In my opinion the easiest and most efficient way is to take online tests and online flashcards.  It took me about three weeks of doing flashcards and taking tests before I was ready  to get my license.  Here is a link to the website that I used to study!

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//Ewinslow//

 

I recently got this radio at a hamfest for fifty dollars.  It has been a very good radio, I really like the fact that it is a twin band instead of a dual band because it is very easy to convert to a cross band repeater and it has two coax cables run out the back.  It has two memory banks one for two meters and another for seventy centimeters.  It outputs fifty five watts  on high power and twenty on low power and has a fully adjustable squelch!  Here is a picture.

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//Ewinslow//

I made a post awhile back about the HamQuest, here is a follow up post!  I enjoyed the HamQuest very much and plan to set up there next year!  There were about six hundred people there and the ten dollar all you can eat breakfast was awesome!  It had great interstate access.  I hope to see you there next year!       IMG_3955

 

//Ewinslow//

I just bought my hunting and fishing license.  I was surprised that as long  as you are under sixteen it only costs ten dollars for a license that will last you an entire year!  Which was surprising because if you by one after you are sixteen it is thirty dollars!  You can Get these licenses at wal/mart or any other bait shop.

In this post I will be showing you my Camillus knife.  I bought this knife at Wal/mart for ten dollars.  The reasons I bought this knife are it has a full tang, it has a slip resistant handle, and the blade is titanium.  There are more reasons but I can’t list them all.  Over all I would buy this knife again.  Here are pictures!

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In this post I will be showing you how to replace electrical outlets.  Surprisingly enough, this project doesn’t require a lot of tools and is fairly simple.  The first thing you need to do is to turn off the breaker. Then unscrew the outlet from the wall. is to pull the outlet out of the wall as far as possible. Preferably, the wires should be straight.  In my case, my outlets had holes that I plugged the wires into.  Simply put the wires in the same way they came out.  All you have to do now is to unscrew the green screw and twist your ground wire around it then tighten it.  Now put the outlet back in the wall and tighten the screws.

 

 

//Ewinslow

I have just found out that the Wilson County Amateur Radio Club and the Wilson County Radio League will be sponsoring a HamFest.  I can’t put all the details in this blog post, so I will insert a link to the HamQuest website.  I hope to see you there!

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In this post I will be showing you my 70 cm yagi antenna.  This antenna was a project to make in an afternoon.  The parts I used in this antenna are a few coat hangers a piece of scrap wood one piece of coax.  This antenna is great for satellite contacts.  Here is a picture!

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Today, I will be reviewing an Ontario Knife Company 3/11.  The Ontario 3/11 is a great knife. The reasons I like it are:

  • The knife blade is made with high carbon steel.
  • The handle is good quality leather.
  • It comes very sharp.
  • It has an awesome sheath.
  • It is made in the U.S.A.

Overall, I would give this knife a five star rating!

Here is a picture of my knife!

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//Ewinslow

 

 

In this post I will tell you How to tell when your knife is sharp.  In the past I have been told that you should drag your thumb along the blade, that way is okay but you can cut your thumb very easily.  Other  people have suggested that I try to shave with the knife. That only works if your knife is razor sharp.The way I like is to get a hunk of wood and whittle on it if your knife is sharp the shavings should be long, thin, and curly.  Here is a pitchers of what it should look like.

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//Ewinslow

In this post I will be telling you the difference between six shot and eight shot shotgun shells.  The main difference is the size of the pellets inside of the shell. The smaller the number, the bigger the pellets. The larger the number, the smaller the pellets.  Another difference is the amount of gunpowder inside the shell and since there is more gunpowder, it has more recoil.  One more difference that I can think of is that the smaller the shot the more pellets will fit inside the shell.

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//Ewinslow

In this post I am going to show you how to clean a shotgun.  There are many ways you can clean a shotgun.  The way I like is with a snake, gun oil, and steel wool.  I am going to start from the inside out.  Start by oiling the snake.  Drop the weighted end down the barrel and pull it through a couple of times. Now you are done cleaning the barrel.  Now we rub the barrel with the steel wool and buff it with a rag with gun oil on it.  Here are some pictures!

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//Ewinslow

Lately I have been stropping all my knives because I think that it makes them much sharper than the traditional method.  Using a leather strop can’t replace a sharpening stone, but it is good to use after you have your knife somewhat sharp.  This method originated when barbers were still using straight razors.  When shaving your beard about half way through, the razor would start to dull.  They would get a leather belt and run the knife blade up and down as if they were using a sharpening stone.  Here are some pictures!

