Tuesday, June 21, 2011


T6SH is now QRV. Active on 40 & 20 Meter CW. QSL via K1BV. See you on the air!


Sunday, April 3, 2011


I'm headed out tomorrow and will return in the fall. I'm taking gear with me and will keep an ear open for you. I will be unable to transmit so I will be a SWL only HAM for the duration. See you in November!


Saturday, March 26, 2011

W6EOD Maritime Mobile

A few days ago I borrowed a friend's canoe. I thought it would be fun to take the kids out and enjoy some time together on the water. I also thought it would be neat to take my VX-8R with me and see if I could get one of my beacons to hit the digipeater.

The kids and I drove up to Stella, NC and launched the canoe on the White Oak River. The goal was to give canoeing a try. None of us have ever been on a canoe before so it was a new experience for us. Just getting the three of us in the canoe was interesting. With the kids situated up front it was my turn to climb in. In the process the canoe pitched and rolled and Tyler was none to happy about it. While we didn't turn over it was an interesting few seconds there.


While underway we talked and pointed out interesting things to look at. The weather was nice so paddling was an easy job. The kids especially liked going under the bridge and all of the noises it makes when a car passed overheard.


Paddling the canoe and keeping the kids still was more time consuming than I had anticipated. Mostly keeping the kids still...I had the radio on but didn't pay much attention to it. There wasn't much activity and I didn't hear the VX-8R sound the note that it had received its position beacon back from another station.


Last stop on the way back to the boat launch was a quick stop at a marshy island for the kids to walk and use the restroom. As we were getting close to the shore Tyler starting shouting "Land Ho!" I had a little pirate on board and didn't know it.


We had a good time but I'm not sure that canoeing is for us just yet. The kids didn't like the pitch and roll that a canoe has and I didn't like the idea of us taking a swim. Maybe in a couple years we'll be more sea worthy.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Antenna For My PFR-3 & KX 1

I have been asked a few times over the past week about the antenna I use for my portable ops. I use alot of different antennas while portable, but for the purpose of this writing I will limit it to my PFR-3 and KX-1 and the antenna I use with them.

Each portable op has been a lesson for me in gear load out, power sources, antennas etc. I have tried to streamline my load out to facilitate ease of setup. I have learned that a good understanding of antennas is a must to give you an idea of the options available to you both at home and in the field. Conversely, there is a big difference between ideal and compromise. Typically the more requirements you place on a particular antenna the less ideal and more of a compromise it becomes. Weight, size (bulk), Disassemble/Assemble (Dis/Ass) time and multi-band operation are all factors that can cause a compromise to your antenna. I don't know a portable operator that doesn't factor all of these things into their equation.

My antenna is based primarily on it's single greatest attribute. Speed of dis/ass. It is nothing more than two wires fed directly at the TRX. The radiator is 34' and I deploy it as vertical as possible. The counterpoise is 31' and I lay it on the ground at a 90 degree angle or as close to that angle as possible to the radiator. The two ends that connect to the TRX have male banana plugs from Radio Shack that I soldered to the wire. The wire is from The Wireman. I don't remember the size or name, but it is 24 or 26 gauge and very strong. The insulators are nothing more than tape bridals made out of electrical tape.

To erect the antenna I use cheap, light weight rope on a flat spool. I use a plastic water bottle with a slip knot around the neck and the Armstrong Method to launch the rope over a tree branch. Once the bottle is chest level I take it off and connect the antenna. I then raise the antenna, wind the excess rope and stash the spool out of the way near the tree. Setup and on the air is less than 5 minutes.

This particular antenna fits my needs and consistently yields good results for the three bands I operate portable. 40, 30 and 20 meters. Keep in mind that both of these transceivers have a built in ATU. SWR for each band after tuning with both transceivers are as follows.

40: 1:1
30: 1:1
20: 1:2

This leads me to my final point which is that I get good reports and lots of questions about the antenna. I am not naive in that I know that I did not "create" this antenna. I used openly available information from the Internet and ARRL books to help me build my antenna. There are many antennas that are much more "ideal" but they do not offer the ease and simplicity that I needed. Who says compromise isn't a good thing?

All of my gear minus the rope and water bottle fits in a Pelican case. Model 1120 for the KX-1 and 1150 for the PFR-3. These are small cases if you have not seen them before. Not too shabby considering the load out is a TRX, paddle, head phone (ear buds), log, pencil, antenna and spare batteries.



I hope this information is beneficial and helps you in your portable operations. Best of luck and hope to work you soon.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Beautiful Evening & QRP

I took my KX 1 out on the front porch this evening to see how the bands were and was treated to two great qso's. The first was with Mike AA1TJ from Roxbury, VT. Mike was calling CQ on 20m. I threw my call sign back and the QSO was on. Both of us were QRP with myself running 2 watts. We talked the usual until the band faded out.

