Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

Thank you to everyone who stopped by and read the blog over the past year. Hopefully it provided some helpful ideas and overall nice reading.

Happy New Year!

Afternoon Car Portable

With the temps edging near the 50 F mark yesterday afternoon spent an hour or so at the Fort Lee Historic Park in NJ high on the cliffs overlooking the Hudson River.

After a walk to check out the views and a few photos I set up shop in the car with the FT-857D, portable battery, and a 20 meter ham stick on the roof.

Had a wonderful conversation with a ham who lives in the Sunshine State of Fla. in the winter, Queens, NY in the summer months. His antenna was a wire attached to a palm tree, a stealth type set up, very cool.

My last contact was to the Ar tic Circle, OH9SCL, cranked up the juice for this one to break into the mix of other stations calling. That ham stick on the roof did it's job, for the price you can't beat it.

Circle Line tour boat.
View from the car.
Overall a nice afternoon on a fairly warm end of December, I will take it. The Fort Lee park is relatively quiet this time of year, the views are stunning. I have operated before here and its one of my favorites.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Kit Building & Soldering Guide

Here is a helpful and informative guide from Ramsey Electronics.

Kit Building & Soldering Guide

Monday, December 26, 2011

Google Plus

Over the past few weeks I have been on Google Plus playing around with the various features, so far I am a very happy camper.

Sure most have accounts set up on Face book but with Google Plus I feel it offers much more rich content and a great way to make new friends. Face book seems to be a gathering of old friends and some of the posts are unnecessary. I especially like creating different groups, QRP, electronics, family, following, etc. that I can post to.

There is always fresh posts by hitting the What's Hot button on your home page. If your into photography some of the pictures posted are amazing. There also is a group of hams and QRpers on board posting away.

If you decide to sign up and join the fun be sure to grab a vanity address at the Google Plus toolbox.

Be sure to follow me at:

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Hoping everyone has a wonderful day!

Season's Greetings

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Holiday Stuff

Not much going on the past week or so with the holidays fast approaching.

In the Jan, 2012 QST, a future build caught my eye, A Transistor Tester in a Tin. This would be a great circuit for someone just starting out, simple and easy.

Next week I want to take a radio portable and set up outside if the temps hold up, if not will go with a few ham sticks on the car roof in a nice setting.

Enjoy the holidays.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Weather for kids & adults

Good easy to understand weather site for all.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Aurora; What Causes Them?

Good Stuff!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Wonderful World

Saw this posted on Google Plus.
Just a super nice video.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Handy Capacitor Calculator

Here is a useful tool I came across for calculating your capacitor values.
Great online tool when you want to double check those values especially before soldering onto the PC boards.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Verizon Home Monitoring

While watching Hockey Night in Canada last night one commercial (out of what seems like hundreds these days) caught my eye, the Verizon Home Monitoring and Control. If you are a Verizon Fios customer this system lets you control the lights, heat, doors, etc.

It is amazing what electronic type gadgets are available these days if you want to spend the money, $9.95 a month. I have been a Fios customer for the past 3+ years for my Internet, TV, & phone, it's wonderful. It's amazing what they can do over fiber. My former cable TV provided kept taking away channels but not cutting my bill, that is a post for another day.

Yesterday was a very nice warm sunny 67F day for the end of November. Cut the lawn one last time and did a general clean up of the yard which means picking up the leafs. Even had time to put up the Christmas lights outside. My sons soccer season ended last Sunday so this will free up more time this afternoon to play some radio. It looks like another nice day so maybe an outside radio setup in the yard.

I want to take advantage of these warm days before the freezing cold winter is here.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Almost time to watch the Macy's Day Parade.

Have a Wonderful Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 18, 2011

How Not To Fry A Turkey!

With Thanksgiving right around the corner here is William Shatner on how not to burn the house down.

The bird does look yummy coming out of the pot!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Google X

Today's New York Times has an article on the secret lab of Google X.

Located in a undisclosed location in Calf., future projects with cars, robots, space elevators, etc.
Anything that mentions a secret lab just sounds so cool.

Friday, November 11, 2011


Be sure to check your clocks tonight at 11:11 PM. You will not see this for another 100 years.

