Amateur Extra Class Lesson 7.3, Modulation Techniques

Here’s your video introduction to Section 7.3, “Modulation Techniques,” in the ARRL Extra Class License Manual for Ham Radio.

When you have finished viewing the video, read the section, and are comfortable with the related test questions, you can return to the list of Amateur Extra Class videos by clicking here.

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Amateur Extra Lesson 7.2, Test Equipment

Here’s your video introduction to Section 7.2, “Test Equipment,” in the ARRL Extra Class License Manual for Ham Radio.

After finishing the video, studying Section 7.2, and becoming comfortable with the relevant questions in the question pool, you may return to the list of videos by clicking here.

I ran into a couple production problems regarding transitions (fades or dissolves). It appears to be a bug in PowerDirector.

Many thanks to Greg Lehey for providing me with a picture of a Tektronix 555 oscilloscope. What a monster that thing was!

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Oak Hills Research OHR-100A QRP Radio Review

Front panel of the Oak Hills Research 100A QRP radio kit after assembly. The controls are RF and AF gain, RIT, Bandwidth, and main tuning.

Front panel of the Oak Hills Research 100A QRP radio kit after assembly. The controls are RF and AF gain, RIT, Bandwidth, and main tuning.

My Christmas present in 2014 was an Oak Hills Research OHR 100A 20-meter QRP radio kit. I’ve played around with QRP in the past and found it a fun way to operate. QRP is the Q-signal for “low power,” by convention meaning less than five watts output, as opposed to QRO, generally taken to mean higher power of at least 100 watts. QRP generally means Morse code (CW) because CW gets through where voice modes, such as single side-band, do not. Some people think that QRP is the cat’s meow, and other people prefer a lion’s roar! For me, five watts on 20 meters is enough to have solid and satisfying CW QSOs.

The OHR 100A comes as a kit and is available from www.ohr.com, a subsidiary of Milestone Technologies. As of this writing the kit is $179.95. A ten-turn potentiometer that acts as a bandspread is available for $17.95, and a built-in keyer is available for $29.95. Although I ordered both the ten turn potentiometer and the keyer, right now I’m operating the rig “stock.” I will install both of these options in due time; in the meantime I’m getting reacquainted with my straight key.

Rear panel of the Oak Hills Research 100A. The keyer option hasn't been installed yet, so those holes are vacant. Note the unusual key connector: an RCA jack! The radio has separate connections for headphones and a speaker; attaching headphones will mute the speaker.

Rear panel of the Oak Hills Research 100A. The keyer option hasn’t been installed yet, so those holes are vacant. Note the unusual key connector: an RCA jack! The radio has separate connections for headphones and a speaker; attaching headphones will mute the speaker.

The radio’s design is about fifteen or twenty years old. It was reviewed briefly in the December, 2000, issue of Continue reading

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Amateur Extra Lesson 7.1, AC Waveforms and Measurements

Here’s your video introduction to Section 7.1, AC Waveforms and Measurements, in the ARRL Extra Class License Manual for Ham Radio. This video introduces the section. After watching the video you will want to study the section and study the associated test pool questions.

If you have any questions, comments, concerns, or spot an error, please reply to this post or directly on YouTube. Good luck with your studying! When you are done, you can click here to return to the list of videos.

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Moab and Arches National Park in Winter

Red rock country, right? Temps in the low 100°F’s, right? Four wheeling and hit those trails, right?
Well, maybe not in winter. Loretta and I took our Christmas retreat this year in Moab—and got right properly snowed on. Add snow and fog to the red rocks and out come some wonderful views not available to all those who throng Moab “in season.” Here are 11 examples, all taken with my iPhone 5S.

We toured Arches National Park on Christmas Day. The Park was wide open, but there were no attendants at the gate. That meant free entrance. It also meant no map. We thought we’d have the place to ourselves, but not so. Lots of California plates, and lots of Asian tourists. Everyone was very friendly.

Arches National Park: Balancing rock. Note the blue arrow and circle in the lower left hand corner. That's a tourist to give some perspective. There are other tourists closer to the formation that are barely visible, so, yes, it's really big. You will never catch me throwing a sleeping bag under this one and pretending to be able to sleep!

