Saturday, October 19, 2013

Studying For Your Ham Test

  When I thought about going for my Technician license I was not quite sure where to get the information or study material. I did have some old radio shack books from 1994. So I went on a quest over the internet looking for any information I could find. I could not believe the wealth of study materials and sites out there.
  I downloaded some different study guides and question pools with answers. I read these over and over until I felt satisfied. I then decided that I would look for some free study sites on the web. I found one site called AA9PW where I could practice the tests over and over until my score was passing. I did alot of reading as well so I was not only memorizing ,but was also learning all about Ham Radio.
  I decided to go to the Hamfest here in Rochester New York and take the test. Well after sweating bullets I handed it in to be scored. Well to make a long story short I passed. I waited awhile and decided that I wanted to go to the next license, which is the General.
  I followed the same routine again and found all sorts of information for the General Class license. I studied for quite a long time and when I kept passing the practice tests I decided to go for it. This time I went over to Rochester Institute Of Technology and took the test. They graded it and I passed with a pretty good score. I earned that on June 18, 2010.
  Well after much thought I have decided to go for the Extra License. I do have a slight advantage with my degree in Electrical Engineering, so I understand the Electronic side of things. I have been studying at Ham Test online, and have downloaded a program from Shenandoah Software called Amateur Radio Test. I also have some power point presentations for the Extra License Study and other question pools. I have been thinking about getting the Gordon West study book and software. It may take awhile , but I will get there.
  Thanks for reading, 73s from KC2YTI


Just A Little About Computers and Viruses

  I figured since I have been working as a computer service technician since 1996 I would give some advice for everyone. The most popular repair I see is cleaning up viruses. The problem is that viruses can come in from anywhere these days. As Hams we use computers in a variety of ways, whether for keeping a log book or voice over internet as well as other ways.
  If your computer becomes infected do not click on it. Hold the power button in for 10 to 15 seconds and the computer will shut off. If you have access to another computer then go on the internet and look for these programs. Download tdsskiller.exe, combofix(not ready for windows 8 yet), malwarebytes(USE THE FREE VERSION NOT THE TRIAL VERSION), spybot 2.1 and super anti spyware portable. Save them to a flash drive so you can copy them into a temp folder on the root drive of your computer.
  You should boot the computer to the safe mode with networking if possible. Run each program in the same order that you downloaded them and do it one at a time. The computer will reboot after some of them are run. Just try and reboot back into the safe mode with networking. Some other programs that are useful are a-squared and eset online scanner.
  There are occasions when you can not get into the normal or safe mode. What I do is download a program called Hirens 15.1 which is a iso file, which can be burned to a cdr disk. This is a bootable disk with a wealth of programs on it. When you boot off it choose the mini windows environment. You can then insert your flash drive and copy your saved virus cleaning programs to the root drive which is usually c: drive and put them in a temp folder or whatever folder you choose. The next step is to boot the computer to the safe mode with command prompt. Now this is where some old dos will be used. Type cd\ to get to the c:\ prompt. Now type cd and leave a space, then type the name of your folder and press enter. You will be in the directory (folder) you created. Now you can type for example "combofix.exe" and this will run the program. Just follow the program through and let it run. If it does reboot the system remember to get back to the safe mode with command prompt.
  NOTE: To get to the safe mode with command prompt press the F8 key on the keyboard while the computer is first booting up. This is called the post test. You will see a menu with various choices, so you need to use the up down arrows on the keyboard and then press enter.
  There are occasions when you can not get into any of these modes. What I do is disconnect the hard drive from the system and connect another hard drive in its place. Use your windows cd and install a fresh load of windows on it. You do not have to activate the software just enter the product key number when asked for it. This is usually on the top or side of the computer and indicates what your operating system is. The next step is to copy the saved virus cleaning files to the fresh loaded hard drive. Next connect the infected hard drive back in the system on one of the free sata ports. You will need and extra sata cable and possibly an extra sata power connector with a molex 4 pin adapter on the other end. I use one with the Y adapter for extra connections. Now just run each of the programs in the safe mode with networking. The safe mode with networking helps so you can update the programs if they need to. NOTE: for malwarebytes just download the free version not the trial version.
  If none of these are successful then save your data after all cleaning is done and install a fresh load of windows, install all drivers for the system ,reactivate windows, download and install all current critical updates and then copy your data back to their proper locations. The data is usually pics, documents, favorites, music and any other saved information. All programs, printers, cameras etc.... will have to be reinstalled.
  NOTE: For windows 8 I like to go to msconfig and set it for safe boot with networking , so after rebooting it will only go to the safe mode. This can be done for windows 7 and xp as well. Just remember to run msconfig from the run or search box and uncheck safe boot so the system will boot up normally. Also at this time combofix can not be run for windows 8.
  I hope this information helps anyone who needs it. If you have questions leave me a comment or email me.
  Thanks for reading 73s from KC2YTI.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

What Kind Of Meter Do You Like.

  When I was looking into purchasing a meter to read my swr and power it seemed perplexing at first. I had swr and power meters from my 11 meter cb radio days. I still have some cb radios running, but mostly listen. I much prefer the Ham Radio. I started by looking at some ham radio catalogs I acquired through the internet. I was surprised by the different manufacturers and choices.
  My first decision was based on how much power am I going to run. Since I am only going to run no more than 100 watts due to having no amplifier, I would not need a meter running more than 300 watts. That seemed to be the limit in that category. Maybe in the future I will be able to purchase an amplifier. But for now we will keep it at a 100 watt limit. Listening to some of the ham radio operators they seem to do very well with 100 watts.
  The next choice was what display type do I like. The come in a cross needle display or the older single needle display. I did end up with the cross needle type of display. I was used to the single needle from the cd radio days, but decided I could adjust. They come in a variety of sizes that seem to be small, medium and large. As for myself I preferred the larger display. Maybe it`s just because I am getting older and wear glasses. It is definitely easier to read.
  My next decision was what manufacturer to choose from. They range from MFJ, Diamond, Jetstream, Daiwa, Bird as well as others. My considerations went with a couple different factors, prices and reviews. I started by checking for reviews on the internet and especially Eham. I find eham to be one of the best placed to get tons of information from other ham radio operators. I generally put it into the good, bad and the ugly, just kidding.
 Well after looking at the reviews and prices I decided to go with the MFJ-894 . I like it because it is easy to read and very large. I also liked the idea that it covers a frequency range from 1.6mhz to 525mhz. This will cover all the high frequencies to vhf and uhf. I have not had any problems with it and it does the job I needed it for. I have recently been looking for another meter when I do add power to my station. I do like the larger single needle MFJ meter as well as the Diamond single needle meter. But that`s for another time.
  Well that`s all for now, so please leave any comments about your favorite meters.
  Thanks for reading and 73s from KC2YTI.

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