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:

You can see the whole project online at:


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:

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:

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: