Route power cables easily

Jim, KF4NBG, shared this on the HamRadioHelpGroup list today:

My club had a fox hunt yesterday, a group of us were standing around chatting and I mentioned that I was trying to find a car stereo system installer to route the power wiring from the battery to the cab.  One of the guys spoke up and said that he installed systems in cars for 15 years and showed me exactly where to run the wire.

It seems that most if not all foreign and some American cars have an automatic transmission, but when they form the body parts they stamp out the space for the clutch pedal to go through the firewall since it doesn’t cost any more to have the hole there.  He looked under the dash, sure enough the space was there and very easy to get to, he also showed me where it will come out in the engine compartment.   All I have to do is drill a hole, put a rubber grommet into the hole and run the two wires.

Hope that this tip helps you and saves you a few dollars as well.


The W8SRC Repeater Guide

“The W8SRC Repeater Guide” is a database of analog FM repeaters across SE Michigan, parts of NW Ohio, and parts of SW Ontario that is constantly updated based on my reception.

On a linked repeater system, “Activity” refers to the activity of that particular repeater being transmitted on.

PLs in parentheses mean that the repeater sometimes requires the given PL. If you want to key up a repeater on this database with a PL in parentheses, key up the repeater with carrier access first; if that fails, use the given PL.

At the bottom of the post you will see when this repeater database was last updated and the last 5 updates of the database.  Updates include additions, deletions, or any frequency, PL, VOIP node, or callsign change of a repeater, as well as if a repeater goes down or back up.

Repeaters in bold indicate any involvement in repeater programming that I have done.

For information on the nets that take place on some of these repeaters, check out the post, “Southeastern Michigan Area VHF/UHF Nets.”

Metropolitan area covered (County[ies] covered)

