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Topics - gil

1
General Discussion / Site update.
November 01, 2019, 06:22:01 pm
Hello, I have updated the site to a new branch of the SMF software. Please post in this thread if you encounter glitches, things that annoy you, or things you like better...
Due to spamming, I have re-implemented verification via radio related questions for signing-up and also verification of the first few posts for new members. I did try admin-approved-only sign-ups for two weeks, but there are too many (mostly spammers) and I do not have the time. Hopefully they won't bother answering the registration questions...

Gil.
2
Hello,

I can't help but share an interesting experience I had recently, operating my PRC-320 at a local park. I used the 2.5m whip with a counterpoise wire on the ground. Using the internal tuner I tuned for best output and got the needle on the meter at 12-O'Clock... That is a so-so match, and usually doesn't lead to a lot of contacts. A great match puts the needle at the 3-O'Clock position. Then I remembered the stream running nearby... Standing water really, home to quite a few rats and infested with mosquitoes but water nevertheless... Some connection must have been made between my remaining neurons because I threw the wire in the water... Bingo! 2:30 needle position on the dial! I got an immediate contact to Ukraine from the South on France using 25W into a short whip on 20m.

It's one thing to hear about the importance of grounding short verticals, but quite another to see the result before your eyes.

Gil.
3
General Discussion / Radio Prepper on Thingiverse.
October 05, 2019, 05:16:09 pm
Hello. Since I started making 3D printed parts, I decided to publish my designs and some sent to me, on Thingiverse. The link is on the top of this page, on the right, bottom of the list.  :)

Gil.
4
Hello guys, and girls I guess, if any. I hope you all had a merry Christmas. I have only been lurking in the shadows lately and removing spam, a lot of spam lately... Someone must have added the site to a bot list... I upped the security, and involuntarily the complexity to sign-up, but it was hard to avoid. The Radio Prepper channel is keeping me pretty busy, not to mention my move to the south of France. I brought very little radio gear with me but I do have plans, some of which involve vehicle radio setups, starting with CB! Living now in a tiny apartment I will also need to assess that issue, probably with a new magnetic loop.

I am now waiting for a VRM-5080 VHF tank radio and a President Grant II CB for my newly acquired Toyota Land Cruiser 1989 LJ-70. The antenna I picked is the Sirio 5000. Stay tuned for upcoming videos...

BTW I was watching a B series movie on Netflix the other night with Sandra Bulloch... No, I don't mean she was with me, only in the movie ;-) It was a story about evil entities you could not look at or you'd go crazy and kill yourself... Two hours of my life I won't get back, but it got me thinking about the necessity to educate people.

In the movie, after the SHTF, a group of survivors scavenges a bunch of FRSS/GMRS radios from a store. They call every day hoping to hear someone, and eventually they do... Someone who is presumably at least  48hrs away by river boat... Which in reality is very  unlikely to happen given the distance. I have seen the same thing happen in other series like "The Walking Dead." Walkie-Talkies as soon as they appear on the screen become quasi-sat-phones or super-duper NVIS HF handhelds... We know it's BS, but most people probably believe those lies, the same way they believe Hollywood guns hype. They think you just find a radio, any kind, and the world is at your fingertips. I would not be surprised if many preppers held similar beliefs. Many will only learn enough to use an SWR meter and make sure they don't fry their radio. No thought is given to antenna design and polarization, propagation modes, modulation modes or bands to use at different times or seasons. Sure, they might get lucky, but not always... You break down somewhere and try to call on a CB frequency during the solar-cycle low, as now, you probably won't cover but a 20 mile radius, if you're lucky. You can forget about your FRS or PMR little handheld...

It is our responsibility to educate, and not just other HAM operators... CBers, preppers, outdoor enthusiasts, can all benefit. We can do this without coming across as elitist pricks, which to my dismay is a reputation a few bad apples have brought upon the HAM community in some places.

On a more personal note, I am just coming out of a bad cold, and three weeks of moving, paperwork, new job, settling down hell I hope not to have to repeat too soon, and it's not quite over yet. That said, the region is beautiful, and much warmer than the north of France!

Gil.
5
Antennas / Ground Tuning Unit.
November 19, 2018, 06:51:03 am
Hello,

Here is an interesting document on a portable station using a ground tuning unit...
If someone could turn it into a PDF and email it to me: gil@thisdomain.com (switch thisdomain.com for radiopreppers.com). I can only open it on my phone but not my Mac...
Have anyone here used a ground tuner? Comments?
Thanks to Alex, VK2PRC for sending me this file.

Thank you!

Gil.
6
https://cointelegraph.com/news/developer-completes-proof-of-life-off-grid-crypto-transaction-primed-for-post-apocalypse

Cryptocurrency and blockchain meet amateur radio. Not quite sure what to think of this one. I am always worried about the increasing level of complexity in disaster radio. It is nevertheless interesting to see new experiments involving radio.

