JPS (Now Timewave) ANC-4 Antenna Noise Canceller …

By kc0mmy January 3rd, 2015, under AM, DX, HF, Kenwood TS-440 SAT, Reception, RFI, Shortwave

IMG_2553I don’t live in a city but that doesn’t mean I don’t experience radio interference from the neighbors or from other sources such as power lines or from shoddy wall-warts inside my house. The problem I’ve had at my current QTH is that I’ve generally always been heard, yet receiving a solid copy from the distant station was quite a challenge. The S-Meter routinely read between S3-S5 during the day and at night all bets were off. on 80 meters the S-Meter usually stayed steady at S7, and right around S5 on 40.

A malfunctioning street lamp was a problem a year ago but that problem was resolved. I suspect another street lamp is burned out around my neighborhood but I really don’t want to take the time to hunt it down. I’ve heard of artificial ground boxes that you can buy and I thought that might do the trick. I’m not sure, however, since I’ve never purchased one.

A quick search on ham radio noise cancellation generated some interesting results. I read about the antenna noise cancellation device that MFJ makes but opted not to explore that any further since it received mixed reviews … mostly revolving around the quality of construction. The other issue I had with the MFJ model is that it was my understanding that I couldn’t use it with an automatic antenna tuner. Bummer.

I somehow stumbled across the Timewave ANC-4 Antenna Noise Canceller. It was a little more than the MFJ model (within about $30 or so) but could be used with an automatic antenna tuner. Awesome! I decided to search out reviews for this product including Youtube videos, which allowed me to see the device in action. The videos (more than one) looked very promising, but my major hangup was that I wasn’t quite ready to commit to spending over $200 on a device that may or may not solve my problems.

I decided to go on eBay and do a search for the ANC-4. I figured there had to be several of these things used that someone was willing to part with. I didn’t find any Timewave devices, but I DID find the JPS device. As near as I can tell, they are the exact same design … just a different name on the front of the case. So, I decided to bid on one to see if I could get it for what I thought was a reasonable price. No, I didn’t win the first, second, or even the third auction! But I finally did win one and paid what I thought was a more than fair price for it. I figured if it didn’t work, I wasn’t out much and I could probably sell it for what I paid for it.

A few days later the unit arrived. I installed it later in the week and decided to play around with the device. How did it stack up? Well, after learning how to use it (not at all difficult but it does take some practice) I was pleasantly surprised! Now, some might say that I’m easy to please, but the JPS ANC-4 really did live up to my expectations. Is it a miracle worker? No. Will it drop your noise floor virtually disappear? Probably not. Will your S-Meter hover around S-1 or less? MAYBE. It really all depends. Don’t expect it to get rid of jammers, natural noise such as static crashes or an increase in atmospheric noise due to an unsettled geomagnetic field, but it WILL help with some manmade noise. Notice I said SOME and not ALL.

Here are my results:
On 80 meters (the most problematic for me) my S-Meter usually hovers around S5-S7 without the device. I can hear the stronger stations in my area but forget about pulling in the weak ones. When I use the device, the noise drops considerably. The S-Meter usually hovers between S1-S3. I can hear more of the weaker stations but not everyone. And yes, generally speaking I’m USUALLY heard. Again, if propagation is an issue, this device isn’t going to solve the problem.

On 40 meters, my S-Meter usually hovers around S3-S5 without the device. I can usually work this band without much of an issue, but I definitely can’t pull in the weak stations. With the device active, the S-Meter is right around S1-S3. Much improved! Again, this won’t solve propagation issues or intentional interference. I might also note that your results may vary from day to day depending on band conditions.

The ANC-4 does help on 30, 20, 17, 15, 12, and 10 meters but those bands aren’t nearly as problematic for me. Shortwave reception is also improved as well as the “broadcast band.” Now, reception for broadcast AM stations isn’t stellar on the ANC-4’s default settings, but there are some ways you can improve noise cancellation on this band by following the instructions that came with the unit. The instructions are also available online.

I’m pleased with the overall performance of the unit. It definitely is a nice accessory for my shack. I won’t go into the specifics of how this device works but If you’d like more information about the antenna noise canceller, you can visit Timewave or MFJ.