With 20m gone I moved down to 30m. The second QSO was with Dave K1DCT from Preston, CT. Dave was running an Icom at 5 watts. His signal was a solid 579. Dave sent me a 559 back which I was very happy with. After all my antenna consisted of an end fed wire with counterpoise. I have never been to CT so Dave and I talked about the differences between there and NC. I got a good laugh when Dave said he wished he lived south of the Mason Dixon because the weather was to cold during the winter and the food and drink are better here. I told him that we get the worst of each season, hi.

It is evenings like tonight with a nice sunset, great weather and great QSO's that make me love this hobby. Too bad I've got the bug to be back on the air again so close to leaving.

My report on the TX trip with APRS is forthcoming. I have to load my pictures up and don't remember how...


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Tick Tock, Tick Tock...

The time is flying by for me and the family right now. I am getting close to leaving for an extended amount of time and there is so much to do. If you've ever been in the military you know exactly what I'm talking about.

Reba, Ann, Tyler and I are headed to Texas this weekend to welcome home my little brother from Marine Corps Recruit Training. It should be a lot of fun teasing the new Marine in the family although I am very proud of him.

I will be running the VX-8R on 146.520 simplex and 144.390 APRS for the duration of the trip. You can follow us at http://aprs.fi/ and http://www.openaprs.net/ . The latter of the two allows you to send an APRS message via internet to me if you would like to. My callsign/designator for APRS operations is W6EOD-7. I would love to hear from you if you get the chance. It will help break up the monotony of the drive.

I plan on taking the PFR-3 with me and a couple of wire antennas. I'm not sure if I'll have the time to get on the air but if I do keep an ear open for W6EOD/p on 20, 30 and 40M. Ops will center around the QRP calling frequencies.

On a side note I sent my Yaesu FT-817ND off to Yaesu for the second time today. Previously a couple of diodes went bad which caused the receive on 20m to be stone cold deaf. The rig was under warrenty at the time and was fixed with no charge. The problem now is that the PA/Finals are blown. To make matters worse the rig is no longer under warranty. I hope that Yaesu doesn't charge too much but I'm not expecting it to be cheap... The good news with it though is that my father in law Mike K7ELI will be using it this summer on his hiking and camping trips in the scenic Pacific NW. Make sure to keep an ear open for K7ELI Portable!

I'm taking the camera with me and a post of our adventures will follow when we get home. Looking forward to a QSO (digital or CW) with you and best of luck.


Monday, March 7, 2011


The family and I went back to the Washington D.C. area this weekend to visit my best friend John KJ4KRU. John is recovering from injuries sustained in Afghanistan at the National Naval Medical Center.

The trip is 6 hours one way but with the family and 2M APRS it goes by quickly. I have used my VX-8R many times to send out my position information. The rig works well at 5W. I am still learning about APRS and how the system works. It is a very intersting system. I do like the weather reports I get from stations along the route.

I did not receive any APRS messages which I hoped for this trip. I am curious about how the process works and would like to see how well the radio performs in that capacity. Maybe the next trip I can score a couple of messages and try sending a message back.


Friday, March 4, 2011

To D.C. With APRS Onboard

I am headed to Washington D.C. tonight, and will be headed back to Swansboro on Sunday. I will have the VX-8R running 146.520 and APRS on 144.390. Please check my progress if you get the chance at http://www.openaprs.net/ . I would like to see how well I am able to send and receive messages so if you get an opportunity shoot me a line. My designator is W6EOD-7. I will post a report with pictures on Sunday to show my results.


Saturday, February 26, 2011

February 2011 PBMME

It has been a LONG time since my last post. Almost the same amount of time since I was last on HF!

First and foremost, all is well here. We are settled in to our new home in Swansboro, NC. The kids have done well with the move and adjusted much better than expected. I am busy with work and will be headed to far off lands here in the near future.

With that being said I decided to join in the Polar Bear QRP group's Feb. event. I didn't put a ton of effort into the cause, but I did have fun and make some contacts.

I kept it simple and used my PFR-3 with a random wire & counterpoise. My location was the very scenic front porch of my house. I wasn't expecting much, but by my results speak for themselves.

Prior to getting on the air I performed a mod to my PFR-3. I never really liked the play and sloppines in my paddles so I shortened them. The difference was exactly what I was looking for. Less paddle travel and better response.

My first QSO was with my friend Aaron N9SKN in Illinois. As always Aaron's signal was good. I sent him a 589 and got a 579 in return. I wasn't expecting a decent report back considering my antenna selection. We had a few minutes to chat which was great. I will apologize to Aaron now for my fist and copy ability. I AM VERY RUSTY! QRM from another station forced us to end our QSO but it ended with a smile on my face.

My second QSO was a quick one but impressive nonetheless. I heard 9A5W calling CQ in some contest. I didn't know what contest or what country he was from. I threw my call out and he came right back. One quick exchange and he was back on his way. It wasn't until I sat down on the computer that I looked him up and saw that he was in Croatia. Not too shabby.

Thanks to all my friends and family who follow the blog. I will try to get on the air a few more times before I head out. So many people to talk to and so little time...



Water falls near Gotemba, Japan