Gil.
8
Antennas / Successful Wire Antennas.
August 03, 2018, 03:10:37 am
Hello,

Here is a great PDF file I found on wire antennas. They forgot the W3EDP, but otherwise, it is quite informative. The file is attached to this message.

Gil.
9
DMR Radio / New Board: DMR Radio on Radio Preppers.
July 31, 2018, 09:48:00 am
Hello.

We have a new board! I need to say that for prepping purposes DMR might and probably should not be very high on your priority list. We assume that during SHTF there would be no grid power, let alone any Internet service. That said, it does allow encryption, which is however illegal in normal times...

DMR has taken the amateur bands by storm, and for good reasons. It is an open source mode. Everyone can implement it into their radios. Although it was designed for commercial radio use, it does work well for amateurs, well enough anyway. There is a learning curve, but honestly, once you learn the vocabulary, it is pretty simple. What's the advantage? It is worldwide... You can talk to anyone anywhere there is a repeater connected to the Internet. Is it real radio? Well, only between the repeater and your handheld, otherwise, no. It's still better than network radio, which isn't radio at all and should be called something else.

In any case, it is hard to ignore DMR today. My take on it is that if you buy an analog radio, you might as well get a DMR/analog radio, since they all do both. So I decided to start this new board. Ya'll have fun now and keep it civil  ;)

Gil.
10
First post in this new category!

Since I am using the Retevis RT3S dual band DMR radio, I wanted to import all worldwide users into its database. I found the following site:

https://ham-digital.org/status/

Click on DMR User ID List, space separated fields (ID call name)

The format is not the same as what is used by the RT3S, though it is CSV, but the columns are different. I wrote a small Python program to convert it. The resulting file, which will be attached to this post, does import correctly into the Retevis software, and I suspect will work with other Retevis.TYT radios. I have not tried to insert my new file into the radio, but I don't expect any trouble. Stay tuned for an update and video!

I will update this file every few months...

Gil.
12
VHF and Above / Important message!
July 19, 2018, 03:04:03 pm
https://youtu.be/LaGT4QurBcc

Gil

Sent from my SM-G928F using Tapatalk

13
Hello,

Anyone knows? This is the ex Hendricks kits website at http://qrpkits.com.
All the prices and Buy buttons have been taken out.
I wanted to buy an FT-Tuthill 160m CW Transceiver.
Very concerning... I emailed them, waiting for an answer...

Can anyone suggest another 160m CW transceiver kit?

Gil.
14
General Discussion / Ham Radio on Z-Nation.
June 25, 2018, 03:53:22 pm
Hi, ever heard of Z Nation? It's a parody of a zombie series. It's funny and you get attached to the characters; not to be taken seriously. Radio is featured very often, including Ham radio. Of course, they are very liberal with what radio can do and calling a fast food interphone from a satellite isn't an issue, but it has the merit of showing some kind of radio operations after an SHTF situation, be it a zombie apocalypse...

If you get bored one evening give it a try. The first few episodes aren't good, but it gets better...



The trailer looks much more serious than it actually is, though season one tries to be serious. I think they gave up on that later... After all it is coming from the same people who made Sharknado... It is full of references, to other movies, politics, religion, even history. I am sure I didn't catch them all! Anyway, just something fun to watch that doesn't require too much thinking and has radio ops in it...

Have you seen it?

Gil.
15
Morse Code / The One-Watt Magic Number.
June 15, 2018, 08:38:19 am
Hello,

Trying to make a contact again with my Pixie and maybe 300mW, I recalled most of my past QRP and QRPp attempts using CW. Usually, anything a Watt and above is no trouble at all with a full-size antenna. I even made a contact once from Florida to Estonia (5K miles) using 1.3W! Even my Rock-Mite on 40m seemed to work fine, though the issue was more of a receiving one, because of the lack of selectivity. Then we get down to 500mW, where contacts are still possible, just a bit harder. Below half a Watt things become very dicey, though I have tested 100mW successfully on more than one occasion with Ray 820 miles away. For calling CQ however, one Watt seems to be the practical limit. It gets better from there on up, of course, up to five Watts or so, after which adding power doesn't seem to do much more, at least when conditions are somewhat favorable.

This brings me again to the conclusion that QRP radio designers know their business. Aside from Pixies, Rock-Mites and such, which are fun novelties, great practical radios start at around two Watts. I especially like the SW+ series (ME+ now), and of course, the Weber MTR rigs for QRO operations  ;) I would love to see a surface-mount SW+! Instead of adding current-hungry features, what don't we make radios smaller? We have the technology with SMT components. There should be rigs out there the size of a small box of matches. The limiting factor should be the connectors and controls.

Anyway, just rambling... I think a practical radio should have a minimum of around 2-3W to be safe, with 5W being great. One Watt could get the job done but I would not count on it. Below one Watt you're just having fun, and that's great. BTW the 817 with a less than a full battery outputs 2.5W and people make plenty of contacts with those, even using SSB.

What do you think is the practical power threshold for a CW-mode survival radio?

