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Topics - RadioRay

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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.

General Discussion / Where Ham Radio Shines -
« on: September 22, 2017, 10:36:38 PM »
Dominica (and many other Caribbean islands, including much of Puerto Rico).

Infrastructed destroyed...

Morse Code / Morse using Inexpensive Stations
« on: September 14, 2017, 10:27:15 AM »
Literally the other side of the world; that was this morning.  The operator on the other end is part of a French Antarctic expedition, sending from aboard their ship - FT5XT/mm.  My station is an older Kenwood that a friend found at a truck stop and sold to me for $450.  My antenna is a piece of house wire formed into an 80 meter horizontal loop up only 15 feet. I looks like this contact was 40 meter band long path along the greyline to reach him, 12,717 miles distant.  Not bad for a sub-urban ham with a fairly common station.

Morse/CW is what makes this possible.  SSB would not have made it, signal levels were too low.

Morse Code / Japanese Inspired minimalism and Morse Code
« on: July 06, 2017, 02:10:41 AM »
When I was a boy (shortly after the Earth's crust cooled...) I had the great privilege of studying Judo and later Ju Jitsu under some very good instructors - true masters, before that term became en vogue and horribly over used.

Learning judo, as an American boy steeped in the idea that rage and bulging muscles were everything, I soon learned that quiet, focused power, applied exactly where and when required was far more effective and very efficient.  As a result of a few years of training, back then, I could fight multiple opponents and rarely tire - because THEY were burning a lot of unnecessary energy; not me. Now I am old, so opening a bag of coffee makes me tired, but I don't mind: I love good coffee. As I read more about the origins of Japanese martial arts, Judo in particular, I came across a quote that has stayed with me for life:

"Maximum effect, with minimal effort." - Jiguro Kano

To some people, that's an excuse for laziness : it is not.  To others, it is an 'attack' on their delicate egos, which are tied to things which they bought at great expence in an attempt to have internal peace, no matter how ineffective and/or in efficient those possessions are.  To back woods radio people, this makes perfect sense.  When away from the "FREE" electricity of city A.C. mains, you must be efficient in your use of power. For hams, this is largely seen in proper time/frequency selection and MODE.  It's a well documented FACT that Morse code (CW) is very much more energy efficient than voice, for conveying the same 'intelligence' ; 13-18dB more efficient, depending upon whos math you're using, but at the least, that's 20 times more power needed for SSB over CW. Translate that into batteries, chargers, heatsinks accessories and you'll see that Size, Weights & Power (SWAP) is huge compared to a QRP CW rig with the same relative capabilities , and much more expensive.

Simplicity: I was recently at a demonstration of emergency communication held in a pasture.  There were cafeteria tables, many laptop computers, some networked, A.C. power, cables all over the place and the list goes on.  When I left 24 hours later, the only successful comms as of that time was QRP handsent CW using my KX2 and a low dipole.  All CW skeds were achieved right on time, with very good results.  Naturally, as those laptops were also running NOT on internal batteries, but plugged-in to A.C. power, their RFI ensured that any comms were likely to be unsuccessful.  All that power, software, training experience and MONEY - very inefficient. These were intelligent, dedicated people , many of whom are experts in various professional fields. However, a single band QRP CW rig costing almost nothing, could do much more, for much less and fit into a pocket.

The lesson - do what works, and forget the colorful advertising that tells you that you must be dissatisfied with your life and buying their 'stuff' will make you content, successful and adored by the opposite sex: it's all nonsense.  Use whatever is as simple as possible (but not 'simpleR' than possible) and works reliably. for my experience, that is HF CW. If the 'necessary' accessories like computers, panadaptors, wifi routers, and more are required, then THEY must be added to your calculation s of SWAP.  That's a LOT of Size , Weight and Power to drain your recharging and to carry around, It multiplies the set-up and (trouble-shooting) time , tremendously.  I had two 'wires' coming out of my rig: coax to their antenna and my ear buds - to eliminate their constant yelling at each other.

Like judo: efficiency matters. During hobby times, it's basically stress free. During an emergency; it's essential.

de RadioRay  ..._  ._

I like watching Gil, Julian, Spanish QRP cw, Peter Parker with delightful videos on youtube. They go someplace, set-up a station in a few minutes and then are having fun operating and learning on the air. Enjoyment,  fresh air and into the LOW RFI outdoors: all good.

General Discussion / This WebSite As Compared To Others.
« on: April 20, 2017, 01:42:06 PM »
I'll keep this brief (ooooh, suuuuure, you will, Ray.)