Frequency Input PL Callsign Activity Comments
Ann Arbor area (Washtenaw)
29.640 29.540 114.8 WD8DPA Down Linked to 444.975
51.740 51.240 88.5 W2PUT Down Linked to 927.9875 locally, and 444.100 and 927.4875 in Milan, IRLP node 4428
145.150 144.550 100.0 N8DUY Active Skywarn/ARPSC, courtesy tone introduced by W8SRC
145.230 144.630 100.0 W8UM Medium Echolink node 301138
146.740 146.140 (107.2) WB8UPM Inactive
146.920 146.320 (100.0) KT8TD Active  ARPSC Backup
146.960 146.360  (100.0) WB8TKL Active  Owned by W8PGW
147.420 147.420 (100.0) W8SRC Down Medium-coverage simplex repeater, at 100 watts ERP from 24 feet AGL
224.340 222.740 W8UHW Inactive
224.380 222.780  (100.0) W8PGW Inactive
443.050 448.050 107.2 N8LBV Inactive
443.500 448.500 (100.0) W8PGW Inactive
443.650 448.650 100.0 N8AMX Very inactive
444.075 449.075 82.5 WR8DAR Very inactive
444.975 449.975 107.2 WD8DPA Down Linked to 29.640
446.150 441.150 100.0 W8SRC Medium Wide-coverage repeater, at 72 watts ERP from 32 feet AGL, KC8LMI linked repeater system, HF/6m/2m/70cm remote base, AR Newsline, ARRL Audio News, NOAA weather receiver
927.9875 902.9875 131.8 (use D025) W2PUT Inactive Linked to 51.740 locally, and 444.100 and 927.4875 in Milan, IRLP node 4428
Chelsea area (Washtenaw)
145.450 144.850 100.0 WD8IEL Medium
146.980 146.380 100.0 WD8IEL Medium Programmed by W8SRC
224.160 222.560 100.0 WD8IEL Medium
443.575 448.575 100.0 WD8IEL Active CMEN linked repeater system, Echolink node 41083, Allstar node 28236, programmed by W8SRC
Howell (Livingston)
145.410 144.810 162.2 K8JBA Very inactive
146.500 147.500 131.8 N8EOC Inactive ARPSC, Shared Non-Protected Repeater (SNPR)
146.680 146.080 (162.2) W8LRK Active Skywarn
444.525 449.525 100.0 W8LRK Inactive
442.675 447.675 141.3 W2GLD Medium Echolink node 636674, IRLP node 4615, Allstar node 27845, HF/6m/2m remote base, AR Newsline, ARRL Audio News, NOAA weather alerts
Jackson area (Jackson/Ingham)
51.620 51.120 100.0 KA8ZXX Active Wide-coverage repeater, backup repeater programmed by W8SRC
145.310 144.710 110.9 K8YQP Inactive Remote base, low coverage repeater, programmed by W8SRC
145.470 144.870 114.8 W8IRA Medium IRA linked repeater system (linked to Lansing)
146.880 146.280 100.0 W8JXN Medium Skywarn
147.360 147.960 100.0 KA8HDY Active KC8LMI linked repeater system, Echolink node 644275, remote base, mainly programmed by W8SRC
443.175 448.175 77.0 WD8EEQ Inactive
443.875 448.875 100.0 KC8LMI Very active KC8LMI linked repeater system, Echolink node 644275, wide-coverage repeater, remote base, programmed by W8SRC
444.175 449.175 100.0 KA8YRL Inactive IRLP node 4463
444.950 449.950 W8SRC Active Temporary low-coverage repeater, at 50 watts from 30 feet
927.0125 902.0125 131.8 N8URW Active KC8LMI linked repeater system, Echolink node 644275, remote base
Lansing area (Ingham/Eaton/Shiawassee/Clinton)
51.700 51.200 192.8 WB8RJY Very inactive Wide-coverage repeater
52.960 52.460 KD8PA Down
145.390 144.790 100.0 W8BCI Active
145.470 144.870 107.2/100.0 W8IRA Active IRA linked repeater system (linked to Jackson)
146.700 146.100 107.2 W8BCI Medium
146.940 146.340 100.0 W8BCI Active
147.020 147.620 100.0 N8DVH Inactive
147.080 147.680 103.5 K8CHR Inactive
147.280 147.880 100.0 KB8LCY Active CMEN linked repeater system, Echolink node 41083, Allstar node 28236
224.980 223.380 100.0 W8BCI Inactive
442.025 447.025  173.8 N8JI Inactive
442.050 447.050 100.0 N9UV Inactive
442.400 447.400 100.0 N8DVH Inactive
442.425 447.425 100.0 KD8PA Usually medium
442.900 447.900 77.0 W8MSU Very inactive
443.000 448.000 107.2 KD8IFI Inactive CMEN linked repeater system, Echolink node 41083, Allstar node 28236
