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Messages - gil

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General Discussion / Re: Elitism in Ham Radio and Further Thoughts.
« on: September 02, 2012, 12:58:05 PM »
Oh yes Scott, I agree. Emergency radio is not a profession though like being a doctor or a teacher.. It can be in some cases probably, but usually isn't. So, what is the motivation here? We have to be honest with ourselves when talking about serving a community. In many ways, of course, helping your community is beneficial to yourself and betters the world around you for everyone. I don't think however that people usually think that far. So, there are I believe two kinds of individuals that would be willing to pay to help others. Those who are smart enough to realize that they are creating a better environment for themselves and their families, or simply enjoy the hobby and want to do a little more while providing a service, but there is also the kind with an ego problem who crave recognition for their services (maybe not consciously). The later are the people I do not like. Not that they are prevalent, but they are around...


Tactical Corner / Re: Setup for post-collapse communication with family?
« on: September 02, 2012, 12:48:53 PM »
Thanks Frosty for that great link!

About CB, the problem is that a beam antenna is huge, and not everyone can or wants to set-up such a monster on their roof... A beam antenna for a 2m SSB radio is much, much smaller...



I got a Yaesu FT-270R and I really like it. It isn't too complicated but has all the features you want. It is also waterproof, with is a nice feature for an emergency radio...


General Discussion / Re: PLEASE READ! Welcome to Radio Preppers.
« on: September 02, 2012, 10:02:25 AM »

I would like to welcome all new members who joined us here this week-end following a link from
Thank you to whomever posted it, and thank you all for the great posts  :)



The Ic-7000 sure looks great. 2A though is indeed way too much for battery operations. My K1 draws 55mA, K2, 220mA, and that's with the backlit LCD on, and the S-meter on as well. Even the FT-817-ND draws 450mA on receive, which is considered high..


Tactical Corner / Re: Setup for post-collapse communication with family?
« on: September 02, 2012, 02:39:21 AM »

I am sure more experienced members will comment, but here are my thoughts... Had you mentioned 20 miles or 300, the choice would be easy. 45 miles, not so sure... If you used 2m radios, you would need some power and antennas up high. Yagi antennas would be best, but then you have to point them in the desired direction. SSB would undoubtedly work better than FM for that purpose. The problem here is that it gets a bit complex and costly for someone who isn't into Ham radio. A regular antenna at a good height might work. I would maybe get FT-2900Rs which output 75W. Not sure it would work though over that distance...
40m might be a better choice with an NVIS (Near Vertical Incidence Skywave) antenna. It might not work all the time, but mostly I think it would. A general class license is required though, but it isn't hard to get, and only one person per family needs it for the intended purpose. Of course, for real emergencies, a license wouldn't matter, but in the mean time you need to practice... For 40m on a budget, I would say MFJ-9440X.


General Discussion / Re: Elitism in Ham Radio and Further Thoughts.
« on: September 02, 2012, 01:57:45 AM »
Well, I am glad to hear that kind of behavior isn't common in ARES. I am not saying all Hams interested in emergency communications are elitists. The attitude does exist however, and it is one thing that makes me raise an eyebrow when I see it. As to the classes, couldn't they also be administered by volunteers?


Technical Corner / Re: The Retro-75 AM 75m Transceiver Kit.
« on: August 30, 2012, 04:07:59 PM »
Hello Ray,

I sold that radio, maybe a mistake.. Now I do have 80m on the K2 and K1, though not AM... I made a W3EDP antenna, which should work for 80m, we'll see. I djust don't have a tree high enough to try it at the house here..

Thanks for your comments about the K2  :)


Technical Corner / I Built an Elecraft K2.
« on: August 30, 2012, 03:00:18 PM »

My K1 worked so well, I built a K2! It took me thirty hours over three days. Everything works, but I am now battling a lack of sensitivity, especially on 20m. I do have full output power on all bands however. The kit wasn't harder than the K1, it just took longer. Right now it is the basic version, but I plan on adding the auto tuner, SSB card, audio filter board and internal battery kit.

