Stealth Antennas

As a han radio operator, you only dream about the perfect location to operate from and where you can have the best antennas in the world, but most of us live in the real world with all of its restrictions. Here are articles about a couple of what I call stealth antennas, antennas disguised so that you would not think of them as an “ugly” ham anteena. Of course, to a ham, no antenna is ugly!

flowerpot antennaflagpole antennaHere is a link to an antenna system that you can hide in your front flower garden. Built using a flower pot, this antenna system can be deployed almost anywhere in the garden allowing you to operate some of your favourite bands.

Another stealth system used is to hide your antenna inside what looks like a flagpole. You can be patriotic at the same time as you will be able to work the ham radio bands that this antenna covers. The neighbours will be none the wiser!

Ohm’s Law

One of the first things you are taught in learning to become an amateur radio operator is Ohm’s Law. Here is Make magazine’s version of Ohm’s Law.

A fun way to learn about the fundamental equation in electronics.

Sudden Receiver – FDIM 2009 Buildathon

The annual event hosted by the QRPARCI organization called FDIM (Four Days In May) at the Dayton, Ohio Hamvention usually gives attending hams an opportunity to build a small project during an afternoon period. In 2009, the project built was a Manhattan style version of the Sudden Receiver, with a circuit designed by G3RJV, George Dobbs, and kitted by Rex Harper, W1REX. Here is a link to a copy of the buildathon instructions, circuit diagram and pictures of the completed project, courtesy of QRPME. Check out the rest of his site, there is lots of interest there.

FDIM2009 sudden receiver

manhattan layout

The Tinear Receiver

The AMQRP group put out a DC receiver kit called the Tinear Receiver. I bought the kit at the time and have yet to get it built. Here’s the manual and also some build notes. Looks like an interesting project and I should get it completed sooner rather than later.

tinear receiver

Keys and Paddles

This is the type of key most hams would start out using. The action of the key is up and down, when down, the contact is made and the transmitter turns on and transmits a CW signal. Your wrist (fist) gets tired fairly quickly when you use this key so other more user friendly devices were created to send the dots and dashes.

I find this device called a keyer paddle much easier to use once you are used to it. Pressing the left side will send dots and pressing the right side will send dashes. A keyer is an electronic device which is in between the keyer paddle as shown and your transmitter and produces a dot when you press the left side of the paddle and a dash when you press the right side of the paddle. One advantage of the keyer paddle is that the keyer will produce either dots or dashes as long as you press the left/right side of the paddle. This is a commercial keyer paddle from American Morse, a small portable keyer paddle. This keyer paddle has been designed for use in portable operations, it is small and light. I bought one a couple of years ago at Dayton.

If you want to save money, then you can build your own keyer paddles out of common paperclips. Here is a link to an article giving you more information about paperclip keyer paddles.

My Radio Interests

I have had my ham license since 1965, a period of 45 years (in 2010). In that time, my interests within ham radio have varied. In the beginning, you concentrate on learning the code so that you can get your license, then study some more so that you can get the Advanced license. Once you have accomplished these, then exam writing is over and you can do what you wish to do within the limits of the license.

One of my biggest interests in ham radio is DX. DX is looking for and working stations far away from you around the world. When I lived in London, Ontario, I put up a 48 foot tower, with a tri-band beam and tried to work the world. I made many contacts with this setup in the years that it was up. My first DX contact with this setup was into the Canal Zone. i have worked (i.e. had a contact with) over 100 countries as well, and well remember one afternoon working many stations on 15 meters when sunspot conditions were better. That was a great afternoon!. One other great memory from my DX days is going to Antigua on vacation in 1981 and operating from there. I borrowed a radio and 2-element beam from a fellow ham there and made many contacts during that week. What an eye-opener to be on the other end of a pile up!

SW-20+ from SWLOne of my other interests now later in my ham life is QRP. With QRP, you use whatever receiver you like, but, to be considered a QRP contact, you must use 5 watts or less in transmit power. When you do this, your overall antenna system becomes much more important than if you are using more power. A lot has been and can be accomplished with QRP but you must realize that is not quite as easy as using more power.

More later…

73, Al

Color Charts

Resistors and capacitors have color codes which tell you their value.

73, Al

Morse Code

The Morse Code is no longer a requirement for the Canadian amateur radio license. Even though this is the case, many hams are still learning and using the morse code. The chart below gives you the letters, numbers and special characters in morse code. The second chart can be used to help learn the code. Enjoy.

73, Al

Hello from the radio world of VE3GAM

Welcome to my new site. I have been a ham radio operator since 1965 and want to use this site to promote the hobby and show what I do with it and what others have done.

73, Al