Make Your Own Fox Hunting Antenna!

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The final product of the tape measure antenna. Its tapes are folded into the body to save space.

Click here for More antennas! and fox hunting techniques.

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Step 1: Gather tool and materials. Tools: Small shears or scissors, a soldering iron, pliers, wire cutters, c-clamp, electrical tape or fabric tape, sand paper and a file, black sharpie, a saw, a zig-zag ruler, and a flat heads screw driver. Materials: 1 inch tape measure, 5 foot long PVC pipe, 4 feet or more of 50 ohm coax (RG-58 with a PL-259 connector), 12 AWG copper wire, 2 terminal connectors, 2 stainless steel hose clamps for a 1 1/4 inch diameter hose and 3 1 1/2 inch PVC crosses.

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Step 2: Cut the PVC pipe. Cut one 8 inch PVC for the handle, cut a 7 inch for the spacing from the reflector to the driven element and cut a 11 1/2 inch piece for the spacing between the driven element and the director. Cut 4 small 1/2 inch PVC pieces to keep the Tape int the pipe.

 

 

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Step 3: Cut the tapes. Use shears or scissors for this. Tape measure lengths: Reflector- 41 3/8 inches Driven element- 35 1/2 inches, then cut in half. One half measures to 17 3/4 inches Director- 35 1/8 inches

 

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Step 4: Sand the coating off of the tape measure. Sand the ends of the driven element so you could solder the copper wire onto it. Now file all of the corners and ends off of all the elements.

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Step 5: Assemble the PVC pipes and tapes. Put all of the PVC to gather. First a 8″ then a cross then the 7″ and a cross, last the 11 1/2 inch and a cross. Then put the driven element on the middle cross with the hose clamps. Slide the other 2 elements into the crosses. Wrap the handle with the tape for extra grip.

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Step 6: Keep the tapes in the crosses with the little 1/2 inch pieces. Slide them into the crosses with the CENTERED tapes. Use the c-clamp to push them into the pipe all the way.

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Step 7: Create the wire connections for the driven element. These are the MOST IMPORTANT parts of the antenna because they make the driven elements. Cut the wire and bend it in half with pliers. bend the ends and put the terminals on them. Secure them by squeezing the ends with a pliers.

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Step 8: Solder the connector onto the driven element. Afterward, solder the middle of the coax onto the left driven element and the shield onto the right driven element.

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Step 9: Wire the coax. I ran mine through the pipes because I didn’t need to wrap it. You will need to wrap it if it is not accurate. If you wrap it then you will need to run it on the outside and tape it to the pipe.

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Step 10: test the antenna. This is my brother testing his.

 

 

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The Switching Power Supply

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The switching power is very different than a linear power supply. The BIG difference is that the switching power supply switches out the components that store energy, like capacitors, into different configurations so they will get a break so ‘the converters can theoretically operate with 100% efficiency (i.e., all input power is delivered to the load; no power is wasted as dissipated heat)’ [Wikipedia]. So, basically switching the components makes sure that 100% of the incoming voltage (wall voltage) that is 120 or 240 volts AC goes through the transformer and becomes 13.8 volts DC. This is done so no power will be wasted and theoretically your electrical bill would go down. BUT, there are some disadvantages to this! Because of this switching the switching noise goes back onto the main power line causing noise distortion to A/V devices like radios. To prevent this from happening you may need to buy special snap-on filters called EMI and Radio Frequency filters to cancel out the noise.

Well, how does it exactly work?

In a switching power supply there are four steps. The first is to rectify the electricity input. In most switching power supplies the input is 120 volts so what needs to happen is that AC needs to be transformed into DC. This is done by raising the frequency so the transformer and capacitors and be very small(that means that the power supply can be small). Now the inverted AC is used to drive the primary winding of a high-frequency transformer. That was the second step, the inverted step. Now for the third. The third is the transformation. For non-isolated supply a inverter is used. BUT for a special, switching supply a transformer is needed. Now the fourth and final step. Regulation (but I call it safety). The final voltage is made to go through numerous safety shut off circuits, like a spark gap. There also is a feedback circuit made to bring (in the event of a power surge) the voltage over the limit back to the transformer. Finally it can get to your radios!

