WB4IUY's Random Blog

I've been in Amateur Radio since 1974, and still find new and interesting things to do. I like to build, restore, and operate on the air. This is a blog of various info about my Ham Radio operations and activities, projects, and opinions. Visit www.WB4IUY.net for the lowdown at WB4IUY.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Webcam on Winter Snowstorm in NC, today...

I've got a cheap webcam looking at the snowstorm in NC today. The birds are really hitting the feeders hard. Gonna go clean the snow off, then experiment with a better cam. http://www.ustream.tv/channel/audio-1-only

Dave WB4IUY
www.WB4IUY.net

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

160M QSO Party

Working the 160m QSO Party that's running thru 12/26. Check it out at http://www.drcg.de/ See you on 160!

Dave WB4IUY
www.WB4IUY.net

Friday, November 26, 2010

ROLDX DXCluster Node, Rolesville NC

I've made a couple of changes to the node, so it can now be reached via the W4RAL-7 packet node on 147.54, if you wish to connect to the DXCluster via packet radio.

Connect to W4RAL-7 on 147.54 in Zebulon. Type:

C W4RAL-7

Next, connect to W4RAL-5 by typing:

C W4RAL-5

That is a multiport node near Roleaville. Once connected, type:

C 4 ROLDX VIA WB4IUY-3

That will connect you to the ROLDX DXCluster node on my home tower. Give it a minute to send everything to you before you proceed. You should get a message back that looks like this:

ROLDX:WB4IUY} DX Connect Bye Info Nodes Routes Ports Users MHeard

You're there! Type DX and hit enter. If you've never connected, it'll ask you a few basic questions (your name, location, and such). Once completed, it'll always remember you and you'll see the DX Spots rolling through.

The DXCluster node ROLDX has been operating on my home tower about 4 years. Users within range of my station can connect directly to it by switching directly to 145.07 and connecting to ROLDX. Using the W4RAL-7 node in Zebulon will allow those who are somewhat farther away to connect.

Have fun!
Dave WB4IUY
www.WB4IUY.net
wb4iuy@teara.org
wb4iuy@wb4iuy.#RTP.NC.USA.NOAM

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Motorcycle Related stuff...





Those of you into motorcycles, too...

A few non-Ham Radio things I've done that might interest some of you...

A few of us put some bikes in a local show yesterday (11/20), and here's what happened...

1- My youngest son, Brandon, took 1st place in 'Best Custom' with his bike (Bones), He's 26 years old, works at my motorcycle company, and this was his first full build. He did it with help from me, Dave KR4TP, and another friend named Jon over about 1 year of nights and weekends.


2- Jon Earp, our custom painter, took 2nd place in 'Best Custom' and also took 'Amy's Choice' with his bike (Low Life)

3- Bryan Long (good friend) took 'Best Stock' (non-modified frame) with his bike (RawHide)

You can see all of these bikes' builds online at: http://www.scootworks.com/projectbikes.htm

Next - I just finished editing, resizing, culling, organizing, etc over 500 pics from Daytona beach Biketoberfest 2010. The pics were taken with 3 different devices used by some of us, so getting everything grouped more-or-less in the correct order and of similar size took a bit of work. At the end, you'll see some smaller pics I pulled from my facebook page's mobile posts, that's why there's such a size difference.

There's 4 little video's the Iron Horse on there. If they don't play for you when you click on the links, right-click the link and save it to your desktop, then play them from there.

You can see them at:

http://www.scootworks.com/events.htm

Dave WB4IUY
www.WB4IUY.net

Friday, November 19, 2010

Having a BLAST on Ham Radio Nation!



Ham Radio Nation is a Social Networking Site, sorta like Facebook and such, but specifically for Ham Radio. It has loads of things to do, along with meeting lots of other hams, like blogging, forums, an awards program, classified ads, propogation info, an always current contest calendar, chat rooms, product reviews, and more.

I stumbled into it by accident, but have been logging in and doing something on it every day or so. Check it out! You can find it at: http://www.HamRadioNation.com

Friday, October 29, 2010

EQSLs in digital picture frame...

Here's an idea for those of you who use eQSL... I keep copies of all my digital qsl cards from eQSL and load them into one of those little electronic picture frames that are so inexpensive these days. I then display them in my shack and enjoy watching them scroll by while operating. A neat way to display cards without taking up more wall space in the shack!

Dave Hockaday WB4IUY
AMA 119484
Live from my handheld...

Monday, October 25, 2010

This solar cycle is sick!

