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Friday, November 20, 2015

We're Amateurs, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't be professional.

I finally got around to putting my 20m double bazooka back up after we used it for Field Day. Needless to say, it's been a while since I chased DX. So once the antenna was up, I had to spin the knob a while. Right away I saw a Ghana station on the DX Cluster and went right there.

I was appalled at the stations tuning up, using partial call signs, calling when the DX station didn't call them and calling while another station was talking to the DX station.  It made me wonder if they took the same exam I did to get my ticket? I could have sworn that was covered in the material.

 In the end, I left the circus and snagged S79C running a DXpedition in Seychelles instead. 

So, here's the link for the DX Code of Conduct. Please pass this along so that others will remember that just because they call us Amateurs, doesn't mean that we shouldn't be professional.

DX Code Of Conduct

  • I will listen, and listen, and then listen again before calling.
  • I will only call if I can copy the DX station properly.
  • I will not trust the DX cluster and will be sure of the DX station's call sign before calling.
  • I will not interfere with the DX station nor anyone calling and will never tune up on the DX frequency or in the QSX slot.
  • I will wait for the DX station to end a contact before I call.
  • I will always send my full call sign.
  • I will call and then listen for a reasonable interval. I will not call continuously.
  • I will not transmit when the DX operator calls another call sign, not mine.
  • I will not transmit when the DX operator queries a call sign not like mine.
  • I will not transmit when the DX station requests geographic areas other than mine.
  • When the DX operator calls me, I will not repeat my call sign unless I think he has copied it incorrectly.
  • I will be thankful if and when I do make a contact.
  • I will respect my fellow hams and conduct myself so as to earn their respect. 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

NU5G Fusion Repeater is on the air!

442.3 +5 with a PL tone of 131.8 

It wasn't exactly plug-and-play, but the NU5G Fusion repeater is on the air in Henderson, Texas. Right out of the box the touch screen would work right. The black decorative faceplate on front of the case was putting pressure on the screen. When touched, it would sometimes work and not others. Putting shims between the plastic plate and main case over night and then adding spacers made it function properly. Once the screen was working it only took a few minutes to perform the set up.   

The next problem was the Motorola duplexers were not ample enough and there was about 6.5 db of desense. A little wheeling and dealing produced a set of 6 can Celwave duplexers from another ham here in the area. 

The new duplexers have 100 db isolation at 2 MHz minimum separation and rated at 250w. Transmit uses 1 band-pass and 1 reject cavity. Receive uses 2 band-pass and 2 reject cavities. The connectors were all different (picture shows lossy adaptors) and it took a few days to get everything sorted out, but she's good to go now.

It is in full auto mode and running the internal controller.

Here is a picture of the inside of the repeater. From what I ave seen in previous posts, they have added a switching power supply and a larger heat sink on the TX side. There is a foam insert that causes the air flow from both fans to go across the heat sink.

 The DB-420b is fed by Andrews 1/2" Heliax and is on the 55' crank up at my QTH. The range is limited by the height, but stations from Laneville and Tyler have given good reports.

If you're in the Henderson area, give us a shout!

NU5G Repeater in Henderson, Texas
442.3 +5 with a PL tone of 131.8 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

442.300 Repeater Update

Progress on the 442.300 repeater has been real good. We still need some elevation to make this machine worth while, but plans are in the works to move it soon. Also, working out all the issues with the repeater in my shack is much better than running to a tower site multiple times. 

I purchased an Id-O-Matic IV and replaced the version II controller. The IV connects via USB and also has a voice module. The IV has many more features during programming and future firmware updates are easy to apply.

I had my daughter record the beacon and ID message. Here's a quick video of me kerchunking the repeater.


I did some work for a local communications company and received some gear in trade for my services. The first item was 180' of Andrews 1/2" Heliax. My tower is only 55' tall and the shack is about 40' away so the rest of the heliax is coiled up inside. This was a great addition and helped reduce the loss over the RG-8x that I was using.

 The next barter item is the crown jewel of the repeater. Pictured is the DB-420b antenna. This is a 16 bay antenna with a gain of 11.3 dBi.

Took some work to get on top of the tower, but well worth the effort.

Another barter item was this Astron RM-35m power supply mounted above the Tait repeater.

Decided that I had better get the 131.8 hz tone added to the repeater so I borrowed an EPROM eraser from a friend and bought a burner off of Amazon. I was able to program the tone in, but put off wiring audio 2 through the RX to the TX until later.

Meanwhile, the application for Yaesu's System Fusion DR-1X was approved by Yaesu. So, in the next 4 to 8 weeks I expect to receive the Fusion repeater and will give an unboxing video and another update.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

442.300 repeater is up and running.

After several months of slow progress, the 442.300 repeater is on the air in Henderson. This repeater is a Tait rack with the T855-20 receiver, T857-20 exciter and T859-20 PA. Recently added is the Motorola TLE2351A 250w Duplexer and an ID-O-Matic controller. I used some aluminum tube stock that was laying around to mount on for now. The frequency coordination with Texas VHF-FM Society was only about a two day turn around.

The repeater is located at my shack and is on my 55' crank up tower. I recently added a 20' pipe which puts the center of the Diamond fiberglass antenna around 80'. It is working well for the limited height and for the crap coax and dual Diamond. My biggest joy, other than getting her working, was being able to work the repeater from inside our local Wal-Mart - typically a dead zone.

The 2k trim pot was loose in the 859 and at one time someone tried to heat it up and set it from the top of the PCB. Evidence was in the form of a large melted spot in the shape of a soldering iron. The heat job froze the pot at 700 Ohms. A close friend of mine, KN5G, gave me a trim pot which I damaged shortly after the install. New ones are on the way and I'm using a 20k for now that is tucked under the cover. Adjustment of the 20k pot was rough but she's running at 55w into the duplexer and 42w out to the antenna. I somewhat understand why they tried heating it from the front, because the tear down and rebuild took me over 3 hours.

Eventually, we will have to find this machine a new home with some altitude and fine tune it for that site. For now we'll run her as she sits. 

So if you're traveling through Henderson, tune to 442.300 (+ 5MHz) - no PL tone and say hello! 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Whitebox Radio. Open Source!

I highly recommend checking out the Whitbox SDR. The direction and possibilities for this is incredible. Key word here is open source! 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

This is a must see!! Active HF conditions based on a new ionospheric sounding method called HF Ionospheric Interferometry.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Baofeng UV-82 Unboxing

Since the screen crapped out on the Wouxun UV-8D, I replaced it with a Baofeng UV-82. Here is a short video of the unboxing. Review will be following shortly. So far, this is one of the best HT's that I have owned. It's amazing that a $150 radio is out performed by a far superior $40 radio.

Friday, December 5, 2014

KG-UV8D Screen Problem

Well guys, this is disappointing.

I went to bed last night with a fully functional radio and got up this morning to this. The radio has never been dropped, near any moisture, or any sort abuse. I've only had this radio for about two weeks and have been working on other things so have not taken the time to do a review yet. This radio was a little more expensive so I expected better quality.

So, I've contacted Wouxun and will see what they do. Meanwhile, back to the Yaesu or KG-UV3D for now. Thinking I should have bought an extra UV3D instead. Either way, not sure if I will be buying Wouxun again. We'll see how this goes.

Here's a short video of the problem.

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