10 Meter Inverted Vee Dipole

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10 Meter Inverted Vee Dipole

Made this 10 meter inverted vee dipole a couple of months ago. Each element is between 7.5′ and 7.75′ long. I cut it to length for resonance on 28.400 MHz for maximum quality operation on the USB (upper sideband) region of the 10 meter band available for technician operators. I used an Astatic PDC2 combination SWR and power meter I picked up off of Amazon for cheap. It’s designed for the unlicensed CB (Citizens Band) on 11 meter, but positive reviews from other hams indicating successful use on bands between 160 meters and 10 meters sealed the deal for me.

Unfortunately, all of my efforts to hang this antenna in a tree outside have proved fruitless. First, the weather got in the way, then a lack of the needed length of feedline did it in. I’m going to hold on to this since it has a good SWR for 10m, but I think I’m going to go with a vertical for operating that band. It seems that most of the hams out there operating on 10m are using shortened CB antennas, anyway!



Gpredict: Real-Time Satellite Tracking and Orbit Prediction

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I’ve been playing around with an application written by Alexandru Csete called Gpredict, and it can be found at http://gpredict.oz9aec.net/, and I’ve been using it to watch for the ISS to fly overhead.  Unfortunately, those flyovers have not been occurring during times of day that are convenient to my schedule, so I’ll have to watch for a window that will allow me to attempt contact with an astronaut some other time.

Anyway, I like pictures, so here’s a picture.


That’s it for today.


Chirp – (Nearly) Universal Amateur Radio Programming Software

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I want to throw out what I’m using right now to program my radios that happen to support digital programming interfaces, which happens to be the Baofeng UV-5R and Tonfa UV-985.  Neither are very high end radios, but they work for me for the time being with a price that was right.  I strongly recommend the use of CHIRP for programming amateur radios.  It’s a free, open-source tool written in Python that supports Windows, Mac, and Linux, and I have had excellent success running it from my Fedora workstation at the home QTH.  Just like the rigs, the software works very well for my needs, and the price cannot be argued with.  The official CHIRP project page may be found at http://chirp.danplanet.com/projects/chirp/wiki/Home and its specifications at present is quoted here as of the time of this post’s composition:


Supported Radio Models


  • AT-5888UV (in daily builds)


  • DR-03T
  • DR-06T
  • DR135T
  • DR235T
  • DR435T
  • DJ596T
  • DJ175T


  • F-11 (in daily builds)
  • UV-3R
  • UV-5R
  • UV-82 (in daily builds)
  • UV-B5/B6 (in daily builds)
  • BF-888 (in daily builds)


  • BJ-UV55 (in daily builds)


  • IC-80AD
  • IC-2820H
  • ID-800H
  • ID-880H
  • IC-208H
  • IC-2200H
  • IC-91/92AD
  • IC-V/U82
  • ID-RPx000V/RP2x
  • IC-2100H
  • IC-2720H
  • IC-T70
  • IC-T7H
  • IC-T8A
  • IC-Q7A
  • IC-W32A
  • IC-746
  • IC-7200
  • IC-7000
  • ID-31A
  • ID-51A (in daily builds)


  • JT220M

  • TH-D7A/G
  • TH-D72
  • TH-F6A
  • TH-F7E
  • TH-G71A (in daily builds)
  • TH-K2
  • TK-7102/8102/7108/8108 (in daily builds)
  • TM-271A/281A
  • TM-D700
  • TM-D710
  • TM-G707
  • TM-V7A
  • TM-V71A


  • PX-2R (UHF)
  • PX-777


  • TH-UV3R
  • TH-UVF1


  • FT-60R
  • FT-90R (in daily builds)
  • FT-817/ND
  • FT-857/D
  • FT-897
  • FT-1802M
  • FT-2800M
  • FT-7800R
  • FT-7900R
  • FT-8800R
  • FT-8900R
  • FTM-350R (in daily builds)
  • VX-2R (in daily builds)
  • VX-3R
  • VX-5R
  • VX-6R
  • VX-7R
  • VX-8R


  • KG-UV6D/UV6X

Note that not all functionality is supported on all radio models. Take a look at overview of what features are supported for each model.