Happy Veterans Day & Thank You!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

This is a Test of The Emergency Broadcast System!

This Wednesday at 2 PM Eastern time radio and TV stations will stop regular programming and conduct a 60 second test of the national Emergency Alert System. I am sure most of you heard these tests growing up, they go back to 1951.

I did hear the alert system once on the car radio while driving up the NJ Turnpike to North Jersey, it was for a major snow storm due to hit the following day, back in the early ninety's. The car was a Mazda RX-7, loved that car!

Above videos are past tests from WPIX and WCBS TV stations.

These TV tests remind me of simpler times growing up, a handful of TV channels, and great Saturday morning cartoons.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Long Time NYC Marathon Volunteer

Came across an article in my Sunday edition of the Daily News regarding a local NJ ham Steve Mendelsohn. (W2ML)

Steve has been a volunteer for the marathon for 36 years as a Communications Director. This past year he was diagnosed with cancer.

What a great job he has done over the years, the marathon is a real big event, that must require a ton of time.

Click the link below to read the article.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Saturday Evening Post

Here is a simple crystal radio I put together from the pages of Gonzo Gizmos.

Bill of materials:

Plastic water bottle (dollar store special)
1N34A diode
26AWG magnet wire (Philmore# 12-1226)
Crystal Earphone (Philmore# 748)
A few jumper wires with alligator clips
Ground and antenna wire.


As per the instruction I prepared the bottle with four holes, two on top and bottom for holding wires in place, great tip.

The wrapping of wire for the coil on the bottle took the most time, I used a pencil to make small loops every six turns or so. The loops are for station selection when complete. I used a lighter to burn off insulation from wire ends and loops. Sandpaper also works well. Took my time wrapping the windings to create a neat appearance instead of a birds nest type look.

Pencil used to form loops.

The magnet wire can be any common gauge from 18 to 22, I had a spool of 26 that was 3/4 full. I did not solder my connections but used a wire wrap tool. The detector 1N34A diode picks up the audio frequencies out of the radio wave.

They also recommended trying a telephone headset, I had a crystal earphone handy. As you can see the crystal radio circuit is as simple as it gets. A telephone headset would be interesting to try and see how it would work out, maybe a future build. I found the key is a great ground more than the antenna. My ground of choice was a cold water pipe in the basement.

The final result: the strongest and only station heard was 770 WABC in NY, came through with a soft signal but was audible. The individual loops did not help me much but it might have helped if I removed more insulation from the wires. I think my antenna could have made a better connection with the individual loops. Something to play around with and test.

Another tip is to kill all background noise, TVs, talking, etc., sometimes if not most depending on your conditions signals heard in the earphone are extremely weak. I will draw up the schematic and post it in a few days.

Tweaking the circuit, trying different grounds, etc. I should be able to pull in more stations.

Odds & Ends....

Received the November edition of CQ in the mailbox this afternoon, new reading material is always welcome for the weekends.
Cut the lawn today, only 1-2 more times before the colder temps are here.
Went to my sons football game this morning, soccer tomorrow, (remember "Wide World of Sports") and maybe some radio fun after that.

Have A Nice Weekend!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Gonzo Gizmos Projects & Devices

Your local pubic Library is a great source for electronics and project books. Here is a cool book I picked up, Gonzo Gizmos Projects & Devices by Simon Quellen Field.

A look at the contents:

Light and Optics

The book has many interesting projects but what caught my eye was the Radio section. Crystal radios (always a favorite of mine) homemade capacitors, diodes, and radios made with just a few components.

The film cannons, laser communicator, and solar hot dog cooker are worth a look. The plastic hydrogen bomb will be a read only at this house. The book is written in a very down to earth easy format with tons of pictures.

One review from the back cover "Even the Professor from Gilligan's Island could learn a trick or two from Simon Field".

I find that less technical is a better read after a long day of work.

Just a fun read!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Power Up!

Last night we were outside checking out the Halloween costumes when I noticed my neighbors front porch light on...POWER!

YES! Street lights starting filling the dark black streets with light. It was wonderful sleeping with the heat on and being able to read the evening paper.