After reading the piece on Sciencemag.org, I'm beginning to wonder if folks our age will ever see another cycle with wild propogation like we did in the 70's and 80's...and even the 90's. I recall making contacts into Turkey and China on a converted CB @ 10 watts output from my truck, and working my 10m WAS from an indoor apartment antenna. My 10 meter repeater would begin transmitting an hour or so before sunrise, and work hard all day until midnight or later. Read this piece in Sciencemag for a real 'eye-opener'. You can google "No Sunspots" for loads of additional info on the topic...

Friday, October 8, 2010

Icom's lack of support...

Here's a $2800 IC-756 radio with a bad display. Icom recognized that it was an issue. Rather than support it, they recommend to BUY A NEW RIG from them to replace it. WTF???  There's lots of these out there, stuck with this problem. As much as I like this rig, i'll never spend another penny with Icom.

Dave Hockaday WB4IUY
AMA 119484
Live from my handheld...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Working AM on 80 Meters

I've been doing a bit of work on 80m at night of late. There's a group of AM ops down in the area of 3.705 nightly. Lots of fun and not nearly as congested as the old AM freqs around 3.885. C'mon down and give it a try!

Dave Hockaday WB4IUY
AMA 119484
Live from my handheld...

Monday, October 4, 2010

Testing a portable blog post...

Its pretty crazy these days to be able to post a blog from a phone, and be able to include a pic. I'm working AM tonite on 3.710 from studio A with my FT-901DE.  

Dave Hockaday WB4IUY
AMA 119484
Live from my handheld...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

September VHF QSO Party

Get your VHF/UHF gear up and on the air this weekend! The cotest begins 1800 UTC Saturday and ends 0300 UTC Monday (September 11-13, 2010). I'm operating on 6m SSB, 2m SSB, 223.5 FM simplex, and 446.0 FM simplex.

Not lots of activity in my area at the moment, but I've worked out about 3 grid squares away (around NC & VA), and heard a station up in FN21 in NY a few minutes ago.

Check out http://www.arrl.org/september-vhf-qso-party for more details, and I hope to see you on the bands!

Dave WB4IUY
www.WB4IUY.net

Thursday, September 2, 2010

2M SSB wide open this morning!

Just a 'heads up'... With hurricane Earl coming up the coast, along with it comes serious VHF/UHF tropo propogation. I just worked EL98 (Apopka, FL) from FM 05 (Youngsville NC) with 50w on 2m SSB. 59 sigs, easy contact. I don't have 432 SSB, but N4TUT in EL98 reports 432 sigs from Charlotte NC booming into his area as well. Get on the air!!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Fly For Tots coming soon!!!

Don't miss the largest 'Fly Anything' R/C event in the US, coming September 17-19 to the RDRC club site in Youngsville, NC. You can learn more about this, view streaming cams of the event, and see what a great charity event this is online at http://www.FlyForTots.com.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

IARU Contest Running this weekend!

The IARU Contest is running this weekend. DX will abound and is easily found... I just worked B4HQ in China on 14.195 from here in IARU zone 08 (Youngsville NC)! Fire up the rig and get on the air. See you on the bands!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

6m Open for TransOceanic Contacts!!

Wow, what a July 4th party this is!! 6m has been HOT all day, with openings into Europe, Africa, and lots of islands... With only 100 watts I've worked EA6SX on Balearic Is., J39BS in Grenada, 9Y4VU in Trinadad, CT1HZE in Portugal, EA8CK in the Canary Is, and more. Happy 4th to all!!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Please check out/vote for Brandon's bike!

My youngest son (Brandon) has been working on his bike for over a year at night and on weekends, along with a couple of his co-workers. He finished it about 3 months ago. He entered it in a contest on 96Rock and it is now in the top 10. This is no credit card bike...everything on it, except the frame, has been hand built or modified in some way. Being on a budget, many parts came from wrecks/salvage or are modified factory items. It's his first bike, and we're all very proud of it (especially Brandon!). Please go have a look at it and give him a vote. The voting link is:

http://www.96rockonline.com/article.asp?id=1857150

You can see the whole project online at:

http://www.scootworks.com/buildbones.htm

Dave

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Fied Day bit in News & Observer 6/27

I just finished reading the piece on field day in the N&O this Sunday morning. While it's probably accurate about it's aging fan base (no huge influx of youngsters), I think it was a slap in the face for what ham radio is and does for the rest of the world, and the fact that there are entire organizations...thousands of people... trained and ready in the event they're needed in an emergency. The support function that ham radio has provided recently, just over this past year, with various disasters around the world was also completely missed. The WHOLE PURPOSE of Field Day is that of a training excercise seemed to have been overlooked as well.