Other Data Sources

File Formats

  • Comma Separated Values (.csv)
  • Comma Separated Values generated by RT Systems (.csv) (in daily builds)
  • EVE for Yaesu VX-5 (.eve)
  • Kenwood HMK format (.hmk)
  • Kenwood commercial ITM format (.itm) (in daily builds)
  • Icom Data Files (.icf)
  • ARRL TravelPlus (.tpe) (in daily builds)
  • VX5 Commander Files (.vx5)
  • VX7 Commander Files (.vx7)

  • RadioReference
  • RepeaterBook
  • przemienniki.net (in daily builds)
  • RFinder

10 Meter Band Operation Research

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Presently, I’m still just a technician class licensee, but my license does give me privileges to operate 10 meter HF on frequencies between 28.000 MHz to 28.300 MHz for CW and 28.300 MHz to 28.500 MHz for upper sideband (USB) voice.  I have yet to really throw myself into learned Morse code, so I will need to focus on the sideband operation.  I’ve found a lot resources on the subject, but this article from HamUniverse.com is an excellent comprehensive write up of the subject.

I have the fortunate luck to have my hands on a Uniden President HR2510, and I picked up a cheap truckstop quality HF SWR meter for it.  I know that it’s meant for 11 meter CB radios, but reviews on Amazon indicate successful operation from 160 meters to 6 meters from another radio amateur.  I’ve still got my eyeball on an MFJ-259B antenna analyzer for more precise antenna construction, but that will have to wait for the KK4TSJ personal budget to open up more sometime in the future.

I’ve made and tuned a wire inverted-v dipole antenna with integrated W2DU style current balun.  Reads roughly below 1.5 VSWR for the sideband portion of my frequency privileges, but I want to dedicate a future post to that antenna, it’s design, and my outdoor hanging plans once I get it hung.  I’m still not convinced that the design is the best, but I’m confident it will work for the intended purpose better and cheaper than commercial options will provide.

Stay tuned for the next post, and I promise to post some pictures of the new antenna.  73.


Eight Essential Knots You Need to Know

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Strings, ropes, strands, fibers, and textiles are the basis of many human technologies, and they have existed as such largely unchanged until the advent of industrialization and synthetic textiles.  I would like to present eight essential knots that I feel are important for the reader to be familiar with and know how to tie.  They will empower you with a greater ability to survive on your own wits with the right equipment in the wilderness, and they’re simply fun to make.

Overhand Knot

The overhand knot is the most simple knot to make.  Everyone, and I mean everyone, can tie this knot.  It’s not very useful, not very strong, and tends to slip very easily, but it is typically the first step of any more intricate knots.

The Reef Knot or Square Knot

The reef knot, or square knot, is a simple knot used to tie two lines together.  It’s simple and quick and easy to repair a break in the field, and offers a temporary solution while a more permanent knot can be put into place if necessary.  The reef knot is one of the most simple of knots to make, but many people often incorrectly tie the second half causing them to roll over.  The end that wraps around over the first half needs to wrapped around the outside on the other half symmetrically causing the strands to form two overlapping loops over each line.  This knot only works well if the two lines are closely matched in diameter (preferably from the same cord stock), otherwise the sheet bend knot should be used with lines of significantly differing thickness or materials.

The Two Half Hitch Knot

The two half hitch knot is an essential knot that is used to string a hammock between two trees or posts, and is also well suited to form the core of more intricate cord weaving designs.  The ring can either be nailed into place, secured with a metal strap, or tied to an anchoring structure with another line.

The Bowline Knot

The bowline knot is a maritime knot that is found in all known seafaring cultures.  It will anchor a loop to the end of a line that will not move and will handle high strains without slipping.  It typically forms one end of a line with a taut line hitch on the other side to give you variable strain on fixed lines.  Like most other knots, this may be used as the basis of more intricate weaving patterns.

The Taut Line Hitch

The two half hitch knot is an American tradition handed down from generations that has been taught by the Boy Scouts since their founding in 1910.  It provides an essential means of setting up tent lines secured to ground stakes or pegs, and provides sturdier support for shelter than almost any other more modern plastic quick release mechanisms.  Typically used with a two half hitch knot on the other end, this knot also needs the short end secured with a two half hitch knot to prevent it from slipping.

The Figure Eight Knot

The figure eight knot is an essential knot to secure the loose ends of cords used for other more intricate knots such as the taut line hitchthe clove hitch and others.  It’s a very quick and simple knot to make, but make certain that you fold the first loop over itself a second time to keep from making the knot a simple overhand knot.

The Clove Hitch

The clove hitch is pretty simple and used to loosely bind a line to post of some sort.  Historically used to bind horse reins to hitch posts in addition to the highwayman’s hitch, it is also useful in securing lines used in the construction of improvised lean-to shelters and cooking tripods.

The Sheet Bend Knot

The sheet bend knot is a fairly simple knot, and is much better for securing two lines of differing thickness together than the reef knot.  This knot along with the clove hitch is essential to the construction of fishing nets and any sort of corded netting.

Special thanks to howcast.com for their excellent instructional videos.


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