Tag Archives for " ham radio "

7 Holidays and Vacation

It was a great Thanksgiving and vacation! I know, everyone is already focusing on Christmas but I haven’t blogged for a while so I’m playing catch up. We tried something new on this trip…we “drove” from Orlando to Tennessee, instead of flying. Fourteen hours of driving in two days, at our age…need I say more? But it was all worth it.

What really made our trip great is that Kelly and I each got to do something we  enjoy. For me it was, Thanksgiving with my family, for Kelly it was spending quality radio time in my parent’s back yard.

Lots of food Karen Dad Mom(1)

Mom roasted a beautiful 22 lb turkey and Dad did the carving. But that wasn’t all, my brother brought 3 turkeys, so we had deep fried turkey, smoked turkey, roasted turkey and all the trimmings.

Harmon Family Turkey Day 2009 (2)

I believe their were around 22 of us. The best part was that we were all able to sit together in one room.

Family means little ones who get all the attention

Family means little ones who get all the attention

Since we were all in one room, no one was sent off to another room to sit at the ‘little kids’ table. It really was one big happy gathering, kids and all. (Of course we all know that the little kids are the best part anyway.)

Girl talk

Girl talk

The next day, when the big event was over, there was plenty of time to talk and visit with family. (This is me, my sister and sister-in-law getting in some good girl talk with Mom.) It was a great relaxing weekend.

Kelly radio bkyd

And as I mentioned, Kelly got his quality ‘radio time’. The best part for him was that he was able to put his antenna up in my parents back yard and leave it up the whole time we were there (something he can’t do in our condo setup in Florida). Each day he could just walk outside with his radio and start transmitting.

Kelly radio  deck

Of course this Florida resident wasn’t quite use to the below 40 degree weather, but it didn’t stop him. Even when the rain came, he just moved up to the deck and continued his fun.

4 Kelly’s Bear of a Day

Grrrrrrrr. That’s what I heard all day Friday as Kelly prepared for Saturday and what he knew was going to be a bear of a day. As a matter of fact he turned into a Polar Bear on Saturday. Not just any Polar Bear, but he became #173 Polar Bear—as part of his radio buddies’ “Polar Bear QRP” Day.

Polar Bear Day happens only during months that end in “bear” as in Octo’bear’ and Novem’bear’, at least that’s the way it was explained to me. Anyway, I haven’t mentioned much about his ham radio hobby so I thought I’d share a couple of photos with you.

Kelly -Lake-Fredrica backgrround

He set up his antenna and radio in our neighborhood lakeside park. He talked to a few “bears” from other states and even heard some Europe stations, a few German and Scandanavians also.

Radio on Table

This is his portable radio set up.

Kelly at the table

And here you can see Kelly tuning in to get a clear transmission. He had a great Polar Bear day and can ‘bearly’ wait for the next one.  For more details you can visit his radio blog at:    K4UPG.com

2 Destination Naples, Florida

How does the phrase; ‘swaying coconut palms, sweeping white-sand beaches and spectacular sunsets,’ grab you? Well, that’s what we found on our recent trip to Naples, Florida.  We were attending a regional event held by the ministerial association that ordained Kelly.

It was a much needed and timely weekend get-a-way for us. The meetings were refreshing, the food delicious and our accommodations great. As you can see by the first photo, Kelly was able to set up his ham radio from the balcony of our hotel room. From this balcony, I got some sun, he got some radio time…and we both enjoyed the view!

Hotel Room Balcony

Hotel Room Balcony

The highlight of the trip had to be the sunset dinner cruise they arranged for all of us to take on the Naples Princess Yacht. This is one of those things we never would have done on our own, so it was a real treat.

Naples Princess Cruise Yacht

Naples Princess Cruise Yacht

We sailed out of Naples bay and cruised into the Gulf of Mexico. From the bow of the deck we could see the dolphins playing and the multimillion-dollar homes of Port Royal lining the shore. Unbelievable!

Mansions in the Bay

Mansions in the Bay

We were served a great dinner inside where it was nicely air-conditioned, and then went back out on the deck to watch the beautiful sunset and enjoy the fresh air.

Dining Area - Table Next to Our Table

Dining Area - Table Next to Our Table

After dinner we went out on the deck for a better view of the water and sunset.

It Was A Beautiful Sunset Set!

It Was A Beautiful Sunset!

Mansions Along The Shoreline at Sunset

Mansions Along The Shoreline at Sunset

What was striking was to watch the sunset change as the sun got closer and closer to the horizon.