443.525 448.525 100.0 W8CLI Inactive
443.625 448.625 100.0 N8HEE Medium
443.700 448.700 WB8RJY Medium Does not identify itself
444.000 449.000 173.8 N8TSK Inactive Identifies as N8TSK and KD8AGP
444.575 449.575 107.2 N8OBU Pretty active CMEN linked repeater system, Echolink node 41083, Allstar node 28236
444.850 449.850 141.3 WC8CLI Inactive
445.500 440.500 94.8 KD8AGP Very inactive Shared Non-Protected Repeater (SNPR)
910.250 439.250 N8OBU ??? ATV repeater (LSB input, AM output)
927.525 902.525 131.8 (use D073?) KB8FUN ???
Flint area (Gennessee/Shiawassee)
51.860 51.360 K8DAC ???
145.190 144.590 100.0 W8YUC ???
145.290 144.690 100.0 N8IES Medium
145.410 144.810 91.5 W8YUC Inactive CMEN linked repeater system, Echolink node 41083, Allstar node 28236 (also used in West Branch, but still inactive, and not linked up)
146.780 146.180 151.4 W8CMN Medium
147.060 147.660 100.0 N8NJN Inactive Low-coverage repeater
147.100 147.700 100.0 KC8KGZ Active
147.260 147.860 100.0 KC8KGZ Very active Skywarn
147.340 147.940 100.0 W8ACW Medium
147.380 147.980 100.0 N8NE Inactive
224.060 222.460 100.0 N8NJN Inactive
224.180 222.580 88.5 KF8UI Medium
224.480 222.880 100.0 KC8KGZ Inactive
224.620 223.020 100.0 W8FSM Inactive
224.860 223.260 100.0 N8IES ???
224.960 223.360 W8YUC Down
442.250 447.250 100.0 KA8ZAU Inactive
442.300 447.300 91.5 W8YUC Inactive
442.350 447.350 107.2/88.5 W8FSM Active CMEN linked repeater system, Echolink node 41083, Allstar node 28236
442.625 447.625 100.0 N8IES Medium CMEN linked repeater system, Echolink node 41083, Allstar node 28236
443.200 448.200 151.4 KC8YGT Medium
443.975 448.975 67.0 KB8PGF Inactive
444.025 449.025 100.0 KB8SWR Medium CMEN linked repeater system, Echolink node 41083, Allstar node 28236
444.200 449.200 107.2 W8ACW Inactive
444.375 449.375 W8JDE Inactive
444.600 449.600 W8JDE Inactive
444.650 449.650 100.0 KC8KGZ Inactive
927.5375 902.5375 131.8 N8VDS Inactive CMEN linked repeater system, Echolink node 41083, Allstar node 28236
927.6875 902.6875 131.8 (use D025?) W8FSM ???
1253.250 439.250 KC8KGZ ??? ATV repeater, input on LSB mode, output on AM mode
South Lyon (Oakland)
147.040 147.640 110.9 K8VJ Active
White Lake (Oakland)
145.490 144.890 67.0 N8BIT Usually inactive
Clarkston (Oakland)
146.840 146.240 100.0 K8NWD Medium/active
Detroit area (Wayne/Oakland/Macomb/Essex, ON)
53.760 53.260 151.4 W8FSM ???
53.940 53.440 NE9Y ???
145.110 144.510 100.0 W8DET Inactive
145.170 144.570 100.0 KA8SPW Inactive Currently still identifies as K8RUR
145.270 144.670 100.0 K8UTT Medium Linked to 224.520
145.330 144.730 100.0 WR8DAR Very active  Skywarn
145.350 144.750 100.0 K8UNS Active
145.410 144.810 118.8 VE3EOW Medium
145.430 144.830 100.0 W8JIM Pretty inactive
145.470 144.870 118.8 VE3RRR Medium
146.640 146.040 100.0 W8HP Very active
146.760 146.160 100.0 KE8HR Very active  Skywarn
146.860 146.260 100.0 KK8GC Medium
146.900 146.300 100.0 W8OAK Very active  Skywarn
147.000 147.600 118.8 VE3WIN Active
147.060 147.660 118.8 VE3III Medium Canwarn
147.080 147.680 100.0 N8LC Active AR Newsline
147.140 147.740 (100.0) N8KD Medium
147.160 147.760 100.0 WR8DAR Active
147.180 147.780 100.0 K8UO Very active
147.200 147.800 100.0 WA8MAC Inactive
147.220 147.820 N8EDV Very inactive
147.240 147.840 WY8DOT Medium
147.330 147.930 151.4 KC8LTS Inactive APCO-P25 repeater, can key up with FM transceivers
224.360 222.760 103.5 KC8LTS Very inactive?
224.460 222.860 N8EDV ???
224.520 222.920 100.0 K8UTT Very inactive Linked to 145.270
224.700 223.100 100.0 K8PLW Medium
442.100 447.100 107.2 K8PLW Inactive
