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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

IC-7000 Dead

Well as you might have guessed it, my IC-7000 is dead as it is no longer TX any power.  Currently the UHF/VHF work fine, but on the HF frequencies its TX power is less than desired.

TX Power
10M 80%
15M 50%
20M 30%
40M ZERO
80M ZERO
160M ZERO

I purchased this back in Nov 2008 and have a little over 1300 contacts.  Really disappointed, so I will be sending it off for a repair and estimate to MTS Repair.  Jim at MTS seems to think the issue is my HF Finals, but he won't know for sure until he gets the radio which I will send next week.  In the mean time I am heading out to purchase a Yaesu FT-950.

After my IC-7000 broke I started searching the net for symptoms and cause and only to find out that this is common when you don't use the ICOM tuner and you use an after market tuner like I have (LDG AT-7000 and the LDG-1000 PRO). (Here is a article on my issue I think)

So once I get the rig back I will be selling it to help offset the costs of my FT-950.

Lesson learned and moving on with DXing.

K6FI

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Hustler 4-BTV Update 3-6-2012

3-6-2012 So now that I have the ground radial system installed with 60, 32 foot radials, the antenna is not performing as expected.  So I spoke with DX Engineering they are going to check out my setup and they too agree that the antenna should be performing so much better than it is now.  One possible problem might be the band conditions, as confirmed by W6TAD and DX Engineering...these past few days have sucked.

So today I will be hooking up my old tuner (I got a new one and a AMP) and removing the new tuner and AMP (AL-811H) from the equation just to ensure I did not screw something up.

More updates as this project progresses.

Completed 4-BTV Radial System (FRONT)


Completed 4-BTV Radial System (BACK)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Hustler 4-BTV DX Engineering Install

Who would have thought that a simple Hustler 4-BTV antenna that costs $169.00, would end up costing an additional $800.00 to complete.  I know you are asking yourself WTF...well guess I did as well.

I choose this antenna due to my HOA.  My HOA said as long as I can take the antenna down when not in use, they would be fine with me having it.  So after some research I found DX Engineering had a tilt over base solution.  Then after reading more about this antenna and the need for radial wires, DX Engineering also had a solution for that as well, since the antenna only allows for a few radial wires attached to the bottom of it.

DX Engineering had a very good PDF file detailing how to install the 4-BTV in a "High Performance" configuration, which I decided to follow.

Yard mowed and mast installed
First step was to find a good location so I can have some 32 foot long radials.  In my yard I can have 32 foot radials going from North to South and 16 Foot radials going East to West.  So I then dug a 3 foot deep hole, placed in my mast and cemented it in and waited about a week and cut the weeds down as suggested (plus they needed to be cut down anyway).

Second step was to get the antenna wire to the mast and per the instruction of DX Engineering it needed to be buried 6 to 12 inches below the radial wires, so I got myself a trencher ($160.00) and dug a 50 foot long trench.  Once that was completed I got some 2 inch black PVC pipe($55.00) for the antenna wire, put that in the trench and buried it all with some fancy rubber caps for the ends for the antenna wire to come out of.

Yard trenched and ready for coax

Third step was to now mount the DX Engineering Radial Plate, RF Vertical Choke, Tilt Over Mast to the mast I buried in the First step.  Pay very close attention to the length between the Radial Plate and the bottom of the Tilt Over Mast...they say 7 inches, so go 6.5 and life is good.

Fourth step is the fun part, measuring the 32 foot long radial wires and getting them installed to the radial plate.  I purchased DX Engineering Bulk Wire Kit which has 500 foot of wire, 20 terminal connectors to the radial place and 100 lawn staples for the wire.  What was missing here was the nuts, bolts, washers to attached to the radial plate, so I went and bought them separately, which I suggest you get from DX Engineering, since hardware stores will cost you about 4 times the amount of money for stainless steel bolts than DX Engineering.

So I got it all hooked up minus the radial wires and tested the radio to see who I could hear...nothing but dead air.  Then a few days later I installed 6 out of 40, 32 foot long radials and was able to hear contacts...I'm sure as I get more radial wires installed, the signals will become better or I will be pissed.

Everything installed (minus the radials)
Bottom line and what I have learned installing this antenna is, read the DX Engineering Manual first, plan and ensure you get all the needed hardware from DX Engineering you need (I will list below what I got and what I missed).  Plan on spending more than just the $169.00 dollars for the antenna.

I will followup on this article once I get more radial wires installed and let you know if it was truly worth it and how the Band and SWR reading are from the MFJ-266 Antenna Analyzer after I make any adjustments to the antenna, as I am sure I will have to, since I can't get 40M to tune right now.

