Ted’s essays

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 […]

Bitterroot Emergency Radio 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 […]

amateur radio www links

I am sharing my favorites with you. This is by no means an exclusive list. Start here. Build your own set. I started to share what I titled them and a description, then decided, “NAH”. Do it yourself. It will be better suited to you that way. Ham Exams Online https://hamstudy.org/ https://hamexam.org/ http://aa9pw.com/ http://arrlexamreview.appspot.com/ https://www.mometrix.com/academy/?s=amateur+radio Ham license information http://www.arrl.org/advanced-call-sign-search http://hamdata.com/fccinfo.html http://hamuniverse.com/hamcallsigns.html https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amateur_radio_licensing_in_the_United_States#Sequentially_assigned_call_signs radio hardware https://www.dxengineering.com/ https://www.hamradio.com/ https://www.radioddity.com/ https://www.smileyantenna.com/category-s/1814.htm http://kv5r.com/ham-radio/2-meter-sleeve-dipole/ https://nsw.wicen.org.au/technical/projects/coaxial-folded-dipole-antenna Operations https://amrron.com/ http://www.arrl.org/home http://www.bandconditions.com/ https://www.eham.net/ http://www.hamqsl.com/solar.html http://hflink.com/propagation/ https://www.scc-ares-races.org/generalinfo/phoneticalphabet.html http://qrznow.com/real-time-band-conditions/ Training https://brushbeater.wordpress.com/ https://www.americanpartisan.org/2018/07/fall-2018-open-enrollment-class-dates-the-american-redoubt-region-and-nc/ https://www.americanpartisan.org/2018/11/writing-a-tactical-soi/ https://brushbeater.wordpress.com/training-courses/

NVIS amateur radio antennas

Unless we are on a mountain peak or Kansas flatlands with line-of-sight views of everyone we want to talk with, there are barriers resisting our two-way communications. With our Very High Frequency (VHF) and Ultra High Frequency (UHF) radios we compensate by installing specialized radio systems (repeaters) on high ground to repeat signals over a much wider area than we can reach from our own radios. These can extend our VHF and UHF ranges to 50 miles or so. Repeaters are both expensive and could be a weak link in emergency comms – that is they may not be working in certain disaster scenarios. Amateurs with General or Amateur Extra class licenses can use their High Frequency (HF) radios to […]

updated ham radio operator class schedule

Welcome to Amateur Radio FCC, licensing, getting your license March 16th, 1000-noon, Darby Library books available from instructor for $30 [$33 for spiral bound] (save $10.45 shipping) Radio and Signals Fundamentals March 23rd, 1000-noon, Darby Library Electricity, Components and Circuits March 30th, 1000-noon, Darby Library Propagation, Antennas and Feed Lines April 6th, 1000-noon, Darby Library Amateur Radio Equipment April 13th, 1000-noon, Darby Library Communicating With Other Hams April 20th, 1000-noon, Darby Library April 27 no class – library unavailable Licensing Regulations May 4th, 1000-noon, Darby Library Operating Regulations May 11th, 1000-noon, Darby Library Safety May 18th, 1000-noon, Darby Library FCC License Test Session – Technician – General – Amateur Extra – May 25th, 9:30-noon, BJ’s Restaurant Stay after testing for […]

popular class

Turnout for the Spring 2019 ham radio class first day was outstanding. Icing on the cake is that a highly-knowledgable, skilled, professional teacher is bringing his young son to every class. I could not ask for a better co-teacher. Sixteen students and two instructors filled the Darby Library meeting room. They came from all over Ravalli County most planning to earn their FCC Technician license, but a few will be testing for the next level, the General class. I’m studying double: their book to insure good mentoring every Saturday plus the Amateur Extra manual so I can take the third and final step up the amateur radio licensing ladder when we all test in May. My drafted co-teacher came from […]