KE5RY went silent key a few days ago, I just found out last night. Kerry Friddell was a regular on the Saltgrass Link Network. He was my first contact on Saltgrass. I happen to be going to the airport late at night to pickup my daughter who was coming home from a summer job. I turned on my HT, put out my Monitoring call, and back came Kerry. I spoke to him pretty regularly, but then again he was happy to talk to anyone on the air. He did a lot for the hobby by not being discriminate on who he talked to or what about. He was an interesting person to just have some ragchew with. He will be missed.

Final call, CQ CQ CQ KE5RY…73 Kerry, KG5AXF, clear.

Software: CadSoft EAGLE

I’ve used Microsoft Visio for many years to create flow charts, diagrams, maps, etc and started to use it to design circuits. I quickly discovered that Visio has it’s limitations. Off I went to find an application that I could use to design my circuits and circuit boards. Everything I found was very expensive, considering I don’t like to pay for any software these days, or if it was free it didn’t have the functionality that I liked.

Enter CadSoft EAGLE. Continue reading

Project Gear: Motorola GM300

I just received a Motorola GM300 that I purchased on EBay. It’s very clean and powers up. Just waiting for an adapter for the antenna connector. This is a project radio. I’m going to use it for EchoLink, AllStar, and APRS. I’ll likely find other uses for it as well. It was only $40.00, so couldn’t pass it up. I’m going to make a pigtail for the options connector to plug into a breadboard. I also received an Arduino and the new Raspberry Pi 3 thanks to Amazon, so I’ll be coming up with ways to connect these devices.


Online Buying – Shipping Advice

Purchasing online is a huge risk when dealing with expensive items such as ham radio gear. I have a simple bit of advice that has served me well over the years that I’d like to pass on.

I’ve been into computer technology for years. When I first started buying through Ebay and other classifieds services I would occasionally get a dud. Either something was damaged, parts missing, what ever, which caused a debate with the seller who was always ready to blame the shipper. Or, a seller that drags their feet shipping the item or blames the shipper for losing the item. I quickly discovered an easy way to get a leg up in the argument. Continue reading

Review: Arrow II Satellite Antenna

Well this is Christmas in April. My Arrow II LEO antenna came in yesterday! Woot! I’ve been budgeting for a while to outfit my shack. This antenna was at the top of my list.

This is a product of Arrow Antennas. They have a solid reputation.


Arrow II LEO Antenna

There are many, many YouTube videos out there about this antenna so I’m not going to go into a lot of detail about it’s construction other than saying, it is well built.

I do have a few suggestions is you choose to purchase this antenna:

1. You will need a carrying case for it. Arrow does sell one on their website, but I wanted something more sturdy than what nylon/canvas could provide. So I opted to buy an inexpensive “Telescopic Art Tube” from Office Depot. It’s ridged, plastic, and has a carrying strap.

2. It too me a few minutes to figure out the correct positioning of the UHF elements; one is only about a 1/4 inch shorter than the next. Anyway, once the antenna was assembled I took a Sharpie and numbered each element pass-through hole: 1-7 for UHF and 8-10 for VHF. Then I labeled each end of the element with the number corresponding to its position.

3. The last thing I did was apply a small bit of Loctite to one side of the mounting threads. Let me explain. Each element comes in 3 parts: The two equal length ends of the element, in purple with the red tips; and one thread stud. The threaded stud passes through the boom. Each element half screws onto the stud. Now, when I say “a small bit” I mean, a small bit; a light drop will do it. The idea is just to hold the stud in place so it doesn’t get lost while disassembled. You don’t want to add too much, it could swell and actually damage the inside of your element.

Just as every review that you’ve read about this antenna, it works well. I connected it to my Baofeng BF-F9V2+ And went hunting for AO-85; which was a total failure since it was only 10 degrees elevation and I’m in a highly urban area. However, SO-50 passed this morning at 89 degrees and the Arrow worked like a champ. Very, very low noise. I made 3 contacts.

Next on the agenda for this antenna is to rig a mount for a camera tripod. Adding this one to my future project list. I want to be able to attach an HT to the same mount along with an android device running ISS Detector.