73 de Andre
KC0MMY

Flexible LED Ribbon/Strip for Shack Lighting …

By kc0mmy June 20th, 2014, under Amp-Hour, Emergency Lighting, Emergency Power, HF, Power Failure, RFI, Sealed Lead-Acid Battery, Solar Panels

LED_LIGHT

One of the things I’ve been meaning to do for the last couple of years is put some low voltage lighting in the shack in case of a power failure. I’ve had some success with this using various LED lanterns and battery operated LED lights that stick to the bottom of a shelf. While these options worked, I was really only able to get enough light to illuminate my immediate work area. I wanted to get something that would do at least a decent job of lighting up a small room. If I could manage it, I wanted to be able to use the lighting source on a regular basis and not just when the power went out.

I was listening to Episode 79 of Ham Nation, titled “How is Your Microphone Cable,” when I heard Gordon “Gordy” West mention flexible LED ribbons that were about 16 feet long and ran on battery power. I don’t remember the site he mentioned on the podcast, but I do remember visiting the site while listening. The price seemed to be a little high to me, though I thought I could find a practical application for it, so I decided to a search on Amazon to see what I could find. I was pleasantly surprised with the options I was presented with.

The LED ribbons that I was looking at come in 16 foot ribbons. Depending on what you want, you can get 300 LEDs on a 16 foot ribbon or 600 LEDs on a ribbon. You can even get different colors. The price will vary depending on what you want. There are a few caveats, however, which I will attempt to explain.

At first, I decided to get 600 LEDs (warm white) on a ribbon. Upon closer inspection, I realized that I would need at least — and this is one of the caveats — 48 watts DC to run the lights at their full brightest. It was hard to find an adequately powered AC-to-DC transformer at a price I wanted to pay, so I decided to go with the ribbon containing 300 warm white LEDs. This ribbon only required about 25 watts DC, and I was able to find a suitable transformer at a very reasonable price.

Another caveat is that not only does the number of LEDs require more or less voltage to operate, different colored LEDs MAY require more or less voltage to operate as well. You really need to look at the item specifications before ordering.

A third potential caveat, which should come as no surprise, may be the AC-to-DC transformer. The one I use is incredibly noisy on the HF bands. If you run on battery power, you’re home free.

Here is the link for the LED Strip/Ribbon light that I purchased off of Amazon. I’m sure there are other places that you can get these, so you’re not limited to just Amazon.

Here is the link for the AC-to-DC transformer that I purchased on Amazon. Again, you don’t have to limit yourself to just Amazon, and there certainly may be better transformers out there.

Installing the LED strip/ribbon is fairly straight-forward. Simply peel the paper off the back of the LED ribbon to expose the adhesive and stick it to whatever you’d like. I put mine up on the wall near the ceiling. As for the power lead: I used the lead from an old wall wart that I wasn’t using anymore and put that in line between the transformer and the LED ribbon. Obviously, you can make your own but I just had one laying around. I plugged the transformer into one of those remote controlled light switches so I wouldn’t have to plug and unplug the transformer every time I wanted to use it.

So, how does it stack up? After nearly 18 months of being up in the shack, which gets rather warm, the LEDs are still attached to the wall. There are some areas where the adhesive backing has worn off but you can get some double-sided tape and reapply it. As for the amount of light they emit? Let’s put it this way: I can read my handwritten notes or a book comfortably in the shack with just the LED strip light. I can also see the buttons on my HF rig (they are not backlit) with ease. If I had to guess — and it’s just that, a guess — I would say it’s equivalent to a single 40-watt light bulb, maybe a little less. I ran the 300-LED strip/ribbon on a 7 amp-hour battery and noticed that the LEDs started to dim right after about 6 hours. The nice thing about a 7 amp-hour battery is that you could charge it on a solar panel during the day if you had an appropriate sized panel and enough sunlight, then use the battery during the evening hours until you turned in for the night.

So, if you’re looking for emergency lighting for your shack or any room in your house, give the LED ribbon/strip a look. It’s really qute inexpensive and you really can’t go wrong.

73 de Andre
KC0MMY

Hurricane Frequencies …

By kc0mmy October 25th, 2012, under Emergency Communications, Hurricane, Hurricane Frequencies, Hurricane Sandy, Uncategorized

The big newsmaker over the past 24 to 36 hours (as of this writing) or so has been Hurricane Sandy. It is believed that Sandy will make her trek up the east coast before finally fizzling out.

