Been a little less busy around the bench. I was finally able to successfully integrate my echolink interface board to my CAT200E repeater controller. Right now the NF9K repeater is maintaining a constant link (via echolink) with the K3HTK repeater up in Noblesville. Still a lot to do here. Trying work out a Linux based echolink PC vs. the Windows one that I’m using now. Windows is just not that stable.
Been working a little HF JT65. Central Europe has been open on 20 meters over the last two or three weekends. I’ve made contacts into Scotland, Whales, Germany, and Spain. Not bad for some impromptu operating while shuffling other things around the shack.
I’ve also spent a few cycles with my non-ham hobby, vintage computers. I have my Commodore 128 up and running, albeit with two 1541 drives. Trying to find a mass storage interface or a compact flash interface that I can use to store some of the software I’ve collected. I picked up close to 100 floppies full of software at the Brownsburg Hamfest for $5…. Nice addition to the collection. 25 or so of them are Ham Radio specific programs.
Effective January 17th, 2013, I’ve been appointed as an ARRL Technical Specialist by Lou Everett SR, WA5LOU, ARRL Section Manager, Indiana Section.
More info on the position and responsibilities can be found here:
I’m looking forward to the duties related to the position and doing my part to encourage and support growth in our hobby.
Today with the help of Dan, K9DKC, we changed out antennas on the repeater. We are now using an UHF base antenna mounted at the top of a push-up pole. The repeater is still at my residence, but no longer using a dual band J-Pole in the attic.
Additionally, the repeater is now connected via EchoLink. The node number is 9600 and the callsign is NF9K-R. So log onto EchoLink and join the fun!
I’m also working on interfacing the repeater controller with a weather radio. During times of a watch or warning, the repeater will make an announcement every 10 minutes regarding the watch or warning status.
Thank you to Ryan McAdams, KD8TVI, for his donation toward the purchase of a new CAT-200B controller for the NF9K repeater. Putting up and maintaining a repeater is a costly endeavor and when people are willing to step up and help out occasionally, it makes it easier!
I’ve put together this page for reference on the W9ICE 33cm repeater system.
Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve spend a decent amount of time in the shack, just not on the air. A couple of projects have been occupying my time:
Kenwood TKR-820 Repeater
This was a multi-step process including:
- purchasing the repeater and programmer on ebay
- getting the duplexers tuned to my coordinated pair (442.850+), thanks to Bill Akin, K9YDO for his help!
- adding an FCC compliant repeater controller (Ham Gadgets ID-O-Matic II)
- moving the repeater into the 70cm band which required both RX/TX VCO adjustments
After all that was completed, I’m glad to say that the NF9K repeater is currently on the air. Right now it’s just running from my house, while we find a better site for it.
EF Johnson 5100 Handheld
I’ve been playing around with the 33cm (900Mhz) band for a while now. See my page devoted to the band for various radio information. At any rate, I stumbled across a posting regarding an ebay seller that was selling the EF Johnson 5100 series, radio only, for $99. The catch was if you made him an offer for $40 he would accept. So I did and within a day or so I had a 5100 on the way. I’ve since purchased two more units. The nice thing about the 5100′s is that they use many Motorola XTS series accessories including batteries. After receiving the first unit, here are my observations:
- The unit as initially received could not be reliably programming using the 1.x series software. I had to upgrade the firmware and use the 2.x series in order to reliably program it.
- You can find the modified software out there to allow you to program the radio into the ham band, otherwise, you’ll need to do some hex editing of the binary files.
- Once I had the radio up and running, it sounded good, however, my TX audio was non-existent. I appears that the unit I currently have has a bad mic element. I understand that this was a signature issue with these radios for a while. So I’ll hope that the other two better. I’ve emailed the seller to see what our options are.
- Over all, I’m rather impressed with the radio. It’s big, but it’s solid. There are some really cool features, and it is front panel programming capable. I’ll post more info as I continue to play with these radios.
I finally got around to figuring out how to run JT65 this weekend. My shack computer is a Mac Mini and the native Mac version of the JT65 program didn’t work nearly as well for me as the Windows JT65-HF program.
After doing some research, I decided to give CrossOver for the Mac a shot. CrossOver allows you to run Windows applications under OS X. After installing it I was able to install the JT65-HF application in a Windows XP Bottle. It runs very well and I’ve been able to log 20+ contacts in between football games today, including some decent DX.
I use a SignaLink USB to interface with my Yaesu FT-950, so I didn’t have to worry about the PTT interface as the SignaLink is its own VOX device.
Now I’m able to switch between all the digital modes I currently work (PSK31, JT65) and my logging software/rig control (MacLoggerDX) all on the same machine.