Hopefully the others without power will get a quick fix before it gets cold. I guess we are lucky because it was only out from Saturday afternoon until Tuesday night, many are still a few days away.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Lights Out!!

The storm that brought us snow on Saturday morning knock our power out around 4:00PM and word from the power company is Wednesday for my area. I hope they are wrong and it is sooner than later.

My neighbor has a generator and I have a line hooked up for a few heaters and last night had the TV going. (The tube helps pass the time and lightens up the room.) He turns it off the at 11:00PM so the mornings are chilly, good think it's not winter yet.

At one point 500,000 homes in NJ were without power, as of this morning 169,000+ are out. The sun is shinning today so I am hoping it warms up and heats up my house a bit.

The funny thing is I keep turning on the light switches at night, just a habit!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Resistor Calculator

Here is an easy online tool for calculating resistor values. It almost feels like cheating.

By spinning the wheel and matching up the colors your right on the money with the correct values.

Of course it might be a good idea to recheck the resistor with your meter to learn and get use to its general operation.
Another way to remember the colors on a resistor is the old saying "Bad Boys" etc. well you might know the rest but its not nice to talk about Violet that way.
Lets keep in clean.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Suspended Jacuzzi

Check out these photos of the suspended Jacuzzi 130 feet below a bridge.

Just looking at the photos gets my hands sweaty. I do not know about you but I prefer my Jacuzzi action to be at ground level.

Great Photos!

Friday, October 7, 2011

New Velleman USA Site

One of my favorite kit sources is Velleman, Inc.

The just came out with a new website that is easier to get around. Velleman is also one of the few manufacturers that is always coming out with new kits and products in general. I have built a number of their kits and they are first class and so far worked for me without any troubleshooting or missing components. That is a hassle when you sit down to start a new build and find you were shorted an item or two.

Here is the Velleman link:

Monday, October 3, 2011

Comic Book Ad Classic

The best thing about reading comic books many many years ago were all those cool ads.

Here is an All Time Classic: The Sea Monkeys.

It is still fun looking at them!

10 Meters

The 10 Meter band is one of my favorites spots for worldwide DX excitement but over the past years it has been quiet except for a few local contacts.

So after reading the band has been wide open I decided to gave it a go during my lunch break. With only 1 hour to play radio and getting a late start did not help one bit. Heard some nice DX stations across the band but in the 20 minutes or so with the Buddipole just could not break any pile ups.

I will give it another go this weekend without the rush to get back to work.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

WorldRadio October

The October edition of WorldRadio is up for viewing.
A few good articles caught my eye and will make for some good reading this weekend.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

New NTE Website

NTE Electronics has a brand new wonderful looking website that is ten times easier to navigate.

NTE is a great source for hard to find replacement semiconductors.
Check them out!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

WTC Lights

On a extremely clear night I can see the WTC lights from my backyard. It is overcast this evening so will have to see when it gets dark out.

I thinks it's a great thing the city of New York does every year.

Sign of Comfort

Just a few photos I took with my son from a spring visit to NYC.

Double click photo to enlarge.

This cross was on display in front of a church.
It has since been moved and will be part of WTC Museum.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Radio Hacking

Here is a fun easy project I came across on the Make site for hacking the aircraft band. It seems like we all have a few of those old AM/FM transistor radios laying around the house.

This simple project instructs you how to tune in the aircraft band with just a few small adjustments.

Check out the video or Make link.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Bye Irene

Flooded area down my street.

Irene is history now leaving behind wind and very wet conditions outside but the sun is shinning. I am just keeping an eye on my basement for any water coming in.

The forecasters say total rain in my area was over 6 inches with wind gusts between 40-60 mph. Power remained on during the storm for me but thousands are without power across N.J. The flooding is a major concern for many residents and will be for those living near overflowing streams and rivers for the next few days.

Might be a good time to plug in a soldering iron and unwind from the stress of the past few days.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Jersey Shore Beach Cams

Check out the link below for two Seaside Heights, NJ beach cams and watch the storm first hand. The south cam shows the large ferris wheel.
It will be interesting to see if the ocean makes its way to the boardwalk. The Seaside Heights beach is fairly wide compared to other shore towns like Ortley Beach.
The major concern is high tide is due tomorrow morning along the coast and that is when the storm is due, plus the full moon does not help.

