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Messages - RadioRay

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Military Radios / Re: AN/PRC-64A conversion to 80m band
« on: March 14, 2018, 10:14:15 PM »
I do.  80 meters was a simple matter of adding crystals for TX/RX and peaking the stages per-the manual.  At the time I also crystalled in for the BBC ( long dead on that and most frequencies, these days, I am afraid. ) and use it in AM with great results.  I think I remember I had to mod it for forty meters, but a published spec on one site says it goes to 8 MHz another to only 6 MHz: I believe the '6' is correct. Power is going to require a home brew solution; 24'ish VDC for the transmitter power amplifier and 4.5 (?) for the receiver.   This is from memory and it's bee a long time. Mine came from Oz - surplused out from the very physically fit fellows in Perth ;-)

>RadioRay ..._  ._

Ps. Manuals on-line at this link:

Military Radios / Re: Czech Military RF-10 Radio.
« on: January 15, 2018, 06:42:37 PM »
It's likely wide FM, being a low VHF band, mil set.

General Discussion / Re: Merry Christmas!
« on: December 26, 2017, 09:00:32 AM »
And a Merry Christmas to you also, Gil.  This website and your videos have REALLY taken-off :-)  The quality and USEFUL content is very good.  As so me, I finally have a Begali ! (Expedition).  For speeds above 30 wpm, it was tough on  for me using a bug. With the Begali - smoooooth.

de RadioRay  ..._  ._

Digital Modes / Re: FT8 digital comms mode
« on: November 03, 2017, 10:00:12 PM »
"What an awful name though" :o

Mooooo- ha ha ha ha!  True

of course, a REAL CONTESTERS mode would just be hardwired to send "5NN" and maybe their call - 20 KHz high - of course.

Digital Modes / Re: FT8 digital comms mode
« on: November 01, 2017, 10:37:36 PM »
For communication, I've found that CONTESTIA 4/250 has a very good resilience -vs- speed and bandwidth. For communication, you rarely if even need the full ASCII set.  Using only uppercase, nimbers and most punctuation, CONTESTIA has a shorter data set (bits per letter) and so sends fewer bits for the same letters. It uses a STRONG FEC like OLIVIA and works well into the noise.  Unlike the 2-way beacon modes, which at first seem great for prepping, there is no timebase needed.  Most of the 'low power' beacon modes use internet clocks or GPS slaving - both of which are questionable in a SHTF situation. I did a full evaluation and the time synch is a major problem - after all, if we HAVE the internet, we'd use the internet.

My 0.02 Euros worth - please adjust for currency devaluation, Brexit & etc.

 de RadioRay ..._  ._

Ps. Remember, for digital QRP,  include the COMPUTER power drain in the power budget calculations. Morse uses no computer, other than the brain.

General Discussion / Extreme EmComm Guide
« on: October 30, 2017, 10:17:22 PM »
This fellow has a lot of useful information and just returned from a successfl, though 'politically frustrating' deployment to Puerto Rice.  Though a relatively new ham, this is noe very switched-ON person.

It just goes to show you that when voice is 'fringe', CW Morse gets through - though this is once of the odder ways to do it.  ha ha

General Discussion / Re: Lost at sea 5 months without comms
« on: October 29, 2017, 07:39:10 PM »
I did see video footage of the boat and what I saw looked like marine growth along a line near the boot stripe.  That's a common thing to do for people who like to swim (whi I never did, because a human mid-ocean is a "snack", in my eyes...) TO USE A LINE FOR BOTH THAT AND (IF A LARGE LINE) AS A 'FENDER' OF SORTS.The boat did ont appear to be low in the water, which indicates (but does not prove) excess water inside of the hull... 

The mast was basically intact and the 'damage' they reported was on one spreader.  You can sail on several points of sail with one limp spreader OR repair the spreader (the blonDe - amazingly NOT sunburned) said that she built the boat, yet could neither repair nor shorten the standing riggin on that side, NOR sail on a tack to no have that side over stressed.  A sailor could and likely WOULD do that, rather than bobbing for 5 months.