Sunset as we enter the Gulf

Sunset as we enter the Mouth of the Gulf

Sunset in the Gulf of Mexico

Sunset in the Gulf of Mexico

Our regional director hosted the event at his church and his staff definitely took care of all of us with excellence.

Our Host Church Put Out the Spread

Our Host Church Put Out the Spread

As you can imagine, we can’t wait to find out what the next regional event will be like. They set the bar pretty high so it will be hard to top this one.

6 Second Harmonic in Branson, MO

We spent the first weekend of May in Branson, Missouri where my alias was, Connie “XYL of K4UPG”. This is where Kelly, alias K4UPG, introduced his “Second Harmonic” to the world of electronics and Amateur Radios. Are you confused yet? Let me explain.

We took our grandson, Killian, with us to Branson to the OzarkCon09, which is a four-state conference for QRP Amateur Radio operators. They use various code words when talking to one another over their radios. For example:

XYL stands for Ex-Young Lady, which is the code word for “wife”.

The code name, “Second Harmonic” stands for “grandson,” which means our son would be Kelly’s “First Harmonic”. I won’t try to explain how the 2nd harmonic of a wave in a signal, is a multiple of the fundamental frequency, because I’m already confused. So, on to the fun stuff.

We picked Killian up from school and headed for Branson.

We picked Killian up from school and headed for Branson.

Photo below: At the hotel Killian checks out the “tools of the trade” that Grandpa has brought…one set for Grandpa and one set, just for Killian.

He can’t wait to try out the soldering iron.

He can’t wait to try out the soldering iron.

With the voltage meter Killian runs a test on his CD player.

Killian runs a test on his CD player with the voltage meter.

At the conference Kelly & Killian head to the Vendor Fair to check out their wares.

At the conference Kelly & Killian head to the Vendor Fair to check out the various products.

Photo below: Killian is drawn to the LED lights and is eager to buy a LED kit to put together later in the hotel room. Uncle Cy (behind the table) was one of many who were happy to help Killian get involved.

This vendor is known to everyone as, Uncle Cy.

This vendor is known to everyone as, Uncle Cy.

Photo Below: The highlight of the conference was Friday night’s “Hands-on kit building workshop”. The experts, Dar & Darrel, guide everyone through the building of a “signal injector / signal tracer test set” . This tool is used for troubleshooting and testing circuits and amateur radio equipment.

Workshop for learning how to build a kit.

Everyone gets set up for the workshop.

Grandpa gets Killian started with a bag full of parts and a circuit board.

Grandpa gets Killian started with a bag full of parts and a circuit board.

Photo below: Killian got lots of attention from all the guys who wanted to see him succeed and enjoy himself. They were eager to help him.

Darrel helps Killian with expert instructions.

Dar helps Killian with expert instructions.

Killian concentrates as he begins the soldering process.

Killian concentrates as he begins the soldering process.

Photo Below: Then, Doug Hendricks of QRPKits.com comes to everyone’s rescue with the PCB-Vice for only $30. The red aluminum vice shown in the photo holds the Printed Circuit Board which is then free to rotate 360 degrees for easy maneuvering.

Killian gets a free PCB-Vice.

Killian gets a free PCB-Vice.

Doug, who teaches & coaches girl’s basketball, gave this PCB-Vice to Killian at no charge “as an encouragement to the young fellow”.

Soldering can be very tedious but Killian was a quick learner.

Soldering can be very tedious but Killian was a quick learner.

Photo Below: Now Killian puts on the headset to test the kit and see if he put it together right. If he hears a tone when he makes contact with the alligator clip…that’s a good sign.

It works!

It works!

The finished project!

The finished project!

Photo Below: The guys were so great with encouraging Killian. During the drawing of prizes, a couple of the winners weren’t present and Killian became the “default” winner of those prizes.

Killian returns with one of his prizes...a book about radios

Killian returns with one of his prizes...a book about radios.

Photo Below: Back in the room Killian puts together the LED light kit he bought earlier from Uncle Cy.

Killian puts another kit together...LED light kit.

This kit is easier than the first one and comes together in no time.

Flip the switch, and the light comes on.

Flip the switch, and the light comes on.

It Works!

It Works!

That smile says it all. We had a great time and wouldn’t trade that weekend for anything. Grandkids really are great!

Promised Results & Photos Of Walkathon

The PIONEERS’ “Walk for the World” event last Saturday, was a great success. Thanks for your prayers and support. Through our family, friends—and God’s grace—Kelly & I raised $1,170. The total raised by all participants from our office staff (Orlando & Denver) will be around $30,000, once it’s all collected. With the matching grant we will have nearly $60,000 to help us in mobilizing missionaries into the least reached parts of the world. Praise the Lord!