Quiet Outside

The current weather forecast as of 3:00PM eastern sounds better which is good news. They are calling for a tropical storm by the time it arrives here starting tonight.

We will still be hammered with massive amounts of rain, 5 to 10+ inches which is going to create major flooding and winds up to 75 mph. I am still ready in case we lose power due to falling trees, etc. The ground is very wet already from the rain we had this week.

Flashlights are ready and batteries are all charged up. If you went to check out local coverage of the storm here is a link for online listening.

1010 WINS or 880 WCBS

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hurricane Irene

Photo courtesy of Accuweather

It sounds like New Jersey and New York are in store for a wild weekend. Hurricane Irene is due to visit here late Saturday and throughout Sunday.

The weather reports predict a category 3 storm hitting the east coast. Right now winds are 115 miles per hour. The latest track shows the storm coming right over South Jersey and riding the coast toward New York. The prediction is that the storm will be a category 2 by the time it gets here with 4-8 inches of rain and 40-60+ mph winds.

Tomorrow will be spending the day putting away outside chairs and securing everything. The batteries for the HT are in charge mode and will also be breaking out the transistor radio. I have a feeling the winds could take out power for sometime.

I was planning on spending the weekend at the Jersey Shore, looks like just staying home and taking cover.

NJ Gov. Christie just declared a state of emergency to mobilize National Guard.
Below is a storm tracker link to check out:

Friday, August 19, 2011

Heathkit Is Back In The Kit Business!

One of my friends mentioned Heathkit is getting back into the kit business. Being a fan of Heathkit I went to the website and read the good news.
The first kit will be a Garage Parking Assistant with other Do-It-Yourself kits coming soon. Heathkit is interested in learning what types of products kit builders would like to build? They are asking for kit builders to submit their suggestions.
It would be great to see some qrp kits!
On the weather front it is black outside with storms due to hit any minute. Looks like no radio tonight.
Enjoy your Friday night.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Future Hikes

A few weeks ago I did some fishing in a local stream here in New Jersey and was checking out a potential spot for some portable radio activity.

The only issue was the snake warning signs made me think twice. This particular hike might have to wait until the cold weather is here and everyone is tucked in for the winter.

Besides the snakes you have to keep an eye out for the black bears. I could see myself calling cq and hearing a rattle close by.

That might be an issue I would rather not deal with.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Simple Setup

Here is my simple set up for the yard:

Yaesu 857
Portable battery
A mess of cable
Small pad & pencil
Antenna is a Buddipole in corner of yard.
Set of ear buds
1 Lounge chair

I made a few contacts in the sticky heat yesterday.
As you can see it does not take much so get in the yard and have some fun.

Be sure to let me know how you make out!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Dark Silicon

This mornings NY Times Science section had some good reading on the problems designers are having with the large quantity's of transistors loaded on a silicon chip and the power requirements they require.

Without enough power for all of them, transistors are left in the dark, while others are working.

"The phenomenon is known as dark silicon."

Check out the article:

Saturday, July 23, 2011

QRP In The Heat

The game plan today is set up my Ten-Tec R40/20 QRP rig in the yard under the umbrella. The only problem is the heat and temperature racing to another 100 degree day.

From the National Weather Service,

Warning: EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING in effect until Saturday July 23, 8:00PM.

Yesterdays high in Newark, NJ at 3:00PM was a baking 108 degrees. So depending how I feel in the heat will determine if I give it a try.

Tomorrow is going to cool down to 90 degrees, wonderful.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hazy, Hot, & Humid

The heading just about says it all for the next few days.

Per AccuWeather the high temperature for my location in New Jersey was a very sticky 102F. This is not a good day to stay outside for very long.

The forecast:

Friday 100 deg F (real feel will be 110)
Saturday 96 deg F
Sunday 93 deg F

I am still looking forward to setting up in the yard on Saturday to make a few contacts on the radio, in the shade of course.

Stay Cool!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

WorldRadio Online

On my face book page I am a fan of CQ magazine and received a posting that the August edition of WorldRadio Online is up and ready for downloading.

