Monthly Archives: October 2014

Crosstown Traffic: HamNation #169 features Tower Safety

After the death of James Linstedt W9ZUC [] of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, tower safety is once again a hot topic in ham radio circles.  James was 59 years old and an experienced tower climber, yet committed a deadly safety breach by not securing his harness to the tower when he needed to climb ten feet.  During that brief climb, he slipped and fell 95 feet to his death.  Numerous news reports were in the mainstream media about his death…  This is the one from his local paper, the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram.

Valerie Hotzfeld NV9L did a pretty interesting piece on tower safety on last week’s HamNation on  Her piece begins at 15:40.  You can also see this on YouTube — this link should take you right to 15:40.

Those of us in radio and electronics have chosen inherently dangerous hobbies.  We can get burned while soldering that PL-259 onto the RG-8.  We can get shocked.  We can slip with that pair of wire cutters and end up with stitches.  I’ve done all three of these.  But the tower work can be the most deadly.  Be careful everybody.


(published from DFW, Texas)

Crosstown Traffic: Hackaday Hacklet #19 – Ham Radio – SDR, Foxhunt Attenuator, and Ethernet to Radio Adapter

The folks over at Hackaday featured Ham Radio in their latest edition of the Hacklet, their weekly newsletter covering projects posted on their site.  The first project, titled “RTL-SDR With Upconverter and Case” features the use of an upconverter to enable the SDR dongle to pick up HF.  Pretty handy, considering the stock RTL-SDR has a low limit of about 24 MHz. I just picked up one of these SDR dongles, so I’ll have to look into getting the upconverter.

Like fox hunting?  Attach the “Ham Radio Fox Hunt Attenuator” to your HT to reduce the sensitivity of your portable as you close in on that tiny low-powered transmitter.  This one uses a couple of 1K potentiometers abd boasts a “…first of its kind variable attenautor vs multiple switches. 1-20 and 21-60 db. with a 3rd option of bypass/straight through.”  The ones I’ve used in the past have a bank of switches that switch resistors in an out, so their might be some advantage to the variable unit. Read more

Projects: RTL2832 Software Defined Radio and FM Stereo Transmitter from Adafruit

I just purchased a few items from Adafruit including an RTL2832 Software Defined Radio USB Stick and a Stereo FM Transmitter with RDS breakout board.  Not sure what I’m going to do with the FM Transmitter but I think it will be something like the FM Transmitter that my friend Mike Yancey KM5Z made a few years ago.  The Software Defined Radio stick will probably come with me on my travels so I can sniff the airwaves while bored in my hotel room.  Lady Ada has a good tutorial for the SDR and it looks like a lot of fun — will apparently pick up signals from 24 MHz to 1.8 GHz and supports narrow and wide FM, AM, sideband, and CW.  She also has a tutorial for the FM transmitter.  I’ll make some postings to the blog when I start playing with these things.


(published from Hagerstown, MD)

In the News: Two sisters aged 9 and 11 pass the General exam


Photo credit: Joyanna Love, Cleveland Daily Banner

From the Cleveland Daily Banner in Cleveland, TN (via KB6NU’s Ham Radio Blog)

Estee (KK4MVS) and Rebecca (KK4OAU) Ratcliff, ages 11 and 9, passed their General amateur license exam and are among the youngest in the nation to have done so.  Hopefully they will go on to take the Extra exam.  I’m pretty impressed — I got my Novice at 14 years old and it wasn’t until I was 24 that I passed my General and Extra.  Great job, girls!


(published from Hagerstown, MD)

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