Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Rock Mite Built!

I mentioned some time back that I had bought a QRP kit: "The Rock Mite". On Sunday I finally had some time to build it! Yay! Now, I hadn't done much soldering in years, and so I was fearing there would be some difficulty, but there wasn't, after all. It took most of the evening, but it was definitely an enjoyable time. I am looking forward to actually hooking it up to power and an antenna. Who knows? It might even work!

Friday, February 10, 2006


I have been very remiss keeping up this blog. But little has happened! I was going to keep my on-air log here, but keeping track of my participation in nets is so repetitious.

Nothing exciting happening, but maybe in awhile.


Monday, July 25, 2005

No Code!?

I just read this from a bulletin put out on 7/20 by the ARRL. The FCC has proposed to do away with Morse code requirements for US ham licensees. The article is at:


Quote from article:

"The Commission recommended the change to its Part 97 Amateur Service rules in a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) in WT Docket 05-235. Any rule changes proposed in the NPRM would not become final until the FCC gathers additional public comments, formally adopts any changes to its rules and concludes the proceeding by issuing a Report and Order (R&O) spelling out the changes and specifying an effective date. That's not likely to happen for several months."

I'd say that it is likely that this rule change will go forward, despite Old Ham objections, of which no doubt there will be many, and vociferous. I'm glad I passed my morse code before this happens --- if the rule change had occurred already, then I wouldn't have found the motivation for learning the code, which I am grateful for having learned. Maybe I'll even use it someday!

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Ordered a Rock Mite

No, this isn't some little bug that likes rocks, it is a dual frequency QRP transceiver kit offered by Small Wonder Labs. I ordered a 40m kit, which will operate on 7039 and 7040 kHz. As supplied, it puts out a rompin' stompin' 500 milliwatts on a 12 volt supply! There are mods available to double this power, but I'm not going to try anything fancy until I get it running stock.

The other thing about this transceiver is that it is Morse code only (what else would one expect with only half a watt?). To this end I have been polishing up my Morse skills -- sure, I passed the required 5 words per minute test for the General class license, but like most folks who pass this test, they are still very shaky, at best. I think I could pass a test at 10 wpm now, if one were available.

Additionally, I am going to need a 40m antenna, and due to the lack of space to put up a dipole for this band, I have decided to get me a very compact antenna, namely the 40 m band Isotron antenna. I can put this in my attic where I expect it will perform adequately.

ERC and MARA Nets

Tomorrow, I will be acting as Net Control of the Olympia Area ERC Net and the MARA Cascades Chapter, South Section Net. The first will be held at 20:30 Pacific Time on the Olympia Amateur Radio Society's 3-band linked repeater system (147.360 Mhz duplexed at +600 Khz offset with 103.5 PL receive tone). The second will be held on 147.560 Mhz simplex) at 21:15 Pacific Time.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Comm Log 2005-04-03

I got a little backwards in keeping up with the log, but I'm baaaaccck!

Participated in the Kitsap County Medical Net tonight at about 19:50. I sort of just tripped into it, since I was just calling for a comm check. I tried getting their net control callsign, and I thought it was KD7TJF -- if so, he was probably operating from Seattle, which is about 47.5 miles from me.

Also checked in with the Graham Stake ERC net at about 20:10. Their net control was N7DAR, Dave, about 22 miles from me.

At 20:30 I acted as net control of the Olympia Area ERC Net, and we had 12 checkins, including KD7EBU, KD7USW, KD7USV, KD7UST (me), KD7USS, KD7HYH, KD7RAT, KD7DAT and KD7DAU. KC7PAG and KDYUTC were checked in by proxy by KD7USV. Only had one visitor, N7YNU.

Checked in with the MARA Cascades Chapter, Central Section Net at 21:05, their net control was N7YNU, Kelly.

At 21:15 acted as net control for the MARA Cascades Chapter, South Section Net, and we have 9 checkins, including KC7PAG (who was mobile on I-5 in the vicinity of Exit 88, near Rochester), KD7USS, KD7USV, KD7USW, KD7UTC and N7YNU. Visitors included KC7DTF, AD7AI, and KE7DAU. The net was complete about 21:27.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Comm Log

Tonight was filled with excellent communications. I participated in:

  1. the Olympia Area ERC net, starting at 20:30, on the OARS repeater NT7H, 147.360+ PL103.5

  2. the MARA Cascades Chapter Central Section net, starting at 21:00, on 147.560 simplex,

  3. at about 21:13, between the Central and South Section nets, I spoke with K7CXJ, John, in Sammamish. I was hearing him and he was hearing me extremely clearly, and the distance between us was about 55 miles

  4. and the MARA Cascades Chapter South Section net, starting at 21:15, on 147.560 simplex.

  5. after all the nets, spoke with KC7PAG and KD7USS on 147.560 MHz simplex around 21:40 about various things concerning ERC and my new antenna.
My nice new antenna made hearing everyone in the Central Section net much much better than usual (previously I could hardly hear anyone).


Well, I was expecting decent performance out of this Cushcraft Ringo Ranger II, but man was I ever surprised. I finally hooked up my HTX-242 to the antenna and dialed into 147.560 MHz (our net freq), and in short order heard someone off in the distance requesting a radio check, at about 19:05 local. It was KE7CMB, Rich, transmitting from South Hill, near Puyallup. He was coming in very well, and he was hearing me quite well, as well. He was pushing 45 watts on a Yaesu FT212RH using a 5/8 wave Lakeview ground plane antenna. At low power (6w) he was not quite readable. But I heard him very well, and South Hill is 28.8 miles from here. I've been able to talk to some folks out in Tacoma before (about the same distance), but it was very much down in the weeds, hard to hear in the static. We had an interesting conversation, and it turned out that he was on this particular frequency due to the Graham Stake ERC Net.

Even better, just after finishing our conversation, at 19:20, I got a call from KE7AWU, Cheryl, on the same frequency, who was transmitting from Eatonville, about 32 miles from here. She was clear as day, too. I didn't check with what equipment she was using, though. I'm sure I'll be able to do so at another time. Cheryl was at the class in Olympia yesterday.

This antenna ROCKS!

Saturday, January 15, 2005

ERC Class

Today was the Emergency Response Communications class, which I attended. Just before leaving for the class, I got on the nominal call-in frequency, 147.560 MHz, at just before 9 am and talked with Vaunn, KD7UJH, who was on his way there, too. This was on the new antenna, but since Vaunn is very local it doesn't tell me anything about antenna performance. For that I guess I will wait until tomorrow, when we'll have our usual ERC and MARA nets.