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Lane

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About Lane

  • Rank
    500
  • Birthday April 23

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Upstate New York
  • Interests
    Machining, Building, Shooting, Reloading.

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  1. Another 30 minute video. Daaaamn. It was a good one though; here's my notes as I watched it myself. Excellent points up front: Having multiple modes, and bands available; listening more than transmitting. Great notes on the advantages of digital radios. Love that they touched on the interoperability. That is a relatively new development (linking repeaters with different digital modes together). 15 min mark: ARES and RACES. (SIRT is mentioned as an option later around the 20 minute mark). National simplex frequency; make sure you add that to your CHIRP file. And don't forget, since it simplex, there is no offset on the transmit frequency. The UV-5R also has the dual channel monitoring feature (the A/B button on the front accesses this). So you can leave something always receiving on the B channel, and set the A channel to scan, or to listen/transmit on some other frequency. Practice. General Purpose receivers... Not sure what's available standalone anymore. I found an old radio shack model that does shortwave, and also covers receiving on the HF ham bands (not all shortwave radios will do that). Certainly a worthwhile investment if you can find something like that. Practice (more); at some point you'll need to get acquainted with listening, hopefully before you decide on a much more expensive HF rig. Or; find a handheld that you like; one which also has general coverage receiver for HF. In either case, you can just throw a pile of wire on the floor (without transmitting, you don't need to worry about SWR, or fret about antenna design). You'll even receiver Ok with a single coat hanger wire. Obviously it's better if you can hang it on the wall; or from a ceiling fan or something. Solar for the smaller battery powered stuff isn't a big deal at all. And a larger HF rig can be backed by a lead acid car battery (or battery bank) which aren't difficult to solar power either. That should keep you busy for a few minutes...
  2. Guess it might have been a standard Norman Rockwell painting; seems to apply... My brother and I were both given pieces of plywood to contain our "mess", along with our own soldering irons. Originally we had to sit at the kitchen table to work, until we learned well enough not to pull the soldering iron by the cord onto our laps, and generally not be overly careless with the hot end. Those boards quickly became covered in burned spots, and wipes of solder mixed with burned flux. Later on, I found it more comfortable to work cross legged on the floor in my bedroom; often resting a circuit board on some part of my legs while I worked since I needed both hands too. An interesting point you make about the radio dial. I was almost annoyed when I sent my HF rig back for a tune up. The guy replaced the original knob with a larger solid aluminum piece. That was; until I used it. It was trivial to "throw" the knob in one direction or the other. It would just keep spinning, and keep tuning for a few rotations... Extremely tactically satisfying. That's just hard to find these days in modern equipment. You might be keen to look out for some ~1970s vintage HF rigs. You might appreciate how simply laid out they are; with ONLY knobs and switches (no screens, or menus, or context sensitive options). In terms of a way to shorten an antenna, and trick it into "thinking" it's longer; I believe you are referring to a loading coil. I have an antenna on my desk with one, and they are a pretty common sight. The reason it works is because of reactance; that coil in the middle is an inductor. Something that didn't intuitively stick with me right away was impedance. I'd heard the term thrown around when referring to pro audio microphone cables and such; but it didn't mean all that much to me until really digging in to ham radio concepts. So while impedance is still measured in Ohms like a plain resistor; it's representative of electrical resistance, as well as resistances caused by inductance and capacitance. In DC circuits; this really doesn't matter much, but in AC and radio; it's almost the only thing that matters. That lazy S you asked about; is the Integral Symbol. That requires calculus. But integrals really aren't that bad once you understand their purpose. There is software to do antenna calculations for you. Doing tons of calculus with a pencil and paper gets old real fast (ask me how I know this). While it's rather long (30 min), this is a great video from the bell labs archive. It does touch on impedance matching; among other things.
  3. Was most curious if a few curated youTube videos might help you along with certain areas (like the radio you have, or radios you're interested in)? I personally had a decent introduction to electrical components and properties as a young child. I can't remember a time I didn't own a soldering iron, and used to strip junk equipment of usable components in my free time back then. The college level physics classes drove those concepts even deeper though. Electromagnetism was the second course in the sequence, Waves was the forth; then the fifth and sixth courses are a deeper look at electromagnetism again (mostly in terms of calculus regarding radiation of antenna shapes; flat plates, round wires, odd shapes, etc.). So; I had to learn that stuff at some point, but it wasn't while I was studying for the ham license exams. The big challenge with antennas is likely to be absolute length of the elements (or perceived length in situations you have external coupling); generally, resonance at the frequency you wish you use it. Connectors and connections can still be an issue once in a while though, especially when things are outdoors (where wind and weather might be a factor), or in a place where heat cycles might loosen them. Happy thanksgiving to you and yours as well.
