ICOM unveiled IC-7300 at Tokyo Ham Fair 2015

ICOM has unveiled the IC-7300 transceiver. It is an all mode (SSB / CW / RTTY / AM / FM), HF + 50Mhz radio that comes in the 3 models listed below.

IC-7300 – 100 W
IC-7300M – 50 W
IC-7300S – 10 W

Posted in Amateur Radio Tagged with: , ,

Cancelled – 2015 NSARA Picnic

Please be advised that due to circumstances beyond our control, The Greenwood Amateur Radio Club has been forced to withdraw its sponsorship of the NSARA Picnic this year. Could you please notify as many people as possible about the cancellation of this event.

We deeply regret this, and apologize for any inconvenience it has caused.

Thanks and 73
Al Penney

Posted in Uncategorized

2015 NSARA Picnic

— I am not affiliated with the Greenwood ARC, but I am an NSARA member, so I wanted to pass this along —

The Greenwood Amateur Radio Club is pleased to host the 2015 NSARA Picnic!

The event will be held at the Clairmont Provincial Park, 1405 Hwy 1, Kingston, on Saturday, 22 August. The park is on the north side of Hwy 1, about midway between Kingston and Auburn. The picnic will start at 1000, and should wrap up in the late afternoon.

Activities will include a BBQ, CW copying competition, foxhunt, homebrew competition, and various demonstrations and other contests.

Those attending the picnic may be interested to learn that the Annapolis Valley Exhibition will be held August 17th-22nd. If anyone wants to make it a weekend holiday there is live entertainment featuring Dave Gunning August 20th, Platinum Blonde August 21st and George Canyon August 22nd. For more info on Valley EX check their Website:


So, let’s head down to the Valley that weekend and have a great time!

Questions may be directed to Al Penney, VO1NO, at (902) 847-0554.

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APRSdroid gets an Easter weekend update

After what seems like a very long time, Georg Lukas (DO1GL) has pushed out a new update to this awesome APRS application for Android (APRSdroid). The UI has been modernized a bit, some bugs have been fixed, and there has been a3rd party API added.

Official ChangeLog


  • Modernized User Interface
  • Fixed AFSK operation resumption
  • 3rd Party App API, see doc/API.mdwn
  • Bluetooth crash fix

Here’s a few screeshots of it from my Galaxy S3. For a while, it seemed to have stopped working but now that I have a TinyTrak I didn’t bother looking much into it but not that the new update is out it seems to be working well again.

One thing you’ll see below is that if you are on the map, the menus have a white background and black text. If you are on most other screens, it will be a black background with white text.


aprsdroid (11)

aprsdroid (10) aprsdroid (9) aprsdroid (8) aprsdroid (7) aprsdroid (6) aprsdroid (5) aprsdroid (4) aprsdroid (3) aprsdroid (2)



Posted in Amateur Radio Tagged with: ,

70 cm Crucifix Antenna

So I recently decided that I to build a new antenna for my 70 cm rig to replace the dual band magnet mount that I was using as it did not fit well in my new shack. I ended up building what I like to call the 70 cm crucifix. It’s nothing really new or exciting as far as design goes. It is based it off of this by PA1CA. However, I did modify the design a bit.

It’s a full wave quad so the wire is 70 cm long and each side of the square is about 17.5 cm in length. I used two ring connectors to make terminals that I could solder my coax to. Measure from corner to corner of the square is about 25 cm.

Rather than using PVC pipe, like in the original design, I used a 1/4″ wooden dowel and left the bottom longer as I had anticipated mounting it at the peak of the roof of my shack (thus creating the crucifix look). I used plain old wire ties to hold it all together. The wire I used is 14 AWG electrical wire that I stripped the jacket off of.  You should be able to use just about anything that you have laying around  though.

If you want to change the polarity of the antenna you should be able to feed it from the bottom rather than the side, where I did.

Keep in mind that this type of antenna is directional. In this case, it would be bidirectional since it does not have a reflector on the back side. This is fine for me since I am using it with my old Motorola Phoenix SX rig which only has two channels that are programmed for a couple of local repeaters that I use. This is also the reason why I can get away with using RG-58 coax for a feed line.

Edit: The SWR on this floats between 1.0:1 and 1.5:1 however it is resonant at 447.28Mhz which is right around where I use it.

70cm Crucifix Antenna

Sorry about the photo quality.

73 for now!

Posted in Amateur Radio Tagged with: , , ,

Je suis Charlie

Je suis Charlie


Posted in General

Happy New Year!

I guess it’s been quite some time since I’ve posted. The last time was way back in July.

A few things have changed since then. I’ve not come into possession of a Kenwood TS-570SG (HF + 6m) and have moved my gear into my new shack. I’ll post some pictures of the shack once I get a chance to compile them. It’s a pretty cool space for a home office and ham shack. In fact, it’s not even in the house, it’s an 8 x 10 shed that I built specifically for this.

I’ve been having a blast on 10 and 12 meters lately. The bands have been wide open and it’s a lot of fun. I even got set up with Logbook of the World and eQSL so I can verify contacts. I don’t yet have any paper QSL cards but I hope to soon.

Now that winter has set it, some of my antenna projects will probably have to wait until spring. Once the weather warms up, I hope to put up a better multi-band antenna (OCF) and finally finish my 2m Yagi.

In non-ham related news, my second daughter Charlotte Avery was born on Nov 22nd so that has been taking up a lot of my free time these days.

Feel free to comment on this post and let me know what you have planned for the new year (ham or not).

