New Guy Thread (again)

Discussion in 'Becoming a Ham - Q&A' started by KJ7ZEI, Jan 18, 2021.

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  1. KJ7ZEI

    KJ7ZEI Ham Member QRZ Page

    Well, thanks to the swapmeet section of this site, I now have a Kenwood TH-D72A HT in transit. A lot of functions that will take time to learn, but I won't have to upgrade for a while....or will I?:)
  2. KJ7ZEI

    KJ7ZEI Ham Member QRZ Page

    Not sure if ya'll would get a kick out of it, but I did; As I'm studying for my tech/general I picked up a little handheld SW radio. A countycomm GP-5/SSB.

    I was outside at sunset with just the 2 foot, telescoping antenna and I picked up a foreign language station on 5.85 MHz. I could tell it was Eastern European and I just listened to the gal speak and every few minutes some old Eastern European bluesy jazz music was played. I heard a lot of "z's" and hard "p's" but no hard "k's". So I knew it wasn't Russian. I guessed Bosnian.

    Then at half past the hour the broadcast switched to english. Turns out it was WRMI out of Okeechobee FL. Broadcasting Slovakia Radio International. Different programming to be sure. She spoke about Teddy Roosevelt visiting Eastern Europe after his African Safari in 1909.Then she interviewed a fictional writer. I was intrigued and wished I had kept listening to get his name as his book sounded very interesting.

    I visited WRMI's website and filled out a form to let them know where and when I listened. I saw mention of a QSL card. I thought was for licensed radio operators and I also thought it was for when someone actually talked to a far station. I don't know.

    I went inside and "geeked" out telling my wife all about it, like I was a kid or something. She was not as enthusiastic as I.

    Anyway wanted to share with anyone that reads my bloviating post.

    PU2OZT and N0TZU like this.
  3. N0TZU

    N0TZU Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Many of us were avid listeners and DXers for shortwave broadcasts before we became hams, myself included (Short Wave Listeners - SWLs).

    Listeners sending in reception reports for QSL cards was more than just a fan club exercise. It provided station managers with feedback on how their signals were being received across the globe (this was before the advent of inexpensive propagation and antenna modeling). It also provided an address and a presumably interested person for the governments or other organizations to mail their informational or propaganda materials to.

    The internet and the end of the Cold War has greatly reduced the need for expensive SW broadcasting, and much of what remains is done by religious organizations.
    PU2OZT likes this.
  4. KJ7ZEI

    KJ7ZEI Ham Member QRZ Page

    I did pick up some religious broadcasts. One reallll fire and brimstone preacher!

    I also heard what sounded to me like a news broadcast in Chinese (11.78MHz).

    Also a local broadcast station that I believe is 1350 AM. I heard it on 2.250 MHz.

    Reminded of me of when I was a kid playing with the dial on SW on my Dad's multi band radio. Listening to faint voices or CW. I thought I was onto something when I heard a foreign language (usually French). It was a big deal to hear a foreign language as a kid. Considering Canada was "just" across the lake it is less of a big deal as an adult, thinking back. But back then.....
  5. KJ7ZEI

    KJ7ZEI Ham Member QRZ Page

    Sure glad I decided to "build" my ham shack before I test in May. I've learned quite a bit so far and have many tasks to complete before I am "on air". My detached garage/shop will be the location. It has its own 100A subpanel with 2 ground rods (8 feet apart) that will be utilized for grounds. I have read parts 1-4 of do's and don'ts. Great info.

    So far I'll be using a Spiderbeam 12m for a mast, determine the best routing for the feed line for the G5RV junior. And the anchor points to create an inverted V. I will be installing a Morgan Industries lightning arrestor (303) in an enclosed "box" mounted on the exterior wall next to the ground rods (out of reach of my male Choclate Lab). In the box will be a 12"X12" , 0.063" copper sheet for the lightning arrestor and grounding lug mounting. I intend on mounting the Icom AH-4 tuner next to that and will manufacture my own control cable (supplied one is too short).

    A better antenna(s) is(are) in my future. I have a unobstructed 1/2 acre behind my shop (entire lot is 1 acre). A small lot size subdivision is directly behind that to my North. Due East is a neighbors barn at approximately 300 yards. Due West is a neighbors house also at about 300 yards. From the property line on the North end to the Ham shack is about 50-60 yards. Some short trees reside on the edges and aren't high enough for antenna wire <25 feet. So if my description is understandable enough, my only limit to antenna design is money. Which is always the limits of my hobbies. Right now I'm liking offerings from ZeroFive Antennas.

    I will continue to read here and in books to grow in knowledge. Great site!
  6. KC5AKB

    KC5AKB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    You will do fine with antenna endeavors. Jump in and go for it.
  7. KJ7ZEI

    KJ7ZEI Ham Member QRZ Page

    Studying is going well. I'm consistently passing in the low 90's, taking the online practice tests for Tech and General.

    Still assembling my shack. Discovered this weekend that I am lousy at soldering pl-259 connectors. I will not post how long it took to do just two.

    I had all the "stuff" to solder from back about 5 years ago when I repaired a solid state guitar amp. I recall fumbling through that project as well and yes, the amp did work again when I finished the repair.Wasn't pretty but it worked. One thing I don't currently have and wish I did is a solder sucker (borrowed one last time).
  8. N0TZU

    N0TZU Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    The key to soldering PL-259 connectors is to use a high power iron with a large thermal mass. The one I use for this is 100W and has a massive tip that is 7mm wide and 35mm long. It makes the soldering very fast and the coax doesn't get too hot.

    Also use good quality silver plated connectors that readily take solder.
    KJ7ZEI likes this.
  9. KJ7ZEI

    KJ7ZEI Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes, that would have helped! A bigger iron. The one I have is for fine circuit board work.

    Right tool for the job and all that. Of which I didn't have and made the task more difficult. That I will rectify asap.
  10. KJ7ZEI

    KJ7ZEI Ham Member QRZ Page

    Still have to run a ground wire from radio rack grounding bar to junction box.

    But being that my long weekend is coming to an end I "plugged" in my antenna this morning, powered up my radio for the first time and had a listen. I heard a transmission S7 from 660 miles away (FCC callsign lookup). I was pretty excited!

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