Friday, December 9, 2011

8:1 Transformer and Air Variable Cap as EFHW Matcher

8:1 and Air Variable Cap

Today I made a 8:1 Transformer out of a piece of 18 ga. house wire.  24 turns as Secondary and 3 turns as primary on a T240 core.  Using the Air Variable that I recently purchased on eBay that has about 3/8" plate spacing the half wave 40M wire tunes to 1.2:1 with the plates of the cap meshed about 2/3 of the way.  The wire is probably still a bit long as I cut it to 468/F + .05% and then added about a foot to be sure it would not be too short.

Although it tuned well using a tuner and the 4:1 Unun on 80-10M the SWR and RF in the shack was too much for the CAT port on a FT-1000MP Mk V.  The MAX232CWE chip failed.  These are available from Digikey for less than $4 and I ordered two but installing them will be a challange for later.  In the meantime I have pulled the MK V off the op bench and replaced it with the back up FT-1000(almost a 'D').  Several contacts were made on 40M with the 8:1/cap matcher today with good results.  I did not notice any RFI and the SWR was low but this was with only 200W. Later I switched back to the 4:1 Unun and internal tuner for the 10M contest and made another 20 or so contacts some on QRP and some on CW.  Comparing the 8:1/Cap combo and the 4:1 and internal tuner on 10M it looked as though the 4:1 had a one 'S' unit or so advantage.

On the right is the 4:1 Unun (Rybakov style) in a radio shack box.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

CQ WW DX CW 2011

 Band    QSOs    Pts  Cty   ZN
   3.5      22      54   18   10
     7     183     513   76   19
    14     102     280   63   17
    21     127     354   68   22
    28     163     453   89   26
 Total     597    1654  314   94
Score: 674,832

Had a great time working the CW contest this year.  This was an personal best for me at this station.  Running the Cushcraft R7 vertical on a pole in the backyard.  
Working conditions 
N1MM logging software
DM780 running in background to 'help' with decoding
K1EL USB Winkeyer
FT-1000Mk V (with all the filters)
Alpha 78
Cuschcraft R7
Dentro MT-3000A tuner Used to load the R7 on 80M (works ok with 130 ft feedline)
W3LPL or K1TT  for Telnet 


After reading Zen and the Art of Radiotelegraphy I really came to understand that many of the operators are so much better at CW than I am it seems to help them to go a bit faster.  Going faster than the pile up seems to help.  After 49 years of hamming my CW is still improving (but is still not very good). I found this year that I made many QSO's with the keyer set at 29-33 WPM with only a few slower and a few faster.  One by accident I set the key at 42 and the op came right back --no problem!  

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Rybakov 4:1 Unun

Started working on another End Fed Half Wave matcher that will take a bit more power.  I have been using the PAR 40 Meter at 10-15 ft and it works well for the ECARS regional net on 40M.
Coil ready to go int box t200-2

Here is a T200-2 core with 14 turns of Zip Cord sitting in a radio shack project box getting ready to be mounted.  (Still under construction)

Here are some interesting links for end fed half wave antennas or other hi impedance wires.
Rybakov antenna the start of the 4:1 Unun idea for me

Steve Yates excellent article on End Fed Half Wave Antennas

Amateur Radio (G3TXQ) - UnUn experiments

Good write up on the Cushcraft R5/R7 matcher

Good write up on Inv-L multiband 


UV3R with broken Display

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Heathkit Shop P/S board in Drake AC-4

AC-4 Bottom

AC-4 Top View

Installed the 'Heathkit Shop' power supply board today and got it working on the AC-4.  I followed the directions as well as I could but had to put the board on the 'wrong' side of the transformer because that was the way the screws were installed in the transformer.  The board fits but it is closer to the end of the chassis as there is more room on the other side.  Also the wire kit does not really fit when the board is on the opposite side.  It works find and the AC ripple is now lower.

With the AC-4 running the T4XB I show 740 B+ (720 with PTT down but no audio), 278 V DC on the mid supply with about 4V AC and -60 VDC on the bias with .0 VAC .  I don't think my VC-99 Auto ranging meter does well on the AC ripple measurment on the B+  it still jumps from 3 hundred to 4 hundred reading.  Then I tried AC reading while putting more of a load on the supply by closing the PTT line and putting the T4XB in Xmit this gave .6 VAC on the B+, .4VAC on the 250V line and 0VAC on the bias so this is better than what I was showing before.  The B+ reading was not accurate before so I can't comepare really.  The 250 V line was dropping out of regulation and the OA2 was going 'dark' when the PTT was closed.  This is now back to the OA2 just dimming a bit (normal) and the ripple went from about 5VAC to .6VAC so that is the big change.  
In general the kit is well done and makes it easy to re-do these old things.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Drake PTO Question?

Ready for Install with braid added
'Fork' Resoldered and Braid attached

PTO with cover off

Tuning rod end

Got the PTO rod out today Yea!  Yes, the PTO is out of the rig.  I ran the fork to the end of the screw then undid the tension adj hex screw.  Of course then the balls started to drop out and I removed the plastic gear and it's rod by removing the 'clip washer' (not sure what it's real name is).

Next was to reattach the rod to the 'fork'.  I decided to 1st try the 'heat gun' approach with a 1400 watt industrial type heat gun rated at 800-1000F.  I was going to do it outside but decided to use my aluminum darkroom tray that I use under the Cantenna as a 'heat shield'.  I placed the rod assembly in a 8" crescent wrench and let the rod stand vertically with the fork sitting on top.  This worked OK but the 'fork' was not quite level and needed to be heated a 2nd time to get it closer to the proper 90 degree angle.  While I had the heat gun I decided to solder a piece of solder wick braid to the end of the fork.  I could not get the solder to flow on the fork by itself so I used my regular small Hakko iron AND the heat gun and got the end of the fork tinned with a small blob of solder, then the braid was put on top and held with the solder iron and gave it another blast with the heat gun.  

Later I am going to clean off the rest of the old grease and try to reassemble the same way.  The dial shaft bits are all still intact and I may want to disassemble it as well,

Today's question is: will I be able to get the balls back in without taking the dial shaft apart (same as it came apart for me) or is there a 'Better' way to get the bearing back together.  Should I use a drop of new grease or just leave some of the old grease and add a drop of 3in1 oil to it?  

As far as the re-soldering goes I wonder if the heat changes the iron parts enough to worry about. Will find out I guess....

Friday, October 21, 2011

New V-Tech Spectrum Analyzer

V-Tec PS-2 1Ghz Analyzer 

New addition to the bench.  Bought it used for a good price and hope it will be useful for future projects.  Specifically filter design for both transmitters and receivers.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fall ARCI at Rhinebeck NY

2006 VW at Rhinebeck NY

Radio set up in VW

Operated the ARCI Fall contest from Rhinebeck Aerodrome in NY.  Here is the ATS-4 and the Palm Paddles in the car.  The antenna was an end-fed half wave on 20M with the KI6J matcher.  Some more of the pix are on Webshots

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Vintage Sailplanes at Massey

Hutter 17 taking off

Went up to Massey for their Vintage Sailplane event and was treated to seeing several sailplanes that I had not ever seen before.  Here is a hutter 17 taking off.  It is a reproduction of an early European design.  It is made of wood and has a L/D of about 14:1.

Other pix on webshots at Webshots

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

1st Burn on New Stove

1st Burn on New Stove

This is our new Hearthstone Mansfield in Seafoam trim.  This is going to be a treat for the cold weather.  The stove was a leftover item and the color is not in the catalog but we liked it.  The replaces our 25 year old Hearthstone II which we gave away on freecycle.

Monday, September 19, 2011


Seems to be unopened through customs

UV200 factory box

UV200 contents

This radio was $46 incl shipping from China.  Had to try one.  Will post review later.  It arrived in one week from

CC-20 Started

The CC-20 Arrived a few weeks ago and yesterday I finally started the build.  Here are some pix of the new kit.


Parts ready to go

Board with pre mounted uP

Ready for test - almost!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

New England Motorcycle Tour

COG National in Mt. Snow VT
We had a great trip to VT for the 2011 COG National Rally at Mt. Snow VT 
COG Rally Banquet

After a great week at the Rally we headed to Burlington to see our old friends Ross and Kathy who spend the summer at the campground there.

Lunch in Burlington VT

Leaving Burlington for ME.  Rained All Day

Leaving Burlington we traveled to ME to visit my radio friend Norm KB1OV in Bridgton ME.
Another Norm also traveled down from Norway ME and we also met K1NAJ.


When it stopped raining we took off for the mid-coast of ME and stayed at a nice inn in Belfast.  It was not too far and we had some time to sightsee in town and go to a state park in the afternoon.  We had dinner and breakfast at the Inn and took off for home.

Belfast Harbor
We stayed at the Penobscot Bay Inn and I would recommend it if you want a nice place to stay.  The food was good and the rooms were great for sleeping.

Penobscot Bay Inn

Leaving Penobscot Bay Inn in Belfast ME

We stopped once more in Stockbridge MA and headed home on the NJT.  This was a full two week trip and we had a great time but were glad to be back home with our dog Jack.

Rest of pix on Webshots

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Yoga Teacher Training Compleated

Meditation Chime received as 'graduation' gift

Teacher Training Class

Sunday was the last day of the Yoga Teacher Training Class.  Now I am a 'registered yoga teacher'

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Centreville Day July 2, 2011

This was the 1st Centreville Day "Taste of Centreville" held on July 2nd to celebrate the new Wharf as well as the 4th.  Tickets were sold and restaurants gave samples of their food and drink,  there was a 'moon bounce' and face painting for the kids, as well as kayak and canoe rides.  The weather was great and the event was well attended. More tickets than expected were sold at the gate so the food ran out a bit early but everyone was happy it seemed.
A few more pix of the event at

