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Thank you for visiting, first, a note about my profile picture.

I am walking around the Maker Faire in San Francisco, wearing a tshirt that says "i void warranties" and wearing a bandolier made out of 24 Live Nixie Tubes. The Tubes are being powered by a little charge pump power supply, 280 volts, that I built and is running off a 9volt battery. Also, the data feed is provided by an Arduino Mega and some code that I wrote running various patterns through the bank of Nixies. (the code is published as open source in case you are interested, search "amooneypilot Nixie") I was being stopped and photographed constantly at the Faire, Fun!

If you like something here, drop me a note in the 'web' tab...thanks!!

I am a new ham as of 12/15/2011, but it took me about 28 years to achieve this.

In the early 80's, a college prof, Mr. Jim Delmore, (wa9axg) introduced me to ham radio, sstv, & antenna building.

Fun stuff, I loved it but I like so many, didnt follow through and learn code, and get my license.

That doesn't mean I have been absent from the field. I worked in Semiconductor and CNC manufacturing, I have been designing and building electronics, Amps, Power supplies, Tube and solid state, Arduino, RaspBerry Pi and Asterisk VOIP, and all kinds of programming stuff since then.

In 2011, my son, (AG6LR) was working on receiver/transmitter driver design under Zwave, and on the spur of the moment, decided to take the technician and General amateur exams just for fun. With only a day to the exam date, he didnt have much time to study. He passed both exams in one sitting. **update Josh got his Extra today 5/12/12...bravo!! Joining the AG6 ranks witth an LR**

I couldnt be left behind, so I started studying Gordo's Technician manual and signed up for a class with Gordon N6ELS, soon decided because of my professional experience, homebrew engineering, and lots of tinkering with electronics, amplifiers, vacuum tubes and other stuff and junk, I could probably pass all 3 tests at the same time, (Tech, General, & Extra). One only gets one chance to have an Extra class license with no 'previous callsign' So that is what I did.

Tested on 12/15/2011 and passed em all...pretty happy about that! I then sat down and studied for the ARRL VEC and obtained this also, so that I can help with testing.

As I discover and learn about ham radio, I am trying to document the experience both here, and on youtube. Search my callsign on youtube for info there.



I LOVE QRPp , I am really enjoying working 1 watt from my Talented Balun horizontal loop. I have worked many 6000 mile contacts on 1 watt, and one 1/10 watt for 6100 miles. (video link posted below) FUN!!!

If you are working me on JT65 or JT9, thank you!! I am most likely working you with 1 watt at the transmitter, through 100 feet of RG8X at about 3db loss, for a total of 1/2 watt at the antenna Balun.  Lately, I have really been working alot of JT65 and PSK31 from the mobile.  A CA-UHV-6 antenna with 10, 20 and 40m coils, and my FT991.  I can work the mobile station remotely via AREDN mesh network, or I might be sitting in the drivers seat.  73!!  (see a couple videos below of the whole setup.



Here is a JT9 contact, 1631 miles on a few milliwatts.  I need a meter that will read out zero to 100mw or so.  Fun!!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YLtqR7K-neE

Sometimes I turn on the live shack on Ustream.� http://www.ustream.tv/broadcasterpage/17669159


Some of the gear that I am interested in owning, HI-Q for my mobile and a Heathkit SB220 for the shack,

Just put a FT-897 in the shack rack and decided to fix the 60 meter frequency  (5.35850 mismatch on channel 3.  I put a short video on youtube, here is how you do it using Chirp software. (897 857 and 817 all work similar)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGZilipUhk4

I am saved my pennies to buy a SCS 3070 tracker to set up a 24x7 HF Robust Packet HF IGate. I see a lot of benefit to long range APRS and have been watching with great interest a friend of a friend (N1ZZZ) who is on the high seas with his ship, sending beacons on 10.147.3 Fun stuff..!! *** see below...station is running now!

Watching N1ZZZ navigate the Cooper River in the Steven L. Bennett, heading for the open ocean after dropping cargo at the docks.  Beacons coming to my station and others, on Robust Packet, 30 meter APRS..fun!

Always intersting to hear the APRS robust packet on 30 meters to see who can hear it.  As 10-15 RP iGates are listening worldwide, the first to decode the packet , and send it to the APRS.FI web page gets the credit.  N1ZZZ 3 month trip this year ended 8/28/14 about 2:50 AM PST in Beaumont Texas.  I am overjoyed that my station picked up the last packet from the ship.. yay  fun!

Here are the main players, iGates,  showing up on the map, in this fun event with N1ZZZ

And let me tell you how exciting it is to get a message on HF APRS from over 10,000+ miles away, To California from South Africa.

How does messaging work with APRS HF?  Well in the example below, I sent a message to Jeremy telling him that his signal to Socal was good tonight.  It went out over RF (TNC), (this line is very top almost cut off in my image),  and also the Internet (TX) on line 2.  On the third line you can see that my TNC heard his response over the RF path (TNC N1ZZZ) , as he sent an Acknowledgement back to me. We traded Acks a couple more times, then another station HB9ZF heard his Ack and sent it over the Internet.

Finally, his station sent a message back to me as MV CAPT STEVEN L BENNETT KAXO, which my station also head over RF (TNC) and it popped up in the message box. 

His current position is about 1/3 of the way across the Atlantic, and my station is in southern California, over 3200 miles apart.

AG6IF-4   195 2015-04-30 18:43:25 2015-05-09 22:50:06 FM92UB > DM13LL 3257.0 miles 288° 2015-05-09 22:50:06

here is the current screen shot.

After 31 years and untold miles and adventures, N1ZZZ places the Steven L Bennett in Plot 42 Alang.  I'm sure an exciting meeting with the sandy shoreline at high tide, full speed 17 knots.    It has been alot of fun chasing the Bennett and N1ZZZ on APRS 30 meter Robust packet, and I can't wait to see what is next for Jeremy N1ZZZ.  

It doesn't always work on RF, that is why the cloud is so important, as the closest IGATE can retransmit the message to a given station.
  Here is how I review the propagation which I can expect between 2 end points using VOACAP. Drag the end points into position and you can see the 30 meter ring and colors represent the probability of making the connection..Night time is best for me.



And, always someone letting a balloon go with APRS on board.  In this case, M0XER-4 and -6 aloft for 2 or 3 revolutions of our planet so far.  Amazing!  I'm happy to try to gate a few packets yes!

And this one (k6RPT-12) flew right over my house on 8/24/16 on it's 3rd pass around the planet, and my internet was down, hence my iGate didn't gate any packets for them.   Darn!


and, for fun and extra credit, the ISS passing over, and I dialed in my iGate to .825, got a response, 2nd time!

Down below on this page, you will find a QSL card proudly displayed.

