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AE1DX USA flag USA

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AE1⚡DX

Hello, my name is Patrick, operator of radio station AE1DX in Massachusetts, grid square FN42cn. Thank you for visiting my QRZ.com webpage. I have been an Amateur Radio Operator since January of 1996. My main interest is electronics and construction rather than "talking". I enjoy the technical aspects of tweaking and improving things to make them the best that they can be.

I am a member of the Central Massachusetts Amateur Radio Association. We hold "Georges Old Timers Net" most evenings at 7:30 pm on the Paxton W1BIM repeater, 146.970 MHz, with a 114.8 Hz CTCSS/PL tone. There are check-ins from all over New England. There is a topic of the day for discussion. Then we have ham radio related trivia. Anybody who is a licenced ham can join in.

I am also a board member of the Worcester County Amateur Radio Club, www.WW1RC.com. This club has been around since 2014. We are a group of hams with in interest in friendship and fellowship. We have a Simplex net every Tuesday night at 10:00 pm Eastern Time on frequency 146.585 MHz

I encourage you to get out and help your fellow hams, it has been one of the best parts of the Hobby for me. "Be the Ham you would like others to be." I really believe you get out of this hobby what you put into it. Treat others the way you want to be treated and do the right things, the right way, right away.

More about my background:
Growing up I liked taking things apart to see what was inside and try to figure out how they work. I liked electronic toys, ones with motors, and especially the remote control type.

I had a couple of electronic lab kits when I was younger and built a variable capacitor and a simple AM broadcast band crystal radio receiver. It did not have an audio amplifier, as a matter of fact it didn't use any batteries or power source at all! It got it's power from the radio signal itself. So I used a high impedance crystal earphone stuck in my ear to listen to the low audio signal. Experimented with the antenna to try and get better signals and more stations. I eventually ended up having small gage enameled wire neatly strung around the windows. It still wasn't as good as my father's store bought stereo receiver, but I was proud of what I built.

Made a small AM transmitter that would transmit a few feet to a nearby Radio. That was pretty neat but I wanted to be able to send a radio signal further and with better audio quality. I received a set of two Radio Shack 27MHz walkie talkies from my father as a gift that year. I installed the batteries, turned them on, and while holding one in each hand I pressed one of the transmit buttons. You guessed it, I quickly discovered what feedback was. That high-pitched shrill was loud! Needless to say I learned they needed to be separated and/or have the volume turned down. Or better yet have a friend take one of them and talk to him/her from a distance. It's also much more fun that way. :-) It also turned out my walkie talkies also used the same frequency as CB radio channel #4. While using them one day, my friend and I heard somebody else through my walkie talkies. A trucker heard us talking and chimed in. You could say that would be my first unknown/unexpected​ contact over the airwaves.

Thought it was pretty neat taking apart one of my remote control cars that had variable driving speed. At the time I did not know it was pulse width modulation (PWM) driving the DC motor. I was initially confused when my analog voltmeter didn't change voltage even when the speed of the motor was. That's what oscilloscopes are for, to see the waveform, and I didn't have one back then.

I wanted an intercom between my sibling's room and mine. We both had matching 3-5105A GE portable audio cassette recorders (each having a built-in microphone, auxiliary input and speaker output jacks) so I used a couple of patch cables cut in half and extended them 30ft between the two recorders. I wanted to route the wires around the rooms where wall met the floor without using staples. At the time we were throwing out a cheap pinball machine and I decided to use the hollow metal legs and metal C channels as wire conduit to hold the wires in place and protect them. Tricking the recorders into record mode without cassettes in them them activated the built in microphones, sent the audio to the opposite recorder, amplified it and could also adjust the volume. I then installed an LED indicator and switch in my recorder to put it into record mode without the cassette recording motor running nor having to mechanically trick it into thinking there was a recordable cassette inserted.

I had heard that some CATV systems at the time inserted a few more TV stations between the over the air VHF broadcast channels 6 and 7. I was curious if there was anything between them on our newly installed analog Cable TV. Knowing that the NTSC television audio carrier was FM modulated I connected the coax cable to my FM stereo receiver antenna input and started tuning. Instead of the normal over the air broadcast radio stations, I heard 3 TV stations there. I could listen to those TV channels through my radio, without the TV being on if I wanted too.

