A Short Update

07 Sep

Morse practice continues through the doldrums of summer. Schedules have changed times to accommodate the lower moving sun as we approach the autumnal equinox. Now our schedules are at about 1930 Zulu as opposed to our midsummer times of about 1300 Zulu. As usual we are to be found on or about 14054.5 Khz.

I read a short review in CQ Magazine of a couple of books that sounded interesting. One was called “The Victorian Internet” by Tom Standage and the other was Signor Marconi’s Magic Box. I found both on ABE  Books. ABE, if you haven’t discovered it, is a website that aggregates most small, second-hand U.S. booksellers inventories on a single web page. You can search and find by title, author or keyword almost any book you are looking for. The most fascinating bit is the prices. They are amazing. Of course you must pay shipping in most instances but book rate mail is very inexpensive. I found these two books for under 3 dollars US and add a few bucks for shipping and they are very good reads for not a lot of money. Just google for ABE Books.

During the summer my amp began to have a sticky TR relay in QSK mode. I found a replacement at Max Gain Systems for a reasonable price. However, before installing it I noticed that my amp had been modified some in its keying circuit (I purchased it used) and so I really needed to sort that out before installing a new relay and having it have its contacts burned up as well. This task requires a dual channel oscilloscope to watch timing and also requires a scope with a stable trigger circuit. To that end I found a used , working Tektronix 2213 on ebay for a very reasonable price. Compounding my projects time consumption was the issue of probes. I had some nice 350 Mhz. probes in my garage but alas I cannot locate them so I had to order a pair; again at ebay. I am awaiting their arrival now. After getting probes in hand I will try to sort out the amp. Meanwhile it seems to have begun working again but you know Mr. Murphy-once it begins to go it will always fail at the most inopportune moment.

One of these days I will have a son here to help do the heavy lifting on my antenna. It is being worn out by blowing branches and needs to be reoriented some so that it lasts a bit longer.

My local noise level has risen somewhat. I notice times during my daylight hours when measured in AM Mode in 9 Khz bandwidth on my receiver my noise approaches S-7. Most often doing a similar measure during winter and early summer I saw noise levels of S-5. Its time to break out my B Field receiving loop again and go noise sniffing for new sources. This is a never ending battle for hams I am afraid. Every time I turn around a new noise source comes into our home via something that needs to be plugged into a wall outlet via some wall wart that contains a noisy switching type power converter or charger. The latest nasty generator is the battery backup charger for the FIOS installation. More to follow.

One of the local Ham groups near here has asked me to do a short presentation on searching for noise and RFI. I will do a power point and place it here should anyone be interested.

Thanks for reading my Blog. Best, Chas W5PG


Posted by on September 7, 2009 in Radio


2 responses to “A Short Update

  1. Richard Battles

    November 12, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    Thanks for your paper. i now have it. i have been doing the same thing here in opelika, alabama, with switching power supplies, etc. for noise in my neighbor hood. i never know what i will find when i go home to the radio. i want to move to the woods away from people and their electronic junk from china.


    what about the ft-240-77 core?

    • w5pg

      November 12, 2009 at 3:03 pm

      Thank you for your kind words Richard. I have used mix 43 material from Fair Rite Corp for cost and frequency range reasons. Lots of Mix 43 available in
      surplus stores. Mix 31 is preferable if you are interested in 2-32 Mhz. It is flatter than Mix 43 but a lot more expensive. I use a lot of ferrite so I am pretty sensitive to price. The PDF from Fair Rite Corp is excellent reading and available free on the Internet.


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