2 days later, got another response.  8/16/16 20:45PST

Just built a little APRS tracker in a bag, using OT2m, HTX-202 and a Nuvi 350 display, all in a little bag. Also, a little brick linear for when-needed, HTA20 (30w Radio shack amp) Here is a little video showing what it looks like. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VkFBUeJr110

And here is my mobile 2m APRS setup, D710 Kenwood, Cabled to a Garmin 350m and a 12v power level lcd display


My 01 Vic has a custom dash using Torque Pro from Ian Hawkins, my D710/Garmin 350 APRS rig and a Raspberry Pi VOIP Asterisk system running on a Broadband hamet AREDN Mesh network.  A 30 watt solar panel in the rear window and I plug it all in to Anderson  PowerPole power supply for nighttime battery feed.  :-)

New pic as of 09-2016, added TH9000d on 220, (nice little radio for $130) and the FT991.  The 991 has Fusion , HF, VHF and UHF capability.





It also has a quad core Raspberry Pi running Asterisk VOIP phone system, and, another Quad core Raspberry Pi running a video streaming DVR system for multiple on board cameras using Zoneminder.  All of this plugs into my broadband hamnet AREDN mesh node which is always running on board.  Upgrading my on board solar panel to 30 watts shortly.


I am feeding 10ga wire through 30amp circuit breakers (both + and -) directly from the battery, to a PowerPole distribution box up under the dash.




Here is the schematic for the mobile power delivery system.

It starts with the starting battery, tapped with 4 x 12g copper that hits a pair of 30amp aviation circuit breakers on + and -

This goes to the back, where it taps into a rigrunner and a 30ah battery.  The rigrunner is feeding a USB power unit which is feeding 2 raspberry Pi computers.  One for the phone system (Asterisk) and the other one is the video system (Zoneminder).

A 30 watt solar panel goes through a charge controller then into the rigrunner.

In the front, the main power feed hits a 13.8 MFJ boost unit, then into a rigrunner that is feeding all of the radios.

FT991, TYT 9000D 220, and Kenwood 710 APRS dual bander.   also anothing USB power distribution for the Lenovo Tablet running Torque,  and GPS for the Kenwood APRS 710 radio.

Hand drawing below:

Both my shack and my mobile are using same strategy, which is , everything is running on 12 volts, and the 12 volt bus is coming from a series of batteries.  Shack has 360 amp hours (360ah) battery bank, and the mobile is about 80 ah capacity.  Redundant rigrunner clones where possible, with power source split so that any single blown fuse will not disable the system.  Fed from multiple sources such as a  550W solar array AND a 400watt/36 amp switching power supply, and/or 2000w generator, and/or an idling mobile unit with 130 amp alternator.  (my mobile has external access to 30amp power pole so it can feed out 12v or take in 12v power while still being locked.

I have the mobile power go-box which can be pulled and relocated as needed, it is itself a fully functional power delivery system which can enhance the shack system, the mobile system, or standalone at field day.  Here is a better block diagram.

 Mag mount, why do so many people hate mag mounts?� Mine works great.

Well, it did, until it didn't.  SWR went high..about 5 to 1 on both 2m and 440.  I resoldered the connector as the original was crimped, no change, then swapped the wip with a 2nd antenna that I had around and the problem moved with the wip.   Here is the SWR sweep..ugly ugly ugly.  The 2m band is shaded.

Interesting, what could possibly go wrong with a wip?  At DC the wip had continuity but at RF, something was wrong.  Time to hit HRO for a different brand, picked up a Diamond 770 this time and headed home to the workbench for the antenna autopsy.  Time to cut her open.

Now I understand, after looking at the matching section, the center conductor coil tap wire is burned through.  Why? I only have a Kenwood D710 running 50 watts. Never had any power on her other than that.

Owell, here is what the tap wire looks like when it's burned through, and the loading coil inside the case, which I chopped open with my dremel.  I may even use this in a future project, once I fix it!  NMO mount is good and the whip threads arent too clean but will work.


Here is the SWR sweep made with my AIM4170, showing the new antenna whip, which is a Diamond NR770HNMO


I teach all 3 classes, tech general and extra, and here is part 1 of 5, talking my way through Gordo's tech class book.  If you know someone working on their Tech license, this might help them out.


I am working on the General next, then, maybe the Extra last.


A Quick first attempt at Amazon self publishing, hope this helps someone! http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IB4AT1M

My son and I headed for HRO the day after Christmas and bought a couple of Kenwood 72a APRS dualbander handhelds to get started.

On 6/19/12 I went online with an APRS IGate/digipeater using a ft-2900 rig, with a Tinytrak4, along with Linux XASTIR.

By the way, hams getting into Linux seems to be growing.  Check out this great resource if you are interested.   http://http://www.linux.com/learn/tutorials/784060-the-complete-beginners-guide-to-linux

I still love building antennas and recently built a couple 2.4ghz yagi 15 element beams, for b/g wifi and hsmm-mesh now AREDN mesh networking techology. I have a 10 node mesh running Ubiquiti hardware of all types, Nanostation, NanoBridge, Bullett and  AirRouter, and finally got my Asterisk VOIP phone system to work on the Mesh..very very neat!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aL_0nu83MCU


Also in the mobile is a Linux Zoneminder DVR for front and back cameras and both systems are running on a pair of Raspberry Pi machines.

My Mesh services configuration looks like this:


Decided to put up a little how-to book on Amazon.

here is what our local area looks like. ALREZ, NH6WR and my AG6IF node, then to Dave's KE6UPI node.  We are hoping to connect to many more nodes and OCMesh, Lake Elsinore and into San Diego soon.



Or how about a super stealthy 2m 440 SLOT antenna made from a parabolic dish like the ones used by 2 of the common satalite tv networks.  A 41 inch slot cut into it, with a feedline center mounted on one side, and the shield on the other side of the slot.  This one can be mounted on your house, and no one is the wiser.  A video showing the tuning and feed line connection here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I144kzJxzDA   and a picture here...once it's painted grey again, the marks will be gone.


2/26/12 Checking out the winsystem.org series of repeaters, very cool system created by Shorty K6JSI and his team . I have already talked around the world on a linked repeater system. (Japan, HI,Au,UK)

The photo below is how I take my 2 meter antenna to 12,000 feet, 1965 Mooney M20E.

HF now, I just acquired a beautiful Yaesu FT847. Got myself a simple end-fed zep 160-6m outside, fed by a YT-847 from LDG. Also will be setting up my shack as a solar powered operation using AGM batts (RG-35A Concorde) and a backup power supply 400-12 Megawatt switcher.

One of the first things is to build a solar powered shack using all portable design, so the shack power supply can go to the field..

My "Solar Generator" power plant consists of (2) clean Concorde 35 AGM batteries mounted internally, additional batts mounted externally. A 36 amp RF-quiet switching 13.8v power supply, 15 port PowerPole distribution panel from grumpyshop.net with overvoltage and undervoltage protection, a 30amp 12/24v Solar charge controller, Solar panels at $1.90 a watt are used and I have 5-20-20-40-40-100-100-100-100 for total of 525 watts. The go-box also has (7) 12volt Cig style power plugs (for charging cell phones, tablets, HTs or power sharing), (2) USB outlets, a Voltmeter, A solar amp meter, an 800 watt 120 volt inverter. All mounted conveniently in a rolling suitcase. If needed, the switching power supply comes on (grid tied) and runs the loads, rigs, all accessories, and charges up the batteries as well. Remotely mounted batteries and or automotive alternator are connected via 30amp Anderson power pole cables to extend runtime indefinately when needed.

