Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The computer mouse turns 40

I think I got my first mouse in 1988  as it came with my EGA video card (remember EGA?) on my 286 running DOS 3.3 and only worked with Flight Simulator.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fun with Bondo

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I recently fixed some rust on my wife's van using Bondo. I did an OK job for my first time!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Weathering Mt. Washington

This makes me appreciate working indoors for a living!  And you won't believe how he gets down from the top!


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Is Ham radio good brain food?

An interesting read.  Even if you don't enjoy CW, just learning something new (with the hobby or ortherwise) should help exercise your brain.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Radio Sport

A great article about the "sport" of Amatuer radio.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Monday, August 4, 2008

Very good lightning safety article on eHam

"Buildings which are NOT SAFE are those with exposed openings. These include beach shacks, picnic shelters, pavilions, carports, and baseball dugouts. Porches are especially dangerous."

Read the complete story at here.  It could save your life .. or a family members!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A cool video from MIT

This is a fascinating video on the life cycle of the subminiature vacuum tube.





Wednesday, June 4, 2008

TS-440 Goop removed!

Back in March I reported that my TS-440 had the "dreaded dots" problems because of a "goop" that had been used when it was built. This goop becomes conductive with age and causes the display to show only dots. I have now removed the goop using only elbow grease! I just used an x-acto knife, a small screwdriver and my fingernail. I used the knife to remove the bigs pieces and the screwdriver to remove it off the PCB. I would unsolder a part and then scape off any goop using my fingernail and then solder it back in. I haven't powered the radio back up yet to test it, but I will soon and report back. Click on the above image for a closer look.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Dayton recap

I got back from Dayton Sunday night and we had a great trip. I went with Ron, WQ1Z and Al, W1WDX and we all had a good time. It was my first trip to Dayton and it won't be my last. There was so much to see that I certainly could have gone all 3 days and still could have seen more. I spoke to Martin F. Jue, the president of MFJ Enterprises. He's a nice, soft-spoken gentleman that was really a pleasure to talk to and he even gave me an eyeball QSL card. He spoke with me about the new pass-thru devices for getting cables into the home. There were lots of deals to be found, but I really didn't buy all that much. If you are a Ham and have never been, you really owe it to yourself to see what it is like. Now I'm looking forward to Boxboro this summer, as it will be like Dayton but just on a smaller scale.
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Friday, May 16, 2008

First day in Dayton

I spent the whole day looking for bargains and I found quite a few.  One day is not enough, so I'm glad we are staying for two days.  I met Martin F. Jue (owner of MFJ) and he is a very nice man and gave me an eyeball QSL card.  I learned that there is a lot of cool stuff out there and that you really need to be in good shape for all the walking!  I did check out the flea market, but didn't see anything I wanted.  I'll report more later.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A winning antenna

Here's one of the antennas that I plan to install this spring.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Thursday, March 20, 2008

An amazing robot from Boston Dynamics

This is truly an amazing robot to watch in action

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Spring Lites QSO Party is March 20-30, 2008

This is a contest on all modes to make contacts with Lighthouses - wicked cool!

For more info, visit http://arlhs.com/SL-2008-guidelines.html

Saturday, March 15, 2008

My Kenwood TS-440 has the dreaded "dots on display" problem

If you own a Kenwood TS-440 (or know someone that does), odds are you are familiar with the "dots on display". When the TS-440 was made, it could be used mobile. To prevent parts from working loose, Kenwood used this clear "goop" to hold them in place. The problem is that as this goop ages, it becomes brown and conductive, and that's not good! My 440 had been experiencing the "dots on display" problem with more frequency, so after Clipperton went QRT (I was not able to work them. If you did, let me know how you did it!), I opened it up to see if my goop was brown, and it is. The picture below shows you what it looks like. I will now attempt to remove the goop and report back on the outcome. Click on the photo for a closer view.

BTW, this was taken with my new Nikon L11. I wanted a small camera that could fit in my pocket, used AA batteries and cost under $100. I paid $89 at Ritz camera last weekend and I am very pleased with it!

Friday, March 7, 2008

"Radio Hams" - a film from 1939 on YouTube

This is a great short movie (10 minutes) that I feel Hams will enjoy.


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

W1RAG Baby picture

Here's a baby photo of Rick, W1RAG that I'd thought I'd share. He has aged well!

Monday, February 25, 2008


This past Saturday I built a RockMite as my local club (PART) had a Kit Building activity. I didn't finish it during the event, but last night I had some time and I completed the kit, applied power and it worked! There is a great feeling of satisfaction when you build something from a kit and it works the very first time you turn it on. I haven't made a QSO with it yet, but plan to do so soon.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The RMS Titanic radio page

This site details the radio room aboard the Titanic along with a deatiled log of the ditress call. This gives calling CQ a whole new meaning!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Developed my first roll of film in 24 years!