My take on the N&O piece was the portrayal of ham radio as an old, noisy hobby enjoyed by a dwindling bunch of us with grey hair and using 2-3 story antennas that aren't wanted as a result of suburbanization.

Oh well, that's just my opinion. You can read it for yourself at:

http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/06/27/553625/for-a-day-radio-reigns-again.html

Monday, June 21, 2010

Operating AM on Icom IC-756

I've tried using my IC-756 on AM from time to time, as I enjoy this mode on 75, 40, 20, and 10 meters. Unlike my Yaesu 901 and Heathkit equipment, the output power of my 756 Icom would drop considerably when I would modulate the transmitter with voice. In order to get decent power out, I would have to run my amp harder than I care when operating AM.

When operating at 25 watts carrier from my 756, I was producing about 25 watts pep when modulated at 100% (because the power output would drop to about 8 watts!). My amp (AL-82) would run about 350 watts carrier, and would fall back to about 85 watts or so when I would speak (still about 350 watts pep).

I built the little curcuit from W8JI's page this afternoon. I now operate the rig at about 10 watts carrier, which drives the amp to about 150 watts. When modulated the amp produces about 600 watts pep, but runs very cool.

Listening to it on my Yaesu 901, it seems much cleaner, but I can't hear any difference on my Heathkit SB-301. I guess this is partly determined by the detector used in the receiver of the receiving station. The amp is much happier, though, and runs much cooler. I can run a much higher PEP with a lot less heat!

I've posted info about it on my AM Mode page at:

http://www.ipass.net/wb4iuy/radio/wb4iuy2l.htm

Sunday, June 13, 2010

6m Conditions Great today!

Great conditions are abundant today on 6m. This is perfect timing for the ARRL VHF QSO Party, underway this weekend. I've been working all over the US with my simple 6meter station. Gonna connect the 2m yagi and see what's up there next...

You can see the info on this weekend's VHF contest on the ARRL website at:

http://www.arrl.org/june-vhf-qso-party

Monday, May 24, 2010

10m PSK31 Active this evening!

I made my first PSK31 contact on 10m today, on 28.120. Once I made the contact, I posted it on the DX Cluster and at www.HamSpots.net . Next thing I knew, there were loads of signals up on 10m PSK31. The band is in pretty condition, and perfect for a few digital QSOs. It sure is great to see 10m coming back alive in this sunspot cycle!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Lack of respect for "Windows" on different bands...

There are gentleman's agreements and suggestions by the ARRL for various "windows" to be used by certain modes or activities. These include things like the "DX Window" found on many bands, call frequencies like 50.125 on 6m, and mode windows like the PSK31 window and the AM window. Many of these "windows" have been around for decades and are well documented in practically every amateur radio publication and all across the internet.

To preface this...I collect vintage Amateur Radio gear. There are lots of people like me, who collect older amateur radio equipment, restore it, and enjoy operating it on occassion. Many of these old rigs are crystal controlled and have been locked to these frequencies for decades, especially since these frequencies were widely known as the frequencies to operate AM on. Most of these rigs operate on AM.

The "AM Windows" have been around since before I became a ham in 1974. One such example of windows are the two frequencies 3.880 & 3.885 mhz in the 75 meter band. There are only a handful of such frequencies in the entire HF portion of our allotted amateur radio spectrum. AM has a typical bandwidth of at least 6 khz, and most of the older receivers were designed to accept this bandwidth for proper reception and reproduction of transmitted audio.

I'm always amazed at the number of people who tune either just outside of the window (or right smack in the middle of the window!) and operate SSB. Their arguements are often "I don't hear the AM'ers" or "I was here first and _they_ can move". I guess either they don't understand the design of their own receiver including it's more narrow passband and ability to null carriers from the oppsite sideband, don't understand that many of the AM Vintage rigs can't move to another frequency, or they simply just don't care where the window is.

AM'ers, for the most part, stay in the windows to enjoy the company of other collectors, experimenters (many AM ops build and/or modify their own gear), and others with similar interests. There are lots of us...the numbers are quite large. There are publications, businesses, and even entire hamfests dedicated to this facet of the ham radio hobby. We don't _HAVE_ to stay in these tiny slivers of spectrum called the AM Windows, but we choose to do so out of respect for the other modes scattered across the bands (among other reasons). We can operate anywhere those of you who operate SSB can operate...but we don't. We keep to ourselves and try to minimize our interference to others by operating in these widely known and universally understood "AM Windows".

