General Update

I now have multiple Lampkin 109s. As expected, I can make some cards for these that will make'em a bit more useful and am working on this idea a bit. Hardest thing is how to access additional features without modifying the front panel.

In other news, I finally have an antenna up at my QTH. 31' wire in a vertical using a Jackite pole. SG237 Smartuner and a few multiband radials on the ground. Ain't much but only required a little bit of hammering to get it installed. Yay me!

Categories: gas, equipment
Date: 2015-03-09, 1 year and 234 days ago

TARGETuner update

Just figured I'd update. Tested the TARGETuner with the TS2000 and it works great. No other updates at the moment. After using my Truck as a test rig I now need to go out and clean up wiring again so I can go operate a bit...

Go buy one! : West Mountain Radio TARGETuner

Categories: gas, equipment
Date: 2014-12-12, 1 year and 321 days ago

So, I moved back to Virginia.

California realestate just got too expensive for me and I needed a change of scenery anyway.

Got a TargeTuner box from West Mountain Radio. They have since updated the Firmware to support the Kenwood TS480 and send me an interface box to test, which I can confirm works perfectly. I need to test it with the TS2000 and then return it to them as its a factory sample. Anyhow, if you need a Screwdriver Controller for Icom, Yaesu, and very soon Kenwood and you don't want to have questions about how they sourced their IP and the like ( see my Feb 2014 post ) now you have an option.

As a side note, I'd love to hear that the TurboTuner2 was handed off from N2VZ and not just a clone that was similarly named and shaped. If it was a From Scratch device thats cool too, but from the look I have to assume that its intentionally a very close clone that is intended to be confusingly similar to the original. I'm sure it works and feel free to buy it, I just have issues.

So, time for another pet peeve of mine. Everyone has equipment they love. Sometimes it was purchased at full retail and sometimes not. When you go to sell a piece of gear, keep in mind that what its worth probably has no relation to what you paid for it.

So, I've decided the net needs more info about the Lampkin 109 Communications service monitor and whatever other Lampkin gear I can find details for. I haven't scanned the full manual yet. I really don't want to see it show up for sale on Ebay... If you happen to be in need of the manual, email me and see if I've gotten around to it.

Lampkin 107C Flier and 1976 Pricelist
Lampkin 109 Flier and 1976 Pricelists
Lampkin 109 Operating Pamphlet
Lampkin 109 Installing Frequency Options
Lampkin 205D Flier
Lampkin 303 Flier
Lampkin 701 Flier

Categories: gas, equipment, repair
Date: 2014-12-02, 1 year and 331 days ago

No updates (again) in quite a while.

Yeah, been slacking.

Gear is finally all mounted in the truck. TS480HX and TM-D710. Dual band VHF antenna ( 2M/440 ), 6M FM antenna, Screwdriver for HF. I still need a Kenwood Screwdriver Controller. I'd buy the one from N2VZ but he seems to be out of business. The only other viable option is the Turbo Tuner 2 from TennaTronix but it looks like a straight clone of the N2VZ design with no credit given so they won't be getting my money. The solution for the moment is using an Ameritron SDC-102 while I build my own automatic tuner which will be open-source open-hardware. Yee-Haw.

I'd love to find out that the TennaTronix box was either licensed or a fresh design but seriously its the same box and everything so I can't help but think at least they wanted it to be mistaken for the original? If its legit why not just say so? Email responses were vague or non-existent. Sad.

Next up for fun is hacking on my TS2000. Going to replace the ceramic filters with Murata ones ( you can buy them from Mouser, don't get the generics from Taiwan that you can buy from that UK outfit on Ebay. I don't get why companies get all furtive when you want to know where a part is from. Anyway, the proper Murata ones are standard parts from Mouser for a few bucks each. I also ordered some PIN diodes to do a minor upgrade and a Z10000B buffer amp to add a first IF output to use to feed a bandscope. Looks fully possible to use RTL-SDR as a cheap Panadapter which would be kinda sexy...

