Greetings from KK4ICE
East Alabama SKYWARN Net Coordinator
Member of Alabama ARES
Treasure Coasters' Net Control Station
ARRL Volunteer Examiner
October 23, 2014: IFR 1600S Service Monitor added to the workbench today! This is one sweet piece of hardware. Big and heavy, yes, but it sure does make working on equipment a lot easier (and more fun.) Want to guess who is going to be checking and retuning duplexer cavities and working on some repeaters over the coming weekend?
Oct. 2, 2014: Update on RFI issue. Opelika Power Services (OPS) responded very quickly, came out, and fixed the arcing problem today. The issue was the position of the ground wire attached to the lightning arrester/surge diverted mentioned in the previous post (below.) The ground wire was too close to the T-bar on which the arrester/diverter is mounted, resulting in arcing between the two. They repositioned the ground wire and now I'm enjoying HF and VHF signals free of arcing noise. A special "Thank you" to the guys at OPS for taking care of the problem in such a timely fashion. Now that the ultrasonic RFI locating system I put together has been field tested and proven, I hope that it will prove of use one day when they call me to go and track down an RFI source for them. I do believe in returning good deeds.
Sept. 29, 2014: Update on Ultrasonic RFI locating project. After devising a way to sight the reflector (which is HIGHLY directional and sensitive) I was able to pinpoint the offending device, which is a lightning/surge arrester. More photos highlighting the source can be found at http://www.kk4ice.com.
Sept. 27, 2014 -- First actual use of the ultrasonic system I just put together for hunting down RFI sources on utility poles. Narrowed it down to the top of this pole. Definitely some arcing going on in a connection, insulator, or other hardware at the top of this pole:
The video below was taken during a quick test to see how directional the reflector would be for ultrasonic sound. I was using an empty nasal spray bottle, squeezing it, which produces both faint audible and ultrasonic sound. The receiver (in the brown leather case) takes the ultrasonic sound from the transducer, amplifies it significantly, and down-converts it to sound at frequencies audible to the human ear. Using this re-purposed offset satellite dish actually worked even better than I'd anticipated. You can see near the end of this video clip that moving up/down or left/right of the aperture/view of the dish causes the sound level to drop sharply until and ultimately disappear off-axis:
Reflector/dish with a couple of coats of black paint applied:
Rigs in use currently include an Icom IC-7200, Kenwood TS-440S, Kenwood TS-520, and an assortment of 2M, 70cm, 6M, and 220 MHz rigs. My primary antennas are a G5RV along with an 80/40 dipole using a homemade air core balun, a 40-Meter off-center fed dipole, a homemade 2M/440 attic-mounted, dipole, a set of 2-meter Cushcraft Cross-Yagi Beams atop a Rohn-25 tower, and a set of homebrew, full-size, three-element 6-Meter beams.
I thoroughly enjoy DX communications and digital modes. I also enjoy designing and building antennas, most especially wire antennas.
KK4ICE 6-Meter FM Repeater
I am the owner/trustee of the KK4ICE-R 6-Meter Repeater located on Salem Hill in Salem, AL. 53.010 MHz(-), No PL Tone. I recently acquired this repeater in non-working order and did a good deal of maintenance work on it. It was recently put back in service with some installation modifications resulting in better sensitivity and improved audio qualtiy. If you're within range of it, jump on 6-Meters and give it a try if you have 6 Meter FM capability.
This is the view looking North from the tower site. As you can tell, "line of sight" is awesome from the hill.
Rohn-25 Tower and 2-Meter Beams
With the assistance of KD4BO and WJ4Z, the 35' Rohn-25 tower went up here at my QTH on 12/4/12. The 2-Meter Cushcraft Cross-Yagi Beams are giving me some amazing 2-Meter coverage. I'm working through repeaters all over Alabama and Georgia. It's a huge help when operating the East Alabama SKYWARN Net.
A Historic, Functional Keepsake
Nearest the camera in this photo is approximately 30' -- including the top section -- of Rohn-45 tower. What's special about it to me is that it was the upper section of the old WJHO-1400 AM radio tower which was taken down by a tornado back around 1980. I cut my teeth in the world of broadcasting by working for them as a DJ while I was in high school.
I will probably put the Rohn-45 up and top it with some HF beams.
Homebrew 2m/70cm J-Pole
This antenna provides amazing performance and will fit easily in the average attic, which is where I wound up installing mine. It outperforms a Ringo Ranger-II which I had mounted about 35' in the air.
You can build one of these for around $20.
For construction details, visit this link on the KK4ICE Amateur Radio Website.
AS2259-G/R Military Field Antenna
I picked this little gem up at a local thrift store for $10. It's essentially an NVIS antenna with two wire dipoles in an "X" configuration connected to a copper rod running up through the center of the mast.
I retuned mine for resonance on 40 meters and 10 meters and I'm having quite a bit of fun toying around with it. Information I found online indicates that the military pays something like $1,179 each for these antennas -- a ridiculous price in my opinion, but they're certainly worth way more than $10. If you ever get the chance to grab one, do so. They make great Field Day and emergency antennas.
1374472 Last modified: 2014-10-24 02:34:55, 13364 bytes
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