Saturday, July 2, 2011

KH6JRM's Amateur Radio Blog

The Fourth of July is fast upon us--a time of backyard barbeques, a little too much beer, good fellowship, and the celebration of our nation's independence.  The radio station staff is engaged fully in the weekend activities.  There are several parades, rodeos, community block parties, and county celebrations to keep all of us broadcast types busy.   The weather looks promising with only a few morning and evening showers to dampen the enthusiasm.  The holiday will give the news staff (only yours truly) a chance to get out of the normal "doom and gloom" news cycle and have some fun with the local community.  The weekend will provide a necessary boost to my spirits.  There is only so much negative news I can take.  So, I'll take in the antique car show, cover a few parades, and eat too many hot dogs....it's tradition.  On Tuesday, I'll increase the pace of my physical fitness program to burn off those calories accumulated over the past few days.  I'm sure my better half will insist we add another mile or two to our usual daily walk of 3-4 miles.  I know she's right.  She can eat anything and doesn't seem to add an ounce.  I, on the other hand, will gain a pound just by looking at a sugar doughnut.  Life isn't fair.  So, once the holiday is over, it's back to the daily exercise routine.

I should have most of Sunday off, an ideal time to do the usual household errands of shopping, dumping the garbage, and minor repairs to the homestead.  I've dedicated a few hours to amateur radio during the holiday weekend, most likely involved in a few ragchews and other casual operating.  There are several contests in the mix, too.  If the bands get too crowded, I'll be building a few antennas for portable use.

My homebrewed inverted "vee" is working well.  I'll be using this easily erected skyhook until I can rework my haphazard radial system under the old vertical near the corner of my lot.  The under the house 40-meter loop is a good reserve antenna--it does an excellent job on the local state nets.  As a NVIS antenna, it does well and is very quiet.  Most of the time the loop is attached to my old Hallicrafter SX-62A receiver.  That old rig sounds pretty good through a decent speaker...nothing like a pair of 6V6 tubes for good audio.

Another project in the works is the installation of an HF rig in the Honda Odyssey van.  That job will take some thought.  For 2-meter work, I use a 18" mag mounted whip with coax slipped through a side window to a Kenwood HT near the driver's seat.  The arrangement is fairly crude, but it works and is easily removed when I leave the van.  The HF set up will require more planning.  Antenna size and placement will be a major hurdle.  Most likely, I'll refer to some of the excellent antenna suggestions from Alan, K0BG.  He has a lot of experience in mobile installations and seems willing to share his knowledge with those of us who are technically challenged (that includes me).  Alan has an excellent web site.

So, I have enough projects to keep me busy for a few weeks.  Between my job at the radio station and my duties at home, I have a full life.  Things could be a lot better, of course.  I keep saving for the Elecraft K3 and for the materials needed for a 40-meter rhombic.  The rig is possible, but the rhombic will have to wait 'til the XYL and I move to a larger lot.  So many attractions, so little time.  At least I'm not bored.  One must keep active, mentally and physically.  As for the world situation, there's not much I can do about that--there have always been fools driven by power, greed, and malicious intent since time began.  No culture has been exempt from human frailty.  About the only thing I can do these days is to act responsibly, stay out of debt (easier said than done), and treat others with respect.  I try to avoid quarrelsome persons and those bent on making life unpleasant for everyone else.  This task is fairly easy on the amateur radio bands--just turn the dial.  In real life, the job is more complicated.  I've learned to handle crank telephone calls and various personalities encountered in the performance of my news duties.  One of these days, I'll recount some of my more interesting encounters with those who feel they are the universe's gift to humanity.  All told, I'd rather be doing radio (broadcasting and amateur) than matching wits with the clueless.

Enough soapbox philosophy for now....I know--if I'm so smart, what am I doing in the radio business?  Have a good, safe holiday.  Aloha es 73 de KH6JRM.