Category: "Amateur Radio"

Pages: 2

03/26/09

  09:38:44 pm, by The Dreamer   , 464 words  
Categories: Amateur Radio

VX-7RB & MH-73A4B on order

I now have a VX-7RB and an MH-73A4B on order. This morning I decided to pull the trigger on getting that new handheld that I had been thinking of getting ever since I passed my Technician Exam and became licensed to operate in the US.

Except that I was being distracted by the VX-8R. And, even though it is now finally out and everything. I decided the main difference that it offers is APRS, and that I didn't really need it. Especially since there's a lot of extras that would need to go on top of it and it kind of takes away from why I wanted a new HT.

I had contemplating scaling back even further on models....debating whether I really needed all the bells and whistles of the VX-7R. But, eventually I settled that this was still the HT I wanted.

And, then when I found out what my state tax refund would be and then finally getting it (which turned out to be sooner than getting my federal). I knew that I was going to do it.

This morning was that time.

Pages: 1· 2

03/08/09

  05:10:13 pm, by The Dreamer   , 211 words  
Categories: Amateur Radio

I'm now an Extra

This was the first test session since I got my General. I'd had the study book for Extra since I got General, but only managed to skim about half the book...in 8 months. I figured I'd have time to dedicate to reading it before an actual test session. But, it has been a while since there was one.

But, things have been busy, so I haven't been able to sit down and just go through it all.

I took some practice exams from eham.net yesterday and today....but, kept missing by one or two questions. Only once did I pass, it was a just pass.

I even failed the practice exam moments before I left to go take the real exam. I was thinking that I wasn't going to even show up, so even though I failed that practice exam....I decided that I would go waste $15 and try anyways. Figured it would haunt me wondering if I wouldn't have passed it or not.

Plus when I was doing the practice exams I was going through it rather quickly, and figured if I take it slow and careful on the real exam...that I would maybe do better.

As it turned out....I did. I only got 6 questions wrong.

Now to go for the next test.....

10/09/08

  08:03:48 pm, by The Dreamer   , 640 words  
Categories: Wireless/iPhone, Travel, Home, Storage, Amateur Radio

Failed HD upgrade.

I was all in a rush last week to upgrade the other drive in my primary desktop. Partly because the plan was to use the old drive as the backup drive of my other computer. Guess, I'll just have to go without backups for a while longer.

I had resorted to ordering the drive from Amazon.com instead of my usual source TigerDirect.com, because I wanted to know that it was going to show up for certain on a certain day before the weekend.

And, it appeared as desired on Friday. But, first Saturday I was volunteering my Amateur Radio skills to do communications at a SAG for the Yellow Brick Road Race. And, I was way too tired to take on a project like this when I got home. Being up early and being kept up by a yapping dog downstairs was part of the reason. Also being nice than expected and standing in the sun near the end probably didn't help either. But, it was cool. Though it has me thinking that maybe I'll continue to hold out for the Yaesu VX-8R, instead of wimping out and getting the VX-7R. Probably do so by deferring the upgrade of my mobile phone until next year. (likely to be a decision between Google Android or a Blackberry...choice of carrier might be as solidly decided as well either.)

Pages: 1· 2

09/14/08

  10:30:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 771 words  
Categories: Home Theatre, Hardware, Computer, Storage, Amateur Radio, Ubuntu, Windows

Upgrading the primary drive in TARDIS

Once again, after some thought yesterday, I decided that I'm going to pass on getting a new Windows XP computer. Even though I was eyeballing something based around a Phenom X4 based system. And, my old XP machine is almost 5 years old....and new systems are getting scarce.

What I'm now thinking about is getting both a Mac Mini (for my Home Theater, though this may change or get dropped...depending on my mood, etc.) and an iMac (for the bedroom). What I'll then do is get VMWare Fusion for the iMac, should the need for a newer Windows environment arise. The only question is the timing of the iMac, and the thought of getting an iPod touch. (which cuts into my plan to get a VX8R?)

