Sunday, 19 June 2016

Another kd1jv rig

After being fortunate to acquire the kd1jv Tri-Bander at last year's Dayton jaunt, seen here with the American Morse paddle riding shotgun...


and seen here being worked on the banks of Lewis and Clark reservoir, SD, I was delighted recently to pick up another little rig designed by Steve Weber, kd1jv.

This one, the five band 'Mountain Topper', is marketed by LNR Precision Inc under the name 'MTR5B'. The rig, which measures only 108 x 80 x 30 mm, is seen here next to my Palm key...


Unfortunately, there's neither a free flat surface (nor any magnetic material) to fix the key on the rig!

The Mountain Topper needs dc power - but the applied voltage must not exceed 12V, or the magic smoke will escape from inside the rig.

I decided to measure the power output from the rig using my Sandford power meter on both 12V and a more conservative 9V supply...


Here are the results...


If you are chasing the very last ounce of output, then some kind of 12V regulator in the lead would be a good idea - but otherwise, a 9V supply would be the safe option.

I haven't really had opportunity to try the rig on air yet (and certainly haven't had the inclination to drag myself up any mountains) but I did just call a single CQ on 40 whilst I had the rig on 9V...


I must get in contact with Colin, m1buu, and the other Mountain Topper specialists to learn how to really use this neat little rig.

...-.- de m0xpd

Monday, 30 May 2016

Dayton Presentation Materials OnLine

Having got back home, I've just posted my materials from FDIM 2016 online - so anybody who missed the show live can 'catch up' ...


The written notes and a low-res copy of my presentation slides are available here.

...-.- de m0xpd

Friday, 27 May 2016

Icelandic Radio Amateurs

I was pleased to be able to meet with the guys of Íslenskir radíóamatörar last evening, who have a neat clubhouse next to the Domestic Airport in Reykjavik.


They allowed me to gave a presentation about some of my activities in homebrewing and operating beacons...


in the comfortable surroundings of what was once a Shell Oil facility...


I wasn't the only overseas visitor - there were some DF hams on their way back from Dayton and Dave, ei9fbb and Col, MM0NDX were on Iceland for an IOTA activation...


Dave gave a great presentation about the S79C DXpedition to Coëtivy Island in the Seychelles after my talk...


Col was on the team for the S79C trip with Dave.

After my talk, we sold the few copies of my book that remained after the North American sector of the trip (and the two 'sample' copies).

Thanks to all members of the IRA, their visitors (especially Dave and Col) and, particularly, to Jon Th. Jonsson, TF3JA, for arranging my visit.

...-.- de m0xpd


Sunday, 22 May 2016

Hamvention 2016

Did a long day at Dayton Hamvention yesterday...


where we had a mix of rain and overcast, exactly as on the Saturday of last year.

Once again, we Brits were represented by the RSGB stand in its familiar location...


Walking around the flea market I was delighted to bump into Kristen, kb3oqv


Kristen is known as Antenna Hair Girl (she's not just standing in front of a tower - it is worked into her hair) and, what's more, it was working as an antenna for the HT she's holding up in the photo!

Best of all, Kristen is a fellow member of Portage County Amateur Radio Service - she came to my talk a few weeks back. Her folks farm Buffalo and (as I can confirm personally) those animals sure taste fine!

Make sure you visit the Dayton Hamvention at least once in your Amateur radio career.

...-.- de m0xpd

Friday, 20 May 2016

FDIM and the WBB

FDIM 2016 is well under way ...



I gave my presentation, "Occam's Scrip", as part of the seminar series yesterday and I seem to have got away with it! (I'll post copies of both the written paper and the slides online when I get back to the UK). I also sold some copies of my new book during the vendors' event last evening.

Yesterday afternoon, delegates had opportunity to participate in what was billed as "The World's Biggest Buildathon" (WBB), organised by FDIM stalwart Rex Harper, w1rex, (of Tuna and QRPme fame).

The WBB was an opportunity for all to make a simple 20m transmitter, distinguished by the fact that no soldering was required.

Rex and his helpers had done a heroic job to put together 300 kits...


which were passed out to the assembled multitudes


and Rex (and some helpers) gave personal assistance to get everybody going with the 'plug in' build.

Here's Rex in action...


Very soon, some working transmitters were assembled - one of the first I spotted was completed by Harold, ke6ti...


As if all the efforts of yesterday weren't heroic enough, Rex is running another 'regular' Buildathon even as I type - I'll go down and take a look at how things are progressing.

Respect and kudos to w1rex - his contributions to FDIM over the years continue to amaze!

...-.- de m0xpd

Update:

Rex has produced a detailed write up of the event - you've gotta see his fleamarket 'chicken shack'!



Author Event

Earlier this week we went back to Saint Marys, OH, to visit with Larry Kramer - owner of Saint Marys Hobby Center. We had first met a year back, when we parked our rental car - by chance - outside the same store on Wednesday, 13th May, 2015 and heard Larry tell the story of the Miami and Erie Canal, which runs through Saint Marys and explains the nearby Great Lake.

It was Larry's infectious enthusiasm for history and his natural gifts as a storyteller which turned my intentions to keep a private journal into the idea to write something more public - so, naturally I wanted to thank Larry and give him a copy of my book...



Larry had already read the library's copy of my book (!) but I wanted him to have his own, personal copy. Larry was even promoting my book on his store front...



The next day, we visited some more of the remains of the canal, particularly in the nearby town of New Bremen, which boasts restored lock in the centre of town and a lock-keeper's cottage, now used as a museum and the offices for the Chamber of Commerce...



Then I was pleased to give a talk about my book at an 'Author Event' at Saint Marys Community Public Library, in which I picked up the theme of the local canal and the importance of waterways to the opening up of the entire US economy - the same story taught me by Larry, repeated in chapter 11 of my book and picked up again as the story was repeated on our journey west last year.

I was fortunate that my talk was attended by a talented reporter from The Daily Standard, Claire Giesige, who gave my talk a really nice write up in the next day's edition...


Thanks to Beth and all the staff at the Library who made the event possible - I had a great time.

...-.- de m0xpd

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Listen Up!

Yesterday we were back on our favourite highway (the one that goes straight to Laramie)...


This time, we were headed out of PA into Ohio...


Then we took the Ohio Turnpike to Portage County and the City of Kent, OH, to meet up with Tom, wb8lcd. Tom and I had met last year at FDIM and we had arranged that - if ever I were in Portage County - I should look in at the Portage County Amateur Radio Service. Yesterday was my chance...

I gave a presentation about audio in amateur radio, which I'd entitled 'Listen Up!'...


On the evidence of last evening's meeting (and on seeing the excellent newsletter, the 'Radiogram') PCARS is a lively, active club, covering the whole breadth of our hobby and reflecting the service which PCARS members pours back into the local community.

It was a pleasure to meet with members and to be able to make my little presentation, which they appeared to enjoy (they neither lynched me or threw anything!)...


In fact, the welcome was so warm that I was elected an Honorary Life Member of PCARS during the meeting - I am proud and delighted to be associated with this fine club. Trouble is, it is going to be rather expensive to get to many meetings (but it is another good motive to attend the Dayton events!).

In addition to the warmth and kindness of all PCARS members and the extraordinary hospitality which Mary, Jennifer and Tom are extending to Deborah and me, I want to say a special thanks to Chuck, w8pt for the personal gift he gave me.

73 from Portage County.
...-.- de m0xpd