2 of my 20 watt panels, not shown are the 40's and the 5watt panel..

Why did I buy 100 100 100 100 40 40 20 20 instead of all 100 watters? I can grab 1 or 2 and the go bag and leave the rest to run the shack!  
A couple of the 20 watt panels are easy to grab and go if needed.


Here is the power chart, and the effect of cleaning the panels with a little blast from the hose.


I built a go-box which has built in battery, powerpole junction, APRS with a GPS station display, packet radio, a dual band crossbander and a radio shack linear, all in a nice little inexpensive Harbor freight case.


Shack Pics.. About 2012.  From the left, Echolink node V271 Kenwood and a HP thin client PC behind monitor and DRF Technologies VOIP TNC connected to a 2m Yagi pointing at the Club repeater about 10 miles away. Next is the APRS Digi IGate using a TinyTrak4, Yaesu FT-2900 and Dell Laptop. A ZMX862 Mixer lets me adjust the audio level and quality to the Echolink box. To the right is my Yaesu FT-847 and YT-847 Autotuner and PSK31/JT65/rtty and other digital modes from this laptop sound card, Stacked is the FT-2600 Packet radio and Kantronics 9612+ TNC, topped off with my 2m/440 rig, FTM-10R.

Under the right side stack of radios on the floor, is my Solar generator system and power distribution, mounted in a rolling suitcase.

All of this except for the 2 laptops and monitor are powered by my Solar generator, which is backed up by a quiet RF 36 amp switching power supply which is only used when needed (not often) If needed, a 120v Inverter mounted inside the solar system will allow 100% operation of everything, albeit at low efficiency.

Current shack pic 09-2014, had to build up a bit, not any room left to right.

Had to have a new desk in shack 2017-01...nice to spread out! 

From left, Echolink on a Kenwood 261 running on a hp thin client-bonus 12volt power.

30m APRS Robust-Packet on Icom IC718 with SCS tracker feeding 12ft mag loop tuned to 10.147.300 (pics on site) 

A Heathkit M2420 Frequency counter, Alto 5 channel Mixer, with  output going to wireless RECOTON speaker system with speakers placed throughout the house and shop.

Packet radio,  Kantronics 9612 feeding FT2600 on 145.05mhz.

Shack PC is a Dell e6510 running digital, 2 APRS Xaster images, WSJTX twice and FLDIGI and 8 USB connections, plus a Donner sound card interface.

Behind the laptop is the wireless speaker.  Above is ADI 220mhz and IRLP node 7991.

To the right, a 6 channel "Bob's mixer from Hamnation" to merge the radios into a single channel on my Alto mixer.  Below a Kenwood 805 for IRLP-10 watts on 446.400 pl100, and  2m APRS iGate on 144.390fm on Yaesu a Ft2900.

To the right, an Ultimate Beacon on 10.142mhz(100mw), look for it on WSPR.net. 

The heart of my shack, the Yaesu Ft847 and autotuner feeding 40m loop Talented Balun, Mag loop 10-40 homebrew and a MD100 Mic. (looking for a Heil PR40)

Next, a Kenwood d710, Yaesu Ft897 and Signalink used for 6 meter (see 6 meter 3DFL antenna here) and the cause for needing a new desk, is the Ameritron 811.

Below the desk, 320 amp hours of 12 volt AGM batteries which, depending on how much transmitting is happening, may run the shack for 8 to 10 hours.

To the right is my "solar generator" featured on site, contains 80 amp hours, 400 watt switching power supply, 800w inverter and this feeds the battery banks from the grid.

Here is a night-shack picture..


I am in a subdivision with CC&Rs. Here is my ground mounted Copper Jpole for local repeater work, and my ground mounted Yagi as the link antenna for the echolink - repeater RF (for AG6IF-R echolink node).

On 06-30-13, I replaced the Echolink Yagi, (middle pic) with a full wave folded loop,(right pic) and it works just as good, zero path noise, front to back S readings, s7 to s0, yes, zero on the back side. Not bad from a supposed "omni" design.

Note, you must make sure not to mount in a location consistant with a "NODE" No Deflection location. (search up my callsign on youtube) or click here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLUNq6Pv-gM

My packet antenna below, is difficult to photograph,it is about 19 feet long. The white stick you see is at the balance point (middle) and is what the antenna is resting on. It is a 3/4 PVC pipe, sched 40, with a T connector on top that is sliced horizontally to make a nice CUP for the center spine of the KLM to rest in.

It is a KLM-2m-22c, is a satalite antenna designed to be tower mounted, but for now, I am using is "ground mounted", about 2 feet in the air for my packet 2m station. It works great!! Jump on Sat night packet net on BRKNRG and Sunday 8pm unproto net in California. My path from SoCal to Bay area is PALMTN,TWNPKS,SBMTNS,BRKNRG,KBULN,KBERR,WOODY,KLIVE

I have swapped a full wave folded loop in place of the KLM now too, (see Echolink pic above, identical)


I picked up a 220 ADI mobile rig at the BOZO Fest, after replacing the mic, I needed a 220 antenna of some sort.  So I used a BNC bananna plug and cut a couple 1/4 wave copper wires (12.1 inches each) and cinched them down on the assembly.  Placed vertically, it is working excellent.



I am a Member of the Golden Triangle Radio Club in Riverside County, and a board member, a MAKER and I joined OMISS, member 8196, and the Bozo net #497.  For fun I own and fly a 1965 Mooney M20E aircraft and my day job is managing a hospital IT organization and playing with computers, especially Linux.

Within a month of getting my ticket, I am getting started on HF, thanks to my 2 Elmers, Dave W6ODF and George AF6JT.

George loaned me a AIM 4170B and with this, I am building a Delta Loop for 40m. The AIM has allowed me to try dozens of configurations.

Dave took me in and loaded me up with wire, Lugs and other connectors, and anything else I needed to get started.

I finished a 40meter Horiz delta loop, it ended up being 131' 7" long, apex at 14' 7" feet, down to 6' 1" feet. Right side = 25', Base=55', and Left side = 51.5'

I also wound up a bunch of baluns, air core, and various ferrite cores, and an experimental air core 2:1 version which I am using all the time now, is quite a bit better than all the others I have made.

The Loop is magic, You can see the AIM sweep here, pretty nice on 40 20 15 12 and 10. Not shown but with the tuner, works on 80 30 17 and 6

The 1to4 aircore balun is shown below, but the Talented Balun is the 2.5 to 1, much better for a loop than a 4 to 1 as the loop characteristic impedance is closer to 117.

Neat video here showing why a transmission line match is very important


My wife just ordered a 4170C for me, I am sooo lucky!!

If you look carefully at this antenna plot from the AIM4170 below, you will see good dip, swr and res. at 40m, 20m, 15m, and 10m...This means one antenna for 4 bands. I have made contacts all over the world in 2 or 3 short months that I have been a ham.