442.175 447.175 123.0 KC8LTS Very active CMEN linked repeater system, Echolink node 41083, Allstar node 28236
442.275 447.275 100.0 W8TX Very inactive
442.475 447.475 88.5 W8JIM Inactive
442.500 447.500 107.2 WB8NXP Active  IRLP node 4460
442.775 447.775 107.2 N8BK Very inactive Echolink node 331551
442.800 447.800 107.2 WR8DAR Medium
442.925 447.925 100.0 N8LC Inactive Low-coverage repeater, Echolink node 47081
443.075 448.075 123.0 WW8GM Medium/inactive
443.100 448.100 82.5 WR8DAR Medium
443.125 448.125 107.2 N8DJP Medium
443.225 448.225 107.2 W8HP Inactive/medium
443.475 448.475 88.5 WR8DAR Active
443.550 448.550 107.2 KA8WYN Inactive
443.625 448.625 151.4 KC8UMP Active
443.725 448.725 100.0 K8ZKJ Inactive
444.000 449.000 100.0 WB8CQP Inactive
444.225 449.225 107.2 N8XN Medium
444.300 449.300 118.8 VE3RRR Inactive
444.325 449.325 107.2 W8OAK Medium
444.350 449.350 82.5 K8UH Inactive
444.425 449.425 118.8 WR8DAR Very inactive Low-coverage repeater
444.600 449.600 118.8 VE3WIN Inactive?
444.750 449.750 K8PLW Very inactive
444.800 449.800 110.9 N8OVI Medium
444.875 449.875 123.0 K8UNS Inactive
927.125 902.125 131.8 (use D025?) WR8DAR ???
927.250 902.250 131.8 (use D025?) W8FSM ???
927.2625 902.2625 131.8 (use D025?) W8FSM Inactive CMEN linked repeater system, Echolink node 41083, Allstar node 28236
927.4875 902.4875 131.8 (use D025?) KC8LTS Inactive? CMEN linked repeater system, Echolink node 41083, Allstar node 28236 (connected to links or not?)
927.5125 902.5125 131.8 (use D025?) N8NM ???
927.6875 902.6875 131.8? (use D025?) K8UH Medium Echolink node 71379
Monroe area (Monroe/Washtenaw/Lucas, OH)
29.680 29.580 W8HHF ???
52.780 52.280 K8OF ???
145.310 144.710 W8YZ Inactive?
146.610 146.010 103.5 K8ALB Medium
146.720 146.120 100.0 K8RPT Very active  Skywarn
146.940 146.340 103.5 W8RZM Inactive
147.120 147.720 103.5 K8ALB Inactive
147.270 147.870 103.5 W8HHF Very active Skywarn
147.345 147.945 103.5 WJ8E Medium
147.375 147.975 103.5 W8RZM Very active Skywarn
224.140 222.540 103.5 W8HHF Inactive
224.440 222.840 103.5 WJ8E Down?
224.540 222.940 103.5 WB8OET Inactive Low-coverage repeater
442.650 447.650 100.0 K8RPT Inactive?
442.825 447.825 100.0 K8RPT Medium
442.850 447.850 103.5 W8HHF Medium
442.950 447.950 103.5 WJ8E Medium Skywarn
443.300 449.300 103.5 N8UAS Medium
443.750 448.750 103.5 KI8CY Very inactive Low-coverage repeater
443.775 448.775 103.5 KC8GWH Inactive
444.025 449.025 103.5 W8MTU Down ARES
444.100 449.100 82.5 W2PUT Very active Linked to 927.4875 locally, and 51.740 and 927.9875 in Ann Arbor, IRLP node 4428
444.275 449.275 107.2 W8AK Inactive
444.550 449.550 100.0 N8OSC Inactive
444.850 449.850 103.5 N8EFJ Very active
444.925 449.925 103.5 W8MTU Inactive ARES
444.950 449.950 103.5 N8LPQ Active
927.4875 902.4875 131.8 (use D025) W2PUT Medium? Linked to 51.740 and 927.9875 in Ann Arbor, and 444.100 locally, IRLP node 4428
927.9125 902.9125 131.8 KD8KCF Medium KC8LMI linked repeater system, Echolink node 644275, remote base
1285.000 1273.000 WJ8E ???
1287.000 1275.000 WJ8E ???
Lapeer area (Lapeer)
146.620 146.020 100.0 W8LAP Very active Linked to 443.450, Skywarn
224.800 223.200 100.0 W8LAP Inactive
442.700 447.700 100.0 W8LAP Medium
443.450 448.450 100.0 KG8ID Medium Linked to 146.620
Hillsdale area (Hillsdale)
147.060 147.660 151.4/179.9 KC8QVX Medium
147.440 147.440 103.5 K8LRC Inactive Simplex repeater, programmed by W8SRC
444.825 449.825 107.2 KC8QVX Medium IRLP node 4812
Adrian area (Lenawee)
145.370 144.770 85.4 W8TQE Medium
443.375 448.375 107.2 K8ADM Inactive
444.675 449.675 123.0 W8TQE Inactive

