Category: Uncategorised

Rigs, Antennas, Tuning, etc

Looking at a new base station rig, and since I am notoriously cheap “frugal”, I decided to get another TYT TH-9800 rather than a full-fledged, true base station. I have one of these in my truck but really getting to know the unit is difficult in the field. I figured having a ‘base’ station allows me to really learn the technical depths of the radio and gets me in on the cheap.

Spec-wise these radios get great reviews however the biggest complaint is that these things eventually ‘die’. From what I can gather, it’s likely due to people over-keying at max-output and frying the output amp; the electronics are not as robust as the Yaesu counterpart this unit was derived from (but I mean, it’s also a fraction of the price, sooo). It appears these things are great as long as you remember their upper limits.

While I was planning out this purchase, I suddenly realized I need to figure out an antenna – obviously, a mobile stick won’t suffice for a base station. Whatever it is, it needs to be discrete – enough to get to the local repeater. Anything beyond is gravy!

After lots and lots and lots of reading, I finally settled on a Slim Jim design out of the UK that uses a fancy-dancy calculator provided by M0UKD. ‘Local’ suppliers of ladder line appear to sell this in rolls of 100′ plus shipping – I needed like 6′, so VA3DAE generously stepped up and donated some 450Ω line he had laying around.

During all this reading, I got thinking, how do I ‘tune‘ the antenna? I have some old SWR meters I need to confirm will work. But can I buy something (cheap) or even better, build something using stuff I already have lying around?

Enter Arduino. Except for most projects I found are for HF, not where my interests lay being VHF+UHF.

Apparently, you can do VHF+UHF by swapping the DSS frequency generator out. Problem is, 1-30hz generators are cheap and plentiful. Above 30hz appears to be near impossible to find.

I’m sure by the time I’m done I’ll have invested enough quid to have covered the costs of a pre-fabbed unit built by Ed’s Antennnas out of Sunnyvale CA. We shall see. Either way, next time I have to travel to the valley I may stop by Ed’s.

Random: Coax Line Reference chart:

DC Flow Woe

Growing up I was in the “postive to negative” camp. For the longest time I could never explain nor understand the “negative to positive” mindset. Taking the advanced ham course, this concept is re-iterated during semi-conductor discussions – yet despite hearing the explanation numerous times, I just couldn’t wrap my head around it.

I ended up finding this very well done website that really helped me understand. Hope it helps!

Advancing the Interest

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted – but to be honest, once I became licensed I didn’t do much with it. I attended the odd technet (Reg from Hamilton ON, but now in Australia was one of my favourites), goofed around with the local repeater, etc.

With a younger family, I’ve been quite busy, and getting an hour or two to sit down and listen has been quite difficult. I haven’t even been out to the fancy new clubhouse – albeit, 1. it’s on the complete opposite end of the city and 2. it’s COVID…

To be honest part of the reason I became licensed was the geek factor – understanding the technology and whatnot that goes into radio transmission.

I am a member of the local club, LARC. They are running an advanced course so I eagerly signed up – electronics have always been an interest of mine. But like many of my interests, I don’t really get (rather make) the time to tinker. I figure that during COVID while nothing else is running (cough Ringette cough) I might as well take the opportunity.

Highly looking forward to this course, the instructor was a Fanshawe electronics teacher so it’ll be very informative.

PS. if Reg is still running it, the TechNet is Fridays at 8pm ET. The local repeater VE3 TTT carries it at 147.180+ (114.8Hz PL). I’m not sure where else it is carried. Other recommended nets here.


Hi!  I’m Rob from London, Ontario, Canada.  I just obtained my Basic (with Honours!) Amateur Radio license after completing the course offered by the wonderful people at “LARC” (London Amateur Radio Club).

Club station is at the Secrets of Radar Museum, so it was an additional treat to get to look through everything the location had to offer.

I plan to add some information/articles here as I progress with the hobby.