COMMUNICATIONS is still very, very weak in this entire thing.  An HF radio would have done very well.  The Pacific Seafarers net with shore and ocean operators, SOMEONE would have heard from a boat mid-ocean and that close to Hawaii.

"We hit a Force 11 Storm (right out of Hawaii)  and it lasted for days."  Really?  Yet your weather planning missed that giant about one hundred miles or less from THE Major population center in the mid-Pacific.

Their story As filtered through the media IS not adding up, the YouTube videos are not matching with their story of being 'mariners'. We'll know more in time, but likely; the controlled media will do their best to paint then into a mini-series as love bound heroines who fought the sea and won.  Yawn!


General Discussion / Re: Lost at sea 5 months without comms
« on: October 29, 2017, 10:32:32 AM »
On the communications front, we've seen the debate of the satellite phone -vs- HF.  There are advantages to each but people MISS the disadvantage on sat-phones, the main one for me is:

1. Satellite phones are designed to require infrastructure. 
2. Sat-phones are a point-to-point method to communicate from one phone number to another phone number : if the call fails for any reason, the sender is heard by nobody. HF radio (radio in general) is a BROADcasting method, heard by many.  So, if in trouble at sea, I want a BROADcast method, receivable by many, not only the front desk at some office.  Many blue water cruiser/sailors carry an EPIRB as a last-ditch rescue beacon and these work very well, but lack the ability to send e-mail or short txt messages with friends WINLINK or Gil's SPOT allows. Of course, once that EPIRB is activated, a huge wave of help is on the way and you usually are leaving your boat and most possessions behind. The EPIRB is designed to save human lives.

>RadioRay ..._  ._

General Discussion / Re: Lost at sea 5 months without comms
« on: October 28, 2017, 09:56:11 PM »
Mast damagethat's critical.  The articles I read ONLY discussed engine. That's critical and changes my mind on this - for the better. The desalinator was in the other articles and that is a life saver.  As for food -, I always carried plenty, and in a way that I can go everywhere with it -

General Discussion / Re: Lost at sea 5 months without comms
« on: October 28, 2017, 09:32:15 AM »
It sounds like two people with a lot of money, who bought a power boat ( that happened to have sails) . An engine is least reliable at sea, so I'd never cross thousands of miles of open ocean in a small boat without sails.  The article I read said that they were 'making distress calls for 2 months'; were they ONLY equipped with a VHF marine radio, like they'd use near shore???  IT's entirely possible.  I knew one 'graduate' of a marine academy who depended entirely on her cell phone for coastal 'boating' (she was NOT a sailor). Any ocean crosser - unless they prefer to be fully independent, should have an EPIRB or something like it - hit the button and it's MAYDAY sent into the satellite constellation - then prioritize what you MIGHT be able to take with you when you leave your boat. Any rescue vessel will take you and maybe a bag or two, and leave your boat adrift.

Navigation at sea is double tough.  Cel-Nav (sextant, chronograph, star index and charts ) is the best back-up, if not primary.  GPS is wonderful, especially for trained navigators who fully understand what a marvel it is, but it's politically controlled.  One BANG! on the world scene, and it can be no longer available in your area of the sea. The sun, moon and stars, on the other hand, are beyond political control.

>>>>===> Even a QRP rig and the skill to tap code would have solved this problem. They are fortunate to be alive at all.