Last updated:


Last 5 updates:

Changed antenna height for the 446.150 W8SRC Dexter repeater from 24′ AGL (966′ ASL) to 32′ AGL (974′ ASL).

147.420 W8SRC Dexter simplex repeater is off-air.

Changed the W2GLD Pinckney repeater’s frequency from 445.500- to 442.675+.

Updated features for the 446.150 W8SRC Dexter and 443.875 KC8LMI Aurelius repeaters.

Changed the KD8KCF Toledo repeater’s frequency and PL tone from 927.225 PL 100.0 to 927.9125 PL 131.8.

Operating from “Up North”

When people in southern Michigan want to get away from it all, they go “up north,” which means the northern part of Michigan’s lower penninsula and Michigan’s upper penninsula. For at least the last ten years, my family—including my brothers and sisters (but mostly my sisters, and their kids and now grandkids)—have been renting a set of cottages on Elk Lake.

For the last three years, I’ve been taking my Elecraft KX-1 and operating from up there. I have a really idyllic operating location. I operate from the screened-in porch of one of the cottages. From my operating position, I have a great view of the lake.

This year was the best in terms of amateur radio, anyway. The first year, I used the 28-ft. random wire vertical antenna described in the Elecraft manual. It loaded up just fine, but I had trouble making contacts with it.

Last year, I used the portable dipole I made with 30-ga. wire and twisted pair feedline. This antenna definitely works better than the 28-ft. vertical, but I still had trouble making solid contacts.

This year, I used the same antenna, and had much better success. For example, where last year, my contacts were mostly short ones with mediocre signal reports, this year’s contacts were much longer with generally good to very good signal reports. For example, the very first contact I made was with W3ANX. He gave me a 579 signal report, and we talked for 40 minutes. One of my other contacts lasted for 30 minutes.

I attribute this mostly to band conditions. When band conditions are poor, low-power signals tend to drift in and out of the noise, making copy rough. When band conditions are good, low-power signals stay above the noise and are easier to copy. When your signal is easier to copy, station you’re in contact with stay with you longer, and longer contacts, in my opinion, are more enjoyable, than short ones.

Another thing I noticed is that I heard stations that I never hear from home. Part of it is the difference in location, but it’s probably also due to the difference in antenna pattern. What I take away from this is that it’s probably a good idea to have more than one antenna per band, if you can swing it. Having two or more antennas with different antenna patters will allow you to talk to more people than if have just one antenna.

I also learned that my iPod earbuds have more output than the earbuds I had been using. While lately I’ve been using an amplified speaker on the output of my KX-1, when I pulled it out of my toolbox, I found that I’d forgotten to turn it off last time and the battery was dead. Not having a ready source of 9-V batteries, I plugged in the earbuds. Then, just for kicks, I decided to try my iPod earbuds. They were noticeably louder, so I used them exclusively.

All in all, it was a great vacation. The scenery was beautiful, weather was mostly nice, the food was great (we take turns preparing dinner), and the company fantastic. Add in the good band conditions, and you have an almost ideal vacation.

HamCOW or Cash Cow?

