News and updates (21 December 2009)

I have been inactive for long periods over the last several years largely due to career and family obligations but I have begun to get more active from my new QTH. Mostly with digital modes and some phone on the HF pack frequencies.

My wife and I bought a 9 acre farm near Roberta / Knoxville Georgia. We are raising some heirloom breed chickens as well as a few tomatoes and peppers. I planted a few aluminum seeds in the optimistic hope a tower may grow one day. HI

Currently the antennas are limited to a Gap Titan and an 88 ft ladderline fed Doublet. I plan to add a large horizontal loop and a delta loop for 40 meters as well as re-hang my 80 meter / 17 meter doublet.

The rigs are a Yaesu FT-897 and a FT-817 with a HFpacker amp I built for pedestrian portable work. I am working on a wooden box to carry the complete system. I will post some photo's when I get it further along. It will resemble many of the larger military backpack radios with one exception. It won't be green. The birch plywood is just too pretty to paint. So I am staining it and will cover the stain with spar varnish for water protection. The box will hold two 7 amp/hour batteries in internal compartments. It also will hold the FT-817, the HFPacker Amp and a LDG Z-11 Pro tuner. It will eventually attach to either my bike or an external pack frame.

I have an FT-857 in my secondary vehicle but it has some noise issues so I don't get to work as much mobile as I would like. I have read K0BG's website and I have no doubt it is a grounding issue. It's just one of those 'round to it deals.

I use Ham Radio Deluxe as my primary software package for digital and logging. I really like the digital modes especially Olivia, Hell and PSK31 although I can work most of them with DM-780. I respond 100% to all cards and do not demand a SASE for DX or first time stateside contacts. I also use eQSL and if I can get it to work LOTW.

I am working on getting a bicycle mobile station setup using the 817 / HFpacker amp. It will also be able to mount on an old aluminum backpack frame for pedestrian portable work. My wife likes to hike and I often go with her as far as the knees will take me then I find a nice place and wait for her to get tired. I love the 35 watt packer amp as it will holds a steady output even down to 10 volts although I don't let the battery get that low. I tried the FT-857 as a portable but it gets very flaky below about 11.9 volts even with the power dialed all the way back.

I tend to hang around the Olivia calling frequencies these days. (The bold ones below are the most likely ones to catch me.)
I normally call using either 16/500 or 8/500. The first cuts through noise and is better under weak or noisy band conditions the second is faster but not quite as good in the extremes. That said Olivia is one robust old gal and can carry on a conversation with the best of them. I love a good rag chew with 16/500 since it is slow enough that you have time to compose your thoughts then respond, correct any typos, and still have time to go get a cup of coffee before it's your turn again. Now that's relaxing! So if you want to chat give me a shout.

15-6mtrs : 21.072, 24.922, 28.122, 50.291
17mtrs : 18102.65
20mtrs : 14075.65 (500,250,or 125hz modes mostly) and 14106.5 (1000 or 2000 hz wide modes mostly)
30mtrs : 10142.5
40mtrs : 7072.5
80mtrs : 3583.25 and 3577

These are two key links I use often when planning my current operations.
Olivia...The Magical Mode

When Mobile or portable I am often on the HFpack SSB frequencies on 17 and 20 meters.