In the early summer of 1983 Asked my father how 3-way hallway wall switches worked. He drew a schematic of circuit containing 2 single pole double throw SPDT switches, and a light bulb. I saw how the parts connect together, but more importantly, he described what was happening in those switches. That was the key for me to understanding how the circuit functions and was the catalyst for me to start reading electronic books, and to enroll in a vocational high school in their electronics program.

Then for a different intercom I used 2 cheap corded telephones and a battery all wired in series, making a simple and pretty neat intercom. Not having a circuit to generate the 20Hz 90V RMS ringing signal for the phones, I used a couple of SPDT switches and LEDs wired like the two 3-way hall light switches to indicate that someone wanted to talk.

Well our old, no longer being used, TV antenna blew off the roof during a violent wind storm. I had been wondering if I could transmit the video and audio from my Atari 800XL computer through the air to my well used hand-me-down tube type colored television set. So I brought the antenna into my room, straightened out the elements, connected it to the modulated RF output of my computer and was able to transmit a few feet into the TV on channel 3. The signal quality wasn't as sharp as when it was directly connected, but it did work, and I could read the text that what was on the screen. Unfortunately the antenna took up most of the room, but it made for a nice short lived experiment to see if it could be done.

My sister had a Prince album on audio cassette that had an ending to a song that she said sounded wierd and wanted me to listen to it. I told her it sounded like it was recorded backwards. I had just heard of "backmasking" and now I had the chance to see if I could hear what the hidden message was. If it was on a vinyl record it would be simply a matter of spinning the record backwards with my finger. A cassette player is mechanically more complicated to move the magnetic tape across the head. It has belts, gears, springs, cams, to change the speed and direction and determines which spindle would function during play, fast forward, rewind, and record, and pause, all in a very compact size. This would be very difficult to modify the mechanical workings to change the direction of the tape across the head, if it would be possible at all. I thought about it, broke the spot welds holding the playback/recording head in place, flipped it over 180° and epoxied back upside down. It now should play the other track on the other side backwards. And sure enough it played that backward piece forward and could clearly hear what was recorded.

After obtaining our drivers licenses and cars, my friends and I bought and installed CB radios. We could now talk a lot further than what we were able to on the walkie talkies and the CB's had 40 channels we could use.

My uncle got me into listening to shortwave radio. I would go over to his house, and at night we would turn on the shortwave receiver and listen to all the communications and broadcasts.

After graduating from tech school, I had a job repairing consumer electronics and computers. I lost touch with my friends for a while, but later heard that they got their Amateur Radio Licenses. So in 1995 Ian N1UDR now K9IAN, Glen N1JUF now W1GPM, and Dave N1UDQ got me interested in studying for one also. I was originally licensed as Technician Class at the beginning of 1996 as N1WKM, and was affectionately given the nickname "No one will call me", by Paul WB1EWS :-)

"Ham radio is one of the few slices of insanity that you actually have to test into..."

Talking full quieting FM simplex with Ian at a distance of 4 miles apart, with power set at only 30 milliwatts (our Handy-talkies could not go any lower than that) with a outdoor antennas was awesome. In my opinion, I think using the best antennas and feed lines that you can afford is more important than the transceiver.

It was also great to be able to talk mobile across different states using repeaters. And using an autopatch to connect a ham radio to the phone system at home to make mobile phone calls from your car transceiver. Remember this was before cell phones really became affordable and popular. Cell phone companies charged by the minute for incoming and outgoing phone calls, in addition to the monthly fees. So at that time it could actually be cheaper to buy a gallon of milk on the way home from work and throw it out if you didn't need it, than it was to call home to see if you needed to pick up one. There were no unlimited plans back then, like there are now.

I did have a number of years of radio fun, but the hobby slipped into a hiatus when I started work in Boston at a large financial company as a repair tech and computer programmer. Years later Tom AB1GF, (the one and only Tower Czar), helped me rediscover Amateur Radio. I subsequently renewed my license, and later I applied for, and received my vanity call sign W1PWF in February 2016 (the day before I took and passed the General class exam). Soon after I upgraded to Amateur Extra class, and a corresponding group A call sign AE1DX and am now radio active again. ;-)

Some people might say Amateur Radio is just a "Hobby",
some might say it is a "Licensed Radio Service, with some hobby aspects",
and others might say "It's A Contact Sport!"