N1JOY is putting together a really neat communications trailer lovingly called HamCOW, short for Ham Communications on Wheels. Features include:

  • Spacious – 28 feet long x 8 feet wide x 7 feet high inside.
  • 5 comfortable operating positions, each one has 2 wired Ethernet connections, 4 antenna ports wired
    to a coax patch panel, dedicated Astron 50 or 70 Amp power supply, Anderson Powerpole DC connections, a small fluorescent light, and AC outlets.
  • 3 tier radio bench for power supplies, computers, radios, & accessories.
  • 42 foot heavy duty locking pneumatic tower with redundant air compressors (120 VAC & 12 VDC). The tower guy wires use high quality Aeroquip tension adjusters for rapid deployment, and is topped off with a HAM-IV rotor and Yagi’s for 6M, 2M, 432 SSB/ATV & a tri-band 144/220/440 vertical. Tower also sports a canvas cover to keep the elements off the hardware when not in use.
  • Antennas for all bands from 160 Meters to 450 MHz, including a fully automated satellite array.

In addition, it has a kitchen, toilet, shower, and sleeping accomodations. What a great project! It’s gotta be costing a ton of money, though.

A Little History

This from Maggie, K3XP, via Allen Pitts, W1AGP, the ARRL PR guru:

In 1955, The Phil-Mont Mobile Radio Club, an association of mobile amateur radio operators, provided emergency communications during the…during the devastating flood of August, 1955 along the Delaware River and in the Pocono Mountain s following Hurricane Diane, the sixth costliest U.S. hurricane of the 20th century…fifty years before Hurricane Katrina. In 1959, the club produced this short film to explain amateur radio, and especially mobile communications as practiced by the club.

(The main film begins after a three minute interview with Jim Spencer, W3BBB, produced by a local cable channel many years later)

Dig the guy’s “walkie-talkie” in the scene where they’re providing communications for the marathon……Dan

View the video

Cell Phones Bills May Curtail Mobile Operation

I am all for banning cell-phone use while driving. What I didn’t think about is that legislation banning cell-phone use might also outlaw mobile amateur radio operation. Legislation is in the works in Georgia, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Vermont, Washington, and Wyoming. If you live in those states you might want to find out about them.

Over and above that, be careful out there! I haven’t heard of any incidents where an amateur radio operator caused an accident or could not avoid one because he or she was distracted by his or her mobile operation, but the danger is real……..Dan

From the February 16, 2007 ARRL News:

Bills aimed at thwarting “driving while cellular” and “driving while distracted” behavior have been introduced in several states, and most are worded broadly enough to potentially proscribe some Amateur Radio mobile operation. ARRL Regulatory Information Specialist Dan Henderson, N1ND , so far has catalogued 11 active pieces of legislation. Bills introduced in Montana and New Mexico have been sidelined for now, but related measures — more than one in some states — remain alive in Georgia, New Jersey, Oregon, Texas, Vermont, Washington and Wyoming. Henderson reports that ARRL Field Organization volunteers and members called the League’s attention to the various pieces of pending legislation, none of which specifically exempt Amateur Radio mobile operation.

“In most cases we try to work to have language exempting Amateur Radio inserted into the bill, rather than narrowing by definition the behavior or activity the bill seeks to address,” Henderson explains. “It is a far easier approach and removes ambiguity down the road.”

Henderson says that, if requested, the League will advise radio amateurs preparing to testify about a bill before a state legislative committee. “We offer some suggestions regarding what to cover and how to approach their testimony,” he said. “We also will speak with legislators or their aides to try and clarify questions or help them craft language that help accomplish our goal of specifically exempting Amateur Radio operation from these measures.” Most of the measures include exceptions for emergency communication and law enforcement agencies.

[[Details about individual bills deleted.]]

Henderson advises ARRL members to contact their Section Manager to learn about any initiatives under way to address the ham radio implications of a particular state bill.

