Category Archives for "Equipment"

Filter Performance on FT-1000MP’s and K3

Elecraft K3

For those of you interested in the two radios, K9YC did some extensive measurements on a couple of FT-1000MP’s with different filter configurations and the K3. Pretty interesting stuff.

He dutifully recorded the results along with how the measuring was done. The whole thing is a 13-page PDF file. He has set it up so it can be downloaded.

Scot, K9JY

Single Point Ground Pictures

A while back, Rick, K2XT, offered on the TowerTalk reflector to send pictures of his single point ground for his station in the basement. Rick sent them to me and graciously offered to have them published on the blog. I really appreciate it.

The first picture is of the Single Point Ground mounted on the floor joists. You can see the installation has lots of components.

Single Point Ground Connection -- K2XT

The second picture is a closer view of the components:

Single Point Ground -- K2XT

Note that everything is connected to the copper plate and then exits to the lightening protection system.

Rick – thanks for sharing!

Scot, K9JY

Lightning Protection for the Ham Radio Station

LightningHere in the Northern Hemisphere, spring is in the air — and already we’ve had violent thunder storms with lots of lightning. Protecting our equipment from lightning is one of the most important non-operating tasks that we do. Have a lot of expensive equipment inside the house with a nice tall metal structure outside in a cleared area is simply asking for lightning to strike.

There are a lot of misconceptions out there about lightning protection. Those misconceptions can cost you dearly.

When I went searching for good lightning protection information, there were lots of articles that also had a lot of misconceptions as well. After a lot of research, I settled on three QST articles that thoroughly, but clearly, described what needed to be done.

The articles describe three phases to lightning protection:

  1. Identify your inside protection needs. This is a block diagram of all (all…) your equipment in the shack. This includes radios, amplifiers, tuners, telephones, computers, rotor boxes — all of it along with the type of connection it makes to the outside world.
  2. Create your “Single Ground Point Ground Panel,” the place where all of your inside equipment is grounded.
  3. Implement your antenna ground system outside the house.

Creating a lightning protection system is painstaking in that unless every piece of the puzzle is in place, your protection will fail. Any failure could result in serious harm to your equipment. By following this protection process, you’ll be minimizing your risk from a lightening strike.

Articles:

Lightning Protection for the Amateur Station — Part 1

Lightning Protection for the Amateur Station — Part 2

Lighening Protection for the Amateur Station — Part 3

Scot, K9JY

Surge Protect Your Whole House

On the Tower Talk Reflector, there has been a good discussion on “whole house” surge protectors. I had not seen anything like this until I watched “Holmes on Homes” on the Discovery Channel. The host of the show is now installing these surge protectors — about $500 — on the incoming power to the electrical box.

Supposedly, the surge protector will protect the entire house from electrical surges, though every one that I have read about says to continue to provide good surge protection at the point of the equipment. Plus, of course, power lines are not the only way surges get into the house — wired telephone lines, cable, and others contribute.

Multiple thousands of dollars can be lost without even being struck by lightning; the whole house surge protector seems to be a good investment to make.

Has anyone out there used whole house surge protectors? What’s your experience?

Scot, K9JY

Amateur Logic TV

Amateur Logic TV

Many hams have taken to podcasts and video to help tell the ham radio story. But Amateur Logic TV focuses entirely on video on it’s site.

The really great news is that each of the videos, in the half hour range for each one, is well done — certainly better than anything I could do.

The latest videos you can download: Ameritron Amplifier Factory Tour, MFJ Factory Tour, and Building the Softrock Software Defined Radio.

For those of you who haven’t tried doing video, let me tell you it’s a ton of work, especially for the length of the shows that Amateur Logic TV is doing.

There’s more of course. Real people talking to real people who provide us our stuff for a great hobby. Check them out.

Scot, K9JY

microHAM Router 5.1.1 Available

microHAM Keyer Router 5.1.1 has been released. This version contains several fixes and one significant operational improvement.

Router 5.1.1 supports Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Vista (32 bit only). Discontinued operating systems (Windows 95 and all versions of Windows 98) are not supported.

The major change that will effect Kenwood and TenTec users – the “Digital Bandmap” Voice/Digital switching is now controlled by the transmit frequency instead of the “Operating” (or current) frequency.

Of particular interest to WriteLog users, baud rate emulation on the FSK ports has been fixed. This should allow RTTYrite to work properly with Soundboard FSK and Stereo soundboard FSK choices.

Hat tip to Joe, W4TV.

Scot, K9JY

microHAM USB Device Router Updated

microKEYER IImicroHAM notes that a new version of the USB Device Router (5.0.1) is now available.

Outside of Vista support, it also significantly improves the CW sending on dual-CPU computers.

Also announced: the MKII is now shipping.

Check out all of the details at microHAM USA.

Scot, K9JY

Yaesu FT-450 Rocks

Attending the Pacific NW DX Convention this weekend, I had the privilege of seeing the new Yaesu FT-450 radio. The cool thing about this radio is the weight — just under eight pounds and providing full coverage through six meters.

Since I spend a good amount of time and thought on radios for DXpeditions, the FT-450 immediately comes up as a great alternative to my current radio. Easily fitting into a carry on bag, the radio really breaks the weight barrier.

The presenter who used the radio wanted to find out if the receiver would really do the trick in HF pileups…and it did.

Another cool thing: redundancy. Since the radio is only 8-pounds, you can take two with you for the weight of one radio.

Time to do some more research, for sure. Interfaces, FSK RTTY…all need to be looked into. But, I’m looking!

Here’s a quick six second video of the FT-450 from Dayton. Think of an FT-1000MP at 1/3 the size.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3qyMF2s1Y_E

If you have a need for something like this for either DXpeditions or in your car, it’s worth a serious look.

Scot, K9JY

Icom IC-756PRO2 + 3 Roofing Filter Available

icom-roofing-bInternational Radio is now offering roofing filters for the Icom IC-756Pro line, including the PRO2 and PRO3.

The PRO2 filter is shipping from stock, but the PRO3 filter won’t ship kits until early August of 2007.

CAUTION: The site notes that the PRO3 filter is not for the feint of heart:

This mod is significantly more challenging to perform than our other roofing filter kits and requires removal of some SMT components, cutting of board traces, modifying a shield can, and putting small connectors on two teflon RG-178 coaxial cables. It should only be performed by those with considerable technical skills who are comfortable working around delicate electronics and small surface mount components.

Full details at International Radio.

Scot

Elecraft K3 Video

People were using You Tube big-time at the Dayton Hamvention. Yesterday saw the video for the Icom 7700 and today you can take a look at a video for the new Elecraft K3 — a hot radio first look.

Tip of the hat to Jeff, KE9V, over at Long Delayed Echoes who, I’m guessing based upon his blog posts, was fortunate not to drool on the radio!

Scot, K9JY