>RadioRay  ..._  ._

Antennas / Re: New Elecraft AX1 Antenna.
« on: October 21, 2017, 12:00:19 AM »
But Gil -----

You could use it on your coffee table - like you did during one of our skeds ;-)

Radio Reviews, Questions and Comments. / Re: KX2 First Impressions.
« on: October 20, 2017, 11:29:35 PM »
CockpitBob de RadioRay  BT

For me, zero question, go for the KX2.  It has a SUPERB receiver for all of my HF uses: ham, SWL and even for monitoring the HF marine activities.  The transmitter - at ten Watts maximum - is more than enough for most CW and much digital.  SSB reports, on HF nets, using the INTERNAL micropohone have all been quite good - with the receiving end being amazed that I was ten Watts SSB and not using an external mic.  On CW, I do not know that it can be beat - ounce for ounce.

I REALLY recommend the internal antenna coupler, because that allows you to use almost anything as an antenna for field expedient comms (as you mentioned) without the additional cables, power and connector requirements, which are all vectors for damage in all but ham shack environments: I call that "BOOT BAIT" and usually ends badly.  You can always use external gadgets if you chooce, by by-passing the internal ATU using a simple command in the menu.

The internal batteries are great and make this a 'single box solution'.  I have two Elecraft internal batteries and one off-brand, all of which charge using the Elecraft charger.  Yes, there are after market chargers, and they might be as good, but I TRUST Elecraft engineering for the long term reliability far more than Ebay 'discount' chargers. (buy once and cry once).  As a supplement, I have a LiFePo2 4.5 A/H pack from Bioenno that can charge from almost any "12v" solar panel, due to the INTERNAL Battery protection circuit in the battery cover that protects against over and under voltage.  Yes, whenever possible, I use the Bioenno charger, but it's nice to know that, should I NEED to charge directly from my small solar panel - unregulated- I have the ability to do it, though more carefully. I have solar/deep cycle with AC pure sinewave inverter in the camper-van, so can recharge anywhere I am parked and be good for many weeks of skeds, or several days of continuous hobby hamming- being less mobile than I used to be ;-) the van is my 'camping' these days.

Mine is in a Sigg aluminum case along with essential accessories, (click on attachment) lined with scrap conductive foam.  As a complete system, this Sigg case goes into a mid-small sized Pelican for all accessories, including chargers, straight key, antenna kit, a third LiPo battery and the Bioenno pack.  This means, impact, environmental and Faraday protection in something with about the same cubic displacement as this smallish Pelican case. Naturally, you don't need all of this for backpacking or for a few days in the woods - you can pare it down to the Sigg case and wire.  However, this is a ONE-GRAB -SOLUTION to HF communications, so I keep it packed that way. 

The Pelican outer case means that even if I tossed it overboard, I could use it once retrieved - no problem.

Remember, when the external battery pack is connected, you operate from IT automatically, unless it's voltage drops below the internal pack.  Save the internal pack as your 'electron lifeboat' in case you're down to the last ability to operate.

>>> Remember too, that this radio will operate CW, voice, PSK/RTTY with NO ACCESSORIES. You can send/receive PSK31/RTTY using the paddles and the display: no computer needed to communicate with the 'Morse Impaired'.  haha aha haaaa

My KX2 is my dream radio. 2 meters should be separate, so that you can listen to tactical/area radio-comms, while operating HF at the same time.

The KX2 is for people who give-a-dit.

>RadioRay  ..._  ._

Batteries & Solar / Re: Man Portable Off-Grid Power for Amateur Radio
« on: October 15, 2017, 02:50:14 PM »
The Caribbean communication infrastructure failure is a terrible event, but a superb example of WHY stand alone, rapidly portable stations are so important.  The question I had put to friends as well as myself was:

"Can you, walk out the door, even only 100 feet away and be on the air in HF in five minutes?

The follow-on question is addressed here:

Are you able to recharge your own station in the wild?

Forget ARRL Field Day and other contests: this is about sustained communication with zero infrastructure, not giant motor homes, generators and photo-ops during a weekend.

Good thread -

>RadioRay  ..._  ._

General Discussion / Re: Where Ham Radio Shines -
« on: September 25, 2017, 12:45:51 AM »
A note from one of the hams operating emergency relief -

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