A Couple of Random Links

Here are a couple of random links that I’ve run across lately:

  • Ham-Mac. Ham-Mac is a mailing list for hams who are using Macs in ham applications.Most ham radio software runs on a PC, but there are hams—myself included—who have converted to the Mac. The computer in my shack is still a PC, but it’s beginning to show its age—it’s starting to lock up randomly—and may have to be replaced soon. I may just buy a Mac laptop to replace it.
  • Mobile Amateur Radio. This mailing list provides information on mobile amateur radio operations, including setup, troubleshooting, and many other aspects of operating from a car, a boat, a plane, a bicycle, or even on foot.

From the Mouths of Babes…

Yesterday, ARROW members met for the monthly AMPTeam meeting. I had intended to play around with the crossband repeat function of my IC-207 VHF/UHF transceiver, figuring that crossband repeating could be useful in an emergency. After some manual searching, however, I determined that it doesn’t have that capability! I don’t know how I got the impression that it did. Oh, well.

Instead, I set up the KX-1 as usual. For an antenna, I use the antenna described in the antenna tuner manual, namely a 28-ft driven element and a 16-ft. counterpoise. I actually use three counterpoises–that seems to work much better than just a single one.

In my toolbox, I have a tennis ball and a ball of nylon twine. I poke the twine through the tennis ball, and then throw the ball over a convenient tree branch. The last time I set up out in a park, I snagged the perfect branch on the very first throw. Last night, however, I wasn’t so lucky.

The problem seemed to be that there was just too much friction between the tree bark and the twine. I’d get the ball over the branch easily enough, but the ball was too light to come down far enough to grab it and attach the antenna wire.

All this was quite amusing to the kids who’d come over to watch me. At first they asked what I was doing, and when I explained, they seemed really interested. After a couple of tries, I said to them, “The ball is going over the right tree branch, but it’s not heavy enough to come down the other side.”

I poked around in my toolbox, trying to find something that might make the ball a little heavier, but nothing seemed very easy to use. When I mentioned this to the kids, one of them piped up, “Why don’t you put some rocks in it?” What a perfect solution! They scouted around for some small rocks, which we poked through the hole in the tennis ball, and voila, it was heavy enough now to not only go over the branch, but pull the twine down the other side. I thanked my assistants, who seemed very pleased with themselves.

After untangling the coil of antenna wire and pulling it up into the tree, I got the KX-1 all hooked up and let them listen to some Morse Code. Unfortunately, I forgot to bring along my battery-powered speaker, so we couldn’t all listen to it at the same time. Next time, I’ll remember, though.

I made three quick contacts. The first with K1NUN, yet another card to my collection of QSLs from stations whose callsigns spell words. Next, was KE4RUN, another guy whose call spells a word, but I already have his QSL. Then finally Bob KB3ENU. Although Bob was also QRP, he was peaking at S7 here in Michigan, and we had a fine QSO.

Overall, it was another fine outing for the AMPTeam.

Another Fun Thing for Your Club to Do

Since Field Day is so much fun, why only have one per year?

Following the lead of Kalamazoo’s LOSTeam, our club has formed its own group to pursue “adventures in communications.” We call ourselves the ARROW Mobile and Portable Team (AMPTeam).

We had our first outing last Monday, April 24. The weather was beautiful, and eleven club members, plus my XYL, came out to enjoy the evening. In the photo below, you can see five of us enjoying the food. From left to right are yours truly (KB6NU), Rich KD6HWF, Tara, Karen KD8AOK, Pat N8PJR, and Reggie KD8AOM (who got a little cut off). Mark KD8AOM, took the photo.

At one point, we had five separate stations operating, including three HF stations and two VHF stations. I set up my KX-1 and made two contacts on 40m. My first QSO was with a guy in Minnesota, who was also running QRP. The second was with a guy in NJ, who gave me a 599 signal report!

We also ran the club Monday Night Net from the park. In the photo above, you see me running the net with a borrowed handie-talkie.

Just like Field Day, these kinds of events are good for public relations. We set up in a public park, very near a busy walkway, and got many people to stop by and ask what we were doing. Unfortunately, I forgot to bring our club banner and brochures this time. Even so, we did manage to talk to quite a few people.