Linear Power Supply “The Muscle”

Heavy Duty Resistors The power supply is one of the most important pieces of equipment in your shack. In this post you will learn the theory and hardware behind one of these bad boys. Basic power supplies are quite simple- just a transformer. But when you get to the consumer brands you need S-A-F-E-T-Y! The big companies don’t want to get sued if a power surge comes and knocks out all of you 13.8 volt equipment so they add in fuses, spark gaps and heavy-duty resistors. If a surge comes and the transformer can’t make it 24 volts AC then the fuse will blow the spark won’t jump and you won’t get the surge. Wait what about the 24 Volts…..? well since these are supposed to be cheap the manufactures get the cheapest transformer-24 volt AC- and by using diodes to rectify the voltage and capacitors to filter it to DC. Now the voltage is DC but still 24 volts. The final step is to use a variable resistor to get the voltage down to 12-13.8 Volts DC. The next post will be on switching power supplies.

What to Use Ham Radio For

So you have a great radio, a great antenna and a good power supply. It all works fine. Well, what do you use it for!?

 

The most important thing that ham radio is used for is emergency communications. When there is an emergency the cell phone and telephones get jammed by so much traffic like things as simple as ‘I’m safe see you at 4:00.’ its a natural instinct to, after a crisis to tell whoever that they are safe.  Once the lines are jammed ham radio comes into play.  The Boston Bombings are a perfect example. The lines are jammed and the authorities use ham radio operators for Ecomm. When there isn’t an emergency hams talk about many things. Here is a list by hamuniverse.com that shows some topics.

Hf, Vhf and Uhf antenna projects, code practice, digital, ATV, short wave listening,  electronics, education, Ham Radio books, Elmer,  hf groups, humor, ham radio license study, how to become a ham radio operator, ham radio magazines, ham radio software, ham radio technical topics, shortwave listening, amateur radio in space and much more.

Beofeng UV-5R: A Good, Cheap Radio

So, you want a really cheep radio that actually works? Well, you looked at Yaesu and all of the other big brands but those are 200$ and up. Did you find Beofeng yet?

Beofeng radio with high capacity battery pack.
Amazon.com

The Beofeng is a rugged lightweight 2 meters and 440 MHz transceiver. It’s  hard to program from the radio its self but from the computer its easy. The radio is small, smaller than your hand, but if you add a long life battery pack the radio becomes bigger like the older radios. The radio has a dual watch feature and a flash light on the top. The antenna is horrible! I recommend building your own antennas (future blog post) or buying a third-party product. You’ll have to buy the programming cable and software prior to buying the radio because programming the radio manual is impossible. All in all the Beofeng is a great radio for the money. If you’re a beginner you’ll have a hard time because this radio is REALLY hard to program. If you aren’t swayed by this here is helpful manual.

Amazon is the best place to buy this radio.

Do you have a good, cheep radio? If so comment below!

Product Report: N1MM Logger

n1mmlog1n1mmlog2First of all why do we log things?  Well, Hams are no longer required by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) to keep a log but it is best to.  Hams keep a log because the FCC might request operating information like the frequency, the callsign of the other operator or the time and date of the contact. Operators also use logs to log contacts in a contest.

The N1MM Logger is a contest logger which means its mostly used for contesting.  A ham contest is when you try to speak to as many people as you can in a certain amount of time.  The N1MM Logger is compatible with most HF, VHF and UHF contests , but you also can log SSB, CW and digital contests, too!  Included in the download is an antenna rotor control program, virtual CW key and greyline program (shown on the first picture). There is a radio inference program also included which works on most of the widely known radios. How do you log? Tell me in the comments section.

See the features here.

See the manual here.

Download the program here.

Computer requirements: Windows XP/Vista/Seven/Eight