73 for now!

Posted in Amateur Radio Tagged with: , , ,

Working some DX with an old Atlas 210x

I’m fortunate enough to belong to a club that is willing to lend out spare gear to those of us who are a bit underfunded. I had been using a Kenwood TS-120 but there turned out to be an intermittent issue with the transmitter output. That one has been returned to the club for repairs and I have since borrowed an old Atlas 210x.

I have to say that I am very impressed with this old rig. The receiver in it is excellent (better than the 120 in my opinion) and I’ve had excellent audio reports. I’m using a Turner Plus Three desk mic that I wired in to the phone plug.

Another benefit to borrowing an HF rig is that I get to find out if it’s something I’ll really be interested in, before going out and buying my own (not that I have the money for it right now).

For my antenna, I am currently running a homemade, mono band (20m), Inverted Vee. I’ve worked a bit of 40m (the Atlas claims to infinite SWR protection) with some success but I’ve been mainly sticking to chasing DX on 20.

Atlas 210x

Atlas 210x

If you happen to hear me around the bands feel free to give me a shout. I do QSL via eQSL but may someday have some cards printed up to send out.

73 de VE1XT

Posted in Amateur Radio Tagged with: , , , , ,

I Switched to DreamHost

Hi All,

Recently (about 2 months ago) I moved all of my websites from ANhosting to DreamHost. I’ve wanted to post about it or a while but decided to hold off until I felt like enough time had passed to make sure that I wasn’t going to regret it. I can now say with certainty, that this was the right choice.

I few years ago, I signed up with ANhosting (now a division of Midphase) on the recommendation of a friend. The deal was sweet, only $71 / year, for all the hosting I could possibly need. It was a standard, shared, hosting plan with unlimited domains, ftp, email, bandwidth, etc… That’s all I needed to run the small blogs and websites that I wanted.

After a while, the quality of service from ANhosting began to be less and less acceptable. Their web servers were going down a little too often, the mysql servers / services were overloaded, they would do “scheduled” maintenance without informing customers about it, a few times my php scripts were blocked (excessive PHP errors) without ever telling me about it, and more.

The final straw for me, was when they decided to block all access to wp-login.php. This essentially made it impossible for me to log in to any of my blogs to post. When I contacted support, the told me that it was because someone (or a group of people) was attacking all of the WordPress installs on their systems. Their solution was to create a wp-login_new.php file that I could use to log in. At first I thought this was OK but the first WordPress update after that changes contained updates to the log in system and that solution broke. Again, I contacted support, and they re-built the workaround once again. I was getting quite fed up as ANhosting didn’t seem to care about the small guys any more.

I talked it over with some friends who are webmasters and they could not believe that my provide was doing such a thing. They had never heard of it before. I was suggested that I try out DreamHost. One of them gave me a coupon code that would save me $97.00 if I signed up for a year of hosting. I decided to give it a try.

So far, I have had a great experience with DreamHost. Their control panel is not the usual CPanel I was used to but I got acquainted with their system really quickly. At this point I actually like it better than CPanel. DreamHost also seems to be more engaged with their users. They send me a monthly email that isn’t just a marketing document and actually contains useful information and their support is great. I get the feeling they genuinely care about all of their customers, not just the big ones.

Keep in mind, I have only been a customer of DreamHost for a few months, I can’t yet say that  I will never have any issues but so far I feel good about this new provider.

If you are interested in signing up, you can use one of the below coupon codes and save some money. I do get a small kick back if these codes are used. I you don’t like that, you can sign up without a code if you want to.

DreamHost Website

VE1XT2014 – Save $82 and get a FREE domain name – When you sign up for one year.
BLOG2014 – Save $97.00 – When you signup for one year.


73 for now!

Posted in IT / VoIP Tagged with: , , , ,

Starting the new year with some new gear!

The last few weeks have almost been like a second Christmas for me. I’ve picked up a bunch of new radio gear and I’m now on my way to being on a new band and back on another.

Thanks to a generous club member, I’ve been given a Ten-Tec 1209 2m to 6m transverter. I am super excited to be able to work the magic band! This is a great acquisition since one of the other rigs I’ve picked up recently is a Yaesu FT-726R V/UHF all mode transceiver. The Yaesu is on loan but that is fine with me. It only has the 2m module in it right now but I’m keeping my eye out for others. This rig works quite well but does need a bit of tuning as it is a few Hz off frequency.

The third rig I’ve recently acquired is a commercial Motorola Phoenix SX UHF radio. This one did cost me about $30 but that’s still a great price. There’s not a huge amount of UHF activity around here but we do have a couple of repeaters locally that I use, so it’s nice to be back on.

The unfortunate part is having to wait for better weather to get some more antennas up. I’ve got two antennas waiting to go up along with the final section of my 32ft tower. A new V/UHF dual bander is the first one to go up. Then I will be tuning a Cushcraft Ringo Ranger for 6m. After those are up and working, I will need to sort out what I want to do for 2m and 6m SSB. I’m thinking of mounting a couple of beams, if I can sort out where to put them.

Anyway that’s about all that’s new from here. It’s been quiet around the shack lately. I’ve included some pics of the new gear below.

73 for now!

Bonus Link: An awesome VHF propagation map with live updates

Ten-Tec Model 1209 2m to 6m Transverter

Ten-Tec Model 1209 2m to 6m Transverter

Yaesu FT-726R

Yaesu FT-726R

Motorola Phoenix SX

Motorola Phoenix SX

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