I use to be a subscriber of the print edition, it was always rolled up in my back pocket when I took my kids to martial arts classes. Now I try and read it every month when I remember to go to the website.

Two articles of interest caught my eye this month,

Trial-Friendly Radio: Adventure in the Colorado Rockies. I always enjoy QRP outdoor adventures.
A nice Morse code write up and the Novice 40 meter band.

A must read every month is the Aerials section by Kurt N. Sterba, always keeping them honest.

Be sure to check out WorldRadio Online and support the advertisers.

Can't beat a Free Amateur Radio magazine but I still miss the printed copy to carry around.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Memories of W.P.I.X in NY

Here is a wonderful video I came across, Memories of W.P.I.X channel 11 in New York.

No matter where you live I am sure you have seen these classics.

Compared to what is on the tube these days, I will take the reruns any day.

Enjoy your weekend!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Back Yard Radio

Spent most of the yesterday afternoon between playing radio under the umbrella to jumping in the pool, turned out to be a perfect summer day.

The anteena I set up was my trusted Buddi-Pole, 20 meters tuned up nice for a 1.3 on the swr meter. It just feels better when you have confidance in the anteena system, which I certainly have in the Buddi-Pole. I started the afternoon with the R40/20 qrp rig hooked up scanning the usual hang outs but could not find a connection calling cq. So much for the confidence I mentioned.

After dinner and the barbaque was closed up I decided to switch over to my Yaesu FT-857 and check out the ssb action. The 20 meter band was in fine shape with a few state side contacts, Cuba and Argentina. I did have to crank up the power to 100W to get in for Argentina, that is why I like the option available for more power if needed. I used my Werker 12V 10Ah battery for the power requirements.

Overall it was a pleasant day to be outside and make a few contacts.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Antenna Work

Last week I started playing around with a stealth like antenna set up for the back yard. After doing some research on the world wide web (sounds cool) I picked up a painters pole from the local Home Depot.

Decided to go with the Mr. Long Arm brand 8-23ft light weight extension pole. This pole is very lite, fits into the car for portable use, and seems well made. I started with a 20 meter ham stick, counterpoise wire, and Mr. Longarm attached to my fence. With my Z-11 Pro antenna tuner hooked up to a FT-857D, a few stations were heard across the band. I was not satisfied so I raised the pole up to the full 23 feet and the extra height made a big difference. Another problem is the antenna was mounted very close to my house, a corner spot in the yard more in the open should help the overall performance. More experimenting is needed to get the most out of this set up. Another choice for an antenna is a simple doublet with some speaker wire and a turner.

I see the sun has made its way back to NJ after a week of clouds and rain, after a few morning chores like cutting the lawn, this afternoon I am going to try and get on the air from the yard. If your interested in checking out Mr LongArm here is the link. You have to admit the is a great name, Mr. Long Arm.

Friday, June 17, 2011

NY Times Space Weather

Here's a link to an article in today's New York Times regarding space weather.

"In 1859, a solar super storm sparked fires in telegraph offices. Such storms are predicted every century or so, and perhaps we're overdue"

Interesting reading.
Enjoy your Friday night!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

I finally broke down and purchased a new Ten Tec R4020 QRP radio and UPS delivered in late last week.

Here is a write up from introduction:

The R4020 is small in size, light weight, has provisions for optional built-in batteries, and is especially suitable for travel, picnics, and other outdoor activities. This is a Trail Friendly Radio.

First impressions is the overall super small size of the unit, 3-1/2 x 5 1/2 inches, weight without batteries is 15.8 oz. This transceiver is just begging for outdoor use. It looks like a solid build with sturdy knobs. So far the only time I powered it up was to get the unit to recognize my straight key, had to rewire my 3.5mm stereo plug.

I can already see the R4020 taking a trip to the Jersey shore or along the bay for some sunset operating. Just need to find a small portable antenna to come along for the ride. My Buddi-Pole might be to large to carry around. I was hoping to set up today in the yard and give it a test run but we are having overcast sky's and a very slight misty rain. After temps in the 90 deg + range all week the cooler 70 deg feels nice.

Time to go hook up an antenna and do some on air testing of this little rig.

