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Author Topic: Tips and tricks...for newbies?  (Read 29316 times)
K1CJS
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Posts: 5981




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« Reply #15 on: June 03, 2013, 07:02:49 AM »

...Come on people. W0ALE just asked some more experienced people to share little bits that have helped them. It's not that big of a deal. And you wonder why it's so hard to get people to show up to club meetings or go out to activate rare DX? It's because you treat new hams like idiots. Grow up already.

I would, in turn, ask you to realize that without a more specific question being asked, it's hard to share those tips--they would fill up more than many books could hold!  If the gentleman wants tips and tricks he should narrow down the field a little.  A good comparison would be to look at the ARRL Handbook and see what information is in there--and then realize that if everyone offered their tips and tricks to supplement the information that was in that book, that book would grow so large that a set of encyclopedia would possibly be smaller.

Again, I'm not trying to be a wise guy, but realistic.  BTW, as I was typing this a couple of more posts have been added.  They seem to expand on the same thing I just said.  73!
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WB6BYU
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« Reply #16 on: June 03, 2013, 11:54:53 AM »

One of those rubber door stops comes in very handy when someone lets you in
with a key, you put down your first load of equipment and go back for the second,
then find the door closed and locked behind you on your way out.

Hardware stores often sell small suction cups with hooks on them for hanging
decorations or Christmas lights in a window.  I use them to hang antennas on the
inside of a window when I can't get a feedline outside.

Velcro straps are better then tie-wraps for bundling up cables, etc.  We had a
case where the excess DC cable to a rig was neatly bundled with a tie-wrap:
we had to move it but nobody had a knife to cut it.  We did finally get it cut, but
had to leave the cable loose when we were finished because it wasn't reusable.

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K1CJS
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Posts: 5981




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« Reply #17 on: June 04, 2013, 04:05:05 AM »

...Velcro straps are better then tie-wraps for bundling up cables, etc.  We had a
case where the excess DC cable to a rig was neatly bundled with a tie-wrap:
we had to move it but nobody had a knife to cut it.  We did finally get it cut, but
had to leave the cable loose when we were finished because it wasn't reusable.

I think you mean zip ties, not tie wraps, don't you?  The little things used to close bread wrappers that you twist closed--and can untwist to reopen are usually referred to as tie wraps.

I have to agree with you about zip ties, but it's mention (Not being reusable) reminded me of some zip ties that I found that have a tab that is pressed in order to release the tie.  I'm not sure where I saw them, (maybe Mouser) but I thought that they were a very good idea for uses by us hams.  73!
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K1CJS
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Posts: 5981




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« Reply #18 on: June 04, 2013, 04:47:00 AM »

OK, I'll put up a few too, although I still think that a little more specifying, such as remote operation, in the shack, in your mobile, etc. would help a lot.

If you have a camera tripod, consider using it to hold a short mast for your VHF/UHF antenna when you're out in the field.  Simply zip tie or tape the mast to the upright portion of the tripod.  If it's a bit unstable, use a bright color string and tent stakes as guy lines to help hold it upright.  Such a tripod could be used on the roof of a vehicle to give it added height--and keep it out of the way of people around the site.

If you want to have a steadier tripod, look for used DJ or band lighting tripods.  Some of those can be extended to ten feet and are built to stay steady.  Again, bright colored string and tent stakes can be used as guys and anchors.

Buy and keep a selection of adapters for your antenna connectors--and don't forget UHF connectors to F connectors so you can use cable TV coax if there is any available to supplement the antenna cable you bring with you.  You'll never know when you'll need an adapter to complete an antenna/cable connection with someone else's equipment.

Consider using powerpole connectors (or connectors that are the standard in the group you work with) on all your power supplies and rigs.  In addition to making it easier for you to connect your gear, you will be able to use your gear along with somebody elses power supply or vice versa.  In addition, if you have a battery bank that you use for operation, you can charge it on the fly by connecting the battery to the vehicle powerpole connection--with a fuse in the charging line to protect against overcurrent conditions.  You can even make a charging cord specially with the fuse in line for that purpose.

If you make a go box with your gear mounted in it, be sure to include a cigarette lighter socket in the box.  Not only would that serve for a power connection to recharge your HT, you can get a map light on a goose neck and use that for light at your box if you're using it at night or in the dark.  You can even use it to recharge cell phones if needed.  Also remember to include at least one spare powerpole connector in addition to the power connection so you can connect another device or battery if needed.

If you're going to use your vehicle for emcomm work, a good addition to the vehicle trunk (or the rear of the vehicle if a van or SUV) is a cigarette lighter socket and a set of powerpole connectors for use there.  You may never need them--but if they're needed just once, they're worth having.