I do like the following the following description of Amateur Radio:
"It is a volunteer non-commercial radio service devoted to educational, recreational, and emergency purposes."

Whatever you make of it, have fun doing it! However, please respect Ham Spirit of all other Hams, the band plans, the exclusive CW sections, and the unwritten Rules like DX-Windows etc. Remember it's not all about DX, it's about communicating with fellow amateurs.

I should also qualify I'm not a bandwidth hog nor am I an enhanced single side band "eSSB" guy in search of a modified older Kenwood using wide 6KHz bandwidths for transmissions. I am not doing anything with “voodoo sound”, “voodoo audio”, extended, nor modified wide-band high-fidelity audio. That's not me.

What I am talking about is just quality single side band audio "qSSB" for both transmitting and receiving using an UNMODIFIED transceiver. This is accomplished by reducing distortion, using good quality equipment in the "audio processing chain", not over using compression, nor excessive clipping, reducing microphone proximity effect, background noise, amplifier non-linearity, all which will also help reduce IMD products, alleviate nearby frequency interference, splatter, and increase communication clarity, articulation, intelligibility, and effectiveness.

Since I really want to sound as good as possible, it still is a work in progress as I continue with ongoing experiments.

The first component to quality audio is a good dynamic microphone. As others have said, do not make the microphone be the weakest link in the audio chain. Use a decent quality dynamic microphone that has little proximity effect and does not change much if you are off-axis. A dynamic mic, as opposed to a condenser mic, can reduce mouth noises, room reflections, background noise and it also does not require phantom power. (*Use a blocking cap with your Icom if going into the Mic jack as opposed to the mod input on a accessory Jack)

With your mouth about 4 to 8 inches away from the microphone, speak with a slightly raised voice without shouting, as if you are talking to someone across the room WITHOUT a microphone. Use pop filters or popless voice screens in front of your microphone to reduce plosives (pops) and try recording yourself to get acquainted with your voice played back to you.

Annunciate and work with your voice timbre. You can do voice exercises to work on and change your tone quality if needed. A vocal coach and vocal exercises may help you to use clear diction, pronunciation, and articulation to project your voice well by speaking from the diaphragm. This will give more control over your voice without straining your vocal chords. Professional broadcasters know how to project their voice and to enunciate carefully and clearly.

On occasion I am using some external audio equipment and/or settings for ham radio (primarily a small mic mixer). It does a great job of enhancing two way communication. A mixer allows me to connect radios in unique ways, (going straight in & out using the MOD and AF pins of the ACC jack on the rear of the transceiver), use new digital modes, and use multiple microphones with my station. I use a tiny bit of compression on my transmit audio to keep from over-driving my radio. And some equalization to reduce or cut low frequencies below 250 - 300Hz, and also some of the audio frequencies I find annoying and/or harsh (mostly on the receive audio).

Other interests besides the radio include spending time with my family, cooking and tweaking recipes, woodworking, home improvement, music, astronomy, building electronic circuits for fun, and learning just about anything I can get my hands on. Basically I am a lifelong learner.

Don't stop learning, and remember success remains after you exhaust all of your failures!

Thanks again for the contact with me or just looking me up !!!

 

73, de Patrick AE1DX and good DX

 


P.S.  Could 73 be the best number?
73 is the 21st prime number,
it's mirror 37 is the 12th,
it's mirror, 21 is the product of 7 and 3
In Binary 73 is a palindrome 1001001 so reading it backwards it is still 1001001
In Morse code 73 is also a palindrome --... ...--

Here is a couple of planetary mnemonics to help remember the order of the planets orbiting the sun:

"My Very Eager Mother Just Sent Us Nine Pizzas."

And for those that don't include Pluto as a planet...
"My Very Easy Memory Jingle Seems Useless Now."

8381417 Last modified: 2017-10-10 22:35:01, 16619 bytes

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