2018: My Year of Telegraphy

Cool items for a shadowbox that I will be putting together to kick the new year off right . . . 

2016 was my “Year of the Low band Receive Antenna”. 2017 was my “Year of Ham Meets Maker”. Inspired by a very interesting biography on Samuel FB Morse, and the pivotal role Telegraphy played in history, I’m calling 2018 “Year of Telegraphy”.

Sure, I will continue to work whatever I can on Top Band, and also hope to work 3Y0Z, and sure, I’ll putter around with antennas and electronic circuits, but since my wife Kat found a great book on the work of mid 1800 solar scientists and physicists, I’ve been wanting to read biographical histories of the people who invented or discovered things that we now take for granted in the modern world.

I will also combine this with the socio – economic aspects of how early technology shaped and formed the world as we know it today. I feel looking back will give a better perspective on where we might be headed. I have already found some things in the Morse biography where there were parallels to some of the craziness we have experienced politically in 2017, so in a way its a source of comfort.


Make America Sane Again

I’ve witnessed three pathological narcissists “hold court” for far too long and then, as these people always seem to do – implode under their own weight. Its agonizing to watch – about along the lines of the infamous OJ Simpson slow speed White Bronco chase.

Yesterday’s news gives me the first hope in a year that the tide is about to change in a yuge bigly way, and that sanity will again be fashionable in America.

At least I sure hope so.


V51B S9 +10 – With Glancing Solar Storm

Conditions tonight are noisier than normal, there was a glancing blow from a solar storm so there was some noise but Andre was very loud on 40M. He is the same distance as Bouvet and very much “close enough” path wise.

Its encouraging because tonight on just about all bands there is a noticeable solar disruption, and I have been worried a bit about solar storms for 3Y0Z, but this path is just so strong to the West Coast, and I mean every day of the year it seems.

By far, 40M is my favorite band – it consistently delivers like no other band does. I thought I would love 160M, but its starting to get tedious – mainly because there just isn’t much variety due to the small number of people who are on Top Band. At this point, I can’t wait to finish DXCC there – but when I get frustrated with Top Band 40M delivers big time and keeps me turning on the radio.


KY6R Inverted L Switched Match Wiring

I worked up the wiring plan for the relays and UNUN / Current Chokes.

There will be 3 wires needed to control everything. The control wire is already in place. Next up is to lay it out and wire it up.

Control Box Redux

I’m re-working this old control box and re-purposing it for my switched UNUN / Current Choke project.

I found that the traces on the 2 pole 4 throw rotary switch – that is soldered into the PC board would require too much work, so I am going to remove the PC board and just use  new switch there and a new SPST switch for the power switch. I also have ordered the right terminal block for the back of the control box.

Its very simple since I am using a control cable instead of injecting a control signal through the coax.

When All Else Fails, Ask Santa

Dear Iron Santa,

Please send me some 160M new ones. Its getting mighty boring in my ham radio shack these days. I have been good all year.




3Y0Z and 17 Meters

I’m having a lot of fun dreaming about working 3Y0Z. Its next to the last entity I need to work them all – but I am not feeling bittersweet at all – I say “bring it”. I will be relieved when I work them all, but the one thing that DXCC Top of Honor Roll offers is  a way to “collect them all”. Its funny how places in the world become like a baseball card collection – or a stamp collection, but I digress.

17 Meters I feel is going to be a very important band for the West Coast, and I just happen to have 2 trees which let me orient my Extended Double Zepp perfectly at 130 degrees. One of the things I could do is build a simple dipole with a couple Cabellas Crappie poles and wire – and just hang it below my 2 element yagi on the push up mast, but instead, I will use the EDZ.

As you can see – even with just a ladder line fed doublet, I get 2 dB gain over a dipole. Im guessing I’m not getting  that third dB gain because I haven’t modeled the feedline. Besides 17M, I get a horizontal antenna on 40M, and one that can be used on 17 – 10M with a tuner easily – although I expect 15M to be the highest open band.

I’m dreaming of S7 – S8 signals on 17M from 3Y0Z and having 3 – 4 bands simultaneously workable at our West Coast Sunset. My goal is just one band and mode, with one insurance contact, but since I’ve waited since VK0EK for an ATNO, I will work them wherever I can.


2018: My Year of the Telegraph

A few years back I read this book and it was excellent – I highly recommend it. I’m reading a biography about Samuel F.B Morse now, and will read this book next:

What is really great is that I am one of us Telegraphers who are the legacy of Samuel F.B. Morse and the invention of the telegraph.

A very big part of this is that I work in a very historic building – the Phelan Building – which was re-built after the 1906 Earthquake, and which has the best vibe – you can’t help but feel history. Right across the street is the very historic Humboldt Bank Building. Its fantastic.

I can just hear the telegraph clicking and lacking in old San Francisco!

Morse Code

Years ago I made this assemblage about Morse Code.

I’m reading this book and thoroughly enjoying it. I did not know that Samuel FB Morse was a very accomplished painter.

AD5X 160-10M 41′ Vertical Matching Solution

Ed, AG6CX reminded me of a QST article written by Phil Salas regarding a 41′ vertical that can be used on all bands 160 – 10M. Its funny, but I actually had purchased the same MFJ airdux style coil several years ago, and its sat unused in my big junk box. Well, actually, I have occasionally used it to play around with matching circuits. Luckily, the 1:4 UNUN that will be here in a few days, and the relays and the coil are already all on hand. I will think a bit about this – what Phil has done is added 160 and 80M to his 41′ vertical – that already was fine on 40 – 10M. My solution is just a different shade of grey – but both attempt to solve a very similar problem.

The Inverted L gives me top loading which I am sure is better than trying to use a 41′ vertical on 160 and 80M. But with the top loading in place – the matching at the base is fine – I don’t think just having base loading is really that efficient – at least according to the ON4UN Low Band DXing book. I went through this exercise with the Cushcraft MA-160V a few years back.

Compare and contrast Phil’s circuit with mine:

Pound for pound they are similar, but because I have an Inverted L, the biggest challenge is matching 80M. Since my tuner and amp are already happy on 160M with just the 1:1 curent choke, and because I am not stressing the 1:1 current choke – as you would trying to use an in shack tuner with a 41′ vertical with that same current choke – the Inverted L is significantly different in this regard. Its really great to look at both solutions and then consider what each is trying to solve.