Want to get cable in through a casement window--but not the bugs that always come in through an open window?  Cut a two by four to length to fit the window width and cut it in half lengthwise after drilling half a dozen 1/2 inch holes through it.  Make the cut through the holes.  Simply put the bottom half down, place the cables in the slots (the half holes) and lay the other half of the two by four on top.  No more crushed coax cables!  Unused holes and the spaces in the holes where the cables are run through can be closed by cut pieces of sponge that would be kept with the two by four.  Close the window (or the screen) on the two by four and you'll have both a closed window/screen and no bugs coming in.  If during colder weather, paper towels stuffed into the gap between the windows will stop drafts--or you can use the foam stripping used for air conditioner installation.  If you want to make it to be used in other sized windows, cut it shorter and use sponge blocks to fill the spaces alongside the wood.

There are many, many more tips and tricks that can be listed--and you can see what I mean by just these few that I listed.  If you get them all together, they would fill several books!  73!

« Last Edit: June 04, 2013, 05:16:22 AM by K1CJS » Logged
WE2F
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Posts: 33




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« Reply #19 on: June 04, 2013, 06:05:04 AM »

This thread got me going...so I wrote out the Top Ten tips and tricks I've learned  on my blog. Feel free to check it out or not.

http://hamnroll.blogspot.com/2013/06/not-so-common-sense-tips-and-tricks-for.html

73
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W0ALE
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Posts: 37




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« Reply #20 on: June 04, 2013, 10:38:29 AM »

Awesome,  thanks.   I was thinking since this was EmComm  that would imply remotely operating.   It looks like that is the direction the thread is heading.   Sorry being new to the whole thing and not having operated in the field yet hasn't given me specifics.

I currently have a Kenwood TH-D72A and a Yaesu FT-2900R.  In hindsight, I should have bought a dual band mobile since the local ARES uses both.   I'm thinking of using this setup and eventually adding a Kenwood TM-D710A.

WMR DC-to-Go Box (w/ Rigrunner 4008 & Super PWRgate PG40S)
Group 24 72AH Gel Cell
Jetstream JTPS35BCMA PS
TG Electronics Super Battery Booster
Mirage BD-35 dual band amp (35w/45w)

Thoughts on that setup?  Looking for something I can use and keep charged at the house but also deploy with.

Thanks!

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W0ALE
Member

Posts: 37




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« Reply #21 on: June 04, 2013, 12:41:09 PM »

If you have a camera tripod, consider using it to hold a short mast for your VHF/UHF antenna when you're out in the field.  Simply zip tie or tape the mast to the upright portion of the tripod.  If it's a bit unstable, use a bright color string and tent stakes as guy lines to help hold it upright.  Such a tripod could be used on the roof of a vehicle to give it added height--and keep it out of the way of people around the site.

I have an Ultimate Support bike stand (for working on bicycles) and I found that my tmastco.com 32-ft telescoping fiberglass mast fits almost perfectly on the piece protruding from the top.  I could also use the clamp part for something else I haven't quite figured out yet.
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K1CJS
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Posts: 5981




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« Reply #22 on: June 04, 2013, 01:46:29 PM »

If you have a camera tripod, consider using it to hold a short mast for your VHF/UHF antenna when you're out in the field.  Simply zip tie or tape the mast to the upright portion of the tripod.  If it's a bit unstable, use a bright color string and tent stakes as guy lines to help hold it upright.  Such a tripod could be used on the roof of a vehicle to give it added height--and keep it out of the way of people around the site.

I have an Ultimate Support bike stand (for working on bicycles) and I found that my tmastco.com 32-ft telescoping fiberglass mast fits almost perfectly on the piece protruding from the top.  I could also use the clamp part for something else I haven't quite figured out yet.

Just remember, when you're working emcomm (yes, I reread and saw that after I posted--sorry) you're looking for portability.  I don't know how big the bike stand is, but if it isn't too big, you're getting the idea, looking to multipurpose what you already have. 
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N6AJR
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Posts: 9913




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« Reply #23 on: June 05, 2013, 01:45:31 PM »

MFJ sells a gizmo  the MFJ 310 which is a gizmo you roll up in a car window, and mount the rubber duck from your HT and gets it outside and above the roof.  you can put a larger antenna on it, and the 7 foot cable reaches  into the car.  good for "moms" car, rental cars and really nice cars.  under 20 bucks.
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W0ALE
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Posts: 37




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« Reply #24 on: June 05, 2013, 01:52:28 PM »

If you have a camera tripod, consider using it to hold a short mast for your VHF/UHF antenna when you're out in the field.  Simply zip tie or tape the mast to the upright portion of the tripod.  If it's a bit unstable, use a bright color string and tent stakes as guy lines to help hold it upright.  Such a tripod could be used on the roof of a vehicle to give it added height--and keep it out of the way of people around the site.

I have an Ultimate Support bike stand (for working on bicycles) and I found that my tmastco.com 32-ft telescoping fiberglass mast fits almost perfectly on the piece protruding from the top.  I could also use the clamp part for something else I haven't quite figured out yet.

