Wednesday, December 15, 2021

What Do You Want For Christmas In Your Ham Shacks ?

Click The Picture If You Want To Check Out This Yaesu Ham Radio

  Well it's that time of year again, ham radio friends where we think about what we want for Christmas in our ham shacks. Yes many of us would like one of those $2000 dollar ham radios, but our budget limits us from that. So then we have to make a decision on what we want and what fits our budget. 

 In my situation, my wife works a good full time job and I have early retired. Yes due to the pandemic, my job did not call me back. In fact they only called me when they were short of help, because one technician was going on 3 weeks vacation and the other was going on a week vacation after that. You may be asking yourselves how did I know this.

 Well I kept in touch with another employee that they had coming in and helping during the pandemic. Yes the individual was supposed to stay out until the government said it was okay to go back to normal. I asked how they were practicing any protection from the covid 19. I was told they only wore a mask when a customer came in to the store. As far as back in service where I worked, it was business as usual. No one wore a mask and there was no self distancing.

 The employee asked me if I had talked to management. I said I had not spoken to them since they let us go. I was told that they were telling people that I told them I was not coming back. Nothing but more lies as this was always happening. I was told that they said they were going to call me. Well they called and I listened to the message on the answering machine.

 They told me nothing about what I already knew. They wanted me to come in to talk to them. They also said in the message that they would only pay me what unemployment paid. That would be 60% of my normal wage. Understand that I worked there for over 17 years, never had a raise or a cost of living increase. I was earning about $14 dollars an hour working as a Computer Technician. I asked the employee if they were paying everyone less, the answer was they were paying them the same amount.

 They were paying the other technicians $25 an hour or more. So they were going to only pay me about $7 an hour. This was basically a slap in the face to me. I decided to stay on unemployment as long as I could and look for a job as an Electronic Technician. I have my AAS Degree In Electrical Engineering with the Master In Electronics. I had worked as a Electronic Technician 12 Years before working as a Computer Technician. I found that jobs were scarce at the time and the ones being offered were not worth it due to the pandemic and pay.

 I decided to stay on unemployment until it ran out. I checked the amount I would have on social security and compered it to the amount if I waited until 65 to 70 to retire. There was very little in the amount, so I decided to retire now. There were other personal reasons why I did not go back to my job. I informed unemployment about all this and the reasons for not going back. I never has an issue with unemployment. My biggest reason was the lack of protection for the covid 19 pandemic.

 Okay, so back to the subject at hand about what do you want for Christmas. If your budget is small like mine, then I would look at purchasing low cost items on Amazon or Used Items On Ebay. I myself am getting a Baofeng Handheld Ham Radio. If you want a good ham radio, then I would look at Ebay for a used ham radio or gear. Ham Radio Operators tend to take really good care of their equipment.

 I have seen some pretty good deals on Yaesu, Icom and Kenwood Transceivers as well as other brands. My advise is to always check out the sellers rating and reviews, because there are many crooked people out there. Yes there are many scammers that are just after your money. So always make sure to protect yourself.


Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Ham Radio Antennas For Those Small Yards

  This is a dilemma that many of us Ham Radio Operators Face, The Small Backyard. I myself have suffered from this my whole life. When I was younger, living at home, we had very little space. What I did was to look over the area and then use my imagination. Now this was back in the late 70s and cb radio was very popular. I had a few different cb antennas over the years.

 I started out with a magnet mount antenna on a metal tv tray. Needless to say, it did not work very well. I bought a used 1/2 wave ground-plane antenna from a friend. I wall mounted it to the side of the house and it did a pretty good job. I wanted to reach further, so I bought a full 5/8 wave ground-plane antenna and mounted it on top of the roof on a tripod. It was basically just like the super perpetrator. 

 Well I still wanted to make further contacts, so I bought a 40 foot tower and a pdl II beam antenna. I cemented the tower on a hinge system, wall mounted it and had guy wires. Basically it was not going anywhere. The backyard had a small oval pool and very little space, but I did it. I did have a star duster antenna that came crashing to the ground. Later I did but a big stick antenna on the roof and it was good for local talk. I did get some excellent distance with the beam antenna.

 Now I was married in 1984 and we moved into an apartment. Now all I had was the mobile antenna on the my truck. We were in a townhouse for awhile, but no place for an antenna. In 1992 we bought a house and I had the 5/8 wave up and it did an okay job. I eventually got my Technician Ham License and then my General Ham License.

 I bought a imax 2000 vertical antenna, that can be used on cb radio and some ham bands. I also installed a multi-band dipole antenna, with the apex at about 35 feet. It did a good job until the bands faded out as the seasons change. The problem I have is that the backyard is small, maybe about 25 foot from the back of the house to the fence. The west side of the house has the power lines running through the middle and the other side has the driveway. The front yard has some space and 4 trees.

 Unfortunately I sold the 40 foot tower awhile ago, which I never should have. I have some hamstick antennas I am playing with. I also have a mfj cobwebb antenna that I would like to put up. I have a vertical 6btv, but the trees have grown and I am not sure how it will work with the trees. I would have to lay some ground radials down. The weather has gotten cold and I have to think about things.

 So if you are looking for some small space ham antenna ideas, here they are. The cobweb antenna is multi-band and works very well. Using Hamsticks is another good choice, especially with the mount by mfj. The comet cha250b is a good choice for a vertical antenna. I would also check out youtube for small space ham antennas.

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Have You Ever Done Any Stupid Things As A Ham Radio Or Cb Radio Operator ?


  When I think back on all the stupid things I have done when I was younger and into the cb radio back in the late 70s, boy was I dumb. I remember installing a 1\2 wave ground plane antenna on my mothers roof to a mast that was wall mounted. I was holding 2 foot of the antenna, standing on the edge of the roof and installing it on the wall mounted mast. To top it off it was in a snow storm. Try holding that in the cold snowy wind. Yes I managed to do it and the swr was good. I used that antenna until I bought a star-duster cb antenna.

   This was my next brilliant move in the land of cb radio. I used some fence rails to put it up about 40 feet in the air. I had the mast was mounted to the garage. I had a boat winch set up with cable, so I could lay it over on the roof. My mistake, was that I used guy wire for the cable. I started to lay it over and then the weight took over. That mast came sailing down and the star-duster antenna crashed into the roof and landed on the driveway. All I could do was look at that poor twisted and bent antenna and say shi@#$%*.

   Then cam e my next adventure in cb radio. I bought a 40 foot tower and cemented into the ground with a tilt over system. I also had this wall mounted to the garage and used a number of guy wires as well. This would lay right over and onto the roof. I had a friend tie a rope to it and to his pick up truck. The back yard was right at the schools playground field. The tower laid over perfectly and I installed a PDL II Beam antenna on it. One time as I was on the roof , my friend was lowering the tower and I stood too close to the tower. A bolt or something caught my shirt and ripped it off my back. I did pay my younger brother 5 dollars to climb the tower and adjust it, so it pointed north.

  Well I have my own house and I don't do those crazy things as I have gotten older. I am much more careful with my ham radio antennas and gear. I much prefer to do everything from the ground.