Categories: gas, equipment, repair
Date: 2014-02-05, 2 years and 266 days ago

No updates in quite a while.

Not many updates in the last year and a half. New job, other projects, lack of time.

Prepping for Field Day 2013 right now. Just purchased a TS2000X to use for the VHF station that I normally run. I dont have much else to prep for this year except coming up with an upper bearing for the antenna mast so I can run out some guy wires this time. Should make it easier to erect too and I'll have less heart failure during the tilt-up/down portions of the day.

On the mobile front, I bought a full size Ford truck to put all my gear in, then let it sit for a while due to some noises it was making. I'm now working on the truck and planning to mount all my gear and antennas in it. As part of that I'm on the hunt for a TS-480HX to put in it to replace the IC7000. Nothing really wrong with the IC7000, I just don't like the interface. I sorta seem to be going All Kenwood. Well, I'm going to keep my IC706mkIIg for the moment but good shance I'll sell it off too.

Hopefully soon I'll actually do some operating again...

Categories: gas, equipment
Date: 2013-03-31, 3 years and 212 days ago

Doing battle with the DJ-X11

I dragged my Alinco DJ-X11 out again to play with a new project and for some reason decided it was a good time to update the firmware. Simple I thought since I had purchased a cheap clone of the ERW-7 programming cable.

The Firmware update software, the cloning software, and the remote software all seem to have been written by the lowest bidder. And they were drunk at the time. And possibly suffered from massive head trauma. In any case, do not expect to enjoy using any of them. They *do* work to some extent I suppose. I will say I was unable to get them to work under Windows 7. I had to resort to a Windows XP box to make anything work reliably. Even then using the ERW-7 I bricked the unit on my first update run and had to do the restore, which worked after a while although was very slow. I would suggest perhaps lowering the transfer speed as suggested by the instructions for the firmware software.

While doing battle with the software I thought I had a bad cable, so I dug around on the net for information about them. I couldn't find much directly but I did determine a few bits of info that may be helpful. The ERW-7 is apparently wired the same as the Icom OPC-478. And furthermore the OPC-478 is the same as an CI-V interface cable if you swap the tip and center conductor or if your CI-V cable has just a mono plug you just have to wire up an adapter to connect Sleeve toegether and connect the CI-V Tip to the new plug's Ring ( tip will be disconnected ).

I happened to have an FTDI TTL-232R-3V3-WE cable ( available from the usual suspects like Mouser and Digikey ) so I wired it up to a 3.5mm stereo connector I had around. Black wire to the sleeve, orange+yellow to ring. It still didn't work under Windows 7, but it *did* work under Windows XP.

At this point I had an upgraded radio and a working ERW-7 ( actually two ) so I decided to see about making an ERW-8. I found some information on this page which got me started. I took apart my charging cradle to confirm its wiring per the page, then cut the mini-usb plug off a cable and wired it to the above mentioned TTL-232R-3V3-WE. Low and behold it worked with the remote software and cloning software just as poorly as before.

The cable wiring

Assuming you cut your USB cable open and it has the standard red/black/white/green wires:

USB CableDescriptionTTL-232R
RedVCC (+5vdc)Red

White is not connected

So, why? Well, you can get the TTL232 cable for about $15 easily and a miniusb cable for a couple bucks, and make the ERW-8 cable which costs about $45 and no one ever seems to have. If you wanted to get tricky you could make up some adapter cables and replace the ERW-7 and ERW-8 with a single TTL-232 cable. If you already own an ERW-8 and bricked your DJ-X11 during a firmware update you could also just make an adapter cable using a 3.5mm stereo plug and a mini-usb female from a mini-usb extension and a little soldering.

Enough ramblings for tonight. I figured at some point someone else might be looking for ERW-7/8 information and want some more resources.

Categories: gas, equipment
Date: 2011-11-08, 4 years and 356 days ago

I am now K6AET!

After the fun of Field Day I realised that my as-issued call was too much of a mouthfull so I have registered the vanity call K6AET to remind me of my grandfather and all the memories of visiting him at Gwynn's Island or in Richmond.