Regardless of whether or not you are in the effected areas, you might find it interesting to listen in on the Hurricane Net. According to this website, here are the frequencies where the net can be heard:

20 meters: 14.325 — Main frequency during the hurricane
40 meters: 7.268 — Secondary frequency/Water way net-Maritime mobile net
80 meters: 3.815 — Caribbean Net (Alternates: 3.950-N. Florida & 3.940 S. Florida)

These frequencies are subject to change due to propagation and other conditions. There are VHF/UHF frequencies as well as VoIP nodes, but my primary focus is HF.

There may be other frequency listings out there, such as this site, but I’m not sure if they are updated or not.

As is always the practice, please don’t use these frequencies for unnecessary communications purposes. Even though it sounds like the frequencies may be clear, you may be interfering with other stations.

73 de Andre
KC0MMY

RTTY, Mac OS X Lion, PK-232 MBX, and CoolTerm …

By kc0mmy March 30th, 2012, under Uncategorized

Yes, I have an Intel Mac in the shack, which essentially means that I can run Windows on my Mac.  However, this is a less than desirable thing for me to do, as I’m sure is the case with most Mac owners.  The problem is — or was — that I couldn’t find a decent terminal program that could control my PK-232 MBX so I could operate RTTY or packet.

I had done various Google searches on the topic and didn’t come up with anything more than what I had already tried or known.  I tried ZTerm again, which generated unsatisfactory results, even with the correct  baud rate, data bits, parity and stop bits settings.  (The program author claims that ZTerm DOES run in Lion now).  I also tried the “screen” command in terminal, which generated the same results as ZTerm.

Out of determination, I did a Google search again a couple of days later and found “CoolTerm.”  I’m not exactly sure how I ran into it, but it sounded like it could be an option, so I looked into it.  This was EXACTLY the type of program I was looking for!  I had to download it and try it out.

Initial testing of CoolTerm showed that it was going to work perfectly with my TNC.  Setting it up is pretty straight-forward, and if you have any questions, the help file is a HUGE help!  The only problem I ran into was getting my TNC to accept a command, which was resolved by using an alternate command.  And yes, the program runs very well in Lion.

There are several nifty features to CoolTerm.  My favorite is the “send string” mode, which puts a command line interface at the bottom of the screen.  Commands are not actually sent to the screen until you press “ENTER.”  The same holds true when operating RTTY.  This probably wouldn’t work so well with RTTY, but would definitely be an asset if you were operating packet.

You can also open up a “send string window” which is a window separate from the terminal.  Type in your commands, hit ENTER, type your text, then press the SEND button or SHIFT-ENTER to send the text to the terminal.  This might come in handy if you’re going to call CQ on RTTY, but probably wouldn’t be much help  — if any — if you were to operate packet.

Another feature is the ability to save “default connection settings.”  Once you open the program, it will automatically load your desired default settings.  You also have the option of having the program automatically connect to the TNC upon startup.  You can also just save your connection settings if you have more than one modem.  I save my connection settings to the desktop so that I can just double-click on the file that has the settings for whichever TNC I decide to use.

Font size and type, font color, and background color are all customizable, which is a plus for me.

There are quite a few other features and options that the program has, but these are just a few of the ones I like the most.

The other awesome feature of this program:  It’s free, and can run on Windows, Mac, and Linux.  If you’d like to try the program for yourself, you can download it here.  Just scroll down to CoolTerm and click the appropriate link for your operating system.

The program will work with more than just the PK-232 MBX.  It will work with other TNCs or hardware that interfaces with the computer via a serial port … even if you use a Serial-to-USB adapter.

One last thing:  If you find the program useful, consider donating to the developer.  He doesn’t do this for a living, but I’m sure he still has to pay for website hosting, improvements to the program, et cetra.

73 de Andre

KC0MMY

KC0MMY/AE …

By kc0mmy March 10th, 2012, under Uncategorized

As you look at the tile of this blog post, you’re probably wondering:  “Okay, his call sign is there, but why the “/AE?”  Excellent question!