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//EWINSLOW

The Wilson County Radio League will be holding an openhouse in October. Since CRL is closely associated with the League, we are reposting the information for those who may be interested.

Learn more at this link

In a singlewide trailer (read: No accessible attic and rafters only every 3-4 feet).

I cut a hole where I wanted the fan, which is fortunately right next to one of the rafters.

I cut a hole where I wanted the fan, which is fortunately right next to one of the rafters.

The first hole ended up not being big enough.  See in this photo the 1x4 that has been screwed to the rafter.

The first hole ended up not being big enough. See in this photo the 1×4 that has been screwed to the rafter.

I kept screwing 1x4s to the one attached to the rafter until the end result was this.

I kept screwing 1x4s to the one attached to the rafter until the end result was this.

That gave me something solid to attach the fan box to:

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Now all the drywall is put back up, the only repairs left are to fill the gaps with drywall compound and then respray the ceiling texture to match before installing the fan.

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This is my extremely low-tech way to dim the very bright backlights that were in my car’s radio.

The back of the radio face

The back of the radio face

After removing the plastic back

After removing the plastic back

This is what I found when I turned it over

This is what I found when I turned it over

See the LEDs on the board?  I painted over them with dark gray equipment paint.

See the LEDs on the board? I painted over them with dark gray equipment paint.

After painting over all the LEDs (there were 15 or so on the board) the lights are still a little on the bright side, but much more tolerable in the dark.

Here are some pictures of the newly built KM4GHM repeater that I am about to put on air in Lebanon.

 

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The (Almost) finished product

I have gutted a Motorola MSF5000 so we could use the case and some of the mounting brackets to hold parts for a completely different machine.

The current version is using a pair of Tait T2020 UHF transceivers for the transmitter and receiver, an ID-O-MATIC IV from Hamgadgets, a Mirage UHF 100w amplifier, 75a wall mount power supply, and a small pass-notch duplexer.  All of this fits easily inside the case from an MSF5000.

Here is is before the amp and with the duplexer laying on top

Here is is before the amp and with the duplexer laying on top

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So far I am really pleased with the way the Tait radios have been working.  They’re really easy to program with Windows, have great audio quality, and don’t seem to generate too much heat.

The ID-O-MATIC as it arrived in the mail

The ID-O-MATIC as it arrived in the mail

And 45 minutes later, we have this

And 45 minutes later, we have this

I’m also really liking the IDOM.  It was easy enough to put together, has really good instructions for setup and programming, and it’s really easy to program with Windows using puTTY (though I haven’t figured out how to program with mac yet).  It seems to be a highly capable repeater controller for the $39 price tag.  It keys the transmitter when the receiver detects a signal, handles a courtesy tone, IDs, Beacons, time out timer and time out penalty, and fan relay.  I’ve connected the RX and TX audio directly to each other, so they are bypassing the IDOM altogether with just a jumper running to the board for the ID audio.  I’m handling the encode/decode tones in the transmitter and receive radios.  The only issue I have found with the IDOM is that when I was powering it via the 12v power supply there was a strong hum behind all audio coming through the board.  This was cured by powering it through the USB port.  It’s possible that the issue was my power supply or the wire I was using.

We’ll be driving the amplifier with just enough power to get between 40 and 50 watts out so as not to overwhelm the duplexer and to help with heat inside the repeater.

It’ll be attached to a Comet GP9 antenna (9.9db gain on UHF) with 100′ of LMR400 when it goes on air.

 

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Field Day is a time when amateur radio operators from all over come together and set up their portable radio equipment, typically on alternate power.  Field day is the largest single amateur radio event of the year and has been celebrated by…  Read More  Courtesy KK4WAO, Wilson County Radio League

 

 

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Blue X is where we are set up at the Wilson County Fairgrounds for field day.  Green roads are where you need to drive to park close to us, the red areas have all been blocked off by other people that have set up in the roads.

The "sunsphere" over Knoxville, TN

The “sunsphere” over Knoxville, TN

This past Saturday we decided to go up to the annual R.A.C.K Knoxville hamfest. We went looking for a little of everything, and certainly found it.

Amongst other things we purchased LMR-600 cable for the KM4GHM repeater, a 2.4GHZ parabolic dish for the WCRL mobile command post and a surplus of Tait UHF radios.

