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Author Archives: Dave

Notes on tuning a Hustler 6BTV

I thought I would share a few of my notes on tuning up a 6BTV antenna, and constructing a radial field.  I have been using a GAP Challenger DX, (review here), for the past fifteen years, unbeknownst to me, and over that time, water had been slowly seeping into the tuning harness of the antenna. Continue reading »

Categories: 6BTV, Antenna Reviews, Construction, Info | 5 Comments

Using a SDR as a RFI site survey tool

Over the past several years it seems I have done nothing but hunt RFI sources. This process reminds me much of the old childs game called “Whac-A-Mole”. So the use of a SDR came to mind… This is how I set up an SDR site survey tool. Continue reading »

Categories: Cleanup, Construction, Digital, Info, Quantification, RFI Mitigation, SDR as Site Survey tool, Tools | 12 Comments

Review of the Palstar AT2KD Tuner

Over time I have had both auto tuners, and manual tuners. I have used differential tuners, and standard tuners… I always return to manual tuners, using roller inductors, and large caps every time… An auto tuner is simpler to operate, but the power levels just are not there yet for me on anything I can afford, nor have I been able to get an autotuner, (of the ones I have used), to tune to an exact 1:1, every time, on every band. It is always something like 1.x:1, I have seen as high as 1.7:1, which can cause issues with the new solid state amps, such as the ALS-1306, which I own. See the section under “Conclusions”, for more on that subject. Continue reading »

Categories: Accessories reviews, Info, Palstar AT2KD, Reviews | 2 Comments

Adding an external keypad to the K3

The Genovation keypads have either forty eight or twenty four keys on them depending on which model you purchase. Each individual key can be programmed to send a single character, or a series of characters. Further, each key has a removable plastic cover so you can put a label under the plastic. All of this allows you to program a key, then label it, then use it to send a macro trigger to the P3. Like the P3, the Genovation also needs to be programmed in advance of use. Fortunately Genovation provides a rather nice piece of software with each keypad for just this task. Once a key is programmed, if you tap that key, the Genovation sends out the character(s) you pre-programmed into it via the USB port. This lends itself well to the function of sending macro triggers to the P3. Continue reading »

Categories: Elecraft K3, Info, K3: External Keypad, Reviews, Setups, Software information, Station | 32 Comments

I have RFI, now what– Locating it

This allows me to verify I am working with the same RFI source. I record the audio from the FT-900, and then I can play it back into Spectrum labs, and see if it matches the RFI I am hearing at home. Once I have a match, I know without a doubt I have the same source. I then look at the map, and it becomes pretty obvious where the RFI is most of the time. I next start running the frequency up as high as possible and still hear the RFI. I then grab a Google Map of a smaller area, around where the signal is strongest, and do the drive around again. I repeat this process moving ever higher in frequency. Continue reading »

Categories: ARRL, Direction Finding, DX, I have RFI: Series, Info, Legal Actions, MFJ: MFJ-856, Quantification, Reviews, RFI Mitigation, Setups, Software information, Station, W8VVV: S-meter Lite | 2 Comments

Review of Ameritron’s ALS-1306 Amplifier

I decided that I wanted an auto tuning amplifier, as opposed to the manual tune, AL-82 I was using. So I sold the old AL-82, (see my review here), and purchased an Ameritron ALS-1306. I was a bit worried when I bought the ALS-1306 for several reasons– to be totally honest, my main reason was that MFJ was the owner of Ameritron– the quality, and service reputation of MFJ worried me. Continue reading »

Categories: Accessories reviews, Ameritron: ALS-1306, Info, Radios reviews, Reviews, Service reviews, Setups, Station | 39 Comments

Review of “DX World”

“DX World” is broken into sections, and is sort of a running blog on the DX community, and what is current. The first section in “DX World”, is the “DX World Weekly Bulletin”. The Bulliten starts off with “DX This Week”, and is a recap of what DX was active in the past week. It provides general information on many, many DX stations. Continue reading »

Categories: DX, DX World, Info, Propagation, Reviews, Service reviews | 2 Comments

Review of Ameritron’s RCS-4 Coax Switch

I remembered my RCS-4, sitting on the floor for the past two years, and decided to move it outdoors. Given I don’t have a tower, but I had an outdoor building, I elected to mount the switch on the side of the building, giving me the ability to run the feedline to the building in the event I wanted to add tuners, or anything else that needed to be in a covered environment. The included U-bolt mounting hardware made this a simple task, I drilled two holes in the wall of the outbuilding the width of the U-Bolt, straddling a stud in the wall, and fed it through the holes and into the RCS-4. Continue reading »

Categories: Accessories reviews, Ameritron: RCS-4, Info, Reviews, Station | 1 Comment

MixW Telnet DX Cluster Setup

MixW is an old, and unsupported program, save for the Yahoo MixW group. MixW is also the best program I have ever used for RTTY contesting, bar none, and around 4000 other users agree if the membership of the Yahoo MixW support group is any indicator. I moderate that group, and of late (2014), DX Summit changed it’s format and has broken some functionality of MixW for using DX clusters. I thought it might be good to put together a guide for how to set up MixW to use Telnet, as opposed to web based DX cluster population of the cluster selection window thus freeing the MixW user from external web page changes breaking the MixW software in the future. Continue reading »

Categories: Info, MixW Contest Setup, Reviews, Setups, Software information | 7 Comments

Review of the 30 Meter MonoGAP

The first thing I did was to start WSPR off using the new antenna… All the usual suspects came in all a bit better than before! Next I decided to see what one watt could do using JT65 and PSK Reporter… The photo at the left shows what happened, I am transmitting from Oregon… Continue reading »

Categories: Antenna Reviews, Construction, GAP: MONOGAP 30, Info, Reviews | 12 Comments