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Messages - gil

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Illegal in the United States. I would suggest anyone wanting to buy a CB radio to get a legal one...


New To Radio / Re: Those Mysterious "Q-codes"
« on: September 05, 2012, 12:21:57 AM »

Technical Corner / Re: I Built an Elecraft K2.
« on: September 05, 2012, 12:12:17 AM »
Thank Ray.

It turn out that my sensitivity problem on 20m was my own doing. I didn't have a well tuned antenna But the K1 had the auto tuner on! Since my K2 doesn't have the ATU yet, it was of course at a disadvantage. Today I finally tried a 20m tuned off-center dipole and looked around until I heard an extremely faint CW signal.. I could hear it as well on the K2 as on the K1! Mystery solved. The K2 however has a "thinner" sound than the K1, because it uses a different AF amplification scheme.

Now I need to build the ATU and SSB card.


New To Radio / Re: Those Mysterious "Q-codes"
« on: September 04, 2012, 11:57:51 PM »
Really, Morse Code only... And don't spell out "hi hi!"  ::)


Tactical Corner / Re: Setup for post-collapse communication with family?
« on: September 04, 2012, 11:23:46 PM »
Hello RG,

If the maximum distance is 26 miles, then CB will work, assuming it has SSB. Look at the Galaxy DX 979:,5.0.html. I like my Solarcon I-Max2000 antenna, it works really well.
Since most everyone is North of you, you could use a directional antenna... Depending on how much space you have.. Yagi or quad, even a dipole.
Me, I would probably make a Moxon and set it up vertically...
Everyone would have to be polarized in the same manner however, vertical or horizontal (referring to antenna polarization).


New To Radio / Re: How to talk between 2 Ham raios without repeater
« on: September 04, 2012, 05:40:16 PM »

I should add that all frequencies can be used simplex, which means that both Hams transmit and receive on the same frequency. When using a repeater, the transmit frequency is usually off by 600kHz, either above or below the receive frequency. Many repeaters also require a tone to trigger them, which you must program into your radio. Simplex used to be the standard before the advent of repeaters on VHF and UHF. It is still the standard on HF.


New To Radio / Re: How to talk between 2 Ham raios without repeater
« on: September 04, 2012, 04:04:59 PM »

That is called "Simplex." You simply monitor or call on the 2m simplex calling frequency: 146.520. That would be a good start  ;)
JUst say your call sign follow by "listening." Soon or later (probably later), someone will take you up on it...

Simplex should be and was the norm until repeaters came out like mushrooms after the rain.


New To Radio / Re: Completely New to Radio - Where to Start
« on: September 04, 2012, 03:28:48 PM »

I would say that getting a Technician license book would be a good start. Not only will it prepared you for the easy Tech exam, but also teach you the basics. Come here regularly and read all the posts... You should quickly gain some understanding of what is involved. It isn't rocket science.. Just basic electrical principles and a bit about antennas.. If you have a short wave receiver, listen to the Ham bands, especially 40m/7MHZ and 20m/14MHz. If you are good with a soldering iron, check this one out:, otherwise make sure you have a model that has a plug for an external antenna. Most people also start with a 2m handheld, they are cheap and useful for local communications.
The Technician license does give you access to some parts of the HF bands, which allow long distance communications, but those frequencies are mostly Morse Code only, which is great if you have the patience to learn the code. That said, the General license isn't much harder than the Tech and gives you access to almost everything.
The is always the CB route, but it does limit you quite a bit. Don't hesitate to ask questions.  ;)


General Discussion / Re: Elitism in Ham Radio and Further Thoughts.
« on: September 04, 2012, 01:22:44 PM »
If that makes me an elitist, so be it...

No it does not, that is not what I meant...