As of 04262012 I have made multiple contacts to New Zealand, nearly 7000 miles..! On 20m psk31, and phone in 12m. In May-June, (3) contacts to Australia, 8200+ miles away...Kenya, almost 10,000 miles!! wow, fun stuff. Using 1 watt, over 6000 miles is becoming commonplace.

June 1st, made 3 qrp contacts, Chile, Argentina and Brazil on 1 and a half watts using the 40m loop. I link to Youtube for the Brazil 1 watt contact is below.

I have put out plenty of vids on youtube, just search up my callsign. Here is a QRP, 1 watt, almost 1800 miles. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhHDHs6Yl0U

Just as I'm amazed with 1 watt...here is 1/10 of a watt...yes, 0.1 watt, 6000+ miles.. amazing!� https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylhC0fn5zLs

Loops are really magical, The construction of this antenna Loop is made from .030 aluminum welding wire from Home Depot. A spool goes for about $11 and contains about 1,200 feet of wire, enough for (2) 160 meter loops or 10+ 40m loops.. (see pic below with a powerpole connector shown for size reference).

Some say a loop will work great without being perfectly tuned, and they would be correct based on my experience, however, if you tune them up by trimming precisely, for a specific frequency like mine is, (7.035 and 14.070), you can really see the difference when working PSK31, alot more stations show up in the waterfall!!!

Also, Baluns for loops have a little problem, what is it? I'l tell you what it is, The loop is not 200 ohms, so a 4/1 balun is the wrong application for a loop i fyou are trying for 50 ohms. Why then do so many people use a 4 to 1? That is a mystery to me. Yes, It will work, but so does my metal patio cover, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNOM84P0nJY&list=UUr5ouUbdqeWjDX_VP7Hf6fA&index=10

So, expanding a bit on the patio cover concept, as many many people cannot put up an antenna due to restrictions.  The matching aspect is where the magic needs to happen and that is what I am working on.  On Frank's tech net (IRLP 9731) 7AM PST daily, on Keller repeater, many times lately the conversation strays to the patio cover or chain link antenna..LOL

Here are 2 sweeps which show SWR from 1mhz to 30mhz with 2 different designs...I'm getting closer.  Right now, I can work 160 with less than 1.5/1 , 80m isnt great, but above that, it is pretty good..definately tunable.



This sweep is the latest design try, no counterpoise 160-6 under 5 to 1 and near 2 to 1 in many parts of the HF band.

For a Loop, a 2.5 ratio balun works much better in my testing, so I started down the path to create a better matching balun.. About 2.4-2.5 is about perfect.

The balun that I am using is a two and a half to one air core homebrew, fed with RG8x coax, and almost invisible .030 aluminum wire.

Aerial shot of my HF loop layout

I have done lot of experimenting with Balun designs. Here is a pair of typical 4/1 Aircore baluns, and below that one itteration of a toroid version, Ferrite t200 mix core balun. The Aircore design is much better in my opinion and for now, I have abandonded Toroid design efforts..

Below is the Talented Balun 2.5 to 1 that I am using on the delta loop, works much better than a 4/1 and decided to sell a few in the Talented Balun, and a few reviews on Eham..


Here is the nearly finished Talented Balun assembly, These work exceptionally well, & after building a few for some local hams, someone wanted to "buy" one instead of building it, so I might as well give it a name, 'AG6IF Talented Balun', and offer it for sale on ebay.

Interesting in seeing the effeciency compared to a commercial balun?  V-in and V-out,  the same.


I'm thinking about donating some of these to Boy Scout camps that wish to erect a permanent antenna, know anyone?  Please send me an email.


This is the 40m-10m sweep on the first try

This is the sweep after some tuning for 20 and 40m for near perfect resonance on psk31 7.035 and 14.070.

Both 15m and 17m also have a nice SWR dip and work great with no tuner needed.

I lost my 10m perfection though, The nice SWR dip for 10m moved right, and extends to the right of the band now. Owell, it still works on 10m just not as well, compromises compromises!.

And, here is how to bring that 10m area back into the band very nicely!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EP_O6snF7WY

Here is a zoomed in image of 20m. Resonant at 14.070 and 1.1 to 1 swr at 14.070 also, 40 looks about the same.

Here is the 48 foot loop wire for 17meters using the Talented Balun

Here is an 80 meter loop AIM sweep with Talented Balun, 260ft wire:

Loop tweeking and tuning documented here in 3 part series.




The performance is excellent, here in the pskreporter.info printscreen, my transmission

is heard by Portugal and Australia, almost 14,000 miles apart with 5 watts.

And comments here from an owner of my Balun Loop combo:

And another comment from Talented Balun user:

I now use a new Kenwood Ts 590 with a ameritron Als 600 amplifier.
I very rarely use the amp.don't need it.
90 % of my dx contacts are barefoot with 100 watts and I receive s9
or better. When the signaled are weak I turn on the amp and run 650 watts no problem.
I got a report or 20 db over s9 this morning from Paris France on ten meters with 100 watts !
Got a report earlier this week of 20 over from Saudi Arabia ! again with 100 Watts .
That loop is amazing.

A couple of eham reivews here...loops are good clean fun!!http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/10676

And another nice review/article here: http://http://www.eham.net/articles/30860


I have been playing with a folded full wave loop design, the author calls it a 3DFL, 3 dimensional folded loop.

Here is a 2m version. Made from:

(6) 7.5 inch, (2) 3 inch, || (2) 2 inch or (2) 2.5 inch for thin walled copper || (2) 5-7/8 and (1) 12 inch, 12 elbows, feedline center to top of seam and shield to bottom of the seam.

I use a electrical box and mount over the seam/gap, with the SO239 connector trapped under the cover as shown. (see close up below)

The picture shows sheet metal screws, but soldering the joints together produce a better antenna, and much more sturdy

Close up of the feed point that I deployed, simple solid and works great. Note the 2 screws in the sides of the plastic box, one each to each side of the copper pipe. The cover traps the connector to keep it held solid without vibration in order to keep the soldered connections healthy. 14ga stranded wire from center to top, and shield to bottom of antenna structure. If you notice the extra solder 'blobs' on the copper, this is where I tried and then moved the feed point connection on the copper closer to the end points.

Here is part 1 of a 3 part video series showing my tuning steps when working with the thin walled copper.  Note, you tune this antenna by adjusting the little 2.5 inch stubs on the lower turnup, NOT by adjusting the feedpoint attach point like you do with a jpole.


Scaled up a 6 meter version and it works great.  I have it sitting on a pvc frame, on the ground and make contacts all over with it.  Recently, worked a station 70 miles away, and on the other side of a small mountain...amazing!

I get this question alot, what are the dimensions for this or that band..., here is an email from a ham who has built some of the folded antennas.

Used with permission:

Hello, wondering if you would share the copper pipe dimensions for the 6 M folded loop?  I have built several of your 2 M folded loops and they work very well in difficult situations.  One of our club Hams is in a basement apartment with only a short wall exposure to an enclosed courtyard and no access for an outside antenna.  He was struggling with whips and j poles.  I built one from your design, tuned it up and gave it to him to hang from his one window – and it works well enough to hit the primary repeater in our area reliably.  He is a lonely guy, you made his world a little bigger!  Another of your design is at our EMO acting as a temporary indoor antenna for a UHF link for Wires-X, works OK but not spectacular – but no other indoor antenna came close!
Anyway, would like to try building a 6 M loop and would like to start with your dimensions.  Thanks for sharing Walter Dutcher, P.E. N2ZVP Drumlins ARC, Wayne County NY!

