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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

BBQ Brisket with Traeger Grill

I have owned two Traeger Grills.  I purchased my 1st back around 2008 and after 8 years I bought and upgraded to the Pro 34 Series.  Our Traeger sits right next our our Weber Summit S-670.  Both grills have their uses and do a fine job.

The Traeger has smoked & grilled Ribs, Pulled Pork, Sausage, Pies, Pizza, Turkey & Brisket.  Think of it as your smoker, grill & convection oven.

So why Brisket for us?  Cheap meat, good flavor and always fun to cook, as you need to have a good beer and cigar while you wait.

I am not a fan of a fancy rub with 20 secret ingredients.  I prefer to use the natural flavor of most meats.  So following Aaron Franklin, of Franklins BBQ we choose Texas Style, Salt and Pepper.

Links to Aaron Franklin, plus his book is a good read.

Two things I learned from Aaron Franklin and getting his book.

1.  275 degrees is your friend.  I still get a nice even smoke ring.
2.  Resting your meat.

So I could go on about how I did my brisket, but best you watch his video.

Keep in mind once the cooking is done, wait before you slice into the meat.  Read why here.

You won't be disappointed.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Installing Hustler 6-BTV Part 2 of 4

This day we started out by installing the DX Engineering Radial Plate and Tilt Over Mast.  Once that was done, we put in the stakes to guy the antenna.

Next up will be feeding the RFC-600 Coax and setting up the Radial wires.

So far looking good.

Tilt-Over Mast and Radial Plate
RF Choke and Coax Feed line
Hustler 6-BTV Guyed and just in time for some South Carolina unexpected rain
View from the Back Patio
Next up we finish the conduit and coax runs.  Hope to also assemble the entry panel and copper grounding rods.

So stay tuned.

Installing Hustler 6-BTV Part 1 of 4

Back in 2012 in Ramona, CA I decided to install a Hustler 4-BTV in my backyard.  Click on below links for details:
Install Part 1
Install Part 2

Well about 3 weeks ago we started once again to install another Hustler antenna.  This time I chose the Hustler 6-BTV utilizing the DX Engineering Radial plate and Tilt Over mast.

Since my previous install in Ramona, CA, we have moved to Rock Hill, SC.  After submitting to our HOA of my plans for an antenna, it was approved by virtue of the HOA not responding to my reqeust within 30 the fun begins.

One thing I learned from the last install is while the antenna is cheap, getting everything needed to have a high performing vertical antenna is not.  All said and done, I could have purchased a nice Yagi Antenna from Cushcraft & maybe even a tower, the issue is I could not afford the Cement for the tower and I am sure the HOA would have objected to my 80 tower.

My home here in South Carolina sits on 1.02 acres of nice flat land.  So below is my design by using Google Earth:

Ensure you read and follow the install for this antenna from DX Engineering.  Here is the PDF Link to it.

The diagram above shows both a 32 foot and a 62 foot radial field.  I did this to see if I had the space needed and I do have the space for the 62 foot radials.

As mentioned above I have a nice flat 1 acre plot of land.  I decided to place the 6-BTV in the back part of the property and put out sixty, 62 foot radial wires attached to the DX Engineering Radial Plate.  I'll have to cut some of it near the Shed and property lines, but that is okay.

Since we have a good distance of Coax to run, I wanted to ensure I got a good Coax with minimal Attenuation Loss.  See chart.  I decided to get a LMR-600 brand of cable.  I found a good supply at a very good price.  The company I purchased from was Shireen Inc.  Click here for vendor on RFC-600 Cable, which is the same spec as LMR-600.  I purchased the 500 foot roll, as I have about 400 foot to cable and I am sure I will use the rest for something or help out a friend with it.

Steps needed to complete for success.

1.  Dig a 4 foot deep hole, 12 inches wide for mast
2.  Trench 400 foot to place a two inch conduit run for the two coax feeds
3.  Assemble, glue 400 Foot of 2" conduit pipe for the Coax line
4.  Cut, crimp sixty, 62 foot 14 AWG Stranded Copper Radial Line (Purchased at Lowes).  You can
     get 8 radials per 500 foot roll.
5.  Four Copper 8 Foot grounding rods.
     a.  One connected to Radial Field
     b.  One at base of  antenna with a Polyphaser Coax Lightning Protection
     c.  One at Garage Entry Panel with another Polyphaser Coax Lightning Protection
     d.  One next to Ham Station near the back of garage for RF Grounding
6.  Setup and design Coax Entry Panel on the outside
7.  Put it all together
8.  Tuning the BTV with my RigExpert AA-170
9.  Getting on the air

Since I did not have a post hole digger and they cost about 30-40 dollars, I decided to rent one.  It cost me $86.00 at Home Depot for 4 hours and well worth it.  For I am sure we would have spent 4 plus hours doing it with a post hole digger, this had it done in under a hour.

My back feels so good
Cement mixing for mast

My wonderful wife putting my call sign (K6FI) in the cement

Now that we had almost 400 foot of Coax to bury, we would need to trench about one foot down. Knowing a good neighbor always helps, as they may have a trencher you can barrow.

Trencher made all the difference

ICOM IC-7000 No Longer Dead

April 2015 we relocated to the wonderful state of South Carolina, which has nothing to do with why my ICOM IC-7000 is happy and working once again...I just wanted to let ya know South Carolina is a wonderful state.

October 2015 I decide it is  now time to seek out a repair facility for my IC-7000, I was not going to give up on such a good radio.  Using once again using Google and landing on I found Paul Hansen, who was highly recommended to my repair job.

So I started by emailing Paul Hansen W6XA, Paul owns "Amateur Radio Service", a repair facility at the time located in Anderson, SC (Recently moved to Tucker, GA).

Paul was very responsive and knowledgeable when we exchanged emails back and forth and after shipping my radio to Paul, I had it back in less than a week.

So the weekend of 10/23/2015, my Buddipole and IC-7000 were back on the air.  United and happy once again.

Radio is happy, I am happy.

Thank you Paul.