I have noticed a general bitterness on the big name ham websites.  It's not 100% of course, but too many have nothing useful to say, so they do what they know: throw trash and break things. This behaviour is perhaps normal for baboons, but for (mostly) adults in a 'technical hobby/service', speaks poorly of ham radio in general.  On the air, especially in CW and maybe some voice, I find a different type of ham from that found on the internet forums - you know ; actual radio operators.  Other than contests, which are nothing other than an electro-magnetic 'social disease', most CW operators are polite and actually want to communicate. I also find that those who do at least some building and who made the time to actually understand a little bit about how radio works, procedures used , have things they enjoy OTHER THAN HAM RADIO and engage in at least some healthy degree of personal hygiene are more balanced in their conversation , even with opposing ideas.

This website is an enjoyable harbor.

>RadioRay  ..._  ._

Morse Code / QUESTION: Why Do Men Love Morse Code?
« on: March 27, 2017, 10:34:19 AM »

Morse Code / Copying or Guessing ?
« on: September 25, 2016, 02:49:10 PM »
As ham radio is being changed from a technical and communication service to a "radiosport" hobby, many aspects have degraded. One which is being pushed recently is to not really learn to copy Morse but rather to gain speed by quessing what the other station is about to send . I have one word for this : WRONG.  A fellow I know and enjoy his exploits was recently passing this off as good advice , with idea like "if the other station sends MALM... I know his QTH is MALMÖ." And stuff like that   Again , I say wrong.  If contest points is the only point, I suppose it does not matter, because contests are meaningless and by nature; disruptive of actual communication.

I just had a bad -partial- CW contact this morning with a code-guesser . When starting a conversation about the usual weather and plans to go to the park later, he come back with how great my signal is from the park. - uh, you're guessing ,'not copying.  Name - wrong, location -wrong most of these were similar in the first few letters. He was not copying - he was guessing. It was not a conversation .

Nobody outside of a professional telegrapher expects 100% copy.'However, this "guessing is good enough" attitude while perfectly fine in the artificial game world of contests, makes an actual conversation impossible. Fortunately , my transceiver has a button to solve this : the OFF button. I made an espresso and read my book in the sun outside.

Please - strive to copy code. Turn off the code reader "feature"'and use your mind. Morse can be very satisfying, and guessing is not the same as copying.

De RadioRay. ..._  ._

General Discussion / Riots on the Radio - Why Contesters Should Be Punished
« on: September 24, 2016, 03:32:43 PM »
When I become Emperor of Earth, contesters will be sold into slavery and punished through forced labor for turning the amateur radio service into a wasteland. Right now we have a couple of different contests raging: some computer RTTY contest covering from 14135 USB down ward to -essentially- the edge of the Extra class portion: ditto on forty meters.  There is  automated CW contesting going on in the very small slice of "CW only" too. "599 TU" is NOT communication and I heard a brilliant suggestion the other day: anyone not passing a code test should not have access to the CW bands. It makes sense and would eliminate the pre-loaded macros, used for automated contesting.

Now - if a person wanted to have an impressive contest:

1. Rigs and antennas must be self-built from the same EXACT KIT as all other contesters
1.1 the kits are all opened 24 hours prior to contest time.
1.2 Next contest means building another kit.
1.3 No use of the same kit for more than one contest.
1.4 For CW contesting , this is the kit I decree must be used:

2. Straight-key,'pencil and paper for any logging of traffic.

3. A confirmed exchange must be a 25 group message ( enciphered ) and if the controller of the contest cannot decipher the message, the offending contestermis sold into slavery for a period of seven years.  This will ensure proper concentration. ;-)

4. All contest equipment must be self-powered: pedal , arm crank, repurposed treadle sewing machines ) I actually did this once :-). Etc.

5. Voice contests ARE allowed. However, all contestants must use THIS transmitter:

I ( as Emperor of Earth ) graciously allow contesters to use commercially made pencils and paper for their logging of message traffic.

So it is written; so let it be done !

His Imperial Majesty,

The Emperor RadioRay ..._  ._

Radio Reviews, Questions and Comments. / The 'Old Standard' FT-817ND.
« on: September 17, 2016, 12:01:42 PM »
I trade/sell radios often.  A bout of medical bills or 'lust' for a different radio sends one or more to the auction block.  However, the one model I come back to is the FT-817 series.  It's not that it's "the best" at any single mode, but it's strong point is that it's "pretty good" at almost everything.  The performance is lower in CW than a KX-3, but only by a little and it's 1/2 to 1/3rd the price of the EXCELLENT KX3.  IT's not a top rated VHF/UHF rig, yet it's perfectly capable of working simplex, repeaters and even through satellites with an Arrow Antenna. Someone a few years ago coined the phrase that sums up the 817 well:

"It's the Swiss Army Knife of radios.

That's why I own one and many accessories, oh and - did I mention that it's a good shortwave radio for listening to broadcasts as well?

