Friday, February 2, 2024

Lunchtime Ham Radio Shenanigans

Antenna over the edge

 Today (2024-02-02) on my lunch break,  I managed a QSO with Vern (NJ8L) in Newark, OH! Our QSO with each other count is up to three! The first 2 times look like SKCC contest QSOs on 40m. He confirmed both of those with me, so I look forward to the new band confirmation. 

Happy Face Due to Great QSO

Here's The scoop: while contemplating participation in the yearly FYBO event this weekend,  I decided to go ahead and bring a radio to work to test my setup.  I used my QCX+ on 20m running about 3 watts. During my lunch break, I set up in about five minutes, and called CQ, an EFHW (End Fed Half Wave) antenna carrying RF into the ether. The antenna I used might be this one: EFHW Part 3 Bigger is Better? It certainly is at least the same design RF wise.

I did receive some spots, but not a lot. I also tuned a little bit, and heard NJ8P calling CQ at 14.061 MHz. I answered and we conversated for a couple minutes before I returned to my desk. Tomorrow, I might just make it outside to Freeze my Buns off. 

I'll be seein' you on the air!

Monday, April 3, 2023


I have a new ongoing series on the Christian doctrines of salvation. Check it out!

Right now, I'm up to 5 parts. There's at least 3 more in the works!

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Antenna Grounding and Feedback

So I have a new shack, and with a new shack comes new problems.

Right now the issue seems to be feedback getting back to the radio and causing interference to the radio. I've got two antennas up, and there's a third I scrapped.

First antenna up was a 20m Off Center Fed Dipole (OCFD), I used a 4:1 W2DU balun at whatever ratio (1:3 I think?) the online plans told me. Results were middlin' and I think it caused some problems. I definitely could have used an antenna analyzer to help me deploy that. I've scrapped it for now, the housing for the balun came unglued, so it will need some work. There's also some debate as to whether i need a voltage balun or current balun, or possibly both here. Honestly most of the documentation i've found about OCFDs sounds more like magic than easily replicable  science. I don't know. I'll try again in the future, but I also need to take another look at my skeleton slot fed dual band dipole project I started a loooooong time ago, but never finished. I'll apparently need a ferrite bead current balun for that.

Then I deployed a long wire. It's half an 80m dipole. it's doing OK, but is very tuning touchy. I don't know if that's because my station ground is lacking, or what. Right now, my ground is simply the return to main. I'm sure that's part of the issue, but I'm not sure what to do about it. I am tempted to run a wire to the ground rod outside that's from the old shack. My latest research on station grounding has me second guessing that though. 

My third antenna is a 20m Delta loop. It's served me well in the past. I have it deployed as a nearly equilateral triangle with 450ohm ladder line. I've tuned everything from 20 and up, and had some nice contacts. It gives me the least amount of feedback, and to get the feedback to stop, all I have to do is turn the power down a little.

That's it for now, a tour of my shack and projects.

lots to do.

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

New Post on BASIC Blog

 Some time ago, I started a ministry to homeless people called BASIC.

BASIC Stands for "Believing And Serving In Christ". I started a blog over there that I used to propagate our prayer list, and to provide updates to the ministry's supporters. I would also post theological posts over there, including sermons and lessons I've done other places. now I'm in the middle of a series on the topic of Salvation.

it will be a multi part series, here's the first post:

go and check it out, tell your friends.

The Fight

 I'm weary.

I'm burdened.

I'm tired of being ignored, maligned, and pushed aside in favor of shallow, insipid, worldly philosophies.


I am full of lament.

So much has been lost! What can be gained if you forfeit your soul! All around me those who would claim the Name of the Creator show they don't understand. A few know that they don't understand, and maybe more than them can grasp it, but so many are without even a most basic knowledge of what they were called to do when they began calling on the Name of the Lord.

Ah His Name is so abused.

by my lips and my deeds. Father, I'm often one of them, blessing with the same mouth that curses. Knowing the cure, but when do I show the way.

I'm not blameless. I'm not righteous.

I sit.


I need to tell you what I know of the Lord.

What is wrong will be made new. What is old will pass away.

Burned away, I await a transformation. Grace changes things. Changes what I am. Feets of clay fall away replaced by solid rock. This rock is a teaching I know and obey.

Do you see it yet? It came.

It's here. 

Thursday, February 3, 2022

Just A Little Grace...