Today I took the third and final amateur radio license exam and successfully upgraded my license to “Extra Class.”  Even though I don’t have the actual license in-hand showing that I earned the license upgrade, I do have the Certificate of Successful Completion of Examination (CSCE), which does give me the green light to use the Extra Class portions of the amateur bands.  Until the FCC officially updates my license, I need to add the “/AE” when operating CW or digital modes, or simply saying “temporary AE on phone” when operating in the Extra portions of the bands.  This way, no one will — or should — question my operating privileges.

Upgrading to the Extra Class license has been kind of a long process for me.  It’s not that it was overly difficult for me to do, I just didn’t make the time to do it.  I purchased the Extra manual back in 2005 with the intention of upgrading before the new question pool came out in 2008.  The year 2008 came and went, and I didn’t test for the Extra.  I purchased the manual again in 2010 with the hope of upgrading that same year.  Well, certain circumstances in life kind of got in the way of me doing that.  I did, however, study about half of the material that year.

About two weeks ago, someone in the local ham radio club mentioned that there was a VE test session coming up on March 10th.  Since July 1st was just about four months away (the new question pool comes out then), and the fact that there probably wouldn’t be many test opportunities, I deeded to make it a goal to take and pass the exam on March 10th.

Studying for the test wasn’t that difficult for me.  I made a commitment to read one chapter a night in the book so that I could acquaint, or reacquaint myself with the material.  The first four or five chapters were review, since I had studied those sections in years past.  Some of the other chapters brought back memories of an electronics class I took in high school, so those chapters were, in some ways, review as well.  There was some material in the book that was quite new to me, but it was quite easy, at least for me, to follow and make sense of it.

Naturally, I was nervous when I took the test today.  It took me about 45 minutes to complete the 50 question test.  It wasn’t long after I submitted the answer sheet and test booklet that I found out that I had passed the test.  I did quite well, too!

Do I feel any different now that I’m an Extra Class operator?  No, not really.  But I imagine that will change once I operate on the Extra portions of the bands.  Just because I’ve earned my Extra Class license doesn’t mean I’ll stop learning.  There are so many facets of ham radio that are changing on a seemingly daily basis, or ones that I have yet to explore.  I can’t know it all, but I sure can have fun dabbling in all of it!

For those of you who have your Technician Class license, try upgrading to General Class.  For you Generals, try upgrading to Extra.  If you fail, it’s no big deal.  I was actually planning on taking the test twice today.  I only had to take it once, however.  If you fail the test, there’s no waiting period.  You can take it again that same day, but you’ll need to pay the $15 fee for the second exam.

Regardless of whether or not you pass or fail, you should also consider becoming a volunteer examiner (VE).  It’s just another one of the many ways you can contribute to the radio service.  I plan on taking the necessary test (open book) and filling out the required paperwork within the next week or two.  To learn how you can become a VE (yes, there are requirements, but not too many), visit this link.

73 de Andre

KC0MMY

New York QSO Party

By kc0mmy October 31st, 2011, under Uncategorized

The New York QSO Party was a couple of weekends ago, and since I reside in the State of New York, I decided to participate!  I’ve never participated in a contest before, but the coordinators of the party encouraged anyone to participate, and basically encouraged everyone to have fun.

There are a few reasons why I haven’t participated in contests before.  The main reason is the time.  Most contests I know are happening on weekends when I’m actually doing something else. Another reason is that I just put up a new HF antenna after losing it to a storm this spring.  Another reason is that it just didn’t appeal to me.  It seems to me that contesters take it way too seriously.  Nevertheless, I decided to participate in the contest … if for no other reason than to just have fun. Besides, my wife was out of town that day, so I basically had permission to play radio all day!

The interesting thing about this particular weekend was the New York QSO Party wasn’t the only thing going on.  The Boy Scouts were holding their “Jamboree on the Air” activity, which gives the Boy Scouts a chance to be introduced to the fascinating world of ham radio. The State of Iowa was also holding their QSO Party that same weekend. Needless to say, there was a LOT of activity on the ham bands!