OK, here is a pic of the plans in my notebook.  dims are as follows, going all the way around.  Note, seperate one of the long 35 inch pieces for the feed point, remote about 1/4inch to 1/2 inch.  In the photo is a prototype of a 2.3 ghz model of the 3dfoldedloop that I am tinkering with..nice for drones or even wifi.

Dims are in inches.  11,24,35,24,9,23,9,24,35,24,11,23


This was nice, alot of good comments about the antenna's performance too.


A friend asked me to help tune up a nice copper dipole that he had built.  The 3 pics below show the effects of trimming.  He started with 2 10 foot sections, 10 on the left and 10 on the right.  Pic 1 shows the start point and the initial cut of 2 inches.  (I am very timid with cutting to much, when it's someone elses copper.  :-)  He made 6 cuts in all with me on the ground running the AIM and he and his new-tech son working the tubing cutter up on the mast.  You will see, the swr sweet spot is nearly centered with great swr right on the 10 meter band. The red line is the SWR sweep, purple is the capacitive and inductive readings..


multiple cuts 2 inches, 2, 5, 5, 4, 3, 2 if I recall

the final sweep here, 1.18/1 swr and resonant in 2 places in the band..excellent bandwidth with the entire band below 1.5 to one.


New!! 30 Meter West coast APRS iGate on line, on 10.147.300 using Robust Packet or RPS and SCS tracker.
I built a 30m Magnetic loop, purchased a used Icom 718 and a SCS tracker from Farallon, cables too, and got it up and running.
Using my existing Xastir APRS machine currently running local 2m APRS gate (AG6IF-1), just added the new TNC to the Interfaces and like magic, run runs well!

I have gated quite a few APRS packets from N1ZZZ already, here is a sample from the Med.

AG6IF-1 17 2013-11-08 17:30:08 2013-11-17 22:03:13 JM37LG>DM13LL 6363.1miles 316? 2013-11-08 17:30:08

SWR sweep here of the STL 30m APRS loop. Resonant at 10.147.7 and I can push the cap just a tiny bit to tweak that to perfection, future project.

Here is the latest sweep after a slight tweek of the tuning capacitor. Dial freq. 10.147.300 USB tones are centered on 1500, 500hz wide, which is 1500-250 and 1500+250. Having to decide where to tune, either 10.148.800 center, or 10.148.550 left edge or 10.149.050 right edge. This will do, there is no PERFECT spot.

Here is a long distance packet that I was able to Gate from N1ZZZ at 6363 miles from the Med to Southern California.

Oh, and you cant fight mother nature, notice the APRS "path" between N1ZZZ's ship and a HB9 station in Germany on the last packet. Note, went to Germany instead of a much closer path to any number of iGate stations only a couple hundred miles away. Doesn't it make you say "WHY?" My Robust Packet iGate is the lower left, in Southern California.

Mag loops are very high voltage antennas and can have many thousands of volts present accross the capacitor even with QRP power.

As I watched my station performance, I noticed that my analyzer showed the antenna SWR very nicely adjusted, but the radio's swr meter was showing much higher value.

OK, so I decided to investigate this. To make a long story short, I eventually pulled the capacitor out of the copper tubing and found that the end had been arc'ing and sparking.

Of course, voltage will jump about 1 inch for 10,000 volts and .2 inches for 2000 volts. I calculated that my loop should have been about 3,900 volts at 100 watts The distance from the center conductor to the copper tube was .187/2 or about 93 thousands of an inch. (see picture below of the burnt end of the dielectric which came from the center of RG213. For the new capacitor, I carefully center punched the copper conductor right on the end, and drilled it about .250 down, and placed a dollip of glue in the hole. Hoping the gule isn't conductive, but this should keep the arcing in check. Isn't ham radio fun?!

Center drill the center conducter 1/4 inch or a little more and so far, seems to have solved the arcing problem at 100 watts, like this: ignore the dims.


New magloop on the air, 3/4 copper, 12 foot around, and a 40-200pf high voltage air variable. so far so good..although very sensitive to tune still.  Cap is approx 93pf at 10.147.300

If you lay the magloop on it's side, then you have horizontal polarization.

The tuning capacitor is critical in a Mag Loop due to the high voltage, this one calculates to nearly 4000 volts, and the insulation on a piece of wire is even critical..seen here, the current / voltage arc'd right through.

A vacuum variable would be better, however they are very pricey, and many of the used ones might be less than perfect,  and I have so far held off on purchasing one of these.

Rain rain go away.


10meter mag loop, 1 foot dia or 3.141 feet around, I leave it tuned to our club frequency, and recently added a on-sale from Radio shack rotator on the base. works great!



This last trip with N1ZZZ on this antenna yielded the following: 5947 miles (I was hoping for better)

AG6IF-4   208 2014-08-12 17:48:56 2014-08-26 20:36:45 HI39TA > DM13LL 5947.2 miles 304°

2014-08-12 17:48:56


A recent cross country trip with 2 meter APRS showed 3 areas that need some additional iGates, shown by 3 red arrows and the track is in Pink.....anyone in these 3 areas (arrowed) could really help the community by setting one up!   Southern Iowa, OK and NorthWest Texas, and Arizona/New Mexico border area.  30 meter would have extraordinary coverage of course.



I am having alot of fun with JT65 on HF and finding that the 6 foot high loop is working better than ever with QRP, 1 watt for JT65

Here is a screenshot of PSKREPORTER.INFO showing flags all over the planet, which heard my transmission with only 1 watt.


A bit more about my fun with JT65 on Youtube.


Block diagram below is now 520 watts of solar power. Solar runs my APRS rig/TT4, Icom718 with SCS tracker for Robust-packet on 10.147.300. Echolink radio/machine/interface, APRS iGate on 2 meters, and a packet radio station on 145.050 plus my rigs, my HT's, iPhone/iPad, and laptops.l A power supply comes on if the batts become depleated due to heavy transmitting load, at night. See *** below for most excellent upgrade in strategy.



OK, so here is how I fixed my smc-34 kenwood microphone for my HT. It had terrible audio reports, low audio level and I was not happy with that.

I looked closely at the mic and found that the element is hidden inside, and no grill is in front of it, in fact, a fake grill made from dimples that do not go all the way through the plastic housing are blocking the sound from reaching the little element inside.. I'd like to talk to the design engineer that thought this was a good idea....I dont get it. But alas, I can fix it, here is what I did.

Remove volume knob from front, 3 screws on back, and remove back. Then remove 2 screws from the board inside and carefully lift out the board. The Mic element has a couple layers of black tape on it, and the pocket where the element fits into has a couple more layers of stuff, along with a complete plastic circle...removed all of that. Next, I discovered that the little mic holes in the front of the case, were fake, they were dimples instead, so I drilled out all 8 of them with a tiny drill bit. Re-assemble the board and the back, also, removed the O-ring from the volume knob..now it turns easier. Hey, now the sound can get to the element and the quality is much louder, and much more Kenwood like... Good luck!!


