My subscription to Life expired, but I still have a subscription to Mad.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

What the Tower Beared

I worked on the log periodic antenna and got it back into shape physically, but due to the rainy weekend, I could not test it electronically until today. I tested it on 2 meters and the SWR was great across the whole band.

I was very surprised. I thought that that antenna was a goner, but now it is a keeper.

I also checked out the rotor today. It worked, but very noisily.

I lubricated it and that quieted it a lot. All it needs now is new clamps and hardware.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Bare Tower

Yesterday, I cranked my 55-foot telescoping tower down and stripped everything off of it. I cannot recall the last time I did any maintenance on the tower, but there was some rust that made the job more difficult.

Since I was at it for about five hours, I did not have time to closely inspect the log periodic, but a quick estimate indicates that it may not be salvageable.

The 40-meter dipole is in the trash now.

I also have to replace one of the guy wires.

The coaxial cable is in good shape and the rotor still works, but needs new clamps as the old ones' names were "rust."

The weather is heavy rain today, so I may drag the log periodic into the garage for a closer inspection. 

Surfin': Google Earth Radio Tricks

This week, Surfin’ features guest columnist Mike Schaffer, KA3JAW, of September 7 Surfin' fame.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Surfin’: Logging Periodically

This week, Surfin’ can begin antenna maintenance now that the trees are out of the way.


Friday, September 14, 2012

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

That Time of Year

orion Weekdays, I usually get up at 5:35 AM.

Friday, it was light out at 5:35 AM. Over the weekend, that changed and on Monday, it was still dark enough to see constellations (like Orion) through the bathroom skylight at 5:35 AM.

By the time I shaved, showered, dressed, and took Pumpkin Pie outside to fetch the newspaper 25 minutes later, the sky was lighter and the stars had all disappeared, but I could still see Jupiter directly overhead and Venus high in the eastern sky just north of the crescent Moon.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Surfin’: Got E-s?

This week, Surfin’ literally takes a look at Sporadic E propagation on YouTube.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Fixing My Realistic Astronaut 8

About 10 years ago, I obtained a Radio Shack Realistic Astronaut 8 circa 1972 multiband receiver at an auction for $1. It had minor cosmetic wear and tear, but functioned like new after I cleaned all the switches and pots.

It had been my working-in-the-garage radio ever since and sits on top of the refrigerator in the back of my workshop.

It is still a mystery to me how it happened, but one day this past spring, the radio fell off the top of the refrigerator and onto the concrete floor.

After the fall, the radio had two problems.

1.   Its handle came apart, but I was able to put it back together easily.

2.   The bottom of the red pointer that moves across the dial became dislodged. Instead of moving freely in its groove, the bottom of the pointer now dragged along the clear plastic window of the radio dial. As a result, whenever I changed frequency, the top of the pointer moved along as it should, while the rest of the pointer followed along at a 15-degree angle. In addition, the drag caused the dial mechanism to move slowly and roughly, so I figured that eventually the dial mechanisim would fail.

I sought out instructions on how to disassemble the radio, so I could get the pointer back in its groove.

I searched the Internet for instructions, but found none, so I decided to fly solo and take the radio apart without help. There were no screws at the front of the radio where the damage had been done, so I had to start at the back of the radio and work my way toward the front from the inside.

The back of the radio came off easily, but when I saw the guts of the radio, the prospect of disassembling it all and reassembling it correctly looked very daunting. I studied the problem for awhile, loosened a few screws to see what that would do, but concluded that this was a mission impossible.

I reassembled what I had disassembled and powered up the radio to make sure it still worked. It still worked and I resigned myself to living with the out-of-groove pointer until the dial mechanism gave up the ghost.

Then I thought if the force of hitting the floor caused the pointer to slip out of the groove, maybe I could use force to get it back in the groove (assuming there was no other damage to the dial mechanism that I did not detect).

So I gave the front of the radio a good whack with my open hand and lo and behold, the pointer jumped back in its groove and the dial mechanism now works as Radio Shack had intended.  

Monday, September 3, 2012

Updated Pages

I fixed the "WA1LOU Pages" links in the left sidebar. I also updated the pages that those links jump to.


The summer 2012 pre-DCC issue of TAPR’s quarterly newsletter, PSR, is now available on the TAPR website. (Truth in advertising: yours truly is the editor of PSR.)

Table of Contents of the Summer 2012, #119 issue of TAPR PSR:

  • President’s Corner
  • DCC Schedule at a Glance
  • DCC Rooms at a Glance
  • Preliminary DCC Schedule
  • Banquet Speaker
  • Sunday Seminar
  • Experimenting with High-Speed Wireless Networking in the 420 MHz Band
  • TAPR, PSR and Other Initialisms
  • TAPR at Hamvention
  • VK5DGR to Receive ARRL Technical Innovation Award
  • Hardware News
  • Advances in SDR Usage
  • The Packet Node Project
  • TAPR Hamvention Gallery
  • Golden Packet – Maybe Next Year?
  • DIXPRS – New APRS IGate/Digi App
  • John Bennett, N4XI, RIP
  • TAPR on the Net
  • Vic Poor, W5SMM, RIP
  • Write Here!
  • The Fine Print
  • Our Membership App