Overall, I made close to 70 contacts, which is about 20 more than I thought I was going to make. Yes, I did submit my log. I don’t think I’ll even place, but hey, that’s okay! I still had a lot of fun! I developed a new appreciation for contesting. One of the things contesting helps with is to hone your amateur radio skills. I’ve heard this before, but really didn’t realize how true it was until I actually participated in the contest. Try listening for that weak QRP station who comes in just above the noise. It’s a reward for both stations: For the QRPer who enjoyed the challenge of competing against stations that run 100 or more watts, and for the station who answered the QRPer and being reminded that you actually CAN make a contact with 5 watts or less! Another thing I learned is that when you call “CQ,” you have to really listen for the calls … and be quick to respond!

The neat thing about the weekend of the New York QSO Party was that it was the same weekend as the Boy Scout “Jamboree on the Air” event. I was able to take some time and talk to a couple of the boy scouts. It was actually kind of rewarding to talk to young, perspective hams.

All in all, my contesting experience was a wonderful one! I was able to talk to more fellow hams in New York and surrounding states. My farthest contact was Georgia … and I believe that was on 20 meters! I wouldn’t hesitate to participate in another contest. Again, I don’t take it seriously, but I do like to have fun! If I place in a contest, wonderful! But, if I don’t, that’s okay. I still had fun.

-Andre
KC0MMY

Heathkit to Throw a Couple of Bones to the Do-it-Yourself Community …

By kc0mmy August 18th, 2011, under Uncategorized

As I was checking my Twitter and Google+ accounts this morning, I ran across some intriguing news.  Apparently, Heathkit announced that it was going to get into the kit building business again. I admit that when I first heard the news, I was stoked! I’ve been looking for good kit building projects that were related to amateur radio. But as I dug deeper and did a little more research, my proverbial “bubble” had been popped.

Heathkit’s website states:

In late August, Heathkit will debut their new line of Do-it-Yourself kits for common around-the-house items. The first kit will be a Garage Parking Assistant (GPA). The Garage Parking assistant kit lets you build your own system that uses ultrasonic sound waves to locate your car as it enters the garage. The system signals to the driver using LED lights mounted on the wall when the car is detected and in the perfect spot for parking.

Continuing on down the website the Heathkit Press Release states:

Next on the market will be a Wireless Swimming Pool Monitor kit followed by many more.

While these kits may seem to be a good start, they aren’t kits that I would buy. Why? Well, I don’t own a garage, so a Garage Parking Assistant would not do me much good. I suppose I could use it to park my car in the car port if I wanted to. I live in Upstate New York, so I don’t own a swimming pool. There are people that do own pools in my neck of the woods but I’d rather spend my money on radios, something I can use year-round as opposed to two months out of the year!

I guess there may be a ray of hope in the last line that I quoted from the website. It is possible that Heathkit will make Do-it-Yourself kits related to amateur radio or radio in general. I, for one, wouldn’t mind building a “general coverage” receiver from broadcast band to 30 MHz. (Ten-Tec does make some shortwave/SSB/CW receiver kits … nothing in the broadcast band as far as I can tell). Or perhaps a small CW or SSB backpack transceiver as another ham friend of mine mentioned on his blog. (Ten-Tec also makes CW transceivers but NOT SSB transceivers). The only caveat to that is that it would need to be certified by the FCC, which as I’m sure we’re all aware, takes time and patience! They might also consider building kits that make use of solar energy. Regardless, I’m definitely interested in seeing what kits they roll out in the future.

I remember fiddling with kits when I was in an electronics class in high school. They always garnered my attention but I never did buy a kit and try to put it together myself. A lot of that was due to the fact that I had poor vision. I’ve built PCs before, which requires some fine motor skills and vision, so I think my kit building abilities would be okay at this point in time, though it might take me longer than the average person.

I did buy a kit last year but have yet to put it together. The only thing stopping me there is TIME! It is a CW identifier that you can hook up to a radio. It also can serve as an ID timer reminding you of when you need to identify your station if you’re in a QSO with someone. It looks fairly simple to put together. Perhaps I’ll get to it this winter.

With the national and global economy becoming more of a concern on a daily basis, I think people are going to try to be more self-sufficient. Kit building, in theory, should be cheaper than buying something preassembled. Plus you also get the satisfaction of knowing that YOU built it yourself. You can enjoy the fruits of your labor once you flip the switch, tune the dial, hear the faint signal of a distant station or the rhythmic sounds of the “dit-dahs.” It would certainly give you a deeper appreciation and understanding of the equipment. It could also inspire you to build something on your own with a little bit of research, patience, and time. Heck, how do you think innovation came along in this great country of ours?!