Will keep you posted how I make out.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

LED Contest

The Instructables LED Contest is back again this year.

Prizes include an Ipod 2, Kindle, and others.

Contest ends June 19Th.

Good Luck!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Armstrong's Circuit

In light of the complex circuitry employed in most of today's television's and stereos, Armstrong's superheterodyne circuit seems remarkably simple and essential. And the circuit has survived because of its economy. It does its job simply and elegantly. Today it forms the basis of the tuner found in virtually every radio and television, as well as in such other devices as radar detectors and police scanners.

Empire Of The Air
The Men Who Made Radio
By Tom Lewis

Monday, May 23, 2011

Clap-Off Bra

The Clap-Off Bra from Randy Sarafan on Vimeo.

Just when you think you have seen it all, now comes the Clap-Off Bra.

This caught my eye this morning from the web site Instructables. The best part is you can build you own for the wife or girlfriend. I would also bet you won't see this item "AS Seen On TV" for sale anytime soon but who knows?

But keep in mind your constant clapping would get old very fast.

(PLEASE NOTE: Video is OK for all, I never use inappropriate content or language on this site, if your not going to say it at the dinner table with the family, I would not use it on a blog.)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

SMT - Training Course

It was a nice day to start a new kit on a overcast damp cloudy Sunday afternoon.

Finally got up the courage to do surface mount soldering with the Elenco SMT - Training Course Model SM-200K. The kit when complete will be a decision maker with 6 LED's, switch, and buzzer mounter on a board. This is more of a fun build but looking forward to working with these small SMT devices and I mean tiny.

For this project I broke out and mounted the magnifier with a built in light on my desk and the eye glasses were an absolute must. For starters the kit includes six 0 Ohm resistors and a dummy spot on the PC boards for practice. In my usual slow pace I soldered on the chip resistors and capacitors carefully inspecting each under the magnifier. Two of the caps a .0039uF and a 0.15uF seemed extra small, if you drop one of theses on the floor good luck.

Within the next few days I will tackle the two electrolytic caps, and the semis. The two cups of coffee did not help the steadiness of the hands one bit.

It's fun working with the little parts.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Clean Up Clean Up...

Everybody do you share. I remember that song from years ago watching Barney that purple dinosaur on TV with my kids.

New basements windows are on order which means I am in the process of cleaning out my valuable items / stuff, never junk for the installer in a few weeks. Well that means all my radio and building items put away in plastic boxes I picked up at Lowe's this afternoon.

When the job is complete I am thinking of just leaving all the tools, meters, etc. in the boxes and take them out as needed, appearance is so much neater. Only problem is my radio cables are coming into bottom sill with two holes drilled, any new ideas are more than welcome regarding running cables into house and keeping the wife happy?

Time to check out my antenna books for a few ideas.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Simple Times

Here is a video if your about 40+ years in age.

So much of this I can relate to.

Enjoy your weekend!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Cool SchmartBoard Intro

Check out the well done video by SchmartBoard, a very easy way to solder surface mount devices on a board.

It scares me when I have to solder those tiny soic devices using a standard soldering iron. I have seen spiders bigger than a 8 lead soic. Besides my hands are not that steady.

Good stuff by SchmartBoard.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

Wishing Everyone A Happy Easter & Have A Wonderful Day!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

New Blog Added

Today's a good day to catch up on a few things considering the steady rain this morning in N.J. and the sinus infection I am fighting. Glad I went to see the doc yesterday to get antibiotics into the system to help.

A new blog has been added to my list, W2LJ's QRP blog, which provides for some wonderful reading and has turned into a daily stop of mine. Larry does a great job keeping it fresh and updated with all things QRP and building. He also has tons of great info that will come in handy.

I see that the 555 design contest ended this week with a large variety of circuits entered. Be sure and check out link and all the very cool designs at

This afternoon during my Ranger Cap playoff game I am going to break out my kids Elenco 130 in one electronics lab and wire up a few circuits with the spring loaded contacts.

Depending how the game goes if the NYR are losing I might be doing more wiring the watching.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Mr. Jim Portable

This past Sunday I spent an hour or so at the Fort Lee Historic Park in Fort Lee, NJ. The park overlooks the Hudson River and George Washington Bridge, the views are incredible. My last visit here was in March of 2010.