Arches National Park: Balancing rock. Note the blue arrow and circle in the lower left hand corner. That’s a tourist to give some perspective. There are other tourists closer to the formation that are barely visible, so, yes, it’s really big. You will never catch me throwing a sleeping bag under this one and pretending to be able to sleep!

  Continue reading

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1944 IBM Ad: Hearkening Back to a Different Era

1944 IBM advertisement in an art magazine. It reads: "Liberation. It is our obligation to back the Liberation forces by investing in War Bonds to the extent of our ability. International Business Machines."

1944 IBM full-page advertisement in an art magazine. It reads: “Liberation. It is our obligation to back the Liberation forces by investing in War Bonds to the extent of our ability. International Business Machines Corporation.”

My wife found this in an old art magazine, dating back to October, 1944. One would wonder what IBM was doing advertising to artists, but during World War II, with rationing in effect, no one could buy just any old thing. So companies advertised just to keep their brand names in front of consumers so that when the war ended, they’d remember the company’s name.

It’s interesting to look back. During the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, one would hardly know we were at war. There were no shortages. Those who fought were all volunteers. Our taxes didn’t become outrageous. But in the early 1940s, President Franklin Roosevelt asked people to invest their savings in War Bonds, akin to what we call Treasury Bonds today. Essentially an entire generation of young men went to war—in fact, if you were a man of draftable age, you were expected to be in the service. My dad lied about his age (something you could do in that pre-computer age) to join the Navy, saying he was 18 when in fact he was 17. And he was in for the duration, too. He fought in the Pacific theater and was the pilot of a landing craft in the Philippines. If you were a civilian back then, you faced rationing and shortages. Further, many women went to work in the factories to produce war materiel and do behind-the-scenes work. (It was unfortunate that women didn’t keep those privileges after the war!)

The ad shows the starkly simple production style of 1944. No fancy visuals. In fact, it was intended to emphasize the company’s economy and dedication to the war effort—no frills allowed!

I worked much of my adult life for IBM and retired from them in 2013. I’m very proud to say I was (am) an IBMer.

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General Class Lesson 1.2 Video Updated

YouTube somehow truncated the original General Lesson 1.2 video, so I re-posted the complete video and put a notice on the bad one that points viewers to the complete version. Thanks to reader Bob Esplin for bringing the issue to my attention.

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Amateur Extra Class Lesson 6.4, Power Supplies

Here’s your video introduction to Section 6.4, Power Supplies, in the ARRL Extra Class License Manual for Ham Radio.

After you’ve viewed the video, read the section in the book, and feel comfortable with the relevant test questions, click here to return to the list of videos.

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Where Have I Been All November? Nanowrimo!

Nanowrimo, or more officially, National Novel Writing Month, is an Internet happening every November. The idea is to write a 50,000 word novel entirely in the month of November. I’ve been participating for several years. In fact, the Broomstick books found their genesis in the 2005 Nanowrimo, and the 2013 Nanowrimo brought The Berki Blunder. And, did I do it in 2014? YES! I made it across the finish line today, a day early.

Woohoo! Hours and hours of writing in November!

Woohoo! Hours and hours of writing in November!

Mind you, 50,000 words is several hours at the computer every day, which is why only one new Amateur Extra video was posted this month. I’m looking forward to finishing the book and polishing it off. It will probably be available sometime in the spring of 2015. The story? It’s called The Capricorn Conundrum. A ship has come from a planet around the star system Alpha Capricorni, and is intent on colonizing earth. Except they find that it’s already inhabited. Do they turn around and go back? Or do they wipe out all the earthlings so they can claim earth as theirs? That’s the Capricorn Conundrum!

By the way, what did I win? Well, the privilege of downloading a PDF certificate and writing my name on it. And the ability to purchase a winner’s tee shirt. Well, what I really won was getting an idea on paper. The contest provides the incentive to make it happen.

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Amateur Extra Class Lesson 6.3, Filters and Impedance Matching

Here’s your video introduction to Section 6.3, Filters and Impedance Matching, in the ARRL Extra Class License Manual for Ham Radio.

After you’ve viewed the video, studied the section, and are comfortable with the associated test questions, you can return to the list of videos by clicking here.

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