Category Archives: People

NM0S’ Ozark Patrol regenerative receiver kit

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Just learned that David Cripe (NM0S) has a new kit for sale: the Ozark Patrol regenerative receiver kit.

The Ozark Patrol is a simple, straightforward kit, designed with beginners in mind. The kit is a through-hole design, which is to say, with no surface-mounted parts.  All of the component values and reference numbers are silk-screened on the board to indicate each part’s location, making for truly quick and fool-proof assembly.

What’s more, Dave is a talented kit designer; he’s the brains behind the kit for our successful ETOW HumanaLight (originally conceived by engineer Greg Majewski). He’s not only clever like that, he’s also a great pal.

In the past, when Dave has announced new radio kits for sale, he’s sold out within a few days. That’s why I ordered mine the moment I saw the announcement.

And, hey…not only does just $40 plus shipping ($46 in the US) get you a superb regen receiver kit, but proceeds also support the Four State QRP Group. Win-win, in my book.

Here are a few specifications and design features listed on the Four State QRP Group’s website:

  • Frequency Range: 3.5-15 MHz in two bands
  • Sensitivity: Yes!
  • Power Supply: 6 x AA batteries
  • Audio Output: A 2.6” speaker is included, as well as a jack for 1/8” stereo headphones

Want one, too? Click here to order your own Ozark Patrol kit…and enjoy tinkering as well as listening!

Adam’s Yaesu FT-817ND Go Kit

Adam (KJ6HOT) writes:

“Just wanted to pass on a link to a few videos I put
together in case you’d like to share them, especially the Yaesu
FT-817ND kit I put together.”

Adam has also posted some SOTA activation videos where he uses his go kit (click here to watch).  I’m amazed that Adam manages to fit so much in that small box. Certainly a handy kit for hiking to a SOTA activation!

Thanks for sharing, Adam! I’ll add this link to our Going Portable page. If you have a portable set-up you would like to share, please contact me.

2013 Ten-Tec Hamfest and W4DXCC: Rob Sherwood guest

TenTecLogoAlong with the Dayton Hamvention, I try to attend the Ten-Tec hamfest every year. Not only is it one of the hamfests nearest my home base, but also their “radios only” free tailgating is the source of many great quality radio finds. In the past, I’ve purchased several “boat anchors” and Ten-Tec radios at this event’s tailgating.

This year I’ll be joining the ranks of tailgaters as well, as I reluctantly part ways with my trusted OMNI VI+ in order to pay for some shack upgrades. If you come to the hamfest, be sure to stop by and say hello.

Moreover, this year Ten-Tec has invited Rob Sherwood (NC0B) of Sherwood Engineering to a speak-and-greet. I know Rob; he’s a great presenter, and you’d be hard pressed to find a guy more knowledgeable about receiver design. His free presentation will take place at 11:00 am on Saturday. (He will also host a forum Friday night at the W4DXCC–see below).

Here’s the Ten-Tec Hamfest presentation schedule (see full details on their website):

Friday Afternoon Forms:

1:00 PM  John Occhipinti will speak about the Ten-Tec user nets followed up with a 40 meter SSB net beginning at 2:00 PM direct from the TEN-TEC Homecoming Hamfest.

Saturday Morning Forums:

9:00 AM  Learn about the new FG-01 Antenna Analyzer by You Kits  (Jim Wharton, NO4A)

10:00 AM  Learn what makes a quality receiver  (Rob Sherwood, NCØB)

11:00 AM  Learn about the many features offered with the TEN-TEC 506 Rebel  (Craig Behrens, NM4T)

…and QRP @ W4DXCC

W4DXCC-Logo-2013-Blue2Each year, the W4DXCC coincides with the Ten-Tec Hamfest, and I always try to attend this excellent event, too. My buddy Dave Anderson (K4SV) is the new president of the W4DXCC, and does a fantastic job putting together an informative, fun event. I’ve made many friendships there over the years.

Though the W4DXCC is a DXer/Contesting convention, that definition isn’t strict, so don’t think for a moment that QRP doesn’t have a place there–! Indeed, my good friend, Vlado (N3CZ), is opening the convention with a presentation on QRPer operation.  I do hope he will also display some of his homebrew QRP transceivers (one of which was built into a USB keychain!); no doubt his presentation will be very interesting.

If you’re planning to attend the Ten-Tec hamfest, consider spending the remainder of the day at the nearby W4DXCC. At $30 at the door, it’s a bargain, and I promise you’ll return home with new friends and an even better understanding of DXing.  Come join the fun!

A ham club at a bacon festival: what’s not to like?

(Source: Roanoke Times)
(Source: Roanoke Times)

Many thanks to the Southgate ARC for bringing this to my attention:

The Roanoke Times reports that radio hams were among those attending a bacon festival

The newspaper says hams from the Roanoke Valley Amateur Radio Club, W4CA, showed up.

“It’s the ham club at the bacon festival,” club member Jim Martin AK4LB explained.

Read the full story at
http://m.roanoke.com/news/2192835-12/thousands-pig-out-at-bacon-festival-in-downtown.html

Roanoke Valley Amateur Radio Club
http://w4ca.com/

BBC World Service interviews Paul (N6PSE)who is attempting to organize a DXpedition to North Korea

(Source: BBC World Service)

A small group of US ham radio enthusiasts have been in North Korea recently to ask for permission to set up a ‘pop up’ ham radio station there. Paul Ewing is one of them; he wants to lead a group to set up a call sign for two weeks, to make contacts around the world from perhaps the most isolated society in the world. The BBC’s Dan Damon asked Paul to explain.

