For years I have been using a basic pen style soldering iron from Radio Shack (bought it back when we had those here in Canada). I never could quite get my connectors, or wires, to solder just the way I would like them to. Or for that matter, the way that I always saw folks doing it in YouTube videos.
I finally got smart and asked my father in law, who does marine electronics, and he said that I should have at least a 40w iron to properly solder PL-259 connectors. When I came back home and saw that mine were 30w and 25w I realized that was likely the reason (and I needed more practice of course).
After realizing that, I started thinking about where I could get myself a good iron (or gun) for the good price of $0. I remembered that my grandfather had once had a soldering gun and wondered where it went. I asked my father the other day, and lo and behold, he had it. Apparently before my grandfather passed away he was giving away some of his stuff and dad had picked it up because no one else wanted it. He gave it to me, on the condition that if he needed anything soldered, I would do it for him.
That sounded like a fair deal to me and I now have a Weller 100/140w soldering gun. I’ve already put it to use and have realized how much easier, and better, I can now solder things. All this time my main problem was an under powered tool.
Now with some practice, I might actually get half decent at it!
With the spring fast approaching, I am finally getting excited. This means that I will finally be able to put up my old 80m inverted V antenna (for use with my receiver) and my newly built J-Pole. I also have a 2m loop that needs to be installed. This will give me much greater range for VHF / UHF. I also plan on getting on to some more digital modes such as APRS (via RF) and packet.
I finally joined my local club again after about 14 years of inactivity . There’s been a lot of interest in digital modes lately and our club has installed two APRS nodes (using scrounged up equipment) and packet is coming back online as well. As you can probably tell, I am quite excited to get back into the hobby.
Also, one must not forget that spring means BASEBALL! Go Blue Jays!
Since I have recently rekindled my interest in the amateur radio hobby I’ve been mulling over a few ideas I have for a new web project. It’s been a long time since I have spent any amount of time working on a personal web based project and I’ve got the itch.
I’m not going going to say much about it just yet as I have no idea if it will be feasible or worth the time. All I am going to say is that I’ve purchased a new domain name that targets amateur radio operators in Canada. Until I decide exactly where I am going with it, I am going to keep the details to myself. Also, since I am not a coder, I will also most likely need to enlist the help of someone who is willing to work on the project with me. As of the present time this person would have to work, as a volunteer, in his or her spare time as I do not have the KCs to pay for this type of service.
Anyway I just thought I would throw that out there.
I love watching KG0ZZ’s (Dave Tadlock) antenna videos (he covers other topics as well). He comes up with some pretty neat concoctions. Here are a couple of his videos. In the first one he makes an 2m antenna out of a coffee can and in the second he makes a dual band (2m / 70cm) antenna out of a coffee tin and a rubber duck.
My ham shack is nothing to brag about but it’s my little piece of the house where I can come and spend some me time. As of the present time I’m only active on VHF and UHF. I don’t currently have an HF transceiver. That’s my next purchase though.
As of the present time this is what my shack consists of :
Yeasu FT-1900R 2M Tranceiver
Samlex SEC 1223 power supply
MFJ-812B SWR / PWR meter
Baofeng UV-5R Handy Talky (Dual Band)
Icom IC-R71A HF Receiver
Custom built 6 core AMD PC (8GB RAM dual monitor, 1TB HDD etc) – used as my main PC
Custom built quad core AMD PC (8GB RAM, 3TB HDD etc) – primarily being used as a file server
Kenwood TM-221A 2m rig in the truck along with a 1/4 wave mag mount
My antennas aren’t much at the moment. I have a custom made dipole antenna for 2m that is hanging from the ceiling in my shack. The HF transceiver is not yet hooked up to an antenna as I have not yet had the time to raise my 80m inverted V. Once I get a chance to work on that I’ll have decent HF receive capabilities.
I was thinking about writing a lengthy article detailing all the ins and outs of the amateur radio hobby, fortunately I stumbled upon this great video from dighsx. This video outlines the basics of the hobby. It is focused on people in the USA but the general information applies to all. If you are interested in finding out what ham radio is all about, this is a great place to start.
It’s been a few days but I’m back. I had some major issues with my previous config that was causing WordPress to create gigs upon gigs of log files. This, in turn, caused my hosting provider to suspend the domain until I could resolved the issue. I had originally removed the log files, backed up the database (and site files), then re-installed WordPress. I thought that had fixed it, but apparently that was not the case. A couple of days later I noticed the files were being created again. Luckily I caught it before my web host did because they may not have been so kind this time as it was negatively impacting the server my sites run on.
Anyway, to make a long story short, it appears that I had probably got hacked. I am not sure exactly how but it was likely due to a vulnerability that was present in the WordPress code a few versions back. Even after upgrading to the latest version it happened again so that makes me think that the database had been poisoned. This brings me to where we are right now. I’ve re-installed WordPress, created a brand new database, and have taken a few extra precautions so that I hopefully won’t run into the same problem again.
Restarting a blog is often fun anyway. It gives one a great reason to go out and find a new, fancy, theme and to change the direction of the site. I’ll be blogging about the same ole stuff as I have always been, expect maybe with a bit of Amateur Radio stuff in there from time to time.