The one problem with the 817 series has been relatively high receive current.  The manual very honestly states it as over 400 mA.  However, by turning off the backlight, noise blanker and IPO, mine is well under 400 mA.  Secondly, batteries and charging options have come a long way since the 817 was first introduced. Taking a tip from Survival TechNord, I looked into the new generation of NiMH rechargeable AA batteries, which have capacities around 2500 mA/hour, and take roughly 2,000 recharges!  - WOW! Julian was right-on in his assessment that these are far superior to the Yeasu 1000 or 1400 mA/H internal pack.  They charge faster, are very low self discharge and versatile, in that you can use these AA batteries in consumer devices and in your 817.  I got 16 "Amazon Basics", AA NiMH cells and a smart charger for far less than the Yeasu battery pack - with a capacity of 2400 mA/H, I get an extra 1,000 mA/H above the 'big' Yeasu pack- screaming deal!

Because my mountain/desert walking days are over, I enjoy going to parks and easily accessible places to 'play radio'.  The lower noise and ability to erect a wire antenna is a big plus for me, and a relief fromt he HOA Stasi here at the rental.  The power upgrade , using the AA batteriea makes operating on the internal pack a reality.  For those times when I want more power, I bring my Chinese amplifier, another E-Bay find. I get about 32-35 Watts out, and power both the rig and the amp from an external 4.5 a/H LiFePo4 (Lithium Iron Phosphate) battery.  The Lithium IRON batteries have built in over/under voltage protection and are NOT the type which suffer "rapid deflagration" when bent, over charged or shorted... 

These Bioenno are considered 'the stable lithium batteries'. It's also rated for 2,000 recharges. and fits into the side pouch of my  , Sherpa bag.  I got the protective rails for my FT-817ND and they are totally worth it!

Between this radio bag, a push-up pole and SOTAbeams type wire antenna, I can have an efficient antenna up and radio station working in under five minutes. 

73/72 de RadioRay   ..._  ._


General Discussion / Gil Watch - Radio Spots
« on: August 19, 2016, 08:59:32 AM »
Gil showed-up in the reverse beacon network, on an Austrian monitor station
14060/17 wpm CW , 19AUG16, 09:48 & 13:30 GMT !

During the early 1970's, th ARRL Handbook in my school library had the image of a simple, crystal controlled, 1/2 Watt 40 meters, direct conversion transceiver being held in one hand and operated while wearing mittens caught my imagination and never let go.  That rig , " The Micro Mountaineer", is still the stuff of legend.  It was likely the first ham 'trail friendly radio' to become generally known.  Designed and built by an avid mountaineer and outdoorsman, it was not designed for comfortable shelves in an air conditioned shack: it's a rig for the real world of snow, sun, dirt and operating inside of your sleeping bag - where it's warm.  Here is a ink to a W7ZOI's website - one of the real poineers of /p  ham radio.

aaaaaand WA7MLH's Excellent page
(WARNING !  Graphic pictures of REAL RADIOS, often open with their wires exposed. )

Real Radio !  I LOVE it !

de RadioRay  ..._  ._

For Sale is my tiny, MTR5b.  Ask anyone and they'll tell you that this is the go anywhere, 9 volt battery powered wonder radio for QRP CW. It draws only 15 milliAmps on receive - yup that means that even on a 9 volt battery, it will run a very long time. It's built by LNR Precision.  The case is a water proof 'kayaker' case: I'll take their word for it's waterproofing...

Here is what I am selling:

1x    MTR5b, I bought it in May and the receipt is included.

1x    American Morse mini-paddles / a $50 value, and modified by me to use a common audio cable (incl.)

1x    3.5mm,  mini-cable for paddles.

1x    Power cord.  The rig is designed for a 9 volt battery, and the MAXIMUM voltage is 12 volts. Do NOT exceed 12.

1x    Kayaker case, with room for your earbuds, batteries and your micro-paddle.

1x    FREE Insured Shipping in CONUS. ( French shipping is more expensive, I'll need to adjust the price :-)

IPrice is only 7 thousand French Francs or $360.00 with shipping - PayPal preferred, or will trade for a large farm in northern Idaho or north/west Montana. (It never hurts to ask - riiiight?)

Here is the LNR Precision page with more details.!/MTR5B-Mountain-Topper/p/64137720/category=10468544

I'm not 'mobile' enough to put this to proper use - and I need some funding for another radio project I am wrenchin' on.

> RadioRay ..._  ._

>>>>====>  PM me here or place a note below for to arrange payment or for questions.

Radio Reviews, Questions and Comments. / MTR5b from LNR Precision
« on: May 28, 2016, 08:45:17 PM »
I recently sold my two band MTR2b (Gil's old one) and a YouKits HB1B to buy the tiny MTR5b.  I feel it was a good trade, though the problem with any specialized rig is that it's - well - specialized.  The MTR2b had a great receiver, but due to it's being optimized for CW, it is narrow - great for CW, but not useful for anything else: specialized: only for CW. That's not a mistake; it's a design function and it pays-off in superb CW performance in an insanely small package! 

