Ted’s essays

taking a time out

I am cutting back on my webpost side to regain more of my other Renaissance Man aspects. I am master of four websites. I am still wrestling with cutting back on the out-of-pocket financial costs without resolution, but certainly can pare down the time I have been donating to this slice of my life without a solution to the expense question. Woodwork, metalwork, strengthening my 2-way comms, building physical things, making music, reading, two-wheel-riding, wrenching, drawing, artistic painting and more have been calling to me – and I have answered their calls less than I want. Most of the posting, writing, research and creating I do will be at Bitterroot Bugle .com This site will drop down my priority […]

Guerrilla’s Guide To 2-Way Radio

For my heading, I purposefully modified NC Scout’s bestselling book title that I am discussing in this post. The Guerrilla’s Guide To The Baofeng Radio goes far beyond the make/model amateur radio he recommends in it. I and a fellow active licensed radio operator (HAM) took a local class from him a few years ago. It was extremely informative and valuable. I expect this book to have much of what we learned in that class, and quite a bit more packed into it. I have ordered my own copy, so this is a recommendation in advance of being able to review it, based on what I know of the author and of the subject matter. He created and operates Brushbeater […]

Light Up The Firehalls – May 2022

For several months now the Corvallis American Legion amateur radio club subsection has been operating field exercises from various volunteer fire department firehalls throughout our county – the area we fondly call “The Bitterroot”. Our long-term goal for this program is for KG7SPL to be a backup communication service for the volunteer fire departments of Ravalli County. The VFDs are the core of emergency response in The Bitterroot. They are located in every area, have agreed-upon coverage maps and can muster 20 or more active, skilled volunteers in a matter of minutes. Our route to providing comms backup involves a monthly exercises of our equipment and operators from the VFD stations. We go live at 1300 hrs local (1:00 […]

The Vaccine is The Show – all else is distraction or preparatory

This is the most important video you will ever watch in your life. Doctor Carrie Madej and Richie from Boston know full well the risks they take producing and publishing this information, but know it would be much worse for them and us if they do not. These two epitomize Fearless and Knowledge; devote themselves and their lives to helping others understand The Big Picture. What do these troubling things we are witnessing today all have in common? What is the goal? What is the end game? Please give this video 10 minutes – I promise you will want to watch to the end – and share in every way you can. Both Carrie and Richie are fully aware of […]

plumber’s 10-meter ham radio antenna

One avenue for local two-way radio communication is through the use of the 10-meter frequencies. I have not had a decent antenna for joining the conversation that is exercised most Wednesday evenings at 1915 hours on 28.350 MHz. For visualization purposes, CB radios are just slightly longer, around 11 meters – that is, very similar in antenna requirements – a fairly tall antenna like the spring-mounted whips you sometimes see on pickup trucks. I have had an antenna that transmits and receives ten meter okay, but it is in my little canyon (problem one) and is a horizontal while the rest of the local operators are using verticals (problem two). So I launched a project to design, build and […]

solar controller upgrade

The beast of a solar panel was too much for the economy controllers I tried. As I mentioned in my previous article about it, solar power upgrade, I put an antique ammeter on the incoming power that I could know how much was hitting the controller and a blade switch in the line so I could cut off the incoming juice when it became too much. This was not a system I could just leave on its own. If I was ever going to be able to ignore it, and if I wanted to absorb maximum power from the sun on this system I needed to upgrade the controller. When my refund from the smoked controller arrived I did […]

solar power upgrade

When I set up my ham radio shack six years ago, I chose to go solar-powered 12-volt because amateur radio needs to work regardless of the grid up or grid down situation. Last year I upgraded to second and third deep-cycle lead-acid batteries. I added other uses to the system and last winter was frequently running low on stored energy. So I upgraded the panel and controller to modern, more powerful ones. The new panel overwhelmed the new controller. It should not have according to the specs on both, but there it was. Controller said, “Too much juice”. Readily admitting to my ignorance, I contacted a company with a long history of servicing the off-grid community and ordered a […]

Ted Dunlap, STEE

You have-to have initials after your name to lend credibility to your projects and pronouncements. My latest creation inspired me to append “STEE” to my name. Further explanation will wreck the aura, but I’ll go ahead anyway. It stands for Shade Tree Electrical Engineer… similar to the Shade Tree Mechanic title I earned repeatedly with my auto/truck/motorcycle/tractor repair toolset. Running a ham radio shack requires steady, clean 12-volt electricity. Handheld transceivers, HTs, or walkie-talkies if you prefer, have their own batteries. Cheaper ones use AA or AAA, but most use rechargeables whose chargers plug into standard 120-volt household outlets. Our mobiles and base units all run on 12-volt direct current in our shacks, vehicles or deployed field stations. I […]

two-way radios

can be indispensable in emergencies and other times normal communications tools are not working. For my current amateur radio Technician Class students, I just bought 7 of the make/model I feel gives the best cost/benefit for ham radio operators. The TYT MD-UV390 operates on both the ultra-high-frequencies (UHF) of the FCC’s family radio service (FRS) and general mobile radio service (GMRS), it also transmits and receives on the very high frequencies (VHF) commonly used by hams, public and private agencies for regional communications. Their MD-UV380 is the lower cost version of the same radio without the water-proofing. TYT, also known as Tyterra builds well-reviewed radios in relatively affordable price ranges. The transmitters, receivers, speakers, microphones, displays, controls and antennas all […]

electricity, components & circuits

Chapter 3 in the Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL) Ham Radio License Manual is the most challenging to most students. Remember that out of the 35 questions on your written exam, 26 correct answers is a passing score. You can afford to miss nine, or one out of every four and still earn your Technician’s License. You could miss, or even skip over every component and circuit question without failing your exam. Do not get all balled-up in this one chapter. On the other hand, it is cool, and even useful to understand a bit of this stuff. So let’s try to GET IT, without stress or strain. You likely already found my favorite online exam preparation tool HamStudy.org I […]

wave behavior

Whether it is a stone tossed into a glassy-smooth pond, sound waves coming out of a trombone or electro-magnetic waves enabling radios to communicate, the wave behaviors are direct relatives to the physicist. One such person built a model to demonstrate wave behavior then his employer, Bell Labs, produced a movie of it. I almost called it a video, but those were not yet invented in 1959 when this was produced. Last year I pounded enough correct answers into my head that I passed my Amateur Extra exam. My motivation was that I really wanted to UNDERSTAND radio much better. I did not clear that hurdle on pure expanded knowledge of radio, but I found several tools that helped. […]

why TedDunlap.net went AWOL

I changed my web hosting plan to save a few bucks. It has been a MAN VS MACHINE struggle to get my websites back up and available ever since. Perhaps old brain VS new technology … or patience VS intracacy … or something like that. Machine slapped me around for several days now. My web host encourages the use of a third-party service to prevent malicious players from flooding my website with bogus requests that would bury it and their servers hosting me. Siteground was wonderful, backing up and moving my stuff intact from one server to the less expensive one. They gave me a couple things to do with clear instructions and I was off and running. BUT […]