That's a line from a song, "Grace" by "The Choir" a band first introduced to me by Terry Davis while he was the youth minister at Westside Christian Church in Jacksonville. I tell you all this because I've been listening to this song since the summer of 1992. It was part of a mixed tape Terry created (copyrights included) for the summer. More than almost any other song on the album, this one has stuck with me. Go on,take a listen and read the lyrics:
  Lyrics from
Grace Lyrics


[Verse 1]


Screaming at the newsman Telling him to take it back I'll sue him if he won't retract Crying to the hangman Begging him to render slack If I could, I would go back


[Chorus] Will you extend me Will you extend me grace? Just a little grace Will you extend me Will you extend me grace? Just a little grace


[Verse 2] Were you talking to the shrubbery? Did you cut the roses down? Someone oughta till that ground You thought I had a pure heart, well I thought you were an angel, girl Mercy is the silver pearl


[Chorus] Will you extend me Will you extend me grace? Just a little grace Will you extend me Will you extend me grace? Just a little grace My mother deems me ever dear I'm less a liar than sincere


[Guitar Solo]


[Verse 3] When you cut me in the alleyway You don't have to turn that knife I'll suffer in the afterlife Praying to the Father Sorry, did I grieve the Ghost? You're the one I love the most


[Chorus] Will you extend me Will you extend me grace? Just a little grace Will you extend me Will you extend me grace? Just a little grace You gotta give me You gotta give me grace Just a little grace Will you extend me Will you extend me grace? Just a little grace My mother deems me ever dear
I wish I could take you on a mental journey back to 14 year old Me, figuring out the world. I was high on the love of God, and the youth group at Westside had my back. I cannot emphasize to you the importance of "belonging" to a young man of that age, but I will say this again: This song has stuck with me, it helped me understand that I existed as a person right where I belonged. I knew it was an important song then, but I didn't know how important it would be to me now. First, let's look at it's stucture. I took the song as a pastiche of several of Jesus' parables about Grace. Notably, I believe we're given a scene of people, some refusing to show grace, others begging for grace, and the point is the question that keeps being asked: "Will you extend me grace?" In the first part of the song, I think the question is being asked to people like you and me. Will you give me grace? I think the implied rhetorical answer is "usually not." This brings us to the second part. The People (Church) who are rhetorically answering "No" in part one, are now under attack, and they are asking "Will you extend me Grace" to the Lord. The rhetorical answer is supposed to be yes, as emphasized by the begging line: "You gotta give me grace". There is danger is obliging God to do anything, it's far better to trust God to keep his Word, and listen to Him. Here's how the Lord commands us to be in matters of Grace and Forgiveness:
21 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times. 23 “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. 24 When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26 So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27 And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. 28 But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ 30 He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. 31 When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. 32 Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ 34 And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. 35 So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”
Matthew 18:21-35 ESV, copied from Bible Gateway
This is really kind of a simple parable. If you call out to God for forgiveness, you must expect to forgive others too. We can't earn the forgiveness we beg God for, but we can be grateful for it. If we're grateful for the grace we've received, we will show it in kind. That is all. Enjoy the music! Show some grace. No I don't know why the album date is 1993, and I know for a fact we had that song on a mixed tape earlier than that. the only thing i know is that Terry Davis is The Man.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Satellite Thrills

 In October of last year, I managed my first confirmed OSCAR contact. OSCAR stands for "Orbiting Satellite Carrying Amateur Radio". So far it's been awesome and heartbreaking, like everything else I do in ham radio, LOL.

First Pass Where I Made a QSO

My gear, a Kenwood TH-G71a and Baofeng GT-3


Things I've learned so far:

  • Weekend operations are a challenge. It's hard to hit the FM birds with a 5w HT and rubber duck antenna, even if the antenna is a "gain" antenna. Persistence and high angle passes are essential.
  • Don't forget to QSL! Lots of people are on LOTW, and confirming your contacts for awards is easy.
  • Move around a little. People like it when you activate different places.
  • The satellite community is an amazing group. They all know each other, and have been very welcoming to me so far.
  • Everyone gets testy when the birds get swamped. It helps to take a minute to listen.

 Projects I need to do for the birds:

  • Hand held tape measure yagi. I'm pretty close to achieving this. I've built a tape measure antenna for 2m before, and  have cut the booms, I have a tape measure, and need some dowel rods, and other odds and ends.
  • Really could use a Yaesu FT-818. Actually could use two ( the "Yaesu FT-1636" ) to work the linear birds. I especially want to work AO-7.
  • It would be nice if i could get my mobile radio working again to get 10w into AO-27. 

Here's where I've worked and activated so far:


it's pretty common for people to use a grid tracker spreadsheet to mark what they have.

So far, I've worked 3 countries (USA, Panama, and Mexico) with my HT's. I can't wait to work something else!