Friday, March 1, 2013

Going Mobile!

I'm getting ready to take my youngest son to an all day Boy Scout Merit badge workshop in Charlottesville, VA tomorrow.  We have to be there at 8:00am and he's there until 6:00pm.  That means that I have the entire middle of the day to head west to the mountains and play radio!!!

I'll be traveling over to Afton Mountain and then I'll head up Skyline Drive for a few miles to a "scenic overlook" named Beagle Gap - it's about mile marker 100 on the map.  Here is a link to the map.

I'm taking a bunch of gear - maybe too much ;)

6m vertical for SSB/CW
2m/70cm vertical for FM/D-Star (car transceiver)
2m yagi for SSB/CW
70cm yagi for SSB/CW
33cm yagi for FM/P25
23cm yagi for SSB/CW

I'm hoping the weather holds out and is nice.

73 de KJ4WLH

Friday, February 22, 2013

P25 vs FM on 900Mhz

Since I've been using P25 with some 900Mhz gear, I thought it might be nice for those without the gear to hear the difference.  Check out the link to YouTube

Thanks to Dave (N4MW) and Fred (WB4KXS) for the great QSO :)

73 de KJ4WLH

Friday, February 15, 2013

Interesting Observations

Last summer I posted a YouTube video of a comparison between my IC-7000 and IC-9100.  Just listening to some VHF FM chatting going on; I thought I'd see what the difference between the 2 rigs would be - I re-cabled the antenna's to an Alpha Delta switch and was able to switch between them.  That's it, pretty simple.

YouTube Video

When I switched between the 2 rigs, I was pleased with the apparent sensitivity of the 9100 compared to the 7000.  The night was somewhat quiet and there was very little background noise anyway; but still - the 9100 S-Meter was reading S-5 or so with the 7000 having no S-Meter movement.

The interesting thing is that I received a number of comments/e-mails/suggestions that I turn the 7000's pre-amp ON in order to have a "fair comparison" between the 2 rigs.  Adam Farson (AB4OJ) has a FAQ which mentions the S-Meter is calibrated accurately when the Pre-Amp is ON.  Page 148 of the 7000 manual states "Sensitivity (at pre-amp ON)" - which I never noticed at all before this event occurred...

Anyway, I suppose I need to give it a try and see what the difference is - I'm also wondering if the 7000 actually has a 2m/70cm pre-amp built in.  It's on thing to turn on a setting, but it's another for the setting to do something useful.  The 2m/70cm/1.2ghz pre-amp setting for the 9100 is designed to power an external pre-amp - doesn't do anything for the VHF+ bands at all.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

My 1st circuit design and implementation :)

I've decided to build a GPS receiver for my ICOM IC-9100.  No particular reason other than I was looking for an electronics project and this one seemed to have enough complexity (which would be VERY little to others, but a LOT for me!) to make it interesting and fun.

I created an account on Circuit Lab and designed my 1st circuit.  Actually, I really designed it on a sheet of paper and after editing, and editing, and editing...  I decided to look for an online way of designing a circuit - I Googled circuit design and Circuit Lab popped up - I created an account and started.  It seems pretty simple, which is exactly what I'm looking for right now.

Here is the schematic of my 1st design:

I needed a circuit that would take a 12 - 14vDC source and transform it to 5vDC.  I'm planning on using a Garmin 18x LVC, which needs about 100mA @ 5vDC.  Since I had most of the components already figured out, I thought that I'd add an LED - you know, just for fun!  So, I did :)

Here's my breadboard pic:

As you can see, the LED is lit and the voltages are all pretty much right where they are supposed to be!  I'm pretty excited - this is the first time that I actually designed a circuit with a voltage regulator, couple of capacitors, and an LED.  AND it WORKS!!!  Woo Hoo!!!

73 de KJ4WLH