Control board and front panel, end of day 1:

RF board, end of day 2, receiver subsection.

My happy Elecraft family:

Hopefully the sensitivity problem will be easy to fix, I just have to find the problem. I did have a bad solder joint on TR7 (the one missing on the RF board photo). Maybe the problem is related to it. I just don't have the time right now to troubleshoot. I will have to, because I want everything to work perfectly. As it is, my K1 receives much better than the K2, not cool.

I might yet build a KX1... That however, with the 40m SSB kit I am expecting from will be, for quite some time, the end of my radio building career. Then I'll start really using them! The more I am listening to HF and CW, the less I am interested in VHF...

I am not going to do a full review, there are plenty of sites that do, including Here are my impressions however:

As far a building goes, it was the same fun level as the K1. Everything fits, the manual is exemplary, the only thing missing was the rotary encoder nut and washer. I did use one from a discarded Gonset Communicator potentiometer, so that K2 has some historical parts!

The K2, while small, is still quite a bit bigger than the K1. For field use, especially backpacking, the K1 is king. The controls are very similar, so a K1 user will feel right at home with the K2. The alignment procedure for the K2 filters though is a pain. That said, once done, you won't have to do it again. People complain about the S-meter, I think it works great. You can lock your frequency, a feature I wish was available on the K1. I haven't played with the memory, scanning and other more complex functions.. That's why I do not want a KX3 or K3, too complicated. Even the K2 could be a bit simpler in my opinion. One thing I didn't like is how later modifications were added to the board without a redesign. Truth be told, the availability of through-hole components is becoming a problem. The K2 is probably on it's last leg. It came out in January 1999, almost 14 years ago! Incredibly, it still holds it's ground with modern rigs. The other problem I see for a QRP, emergency radio, is that the K2 is everything but waterproof. I would even dare to say "water inviting!" It would be totally unusable with the lightest of rain. That's when a good Pelican case is a must.

For a prepping radio, I would rather suggest a K1 or KX1, if you are willing to learn Morse code. The K2 however would be great for anyone wanting to bug-in. Add a solar panel with charge controller, and you're good to go. Always consider that you might have to relocate, and will have more important things to carry than a radio and the associated gear.

Have a great day  :)


General Discussion / Re: Radio Preppers on Mobile Devices.
« on: August 29, 2012, 12:52:12 PM »
Hello Rah,


No, a friend of mine did.. She does great work, it just takes forever.. I think it looks good  :)


General Discussion / Radio Preppers on Mobile Devices.
« on: August 27, 2012, 10:14:04 PM »

Now you can view the Radio Preppers forums on your mobile devices using the Tapatalk application!
I would also like your feedback on the new logo, thanks!


VHF and Above / Re: Baofeng UV-5R: Good disposable radio to add to gear?
« on: August 23, 2012, 11:33:35 AM »
Interesting, thanks. For the price, I might get one myself. It would be a nice gift idea for friends you would want to drag into prepping and Ham radio, and get a hold of during an emergency. Also great to give to family members in the same town..


Tactical Corner / Ham Radio Fitness.
« on: August 21, 2012, 05:02:48 PM »
What do Ham Radio and fitness have in common? Nothing. That sometimes is a problem, especially if we are talking about prepping, which is the ?other half? of this site. Let's face it, the Ham population is rather large, and I don't mean in numbers... All those hours calling CQ eating doughnuts does take it's toll. I know, I know, there is SOTA and all, but I feel that we need to address the problem, or at least, mention it, at the risk of being chastised.

Let's not forget that the goal of emergency preparedness, the way I like to promote it, is about survival. Sure, playing with radios is fun, so is building them. But we are talking about ?radio prepping,? not just Ham Radio. There are other excellent forums that do that such as Eham or QRZ. They have ?emcomm? boards too, but those are more about you helping various agencies in dealing with emergencies. It works too, but I prefer a more direct approach, namely, getting information to save your own ass as well as family and friends. Which brings me to the question: ?How far and how fast can you move the former??

