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 on: Today at 01:33:04 PM 
Started by KW4UP - Last post by K6AER
I hear horror stories from every amateur using all types of antennas from stacked quad mono banders to simple Hexbeams. I still climb towers for a side line living.  Having used all the antennas available, I still prefer the StepperIR for the simple elegance and operational diversity. I have been a ham for over 55 years and remember beams made of 2X4's on wooden towers. A sky full of corroding aluminum is not maintenance free. I have no problem collecting $85 per hour for antenna work. Keep buying those complicated antenna designs. I need a new amplifier.

 on: Today at 01:32:54 PM 
Started by W8KFJ - Last post by AC7CW
Nostalgia is so overrated! I operated a Flex 3000 recently. I was listening to some cw when the guy at the station 6 feet away from me, using an antenna on the same roof, keyed up 400 watts ssb. I was stunned as the sound in the phones changed, everything changed except for the cw! It was perfectly readable whether the other rig was key up or down. I'm not used to being treated that well by a radio. I've been abused by radios across the whole spectrum of tech from regen to triple conversion, I always thought that maybe they just didn't like me.

I'm finishing up a refurb job on a HQ-129-X. All the time I'm adjusting the tuning at the low and high ends of each band I'm thinking: boy, this would be a lot better in SDR, let some code jockey do all this work just once and never have to calibrate anything, yeah!! I used to suffer from Ham Radio Nostalgia Syndrome bigtime, I had a whole shed full of tube rigs stolen a few years ago, after operating the Flex I now feel like I was done a favor.

 on: Today at 01:31:53 PM 
Started by W8KFJ - Last post by K6BRN
Hi Dave:

SDR technology - its really a misnomer for Digital Signal Processing technology - exploded decades ago and made its way into commercial communications, SatCom equipment, audio gear and is of course present in every digital television now on the market

What has changed is price and the price vs. volume curve.  The price for DSP technology, especially in the low volumes present in the amateur community, has been high until just recently.  Amateur DSP has either been adapted from pre-existing high volume commercial products intended for other applications, like the many USB dongles on the market, or has been relatively expensive, like the Flex Radio products.  The former have many performance compromises and the latter many learning curve caused issues, ironed out over time, as their design teams learned that not all DSP algorithms found in texts or on line are  workable exactly as described (very few are).  The best are proprietary and so a lot of discovery work took place and still is at all of the amateur DSP radio providers.

Just like any analog radio,, there will be (and are) very good and very poor DSP based designs, and every quality in between.  I've seen plenty of junk over  my last thirty years in this field, and some amazingly wonderful products, too.  Just as with the leap from passively tuned receivers to regenerative, then to heterodyne analog radios, users will discover the differences, adapt to them and benefit.  But don't assume that because a product is a "Software Defined Radio" that it is superior.  We are at a price/performance cross-over point now, in amateur radio, and quality is all over the place for the reasons I mentioned above.  Time to shop carefully.

The Icom IC-7300 seems to be at the exact crossover point - acceptable price, good performance and user interface - a first and really good effort by a respected, traditional radio company. And its changing expectations across the board.   But the novelty is wearing off now (a number are appearing on the used market) and it will be interesting to see what the next one looks like and brings to the table.  Probably not too soon.  Low volumes in the amateur market practically guarantee long product development times and life cycles.  So there will be many good things to come, in time.  And a few flops.

Brian - K6BRN

 on: Today at 01:30:45 PM 
Started by DL8OV - Last post by HAMFESTS
 Excellent report. Thank you!


 on: Today at 01:11:39 PM 
Started by KC0W - Last post by KC0W

 It will be the Solomon Islands from October 25 - November 26 and NOT Fiji.............Sorry for the mistake. Lot's of stuff on my mind as of late.  Smiley


 on: Today at 01:04:44 PM 
Started by W8KFJ - Last post by W3PH
A hundred years ago the superheterodyne receiver made its debut.  It was a game changer!  For a few years, those brave forward-thinking manufacturers touted the superhet design in their ads. In a few more years that was no longer necessary, since all those making the more primitive designs were now gone.

I agree that SDR as a game-changer is the modern equivalent of the superhet.  I think in a few years almost all ham gear will be SDR-based - the cost & performance advantages are clear.  I do wonder what's going to happen to American manufacturers now that the Japanese are in the game - Icom's worldwide distribution and economies of scale are going to make it tough for lower-volume companies to compete.  The IC-7300 has some design compromises, but it's very inexpensive considering what it does.  I wouldn't want to be competing with Icom right now.