General Discussion / Re: Burning Man Anyone?
« on: September 04, 2012, 12:17:30 AM »

Thanks for joining. I am getting into solar power myself. This is my next "unreasonable" purchase: I like the flexible panels, but for a truck, you might want the rigid ones... I'll build the charge controller from a kit... No RV for me, but I sleep really well in a tent  ;)


Antennas / The Antenna Dipper.
« on: September 04, 2012, 12:07:43 AM »
A well tuned antenna will make your radio hear better and reach further. It will also avoid damage to the final transistor(s) that amplify the signal to the antenna. That is why you can't plug in any length of wire to a transmitter without some kind of tuner. It is always best though to operate without a tuner if you can. Antenna length depends on frequency. The higher the frequency, the shorter the antenna, and vice-versa. The usual method of making an antenna is to leave it a little longer than required, and measure how much power is radiated versus how much power returns to the transmitter. Ideally, all the power generated should be radiated. The measuring instrument that does this is the SWR meter (Standing Wave Ratio). You plug it in between the antenna and the radio.

The problem with the SWR meter is that you actually have to use your radio and transmit a signal to find out the correct antenna length (by trimming it inch-by-inch). You can only transmit a couple seconds at a time (in case the SWR is dangerously high), and at reduced power if possible. So how do you tune your antenna if you don't have a license yet or don't want to draw attention by broadcasting while tuning? Here comes the antenna dipper!

The best way would be to use an antenna analyzer, which is a combination of radio frequency generator and SWR meter. Some models do much more, like displaying a graph. These gizmos however start at around $250. As much as some good radios! The advantage of the antenna analyzer as well as the dipper is that the signal used to measure SWR is very weak. Not much gets out.

The antenna dipper is much cheaper and works quite well. You just don't get a fancy display of your SWR. All you have is a frequency display and LED to show where your antenna is tuned.

The one I built is the "Deluxe Tenna Dipper" from At $85 it is much cheaper than an analyzer. It was easy to build and works quite well. You plug it in your antenna wire and turn the frequency dial until the light goes out. The frequency then displayed is your resonant frequency. That's it! If the displayed frequency is higher than you want, you need to lengthen the antenna, if is is lower, you shorten it... Nothing else to it. It goes up to about 30MHz.

The Hendricks kits are quite good (I am not associated with them), and work very well. I have built the SOTA tuner, SWR indicator and the DC20B CW transceiver. They all worked just fine. I highly recommend the SOTA tuner for low power operations (max 5W)!

I had some safety-orange spray paint left over, and it worked out well.

So, before you spend $300 in an antenna analyzer, or risk frying your new radio's finals by trying to tune you wife's clothesline, think about the simple antenna dipper. While not necessary (A $30 SWR meter works fine), it does save the experimenter a lot of time. You can leave the dipper on and look at the LED while at the other end trimming wire. No need to involve your eye-rolling significant other  ::) The LED is quite bright. If you want to tune an antenna for best reception without transmitting a signal, it is, with an analyzer, the only way to go. I found out that my CB antenna (Solarcon I-MAX2000) not only works for CB (11m), but also 10m and 15m! 10m I suspected would work, but I had no idea 15m would. Surprisingly, 12m does not..

I love building antennas and this little guy is great!

It doesn't mean I won't end-up buying an antenna analyzer (Ten-Tec sells a neat el-cheapo Chinese model with color screen), but right now money is tight, and the "Tenna Dipper" does it's job...

New To Radio / Re: So, what am I lookin at here??
« on: September 03, 2012, 08:19:27 PM »
Hello Sam and welcome aboard. If you can get them for a song, why not.. One thing to consider though would be if the batteries keep a proper charge. If you have to buy new batteries, forget it..


General Discussion / Re: A question for all prepper hams
« on: September 03, 2012, 04:13:12 PM »
refer to people as "civilians".

I would burst out laughing if I ever heard something like that!
I don't think I could walk by a lights-and-signs car without making snazzy comments either  ::)


General Discussion / Re: Frequency considerations and introduction.
« on: September 03, 2012, 03:29:49 PM »
Thanks, they seem to have good reviews. A bit expensive though...


Morse Code / Re: Starting the Morse Code Board.
« on: September 03, 2012, 03:12:40 PM »
Morse Code and CW are not the same thing. You use CW to send Morse Code... You could use a flashlight to send Morse Code... CW is the radio mode, like FM or AM...


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