73 de Andre
KC0MMY

WHO says Your Cell Phone is Killing You? …

By kc0mmy June 6th, 2011, under Uncategorized

As you may have heard earlier last week, the World health Organization (WHO) classified cell phones as being potentially carcinogenic to humans. For complete details on the article, and to download the complete report from WHO, click on this link.

This debate has been going on for the better part of a decade, and quite frankly, I’m sick of it. So, I thought I would add my 2 cents on how I view this seemingly controversial topic.

If, upon hearing this news, you were so distraught about the findings, might I offer a few suggestions for you.

1). Don’t hold your cell phone near your head or anywhere near your body. Get a Bluetooth headset. Oh, wait. That won’t work. Bluetooth uses RF energy (radiation) too.
2). Okay, well don’t get a Bluetooth headset. Get one of the wired headsets. Of course you’ll have to deal with the cord getting in the way, but this is your health we’re talking about, right? Oh, wait. The cord may act as a radiating device, meaning that RF energy could be carried from the phone over the wire and to your ear, which is on your head. Well, that’s not good. I guess there is only one viable option then.
3). Cancel your cell service. Sure, you might have to pay upwards of $200 for an early termination fee, but like I said, this is your health we’re talking about here! The cell phone manufacturers/carriers don’t care about your health; they just want to sell you a phone, right?

Okay, so now that you’ve canceled your cell phone contract, you are now free from the worries of RF radiation … or are you? Do you have a laptop with a wireless card? Well, that uses RF energy too, although probably in lesser amounts than a cell phone. But where do you use that laptop? On your lap, of course! That could really cause trouble with the reproductive system or the genitourinary system. Not good. What about a wireless network? Or how about that iPod Touch that you carry in your pants pocket or shirt pocket? The programmers didn’t put “Airplane Mode” on these devices for nothing! How about your cordless phone that you use at home or at your business? Or how about that old CRT monitor you use at work, or the microwave you use to prepare your meals? All leak radiation and use radiation for designated purposes.

If you haven’t noted some of the sarcasm by now, you should as I’m laying it on pretty thick.

Joking aside, I do believe that cell phones can be dangerous. But I think we’re stepping out of bounds here. it’s more likely that you’ll get killed or injured by a cell phone when texting while driving or walking walking near a fountain in the mall. If anything, cell phones may cause people’s blood pressure to elevate causing a heart attack! When was the last time you were in Wal-Mart (not that this is the only place it happens) and someone is yacking on their cell phone in the checkout line? They yell “WHAT? HELLO? I CAN’T HEAR YOU!  CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?”

I guess the thing that really concerns me with all of this is that in 50 or so years from now, we’ll have class action lawsuits against cell phone providers. You think I’m off of my rocker, don’t you? Well, take a look at cigarettes. In the earlier part of the 20th century, cigarettes were viewed as socially acceptable, and to some extent, may have had health benefits. Bottom line: personal responsibility comes into play somewhere.

You’re probably thinking by now: What does this have to do with ham radio? Great question! We as hams are given the responsibility (expected, really) to keep tabs of how much power, or RF radiation, we are emitting from our antennas. I remember when I was studying for my Technician Class license ten years ago and reading about assessing the radiation one was using to operate their station. It was an interesting read. While I cannot find my Technician Class manual, I did run across a more detailed explanation online. Most of it will probably just put you to sleep, but it does have a lot of useful diagrams and information. Click here to download the PDF.

Of particular interest are pages 3, 18, and 23-24. Page 3 gives you specifics of WHEN you should take steps to do a radiation assessment depending upon the band and the amount of power you’re using. Page 18 deals with antenna gain. Pages 23-24 deal with controlled and uncontrolled environments and whether or not the amount of RF energy you’re using is safe for either or both environments. EVERY ham should have a copy of this in their shack.

Don’t get me wrong. I know and believe that amateur radio is a safe hobby. Yes, you can get injured (I did this week while putting up an antenna), but if you use a good dose of common sense and courtesy, you and the ones around should be perfectly fine.