Kelly and I each walked 5 miles, which means we made our goal of 10 miles between the two of us. The weather was great with just enough of an overcast to keep it cool. The breeze was nice, but it added some challenges to Kelly’s radio antenna, whipping the backpack frame around a lot.

Kelly, aka the Radioman, was able to hear transmissions from 18 countries on four different continents with his 10 watt radio, including hearing a ham operator from Macedonia.

The pictures speak for themselves:

walk-0001a

Connie and Kelly Ready to Meet the Challenge

Connie and Kelly Ready to Meet the Challenge

Connie Picks Up Prayer Request From The Prayer Station

Connie Picks Up Prayer Request From The Prayer Station

Kelly Tunes The Radio As We Prepare to Start

Kelly Tunes The Radio As We Prepare to Start

Back View Of Back Pack Frame With Antenna Mount, Battery Is At The Base On His Waist

Back View Of Back Pack Frame With Antenna Mount, Battery Is At The Base On His Waist

The Walk-a-thon Starts With Prayer

The Walk For The World Starts With Prayer

And They Are Off On Their First Lap

And They Are Off On Their First Lap

Drink Station On One Side - Lap Counters On The Other Side

Drink Station On One Side - Lap Counters On The Other Side

Even The Pets Joined The Walk

Even The Pets Joined The Walk

Not Only Pets, But Lots of Kids TOO!

Not Only Pets, But Lots of Kids Too

PIONEER'S President, Steve, Comes Up Behind Kelly. Watch Out For The Antenna!

PIONEER'S President, Steve, Comes Up Behind Kelly. Watch Out For The Antenna!

The Last Lap! We Did IT!

The Last Lap! We Did IT!

Matt (a co-worker) is Kelly's "Ham Buddie". After The Walk Kelly Helps Matt Set Up His New Radio

Matt (a co-worker) is Kelly's "Ham Buddie". After The Walk, Kelly Helps Matt Set Up His New Radio

Walk Is Over. One Last Transmission On The Way Back To The Car!

Walk Is Over. One Last Transmission On The Way Back To The Car!

It Was A Good Day!

It Was A Good Day!

4 Tomorrow is our Walk 4 The World

Kelly & His Pedestrian Mobile Radio

Tomorrow is it! The big day of our Walk For the World walkathon. We went to the beach this past weekend for a trial run of Kelly being “mobile” with his ham radio. The photos show you the set up he has designed for himself to be able to walk with the radio & antenna and talk with other states and countries. We were working out the bugs and did find a few things that will need to be tweaked.

Tall Antenna and Bicycle Flag

Tall Antenna and Bicycle Flag

The antenna is pretty tall, as you can see in the photos, and the bicycle flag did what it was suppose to do, but the wind gave us a challenge. We sure attracted a lot of attention from the other beach goers, as you might imagine.

Kelly Talking to California

Kelly Talking to California

The important thing is that the radio worked! He talked with California, Michigan, Chicago, Ontario and even heard from Spain. (For a more technical explanation go to Kelly’s blog www.k4upg.com.

Kelly Tuning His Radio

Kelly Tuning His Radio

We’re Ready for the Walk!  walkfor-the-world

Now Kelly is making last minute adjustments for the radio setup and all our other gear is ready to go. We have been blessed with responses from several of you to sponsor us, and others have committed to pray for us and for a successful event.

Can we hold up for the 10 mile walk?

The weather is suppose to reach a high of 90 degrees and the humidity will be up, according to the weatherman. We will start early to beat the heat, around 7:00 am … we are suppose to finish just before noon.

Not all funds have been collected yet, so a final tally announcement on how much was brought in will come later.  So, stay tuned for a report and photos of how it all goes! (And, pray for us!)

Set up on the Pier with Ocean in the Background

Set up on the Pier with Ocean in the Background

And by the way, we had a great weekend and visited with the Missions Chair Person at a church in Tarpon Springs on Sunday. We counted the whole tripl…a big success. (Except for the sand flea bites I got on my ankles.)

Walk for the World

The countdown has started, and March 28th is “D” Day for our big walkathon event – one week away. Are we ready for our 10 mile challenge (40 laps)? Wait until you see how ingenious Kelly has been in preparing his “Radioman” setup.  See Kelly’s K4UPG.com Blog for photos of our weekend at Honeymoon Island. (More about this below.)


