Archive for January, 2013

What Frequency Do I Use on 2 Meters?

HRS LogoOne of the more popular articles on my web site is Choose Your 2M Frequency Wisely, which explains the 2 Meter (144 MHz) band plan. VHF and UHF band plans are mostly local in nature and there is no one band plan that works across the US or North America. So that article is written specifically for the band plan in my own state of Colorado.

I recently wrote a new Shack Talk article for HamRadioSchool.com that covers the same topic in a more general way for North America. I called this article What Frequency Do I Use on 2 Meters? Please check it out!

- 73, Bob K0NR

No Comments

Need A Logging Program for VHF Contests?

 

vhf logAs I prepare for the ARRL January VHF Contest, I loaded the latest version of VHF LOG, a software program by Dave W3KM. I have used this free program for many years and it just rolled over to version 4.0 to support Windows 8.

VHF LOG is easy to use while covering the basic contest logging requirements for the usual VHF contests (ARRL January/June/September, CQ Worldwide VHF, etc.). It includes a “Post Contest” mode, which is handy for entering a paper log into your computer for electronic submission.

VHF LOG runs on Windows operating systems, 98SE thru Win8. Check it out.

73, Bob K0NR

1 Comment

Lost Island DX Society Assumed to Be Lost

LIDSThe rumors have been circulating for some time now, that something terrible has happened to the Lost Island DX Society (LIDS). The Fi-Ni report was last heard from on Sept 18th of last year, reporting on the 3rd Annual Talk Like a Pirate Contest. Previous to that, their comprehensive Field Day report was a bit confused, openly questioning whether Field Day is actually a contest. This has fueled speculation that the LIDS are suffering from some type of psychological breakdown. Others have suggested that this group is perpetually confused and no inference can be drawn from strange behavior.

A reliable source has reported that the LIDS team was actively working on a DXpedition to New Mexico. These plans were alledgedly scrapped after a well-known Big Gun DXer told them that New Mexico is actually part of the United States and is not a separate DXCC entity. This same source has suggested that the LIDS have gone into hiding and plan to resurface just in time for a surprise multi-multi-multi-25-radio entry in the 2013 Poisson d’Avril Contest. However, most radio hams close to the LIDS believe that the team got lost on the way to New Mexico and died of heat exhaustion in the Chihuahuan Desert.

Anyone that has any information on the status of LIDS or that might have heard them on the ham bands, is encouraged to contact this blog as soon as possible. We all hope and pray for their quick, safe return.

73, Bob K0NR

1 Comment

50 MHz VUCC Via Logbook of the World

VUCCSome time ago, I qualified for 50 MHz VUCC from another location (rare grid DM67, operating portable). Lately, I have been racking up grids on 6 Meters from my cabin in DM78. Since a VUCC award is good for a set of locations that are within 200 km of each other, these new contacts count as a separate VUCC award entry.

After the ARRL Logbook of the World (LoTW) added VUCC to the list of supported awards, I started watching my grid count climb. When the grid count hit 200, I decided it was time to apply for VUCC from the new location.

There are a lot of things about LoTW that are a pain but getting this award was easy. A few clicks on the LoTW web page and I submitted an application for 50 MHz VUCC using 203 grids. The fees were significant: $46.45. This breaks out as $12 for the award fee, $1 for endorsement sticker (indicates 200 contacts), $3 for an LoTW application fee and $30.45 for confirming the 203 grids (15 cents per grid). This might seem steep until you compare it to the mailing and other costs of getting 200 confirmed QSL cards. Assuming a 100% response rate and an SASE for each confirmation, it costs more than $1 per confirmed grid or >$200. With a lower response rate, the costs are even higher. And this ignores the time it takes to organize and send out the cards.

I happily paid the fee using my VISA Credit Card and the VUCC certificate arrived in my mailbox a week or so later. This is awesome!

73, Bob K0NR

No Comments

Comments Turned Back On

It seems that the comment feature on my blog was inadvertently turned off. I don’t know how this happened but it is now corrected. If you wanted to comment on recent postings, please come on back!

Sorry for the inconvenience. Thanks to Hans PD0AC for pointing this out.

73, Bob K0NR

No Comments

Yet Another HT From China (Baofeng UV-B5)

I happened upon this posting from Hans PD0AC about the Baofeng UV-B5 handheld transceiver. Hans has written a number of useful reviews on the El Cheapo Radios from China, so when he wrote “The Baofeng UV-B5 is close to perfect”, it caught my attention. I have a couple of the other radios from China that I blogged about here and here.

I ordered one of the radios from 409shop for $53 including shipping from Hong Kong, and it arrived a few days ago. After playing with it a bit, I downloaded the free programming software and loaded up a few frequencies. The software was a huge improvement over the crapware that came with the UV-5R…it installed easily and seems to work just fine.

I did an initial performance check with my HP 8920A RF Test Set and found the performance to be quite good:

 VHF - transmit frequency error ~50 Hz
       transmit power 4.4W
       fm deviation ~4.5 to 5 kHz
       receive sensitivity ~0.2 uV

  UHF - transmit frequency error ~170 Hz
        transmit power 4.4 W
        fm deviation ~4.5 to 5 kHz
        receive sensitivity ~0.2 uV

I’ve noticed poor harmonic distortion on a few Baofeng radios, so I checked that out. On VHF, the harmonics are about -55 dBc, which is good. I did not check UHF but typically these radios have had better harmonic performance on the UHF band. Hans PD0AC reported similar measured results.

On the air testing resulted in excellent signal reports in terms of audio quality. The received audio is also loud and clear. The user manual is acceptable….mostly clear English but it does have some difficult-to-understand sentences here and there. Like the other radios from China, you’re really going to want to use the programming software to set things up. After that, the controls are quite usable.

Note that, unlike some of the other radios from China, the UV-B5 is not certified for Part 90 use. At least not yet.

A Yahoo group has sprung up to discuss this radio and share information, so check that out.

My overall assessment is that Baofeng has cleaned up the issues with the UV-5R (and don’t forget, I really like that radio!). The UV-B5 is a sweet little radio that will make a splash when it hits the US market.

73, Bob K0NR

2 Comments

Technician License Class – April 2013

Monument, Colorado
Saturday April 13 and Saturday April 20 (8 AM to 5 PM) 2013

Location: Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Station 1
Sponsored by the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Radio Association

The Technician license is your gateway to the world-wide excitement of Amateur Radio…

  • Earn your ham radio Technician class radio privileges
  • Pass your FCC amateur radio license exam right in class on the second day
  • Multiple-choice exam, No Morse Code Required
  • Live equipment demonstrations
  • Learn to operate on the ham bands, 10 Meters and higher
  • Learn to use the many VHF/UHF FM repeaters in Colorado
  • Find out how to participate in emergency communications

There is no cost for the class (donations accepted)
However, students must have the required study guide:
HamRadioSchool.com Technician License Course $19.95
And pay the FCC Exam Fee: $15.00

Advance registration is required (no later than one week before the first session)
This class usually fills up, so don’t delay!

To register for the class, contact: Bob Witte KØNR
Email: bob@k0nr.com or Phone: 719 659-3727

For more information on amateur (ham) radio visit www.arrl.org or www.wedothat-radio.org

No Comments