Anyways...I decided that if I'm going to keep the old XP machine, I should stop procrastinating on upgrading the drives in it. I had seen warnings that the primary drive was going to fail, and had purchased Acronis Easy Migrate a while back with the plan of upgrading this drive. It is only a 120GB drive. I could of gotten larger, but I didn't think I would need all that space at the time. Though I had since added a secondary drive of 250GB, and even that one is getting kind of full.

So, I was about to make a note to myself to buy a 500GB drive, when it occured to me that I had pulled a 400GB drive from the post-icepocalypse Gateway (Core 2 Quad) machine I had gotten. It came with Vista, but I had no interest in running Vista. It was purchased to replace my Linux server, though I resurrected that server....so its just an Ubuntu play box. Though I was hoping for PM support to do raid on it. But, I haven't taken the plunge to see if it'll work for that....so its just a fast BOINC engine at the moment....and some file storage.

Anyways, I decided to upgrade the primary drive in TARDIS using the 400GB drive. I went and got the USB/Firewire/eSATA to SATA/IDE enclosure that I had purchased and set aside for this purpose and set out to try running Acronis Migrate Easy.

Hooked it up using Firewire first....strange, my computer seems to have gotten too quiet. Seems the firewire interface is disabling my sound. But, when I went to 'migrate'...it wouldn't. It failed quickly on the reboot, and various other forms of failure. I figured maybe there was a problem with it being on Firewire. So, I switched to USB.

That didn't help. It was reboot and then fail, and then reboot back to before. I slipped other activities in during the process, and eventually it was late...so I called it a night.

Pages: 1· 2

08/22/08

  07:46:32 am, by The Dreamer   , 576 words  
Categories: Digital Photography, Hardware, Computer, Wireless/iPhone, Amateur Radio

I pulled the trigger on a netbook today

I went with an ASUS Eee PC 901 20G, in Pearl White. I ordered from buy.com, which was advertising an after-rebate ($50) price of $526.99. I also had received last week an 8% off coupon, because it had been a long time since I had ordered from buy.com. Evidently, 03/22/2006 was the date of my last order....which was for a 512MB memory upgrade for my former notebook computer.

Turns out the 8% off coupon has a maximum discount value of $20 off. So, that brought the pre-rebate price of the Eee PC 901 to $556.99. I opted for free shipping....so it might be a while before it arrives.

Full story »

08/10/08

  04:30:39 pm, by The Dreamer   , 220 words  
Categories: Amateur Radio

Denpa MZ-22 Also Fail

Turns out the design of the Denpa MZ-22 is just as bad, or rather it is even worse.

The head was hard to get to...while less prying, there were more screws. Also the cable web inside the head prevents access to the solder points for the battery.

Worse the battery is upside down, so I won't know what kind of battery until I remove it.

It crossed my mind that perhaps I'd find out how much it would cost to send off two radios to get batteries replaced, etc. But, as I was putting it back together, I wondered about the funny scorch marks on the underside of the lid.

Apparently I burned out some transistors on the board years ago when it was my packet radio....not sure if worked the last time I used it...so it might be fried. My fuzzy recollection was that I had some kind of issue with it, which caused me to go back to using my HT for packet. So, that's probably why I was having issues with it.

I wonder if new radios are better or worse with this. I suppose the fact that virtually all mobiles these days have removable/remoteable heads might lead to easier to replace batteries.

Just not sure when I'll get a mobile rig now.

  03:12:11 pm, by The Dreamer   , 661 words  
Categories: Amateur Radio

Yaesu FT8000R Design Failure

Some time in 1997, I acquired the Yaesu FT8000R dual band mobile radio. I hardly used it, mostly just listened the local repeaters and the ambulance channel probably. There was probably only one or two public service events where I actually got to talk on it.

But, then I totaled the car in November 1997. And, I barely got the radio out when I went to visit the car in the salvage yard.

I moved away from Medicine Hat and boxed up all things Amateur Radio and moved. I left most of the big stuff (antennas) at my parents place, when I later moved down to the US. And, I already talked about that story.

Now that I'm back doing Amateur Radio stuff. I've been slowly going through boxes digging it out. There might be the opportunity for some public service work, though that wasn't what led to me digging for the FT8000R.

There's the upcoming 10th anniversary of the K-Link system coming up, and the local K-Link repeater requires tone access. Also, I apparently it is located somewhere that I can't work using my HT at home.

