Sunday, June 30, 2019




If you have ever enjoyed watching any regional travel programs like "The Eyes Of Texas", or "Daytrippers" (PBS), you will appreciate the endeavors of Brian (KB3WFV) and Clark (N1BCG) in their YouTube series "The No Net Net".

It's simple idea: Two Ham operators linked, but in different states, travel the Echolink "Highway" in search of interesting conversations to be had on repeaters across the nation. Each episode introduction (there are only 2 episodes so far) lets the listener know a little about the area surrounding the repeater, as well as leaving interesting tidbits in the show notes.

To date, the format goes as follows:

Brian and Clark locate an active echolink repeater and initiate a QSO with the locals, asking intelligent well thought questions that lead to intelligent answers without making anyone feel like they are actually being interviewed over-the-air. This casual method enforces good will between all participants and we, as the listener/viewer get to learn a thing or two in the process. Unlike many YouTube videos, I did NOT find this to be a waste of my time. Take a listen below -


Saturday, June 29, 2019


It's a wild free-for-all in London as the Red Sox play the Yankee's! What a slugfest!!

Go Sox!


I always fail to mention one of my larger CB/HAM radio photo dumpsites. This one happens to be on Pinterest (I'll try to remember to add a permanent link). There are over 1500 images at this time, with hundreds more waiting to be uploaded.

Back to the game.


(Just put a permanent link to Pix on the right-side).

Wednesday, June 26, 2019


Very quickly, here are some of the interesting (to me) videos I've seen lately...


[I've been following both Kevin Loughin KB9RLW and Dave Casler KE0OG for sometime. What is interesting here is that not only have they setup this OTA meeting, but each one has their own video of that experience, so you can actually see how each guy sounded on the other end! Dave's video is here]

Across the pond, Fredintheshed gives a look/listen to DX coming at him in the UK. I haven't found an SDR site close enough to his QTH (SE UK) to catch the local .305 group. Someday.

 ANOTHER YT CHANNEL I FREQUENT IS BY OH8STN, Julian. "Technically" embedding is not allowed, however... (If it doesn't work go HERE) Julian has started to Premiere his YT posts so when watching "LIVE"  you can chat with him and others.

I've mentioned 3885 a few times, and here I am doing it again. W3MMR (Perry) and KD2AFV trying to get new AM blood for 75m and off of 11m.




"What's the difference between a used Yaesu FT-100D and a used FT-891?"

Answer: 20+ years and $100!! (pony up the extra $$$ for the FT-100). 

The FT-891, using the latest technology, is tracking about $400-$475 in the used market, while the nearly-20-year-old FT-100D (with all of it's well known issues) is advertised quite frequently in the $500-$600 price range.


[Over a decade apart and Yaesu advertisements keep them on 15m, 'Nuff Said]

Granted, the FT-100 has VHF/UHF capabilities, however, it's almost TWENTY YEARS OLD.

The display is nice, but I guess I'm wondering why would you buy one, given its age and more-than-likely "un-obtainium" parts. Okay. Bad example. Look at HF vs. HF: Compare the FT-891 with --->

The Kenwood TS-50 was a great mobile rig in it's day, and a used one can be yours for (on average) $350 - $500. It doesn't have even offer 6m (for 6m you have to find a TS-60), and this HF transceiver is OVER 25 years old.

Don't blame the radio. Blame the owner, blame the buyer, and blame the mindset.

It's a well known fact that older Ham radios are like money in the bank - they will almost never decrease in price after an initial depreciation, and possibly become more valuable over time.

It's not just these rigs in particular, but the used radio "business" as a whole. No matter how old most transceivers get the offered selling price will tend to bottom out around $500 and stay there, only varying by 50 bux or so. It has been this way for 40 years or longer. Do you want a Kenwood TS-430? $300-$400. How about a TS-440at? $350-$450. The 430, Kenwood's answer to the Yaesu FT-757GX, was a very good radio 30 years ago. It, and it's follow-up, the TS-440, surely have leaking dielectrics, and solder fatigue at this geriatric stage. You really have to ask yourself if it's worth over $300 to buy one now, or, should the seller offer it to a new ham for $100, better yet - give it to him/her.

My favorite example is the venerable Yaesu FT-101 series from the mid-70's. I've owned a half dozen of these over the last three decades and if there was ever a litmus test for transceiver pricing, the 101 series would be it.

I think the first one I owned was in 1984. I bought it "used" for about $350.
It wasn't a lettered model (101B,E,F), which made it about 10 years old when I got it. Since then I've found used 101's for around $300-$400 in the 1990's, 2000's, and most recently, 2015. For the most part, this rig, while it's internal components continuing their aging process will not get any cheaper (as a rule). Blame the owner, the buyer, or the mindset...

