Showing posts with label Ham Radio Blog. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ham Radio Blog. Show all posts

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Not Quite Dayton...

Hey Gang,

I went to my first HamFest today. Yes, it's true, I've never made it to a HamFest before, but since I'm getting back into the hobby, I thought I would make the effort to get there early and check it out.

The Wichita Hamfest bills itself as Kansas' largest hamfest, and it may well be, but it is still a small affair. It only runs from 8am til 1pm and occupies a small bingo parlor. There were two professional ham vendors, one the local candystore, and an Elecraft vendor. No K3 in sight, but the literature was displayed with their other rigs. I couldn't afford one, nor do have the technical knowledge to build a unit from a kit. They sure were pretty though!

I was hoping, but not expecting, to find a small CW rig I could by for less than $225, but I didn't see anything.  There was only one straight key and two paddles sets for sale. I was also hoping to find some ladderline and/or some wire for antenna making, but no luck on that front either. I looked at the used rigs for sale, thinking maybe I'd buy a completly solid state rig, if I could find a good deal. I wanted something that was a bit more reasonable for dragging around than my hollow state TS-820s, but I didn't find any deals. I almost bought a hat with my callsign and name, but in the end, I only spent $2 for the cover charge.

I did meet a couple of new people and talked to a couple of hams I hadn't seen  in years. Nancy and Bob (I should have got their callsigns, darn it) were there and they are the nicest people! I love her Georgia sweet-as-pecan pie accent. Bob is putting out a small email newsletter. I gave them my email and I hope to hear from them. I learned the local club has really dropped in its membership from when I joined. It's down from around 180 to about 40 or so, according to Nancy, although she admitted her information was out of date for accurate numbers. The local club did have a table there, but I didn't recognise the guys sitting there. I was invited to joing W0VFW, an Amateur Radio station set up in a local VFW hall. I am not a Vet, but my dad was a WWII Vet (Most people don't believe me when I say that because I'm to young to be a baby boomer). I am eligble for auxillary status, although I'm not sure I'm required to be a member to participate in the radio group, but it's encouraged. I believe I will look into a membership next week.

I also met with a former RACES friend, and we discussed our dissatification with the group and why I left. Enough said about that. this is postive blog, after all. The were also a couple of old acquaintances there I caught up with and I enjoyed our eyeball QSOs. The event, as small as it is, is still well attended by the local hams. I'm really glad I went. It was a fun experience, even though no one seperated me from my money.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Tuna Tin 2 Didn't Tune

Somewhere around 2002-2003, I bought a Tuna Tin 2 kit and built it in a couple of evenings. It was my first transmitter kit. As my interest in Ham Radio waned, I put it on the shelf and it became a dust collector. I never gave it the "smoke test" to even see if it worked.

The poor beast has been ingored, banged around, and stuffed in whatever convenient place I could find, like my glovebox, for the last eight or nine years. The only modification from the original build that I did was to replace the 7.040 crystal with a 7.055, so I would operate in SKCC territory ( I proabably should have got a crystal set to a frequency between 7.100 and 7.125mhz to operate in the old Novice portion of the band where the slow coders hang out.). Yesterday, I went to the local candy store, (a Radio Shack that actually carries Amateur Radio stuff) and bought some BNC to PL 259 adapters, along with some other stuff, and I decided to give the rig a smoke test. My power supply was a universal wall-wart type, that I clicked over to the 12v setting. I had an old 1/8 plug that I soldered  speaker wire to and then I hooked the other ends to my straight key.

Needless to say, it didn't work. A fact I don't find surprising, nor is it discouraging. This is a very simple circuit and I will do my best to troubleshoot it. This type of effort, trying to find out what went wrong, is probably the best way to learn. Not the easiest, but the best. I hope to get the little beggar pumping out its mighty 500ma, whatever it turns out to be, and I hope to learn a little about circuits as I make it happen. I suspect my power supply, and I'm going to buy the recommended battery pack this weekend when I get a chance. I'm also going to replace the used 1/8" plug with a new one. If that doesn't work, I guess I'll break out my multitester and start checking the components.

Wish me luck,