The HB1B by YOUkits has an adjustable bandwidth, so that you can listen to SSB and AM shortwave (by zerobeating the signal) and you can make it quite narrow for excellent CW reception. That's a huge plus for a prepper or any person who's budget recommends that one radio do more than simple ham CW. The Hb1B series does that and one a very good power budget in a small, lite box.

The LNR Precision solved a HUGE problem by selling MTR 3 band and 5 band rigs commercially, because MTR's were previously ONLY available at random, during limited runs of a few dozen or perhaps one hundred; on-line. How the designer was able to dedicate the time, I'll never know.  They often sold-out before word spread that they were for sale. Remember, a full-time employed person is the one who designed and kitted these previously. Even IF I had his brain; I would not do it - too much frustration. So, LNR stepping in to produce these commercially - Woo-Hoo!.

I have only one gripe: p (and it's an important one) my MTR5b arrived very poorly aligned. The transmit/receive frequencies were misaligned by a few hundred Hz.  In any rig, it's a sign of poor quality. In a CW only transceiver with a nice, tight receiver bandwidth: that is very poor.  The receiver stages were poorly peaked causing the already mistuned signal to be out of the center of the passband, when it sounded like it was at zerobeat, so -  even weaker in the earbuds. The frequency display was off by a couple of hundred Hz as well .

I read the manual and because it's based on the construction manual by the designer, it had full alignment and calibration instructions. After a bit of dial twidling and 'tweaker-tool-time', my MTR is right on frequency ( error measured in a couple of Hz after warm-up) , I've peaked the receiver front ends and this MTR5b (like it's predecessors ) is VERY HOT and nicely selective!

I'm glad that I ordered it, but dissapointed that LNR did not perform a proper alignment - after all, it's not a kit. I am certain that the pressure is ON LNR Precision to make as many as possible, so it's tempting to accidentally make them 'faster-than-possible'. However, the fact is that they brought an excellent - limited run product to full commercial production and it's unlike anything else on the market.

Good on LNR for producing these commercially, but please; make more bench time for alignment and tighter QA to keep this excellent rig performing as it should.

73/72 de Ray

Ps. I just finished some QSO's using my home brew , magnetic loop / Anti-HOA antenna.  When I got to the part about '2 watts on a 9 v transistor battery' the fellow on the other end thought it was hilarious!

Classifieds / SOLD OUT - - - Two QRP Rigs for Sale -
« on: May 23, 2016, 02:40:13 AM »
I can't STAND it!  I MUST buy the new MTR5b. However, I do not want to cut into my family budget, so am selling other GREAT rigs to cover most of the cost.  Both of my rigs are fully checked, working perfectly and have been in cases when not in actual use.  Prices include shipping.

HB1B Mk3 and SOTAbeams EFHW tuner is sold.  I can afford the radio I just bought!  Both rigs went to good homes.

My Youkits (sold by Vibroplex) HB1B Mk3 QRP rig for 40/20/20/17 & 15 meters, with SOTAbeams EFHW tuner, an EXCELLENT combination for operating from remote environments (or coffee shops...)

 It has a built-in SWR meter and is also a general coverage receiver capable of monitoring SSB and shortwave broadcast stations by zerobeating the broadcast carrier. It have the internal LiPO battery, a wall-wart charger.  It is a very good transceiver for a person who wants both a highly portable CW transceiver and the ability to monitor ham SSB and international/national shortwave programming. They sell new for $299 from Vibroplex. I'll sell mine with my a SOTAbeams EFHW tuner for $225, including shipping . You save  ;D  $74  :D and shipping and get the WORKING EFHW tuner as a bonus. . . PayPal please.

I wanted to post it HERE ( and one other private site ) for a few days first.  Please contact me via this site or  w7asa at yahoo period com .  The sooner this sells, the sooner I can order my MTR5b.

73 de RadioRay  ..._  ._

My/Gil's MTR has sold //

Gil's MTR 2 band transceiver/// SOLD // for 40/20.  You've seen it in videos and read about it here.  It's even been used for our skeds, from his coffee shop. Normally, a fine CW transceiver used by a famous movie star like Gil would cost a million dollars (oh - brother, it's getting deep in here...) but I'll sell it here - shipped - for $130. It comes with spare finals (never needed, but Gil supplied them) , 9 vdc power cord , and the digital mode cord Gil made (I've never used digital on this rig - I'm a code guy. ) Yes, this is the model which was designed to do digital modes and CW, but you'll have to do the websearch on how to do it - I B ignit.)  First PayPal gets it. You will be amazed at how excellent this receiver is. This link is THIS actual radio - from a coffee shop to me in Virginia...

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