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Throat Mics? [Oct. 21st, 2009|10:26 pm]

Every year, in the dead of (the Canadian prairie) winter, I help out doing communication at a two-day Scout camp. Because the cold never plays nicely with batteries I need to keep the radio itself inside my coat. This means I need an external speaker/microphone. I've got a decent speaker-mic, but fishing the wire out from underneath that many layers of clothing can be a nuisance, and sometimes I can't zip my jacket up as much as I would like to with the wire getting in the way.

The logical conclusion would seem to be a throat-mic. I can leave all of the radio equipment buried down underneath some layers of fleece, with a microphone clasped around my neck and a low-profile piece of acoustical tubing sticking out of my ear. A remote PTT button can sit down by my cuff, or hanging out the bottom of my jacket and clipped to my hip (or wherever happens to be convenient). Plus, unlike a traditional headset I can pull scarves, tuques, and balaclavas on and off without disturbing the equipment too much.

So, having settled on that, I need advice: have any of you used throat-mics before? Any good/bad experiences?

Continued behind the cutCollapse )
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1) Aim at Barrel Containing Fish; 2) Pull Trigger [Oct. 20th, 2009|10:21 pm]

Getting the rare DX is a lot easier when all that separates you from it is 5 miles of salt water.
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HFBeacon for Android version 1.0 released! [Jul. 31st, 2009|05:20 pm]

[mood |giddygiddy]

I have published an application on the Android Market which will allow operators like me who can't understand the Morse code generated by the HF propagation beacon network well enough to know which beacon is expected to transmit on any given band at the present time. The application's name is HFBeacon and I hope it is useful to others.

I posted the long tale of how the application was created here for the curious. Thanks!
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CQ Field Day [Jun. 28th, 2009|03:30 pm]


WECA's Field Day 2009, N2SF/4A/ENY at Harbor Island Park Mamaroneck, NY.

More pictures on Flickr.
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Strange hobby [Jun. 25th, 2009|01:26 pm]

Hello friends. Just for the matter of fun I would like to ask your opinion on one subject.
We have a big amount of brunches in our hobby. Some interested in HF, some in VHF, some satellites, some APRS, some just digital mode etc. etc. In one of Russian forums I mentioned that I like talking to real people, to learn their life style, hear the fun stories from faraway. I said I prefer to call CQ DX because it is the only way to get a proper conversation with DX stations. Otherwise it is just –“59, NEXT!” I tried to explain them that kind of activity is even more challenging than chasing country spotted in the cluster. I gave an example of fishing in artificially made lake with artificially grown fish (spotted in cluster you know who and where), and fishing in the wild (calling CQ you never know what comes up and how weak going to be the signal). I had fantastic time trying to get call signs out of the noise level of stations using simple antennas. With that they were from the countries that I long had confirmed. Often I have rear DX stopping by and saying something like: “I am so tiered from those pile ups. I’m really happy that I can finally just talk”.
Do you know what kind of replay I got on the forum?
“You are not a real HAM” “Go to skype to ragchew” “Real HAMs never CQ” “Radio waves not for chatting” “You only occupy the frequency that real HAMs could properly use” “Because of those like you DX spend time that could be use in the pile up”.
I did not get a single person to support me. So the question is - is it really so? I and those who stop by on my freq are out of the Hobby? One guy said that if I do not have a real goal (DXCC, IOTA, WAS etc.) I should not be switching the radio on transmit at all. I said that it is like forcing a man going for a walk to walk to a certain place. If not - sit home!
Is it really the attitude all over the world? Or is it just Russian habit from the days of iron curtain?
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Roadworthy [Jun. 22nd, 2009|08:23 pm]

[mood |accomplished]

Latest update, finally completed. Now visible by air!Collapse )

Did you know that common stencil sets don't include numbers? I didn't, had to make the 6 by hand. All of it was painted by hand, which unfortunately due to weather made some of them rougher then I'd like. Still it's plenty clear enough to be readable so I'll live with it for now.

This is the vehicle which houses my primary station, a Kenwood TM-D710. The trunk containts a 1200W A/C inverter running on its own battery. Whelen safety lights forward and rear, still need to install side visible lighting. I am an AEC for ARES/RACES in San Luis Obispo county.
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Playing around with APRS [Jun. 16th, 2009|11:17 am]

Hey, everyone. I wanted to start poking around with APRS, but my rigs are all still in storage on a transcontinental move. The actual operating of a station, however, is less my focus, as I'm more interested in gathering the messages off the APRS-IS to put to practical use.

Finding guides on building an APRS station isn't too hard, but software documentation seems a bit harder to come by. What I'm really looking for is some software, preferably open source, that can just receive messages from the APRS-IS so that I can then extend it to do some custom processing on it.

Could anyone make a recommendation to me? I'm presuming I just need client software for this and not server software, right? Help a rookie out.
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APRS community [May. 26th, 2009|01:12 pm]

Moderators, I hope this brief announcement is okay. If not, feel free to delete.

I recently posted here about the lack of an APRS community on LJ. I've since created one, aprs. Feel free to hop over there if packet radio and APRS are your thing.

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Xastir in a box, anyone? [May. 26th, 2009|12:03 pm]

Have you wanted to try Xastir (the free, open source APRS mapper), but were put off by the idea of dedicating your computer to running Linux? Feel free to try out something I built for my local team of hams that work the MS Society bike events here in Minnesota. I call it Xastir for MS-SCRAM (click for more info). It's a simplified installation of Xubuntu Linux and Xastir, all inside a virtual machine that you can run on top of your existing Windows, MacOS or other system. It runs under Sun VirtualBox, a VM environment that is free for personal use.

It has maps for all Minnesota counties pre-loaded for standalone use, however if you've got an internet connection, you can enable online Tiger maps for anywhere in the US. It supports many different TNCs, in addition to supporting the AGWPE soundcard packet engine running on Windows hosts.

Plans for future releases include a map and team chooser, so once the user downloads the the Xastir VM image, they'll be able to pick which states they'd like to load maps for and which team they are a part of. This will let this vm image work for more than just our Minnesota team!

I'd like to hear feedback from other hams who do this sort of thing!

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APRS, anyone? [May. 20th, 2009|12:05 pm]

There doesn't seem to be an APRS-specific group here on LJ. Anyone know of an APRS or Packet community?
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