plumber’s 10-meter ham radio antenna

One avenue for local two-way radio communication is through the use of the 10-meter frequencies. I have not had a decent antenna for joining the conversation that is exercised most Wednesday evenings at 1915 hours on 28.350 MHz.

For visualization purposes, CB radios are just slightly longer, around 11 meters – that is, very similar in antenna requirements – a fairly tall antenna like the spring-mounted whips you sometimes see on pickup trucks.

I have had an antenna that transmits and receives ten meter okay, but it is in my little canyon (problem one) and is a horizontal […]

solar controller upgrade

The beast of a solar panel was too much for the economy controllers I tried. As I mentioned in my previous article about it, solar power upgrade, I put an antique ammeter on the incoming power that I could know how much was hitting the controller and a blade switch in the line so I could cut off the incoming juice when it became too much.

This was not a system I could just leave on its own. If I was ever going to be able to ignore it, and if I wanted to absorb maximum power […]

two-way radios

can be indispensable in emergencies and other times normal communications tools are not working.

For my current amateur radio Technician Class students, I just bought 7 of the make/model I feel gives the best cost/benefit for ham radio operators. The TYT MD-UV390 operates on both the ultra-high-frequencies (UHF) of the FCC’s family radio service (FRS) and general mobile radio service (GMRS), it also transmits and receives on the very high frequencies (VHF) commonly used by hams, public and private agencies for regional communications.

Their MD-UV380 is the lower cost version of the same radio without the water-proofing. TYT, […]

electricity, components & circuits

Chapter 3 in the Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL) Ham Radio License Manual is the most challenging to most students. Remember that out of the 35 questions on your written exam, 26 correct answers is a passing score. You can afford to miss nine, or one out of every four and still earn your Technician’s License. You could miss, or even skip over every component and circuit question without failing your exam.

Do not get all balled-up in this one chapter.

On the other hand, it is cool, and even useful to understand a bit of this stuff. So […]

wave behavior

Whether it is a stone tossed into a glassy-smooth pond, sound waves coming out of a trombone or electro-magnetic waves enabling radios to communicate, the wave behaviors are direct relatives to the physicist.

One such person built a model to demonstrate wave behavior then his employer, Bell Labs, produced a movie of it. I almost called it a video, but those were not yet invented in 1959 when this was created.

Last year I pounded enough correct answers into my head that I passed my Amateur Extra exam. My motivation was that I really wanted to UNDERSTAND radio […]

comms plans for Darby Dog Derby

The 2020 Bitterroot dogsled race weekend is coming up. I have the two-way-radio support plan mapped out, radios programmed, testing complete, batteries all charged up … I think we are as ready as we can get.

For more details about the weekend, the participants and the races, go to The Bitterroot Mushers website.

Each year we learn more, adding refinements to patch holes as we find them. Ideally we have 8 checkpoints with a checkpoint worker and a radio operator at each. That’s a bit dreamy as the last couple years we are lucky to have one person […]

final day of registration for ham class is Friday

This a repeat of my previous announcement. There is one more day of online registration for Darby Adult Ed classes. We stand ONE STUDENT SHORT of having enough to make it happen.

I am bringing another amateur radio operator licensing class to Darby, Montana via the Darby Adult Education program in its Spring 2020 schedule. I have not keept track, but think I have personally assisted 40 or 50 people to earning their FCC licenses through my study groups in the Darby library.

The snide saying goes, “Those who CAN, DO. Those who cannot, TEACH”. I’m okay wearing […]

Ham license class begins February 1st

I am bringing another amateur radio operator licensing class to Darby, Montana via the Darby Adult Education program in its Spring 2020 schedule. I have not keept track, but think I have personally assisted 40 or 50 people to earning their FCC licenses through my study groups in the Darby library.

The snide saying goes, “Those who CAN, DO. Those who cannot, TEACH”. I’m okay wearing that. Good instructors are as rare as good anything else. I did not choose this calling, blessing or curse. It chose me. Run with your talents.

Every person who has come to all […]

Jungle Antenna Building Workshop

July 6, 2019 – Darby, Montana

Six of us came to my Bunkhouse Road workshop from SE Darby hills, Hamilton and Alberton canyons – Technicians, Generals, Amateur Extras

Some white-board work explaining the math in metric and inches Our calculations were primarily done in metric (Ted’s slide rule prefers it) 300,000,000 meters per second / 147,000,000 Hz = 2.04 meters = 204 cm a quarter wave antenna will be about 50 cm long, as will each radial Measurements were done with metric + inch tape measure

Hardware: dual binding post to BNC connector BNC to SO-239 Adapter choices of […]

emergency comms

Once again I address the subject of “What do you do when your phones and Internet stop working?” Wonder and Nothing useful are the two answers most people will default to.

I know I am unusual in planning and preparing for such a scenario. I not only think of ME and mine, but want others to have value in their radios as well. So I produce an attractive, sturdy laminated card that they just might keep with their two-way radio enabling them to find value in it when no other means of mid-range communication is available.

I hereby […]

personal Victory!

I determined to UP MY GAME in amateur radio knowledge this year. My primary methodology was to work towards passing the final hurdle in amateur radio to earn my Amateur Extra ticket. It demands a wide range of knowledge covering the spectrum of radio construction, operation and transmission.

Two unanticipated things I learned from this effort were: 1) I really don’t want to know how radios are constructed… though much of that is required to pass the exam. 2) Simultaneously teaching a class of newcomers to pass their Technician level exams while studying to pass the third […]

Bitterroot Emergency Radio Plan

BEARS, that is the Bitterroot Emergency Amateur Radio Services, works towards having viable communication resources in place when our neighborhood most needs it. A radio and operator are useless without another radio and operator at the other end.

Two-way radio is by definition a sending and receiving operation. The more operators on the network, the better our information is and the wider we can spread it.

Likely more than 99% USofA adults ASSUME their phones and wi-fi devices will never fail them. In real-life emergencies, they are nearly always shocked and hopeless because those systems do fail.

I print, […]