Tower Time – Part 3 – Permits and erector sets for big boys

Almost two months to the day after I started my enquiry with the county zoning department, I have a permit to begin construction.

Time to go pickup the tower and the base.

Building Permit

Building Permit for Tower construction

 

That erector set will once bolted together turn into a 100ft free-standing tower.

Tower pallet on the trailer, ready to travel.

100ft Rohn RSL erector set

 

Ready to hit the road.

Truck and trailer

Truck and trailer ready to travel

Next step, building the foundation. Stay tuned.

Old dog new tricks, the Amateur Radio General exam

I am really interested in the HF digital modes and well with a Technician license most of it is out-of-bounds. So an upgrade to General was a priority and a goal I set for myself. The annual South Side ARC Hamfest was scheduled for today, Oct 19th and I wanted to be ready to take and pass the exam.

So I set about researching what resources were available online and I found a wonderful resource in Mike and Brian’s Guide at www.hamclass.org. I downloaded the document and put it on my tablet, and over a week of reading and reviewing the material. I discovered many new things had come into the hobby in the 20 years I had been dormant.

Next on the agenda, test my absorption take some practice tests. Listening to the local repeater one afternoon I heard a new call and what sounded like a freshly minted ham. I answered back to his well “CQ” on the repeater and sure enough his first contact.

In response to my congratulations, he gave much credit to an app which he installed on his phone in order to practice anywhere and anytime. Well that is just brilliant, so off to Google Play to look at what the marketplace has to offer. The winner in my book is Ham Test Prep by iversoft.com.

On to the tablet it went along with a goal of taking 5 tests a day.

Ham Test Prep for Android

Ham Test Prep for Android

So whats next?

Back www.hamclass.org to download the Extra guide of course!!

 

Coolness – Digital HF PSK31 from the junk box

When I was last active back in the pre Internet days, the then hot digital mode that I enjoyed was VHF packet. Coming back into the hobby I reached out to a good friend Bob Larson KC9ICH and asked what was hot these days and the answer was PSK31. You can work the world on 25 watts and modest antennas. So on the list of things to explore it went.

I had seen in QST and at a local Hamfast digital interfaces so I asked for a recommendation. Bob’s answer was something along the lines of I worked a many a QSO’s with cables I made out of stuff in the junk box. Hmmm food for thought as I put it on the to do list to check out.

Well fast forward a couple of weeks and I am enjoying Sunday morning coffee and watching a few YouTube reviews on the Yaesu FT-450D which is on my short list. In the recommended videos on the right is the below video by K7AGE, and well into the junk box I dive looking for cables to hack something up. Well as luck would have, it a SW radio on my desk has a record out jack which in 3.5mm is perfect to feed into my motherboard line-in with an on hand cable.

A PSK31 Quick start by K7AGE

Connecting the receiver to the PC

One end of a 3.5mm Male to Male extension cord.

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Audio cable to receiver connection

Into the Record port, it is not affected by the AF gain knob (the volume knob). Set to 14.070 USB, notice the S-Meter pretty dead this is 10am or so Sunday morning.

Antenna is a random 100ft in length, and 20ft in the air.

IMG_3024

Completed receiver to audio cable connection

Locate the Line-In jack.

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PC side of the connection

Insert other end of the cable into the Line-in port.

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PC side of the connection

While the video from K7AGE uses DigiPan, Bob KC9ICH had recommended that I check out Ham Radio Deluxe. So off to search for and download the last free version of Ham Radio Deluxe Version 5.24.38 and install.

Running Digital Master 780

On initial startup the app walks you through setting up which audio port to use for input and some other simple questions. Select Line-In as your signal source and adjust the line gain via the port properties.DM780 has a Audio level meter on the bottom of the window which takes the guesswork out of it. Anyway selected the SuperSweeper view and right away it is decoding signals from the noise. The S-Meter is barely off of the peg and the SW is pulling out QSO’s.

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Ham Radio Deluxe decoding PSK31

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Ham Radio Deluxe decoding PSK31

Pretty cool and definitely something that I will be investigating further now that I have seen first hand how well it works.

73’s until next time, Jay

Kenwood TM-2570A Repair update

Since the repair performed earlier this week, see my separate post on the subject (TM-2570A Selector repair) the radio is usable but not perfect. It does not change on its own, it is just inconsistent when changing channels, sometimes it moves one channel per click and sometimes several.

Looking to try to improve this I continued to search for a service manual or parts lists and I was able to find a service manual for the 220MHz model. The control portion should be the same as the 2M version of this radio.

TM-3530A service manual

The manual has a little write up on how the encoder circuit works it is very straightforward.

2014-10-04 08_36_46-TM-3530A service manual.pdf - Adobe Reader

Circuit logic description from service manual

 

2014-10-04 08_36_59-TM-3530A service manual.pdf - Adobe Reader

Encoder timing from the service guide

 

A snippet of the schematic showing the encoder to CPU interface, very little to suspect outside of the encoder part given the behavior experienced.

 

2014-10-04 08_37_57-TM-3530A service manual.pdf - Adobe Reader

Snippet of the schematic showing the encoder circuit.

After reviewing the newly found materials and the simplicity of the circuit I was even more convinced that the remaining problems lay with the encoder itself. Calling Kenwood for parts redirected me to the east and west coast vendors who handle parts for Kenwood. Checking both vendors websites the parts availability for this radio is slim to none and while one had the part in stock. The cost for the part and shipping makes no sense when new 2m mobiles are selling for less than $200.

And while the past does not reflect on the future I will when purchasing gear in the future check on the vendors parts sparing scheme. Is it an in house service, or something that they farm out.

73’s N0IAI