This is something every club should try. It does serve a useful purpose in terms of emergency communications readiness, but mostly, though, it was just a lot of fun. The LOSTeam does something like this every week. This first year, we’re shooting for once a month.

How to operate Pedestrian Mobile with the KX1

As those of you who read this blog know, I’m the proud builder/owner of an Elecraft KX-1. Below, courtesy of Paul, W0RW, is a message he posted to the Elecraft mailing list. I can’t wait until it gets warm enough outside to try this….Dan

The KX1 is a great portable rig but it is also a great pedestrian mobile rig. You can go to new heights, evade local power line noises and find hot spots near flag poles and in baseball diamonds.

Step by step (peripatetically speaking), here is how to do it…

  1. Get your KX1 on the air from your base and learn how to use all the controls. You are going to have to increase the LED display brightness as soon as you get out in the sun. (Hit MENU, rotate Dial to ‘Led’, Push MENU for 1 second, Push RIT to raise LED brightness to 6). It is a good idea to cary a small instruction cheat sheet with you. If you see P=0 on your display you won’t be having many QSO’s.
  2. Get a banana jack to BNC converter for the KX1 antenna connector.
  3. Get a two-ft. paint stirring stick (free from Home Depot).
  4. Attach an 8 foot whip (or longer) to the stick with duct tape.
  5. Attach a 3 foot piece of insulated wire from the base of the whip to the KX1 hot banana jack (do not use ANY coax for this run).
  6. Attach a 13 foot piece of insulated wire to the black terminal of the banana jack (this is your counterpoise or drag wire).
  7. Put the paint stir stick in your back pocket (low ‘Z’ part of your body). Attach the whip to the upper part of your body by using a short strap around your neck and arm to hold the upper part of the whip.(You could use one of your old shoulder holsters). I am in cold country so i almost always just use my North Face down vest. The whip goes through the arm hole in the vest and rests in my rear pocket.
  8. Turn the KX1 on, install ear buds, walk 15 feet into a clear space (letting the drag wire layout behind you). Set the KX1 for 14060+/- (or your favorite tune up frequency). Push the TUNE buttons. You should get 3W and <1.5 SWR. Start walking. Call CQ xxx/pm. I have “CQ CQ de w0rw/pm” in memory so i don’t have to do anything but hit ‘PLY 1′.
  9. You can lessen your antenna directivity loss by walking away from the station you are communicating with. The single drag wire makes the whip directional. You can get a 3 dB boost from your local flag pole or street light by using it as a reflector.
  10. Operation on 30 and 40 meters will be greatly aided by adding a top hat to the whip. i use 4 of those little underground utilities flag markers (also available at Home D.) You can see my top hat in the ‘photos’ section of the HFPack2 Yahoo Group in the folder ‘w0rw’. Watch out for those top hat eating trees.
  11. I hold the KX1 in my left hand with my left thumb near the paddle and send with my right hand. i added an additional rubber foot under the “L” in Elecraft for a finger grip.
  12. I carry an external battery pack in my pocket for long hikes.
  13. I have a small log that attaches to my cuff, like an NFL Quarterback.
  14. Make sure the 2 bottom case screws are tight and keep the paddle thumb screw tight. If they get loose, add lock washers. You cannot find these screws if you drop them in six inches of snow.

Hope to see you on the trail.

You can see a picture of my KX1/pm on the Adventure Radio Society web site at or read about my KX1 pedestrian mobile contact with Latvia at

Jim, W0EB, replied:

You forgot to mention to watch out for following pedestrians. They tend to step on the drag wire and this gets interesting when it comes up short. Tends to yank the KX1 out of your hand, or in my case, bust the BNC to binding post adapter off. Also taught me to buy a Pomona BNC to BP adapter. They are much more rugged than the cheap ones.

Finally, W0RW sent me this list of recently published pedestrian mobile articles he’s written: