Sunday, February 14, 2021

A new addition to the bench!

When I was five years old, I used to play with my father's oscilloscope. It was a massive hunk of gray metal with a round screen that I thought looked like a port window on a ship. With the flip of a switch, the screen would glow green with faint yellow lines running up and down and left and right. I used to press my face to the screen and pretend I was looking out of a submarine, hundreds of feet below the surface of the ocean, peering into the murky green waters. Unfortunately, I never saw a fish. 

Later I would twist and turn the knobs (I had no idea what I was doing) until I would see a dot zip across the screen. I discovered if I put my fingers near the little plugs on the front of the device, the dot would jump and move in strange directions. 

Now, 45 years later, I have finally purchased my own scope. It's a far cry from that old behemoth but it's still just as exciting. I've found a nice little spot on my bench (it's a WHOLE lot smaller!) and have begun to work through the setup. Unfortunately, I still don't know what I'm doing, but thanks to YouTube and my my son the engineer, I'm learning!

Friday, January 1, 2021

Testing out my new IC-7100

So I recently bought myself an IC-7100 for Christmas. The model has been around for awhile and has a fairly good reputation. It's identical to the IC-7100 the Rusk County ARC has at the OEM office, it will give me a chance to stay "in-practice" to be able to use that one.

I bought a large "gun bag" at Walmart that the fits the radio quite nicely. I took it all out to Lake Forrest Park with my BuddiPole and operated an hour or so. Made a couple of solid contacts on 20m to Minnesota and got a good report. This is my first Icom radio so it's a little new to this Yaesu user, but I'm getting the hang of it. I have not been able to use the D-Star function yet since I'm too far from a repeater. 

Saturday, September 12, 2020

New Shack Setup

I recently purchased the house next door to our and moved my mother in there. The bonus is there was a small 12'x16' shed in the backward which has been claimed as my shack. It was already insulated and had a small window unit to keep it comfortable.

I painted a couple of the walls and put carpet in the lower half as well. Eventually I was able to move in my late grandfather's desk (which is nearly 100 years old) and am using it as my radio desk. Still working on getting everything set up, but it is slowly coming together.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Camp Pirtle and my BuddiPole

Got a chance to take my BuddiePole out for a run last weekend at Camp Pirtle. The Cub Scout packs were having an adventure weekend and invited hams to setup and demonstrate ham radio.

Had several boys come by although it wasn't too busy there was also an On-The-Air Jamboree going on, so that helped a little. Had a good time and got to exercise my equipment some as well!

Friday, February 1, 2019

GPS Tracker with Pi and UV-5R

I wanted to build a cheap, easy APRS tracker with a Raspberry Pi and a Baofeng radio. Fortunately someone already did and left a trail behind! (Thanks to "Midnight Cheese" blog for the bulk of the details. The blog appears dead, so I copied much of the info here to maintain it.)

Setting up GPS

A simple USB GPS receiver will do just fine for this project. I'm using an old Microsoft USB GPS. In order for the Pi to read the GPS data we'll install gpsd.

sudo apt-get install gpsd gpsd-clients

Setting up the local web server

The main PHP script will read the gpsd information through a JSON file. We'll need to install apache and PHP to serve the JSON file locally.
sudo apt-get install apache2 -y
sudo apt-get install php5 libapache2-mod-php5 -y
Drop this file from the gpsd project into the web server directory, /var/www/ and name it gpsd.php

Execute gpsd.php from the command line to build a needed configuration file.
cd /var/www
sudo php gpsd.php
If you open a web browser on your Pi and navigate to http://localhost/gpsd.php?

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Building an HF-VHF Go Box

I've been wanting to build a go box with HF and VHF capabilities. I wanted something that I could use on a daily basis, but then pack and go quickly if I needed too.

After lots of research, I settled on a design similar to KC6TYD's design (which is very popular!) and got a TON of inspiration from this guy. I went with a Gator case with space 6-U.

I've decided to include a power supply but eventually will build a separate "power box" with options for battery, solar, and commercial mains.

I've included my FT-991 and FTM-400xDE (yes, the European version which I bought from a silent key). Also included a Jetstream power supply and an MFJ tuner along with a Wires-X controller. I put a 1-U drawer at the bottom and a Power-Pole distribution strip in the back.

Still tweaking but it works well and I am enjoying it!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Compiling new version of Flmsg

When using the built-in repositories, the newest Flmsg on Ubuntu was 2.0..something. I needed at least 4.0.6 so I had to build it from the source. I followed the instructions included in the README.txt file with a couple of additions.

1. sudo apt-get install fltk1.3 - I needed the fast light kit 1.3. Some was already installed, but additional files were needed.

2. sudo apt-get install libsamplerate0 - But this was already the newest version, so I was good.

After the make and sudo make install, Flmsg worked!