Archive for February, 2010

A Tale of Two Kenwoods and DX!

Sunday, February 28th, 2010
15 Meters

So, propagation’s getting pretty darn good right around now! 15 and 17 meters have been open pretty much every day from the late morning until 1 or so pm EST, which has been awesome. All the DX you could ever want, just give these bands a try. As you can see, it’s been open to all over Europe, and the US stations are pretty readable on my Carolina Windom OCF dipole at about 50 feet or so in the trees. Right now, I even hear an XE1 station calling CQ, booming in. It’s been a lot of fun, but with just 100w, persistence is key. Also, I’ve found that raising my voice in pitch and volume a little bit helps cut through the QRM, and finding the perfect time to call when a station is working the pile-ups is key. I even called CQ a few times, and had the GM4,CT1, and HA8 stations come back to me! Let the stations work for you, ya know? ;)
Q# Callsign Date Time On Band Mode Name QTH
392 EA4LH 2010-02-28 16:51 15 SSB George Spain
391 5E50SA 2010-02-28 16:32 15 SSB Morocco!
390 HA8PA 2010-02-28 16:19 15 SSB Tibi SE Hungary
389 CT1DSV 2010-02-28 16:17 15 SSB Joseph NW PORTUGAL
388 GM4XZN 2010-02-28 16:15 15 SSB Scotland
387 TM7AAW 2010-02-27 15:10 17 SSB Franc Macon France
386 EU1UN 2010-02-27 15:05 17 SSB Serge Minsk Belarus
385 S52BB 2010-02-27 14:43 17 SSB Zirk Slovenia
384 9A1CCY 2010-02-27 14:42 17 SSB Tom Croatia
383 K6SMF 2010-02-22 22:54 17 SSB Neil Southern CA

Also, an addition to my shack: The glorious Kenwood TK380. It’s a commercial-grade UHF handheld that does 4 watts on 440-490mhz, is computer programmable (and front panel, by a mod), and you can load up… 128 channels, I believe (or 600 trunking). I’ve been having lots of fun with it, does a great job of scanning. However, I need to get it adjusted to receive below 450mhz, because at the moment, it does not. :( It’ll transmit fine, and I can key up the 440 repeaters way better than I could with my other handheld, but as far as receiving them… nada. I think the PLL gets unlocked below 450, and the VCO can’t steer that low. If anyone knows a way around this, please let me know!
And hey, now we’ve got a little Kenwood Korner in my shack, with the TK380, TS450S HF rig, and the TM-733A dual-band 2M/440 radio (not pictured, didn’t occur to me until after I took the picture.)

A Tale of Two Kenwoods

Titan Tech Tip for Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

techtiplogoAre you a Facebook addict, attention deficient, or simply can’t pay attention to ANYTHING?!?! Well, ladies and gentlemen, today is your lucky day, because I have a solution to your endless procrastination. No, it doesn’t cost 3 easy payments of $14.95 and you won’t get a second one free if you call within the next thirty seconds, either. What is it, then? It’s called CinemaDrape, and it’s free. What it does, basically, is allows you to black out everything on your computer screen so you can concentrate on what it is you need to do. There’s a few other programs out there which allow you to accomplish a similar task, such as Ghoster, Dropcloth, and for Mac users, Isolator. I know, it’s a lot of information at once, but I have a solution for that too: Visit tech.maxkelley.com in order to get download links for all of these programs.

Also, not mentioned in my on-the-air tech tip are the following:

[Q10 screenshot]Q10: is a free word processor which is very minimalistic, simply text-only, no formatting, meant for those who just need to concentrate, not worry about the pretty stuff, and get a story out. This program was designed by a writer for use by writers. It has a built-in spell checker, and other stuff… Check it out! (a screenshot of it is on your right)

CreaWriter: is a very cool, relaxing sort of word processor. It allows you to have rain noise, raindrops, or other pretty, relaxing stuff in a full-screen writing environment, again, removing distractions. Try it out!

OmmWriter: is for you artsy Mac users, who also feel the need to relax (get it, Ommmmmm!) and write. Get your creative juices flowing, download OmmWriter!

Titan Tech Tip for Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

techtiplogo

I, personally, enjoy listening to music while doing homework. For the most part, it helps me concentrate and helps pass the time faster. Sometimes, I get tired of my own music collection, so what better way to expand it than listen to the radio! Most of the times, you’ll find my radio parked on 90.5fm WBER, after all, it’s the only station that matters. Regardless of the station you choose, I assume that you like the music they play. Now, suppose that, one day, you hear the greatest song ever recorded, but you don’t catch the name of it! What to do? Yes.com has the current song and song history for most broadcast radio stations, so give it a try by typing in the station’s callsign, like WBER, WDVI, WCMF, etc. Give it a try! Yes.com!

Titan Tech Tip for Thursday, February 4, 2010

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

techtiplogoWith the massive number of computers we have here at Webster Thomas, as well as account restrictions, it’s almost impossible to get your favorite programs’ settings to stay exactly where you want them to, and have all your files where you want them. What do you do? Well, if you have a USB thumb drive, which many of us do, it’s about time you installed PortableApps. Portable Apps are versions of your favorite programs—web browsers, media players, games, office programs—which live on your thumb drive. All of the information to run them is kept on your thumb drive, so all of your settings are the same each time you plug it in and use them. There are a lot of programs out there that have been made into portable versions, so take a look at PortableApps.com.