Every time I visit the park have to take a short walk on the path and check out the NY skyline and Hudson River far below. A married couple was being photographed, too bad it was cloudy out but warm temps near 60 degrees.

My radio set up was a Yaesu 857, LDG Z-11 antenna tuner, 20 & 40 meter ham sticks and a Werker battery. The big advantage of this location is the height which helps with the ham sticks. Started out on 40 meters with a few stations heard, a quick switch over to 20 meters had a big improvement, the band came alive with signals from far and near.

My two nice contacts were Chris, G5FZ, in England, and Dimitri, IN3ACQ, in Italy, SSB. Dimitri kept calling me Mr. Jim! My power out was 70 watts, sorry qrp fans, I tried calling cq a number of times with 10 watts out but no luck.

One thing about operating outside the home is describing your surroundings, much different than working stations from your home qth. The nice weather is on the way so I plan on getting out more with the radio.

A hike on a trail sounds like a future plan!

Sunday, April 3, 2011


A few weeks ago I picked up an HP iPAQ 111 handheld PC personal organizer.

This will be a great way to keep organized with my work contacts and schedule, but it also includes WI-FI, email, and tons of other bells and whistles.

I spent sometime yesterday searching the web for apps, downloaded an E-reader so far. If anyone knows of any apps for amateur radio related and wishes to share them please post a comment. It also accepts apps for windows 6 mobile phones.

The bubble game included is fun!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Fun Email

This email landed in my box, fun stuff.

If you are 36, or older, you might think this is hilarious!

When I was a kid, adults used to bore me to tears with their tedious
diatribes about how hard things were. When they were growing up; what with
walking twenty-five miles to school every morning.... Uphill....
Barefoot... BOTH ways...yadda, yadda, yadda

And I remember promising myself that when I grew up, there was no way I was
going to lay a bunch of crap like that on my kids about how hard I had it
and how easy they've got it!

But now that I'm over the ripe old age of forty, I can't help but look
around and notice the youth of today. You've got it so easy! I mean,
compared to my childhood, you live in Utopia! And I hate to say it, but
you kids today don't know how good you've got it!

1) I mean, when I was a kid we didn't have the Internet. If we wanted to
know something, we had to go to the library and look it up ourselves, in
the card catalog!!

2) There was no email!! We had to actually write somebody a letter - with
a pen! Then you had to walk all the way across the street and put it in
the mailbox, and it would take like a week to get there! Stamps were 10

3) Child Protective Services didn't care if our parents beat us. As a
matter of fact, the parents of all my friends also had permission to kick
our ass! Nowhere was safe!

4) There were no MP3's or Napsters or iTunes! If you wanted to steal
music, you had to hitchhike to the record store and shoplift it yourself!

5) Or you had to wait around all day to tape it off the radio, and the DJ
would usually talk over the beginning and mess it all up! There were no CD
players! We had tape decks in our car. We'd play our favorite tape and
"eject" it when finished, and then the tape would come undone rendering it
useless. Cause, hey, that's how we rolled, Baby! Dig?

6) We didn't have fancy stuff like Call Waiting! If you were on the phone
and somebody else called, they got a busy signal, that's it!

7) There weren't any cell phones either. If you left the house, you just
didn't make a call or receive one. You actually had to be out of touch with
your "friends". OH MY GOSH !!! Think of the horror... not being in touch
with someone 24/7!!! And then there's TEXTING. Yeah, right. Please! You
kids have no idea how annoying you are.

8) And we didn't have fancy Caller ID either! When the phone rang, you had
no idea who it was! It could be your school, your parents, your boss, the
collection agent... you just didn't know!!! You had to pick it up and take
your chances, mister!

9) You had to use a little book called a TV Guide to find out what was on!
You were screwed when it came to channel surfing! You had to get off your
rear and walk over to the TV to change the channel!!! NO REMOTES!!! Oh,
no, what's the world coming to?!?!

10) There was no Cartoon Network either! You could only get cartoons on
Saturday Morning. Do you hear what I'm saying? We had to wait ALL WEEK for
cartoons, you spoiled little brats!