The thing that gets me is that cell phones can — and do — save lives. We beg for more towers to be put up because we want every stretch of road to have adequate coverage.  This was a big deal here in the Adirondacks a few years back because a couple of people died on the Northway (I-87). Had they had cell service, they might have lived. And here’s another thought: Cancer is often treated with radiation (RF energy), and that apparently saves lives. Yes, it may be used in a different application and in different ways, but radiation can save lives.

As I reach the bottom of my Michelob Ultra and the end of this post, I’m reminded of the Greek philosopher Aristotle, who said: “Everything in moderation.”  If used incorrectly, anything can harm or even kill you.

73 de Andre
KC0MMY

My Confidence in Radio Shack May be Restored …

By kc0mmy May 30th, 2011, under Uncategorized

When I used to live in Rapid City, SD, I would usually get my connectors, batteries, coax cable, computer parts, et cetera at Chris Supply. If I couldn’t get it at Chris Supply, I would either go to Radio Shack (usually as a last resort) or I ordered it from Ham Radio Outlet in Denver, CO (if it was ham-related stuff and they had what I needed). If I ordered before 10 AM Monday through Thursday, I could have my stuff from HRO the next day. That’s not a long wait … unless I happen to be working on a project in the middle of the weekend!

Ever since I moved to Upstate New York, finding things that I need has been a little more difficult. Ordering stuff online is okay, but the shipping is kind of ridiculous unless you buy in bulk. I have two Radio Shacks within about 25 miles of my QTH, so I decided to give ’em a try. I wasn’t very thrilled when I heard that they were branding their franchise as “The Shack,” and I’d like to meet the marketing genius behind that to see what their thoughts were and are, and why I think it’s drifting away from their roots, but I digress.

I went to Radio Shack several times to get what I needed: Mainly connectors, sections of mast to add height to my antenna, power connectors, et cetera. More times than not, they had what I needed. I was quite impressed! I’ve been shopping there more lately because I know there’s a good chance they’ll have what I need. So far, I’m pleased, and I hope the trend continues.

Earlier this week (or should I say sometime last week), Radio Shack was seeking the opinions of the “Do-it-Yourself” community. I didn’t think much of it, so I really didn’t look into it. Earlier today, however, another ham buddy of mine really suggested that I check out what Radio Shack was doing, so I did.

Rather than me try to explain what it is that Radio Shack is looking for, I’ll just have you click on the link.

Radio Shack and the DIY Community

I certainly hope that this really benefits Radio Shack AND hams alike. While Radio Shack is not specifically asking hams for their opinions, it is a great opportunity for us to contribute our 2 cents.

73 de Andre
KC0MMY

New — and potentially victorious — developments in HR 607 …

By kc0mmy May 20th, 2011, under Uncategorized

This article was taken from QRZ.com on May 20, 2011 at 21:48 UTC. I truly hope this is accurate and that it will come to fruition.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Mike Lisenco, N2YBB
n2ybb@arrl.org
917-865-3538

May 19, 2011, Massapequa Park, NY – A delegation of Amateur Radio operators from the Long Island / New York City area met this morning with Congressman Peter T. King (R-NY) to discuss his recent proposed legislation, HR 607, and its impact on Amateur Radio.

Congressman King said that he fully understands and appreciates the importance
of Amateur Radio and the service it provides to the community, and that he would see to the modification of the bill so that the 420 – 440 MHz band would be
excluded from the spectrum to be auctioned. The delegation included Mike
Lisenco, N2YBB, ARRL Section Manager for New York City / Long Island (NLI),
Peter Portanova, WB2OQQ, NLI Local Government Liaison (LGL), George Tranos,
N2GA, NLI State Government Liaison (SGL), and Jim Mezey, W2KFV, NLI ARES Section Emergency Coordinator (SEC).

“The Congressman went on to explain that it was never his intention to remove
the 70 centimeter band from Amateur use. He further asked us to `get the word
out’ and inform the Amateur Radio community that 70 centimeters is not in
jeopardy,” said Lisenco.

Lisenco, Mezey and Tranos spoke about the importance of Amateur Radio emergency communications while Portanova, who is also the local AMSAT representative, addressed satellite and other amateur use of the 70 centimeter band.

The Congressman was very receptive to the group, who also extended an invitation to attend Field Day locations in his District.

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