Month: November 2013
Previously, I had this PVC monstrosity sitting in the office. It worked well enough to get me into the closest few repeaters, but it took up about 3′ x 4′ floor space and the cats liked to bat at the radials.
Now that I’ve got the antenna mounted outdoors, we’re feeding the mini-rg8 line in through the window. I want to ground it outside to a ground rod, but that’s a project for another day when I buy up some LMR400 to serve as the permanent antenna feed system. I added a simple L-bracket from home depot to my electronics workstation, and the Tonfa UV-985 and Baofeng UV-5R clip right to it with no problems.
Also, my rubber duck antenna collection was starting to get ridiculous and unwieldy for the tabletops and desk drawers. I cut about 16″ of 1 1/4″ PVC on the miter saw, glued a cap to one end, glued a threaded bushing to the other, and wrapped it with some camouflage duct tape I had in the garage. It makes an excellent water tight case with a certain rustic visual appeal. See for yourself.
I’ve made a few upgrades at the station this weekend. I’ve still got a long way to go before I consider everything properly put together, but we’re getting a signal out a little farther now.
Station Antenna Mounting
I hate heights. I hate climbing two legged ladders. Thankfully, my wonderful wife helped provide necessary assistance from the ground while I scurrying up about ground level.
First, we needed to mount the mast arm that everything will be anchored to. I just mounted it in place to the bottom of the roof’s a-frame over the garage. I had to cut and drill the mast plate that connects the mast arm to the actual antenna mast, but needed to prime it since I only had untreated pine in the garage.
That concluded day one since we got started late and sunset is earlier this late in the year.
Staging and Sealing
Day 2. After terminating the mini rg8 feed line with a PL-259 UHF plug connector and some heat shrink, I fed it down to the ground level. After a quick connection and wrapping with coax seal, it was ready to go up in the air.
Mounting and Cleanup
Mounting wasn’t too bad. I don’t have it pictured, but I made a PVC widget that looked like a tall, narrow football field goal to help lift and steady the antenna in mid-air. It seemed to work well, and we got everything mounted and swivelled in to place.
I’ve been bouncing around between a number of the local repeaters over the past few months, and I wanted to get some information out about where I’ve been. Some repeaters have hosted some solid conversations, and others only gave me a squelch tail, but I got into all of them somehow. The locations vary from a few places in and around Atlanta, but most are from my host location in Smyrna, GA.
|146.880 MHz (-) PL 100.0 Hz||W4BTI||Kennehoochee Amateur Radio Club (Sweat Mountain)||http://www.w4bti.org/|
|145.47 MHz (-) PL 100.0 Hz||NF4GA||North Fulton Amateur Radio League (Sweat Mountain)||http://www.nfarl.org/|
|147.06 MHz (+) PL 100.0 Hz||NF4GA||North Fulton Amateur Radio League (Historic Roswell)||http://www.nfarl.org/|
|145.15 MHz (-) PL 167.9 Hz||W4AQL||Georgia Tech Amateur Radio Club||http://w4aql.gtorg.gatech.edu/|
|146.820 MHz (-) PL 146.2 Hz||W4DOC||Atlanta Radio Club (Bank of America Tower)||http://w4doc.org/|
|147.105 MHz (+) PL 110.9 Hz||WB4RTH||Atlanta C.A.R.E.S. Radio Club (Marietta)||http://atlanta.caresmentoring.org/|
|147.075 MHz (+) PL 82.5 Hz||W4GR||Gwinett Amateur Radio Society||http://www.gars.org/w4gr|
|146.955 MHz (-) PL 77.0 Hz||WB4QOJ||Paulding County ARES||http://www.pauldingares.com/|
|145.430 MHz (-) PL 107.2 Hz||WB4NWS||Jim, WB4NWS, hosts Cherokee Co. ARES from Mt. Oglethorpe||http://www.cherokee-ares.org/|
|147.150 MHz (+) PL 141.3 Hz||WB4GQX||Sawnee Amateur Radio Association (Cumming)||http://www.sawneeradio.com/|
|145.130 MHz (-) PL 156.7 Hz||K4SEX||Bill Gremillion Memorial Radio Club (Newnan)||http://www.bgmrc.org/|
|146.790 MHz (-) NO PL||K4SEX||Bill Gremillion Memorial Radio Club (Newnan)||http://www.bgmrc.org/|