  4. That's what I found with a quick google search. I almost fell out of my chair; I'm willing to find out by ordering one. Looked again; and I don't see anyone saying otherwise... Are they illegal in CA? California can't have .50 cal projectiles either though; right?
  5. Not here - bring that shiit down... This looks great. I have absolutely no problem around this area (and SOMEHOW it appears to actually be NY legal??!); I think I found my next adventure. Sure as hell don't want to get bored up here this winter... Fun for the whole neighborhood.
  6. Can't hurt to relax a little. It's always an option to take the tests online with extra webcams as you mentioned. Not sure what their specific requirements are; but old (or new) cell phones can often be used as IP cameras, or sometimes even USB webcams if you absolutely need more that you don't want to purchase for a one time event. Honestly don't remember much about what they tested on in terms of electrical principals; that was one section I never had to study for. Nearly all of that is pretty basic physics. As I recall it's the second course in college physics sequence; Electromagnetism. You might consider supplementing your study that way for clarity. I can pass along a physics text if you are interested. Decided to make some pretty substantial changes to my antenna setup, as well as recheck everything from the beginning. I started off trying to calibrate my antenna analyzer; which I believe I succeeded at. It takes 3 test resistors (dummy loads); tests are: open circuit, 50 ohm, 150 ohm, and 274 ohm. Then I started messing with my 15W dummy load. I briefly got a decent SWR on 7.000 MHz, but then it went up to >10 again. After messing around with it for a bit I realized that the adapter stack can't seem to make good contact. I also want to take the cap off but haven't been able to find an Allen wrench small enough for the tiny set screw. Been reading about other indoor stealth antenna options while I work on re-designing the layout for my antenna farm upstairs. I'm interested to add on another long wire using CAT 5 cable; simply connecting all 8 wires together at the feed point. I've also seen other methods that fan out the wires, but it gets dicy because they are twisted together. The actual wire in those pairs are all different lengths because of that. Untwisting them is a nightmare, I just did close to 100 feet by hand over the last few days (a drill didn't work well for me at all, though I might be able to rig up a better system for that). I'm curious if you think you need an Elmer for the UV-5R, or you need one to get what the broader spectrum of HF radios are all about? That is a key point of finding an Elmer actually; finding someone who can both show you other equipment and techniques, as well as loan you things you'll only need once or twice (like an antenna analyzer). Beyond that, they should have the ability to check the calibration on things for you as well. Let you know how your signal looks on the receiving end, test hardware for you (since you probably won't have 10 radios up front), and the list goes on... I've had to learn to test my own equipment the "hard" way; buying all the test equipment myself which can be a slow road for sure. If you're even slightly computer inclined; there are also some cheap SDR radio options. I've got quite a number of them laying around, and they come in handy for a lot of things here and there. In short though; they'll let you mess with a totally decent radio receiver without spending a lot of money. Buying something similar that transmits too isn't all that expensive, but you have a lot of other things to worry about if you wish to go that route (like and amp, and filters). Check out this link to a brief description of the technical detail: RTL-SDR I've included a look at one piece of software that uses them. While the base radio's don't dip into the HF band, a modified version is something like $35 which can tune between 100kHz - 1.7 GHz (all of HF, VHF, and usable UHF) Definitely interested in CW. I "learned" it in about a week a few years back. There are smartphone apps that use various training methods which are a great help. Turns out the way I learned; I was fine at slow keying, but I was terrible at reading it. I could pick up a call sign by tone memory (a lot like paying the Simon game); and then slowly decode it in my head. But longer transmissions were a lost cause at normal keying speeds. And; since I haven't been using it, I've basically forgotten all I had learned. It's good to know though, and now I know that next time I dig into that; I'm going to need to train myself to read/copy harder than re-learn to key. Also; there are different types of keys, and perhaps one of them is better suited to my/your learning style; so that's something to consider as well. My HF rig actually has an auto decoder and PC keyboard for CW, though I don't cheat by sending that way (it can help me keep up with replies though).
  7. Lane