Equipment purchased from DX Engineering
(1) Radial Plate (DXE-RADP-3)
(1) Vertical Feed line Current Choke (DXE-VFCC-H05-A)
(1) Tilt Over Mast  (DXE-TB-3P)
(1) Bulk Wire Kit 500 foot (DXE-RADW-500K)
(4) 1 to 2 inch V-Clamps (DXE-SSVC-2P)
(1) 20 pc Radial Wire Kit (DXE-RADP-1HWK)

Other Items Purchased or Rented
1 Hustler 4-BTV Antenna
1 Day Trencher
60 foot 2" PVC Pipe
2 rubber caps for PVC Pipe
1 bag ready redicrete cement for mast
1 1 5/8" 6 foot mast
1 bag of rocks for mast hole
100 foot rope for coax pipe to pull coax



K6FI

Monday, January 30, 2012

UFO Sighting Murrieta California

So I'm sitting at home entertaining my grandson for the evening and my friend calls and tells me of a video he just captured from his house.  He and his wife and daughter just witnessed a UFO sighting of three orange glowing lights traveling across the sky.

Why I'm posting this is because I have always been curious with life outside of our planet.  One has to think with 2 billion stars in the Milky Way Galaxy and over 500 billion galaxies, once has to think we are not alone.

So to all you non-believers...I ask you this.  When is the last time you saw a YouTube video or a reported sighting of God?

I rest my case.

More expose of this event can be located at.
http://www.examiner.com/unexplained-phenomena-in-national/california-couple-narrates-scene-while-experiencing-ufo-sighting


K6FI

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Armed Citizens

If you have read my blog you will take note that I served in the US Marines and that I enjoy hunting, camping and shooting guns. So I thought what not a better posting today, than on guns.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney
I was reading today an article about how three teens assault a 65 year old man, only to have one teen shot dead, one in surgery and the other in custody, all because the elderly man was carrying a pistol (legaly) and defended himself while he was being attacked.

I live in California and the chance of me getting a permit to carry a weapon are slim to never in my life happening, due to the fact that it is the discretion of the local Sheriff Department and I don't contribute any money to him for his campaign.
California recently again made my life harder by changing the laws on Conceal Carry Weapon (CCW) permits.  Many years ago I went and applied for a CCW permit at our local Sheriff''s department and was denied because I did not have "Good Cause" and when I asked what "Good Cause" was, I was met with the look of a deer in the head lights.

Being a NRA member and reading the monthly magazine about "Armed Citizens", I am pleased with knowing other average citizens get to exercise their rights to protect themselves, plus its always fun to read about a would be criminal getting shot dead...I prefer them dead so we don't have to waste space in our jails and money paying for a trial and their lawyers.

So until California wakes up and allows its citizens to exercise their rights to "Open Carry" or "Conceal Carry" I will have to find other means to protect myself in case one day it happens, because we know the our Police cannot be everyplace.

Serbu BFG50 Carbine

K6FI

Monday, January 23, 2012

2012 North American QSO Party January SSB

This past weekend I participated in the NAQSO contest and scored pretty well, even with the antenna issues @ W6TAD's QTH.

Station operation during January SSB 2012 North American QSO Party
I made 149 contacts and scored a bit below 11K points.  The radio I used was a Yaesu FT-950 with DMU-2000, W2IHY 8 Band EQ, Heil PR-781 Mic with boom, N1MM logging software and the Hy-Gain AV-640 antenna.

Overall I was pleased with my performance as I did this context back in 2010 and had 132 contacts and a score of about 8357.

Lessons I learned from this contest is go get a good comfortable chair...so I'll be working on that.

As with other contests I have done, it is always a pleasure working and talking with other's on the airwaves.  So if you new to Ham Radio or a seasoned contester, get on the air and make a few friends.

K6FI




Follow Up on Hy-Gain AV-640 Antenna

So Monday came and went, we called Hy-Gain to get assistance with the antenna now working on 40M.  They explained it was more than likely a cold solder joint on the 40M coil.

We took down the antenna and checked the 40M coil and it was in good shape and we called Hy-Gain back.  Now they are going to ship out a new 40M top for the antenna.

We used this antenna during the North American QSO Party this past weekend and we were not too pleased. As others have previously reported, this antenna has issues with rain and boy does it.  Not only did we have a broken 40M section of the antenna, but the rain knocked out the 20M section as well.

But once the rain stopped, something magical happened...both 20M and 40M worked like magic, plus we were able to tune up to 80M and use it as well.

So when the antenna works and it is not raining, this antenna delivers a solid performance, but since we have issues with rain and 40M not working at times, we suggest others look another antenna.  It saddens me that the rain issues has been reported by so many users, that one would think Hy-Gain would do something about it...guess no.

K6FI

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Installing Hy-Gain AV-640 Antenna

This past weekend myself, W6TAD and K6NUG installed a new Hy-Gain AV-640 antenna on W6TAD's QTH.