So, I got to thinking that I should have a base 2m (at least) radio. Of which I should have two in my collection somewhere. Since, I need tone....that meant looking for the Yaesu, because the ICOM clone doesn't do tone or much else...it was cheap from a hamfest, and being sold as a packet radio because it lacked things like a microphone. Which is fine, because I was getting tired of heating up my HT for packet radio....

Pages: 1· 2

07/04/08

  01:44:35 pm, by The Dreamer   , 250 words  
Categories: Amateur Radio

de W0LKC

Yay :wave:

I am now have a callsign of W0LKC. In retrospect, I probably would've liked to have gotten N0LKC....but when I was checking the vanity callsign database, W0LKC was shows as a 1x3 callsign that was immediately available. There were no 2x3 in "Immediately Available".

Later I looked under the "Date Controlled" area....and saw that N0LKC was available, and indicated as "Immediately Available". I updated my application for vanity callsign to include this option, and then later found out that it resets the 18 day clock on the processing...and that the W0LKC request had already been approved, but the grant was waiting for the 18 day clock. Plus I just added it to the list of requested callsigns, I didn't make it the more desirable one. And, I choose not to fiddle with the application again to further delay things.

Full story »

07/01/08

  08:45:16 am, by The Dreamer   , 457 words  
Categories: Home, Appliances, Amateur Radio

Air Cleaner Shuffle

I bought a new air cleaner.....

The Kenmore EnviroSense™ True HEPA Air Cleaner - Model 85500

I had been researching getting a new air cleaner, though I probably still pulled the trigger on this too soon. It looked similar to what I was looking for....though it doesn't have all the features that I was looking for.

But, there has been a odor problem in my condo...smells from the condo below getting into mine. So, I've been looking at units suggested as capable of helping with this issue.

Before this, I had 3 air purifiers....two Oreck XL Professionals (refurbs, one from Oreck.com and the other from Woot.com) and a Brookstone Pure-Ion (the older, small grill, big tower one). The Orecks have been working good at dust and such, but not sure about odor control. But, I've had one in the bedroom and one in the 'computer' room. Though the 'computer' room is the quieter one...the bedroom has a bit of a rattle somewhere. I've been thinking of switching the two.

The Brookstone Pure-Ion seems to have been a waste of money. The clean filter light comes on way to often, and nothing washes off of the filters. Also sometime ago the oscillate feature had become an issue....sometimes it won't move, other times it'll go all the way around instead of back and forth. Though other times it'll start working again. I seldom use that feature anymore.

So, the shuffle...has moved the Oreck air purifier from the 'computer' room out into the living room (where I have replaced its carbon filter with a 3-in-1 Odor Absorber.) Moved the bedroom Oreck to the 'computer room'....putting in a new carbon filter (when I use up my supply, I may look into getting a 3-in-1 Odor Absorber for this one as well).

That puts the new air cleaner in my bedroom.

It seems to do its job...though the lighted display is way too bright and annoying, and I seemed to recall reading that a different model had a light sensor to dim the display in a dark room (also make it automatically switch to quieter operation). So, I may yet seek out this one.

It'll still work, later I can move the Kenmore to the other bedroom (which is storage now, but some day I plan to clear out enough to make it usable space. Thinking I might set up the 'shack' in this room.)

In the meantime, I'm looking for somewhere to put it where it'll function...but shine away from my bed and against light absorbing surface (or not against a light intensifying surface), but still be workable by its remote. Or perhaps some duct tape or something may come into play. :??:

06/28/08

  12:18:10 pm, by The Dreamer   , 69 words  
Categories: Amateur Radio

It's Field Day

Link: http://www.arrl.org/fieldday

I don't know if I'll get to go on the air during it....but if I do, and I get to use my callsign...I'll have to follow it with Authorized General, because I just checked the ULS and my license doesn't yet show that I passed my General on June 22nd.

Wonder what are the odds of having a QSO with anybody that I know from VE6 land....

2

Now instead of subjecting some poor random forum to a long rambling thought, I will try to consolidate those things into this blog where they can be more easily ignored profess to be collected thoughts from my mind.

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