Truism: "Hams are cheapskates as a buyer, and Rockefeller's as a seller"

Many Ham radio operators deal in radio and radio equipment to make money or otherwise improve their shack wealth. To borrow a word from the Investment community, they could be considered "arbitrageurs" of two-way radio equipment.


A used Yaesu FT-991A (the "A" model). These rigs sell for around $1150 *NEW*, but like many high-end cars that drop a lot of $$$ once driven off the lot, these "months-old" Yaesu's selling for the mid-$700 range to $850. A new Ham interested in HF-UHF, plus Fusion, would do well to keep their eye out for one of these pre-owned specials. I'm not overwhelmed by any one thing in particular about a 991A, but, it's a decent HF-440 rig to get started with, especially if you wait for a good price. 

 FT4 vs. FT8

FT4 has come raging into the forefront as an alternative / replacement for FT8. Both are very similar, but a biggest takeaway is that with FT4, the sequences are only 6 seconds long which makes it about 2.5 times faster than it's older brother FT8. Someone wanting to use FT4 for QRP, using a mediocre antenna, for contesting, or any combination of the three could benefit from the shorter-faster program.


The afternoon show on 3885 AM is only one example of entertainment to be found on this frequency. Set your browser onto your favorite East coast SDR each morning to catch some interesting and sometimes endless AM discussions. Transmissions are long. Very long. These guys key / lock their microphones and start talking about one topic that can easily slide into another before they un-key the mike. Once you get over the lengthy transmission (and intermittent belching), you could sit back and listen for awhile. Great lines can be heard like:

"Right now, if you took my pulse, you'd have to subtract 8"


"Anything that doesn't kill you makes you very weak".


It's easy to detect chatter going on many kc's above and below where you are currently listening, which allows the discovery of frequencies that you might not normally associate for daily traffic. Specifically I'll use 11m as an example. I've found that while listening to 27.385 that I will see traces on the waterfall of other SSB QSO's going on. As you might expect, .365/.375/.395 and .405 are often hotspots of activity, but so are: 27.445, 465, 665, and higher. I also found out that many use 27.402.5 as a designated go-to frequency for various reasons nationwide.

I'll end this with another "nugget" I heard the other day -

 “When I was a teenager, my Dad was an idiot. Years later I figured out that he was a genius”  😎

'Nuff Said,

Friday, June 07, 2019



"Sandbagging" (listening in on others without talking or making one’s presence known, for entertainment or for collection of information on others.), "Copying the mail" (listening with little, or No talking.), or "On the side" ( just listening), is one of the "Great American"
pastimes (although, if you were literally "copying the mail" the USPS would certainly disapprove). 

(Are you a "sandbagger"? Or, Do you know one?)

Well to continue, I was (insert one phrase from above) on 11m and came across some QSO's of interest....

Some guy on an AM frequency (27.285 MHz) was wondering what it meant when someone replied to a radio equipment for-sale post with nothing more than the word "Next", after someone had already replied with "Interested".

His buddy (no - NOT 'Good Buddy') replied that, before answering the question he had to interject how upset he was every time someone replied to an Ad with "Interested".

He said if someone was "interested" they should just contact the guy directly. It appeared to him that the guy, (and others who also typed "interested") were putting onus on the seller to ferret out each one and send them a personal text / email, when the whole purpose of the group posting was to make it easy to sell something. But, as he digressed, so have I...

Regarding "Next", as in what you'll see on many Facebook For Sale posts. This was a discussion on yet another SDR site and frequency. "What's up with that?" asked one fellow. Google had the answer -  'To let the seller know they are interested in the item if someone has already shown interest before them'.

(Without someone typing "Interested" beforehand it makes no sense to type "Next"), and for the guys that follow a Next with "Next-Next" or "Next-Next-Next" - No Comment.

Channel 6 (THE Super Bowl) has been around for decades, yet someone in the Mid-West apparently heard it yesterday for the first time and asked about it while on-the-air. A pileup ensued as many tried to educate him all at once.

Ch. 6 as heard on
I'll explain to others who may be in the dark about this channel, and why you hear them even in poor conditions.

Even if band conditions are sketchy these guys seem to use blunt-force trauma (many kw watts) to make their own opening. With good band conditions it's truly over kill, as observed the other day. Splatter box comes to mind. You might think that the FCC had already taken them "Down" but... Nope.

These guys run serious wattage and can only be compared to as Mini-AM Broadcasting stations (like the ones you listen to on your car radio). * [Also, Google "Keydown Contests" or, be lazy and click-on-that-link]

Haven't heard of it? Just Google "cb channel referred to as the Super Bowl" to find everything you didn't want to know, or, as previously written - "click on that link". And yes - I have heard this frequency referred to (many times) as "The Super Bowel").