We found a lot of good things and met a lot of good people during R.A.C.K Knoxville. It was definitely a good hamfest and worth getting up in time to see the below picture.

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At the Tullahoma hamfest I bought a Workman model 104 dual band SWR/power meter. This is an amazing little meter that definitely falls under my “best buys” list. It has seen heavy use since I bought it and has worked flawlessly until recently.

Workman 104 SWR/Power meter

Workman 104 SWR/Power meter

When I would key up the transmitter and tune for maximum deflection, it simply wouldn’t build up that much power. After some tapping, banging and beating it would usually ping the meter and go back to normal. I thought this was an internal issue and spent an hour pouring over it with a soldering iron doing reflow work to no avail. Finally in frustration I turned to my sometimes friend sometimes enemy, QRZ forums.

I got lots of good feedback on this post and I simple reminder from N7EKU to check my SO-239 connectors and make sure they were not the problem. If my PL-259 was not firmly planted in the SO-239, I would be losing lots of power and therefore having difficulty tuning up the meter. That was it, a new SO-239 soldered in and it works great!

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If one one of your cable’s connectors has a big blog of solder on the end, it can squish the brass slats so tight up against the insulator that they do not make good contact with a normal PL-259. I could have straightened them up, but decided to go ahead and replace the connector for the sake of it. Sometimes the simplest solution is the best, thanks Mark!

I decided to buy a role of Self Bonding Super Tape to keep in my toolbox specifically for waterproofing coaxial connections. This is the exact same thing as splicing tape which you will find at any hardware store, so I’m not sure why harbor freight calls it super tape. Anyway…..

I will now be using it any time I put an RF connector on or have a coax connection out of doors. It’s much waterproof than electrical tape because it stretches out and bonds to itself very tightly. It doesn’t break the bank either.  A 10ft roll costs about as much as a good roll of electrical tape, and it doesn’t take much. With electrical tape I end up wrapping over and over and sometimes still don’t get it watertight. I used about 3.5 inches of splicing tape in the picture below.

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This stuff is not sticky like you would think. In fact, it isn’t sticky at all. You have to stretch it way out to get it to stick to your connector, but once it sticks you just keep wrapping and it’s a breeze. I have not tried taking any off yet, but it seems like it would be easier than the standard tar.

 

 

 

I realized that no one has posted here in quite some time. I personally have been too busy doing to document very well, and intend to correct that. My next couple of posts will be devoted to the CRL lounge/Radio shack which was started about 2 months ago. During this time I have learned several things and discovered a good many tips which I will give their own individual posts. This post will be focused on the outside of the shack, the antennas.

 

 

As with any proper radio shack, the antenna farm is still growing. The primary VHF J pole is about 25 feet off the ground, with a secondary J pole just above the roof. We’ve also put up an 11 element 2 meter yagi and various scanner/FM antennas.

 

 

 

IMG_1031IMG_1030                                                                                                            IMG_1026

 

For HF we run a 102 ft MFJ dipole stretched between trees. It does great, but isn’t too impressive in the pictures

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We have a a tree problem right now, and need to do some serious pole sawing. That is going to be one of our many upcoming projects. In part II I will give an overview of the inside of the shack. I will do more detailed “How-to” type posts on individual topics such as how to (and how no to) install a station ground, how we chose to get our coax through the wall, and so fourth.

 

 

 

The Lebanon Police Department is looking for the suspects pictured below.  They were seen on video surveillance breaking into a business, taking items, and vandalizing vehicles on the tow lot around 2am Monday morning.

Anyone with information is asked to contact LPD at 615.443.2832.

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Anyone that follows this blog regularly may have noticed a new page at the top titled “Wilson County Radio League”.  The Wilson County Radio League is Lebanon’s newest amateur radio club, and one that I have a significant amount of involvement with.

If you have an interest in auxiliary communications, a desire to improve your communication and technical skills, and a desire to serve your community, the Wilson County Radio League may be for you.

They’re still getting started, but I’m hoping to see regular exercises and events being planned in the near future to give all of the members hands-on training and actual practice, which is good for the individual and good for the group.  Some of this training would include things like foxhunts, simulated weather emergencies, standard radio protocol, logging practices (Including computer logging) etc.

If there is any interest in such an organization, I would highly recommend checking out the link at the top of this page to read more about them.

Questions can be addressed to the Wilson County Radio League through their website, or directly to me in the comments (or the contact form on this site).