I know with digital photography we can now get instant gratification from the pictures taken, but it's still a thrill for me after all these years to develop my own film and see the results soon after removing the film from the tank. At first glance they appear to have come out well. I took a roll of photos last September when my first SLR turned 30 years old. Tonight I got all the chemicals I need assembled in the downstairs bathroom. The whole development process took about 20 minutes. Once the negatives dry, I will take them to be be printed and scanned. I had forgotten how good B&W photos look when taken using a high quality 35mm film (TMax 100).


Thursday, January 24, 2008

PSKFest results

A few weekends ago I participated in the PSKFest and I did pretty good for my first serious effort in a contest. I had 44 QSO's and got a score of 1,320. I would have done better if my rig hadn't died, or so I thought. Towards the end of the contest, the power plug came loose on my Kenwood TS-440 and I thought it had died. By the time I discovered this, the contest was over.
You can see how I ranked with the others by clicking here

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Your camera doesn't matter

If you haven't heard of Ken Rockwell and you are interested in photography, you don't know what you're missing! Here's a link to "Your camera doesn't matter" that I feel anyone interested in great pictures (anything from a disposable point and shoot all the way to the owner of a 4X5 view camera) will enjoy. It's long, but a very good read.

Ken also has great reviews on cameras and lenses. Be sure to check out his entire site here.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Why contest?

A friend of mine asked me why do contests if the QSO's are Hello and Goodbye.

Here are a few good reasons to work contests:

1) It gives you a chance to see how well your rig & antenna work.
2) If you are going for an award, you can get those hard locations easier.
3) If you don't have much time to spare, your only committed to a short QSO.

But if you'd rather ragchew and don't care to get any awards, then contests aren't for you. But if you're curious to see if your able to talk to some DX station with your current setup, then you can always just listen to see what parts of the world you can hear.

Friday, January 18, 2008

North American QSO Party this weekend

January is a great time to contest since it's cold outside!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

If you want to catch more fish, try different parts of the lake!

This past weekend was the PSKFEST contest.  I decided to see how many states I could work that I haven't worked before.  So when all was said and done, I worked 23 new states! The way I did this was simple:  I called CQ on different parts of the waterfall.  If I stayed in one spot, I only seemed to get a few contacts, and then none at all.  But as soon as I switched to a different part of the waterfall, I'd get more contacts and a new state or two.  I only made 44 contacts total, but that's pretty good for me since I didn't spend more than 3 hours on the contest.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

FYBO 2008

If you like the cold and you like contests, this is the one for you!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Car radio fixed!

  Recently I noticed that the left channel on my car radio only worked intermittently.  I just assumed it was a problem inside the radio and was planning a visit to the dealer since it's still under warranty.  But then it occured to me that it might be a loose connection since I added an adapter 2 years ago when I added my XM radio.  Sure enough, when I took the radio out, one of the connectors was loose.  I pushed it back in until it locked in place, and now I get sound from the left channel.  The moral of this story is to trust your gut and check your connections!

Monday, January 7, 2008


This past weekend (1/5 - 1/6/08) was the ARRL RTTY Roundup.  I only made about a dozen contacts as I had so much going on during the weekend.  However, it proved to be useful for me as I improved at exchanging info during contests. 
Contesting can be a great way to see how well your rig and antenna work, even if you can only make a few QSO's like I did.  For a list of upcoming contests, visit www.contesting.com

Saturday, January 5, 2008

How to solder video

This is a follow-up to my previous post. Here's a great video that you can download. It's very good and worth watching if your new to soldering or even if you'd like to refresh your memory.
Also, I want to stress the need for wearing safety glasses when soldering as I have been hit in the face with hot solder and I'm glad it wasn't in my eye!


Friday, January 4, 2008

How to solder

If one of your 2008 goals is to learn solder, here's a good tutorial on how to get started: http://www.aaroncake.net/electronics/solder.htm

Thursday, January 3, 2008

2008 Ham Radio Goals

Happy New Year!

Here is what I plan to do in the hobby in 2008, in no particular order:

1) Improve my CW, both sending and receiving
2) Start making CW QSO's on a regular basis
3) Read at least 2 radio related books
4) Complete my WAS on PSK31
5) Install at least 2 more antennas at my QTH
6) Build a K2
7) Learn more about electronics
8) Keep my blog up to date

I'll give updates during the year and then a year from now I'll see how I did.