76’ers Repeater Excursion ~ August 20th 2011


Those who attended the 76’ers Repeater Excursion – Saturday, August 20, 2011
Stan KF7RCY Spanish Fork
Brad KD6SFS Spanish Fork
Doug WE7BBQ Spanish Fork
Richard KF7KGK Spanish Fork
Jim KK7JRJ Spanish Fork
Matt N7TOX Springville
Bruce KA7QVE Springville (via Fly-Over)
Ron KF7RCZ Saratoga Springs
Sam KC7ZCI Payson
Sam Jr. KF7OQH Payson
Jon KC7GGR Orem
Tanner KF7MGT Orem
Randy N7OXG Lehi
Jim N7KFD Murray
Lon WE7LDS American Fork
Gordon K7HFV Salt Lake City (Honorary Member)
Bruce KF7OZK  Salt Lake City {Guest}

We really appreciate all those who attended and for the very fun sweet day.

Those of you who couldn’t attend this really missed out.

73’s to all!
KF7KGK ~ Richard

All of the 76'ers who made the trip

My New Mobile Antenna Setup

Despite being an Extra for over a year, I just barely moved beyond my basic FT-250R HT. For the moment, it is still my only radio, but I have now added an antenna onto my car, so that I can get better reception and output. I did a lot of shopping around, and finally settled on a trunk-lip mount with a 5/8 wave monoband antenna. I may eventually get a dualband mobile radio in my car, but that’s at least several months off, and the antenna itself is the cheaper part of the setup.

So, to start with, as I said before, I have a Yaesu FT-250R HT. It is a 2M HT, and has served me very well. It is build nice and sturdy, and has a good set of features. I have owned it for almost a year now, and have nothing bad to say about it. I’ve been using it with a Comet SMA-24 from HamCity.com (where I have bought all my gear so far. It is a dual-band whip, and a nice upgrade over the rubber duck.

My car is a 2004 Pontiac Grand Am, which I just put a new aftermarket stereo into, which factors in a bit later. I picked it up used, and love it despite some cosmetic problems with the interior.

As I said earlier, after shopping around for a while, I settled on a Comet Heavy-Duty Lip Mount antenna mount, for NMO antennas. I chose the heavy-duty model so that I can use larger antennas if I want, and to ensure it would hold up well over an extended period. It can take up to 70″ antennas. I routed the cable into the trunk, and zip-tied it to the trunk hinges, to keep it out of the way of things in the trunk. Then I routed it around the edge of the rear passenger seat on the driver’s side, and curled up the excess cable behind the driver’s seat. With that done, I brought the end of the cable up along the center console, between the passenger seat and the console. I chose that side because it gets less use, and will have less movement than the driver’s seat.

I’ll leave the hookup to the radio for later, and return to the antenna. I chose a DIAMOND 144-172 MHz Monoband Mobile Antenna, with the NMO hookup. It gets a ~3.4 dBi gain, and can be trimmed to tune it for the specific center frequency you desire. I haven’t tuned mine yet, and have decided I probably won’t, since I’m getting excellent signal reports as it is, and I would rather not compromise the antenna by cutting it. It is 52.4″ long, leaving me plenty of length to spare under the 70″ limit on my mount.

Back to the in-car hookups, since the mount’s cable has a PL-259 connection, I also picked up a small adapter cable (COMET SO-239 to SMA Male) to actually hook up to my radio. I set my radio in the center console cup-holder, where it can sit stationary, keeping movement and flexing of the coax to a minimum. To further limit its movement, I chose a speaker-mic that worked with my radio. It has a long enough cable to clip onto my visor when not in use, and as an added perk has an audio-out plug on the mic itself, which I have hooked up to my stereo’s aux-in plug, allowing me to use my car’s speakers for audio, making it much easier to hear what is being said.

In all, the parts I needed beyond the radio cost me $125 after shipping, and I am extremely happy with my purchase. Below are a couple pictures of the mount itself, and the bottom of the antenna. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask, and I will be glad to answer to the best of my ability.

Powering Your Mobile Radio From The Cigarette Lighter

Hearing Gordon they other day talking about the power meter on the VHf/UHF mobile radios, and stating that the meter on the radio is just an indication of what power setting you have your radio on, not the actual power out. This reminded me of a test I done back in the 90’s and redone today. Back in the 90s I read in one of my mobile radio manuals not to use the cigarette lighter or the fuse box to power your radio, go directly to the battery with your power leads. To do the test today I used the same radio as I did in the 90’s and had the similar results. Radio used is an Yaesu FT-2400 mobile, watt meter Diamond SX-400 and a Ameritron paint can 50 ohm dummy load. Here is the results.

Cigarette Lighter for Power

Motor off                                                  Motor on

5 watt setting = actual 4.5 watt            5 watt setting = actual 5.5

25 watt setting = actual 12 watts         25 watt setting = actual 18 watts

50 watt setting = actual 12 watts         50 watt setting = actual 20 watts

Power Direct from Battery

5 watt setting = actual 5 watts               5 watt setting = actual 5.5 watts

25 watt setting = actual 23 watts           25 watt setting = actual 23 watts

50 watt setting = actual 30 watts           50 watt setting = actual 50 watts

This shows you that you are not getting the correct current and voltage from the cigarette lighter. The power indicator on your radio is just that an indicator it does not tell you the actual output power. For the ones powering your mobile radio with the lighter, do the test I have done, you will be surprised!

NOTE: This does not pertain to Handhelds, since the power draw is low!




Dipole Antenna’s Need A Lightning Arrestor! by Mike Searle WE7AA

Okay, anyone using a Dipole Antenna should be using a Lightning Protector!!  This is why, here again, I have experienced it.  This happened back in the 1950’s.  I started in ham radio back in the 1950’s, I had 4 uncles whom were ham radio operators.  Three of them were brothers and had a schedule every Sat.  I obtained a short wave receiver so I could listen, also studying to be a Novice ham.  I put up a Dipole Antenna and for lead in I ran 300 ohm twin lead TV wire.  One day I decided to lower my antenna to inspect it.  It was cloudy but no lightning, to my surprise every time I touched the wire I got socked, my antenna was picking up static electricity, so I had to lay a piece of wire over the antenna to ground in order to work on it.  Now here is my experience with a close lightning strike using dipole. We were having a lightning storm 1 night and I disconnected the antenna as usual. One of the strikes was real close and after the strike I could hear a funny hissing sound, I searched all over my room to find the hissing.  I found the hissing coming from the end of my lead in wire, very strange and scary.  Why was my wire making a hiss?  My radio had a ground wire hooked to it so I grabbed a screw driver and slowly moved that wire towards my ground wire on the back of the radio.  When I got close to the radio say 2 or 3 inches, I heard a loud snap, which scared the heck out of me.  The Dipole had drawn static electricity from the strike and had retained it causing the wire to hiss.  When I moved the wire close enough to ground it discharged and the hiss went away, crazy stuff.  I’ve often wondered what would have happened if I touched that wire or had my radio hooked up.  So, my advice to you is to obtain a Lightning Protector when using dipoles!!

Mike WE7AA