Operating-wise, not much new. Working on a portable radio box to do some field work and misc things like that. Definiatly want to do some more operating and I will.

Tom K6AET formerly AF6YW.
Categories: call, history, family
Date: 2011-07-23, 5 years and 99 days ago

Have an Antenna finally...

So, I bought the book "Low Profile Amateur Radio". One thing I learned from it is Any Antenna Is Better Then No Antenna. So, I went to HRO and bought a RadioWavz brand dipole. 40/20 with Balun. I was going to just staple it to the fence but decided while I was out there that I could hang it from the edge of the roof. So, its slightly better then totall suboptimal, I mean, its not sitting on the ground. About 10ft high sloping to 5' at the fence.

Well, it tunes up with my MFJ antenna tuner, and it seems to work.

Now I just need to get over my fear of the PTT button.

Categories: antennas, hf
Date: 2011-02-23, 5 years and 249 days ago

Fun with building GHPSDR

I may have mentioned, a friend loaned me his TAPR HPSDR chassis and cards. I kinda had to assemble things a little first but that was fun. Then I decided to build mac-GHPSDR. It was a lot of fun. Sorta like slamming my head in a car door. Figured I'd make some notes. Oh, this wasn't exactly the first time. It took me a while to figure everything out. Oh, is a VERY useful link to figure out how to make everything work.

First off, I had to install the required bits. I use Macports, I install gtk2, libusb, and libfftw3. Then I tweaked out the Makefile so it'd work with the /opt/local path needed. Here's my updated Makefile bits as guidance

INCLUDES=-I. -I/opt/local/include/gtk-2.0\

LIBS=-L"/usr/X11R6/lib" -L.\
     -L"/opt/local/lib" \
     -lfftw3f -lfreetype -lfontconfig -lusb-1.0\
     -lgtk-x11-2.0 -lgdk-x11-2.0 -latk-1.0\
     -lpangoft2-1.0 -lgdk_pixbuf-2.0\
     -lm -lpangocairo-1.0 -lgio-2.0 -lcairo -lpango-1.0 -lz\
     -lgobject-2.0 -lgmodule-2.0 -lglib-2.0 \
     -framework IOKit -framework CoreFoundation

Well, it built mostly but eventually blew up with some nasty errors. It took a little while, but finally figured out that I needed a different fftw install. The key was installing fftw-3-single.

After that, building the OzyUtils-MacOS package worked just fine and then just had to grab the latest firmware and boomph, it worked! Previously I had used Windows to upgrade the firmware on Mercury and Penelope. And then tested the HPSDR hardware using PowerSDR. I forget exactly where I grabbed the latest firmware but at some point I located it. Just copy it into the directory with OzyUtils. Oh, and there are some I2C errors that throw up when you fire up initozy. They are Janus related and can be ignored.

Categories: sdr, hpsdr, brainexplosion
Date: 2011-02-23, 5 years and 249 days ago

Sadly, I don't see a way to leave a review on their site but I have to mention somewhere that rocks.

Generic Right Angle PL259 adapter, local stores for cheap far-east piece of junk $10 avg. TestParts for actual Amphenol $7.95. Might not seem like a huge savings until you factor in that most places sell that Amphenol for $15, and it doesn't break like the cheap ones too. I'm sure there are some reasonable cheap versions, but they seem to be hard to find. TestParts also has a huge range of other connectors and very good prices across the board for them all. As I like predicable parts I will probably be buying a lot of Amphenol from them...

Oh, I should mention shipping. I was in a rush because because my normal supplier was having issues with shipping through all the snow in Texas. I asked them to Overnight it. They shipped via USPS for actual rate and got it out within an hour of my phone order. If you're not in a rush and meet the minimum ( $25 I think ) then shipping is free.

Anyhow, normal disclaimers, I dont work for TestParts, I don't know anyone at TestParts, I just know they have done right by me and earned a mention. Banner

Categories: parts
Date: 2011-02-11, 5 years and 261 days ago