This reminds me of what happened in the '70s when Hallicrafters, Hammarlund, Collins, National, etc. sold out/shut down and quit producing ham gear because they couldn't compete with the Japanese. 

I think two things are going to happen:  ham gear is going to overwhelmingly go SDR, and times are going to be tough for Elecraft & Flex.  Maybe they've seen this coming & have some lower price/high performance SDR gear in the pipeline - I hope so.

 on: Today at 12:57:29 PM 
Started by W4KYR - Last post by W4KYR
Are there any AREDN networks, groups or clubs in the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Areas?

Are there any hams, clubs or organizations who are active with AREDN in the Cincinnati or Northern Kentucky areas? Are there any nodes/networks nearby? Anyone involved with AREDN?

For those unfamiliar with AREDN. It stands for the "Amateur Radio Emergency Data Network".

From what I read so far, and from watching YouTube videos on the subject. AREDN is different than the HSMM-MESH BBHN networks. Although the concept seems the same. HSMM-MESH is older (2001 ?) and they use primarily Linksys routers flashed with special firmware for use on the Part 97 amateur radio channels.

The HSMM-MESH Linksys routers have to be externally mounted in an optional box to an optional antenna (dish or omni) outside to get any appreciable distance. The flashed Linksys routers HSMM-MESH are limited to 79 milliwatts.

AREDN seems newer (2014) and uses Ubiquity (UBNT) routers that are flashed with special firmware for use on the Part 97 amateur radio channels. Their outdoor equipment routers are really self contained routers already connected and built into an weatherproof antenna (dish or omni) outside. They are usually connected with a CAT 5 cable up a pole. The CAT 5 also supplies the power via POE (as I understand it). Ubiquiti can power up to 600 milliwatts or more.

Several questions....

What equipment are YOU using?

What do you think will happen with AREDN or HSMM-Mesh equipment and networks with the FCC proposals on locking down routers in the future?

Should I get some outdoor Ubiquity routers now before the FCC clamps down?

Was it worth the cost of setting up an ARDEN network in your area?

Are they any ARDEN networks are there within the Cincinnati/Northern KY area?

Where are they and how many?

Do you think AREDN is better from an Ecomm standpoint, or equal to HSMM-MESH?

What outdoor equipment would YOU recommend for starting out with AREDN? What is the least expensive outdoor setup?

I asked about HSMM-MESH activity in the Cincinnati/Northern KY area in another post, I got 192 views and no answers. Hopefully I will have better luck with AREDN questions.

Thanks in advance

 on: Today at 12:54:17 PM 
Started by KB3Z - Last post by KK4OBI

It is not clear from the ZeroFive website or web search what the 33ft 10-10m vertical is. The picture shows a simple vertical radiator, no top hat, with a ladderline feed.

I wonder if the "80m counterpoise" you mention is actually the 450 ohm ladderline connected to what may be an off center fed (OCF) vertical dipole.  If so, that line needs be as close to perpendicular to the antenna as possible so it does not screw up the antenna radiation field.  Sloping should be avoided if possible.

If what you have does not look like the picture and the "counterpoise" is actually part of elevated ground plane radials, that is entirely different.  You might want to read up on elevated radials at this link:

From comments on the web, Tom (the ZeroFive owner?) is approachable and eager to help.  Have you called him?

73's Dick

 on: Today at 12:29:52 PM 
Started by KD5NLV - Last post by N5PZJ

Something about that situation doesn't sound right.
Agree. It doesn't make sense. 
I am now very curious as to who these alleged VC's are.  If I lived in that state, I would definitely want to know -- just to know whom to avoid, or be cautious with, at least for the time being.

Imagine if you sent an email requesting assistance to YOUR section's VC, only to be told "Sorry, I'm representing the other party, but thanks for the information" in one form or another.  Not cool.

Sounds like a serious conflict of interest. I have to agree with your posts, those attorneys have no business as VCs and should steer clear of acting as such due to the Bar Rules on Conflict of Interest.   To discuss any case without disclosure is a serious violation of the Ethical Code and can be a disciplinary case very easily.

 on: Today at 12:23:11 PM 
Started by W6EM - Last post by K6CPO
I would not hold my breath on Ireland and Northern Ireland ever becoming one with out an invasion and occupation. That would be a gory mess.

Not too long ago I do remember that there was a Welsh independence movement.

Also, there is now in the U.S., a very strong and quite possibly successful Texas independence movement. Won't be on this election (November 2016) but quite possibly the next major state election.

Now wouldn't that be a hoot?



If that happens, I would hope that we wouldn't repeat the mistakes of the civil war.  My feeling is that if Texas votes to go, let 'em...

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