So on Saturday after a trip to Home Depot to purchase a few saw horses, we started the assembly of the antenna. That took us about 4 hours and we all agree, it was not too bad to do. It was much easier than the Cushcraft R8 we did a few years ago.

Sunday during the light rain we installed the VMP 5 foot tripod on the roof top of the garage, secured the 6.5 foot mast (which weighted more than the antenna and mast together), and placed the antenna on it.  That is when we remembered we did not place the guy rope, so down the antenna came, we guyed it at 14 foot and put it back in the air again.

Hy-Gain AV-640
Once it was back in the air we hooked up the MFJ-266 Antenna Analyzer and measured the SWR, oddly enough all the bands were high > 4.0, but we decided to hook it up to the Yaesu FT-950 and tune it as well to check it out...well after turning we got a SWR < 1.3 on most of the bands except 40M.

So Monday we call Hy-Gain and they tell us our issue is that a cold solder on the 40M coil is our issue and they told us how we can easily fix it, so that adventure will happen this Thursday.

So we called out CQ on 20M and KB1SIC who lives in Connecticut answered our call.  We got good signal reports and then turned on the Quadra AMP, to get even better signal reports :).

So overall we are pleased with the new antenna and will be ready for this weekends contest, the North American QSO Party.

Till next time

K6FI

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Politics

Might as well get it out here. With this year showcasing our right to vote, I believe you should take the right and exercise it, but before you cast your vote I recommend you become informed about what it is you are voting for.

Many people I know tend to vote on the party they are registered with and listen to commercials or shock radio jocks telling them how to vote. For me I listen to the candidates, read my voter pamphlet and try and make a good informed decision.

So this year we get to once again choose our President, lots of people think that the President makes our laws, but from what I recall from my 70's Saturday morning cartoons and a bit high school, it is the Legislative Branch of our government that creates the laws and the President has the authority to sign them into law or veto them. So the next time you are listening to a Presidential candiate making promises about change, trust me he does not have the authority to make that change.

For me what makes a good President is someone who has had previous military experience...after all he one day might have to take the troops to war and having not previously walked in their shoes and understanding them, I don't see how he could lead. Another trait I look for in my next President, is someone who has done more with his life other than politics. Its important for them to have previously had a real job, work for a real company and experience what it is that a business must do to succceed and be profitable...after all one day he might have to do something with the US economy to make it stronger than it is today.

So for me if you have yet to figure it out, I consider myself a Republican, not on the far right. So yes I prefer Fox News, the Drudge Report and I miss both Reagan and both Bush's.

Back in 2007 I met 41 (Bush Sr) on board the USS Guadalcanal, he stopped by for a visit with his wife (no dog) as we floated off the coast of France. Then back in I think 2008 or 2009 I had the priviledge to sit and listen to his son 43 at our companies National Conference. He seemed very relaxed and a down to earth and caring person (missing him still today).

So all I do know is who ever becomes our President in 2012, I hope he does us proud.

Till the next time

K6FI

Friday, January 13, 2012

How Did I Get Here

So many thoughts and ideas floating around here, one has to wonder what to write about and decide if anyone cares...but then this is a blog, so who cares :).

When I has 17 I knew that I would not be graduating from high school, apparently too much fun and not enough study.  So I decided then to enlist in the United States Marine Corps.  This was the best decision of my life and I hope that one day everyone has that same opportunity to join up and be part of something bigger than yourself, plus you get to travel the world and help a lot of other countries, sample their fine food and booze, and women all on the US tax payers dime.  After all back then I made about $800.00 a month gross.
Captured mines from Operation Earnest Will September 1987

I spent 5.5 years with the Marines and 364 days deployed over seas on two trips to the Med.  In 1987 I was part of the fleet that first entered the the Persian Gulf to start Operation Earnest Will, the escorting of Kuwaiti Oil Tankers under the US Flag and protect them from Iran (the evil doer's).

The night of Sept 21st, 1987 the fleet attacked an Iranian boat that was dropping mines in the gulf, needless to say, we lit them up, killed a few of them and  captured the boat and took the mines.

After departing from the Marines in 1990, I soon found myself thinking about that to do, after all their was not too much of a need for a Marine with Aviation Ordnance experience on Cobra Helicopters in the civilian world.  So I decided to get educated and learn about computer programming and I attended Coleman College and received my Certificate in Computer Information Technology.

Fast forward in life past Y2K and in 2010 I became a Grandpa...impressed if I do say so myself.  So now a days I spend my time with my grandson, BBQing, Ham Radio and working my tail off at work.

So what does life bring me past the end of the world on Dec 12, 2012...that is yet to be seen, but I plan on ensuring every day is lived to the fullest and I won't let anyone stop that from happening.

Till my next blog...