SDR radio on the cheap..fun!! "E4000" chipset, do not buy the e4000 "compatible" fit-something-or-other chipset, it isn't compatible enough for the SDR assignment.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rreK47jcdpQ This is the unit that I bought


Sound samples, nicely done, listen with your RTL-SDR  http://www.rtl-sdr.com/tag/c4fm/

Packet radio? Yep..I sure do..I just set up a station on 145.050 in Temecula area..MUST EXPLORE ALL ASPECTS OF HAM RADIO!! I am using a donated 9612+ kantronics, a ebay FT-2600 along with homebrew cables and antenna.

*** Since my solar system had a little more capacity than I was using, I decided to switch to a grid tie arrangement, and run the shack batteries directly from the grid all the time. After all, the solar was still finding its way to the shack, and this way, I get to use all of the suns power. I was not satisfied that I couldnt get a look at the output via the web so....

I bought a killawatt device to plug the grid tie inverter to it, now I can see the wattage from the panels, next I modified the killawott, placing a XBee transmitter inside, so I could send the volts and amps every 2 seconds over the XBee link on 400mhz. My reciever, also an XBee device sends the data to a webserver that I have, and it graphs the wattage on a nice webpage here and here is what it all looks like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84t0S0IE6CI

How to program a simple repeater into a UV5R from the keypad? Everything I read online is wrong. Here is what worked for me..

The Elusive UV5r keypad programming instructions.,
I show how to put a single repeater frequency into a memory location. Substitute your own values for your particular repeater.

I will use 146.805 - PL 100 repeater into memory 41.
Step by step keystrokes.

Press V/M to select VFO mode
Press A/B button to select VFO A
Press Band for 2m band (in this case)
Press menu 1 menu down-arrow until 5k, menu exit
Press menu 2 menu down-arrow for high, menu exit
Press menu 13 menu down-arrow until 100, menu, exit
(for tone sql Press menu 11 menu, down-arrow until 100, menu exit)
Press menu 25 menu down-arrow until - , menu, exit
Press menu 26 menu, 00600 menu, exit
Press A/B button to select VFO A
Press 146805
Press menu 27 menu, down-arrow to chan41, menu, exit
Press 146205
Press menu 27 menu, down-arrow to chan41, menu exit

That's it, substitute your frequency, pl, shift, offset values, note, you must calculate the frequency of the offset manually just like I did in the last step. 146.805 minus 600k offset is going to be 146.205.

Note, you cannot change any parameter in a pre-programmed channel such as a PL tone. If you must change something, you must delete the channel and re-add it from scratch. Even something as simple as turning off/on tone, or turning on tone-sql, into a pre programmed channel, it will show up correctly in the menu, but will not take effect in operation.

Also, I set menu21 to NAME for VFOA and menu22 is FREQ for VFOB, easy to see both name and freq if needed.


Next up, 2nd IF filter problem? Scratchy crackly receive or deaf radio? Maybe you have this problem along with thousands of others. (see link). So, it comes down to this, the LTM450FW ceramic filter that is used in many rigs, clearly shows in the datasheet that a blocking cap is needed to avoid putting DC bias voltage on the filter. If not done, the filter will fail soon enough, crackly receive is the most obvious sympton, even with antenna unplugged. http://sv8ym.blogspot.co.uk/2010/07/mysterious-case-of-withering-filters.html http://sv8ym.blogspot.co.uk/2010/07/mysterious-case-of-withering-filters.html

I have ordered a qty of LTM450FW (63 cents) and, a supply of 0603 .1uf 50v smd caps, (1 cent), to fix my FT2900 when it eventually breaks, and to fix my FTM-10r which has the disease right now. C'mon all you MFG's, its only a penny to eliminate this problem forever during production by adding a blocking cap, and $50 to $100 repair bill to fix it 'when' the filter fails. In my case it's only 64 cents and some of my time, however, I am very cautious now about buying anything new, knowing this problem is lurking under the cover.

The FTM-10 and FT2900 have similar front ends, this is the schematic for the 2900. When the filter fails, I will replace it, and then add 2 DC blocking Caps as shown 0603 smd .1uf 50v should do the trick. CF1002 in the 2900 and CF1402 in the FTM10r

By the way, the NARROW filter has the same problem, seen right above the WIDE filter...the fix is the same, replace it when it fails and add blocking caps to that one also. My 10 has crackly recieve on both wide and narrow, so I conclude that both have failed, but I do not use narrow for anything and will not be swapping it at this time. (it's a different filter part number also). Here is the repair, filter swap, on my FTM10R on youtube 4 vids in all.





While I'm on radio fixing, I do not like working on radios, but I have this Alinco dr-610 that I bought on Ebay. I have already fixed the display and made a couple knobs, but it's a pretty nice radio, does cross band and good audio, and the mic cord is like new. Well, It developed a intermittent power-out on 2m and I was just going to just sell it for parts, but instead started to look into the s-av17 power module problems. You can buy one for $55 or a used one for $35. Seems many people have fixed them. So I opened up the radio, found the sav17 and cracked the case open, breaking 2 of the traces in the process, but I found the 'crack' that everyone talks about, more like a cold solder joint, and I fixed that. Then went and fixed the 2 traces that I broke with the screwdriver prybar I was using, and now it seems to be working.

Here is a pic of the sav17 module that has the cover removed. My self inflicted damage is on the left vertical trace and the lower left corner. The failure in the module is mid way between left and right, along the bottom. You can see my ham fisted work if you look closely. Could they have made this "power module" any more complex? sheesh

I really enjoy working QRP, turning down my FT847 all the way, and seeing how far I can communicate. The digital modes make this entirely possible and this weekend I made a number of contacts on 1 watt, and even one here at 1/10 of a watt http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vQxz8aNhC4

The power meter did not even move as I was entirely out of the pass band while using JT9. I'm going to call it 0.1 watts for HI which was about 6100+ miles. Check it out!

My son bought me a wspr receiver (weak signal propagation reporter) that I quickly assembled, its running part time as I toy with the best antenna on 30m that both hides well, hears well...right now it's running on a end fed zep type antenna wrapped around the back yard, laying on the ground. (I hears a few signals believe it or not)

RF Tap Box, Watching Hamnation episode 110, Bob Heil K9EID showed his RF tap for feeding a scope. I decided to build one and here it is.

AG6LR bought me a Ultimate3 WSPR beacon from HansSummers.com. I put up a 30m beacon. Its' a nice kit, well thought out, plug in Filters for any band you want to work, and many modes besides WSPR. Very nicely done, and reasonable pricing also. I ordered a Adafruit GPS module for it also. It makes a nice synchronizer, timing, frequency adjustment and the Adafruit GPS accepts 5v with it's internal regulator. (model 716)

Just finished building an IRLP node, #7991, using� a UV5R as a link radio.� The COS signal can be picked off the main board with a little bit of careful soldering.� NOTE, to eliminate a bunch of tones and voices which come out of the UV5R, set both memory 8 and 14 to OFF.

