meters (10.136 Mhz), and into a make shift loaded vertical tuned to 30M. Very impressed with the results, let alone that uBitX was flawless through this whole thing.

 

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FT8 monitoring fun

This afternoon, I fired up a browser on my iMac, and logged into my web-based KiwiSDR. I then took Rogue Amoeba’s LoopBack, and made a virtual audio cable from Safari, to WSJT-X and tuned in the 30 meter band and just watched. The band was hopping.

 

Here is the screen shot of the action.

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SDRs and Tuning knobs

I am going to get an Elad Tmate-2 tuning accessory for my SDRPlay RSP2Pro. This device is a bit pricy, but it will make using the RSP2Pro much easier. Couple that with a good desktop running SDRUno, and I thing I will have a great receiver, when coupled to the mag loop set up I am designing (Mounted high, with a rotor for nulling and remote control).

 

When I get it, I will let everyone know how it works out.

 

73 de KD1IT

The QCX-30 Case

I ordered the recently announced QCX case for my QCX-30 rig by QRP-Labs. It is a very nice, simple, but well engineered case. Putting it together was a snap.

Here are some photos of it.

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ZUMSpot

Yesterday, I received a ZUMSPot modem that plugs into a RaspberryPI. I opened to have it in a Raspberry PI3 B+, with integrated WiFi. After setting up PIStar on the unit, I started having conversations with people in England, Canada and the East coast of the United States. Basically, the ZUMSpot is a hotspot for Data/DMR/etc digital voice modes. It can connect to reflectors to allow you to see other people listed and make a call to them. Very cool. I am trying to get a friend in NH to get one, and get on it, so we can chat while the solar flux is at its lowest. HF hasn’t been too good lately.

 

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More on the ZUMSpot and MMVDM as I get more and more used to using it.

 

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Now short statuses and asides will be published to micro.blog/kd1it

Got myself a new HT

The last time I bought a new HT, was in 1997. I bought an Icom T7H, back then.

 

I wanted to get a new HT that did DSTAR and APRS, etc. Well, that HT turned out to be the Kenwood TH D-74.

What a wonderful device. After getting used to the UX, it has been a joy to use. The fact that it covers 144/220/440 is a sweet aspect. It handles DSTAR, APRS and has a built in GPS. I got a good smoking deal on it from my local HRO in PDX. So far, I am overcome with joy. DSTAR is something to get used to, but once I got the hang of it, made a pretty quick QSO.

The only thing I want to do, to augment the radio, is to get a MMDVM access point to allow me to connect over the internet to a friends DSTAR repeater in NH. Then I can stay in touch.

I highly recommend this radio.

 

 

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uBITx Audio Amp woes

So, I got a new power supply at the Seaside Hamfest on the first week of June. I plugged my uBitX into it and a pop happened. Seems the audio amp chip popped its top. After asking a question on the uBitX FB group, Daniel King recommended a NJM2073D to replace it. Ordered about 5 of them, because you never know. Replaced it, this afternoon, and audio is back and they handle the 14 VDC the power supply was putting out. Apparently, there is a know issue with some of the stock audio amps in the uBITX and they seem to pop with more that 13 volts.