Wednesday, November 18, 2020

My Own Ham Radio Repeater



Over the last several years, I've been learning about ham radio repeaters. I started learning from Jack Norris W4TWX, Terry Jones W4TL, Ron Olexa KA3JIJ and a few others.  I starting getting involved in the maintenance of the local machines and have helped troubleshoot and deploy a few here and there.  But I've always wanted to own my very own repeater.  Nothing too fancy.  A simple FM VHF repeater with a decent coverage located in Habersham County.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Nice 2m Contacts With a Low Vertical Antenna


When I moved to the new QTH, I just stood up my Diamond X200 2m/70cm antenna on the fence in the back yard. It works well enough for most FM repeaters I use, but I have not had high expectations for SSB, FT8, or FM simplex.  

While working from home, I noticed my 2m radio picking up distant repeaters collocated on the same frequencies as our local ones. I started playing around with 2m FT8 and made several good contacts including WA4CQG in Auburn, AL (176 miles), WN4WDE in Piedmont, AL (126 miles), WB4HIE in Glen Alpine, NC (124 miles), and WB4JPG in Dothan, AL (255 miles)!

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

New QTH in EM84fm

 


About 4 years ago, my wife and I bought a house in EM84fn.  It was a bit of a fixer upper.  We worked on it diligently and decided to sell it due to the COVID-19 driven market conditions and the lower interest rates.  Pictured above is our new home in EM84fm. 

Monday, September 14, 2020

Scaling Down the HF Station

 


Several years back, I purchased a Yaesu FTDX1200.  Later, I was able to acquire a Yaesu Quadra System (1000w solid-state amp) and a Mosley triband yagi.  For a couple years, I was running my dream station!  I loved the big look of the FTDX1200.  I had a custom 3 speaker external audio setup on the rig, a SignaLink, and a Heil PR-781.  I devoted the whole room to being a dedicated Ham Shack!  

At some point, life got busy.  I was not very interested in playing on HF as much and when I did it just seemed too easy (yet cumbersome to deal with all the wires).  Then, my wife and I started planning to move.  The housing market being as it was meant we got a good offer quickly and with a quick closing date.  The new place is in a subdivision with the dreaded HOA.  

Instead of being worried or upset, I see this as an opportunity.  I got rid of the tower and yagi, the Quadra System, Heil mic and boom arm, and traded the FTDX1200 for an ICOM IC-7300.  I've been very impressed with the IC-9700 and since the perfect match to that rig is the 7300, I decided that would be a simpler and cleaner way to go.  When we get moved, I'll experiment with antennas and I'm planning a home office with radios rather than a dedicated ham shack.  I'm just using the 9700 and 7300 with their stock mics, and internal speakers.  The funny part is...so far, I'm loving it.  I've had just as much fun and am looking forward to the challenge of figuring out the antenna(s) I'm going to need at the new house.

73 fer now de W4LSG sk

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

IC-9700 Coming Soon to My Shack

ICOM IC-9700


I've had an interest for a while in VHF SSB and FT8.  I also wanted a more robust radio for my regular FM repeater use.  Using dual band mobiles in the shack just started to feel like a compromise.  Or maybe I just want to sound like I can justify a new rig, in case the XYL is reading this!

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Great 10m Opening to South Pacific - 3D2AG, FO5QB, VK4MA

W4LSG 10m DX


I always like to find opportunities to work something unusual.  I like to try to work all bands and modes.  As such, I look for opportunities to make contacts on 10m and 6m whenever they happen to be open.  I've noticed a few openings on these bands lately.  I recently caught a 10m opening with great conditions into South America.  I worked Brazil, Argentina, and Chile several times before the band closed and went back to silence.  A few years ago I made a couple 10m contacts in Europe which stunned be given the lack of sunspot activity.  Given that I have not been an active ham during a peak sunspot time, I think I've made some good contacts on the 6m and 10m.

Monday, April 13, 2020

2020 Georgia QSO Party - W4LSG



I decided on a whim that since the COVID-19 scare came up and we have been staying at home as much as possible that it might be worth trying to get on the air and represent my state during the 2020 Georgia QSO party from my QTH.  I had a few things to do so I knew I would not be able to work the event from start time to end time, but I thought it could be a fun thing to do anyway. 

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