So far so good!!� https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sz3AP6h6Ldg

Feel free to use the node if you are in the neigborhood (Temecula area)

446.400 with a PL of 100

This system is really neat, instead of Internet Radio Linking Project, I think it should be called 'IT REALLY LINKS PEOPLE'  :-)

Helping out our friends at Outdoor Adventure USA Net by offering to VE a test session. W6ODF, N6XSZ and I jumped in my 'Car' and headed to the meeting place at an exit on the 10 freeway. We would would follow Dave, K6DTK off road down a simple trail to the meeting place.  Oh, I am driving a Crown Victoria, and the trail is 10 miles out a Jeep Trail into the desert. Good thing he had a well equipped Hummer. We made it out, made a few new hams, and back to pavement again, thanks to his expertise, and tow straps. LOL Had a blast Dave!  By the way, check out Dave's very interesting Thursday night net on IRLP reflector 9251, Outdoor Adventure USA net,  7pm PST, always interesting. (oausa.net)


Birthday in the ham shack, hand made cards from my grandaughters, picked up codes 73 and 88, and I'm pretty sure that is a Heil Mic. :-)



I just added a brand new Yaesu FT-991 to my mobile, and now I must embark on the best mobile antenna that I can afford.  I want a HI-Q but for now, going to get up and running with a CA-UHV multi bander..more to follow!

Mounted a Harvest UHV-6 on the lip of the trunk, fitted with a 40m coil, 20m coil and a 10m coil.


Here is what the Radio and laptop looks like in the business end of the setup.


Now that I can remote-desktop into my cars psk31 laptop (via AREDN mesh network), which is connected to the radio, I can do a side by side comparison from the shack big loop, and the car's little setup.   Very nice that I can work my mobile from anywhere in the southern california Mesh, as long as I am connected,  Fun!


I am having a blast working MOBILE HF for JT65...Indonesia, almost 9000 miles MOBILE!!

Food Section.   We need energy in the form of battery power, but we also need water storage and food too.

My wife is really dialing into a good process for food storage..basic strategy, store food you like to eat, easy to create and store, and easy to continually roll into your meal plan.

After a trip to Honeyville and looking at all the benefits of freeze-dried food, she has created a series of reallygood meals, that are storage in glass jars, and good for 5 to 7 years.   Of course, they never get that old because a few times a month, we pull a jar and use it.   Good stuff!!  Besides Honeyville, WinCo has a whole section on freeze dried foot, potatos are great and cheap, and believe it or not, tomato soup is awesome when mixed up and served.

This is going to be a regular part of my mini-tech day...hams must eat right!

Tomato Soup for 16


creamed corn and potato casserole for 4-6 people.

Sausage and biscuits for 4  (super yummy)

Potato Cheese Sausage Casserole for 6


red beans and rice..for 4 to 6

When we live in southern California, it's good to be able to meet Will Anderson AA6DD and attend one of his 6 meter T hunts.  He is a wealth of knowledge,  and a really nice person too.   4/8/17 was his first event of the year, and here is my path, from start to finish.  19.9 miles traveled and Will loaned me a high performance military surplus loop directional antenna which was working fine.  Copilot today was Mr Preparedness himself, Ellis KJ6FUW, and the hider was Frank KE6VHM in his buggy.


My original bearing was about 92 degrees, and the actual bunny (Frank) was here, and Voacap shows 97 degrees.  ok..fun!

I found an AT-249/GRD for sale, and it works great..with a little practice, I'l be more ready next time!  This unit looks brand new, with documentation and booklets that have never been opened from their packaging (dated 1953).  A fine piece of engineering and, a military antique too.

Here is the process:  Hearing the bunny, adjust the freq. to max signal, rotate antenna to determine 2 bearings which are 180 degrees from each other.  Throw the sense switch, and find the strongest signal from the 2 which was 180degrees apart. Using the arrow, that is the direction to find the bunny.  Lastly, throw the Sense switch back off and then rotate 90 degrees and hunt with the Null as it is much narrower.  When you get in close, adjust the attenuator as needed to keep the S meter somewhere in the middle or the null intact.  Simple!   Southern California, AA6DD has a hunt twice a year, its alot of fun, in the area?  Come out and play.  (see Will's QRZ page for info)



I have never seen a station change callsigns mid-stream..notice that I'm working kk6DOA but one of the transmissions show the call as KK8DOA...   Interesting!



I am current President of Golden Triangle Amateur Radio Club  GTARC, (taking my turn in the barrel).  

Ham radio clubs run on the efforts of their members, board members, and friends, and they remain viable by continuously bringing in new members and giving them a hand up.  Yes, it is important to build that dipole for the 500th time.  How else do the new ones learn?

When I had the opportunity to speak to Christian Cudnik from "100 watts and a wire" fame about our Radio Club, I quickly scheduled a interview for the show with my Elmer, W6ODF Dave.  Today 6/9/17 we got together on Skype with Christian and talked for a while for an upcoming show....what an interesting discussion.  Dave, a ham for almost 70 years now, obtained his license in 1951 and having spent a few years in the Air Corps in Burma fixing and modifying aircraft radios then an entire career with Hughes building satellites and communications systems, you might start to have an idea how interesting this interview was.  :-)   Very proud to know Dave and share our hobby together..   By the way, my 100WattsandaWire # is 1564.

You can find all of Christian's podcasts here,   http://100wattsandawire.com/100-watts-and-a-wire/                                            as we wait for our session to appear in a future episode, thanks to K0STH for a great program series.

If you have your General ticket and need something to do on weekdays at 5pm PST, jump on 7.213 LSB and say hi to the group holding the Do-Nothing-Net  web is www.D-N-N.com    A great bunch of guys.  Sometimes net controller Frank KE7LK invited me to stop by and say hi when I was traveling through the area.   Great guy, great ham and a great Air Force veteran pilot too.   (remember I'm a Mooney Pilot so I can at least stand in awe of this man's accomplishments.)

this section will be dedicated to setting up my new mobile shack.

So, it begins, new mobile platform, Ford Expedition.  Time to move 3 radios, HF VHF, UHF, 1.25m and APRS along with  3 mesh nodes, a Raspberry pi Camera system, solar panels and batteries from the Crown Vic and start installing into the Expo..

Steps I will follow.  not in order

Mount antennas, I have (2) 2m440, an HF antenna, a 220 antenna, and AREDN Mesh 2.4 3.3 5.8ghz

First 3 antennas are mounted, working well so far.  Alot  of work to do.. Need power feed into cabin area. Will be mounting a rack/basket on top to hang 2 x 100w solar panels under.  This will drive the electronics while the mobile is parked.  It should also allow me to operate without running the powerplant or generator.. LOTS to do!! Follow along.. 73 Jim

install Power distribution., 8 ga from battery to the way-back.  I will tap a power pole connection along its length where needed which will  feed a 8 port power pole distribution (like a rigrunner or equiv).  One on the center console area and for sure, one in the back for adding battery banks and connecting up the solar panels.   I have been looking for a gromet without luck, but today I see a bunch of light shining right through a nice 1.5 inch hole.. Success!