Just remember, when you're working emcomm (yes, I reread and saw that after I posted--sorry) you're looking for portability.  I don't know how big the bike stand is, but if it isn't too big, you're getting the idea, looking to multipurpose what you already have. 

Yeah, it folds up pretty compact, but it's real sturdy.  I could hook it on the side of a backpack if I needed to hike in.  I was thinking of one of those hitch mount or ones you drive over with your tire, but I don't know how close I'll be able to park in relation to the operating location. 

How are folks guying their telescoping masts? 
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NA4IT
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Posts: 872


WWW

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« Reply #25 on: June 06, 2013, 04:56:58 AM »

My tip for operating EMCOMM...
Never deploy more than you need.
Assess the situation. How far do you need to communicate? If you can hit a usable repeater with a mag mount on a file cabinet, so be it. If you need HF, deploy it. But don't show up and spend 4 hours putting up everything you have when an HT will do the job.

Some other tips...
Carry a laptop with a software based mapping program that will show lat/lon for a given address.
Carry water and snacks with you.
Know when to GO HOME!
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N0IU
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WWW

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« Reply #26 on: June 06, 2013, 05:03:31 AM »

Bring a black sheet you can put over your head so you can see the screen of your packet laptop in the glaring sun.   But,  I guess that would be common sense....

Cheers.
OR...

Get a large cardboard box and tilt it on its side so the open end is facing you and put your laptop inside the box. Just make sure its wide enough to allow you to type... but that's just common sense!
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K1CJS
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Posts: 5981




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« Reply #27 on: June 06, 2013, 07:49:11 AM »

Just remember, when you're working emcomm (yes, I reread and saw that after I posted--sorry) you're looking for portability.  I don't know how big the bike stand is, but if it isn't too big, you're getting the idea, looking to multipurpose what you already have.  

Yeah, it folds up pretty compact, but it's real sturdy.  I could hook it on the side of a backpack if I needed to hike in.  I was thinking of one of those hitch mount or ones you drive over with your tire, but I don't know how close I'll be able to park in relation to the operating location.  

How are folks guying their telescoping masts?  

One setup I saw used cargo straps, the type with ratcheted takeups to ensure tightness.  You can usually get those in a home improvement store in packages of three or four.  They come in bright colors--people usually can't miss them--and can be 15 to 20 feet in length.  Combined with an eye bolt guy ring (three eye bolts with short metal collars that are 1/3 of the diameter of the mast) and heavier tent stakes--the type that 'screw' into the ground--and you've got yourself a good guying arrangement.  Remember to put several twists in each strap to avoid the strap 'singing' if the wind blows against it.  Need it longer?  Use rope to extend the length from the mast to the strap hook.

As an aside, this is one of the things I meant.  I didn't remember this until you mentioned temporary guying.  If you can be more specific about what you need, you may find that the people on here can be more forthcoming as well, simply because you're jogging their memory.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2013, 07:51:25 AM by K1CJS » Logged
WB6BYU
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Posts: 13120




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« Reply #28 on: June 06, 2013, 11:09:55 AM »

Quote from: W0ALE

How are folks guying their telescoping masts? 



Baling twine, or any other thin rope that happens to be handy.  I carry some pre-cut
60' pieces and 3 railroad spikes along with my masts.  I use the sectional masts, and
each bundle of 7 pieces (28') has two bungee cords to hold it together:  these can
be used to strap it to a fence post or street sign for support, or to the face of a chain
link fence.  I've also put the mast up through a tree or leaned it against the edge of
a building.

Actually that's another thing to take with you that won't fit in your go-kit:  knowledge
of how to tie knots
, especially how to tie them so they can be untied easily when it
is time to go home.  A tautline hitch tied in a bight of rope is easy to tie and provides
easy adjust of guy tension.  Add a bowline (to tie a loop) and a sheet bend (to tie two
ropes together), along with knowing how to wind rope in a figure-8, and plenty of practice
so you can tie them without thinking, and it makes a very convenient and versatile package.
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K1CJS
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Posts: 5981




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« Reply #29 on: June 06, 2013, 01:44:35 PM »

I think one of the reasons that "common sense" is so lacking these days is that no one in the old guard wants to share it. Instead they only seem to bash people for not having it....

...Come on people. W0ALE just asked some more experienced people to share little bits that have helped them. It's not that big of a deal. And you wonder why it's so hard to get people to show up to club meetings or go out to activate rare DX? It's because you treat new hams like idiots. Grow up already.

Although 'RBW has a good reason, I have another to offer.  Sometimes when the older generation offers advice, we're told that what was shared was either ridiculous or just plain wouldn't work.  Even after we show that the suggestions were both practical and workable, some of us have either been laughed at or ignored.  It kind of puts the older people off--the generation gap, that is.  

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