|147.165 MHz (+) PL 131.8 Hz||N4OME||Darryl, N4OME (Newnan)||http://www.w4zt.com/n4ome/|
|145.200 MHz (-) NO PL||NA4MB||North American Mission Board Radio Club (Flowery Branch)||http://www.namb.net/|
|145.450 MHz (-) PL 107.2 Hz||W4BOC||Alford Memorial Radio Club (Stone Mountain)||http://www.totr-radio.org/|
|145.41 MHz (-) PL 100.0 Hz||W4PME||Metro Atlanta Telephone Pioneer ARC||http://www.matparc.org/|
|443.150 MHz (+) NO PL||W4PME||Metro Atlanta Telephone Pioneer ARC||http://www.matparc.org/|
|145.110 MHz (+) PL 88.5 Hz||W4SCR||Skint Chestnut Amateur Radio Society (Douglasville)||http://www.qsl.net/w4scr/|
|145.49 MHz (-) PL 88.5 Hz||W4LMA||Lockheed Martin Employees ARC||http://www.qsl.net/w4lma/|
|444.425 MHz (+) PL 107.2 Hz||WK4E||Cobb County ARES||http://www.w4bti.org/cobbares.html|
|146.970 MHz (-) PL 100.0 Hz||K4CLJ||Benjamin, K4CLJ (Marietta)|
|146.805 MHz (+) PL 100.0 Hz||KC4AQS||James, KC4AQS (Calhoun)|
|444.925 MHz (+) PL 103.5 Hz||N4YF||Michael, N4YF (Sugar Hill)|
|442.850 MHz (+) PL 82.5 Hz||WB4HJG||Mark, WB4HJG (Lula)||http://www.qsl.net/wb4hjg/|
|444.025 MHz (+) PL 127.3 Hz||W4CML||Charles, W4CML (Atlanta)|
|147.120 MHz (+) PL 100.0 Hz||W4CMA||Cedar Valley Amateur Radio Club (Rome)||http://cvarc.rf.org/Website/index.html|
|146.940 MHz (-) PL 88.5 Hz||W4VO||Northwest Georgia Amateur Radio Club||http://www.w4vo.org/|
|145.330 MHz (-) PL 100.0 Hz||KI4KQH||Floyd County Amateur Radio Club|
|146.685 MHz (-) PL 167.9 Hz||K4NGA||North Georgia VHF Society (Adairsville)|
|147.315 MHz (+) PL ?||KI4KHO||Cliff, KI4KHO (Macon)|
|146.910 MHz (-) PL 88.5 Hz||K4HYB||Charles E. Newton Jr ARC (Griffin)|
|146.715 MHz (-) PL 146.2 Hz||KI4FVI||Stan, KI4FVI (McDonough)|
|145.170 MHz (-) PL 146.2 Hz||KJ4KPY||Southern Crescent Amateur Radio Club||http://www.southerncrescentradio.org/|
|145.210 MHz (-) PL 131.8 Hz||KK4GQ||Fayette County Amateur Radio Club||http://www.kk4qg.org/|
|145.230 MHz (-) PL 151.4 Hz||WB4JEH||Charles, WB4JEH (Conyers)|
|147.210 MHz (+) PL 162.2 Hz||KF4GHF||Conyers Amateur Radio Group||http://bellsouthpwp.net/j/l/jlshumak/default.htm|
|146.925 MHz (-) PL 88.5 Hz||WA4ASI||George, WA4ASI (Newton County)||https://sites.google.com/site/wa4asirepeater/|
What does disaster prepping having to do with amateur radio? Well, quite a bit. Radio is a communication tool that is not (always) dependent on grid power or telecommunications utilities functioning, and it is therefore a critical tool in the science of disaster preparation. While the KK4TSJ is fairly small, low powered, and modest at the present time, it is functional and can operate under low power or no power situations.
However, having batteries and a car cigarette lighter power adapter helps me keep the comms going, it isn’t enough to support the other basic necessities for survival. That is where my roadkit comes into play! Some people also refer to this as a go bag or a bug out bag.
- Water, cups, canteen, storage jug
- Non-perishable snacks, granola bars, fruit snacks, can opener (I need to get some canned goods, too)
- Flashlight, lantern, chemical lights (glowsticks)
- Spare hats, jackets, emergency ponchos, misc. clothing
- Automotive toolbox, multitool, screwdriver, air compressor (tire pump)
- Retail emergency roadside kit, contains: first aid kit, road flares, emergency blanket, jumper cables, and tire sealant
- Camping chairs x3: one for me, one for the missus, and one for junior
- Map of Georgia & compass
- Storage crates, bag, bungee cords, rope, ratcheting tie downs
While there are some definite improvements that can be made to the kit, that covers most of the critical needs in an emergency or disaster situation. It also helps out in simple, day-to-day situations like junior getting hungry or thirsty on a long drive, and helps on a cold day when you forget your jacket or hat at the house.
No two individuals will have the same needs, and what works for me might not work for you. Just consider what needs you may have in an emergency situation while on the go, and tailor what sort of junk you keep in your trunk accordinging.
73 and good day,