More Amateur Radio Stuff
Hamvention 2008 Info/Update
Hamvention 2007 Info/Update
Field Day 2007
Amateur Radio - Sights and Sounds
Visit my original amateur radio page at http://www.n8oif.net/amateur.html
I recently had my web hosting provider install (for a fee, of course) an advanced site statistics tool that they were offering to customers. It is called MetaTraffic Pro. One of the most interesting features is that is tracks the search engines and what specific keywords are used. I can even duplicate the search that a visitor to my page conducted. Although the site statistics application has only been installed on my account since about March 7, 2007, I can clearly see that Google is the most popular search engine. From studying the searches that my visitors are using, I can guess that in most cases when you visit my pages, your questions are not getting answered. Therefore, this page will try to address the questions or concerns that you may have. Here are some recent searches:
- "icom ic-91ad packet radio": maybe the user was trying to determine if this new Icom HT supported packet radio communications. Well, the answer is yes and no. The normal packet radio that most of us are accustomed to uses the AX.25 protocol. I don't believe that the Icom D-STAR radios use AX.25. Instead they use the D-STAR protocol. For a radio such as the IC-91AD the digital transmission rate is 4800 bits per second (bps). Half of that rate, 2400 bps is used for the digital voice mode. Another 1200 bps is used for forward error correction (FEC). That leaves 1200 bps for the digital data. By the time that you account for the overhead of the digital data (headers, etc.), you are left with approximately 850 bps. I'm not sure what traditional 1200 baud packet equates to in effective bps, but it is probably in that same ballpark. I do understand that in order to use the digital data, you need Icom's IC-91AD program and the connecting cable. However, the D-STAR is a published standard, so one could probably develop their software and interconnections. I still need to determine if the forward error correction applies to digital voice only or to both voice and data. Another thing to keep in mind is the error correction on the digital data. FEC or not, if enough data is garbled the data won't properly get through. In regular AX.25 packet radio, if a packet doesn't get through the receiving station can ask for it again. I'm not sure how D-STAR handles data loss. I've got more to read.
- "icom ic 91ad at dayton hamvention": I purchased my Icom IC-91AD in the fall of 2006. It is still a current radio. Therefore I expect to see it at the Dayton Hamvention this year (May 18 - 20, 2007). I'm lucky enough to have Universal Radio (where I purchased the radio) only about five miles from me, but I see that they are going to be at this year's Hamvention. Other vendors that will likely sell the IC-91AD include AES, HRO, and R & L Electronics. I usually see Michigan Radio there as well.
- "my ft-897d": perhaps this visitor wanted to see other amateur radio stations that used the Yaesu FT-897D. Maybe this visitor was like me and had not purchased one yet and wanted some opinions, or maybe they already own one and wanted to compare their station to others. As of March 2007, I do not yet own a FT-897D, but I plan to purchase one by the end of the year. I already own a Kenwood TS-2000X, but I wanted to add a second, more portable radio to my station. I had narrowed my selection down to the Yaesu FT-897D, the Yaesu FT-857D, and the Icom IC-7000. I really like the IC-7000, and I believe it is a very capable radio and full of features. I was a little scared by some of the comments on the IC-7000 Yahoo Group, saying that they had to ship it back, usually because of blown final transistors. It was harder to choose when the decision was between the 857 and the 897. The radios are actually very similar, but I like the fact that the 897 can pack rechargeable NiMH batteries in its case. Therefore, I chose the 897D, but the purchase hasn't been completed yet. Hamvention is only two months away. Who knows what will debut there.
- "Ohio HF Ham station": all I can say here is that I am an Ohio ham and that I am in the process of setting up my HF station. Setting up a HF station was a moot point until a couple of weeks ago, but I did acquire the Amateur Extra Class license and am authorized to transmit on the HF bands. Hopefully, I will have my HF station up and running soon. I will post descriptions and pictures on these pages.
- "ham radio audio clip emergency communications": I do sometimes record my contacts, or sometimes I record the things that I hear on the radio. However, on a consistent basis (almost every week since March of 2000), I record the weekly nets of the Central Ohio Amateur Radio Emergency Service (COARES) and I post them to their website. I do have some recordings of amateur satellite passes in the MP3 format that I plan to post on these pages soon. Please check back.
- "west mountain radio PWRgate": I use a West Mountain Radio PWRgate PG40 in my station. I have an Astron RS-50A power supply and a 79AH 12-volt battery (mine is a used one that reportedly came out of a motorized wheelchair) that both input into the PWRgate. The output of the PWRgate goes to my RIGrunner 4005 power distribution strip. The RIGrunner with its five outputs fans out to my Kenwood TS-2000X, and to a cigarette lighter jack. Basically, the PWRgate helps me establish an uninterruptible power supply for my HF rig. Normally, the Astron power supply will power the radio, but I can turn it off and the radio will continue to operate. The PWRgate also ensures that the 12-volt sealed lead acid (SLA) battery is always trickle charged. I should mention that you should never use a conventional car battery as your backup power source (inside a home) as they generate dangerous concentrations of hydrogen gas as they charge. You are risking an explosion. The SLA battery also generates hydrogen gas during charging, but the concentrations are apparently a lot lower and have a chance to dissipate before causing a problem.
- "using transverter with FT-897": as I currently mention in another page, I don't yet own a Yaesu FT-897D, and I hadn't given the idea of using it with a transverter much thought, until a visitor sent me an email asking me about it. Besides checking the specs of the transverter to ensure that it has a power output, noise figure, and gain that you need, it seems to me that the most important things to consider when interfacing a HF (or VHF) rig to a transverter, are the drive level, the push-to-talk (PTT) control, and the frequency display on the HF rig. The owner's manual for the FT-897D does discuss a transverter mode, but only talks about it as a menu setting. I'm therefore not sure if the frequency display on the HF rig will show your actual operating frequency or the intermediate frequency (IF). The drive level is important as well. It appears that the lowest power output of the FT-897D is five watts. If the transverter is expecting a lower drive, you will likely burn it up. Therefore you need to order a transverter that can accept five watts in, or use an external attenuator to step the wattage down to the level that the transverter expects. Finally, there is the issue of the PTT control. The FT-897D does provide a PTT line at one of its rear panel outputs. Whether that PTT will switch a transverter remains to be seen. More research is required.
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