Month: November 2013

KK4TSJ Station Interior Cleanup

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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.

Station KK4TSJ
Station KK4TSJ, Note Radios Shelf Top Left

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.

1 1/4" PVC Rubber Duck Antenna Case
1 1/4″ PVC Rubber Duck Antenna Case

KK4TSJ Station Antenna Upgrade

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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.

Mounting the Mast Arm
Mounting the Mast Arm

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.

Priming the Mast Plate
Priming the Mast Plate

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.

Staging the Antenna, Prepping the Coax Seal
Staging the Antenna, Prepping the Coax Seal
Staged and Sealed
Staged and Sealed

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.

Sky Profile of Mounting
Sky Profile of Mounting
Mounted with Slack Pulled In
Mounted with Slack Pulled In

Local Repeater Report

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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.

Frequency Config. Callsign Name/Organization URL
146.880 MHz (-) PL 100.0 Hz W4BTI Kennehoochee Amateur Radio Club (Sweat Mountain)
145.47 MHz (-) PL 100.0 Hz NF4GA North Fulton Amateur Radio League (Sweat Mountain)
147.06 MHz (+) PL 100.0 Hz NF4GA North Fulton Amateur Radio League (Historic Roswell)
145.15 MHz (-) PL 167.9 Hz W4AQL Georgia Tech Amateur Radio Club
146.820 MHz (-) PL 146.2 Hz W4DOC Atlanta Radio Club (Bank of America Tower)
147.105 MHz (+) PL 110.9 Hz WB4RTH Atlanta C.A.R.E.S. Radio Club (Marietta)
147.075 MHz (+) PL 82.5 Hz W4GR Gwinett Amateur Radio Society
146.955 MHz (-) PL 77.0 Hz WB4QOJ Paulding County ARES
145.430 MHz (-) PL 107.2 Hz WB4NWS Jim, WB4NWS, hosts Cherokee Co. ARES from Mt. Oglethorpe
147.150 MHz (+) PL 141.3 Hz WB4GQX Sawnee Amateur Radio Association (Cumming)
145.130 MHz (-) PL 156.7 Hz K4SEX Bill Gremillion Memorial Radio Club (Newnan)
146.790 MHz (-) NO PL K4SEX Bill Gremillion Memorial Radio Club (Newnan)
147.165 MHz (+) PL 131.8 Hz N4OME Darryl, N4OME (Newnan)
145.200 MHz (-) NO PL NA4MB North American Mission Board Radio Club (Flowery Branch)
145.450 MHz (-) PL 107.2 Hz W4BOC Alford Memorial Radio Club (Stone Mountain)
145.41 MHz (-) PL 100.0 Hz W4PME Metro Atlanta Telephone Pioneer ARC
443.150 MHz (+) NO PL W4PME Metro Atlanta Telephone Pioneer ARC
145.110 MHz (+) PL 88.5 Hz W4SCR Skint Chestnut Amateur Radio Society (Douglasville)
145.49 MHz (-) PL 88.5 Hz W4LMA Lockheed Martin Employees ARC
444.425 MHz (+) PL 107.2 Hz WK4E Cobb County ARES
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)
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)
146.940 MHz (-) PL 88.5 Hz W4VO Northwest Georgia Amateur Radio Club
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
145.210 MHz (-) PL 131.8 Hz KK4GQ Fayette County Amateur Radio Club
145.230 MHz (-) PL 151.4 Hz WB4JEH Charles, WB4JEH (Conyers)  
147.210 MHz (+) PL 162.2 Hz KF4GHF Conyers Amateur Radio Group
146.925 MHz (-) PL 88.5 Hz WA4ASI George, WA4ASI (Newton County)

Disaster Preparation: Go Bags, Bug-Out Bags, Roadkits, etc.

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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.

Roadkit Contents:

  • 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,