Ted’s essays

The Amateur’s Code

An anonymous gift through the Darby Library for me was a binder containing PREPAREDNESS COMMUNICATIONS written by David Pruett / KF7ETX. It covers Ham radios, non-Ham optons, communications plans, study and other resources. Some new, some refresher, all well organized. I was particularly taken with this cultural bit written by a licensed amateur radio operator ninety years ago. Modern hams would do well to pay attention. While much has changed, the desirable personal attributes have not. I typed it in as written. – Ted – P.S. The photo is from my archives. I have no idea who it is, but doubt it is Paul Segal. It simply represents what amateur radio stations used to look like. The Amateur’s Code by […]

letter to radio friends

Yeah, I’m kind-of busy like a one-armed-paper-hanger, but not THAT busy that I don’t intermittently attempt to get the code plug built into my (our) TYT VHF/UHFradios.  My latest attempt at using technology to pull an existing one out of another brand, make, model radio has not yet born fruit.  My repeated requests for a current list of repeaters, frequencies and PLs have also produced nothing… other than a curt “All Wrong” response to the old list I do have and submitted ‘for corrections’. The pair of Bitterroot repeater gods is in the middle of taking several repeaters down and installing new or reconfigured hardware. THAT changes the programming and their list. SO they don’t want to bother with a […]

Grubsteak

Also known as Downing Mountain, or the 146.720 North Repeater, this site presents extreme challenges to the engineers keeping it alive for amateur radio users. I put together a presentation for the local ham club, but the projection format washed out my drawings making them unusable for the back half of the room. I put them here for anyone who wants to see a pictoral representation of the challenges our tech team is dealing with. Paul’s White Paper covers the same turf from the technical side. Read it in .pdf form here: 72 repeater analysis Their relationship is that I used the data and analysis from his white paper to build my slides. My pictures provide the visuals while his […]

2-meter directional antenna for ten bucks

Two way radios, and particularly the little 5-watt Handheld Transceivers (also known as HTs or walkie-talkies) put their little bit of power in every direction. Yet we sometimes know exactly what direction we want to transmit and would prefer all the power go that way. A century ago two Japanese scholars created an antenna design to do exactly that. We call the design by one of their names, Yagi, but it seems the other, Uda, was the real inventor. Such is history. Following 100-years’-worth of radio technician footsteps, I have designed a simple hardware-store Yagi antenna to focus 147 MHz signals in a primary direction. I used some heavy copper grounding wire and a 4-foot piece of PVC pipe, […]

upcoming amateur radio class

My favorite radio instructor is presenting a class leading to the second, middle level FCC amateur radio operations license. Eric brings comprehensive knowledge, empathy, and energy to the classroom. A fine set of qualifications for anyone who wants to learn the subject. If you have your Technician license, Eric will lead you to successfully cresting the next hurdle into the world of short, medium and long range radio communications. If you do not yet have any amateur radio license, grab both the technician and general books and learn from him while you study up for the first … and quite possibly pass them both by the end of class. – Ted – In case you wish to print it out, […]

K9GT

Amateur radio call signs, also known as station identification, are issued by the FCC to all amateur radio stations much like commercial broadcasters. There is a specialized protocol and pattern for the stations. The first license issued to an amateur has two alpha characters, their region number 0 through 9 followed by another three alphas. They come out sequentially as each new license is issued. Once licensed, operators can submit requests for a call sign change (aka: vanity call sign). The pattern is specific which limits creativity as well as selection. Achieving the highest license level (Amateur Extra) allows for a shorter call sign though still very specific and limited in number/letter pattern. In honor of getting there, I submitted […]

Jungle Antenna Building Workshop

July 6, 2019 – Darby, Montana Six of us came to my Bunkhouse Road workshop from SE Darby hills, Hamilton and Alberton canyons – Technicians, Generals, Amateur Extras Some white-board work explaining the math in metric and inches Our calculations were primarily done in metric (Ted’s slide rule prefers it) 300,000,000 meters per second / 147,000,000 Hz = 2.04 meters = 204 cm a quarter wave antenna will be about 50 cm long, as will each radial Measurements were done with metric + inch tape measure Hardware: dual binding post to BNC connector BNC to SO-239 Adapter choices of light and heavy electric fence wire electric fence insulators home-made pvc pipe insulators Poly-pipe Tees and drip irrigation pipe for radial […]

welcome New Hams

The After Action Report from the Volunteer Examiner session of May 25, 2019 in Hamilton Montana: “We had a big test session last Saturday. Looks like our team proctored 19 candidates. The final tally: 8 new Techs 7 new Generals 1 new Extra” The last Technician license issued Thursday for Region 7: KJ7GXA With average issues running around 10/day, the graduates’ licenses will be sequentially KJ7GX[B-Z] , or KJ7GY[A-Z]. Poring over yesterday’s list I found two ISSUED General class licenses. The information I passed on about those coming from a different call sign pool was apparently incorrect. I was also misinformed about available dates on vanity call signs. One I had my eye on that was expected to be available […]

antennas and cables

I do not recommend you begin connecting your radio to a remote antenna by building your own antenna OR cable. It is not as simple as it looks. Your first remote antenna and cable should be purchased from a reputable engineering firm. Here are three choices: Ham Radio Outlet DX Engineering cables DX Engineering vhf uhf antennas Doing it like that will get you a good solid start where setting up and operating your radio gear are the primary variables. IF you decide to immerse yourself into antenna and/or cable building you will have a pro-built setup for comparison and example. There are nearly unlimited resources in print and on the Internet. DuckDuckGo search for whatever you want – books, […]

emergency communication

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, once again I address the subject of what do you do when your phones and Internet stop working? Wonder and Nothing useful Are the two answers most people will default to. I know I am unusual in planning and preparing for such a scenario. I not only think of ME and mine, but want others to have value in their radios as well. So I produce an attractive, sturdy laminated card that they just might keep with their two-way radio enabling them to find value in it when no other means of mid-range communication is available. I hereby introduce GEN III of my cards. I will distribute as widely as […]

personal Victory!

I determined to UP MY GAME in amateur radio knowledge this year. My primary methodology was to work towards passing the final hurdle in amateur radio to earn my Amateur Extra ticket. It demands a wide range of knowledge covering the spectrum of radio construction, operation and transmission. Two unanticipated things I learned from this effort were: 1) I really don’t want to know how radios are constructed… though much of that is required to pass the exam. 2) Simultaneously teaching a class of newcomers to pass their Technician level exams while studying to pass the third and final level was not helpful. Other lessons along the way. The ARRL study manuals are worth every penny and every hour […]

emergency comms plan

BEARS, that is the Bitterroot Emergency Amateur Radio Services, works towards having viable communication resources in place when our neighborhood most needs it. A radio and operator are useless without another radio and operator at the other end. Two-way radio is by definition a sending and receiving operation. The more operators on the network, the better our information is and the wider we can spread it. Likely more than 99% USofA adults ASSUME their phones and wi-fi devices will never fail them. In real-life emergencies, they are nearly always shocked and hopeless because those systems do fail. I print, laminate and distribute 4″ x 5″ cards with information enabling unused radios in the hands of unpracticed operators to receive and […]