A nice little gromet hole someone left for me!


into the cabin, and into the center console. 


Then a loop into the big box which is the arm rest.  I plan on tapping into this wire, soldering a pigtail on which will be outfitted with power pole, and feed my 8 port power pole distribution box.


Success, my wire at the  way back. yay!


Put it off long enough,  it is time to connect to the battery..alot of thought went into this.  I am using a pair of 50 amp breakers, one for positive and one for negative.  The 4ga wire is stripped and well tinned.   Heavy lugs go to the battery connection on + and -.

50 amp breaker for plus, also 50 amp breaker on the negatve cable too.



Next to Install basket roof rack on top, will mount AREDN antennas, 1 to 2 (100watt) panels will mount "UNDER" the rack.  A bit of a penalty in efficiency but the rack can still be loaded up and the panels are protected.

I ordered a aluminum 50 inch rack from Amazon today.

I will only have room for 1 100w panel long ways, will get that ordered and installed next.

Right now, I have a 20 30 and 40 watt panel mounteed.




Radio mounting.  I ordered a RAM mount dual 1 inch ball, mounted down in the coin pocket area.   The  medium arm is holding the d710 on a ram phone mount.  The  long arm to the right will eventually hold  my new IC-7100 via camera threaded hole in the underside of the head.  This  has been approved for purchase by the best YL that anyone could have.  

The OBD2 Tablet is mounted via the CD slot.  I am using the Torque app running on a 8" tablet, and it is bluetooth connected to the OBD port using a scantool.net interface.




Right in the middle of the build, my Expedition has began to stall randomly while driving down the road a total of 8 times in 2 weeks.  It always restarts but it's kind of scary and definatel a safety issue...so, time to GOSUB-stall-problem and work on that.

I found enormous amounts of links and posts from thousands of ford owners with a similar problem.  Vechicle stalls while driving, then usually restarts.

After researching, I realized that the fuel pump relay was likely the cause.  I took it to the dealer and the dealer cannot fix it if it isn't in the failed condition..they wanted to keep my truck for up to 3 weeks.   Sorry, that is no good.  Also, I discovered while I was there that they only replace the entire fuse panel, not just the part.

With the dozens of various relays plugged in all around the vehicle, for some reason they decided to solder the fuel pump relay on to the back of the fuse box.   replaceing the fuse box is the only option from ford, for about $700 parts and labor.

I guess they never ran into a ham before.   I will figure it out, and fix it and share.

Here is what I did.  The relay isn't avaialabe from Ford and they call it non-servicable.  The part is R303 or F8VF-BA and it is readily available online, an omrom part, about 9 dollars.

1. be safe, disconnect the battery.   remove the fuse panel by disconnecting 6 harnesses on front, 4 on the rear, and 1 single nut holds the box on from the passenger door side of the panel.  Remove the power feed cable on the firewall side of the box, and pull the box out.

2. photograph, then remove all the fuses and relays, and split open the plastic box which will expose the circuit board.  From here it is simple to replace the relay by unsoldering the old one and soldering in the new one.

3 re-assemble and reinstall the box.

4. finally, go buy yourself a new Icom IC7100 with the money you saved.  (that is what I did)

Here is where it lives, by front seat passenger foot...not hard to reach.

remove all of that, and split open the box by releasing the tabs...here is what you have left, a simple circuit board, 

here is my burnt intermittent relay, (the middle one).


All appears well after swapping the relay

and reassembling all parts.  Here are 4 videos showing this repair process.






Now we can return back to radio installing with the new 7100 which is on the way.

about the hardest part is where to mount the microphones..  I am eyeing the front of the arm rest...

ok, so the mic fit nicely on the front side of the arm rest using a piece of plastic that I had printed on my 3d printer.  The HF mic hangs behind the head on a 12ga wire hook that I folded which is hanging from the Torque OBD2 app/tablet.

It's working out nicely.  The Asterisk phone interface (grandstream 701) is mounted, the AREDN mesh nodes are mounted, side firing for now, and the Raspberry Pi2 running Zoneminder for front and back cameras is installed and running.



stay tuned!



free counters


Got the south pole KC4AAA  JT65, Fun! cant wait for the QSL card to arrive.  Did I use QRP power? Heck no!! no guts here!


ISS contact APRS, only about 250 miles high, but makes up for the closeness with FASTNESS...17000 MPH, above near the top of this page, you can find the APRS status message screen when this contact happened.

Had a nice time visiting the Queen Mary, working a few stations from the radio room, and also, making contact with the radio room from my HT.  this card is special! 


Finally after working hard for WORK ALL STATES, this card put me over the limit in eQSL for the award. (still working on QRZ WAS),   RI was tough!! Thanks Nick! And a RepRapp'r too!! Bravo!!

I just need Vermont for QRZ Work all States WAS


QSL card from Kenya, 9600 miles away...so far, that is the farthest one, amazing WOW!**

Number 2 distance wise.

(Was the) Longest QSO confirmed with QSL..! VK5NE 8214m Australia

2nd longest! Thank you VK7KT 8034m, Direct card sent..you bet!!

3rd longest from VK2MBK, 7483m thank you!! Direct qsl card sent, you bet!! And a 2nd contact with Bob VK2MBK also!!

QRP, 2 watts to Brazil, 6100 miles... amazing!!


Here is a nice little QSL from VK land, QRP 5 watt station, and on my end, MOBILE....  fun!!

and almost better than any QSL is working Val from HamNation 300+ shows special events station, W9H while watching her work the big pileup on Facebook page..thanks for the Wave Val..love the show!

about 15:30 remaining in the link below, I finally got through the sizable pileup...fun!!


or this little short snip of the video below.



2017 field day drone footage, what a blast!  Thanks Peter KK6JFS



It's very exciting to be featured on a segment of 100wattsandawire with my ELMER Dave W6ODF.


Helping with Werner's WB6RAW STEM program at Rancho Christian School (KM6ASZ) is very rewarding. 

Today the students had the great opportunity to hear Ken K6CTW talk about CW and the history and future of it.   

Ken is well known for being on the Jay Leno Show in a CW versus Texting race, in 2005


A great time learning about CW, Russian CW, and American Telegraph CW and the history of how we got where we are today.  Thank you Ken!!



The Photo below is the view from my HF balun, note just how small the loop wire is. (.030 tig wire) I use the little black sprinkler dripper tubing to make the radius around the corners. The mig wire does not like to be bent back and forth too much, so running it through the dripper tubing works just great.

In this photo, You are seeing an early prototype of the AG6IF Talented Balun, built in a tube enclosure, ( The updated unit is built in a square electrical type box, and has much easier time building, inspecting, hanging, and mounting.) I am still using this balun today. It was the first of many attempts to improve the existing baluns that I had tried. When I got it right, it worked so much better, and I could hear many more stations on psk31, I was stunned!.













8671871 Last modified: 2018-02-23 20:48:36, 92536 bytes

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United States Counties Award#289
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