Friday, January 08, 2016

Into the rats nest!

So with the continuing cleanup of my Shack I decided that I need to clean up the rats nest of coax in the Shack. Over the past few years I have been moving rigs in and out so much that I had jumpers, barrel connectors and extra coax ran into the Shack that are no longer being used.

I tackled this yesterday and removed one piece of 50' coax, about 6 jumpers, and trimmed two runs that were about 8 to 10 feet too long. Next on the list is to have a go at the power cables!

73 de N8IE

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Continuing changes.

Been a while since my last shack make over. This time I have taken it down to just the Kenwood TS-570DG and the Yaesu FT-857D. I still have my set of Knight Kit radios and my friend Jim, N8NSN gave me a Heathkit DX-60 and HR-10, these are projects rigs and I may just put them in-line soon.

Going to try and get more active in 2016, last year was a rough one and my shack was not used.

73 de Dan, N8IE

New Shack tuner.

Hello folks,
I had to replace my old MFJ-949 tuner, it was starting to shows signs of it's age. The antenna cap was arcing over and tuning was very unstable.

I wanted a Differential-T tuner and since the Palstar was out of my budget I decided to go with an MFJ-986. Reviews are mixed on this tuner but so far it works very well with my 135' Inverted-Vee antenna.

You can check it out on my web page at:

I've also updated my Shack web page at:

73 de Dan, N8IE

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Shack redo again!

Well I have finally got my Shack exactly where I want it. After years of switching radios and different configurations, I'm done!

Thanks to my friend Daryl, K8FP I got a choice Kenwood TS-570DG and I've decided to keep my Knight T-150 and R-100A for AM. With this setup I can sit down and relax and actually enjoy Ham Radio again!

Dan, N8IE

Friday, February 06, 2015

K1N DXpedition

Wow what a zoo! Listening now on 10M, the op is trying his best despite the Hams who don't have a clue on how to work DX. He is working by numbers and people just can't get that thought through their heads.

On the bright side I did work them on 20M CW and SSB this morning.

73, N8IE

Monday, January 26, 2015

AL-811 Back On Line

A while back the antenna switch in my MFJ-962D tuner burned up. This was the second time in 5 years, I pulled it from service leaving me without an HF amp.

Today I decided to rewire the tuner to a true T-Match configuration with the output through the 4:1 balun. I added it to my Yaesu FT-857D and now it's working again. MFJ wants $65 for the switch, since two have already burned out I decided not to pay for another one. I'll look around a Hamfest or wait for Dayton and get a good tuner.

But at least for now I have help busting those pile ups again.

73 de Dan, N8IE

Monday, January 05, 2015

Winter winds!

Sunday morning around 6AM we had a micro burst of winds that topped near 50MPH. This lasted for only three minutes or so but that's enough time to do antenna damage for Hams.

I got a text from my friend Daryl, K8FP around 9:30AM asking me to call him, he had a big problem. He told me the winds broke the poles that support his 40M Bazooka antenna and put a hole in the roof of his patio. We talked for a bit and I told him I had a set of poles that I only use for Field Day and we could get him back on air. With a massive cold front and snow moving into the area Monday, it could be weeks before we had a chance to fix his antenna. So we decided to get the antenna fixed and get him back on air!

We did a sight survey to determine what needed to be done, here you can see where one of the poles snapped above the patio.

Here is where is came through the patio roof, just missing his Digital TV antenna.

We decided to replace his poles with mine because of the age of his and weathering, we did have to use one of his and put it at the bottom where wind loading would not be an issue. Daryl decided to replace the Bazooka with an Alpha-Delta 40/80M trapped dipole to get him back on 80M. Later he will add wire for 30M.

Prep time took the longest as we had to add and replace guy ropes and get everything in place. Here we have the new poles and guy rings ready to go.
Raising the poles was not to much of a challenge with the two of us, Daryl had clamps attached to the top and bottom of the patio to help keep them stable as we raised the poles and inserted another one on the bottom. We put up a total of eight poles to give us a height of approximately 30 feet, we guyed it at the fifth and seventh poles. Here it is ready to be guyed and have the antenna raised.
We attached the Alpha-Delta to the pull up rope, connected and sealed the coax. It was now ready to be raised.
We stretched the antenna out on the ground making sure there were no kinks in the wire, we also had to make sure as we raised it none of the ropes or wires got snagged. Daryl attached the guy ropes first to give the poles just enough tension to remain vertical, then we raised up the antenna. From here it was a matter of playing with the antenna ends and guy ropes to get the antenna as vertical as possible while allowing some slight movement to help reduce stress on the pole joints. This was actually made easier with a steady 10-15MPH wind as a guide.
Here is the antenna raised and finished.
We went back into the shack and placed his antenna analyser on the antenna and the resonance was centred on 40M and near the CW portion on 80M. This was good and when he adds the 30M wires he can tweak it a bit.
When we started the temp was around 50F, by the time we finished it had fallen to just above freezing. We had drizzle, light rain, and at the end it started to lightly snow. Timing IS everything.

73, N8IE

Friday, January 02, 2015

Happy 2015!

Happy New Year folks!
Decided to break out the old Yaesu FT-401B and replace the Knight T-150 and R-100A. They are great rigs but I really don't need a second AM/CW station.

This beast is great on SSB and CW, I took it for a test run and worked it from 10M to 80M with great reports. I've hooked up the Vibroplex Lightning Bug to it and it's now a great CW rig.

I also added an Autek QF-1A SSB/CW/AM filter to it, a must for this rig as it does not have much in the way of filtering.

Well that's it for now, happy Hamming and hope to catch you on the air!

73 de Dan, N8IE