On another SDR-site, on a different band, I listened to one guy trying to explain to another guy how a "Heat Pump" works. His explanation led to more questions (including me) which were quickly answered by everyone's best friend, "Google".

'Nuff Said,


Wednesday, June 05, 2019


This past Monday (6/3) 10-11-6m was super HOT! Not just for 15 minutes, an hour, or even half a day, this lasted until the wee hours of the next morning (good times, good times). Things seemed to have quieted down by 11p.m. but I got up around 3a.m. and still heard chatter going in the shack. I think the 'ol 138XLR was a bit shocked to have dc running thru it for so long :)

SDR Stuff

I'm still hanging out on 3885 AM on WA1QIX's SDR web site, usually between 3 and 5 PM (CST), but I've also looked around for sites that have definite 11m band selections, so here's what I've found so far - 11m NH  NJ VA. No waterfall but gd rx Idaho. Eh,Okay. Kingwood Tx. UK UK UK CT/MA *** I highly recommend this one for several reasons: 1. Easy to navigate 11m w/ch.No.'s ,and, 2. If it wasn't for Rob, the CBGazette may never have been!! UK

The sites listed above will NOT work with IE. I've abbreviated their actual locations as well. Only the site below will work on IE - UK w/IE

I listed several from the UK because I'm hoping one of them will p/u "Fred-in-the-shed" and the 27.305 USB group he features on many videos.


I'm still (albeit slowly) working on a post about everything I'm learning about Magnetic Loop Antennas. It's taking a lot more time than originally estimated, so it may end up as a multi-part article.

However, if you are interested in MLA's (or antennas in general) you should check out Kevin Loughin's YouTube channel. Most recently, he has been dissecting the Chameleon P-Loop 2.0 (interesting stuff).

Not specifically tied to MLA's, I'll once more mention OH8STN's YouTube channel. He is honestly brutal when it comes to reviewing equipment on its own merit or by comparing one mfg. product vs. another's. Don't pass his channel up, especially if you are into SOTA, POTA, or EmComm.

That's it for now.
'Nuff Said

Saturday, June 01, 2019


Back in the heyday of "CB radio" 23 channels were just not enough. With a busy Sunspot cycle driving DX you only had a short window to be able to talk across town with your friends, and that window-of-time lay somewhere after 3a.m. only to end about 3 hours later, returning to near full S-meter readouts with a wall of noise led by occasional voices from far away.

The 11m operator had few avenues in search of a quieter channel -
  • Pony up big $$$ and buy a Browning or Tram, and operate off the VFO to slide in-between channels (Ch.3A was a popular hangout). This was a HUGE investment for anyone to undertake. A $700 expenditure in 1970 was equal to over $4500 in 2018.
  • Take what was available within most radios by "Cutting-the-color-wire" on the channel selector. This gave you channels 22A and B.
  • Find a compatible external VFO (Siltronix, PAL) for the radio being used and get the ability to slide in-between channels, not to mention below ch.1 or above ch.23.
Another approach to this was presented by HyGain in the form of their Hy-Range V (model 674) and Hy-Range VI, the matching VFO (model 675), pictured above. This presented the buyer with a matched pair of devices, both solid-state, allowing a person to listen to frequencies on-channel, in-between channel, and slightly above the 23 channel frequency.

Model 675 VFO ends some where above 27.400 MHz
The Hy-Gain "V" had several different releases, one with a dedicated VFO socket on the rear panel, and two without the socket. The 675 VFO could be hardwired into many other Hy-Gain radios and included the instructions on how to do it within the instruction manual which came with the unit.



While you will run across these on Ebay auctions or garage sales, the instructions on how to get this to work aren't so easy to find (read: VERY hard to find). Owners today are hard pressed to find anyone with the knowledge that these existed much less modified (still alive to talk about it). Every one wanted to know what to clip in the transceiver to allow Xmit when the VFO was plugged in.

But, what if the modification wasn't in the radio itself? Hmm...

In January of 1977, sales of 23 channel CB's were banned by the FCC in lieu of the new 40ch. PLL models, which were supposed to be harder to modify (I guess we know how THAT worked out. eh?)

The December prior to that had enormous discounts on 23ch. rigs! SSB transceivers which normally sold for $300-$400 were marked down below $50. Eventually entire inventories of new PCB’s found their way to the aftermarket for $5-$10, and Hams converted these to 10m fairly easily. There were quite a few articles in various magazines about how-to do the conversion. Hopefully they can still be found archived, and I believe that if you were so inclined to do something like this you would find it much easier to re-work a non-PLL CB to 10m vs. one w/PLL.

Today, with prices being what they are (Old CB's are now priced as "Classics", and Ham gear selling for good prices), a 10m conversion would only be good as a electronics project, and only if you had one stuck in a closet somewhere to experiment on.