Saturday, August 25, 2012

Saturday Evening Post

I have always been a big fan of scanner listening since my first handheld with four plug in crystals back in high school.

This required going to Radio Shack with your list of local frequencies and the counter person would pull them out from behind the counter. Can you image the blank stare you would get now if you asked for a certain crystal? I ended up selling it but now wish I didn't, moved up to a Fox desktop model programmable which was decent but not great. I finally graduated to a Uniden BC 200XLT that I still have, just in need of another battery.

If you want to get into the action and do not have a scanner just click on the following link for online listening across the United States.

This site includes police, fire, airports, repeaters, etc. So far I have been listening to the police in Newark, NJ, Essex County, not a nice area to say this least, just heard a call for gun shots.

A good bet would also be New York City considering the amount of nonsense going on. Yesterday at the Empire State Building was a good example of another person snapping, seems like this is happening more. Maybe you have some favorites you would like to share? Scanner listening is like watching the FOX TV show cops but you hear the action live from the safety of your own home.

On a sad note Neil Armstrong passed away today at 82 years old. The first man on the moon.

A true hero!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Long Wire Antenna

Today was a perfect sunny day with low humidity for a change to enjoy the outdoors with a backyard set up and homebrewed antenna.

I decided to make a quick run to the dollar store for some speaker wire. A 100ft spool of 18AWG costs a few bucks, so much for the dollar store. Hooked up one end to my Mr. Longarm painters pole and about 48 feet of wire attached to a 4-1 LDG balun with another wire attached to my metal 6 foot fence for grounding. My LDG Z11 tuner did the work on 20 and 40 with an swr of 1.5.

The 40 meter band was very quiet on the CW side and had no success with my R40/20 QRP rig. The 20 meter band was better but no takers to my 5W cq call, plus some of those stations were super fast. I needed to make a contact to see if this wire setup would work. Decided to hooked up my FT-857D and jumped on 20 meter SSB and make two contacts with Germany and Spain.

This setup still needs tweaking, maybe putting up the pole support in a corner of yard to get more wire in the air and extending the pole to its max height. The ground is also a very important part so might play around to improve. I always like to try new antennas and setups in general before going to the field.

Still happy with this quick and easy setup.