Four Days In May: A look back at FDIM 2012…

Four Days In May is sponsored by the QRP ARCI
Four Days In May is sponsored by the QRP ARCI

One of the highlights of my trip to the Dayton Hamvention last year was attending evenings at Four Days in May (FDIM), a QRP convention sponsored by the QRP ARCI that rather conveniently coincides with the Dayton Hamvention, which I try to attend annually. Though scheduling makes it difficult for me to attend all of FDIM’s daytime presentations, the camaraderie and innovation one discovers at the evening sessions is wholeheartedly worthwhile.

Last year, I snapped quite a few photos at FDIM which I planned to post following the Hamvention. Unfortunately, shortly after the Hamvention, my laptop began displaying signs of an early demise.  In haste, I archived my photos on a portable drive, where they remained buried for a year.  I just rediscovered this photographic treasure, and thought I’d share it with readers; looking through them rekindled my enthusiasm for FDIM 2013, which starts next week!

A quick look at FDIM 2012

A great characteristic about FDIM is the array of QRP products offered by QRPers for the community. More often than not, these products are fairly priced, and often in support of the QRP community rather than major profit-making ventures.

For example, the North Georgia QRP Club produces affordable wood stands for QRP rigs. They’re incredibly simple, but fully finished and beautifully designed, just the thing to prop up your QRP portable at the right angle for desktop use.

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These wooden stands support the following rigs:

  • Elecraft K1, KX1
  • Ten Ten R4020/R4030/R4040
  • Yaesu FT817/FT817N
  • Hendricks PFR3

The club can even accommodate custom orders for other rigs. Check out and purchase these on the NOGAQRP website.

Speaking of wood products–one vendor last year featured an amazing array of wooden paddle pieces and even custom wooden tuning dimples (spinner knobs) for the Elecraft K2 and K1.

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As you can see from the photos, each piece is perfectly finished and has great character, as one might expect of real wood.

I also ran into Dennis Blanchard (K1YPP) and his wife, Jane, who were signing and selling their books. I wrote a review here on QRPer about Dennis’ story of the challenges and joys of through-hiking the Appalachian Trail. If you haven’t read Three Hundred Zeroes: Lessons of the Heart on the Appalachian Trail, you’re in for a treat. I’m hoping Dennis will attend FDIM this year.

Dennis, being a hard-core QRPer, trekked with ham gear in tow; he brought his kits to FDIM:

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There were a variety of keys and paddles to be seen, of course; offerings range from the home brewed to gorgeous Italian Begali designs:

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One paddle that really caught my attention was QuadraBug, a creation of WB9LPU. What makes this gem stand apart from other “Bugs” is that not only will it form “dits” automatically, but it also forms “dahs.” Truly, an amazing work of engineering. I searched the web for a video of the QuadraBug in action, but found nothing. [UPDATE:  Thanks, Yan for finding a video! See video below.]  This year, I’ll take a video if I’m fortunate enough to see it again.

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Home-brew galore

There were an amazing number of home-brewed projects on display, and even a home-brew contest. I didn’t capture photos of them all, but I did manage to snap a few.

One that really caught my eye (being a shortwave receiver enthusiast) was David Cripe’s (NM0S) version of Hutch’s Radio. The original Hutch’s Radios were built by US and British POW’s in WWII. Built in canteens, often from confiscated parts, these radios gave POWs hope by allowing them to tune in the outside world, via the BBC WS and Voice of America. In the spirit of the original, David challenged himself to build his version prior to FDIM, with original parts of the era, and in “secrecy.” Secrecy? As many of the components had to be purchased from suppliers on eBay, David tried to intercept all of the incoming packages without his wife noticing. His success was brief–alas, his wife discovered the mission–but fun; still, the end result was a very cool piece of historical recreation with a humorous story to match:

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Of course, FDIM featured loads of QRP transmitters, receivers and transceivers; here is Dwayne’s (AK4P) 40 meter transceiver, built in a SPAM container:

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Terry Young, K4KJP, built a very cool pocket 20 meter transceiver in an Altoids tin:

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And Alan Shapiro, NM5S, should have won a prize for the most compact set of CW paddles.  These paddles are so small that they can be clamped onto your log book. Much to my surprise, they were amazingly easy to use, and would be a great addition to any field-portable radio:

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FDIM 2013

If FDIM 2012 is any indication (yes), this is a mere sampling of the stuff you’ll see at Four Days In May 2013.  I encourage you to attend: if nothing else, make a little time either Thursday, Friday or Saturday evening to visit the evening displays at FDIM–they’re free and open to the public.

If you can’t attend, I hope you’ll earmark your calendar for a future date. I do plan to bring my camera again this year and will share some photos. Hopefully, I’ll post them a little earlier this go-around!

Hope to see you at FDIM and the Hamvention. For the third year in a row, I will be representing my charity, Ears To Our World (ETOW), at an inside exhibit at the Hamvention. We should be in booth 601 in the East Hall. Please feel free to stop by and introduce yourself! (And if you feel so inclined, you can even donate a few bucks to our worthy cause.)  See you there–!

Best & 72,
Thomas, K4SWL