Prepping is not a selective activity. You work on the whole spectrum or nothing. I have seen videos of Preppers/Hams with all the equipment and food you could dream of but unable to run a hundred yards without busting a major blood vessel near the heart. We all have our medical problems and limitations, but there is always something to be done.

After I broke my femur in a motorcycle accident in 2004, I needed rehabilitation but could not afford it. So, I signed myself up for a Russian Martial Art class taught by an ex Russian Spetsnaz soldier. Yes, I do things a bit to the extreme sometimes.. I could barely come up the stairs to the classroom. I asked the guy ?Is my leg going to be a problem?? He looked back at me straight in the eyes and replied ?I don't give a shit.? There's Russian martial art for you.. To make a long story short, I worked around my injury. It was hard and painful, but now, I occasionally teach the class. I can do a one-legged squat on that side. I have other problems, my back in particular, but I don't force anything. Back hurts? Fine, I'll work on my legs or arms.

Getting older I noticed one thing: I move less, and I put on weight really fast. For me, that means no bread, no pasta, no sugar, and as little processed foods as possible. Sometimes, I break down and eat a whole can of ice cream. But all in all, I try to stay at a healthy weight, 190Lbs for 6'2''. I don't quit because I strayed a few times. It's not easy. Things that really matter usually aren't.

Why going through all this? For one, health. I don't have the greatest heart, and I want it to keep ticking as long as possible. Second, an emergency might mean relocating to a safer area. More often than not, that means on foot. I have a pretty heavy bug-out bag, carrying first-aid gear, water, emergency food rations, and a bunch of other stuff. It isn't very big, but it is packed full. Now I am adding radio to the mix, more weight. I want to be able to carry that bag for miles without excessive strain.

Like me, you probably tried dieting multiple times, or had bouts of frantic exercising, then gave up. When I decided to do the Beach Body P90X program, I almost gave up after a month. Though I felt better, I looked just the same, didn't lose much weight. But I kept on going. Two months later, what a change! I had never seen my abs before. I went from 205Lbs to 186Lbs, and added muscles. But boy, did the whole thing suck. The reason I was able to do it was because I used an exercise program, kept track of my food intake on, and stuck to it long enough to see results. I try to keep my food  proportions at 20% fat, 30-40% carbs and 40-50% proteins. It's much easier to do by having a protein shake once a day. Eat small portions five times a day, drink a lot of water. Stay far away from sugary drinks! Drink wine, not beer.

Like I said, I do things to the extreme sometimes. You don't have to do P90X! If you can, great, I recommend it. Diet and walking might just be enough for you. Just know that your body is not set in stone, and that no matter your age or current injuries, you can change it. Make sure you see your doctor and ask for advise on any medical conditions you might have. You don't want to make things worse. I also very highly recommend Yoga. No, it's not for girls only, and you don't have to dress like Ghandi. Yoga will give you strength and mobility you thought was a thing of the past.

There are many aspects to living a healthy and long life. We don't have the space here to elaborate. What matters is that your family should be able to count on you in a crisis. You might have to carry equipment, even an injured family member to safety without putting yourself at risk of a heart attack. Unless you are a paraplegic, I can guarantee you that there are ways for you to exercise. Ask a professional if you don't know what to do, or shop online for a program you might like. Remember that easy won't cut it. I hate exercising, but I force myself and I feel better for it. I know it will keep me alive longer than otherwise. That is why I don't plan of having a shack. I'll take my little K1 outside in the woods.
The human body is amazing. It can go from couch potato to mean-lean-killing-machine in months. The key is to keep at it, and not expect quick visible results. However, when a friend sees you after six months you might get a ?Woah!? or not even be immediately recognized. The grin on your face when the SHTF, priceless!


General Discussion / Re: Burning Man Anyone?
« on: August 21, 2012, 12:29:04 PM »
Hi Jim,

There is a saying for sailboats that might as well apply to RVs: "Go small. Go now!"  ;)

Unless you need the 40ft. to stretch out a dipole...


Tactical Corner / Re: Why QRP?
« on: August 17, 2012, 06:40:23 PM »
Thanks, that K1 is CW only, but I might get an MFJ 9440 for SSB!


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