Author Archive


w00t!   I just made my first JT65 contact.

What’s JT65 you ask?   It’s a slow-speed, very reliable digital mode.   The best place to start learning about it is on K1JT’s page, since K1JT created it.

Here’s a summary of my setup:


I did run into a few interesting glitches.   At first, I thought I was splattering all over by over-driving my radio.   I was monitoring with another Signalink, and the waterfall looked bad.   When I was checking the power output on my transmitting radio, it looked like I wasn’t sending out anything.   It turned out that with a radio in close proximity it didn’t matter, but for practical purposes, I wasn’t sending out any signal.  After the adjustments, 4W of output power!

What were the adjustments:  I ended up with the Tx setting on my Signalink at about the 3 o’clock position.   On the radio, I set the Dig Mic at 92 [menu #25] and PSK31-U dig mode [menu #26].   At that point, my FT-817ND started showing actual power output.   Be sure to plug in the SignaLink to the Raspberry Pi before starting the WSJT-X software.   Follow the instructions in the WSJT-X manual for configuration, including selecting the sound card.




Category: Digital  Comments off

Radio Jove observations

The charts below graph signals acquired from my Radio Jove receiver, digitized with a Webtronics digitizer and acquired with the Earthworm seismology software suite. The differences in the charts are based on the integration circuits between the receiver and the digitizer. Charts are updated every 5-10 minutes.

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Geek Dad! Raspberry Pi for Xmas


Geek Dad moment….  Kona, KF7PLA, received a Raspberry Pi computer and plenty of other geek toys this holiday.   We finally got around to the Rasberry Pi setup today…img-1 img-2 img-3 img-4 img-5 img-6 img-7 img-8 img-9 img-10 img-11Unfortunately, we followed the initial setup with an hour of computer-induced frustration.  For some reason, the Pi keeps shutting down.   Time to experience the “fun” of debugging computer systems…

Either way, it’s a lot of fun introducing my daughter to being a geek.



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Kids and Amateur Radio

If you’ve looked at the photo albums on my site, you’ve seen that my daughter is also licensed. For those of you hams out there that want to get your kid(s) interested in Amateur Radio, here’s my experience and advice.

When I first started in on Amateur Radio with my daughter, she was probably around 6 or 7. I’d recently upgraded to my Extra class license and wanted to share the fun. I also wanted to get back into CW (morse code) and needed someone to practice with. We started by looking at my Technician class license manual–just flipping through it and seeing what was in there. Procedures and FCC rules didn’t really excite her, but looking at the diagrams of the ionosphere and talking about bouncing a signal around the planet definitely did. Off and on, we talked about radio. It wasn’t until she was 8 that things really took off. She had become an avid reader, which greatly simplified studying. I also found that if I had her read out loud from the Technician manual, her ready and vocabulary improved.
Then we started the practice exams. The online exams from AA9PW were invaluable.   To keep her interested and not overwhelmed we limited study time to no more than an hour per day (lots of days with out studying at all).   After about three months and routine passing scores, she seemed ready for the Technician License exam.   We attended one of the local exam sessions.  Unfortunately, she didn’t pass on her first attempt.   The VE’s were awesome, though.   They gave her a bit of time to collect herself and then gave her another shot.   BINGO!   Passed on the second attempt!     I think she was the youngest person in the exam room that night, so you can imagine how proud I was.


Some things we learned along the way:

  • Don’t rush it.   For a new, young ham, it might take longer to comprehend the material they’re reading–even if they can read it fluently.   I found what worked best was to not just ask questions from the approved question pool, but to ask open-ended, leading questions to see if she understood what she had read.
  • Nothing is better than seeing a radio and seeing it used.   How does the antenna connect?   How do you set the frequency?
  • When talking about antennas, build one.   A half-wave dipole for 2m is pretty different from one for 10m and really different for an antenna on 160m.    Seeing the physical side makes the mathematics “click.”
  • Make it fun.   I tried to help her practice phonetics by using them when spelling words.   It didn’t work quite as well as I’d hoped, but it was a start.   Now, whenever she runs into phonetics, she hurries to point them out to me (she found a listing of the phonetic alphabet in one of her books recently).
  • Amateur radio can be a great way to tie other subjects together.   Hams use geography, math, reading, writing and physical science all the time.   What a great way to tie all of those subjects taught in school together!


After her license was processed, we arranged to do a show-and-tell demonstration at her school.   A friend of mine, W7YMG helped us out there.   A simple QSO via a local 2m repeater to show how we could communicate effectively and proper radio procedures.   It was a blast and several of the kids in her class are now talking about becoming hams, too.


Next up, we’re working on morse code and using the 15m QRP transceivers we built.   More about learning CW later…



Category: mfj9315  Comments off

FD 2011

Category: Field Day 2011  Comments off

15m cw kits

KF7PLA and I (KB0LQJ) recently built some MFJ 9315 15m cw cub transceiver kits.   I have to say, these were quite easy to build. 3 hours from start to finish per transceiver (including testing & alignment).

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Field Day 2011–preparation



Getting ready for Field Day.   Built a dipole for operating 6m earlier today.   I need to trim my 10m dipole for tuning.   I think the batteries are ready and I’ve some solar panels for charging.    Lots to do and then, if all goes according to plan, KF7PLA and I will be operating 1E from the driveway starting tomorrow afternoon.  🙂



Category: Field Day 2011  Comments off

Aftershock deployment test (U2)


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