Monday, June 27, 2011

Queen Anne Amateur Radio Club Field Day 2011

Fred K3LMR

Generator thanks to QA County

John N3AAZ

CW setup

Pres. Mike N3ZHA

Rowan KE3AO

One of tripod mounts by old barn

Operating Position Overview

This was the clubs 1st Field Day and it was great.  Mike N3ZHA got us a great location and did all the work of arranging the loan of the county generator and the use of the facility at Bloomfield Farm Park in Centreville MD.  Fri evening some of the set up was done.  Several antennas were managed, 3 wire antennas were hung from trees using a bow and arrow and a fishing reel to handle the 'carrier' line.  An OCF 150' ft windom, a sloper set up for 40/20M and an end fed 'L' supported by a tripod and a tree.
Not in the photos were George Drake K3NQA who came to help set up and take down between operating with the Kent Co. Club.  Vickie KB3QLW who did the catering and did a great job, none of use will forget the chicken BBQ on Sat Nite.  There was lots of great food.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Staycation to Dayton 2011

This year we could not make Dayton but found that a Staycation to Dayton might be just as good.

Here are a few tips to enjoy it.

Set up several internet connections in your house in different rooms.

Wear the proper cloths.  Radio had with callsign or logo is a must.  If you need to make your own go ahead.  An aluminum foil hat with Yaesu or your callsign would pretty much fit in.  For fashion tips watch the people walking by on. W5KUB Here you can also win prizes and watch the interviews with various people.  Yesterday he featured  astronaut-Doug-Wheelock kf5boc, An Indian ham who helped with emergency communications in 2004 and was recognized worldwide.

Get a name tag to wear around you neck you probably have one you saved from something.  This is your chance to wear it again.  What did you save it for anyway?

Get yourself a bag.  You can use a backpack or whatever you take to your favorite hamfest.  Even a plastic or paper bag would do, just write the name of your favorite radio on it with magic marker and you will be good to go.  Go around the house and fill it up with all the brochures you kept from the last couple of years and put them in the bag.  Now you will feel like you have collected some new brochures.  You probably don't remember them very well anyway.

Take some walks around your neighborhood.  This is like waking between the events at the Hamvention.  Try to eat some food like you might at the hamfest.

If you don't have a mini bar in your bedroom just get a cardboard box and fill it with some of your favorite beverages.

Drive around some looking for some place you have never been.  Take some maps or try and follow your GPS directions.

Set up a folding chair in front of your computer so you get the real feeling of going to one of the Forums.  Drink something from a Styrofoam or paper cup.  I found a good one under my car seat...

Take another walk and wait for at least 30 min at a bus stop then walk back home.

Watch W5KUB some more.

Then go to a different room and on a different computer (you do have more than one ....right?)

Try some of the other streams like or

I did get to hear Joe Taylor W1JT the Nobel prize winner and Princeton Professor talk about Weak signal propagation which was very interesting.

Go back to your bedroom and in the morning get your wife to dress up in her maid's outfit and know on the door.....Room Service?

Almost as much fun as really going to Dayton.  If you feel the need you could even tell people you went and talk about what you saw .  You know, like did you see the guy with the Cat in the Hat hat on?  I did it was W0NEB, Joe from Nebraska who has been wearing the hat for over 25 years to Dayton!  He's the Cat in the Hat guy to many , involved in the kit building forum at Dayton and the author of a CQ magazine column.  Heard Col. Doug Wheelock  an Astronaut talk about the different 'ride quality' of landing in the space shuttle (nice and smooth)  vs. the Soviet Soyez (3 loud explosions and a bad car crash).  Or did you hear the  Mrs. D.Bharathi Prasad  VU2RBI talk about how she meet the Queen of England when she was honored for her emergency communications work?  One of the people that W5KUB interviewed said he heard the W5KUB streaming video mentioned on ECARS.  Well I did mention it during my NCS shift only a few hours before so hey....Did you see that EZNEC antenna modeling presentation the contest guys did over at the Crown Hotel?  Now you tell me was I there or what!?

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Crystal Test Jig

Crystal Test Jig

Made up a test jig for testing the crystal.  It uses a 1k and 220 ohm resistor at each end and then two caps 10pf and 28pf so you can measure the fs1, fs2, fs3 and fp frequencies of the crystal and put them in the calculator at 

This will give the motional parameters of 
Cs  = crystal series capacitance
Ls =   crystal series inductance
Cp =  crystal parallel capacitance 

This values can then be used to empirically design a filter using the AADE filter design program at 

Using the simple Sig Gen I am not yet confident of the values enough to build a filter but after three attempts I think that I am seeing enough correlation to begin to at least play with the values in the filter design program.

I have reread the basic few paragraphs in SSDRA (Solid State design for the radio amateur) and EMRFD (Experimental Methods in RF design) and am continuing to learn.  

It will be possible to make a good filter out of the crystals that I have obtained but it may not be close enough to the stock Center Freq of the original Drake filter to work with the other filter.  Using a single carrier oscillator between the two filters to give both LSB and USB the filters need to have center frequencies about 3kHz apart.