Gil.
16
Digital Modes / I tried FT8 last night!
June 14, 2018, 05:01:34 am
Sure won't do that again! :o

I knew it probably wasn't for me, but with all the hooplah, I had to give it a try, at least to know what I'm talking about if ever that conversation pops up in good company... I even made one contact. For me, it's like watching paint dry, utterly useless and uninteresting. I'm not bashing FT8 users or even FT8 here, but it just isn't for me, by a very long shot.

I used the same software however for WSPR, to see my antenna radiation pattern, very useful, got Venezuela on 40m 2W. Of course with WSPR you don't put anything in your log, but I couldn't care less about my log. I actually only input contacts maybe half the time, when I don't lose my notes, forget to write the date or call signs...

Radio for me is about human interaction if only to ask what antenna someone is using... A few words about the weather, even a simple FB, exchanged between two people, make my day.

Gil.
17


Gil.
18
Antennas / Field Expedient Antenna Systems.
May 22, 2018, 01:57:42 pm
19
Morse Code / Can Morse Code Still Save You?
May 22, 2018, 07:00:32 am
Hello. This article is intended for Eham. I would like you guy's opinion before sending it over, corrections, etc.? Thanks.

Gil.

#########################################################

Jack Binns was awakened by a tremendous crashing sound, screaming metal and a shudder that ran through the ship. As the wireless operator, Binns knew immediately what to do. Fortunately his long-wire antenna was still up and he had backup battery power. Jack started sending CQD on his spark-gap transmitter, ultimately saving four thousand lives from his ship, the Republic, and those of the Florida, the vessel that hit them in the fog. It was on January 23rd, 1909, and the first significant use of Morse code to save a great number of lives at sea. Can Morse code still save you today?

By 2000 Morse code was officially retired by most nations and in 2007 the FCC dropped the code requirement for amateur radio operators. Since then the amateur bands have been booming with code on the lower part of most Ham bands.

The proliferation of cheap and small CW transceivers, often offered as kits, and activities like SOTA and other "On The Air" groups has sprinkled the RF landscape with dits and dahs. Kits like Hans Summer's QCX sold and are selling by the thousand. Nary a week goes by without hearing someone mentioning their CW kit by Steve Weber or Dave Benson. Why not? Morse code is very efficient and doesn't require a computer or tablet. Radios are ultra-light and sip current, often using less on transmit than most modern rigs on receive, all the while outputting a comfortable five Watts. You can power them with eight AA cells or three 18650 cells, again very light. Amateur radio is no longer confined to the shack, or at least, portable operations are much easier today.

How long before someone calls for help in Morse code on an amateur band? Is Morse code a viable option and are we listening? If you have stories, please share them here.

I'll be honest, I use a satellite two-way system at sea or while hiking where there is no cellular phone coverage. Although I have never pressed the SOS button, the position reporting works pretty well. I also carry a small CW radio as a backup. It fits in a little tea tin can, including batteries, antenna, key and earphones; covers 20/30/40m. I would bet my life on it. I have no doubt any operator hearing the proverbial SOS pro-code would jump on it like a bear on honey. Five Watts into a full size antenna pretty much guarantees that someone will hear you somewhere. The recorded message looping function of most small CW rigs is a great asset in that regard. Not everyone can spend a few hundred dollars for a satellite handheld plus a monthly subscription...

What would you do if you heard an SOS, aside from answering of course? Do you know how to send a "Pan Pan" (non life threatening emergency) in Morse? It's XXX.

I once asked the Reverse Beacon Network if their CW skimmers detected SOS calls. The answer was no. I really would like to see this implemented, just a few lines of code, to listen for SOS and XXX.

A small CW QRP radio should be part of every Ham's collection. It might just get you off the couch and operating outside, climbing hills even. It could be very useful when stranded somewhere without phone or Internet. It can also spark interest in people meeting you. We need fresh blood in this hobby, and it won't happen without some efforts to increase visibility.

My opinion is that Morse code is still a viable means of calling for help, given the performance of new frequency-agile tiny portable transceivers. Until we get new exotic battery chemistries and integrated tablet transceivers, CW will remain the mode of choice for hikers and adventurers, even if only by a few dedicated amateurs.
20


Hello.

I created a new WhatsApp Radio Preppers group for real-time chat and on-air/sked announcements. Since members will be in my phone's contacts, I must limit their number, so spots are limited. To do this, I am limiting access to patrons: https://www.patreon.com/radioprepper | Patrons get extra stuff for helping out, like extra videos, photos and updates. Note that this is more related to my YouTube Channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfTbLvRJ-WtJnW3PvU4pdIw/videos) than this forum, but I didn't want to leave anyone out. Well, I am in a way... Sorry about that. Inviting everyone simply isn't an option. I just don't have the time, and this site as well as my YouTube channel are operating in the red. You will still get on-air/sked announcements here but WhatsApp is instantaneous... I also must limit and identify who gets my phone number for obvious reasons. Thank you for your understanding. I hope to see you there!

Gil.