    Hunting pics

    How lucky? Did you miss the target at all?
  8. So now I have to second guess myself here.... Images were from the main 308ar.com site of course. Maybe I was first misreading the contour on the Armalite upper; and the takedown pin appears to be seated. Does this configuration function? It's obvious that the inverse can not possibly work; which is what my brain impacted first. It also points out an interesting fact of the matter. I'd much rather have an AR-10 if I ever needed to mortar the rifle. Look at the relatively massive amount of metal, bracing the tower of the AR-10 lower cut profile. Pretty sure that was intentional in terms of design. I've long wondered why these proprietary variations keep multiplying...
  9. Lane

    Reloading Primers

    I found this recently while trying to keep up with my reading; and thought it was worth sharing. It website links to a PDF authored by W. Marshall Thompson PhD, which is attached below. While I hope nobody needs this information anytime soon; might as well get it out there. Probably not something to mess around with if you don't have some background in chemistry (it's dangerous). https://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/everything-your-ever-wanted-to-know-about-percussion-caps-and-primers/ One thing I found interesting, was the note about adding a touch of smokeless to weaker (easier to make) primers. Not sure I would have considered trying that without explicit direction. Homemade Primer Course Update.pdf
  10. Look genius; not a single member has agreed with your stance here. Any random 308AR is not an AR-10. Some were nicer about it than others; and that's just the way of the world. You can be butt-hurt all you want. An AR-10 upper won't even mate up with the lower you have; much less function. Why did you show up here; if not to learn?
  11. https://kc9on.com/ham-radio/qrp-radios/chinese-qrp-kits-2/chinese-pixie/ There's some notes on the pixie kits. At the very end, he outlines the different filter components for other bands too. Quick read; but a good reference as well. Been playing with the antenna analyzer here. Something I have run into, is a loose antenna connector; way too many times. Especially when the radio has a heat sink near the antenna connector. The twist on shield can become loose over time; and SWR goes through the roof. Today it was on a dummy load. But one can't blindly trust anything; a loose connector might feel plenty tight by hand. I've read that an incandescent light bulb is a decent HF dummy load. It does transmit though; so don't be shocked if you make contacts that way. Trivially easy to assemble one with a ceramic light fixture and coax cable. I have long had one connected to my antenna switch for testing.
  12. The little radio is known as a "Pixie Kit" or similar. There are a few variants out there with very minor upgrades, and perhaps a laser cut acrylic case. Amazon has some for around $10; but you can get them for half that from China if you have a patience. I've seen them designed for bands other than 40M too; though you'd have to hunt a bit more for those designs. When I first started trying to get my hands dirty in college, I was playing with "joule thief" circuits. It was a very simple and cheap design to mess with, but allowed me to experiment with a pretty wide array of inductors in the process. That of course evolved pretty quickly into things like coil guns, with stages triggered by SCRs as a quick way to dump high voltage capacitors into the coils. I was lucky enough to have a rock solid adjustable DC power supply as a child. Can't tell you how many things got blown up with that, but capacitors were some of the most fun. Charge them up good and full, and then rocket the voltage knob to the top and wait for the bang. Electrolytic capacitors would be the most spectacular, often leaving little more than the hookup leads to be found in any identifiable way. I thought it was a safety issue NOT to discharge big caps on CRTs with a screwdriver; that, or get the big bite when you brush against those terminals by accident? I never actually found an elmer for myself to be honest. But that doesn't stop me from self-guiding when I find the inspiration. There were a few people that showed interest when I went to field day locally; but it has not yet panned out. These days the local club doesn't even meet; in part because of state restrictions. No outdoor antennas installed here, so nothing to worry about. I've been running attic antennas almost exclusively, for both the stealth factor; and because my outdoor installs never performed any better than a carefully tuned indoor setup. I do occasionally launch a rope, and pull something into a tree for the experience of the matter. Generally speaking though; I try not to show off in that regard. As opposed to some of these people (https://www.google.com/search?q=ham+shack) whom you can probably spot from miles around with the size and number of antennas they typically have outside. That was what I meant about contesting in a previous message... Going up against people with a dozen or more radios, who are watching every band all the time, makes it tough to seriously compete. Perhaps it's the cold winters; but people around here get overly serious about contesting.
  13. Pretty much on point there. There is a key input, and headphone output. The tuner is only one sided; a RIT in this case, and it doesn't tune very much at all. Pretty well locked to the crystal frequency in this design. The reason I pulled this out was because I found one on my desk that I partially built to allow for digital tuning with a bunch of external components. Generally speaking though; it's locked to the rock, and you just swap them out for frequency changes. Ended up pulling down all my antennas last night to start my indoor setup process all over again. Figured that I've learned quite a bit since I originally set up my HF equipment, and it's long past due for another run at the setup to see how much better I can do. Should have an idea in a few days as I get time to test each part of the reinstall. Glad to offer any help I can. I got my license because it seemed like a good idea given the terrain (living in the mountains). Strangely I had been buying up parts to build radios in the years leading up to getting a license, so I had some prior interest as well. I also do much better with hands on learning, and studied physics in college. Even then; I was buying electrical components to try to better understand the principals being presented in those classes. That way, I ended up with a more intuitive understanding of the fundamentals I was being tested on. In a pinch, I could relate those questions to my own experiments and experiences, instead of simply memorizing formulas, and punching the numbers into a calculator. I have a great time here on this forum; and a great deal of respect for the members here. I too built a well oiled 308 (or a few); and learned quite a bit keeping up with other peoples builds, and asking questions when I wasn't sure. But indeed; all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy... So get out there and have your fun! You deserve it, and thank you for your service.
  14. You don't absolutely need to spend a ton of money to get on HF and have a good time. This little gem costs only a few dollars as a do it yourself kit. Just solder all the included parts on the circuit board. I added a power switch, antenna connector, and socket for the crystal. By default they typically come with a crystal that requires an extra class license to transmit; but one can buy a whole pack of similar crystals, of which some are on the Generally accessable part of the band. With a simple long wire antenna, this fixed frequency transceiver can pick up dozens of discreet transmissions at once from far and wide. Not too difficult to distinguish from multiple transmissions in the pile up either, the tone frequencies vary enough that it possible to tune them in and out by ear.
  15. I'm a whole lot younger than you. And yet; I'm retired too. Maybe you were in school when my uncle was at UB? Don't always find time to play with my radios; but when I do...
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