11) And we didn't have microwaves. If we wanted to heat something up, we
had to use the stove! Imagine that!

12) And our parents told us to stay outside and play... all day long. Oh,
no, no electronics to soothe and comfort. And if you came back inside...
you were doing chores!

And car seats - oh, please! Mom threw you in the back seat and you hung
on. If you were lucky, you got the "safety arm" across the chest at the
last moment if she had to stop suddenly, and if your head hit the
dashboard, well that was your fault for calling "shot gun" in the first

See! That's exactly what I'm talking about! You kids today have got it too
easy. You're spoiled rotten! You guys wouldn't have lasted five minutes
back in 1970 or any time before!

The Over 40 Crowd

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Busy Bee

I have been extremely busy with work related issues, updated to a new computer and data transfers, fun stuff.

With the spring season a few weeks away this Saturday might be a good time to get out of the house, pack up some radio gear, and go play radio. Even if I will be in the car making contacts at a cool location still beats the basement.

I even saw my first robin of the season in the yard, just as long as were done with the snow.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cellphone Talk

Interesting article from this mornings NY Times regarding cellphone safety.

Personally I would rather play it safe and not have it turned on 24-7 in my pocket. A number of people have canceled the home phone and just use the cell only. Just don't sleep with the cell next to you on the nightstand.

As amateur radio operators we all know how far that small signal can travel.">

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Power Supply Kit

Finished up the Elenco Power Supply Kit Model XP-720K this afternoon. Testing was very easy, just a matter of checking output voltages with a multimeter.

Everything checked out right on the money with the voltage checks. Overall I am a very satisfied customer of Elenco kits. The assembly Manual was very clear and easy to follow. Besides the general instructions on part placement, etc. booklet also includes a circuit description and if your really get into it a quiz.

This kit will fit right in on my workbench. On the subject of power supplies I have an Astron that needs two new binding posts on the rear, both are pretty stripped and just barely hold wires securely for my HF radios. Time to add the posts to my next component order.

The Elenco Model XP-720K

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Famous Hams

Here is a cool list to check out and see who shares one of our favorite hobby's.

The Original Famous Hams and ex-Hams List by N2GJ and W2SG. This is a decent size list put together which makes for a nice read.

Next time your on the air remember the good radio company we have shared past and present.

Enjoy your Saturday evening!

Monday, January 31, 2011

More Snow & Ice!

The snow is suppose to start early Tuesday morning, 3-6 inches than freezing rain and ice.

Wednesday they are calling for more snow as this two day storm wraps up.

Sounds like one big mess!!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Winter Scenery

A recent picture I took of a small stream by my house after one of our many storms. The forecast is calling for more snow this week, boy do I miss the beach with the warm sand between my toes.

Did some wiring on the power supply kit this afternoon, next up is installing the hardware and binding posts on the chassis.

Time to go watch some football, temps are suppose to be in the low teens for tonight's Jets game in Pittsburgh. A great time to be tucked in staying warm.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

New Kit Build

Today was a typical cold January day with temps in the twenty's and it almost turned into a lazy do nothing Sunday until I got motivated and started a new kit build.

The first kit build of 2011 is the Elenco Power Supply kit model XP-720K. This power supply has 3 fully regulated supplies, 1.25V - 15V @ 1A, -1.25 to -15V @ 1A, or 3-30V @ 1A and 5V @ 3A. It also has 6.3VAC @ 1A and 12.6VAC center tapped @ 1A. The kit also includes a sharp looking enclosure that would fit and look nice on my work bench.

This power supply will come in handy for my power requirements. By working at my usual slow pace I soldered on the resistors, diodes, and capacitors. I prefer a slow build, seems like most things are done these days at a super fast pace, so looking to change things up.

This is my first power supply kit I have built since my Heathkit many many years ago in my basement as a kid.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Just Learn Morse Code

The past few days I starting playing with Just Learn Morse Code.

This is a free download with some cool features that lets the user adjust speeds, characters, words per minute, and pitch.

One of my goals this year is to get the code down where I am comfortable on the key and not scrambling when receiving.

We received about 4-5 inches of the white stuff today, all shoveled out so can sit back and relax tonight.