The Cause:

Our PIONEERS staff is walking to raise $100,000 to send missionaries to 6,500-plus unreached people groups around the world. (Click here to see a brief description how the funds will be used to accomplish our goal.)


walkfor-the-world

Multiplying the Blessing:

A foundation has established a matching grant enabling us to double what we raise, dollar for dollar, for up to $250,000.


The Radioman:

Kelly is taking his ham radio with him to help pass the time as we walk. He has designed a creative way to talk to various countries, states and cities on his amateur radio while walking. Wait until you see!


Pray As We Walk:

We have asked sponsors to give us their prayer requests so our staff can pray for them as we walk. There will be a manned “prayer station” along our route that will be passing out these prayer requests to the walkers as they pass the booth. Kelly will report to the prayer station the countries/states/cities he has contacted, and they will pass that info on to the rest of us so we can pray for those places also.


hfpack_man_tm

hfpack_man_tm Pedestrian Mobile

The Design Challenge:

Radioman calls this type of radio transmitting being “pedestrian mobile,” in Ham Radio talk.

  • Challenge #1: He had to figure out how to “wear” the radio while still being able to reach the controls.
  • Challenge #2: He will also have to carry the rather large battery that powers the radio.
  • Challenge #3: He plans to mount his “Buddistick Antenna” onto an Alice Pack Army backpack (instead of on the extended stationary mount, as seen in the photo below).
Kelly mobile with his radio, and his Buddipole antenna in a ground mount with 3 guy lines for stability

Kelly mobile with his radio, and his Buddistick antenna in a ground mount with 3 guy lines for stability

Stay Tuned For Results:

Many thanks to those of you who have agreed to either pray for our event or to sponsor the two of us. We will post results of how well we do in funds raised, how many laps we actually walk, the names of places Radioman contacts, and of course, some fun photos of the event and of Kelly’s pedestrian mobile design.

3 QST: HamCation, HamCation

QST is amateur radio talk for: Attention – Bulletin; It is a Ham radio Q signal that is “calling all Radio Amateur’s” attention to a “bulletin”. Thus, my title QST: HamCation…

If you did not attend the Orlando HamCation held at the Central Florida Fairgrounds last weekend, then you missed a perfect opportunity to become submerged in the world of Ham Radio and electronics. It was a first for me and I was blown away. There were easily over 5000 people there, possibly more since they had 10,000 last year. These ham-ventions are held all over the US and this one is the largest in the Southeast.

Yellow hat...Is Kelly Smiling? You Bet!

Yellow hat...Is Kelly Smiling? You Bet!

WHAT WAS IT LIKE?

There were over a hundred commercial vendors inside 3 large buildings enticing “hams” with the latest and greatest electronic devices. But that paled to where the real action was taking place. Outside there was one of the largest fairground tailgate areas around. There were rows & rows of RV’s, trucks, and cars with their tailgates or awnings opened, and swap tables filled with amateur radios, parts, computer hardware, software and more. It was like the biggest ham & electronic flea market ever, with prize drawings & food hawkers! Kelly was in 7th heaven and we soaked it all in.

NOTE: You can find Kelly in all the photos by the bright yellow ball cap he is wearing.

"Let me see, what do I get first?" he said rubbing his hands together with anticipation.

"Let me see, what do I get first?" he said, rubbing his hands together with anticipation.

Something Has Caught Kelly's Attention

Something Has Caught Kelly's Attention, "Hmmm, do I need that?

There Was Something For All Ages

There Was Something For All Ages

The Tailgate Vendors Went On For Blocks

Outside: The Tailgate Vendors Went On For Blocks (Kelly on right)

The Tailgate Flee Market: "This is just what I want at a great Price."

The Tailgate Flee Market: "This is just what I want at a great Price."

THE HIGHLIGHT

One of the highlights of the weekend for Kelly was when we attended a Sat. morning forum presented by  Buddipole Antennas. Kelly had just bought one the week before and the presenter was the designer himself, Budd Drummond. Kelly would not only get the inside scoop on its use, but also get to meet the designer. And, it was better than that. When Budd heard Kelly had just bought one, he brought him up front, explained all the intricacies to him and had Kelly assist him with setting up his products.

Kelly Meets Budd Drummond, Designer of "Buddipoles"

Kelly Meets Budd Drummond, Designer of "Buddipoles"

Budd Drummond has Kelly Assist Him In Set-up

Budd Drummond has Kelly Assist Him In Set-up

The Buddipole goes Segway Mobile

The Buddistick goes Segway Mobile

What’s a Buddipole? It’s an antenna system designed to be lightweight and compact for portable operations, easily fitting in a travel bag, and still not compromise on performance. Perfect for what Kelly needs.