Imagine if all SSB operations were be herded into a few tiny slices of spectrum called "SSB Windows", while AM operations ran across the entire phone bands. Imagine if AM'ers decided to "take back" a fair amount of spectrum and began having AM contests, calling CQ, holding nets, etc on AM all across the phone bands with our wider signals. Now imagine if those of you who operate SSB actually behaved as most of us do and gave AM a little "elbow room" around the windows so your SSB signals (and many of them are quite wide as well!) didn't jam the few frequencies that we relegate our own selves to.

I started typing this on this Saturday morning while working (or rather, trying to) the AM Military net on 3.885. A group of hams in the southeast US constantly obliterates operations on 3.885 Am by operating on 3.888 LSB. Their lower sidebands splatter all the way down to below 3.880. One of the guys is regularly heard on a rants that he will jam AM anytime and anywhere he hears it, simply because _he_ doesn't like it. This happens all the time, and is a perfect example of what this blog is about: People who either don't know or don't care how their operations in and around the windows impacts a much larger group of people who are operating in a manner as to minimize their impact on everyone else.

Please folks...stay out of and away from (by few khz) the AM windows with your SSB signals, so AM'ers can also enjoy their favorite part this awesome hobby!

Monday, May 17, 2010

10m Roaring into NC!

Wow... just onto 10m tonight after dinner, and found hams from all over South America on the air and blasting into NC. It's now 7pm, and with a full day of rain and cool temps, I really didn't expect to see quiet conditions and nice E-Skip openings.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Bands not too good today...

I made several contacts on 10m & 20m today, though nothing that was very long haul. European Russia was booming in on 20m for a while this afternoon, and the bands went short and PR was dominating 10m. Oh well, it was still a lot of fun making contacts around the US and Europe!

Monday, May 10, 2010

10m conditions improving...

10m open to Hawaii from NC at 10:45pm! Propogation is getting steadily better on the upper bands as the sunspot cycle improves. C'mon sunspots!

UPDATE...
Just worked FO4BM in French Polynesia again on 10m at 28.4198 mc, which is 6000 miles from my location. Yep, things are looking up!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

HV0A QRV 20m

HV0A in the Vatican on 14.1794 qsx +5-10 kc, nice sigs into NC today. I worked him QSX +8.6kc .

RTTY Volta Underway...

The RTTY sub-bands are filled with activity this weekend, with the RTTY Volta contest. It's a great time to make RTTY contacts and pick up some new countries, even if you're not a contester. The exchange is simple... RST-your contact#-your CQ zone...

Example: If I were working you and you were my 30th contact in the event, my exchange with you would be: 599-030-05 (I'm in CQ zone 5). You can find your CQ zone at: http://www.mapability.com/ei8ic/maps/cqzone.php . You can also learn more about this event at: http://www.contestvolta.com/

Have fun!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

7x9 ??????

Holy smokes.... I just heard a person on 28.400 giving out 7x9 reports. Hahahahahaha....This is too funny. When did signal reports move beyond 5 for readability? They must have been REALLY STRONG, c'mon.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

10m open again tonight...

Working a 10-10 net right now out of Tx. Lots of big sigs coming from TX tonight! 28.488 is the freq for this net.

UPDATE... WOW!!! Just worked Tazmania & Australia on 28.425 (VK7ZE & VK4LS) at 10pm local tonight. 10m is finally playing good!

Monday, May 3, 2010

FO4BM on 10m!

FO4BM on MOOREA Island in French Polnesia was just worked on 28.470 from NC, almost 6000 miles! 10 meters is finally waking up!

10m Open on Monday night...

Beautiful sigs coming from Mexico and most southern and central U.S. states.

Screaming band opening on 6m!

Just worked into Daytona Beach Fla EL99 from FM05 at 6:30pm. Lots of sigs on 6, get on the air!

VHF Hot on East Coast!

I don't know what's going on with these strong openings, but I'm glad to see them! 2m SSB is running strong again this morning from Va to Fla on the east coast. Get'm while you can!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

10m Opening...

10 meters is now open onSunday night around 9pm...weird!

2M WIDE Open on east coast!

Holy smokes...look at the VHF propogation map at http://www.mountainlake.k12.mn.us/ham/aprs/path.cgi?map=na ...the whole east coast of the US is red hot for 2m ssb action!