Compact Case With Buddipole

Compact Case With Buddipole

The Compact Antenna Fully Expanded - Ready to Go

The Compact Antenna Fully Expanded - Ready to Go

It was a great weekend and we truly enjoyed ourselves. We didn’t win any of the drawings, but hey, there is always next year.

9 “K4UPG” (Kelly for Unreached People Groups)

Hurray! Kelly did pass his test and was able to renew his old Amateur Radio license. He has new “call letters” now, “K4UPG,” as you saw in the title. If you understand the kind of missions work we do, you would agree K4UPG is very apropos for him. Possibly there will be opportunities to share about the Lord to other “hams” when they ask him about his call letters.

As Kelly reacquaints himself with his old hobby of 30 some years ago, he has had to reacquire various items, parts and tools of the trade. EBay has been a great resource and it is easy on the pocketbook.

This last weekend we had our first Amateur Radio outing so Kelly could test his radio. Our housing community has a 30 acre lake just a couple of blocks from us with a small and simple park area overlooking the lake. (Simple means: 3 weather worn park benches & 2 small picnic tables.) It is a very “open” area without electrical wires or tall buildings that would interfere with his reception, ideal for what he needed.

The Lake

The Lake

It was extremely windy so we had to set up in an area a little more protected by trees. “Set up” meant, stringing his antenna coax between two trees about 60 feet apart. And, the higher up the antenna, the better the reception. With the wind, this was a challenge!

Kelly, Throwing The Line Over The Limb

Kelly, Throwing The Line Over The Limb

Ally-oop, And He Makes It Over The Limb

Ally-oop, And He Makes It Over The Limb

The 2nd Tree about 60 ft Away From The First

The 2nd Tree about 60 ft Away From The First

Kelly Attaches Antenna Ends To The 2 Lines

Kelly Attaches Antenna Ends To The 2 Lines

Since last weekend, he has been researching different ways to get his antenna strung between the trees without throwing his arm out of joint. He has come up with some ingenious ways, so the next post about his radio adventures will probably introduce you to one of these.

For this outing, he was testing his transceiver and mostly just listening. (He’s still working on the “tuna can” transmitter, waiting on parts. NOT- kelly it is done!) With the receiver he was able to “listen” to the chatter over the airwaves. He actually heard other amateur operators transmitting from the Falkland Islands, Costa Rica and from different states all over the US. The day was a success.

The Alcov Protected From The Wind By A Tree Line

The Alcove Protected From The Wind By A Tree Line

Close Up, And He's Getting A Signal!

Close Up, And He's Getting A Signal!

Look Close: The Antenna Wire Is Hanging From the Line Above

Look Close: The Black Antenna Wire Is Hanging From the Line Above In Font Of Kelly

Kelly's View Of The Lake & My Bench Between The 2 Trees

Kelly's View Of The Lake & My Park Bench Between The 2 Trees

While Kelly was having fun I was doing one of my favorite things, sitting on one of those weather worn park benches reading a good book and trying to keep warm. The book was “The Lotus and the Cross” by Ravi Zacharias, which I highly recommend.

Self Portrait: Connie Sitting On The Park Bench And It's Windy & Cold

Self Portrait: Connie Sitting On The Park Bench And It's Windy & Cold

Connie's View Of The Lake On Park Bench As She Reads

Connie's View Of The Lake On Park Bench As She Reads

It was a great weekend and we both enjoyed that day. We look forward to many more.

3 Ham Radio Sample Test Question:

What is the term for the ration between the frequency deviation of an RF carrier wave, and the modulating frequency of its corresponding FM-phone signal?

That’s a sample question that Kelly may have to answer today. I don’t even know if it is an easy question or hard one. It all sounds like Greek to me.

Last week Kelly passed his first level test for getting his Ham Radio license qualifying him at the “Technician” level. Today, he is going for his Level 2 (General) and Level 3 (Amateur Extra) tests. He will pass the Level 2 but he’s not so sure about the 3rd level, 50-question Extra Class test. It is a whole new area of “digital” radio-electronics with terms, theories and equations using log rhythms and scientific calculators that I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around. (He doesn’t “need” the level 3 license to be a Ham…it’s all in the challenge of “Can I do it?”.) Most of this stuff he has never heard of and with just one week of studying, well, will let you know how he does.

Here’s a picture from yester-year. This was Kelly’s radio setup back when he was still in school.

His call letters then - WA9NOG

His call letters then - WA9NOG