Category Archives: K9ZW Recommends

When Something is just built Right! – The Superior Foot Switch from RadioSport

Some station accessories are so simple, yet so hard to get right.

One is the PTT (Push to Talk) Foot Switch. Almost every shack ends up with either on of the ubiquitous commodity grade Foot Switches or a home brew Foot Switch often made with the switch unit from a machine tool on homemade cabling.

The commodity switches work, but not always, they are not built all that badly but they are not lifetime products, and as many have several cables you often see one of the cables bundled up with a tie wrap laying next to the switch.

The home brew often use the same superior actual foot switch that is often seen in machine shops. Yet often it is cabled with a audio RCA cable that perhaps has a knot and a grommet for strain relief and ends up breaking down over time.

RadioSport has a better mousetrap – their PTT-FS-RCA is truly a better grade of a common item.

Here is what the unit looks like when it arrives. Nicely packaged in a ziplock which perhaps can be reused when moving your station.

Unit bagged as arrived

Unit bagged as arrived

Here is the unit out of the bag – the in-the-hand feel already shows off its quality.

Sans Bag (which is even a reusable bag!)

Sans Bag (which is even a reusable bag!)

I’ve bought this sort of switch (NOS) off eBay, but not in powder coat finished like the RadioSport unit.

Side View

Side View

Never seems possible for use regular folk to get this quality of strain relief, and as the actual cable is a custom product produced for RadioSport we’re not going to find this grade of reinforced cable to use.

Excellent Strain Relief on Top Quality Cable

Excellent Strain Relief on Top Quality Cable

Terminating the cable is a high grade RCA in gold plate. No hamfest 25-cent bulk in the bins connector, but perhaps the highest grade RCA I’ve seen in a long time.

Gold Plated High Quality Connector

Gold Plated High Quality Connector

Completing the unit is anti-skid pad made of a very grippy polymer. Combined with the noticeable weight this Foot Switch will tend to stay put compared to the feather weight commodity brands.

Industrial Grae anti-slip pad on bottom

Industrial Grade anti-slip pad on bottom

All this at a price point that is affordable, though in interest of full disclosure it is about $20 or so more than the commodity brands.  There a similar high quality adapters for radios requiring different connectors.

Here is Radiosport’s own write up:

At last a quality Foot PTT Switch you can rely on.

This rugged industrial grade all metal PTT Foot Switch is just what you’ve been looking for for that DX or Contest or Net Control Station.

This rugged item is truely intended for industrial manufacturing floor use and the construction is there to support this sort of heavy-duty use. I call it the “SuperDuty*” of Foot Switches. Powder coated finish, rubber non-slip pedal and foam rubber cushion on the botton to prevent wandering under your operating position.

Links – RadioSport http://www.arlancommunications.com/products/amateurRadio/radioSport/ptt.asp and FlexRadio Systems http://cart.flexradio.com/Radiosport-PTT-Footswitch-with-RCA-plug_p_953.html

A lifetime quality PTT Foot Switch at an affordable price! Who can ask for more?

73

Steve
K9ZW

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Installing SlippNott Upgrades at K9ZW

The Tennadyne T-8 used two stainless u-bolts for attachment. In the highest of winds the large double booms of the Log Periodic antenna caught enough wind to slightly rotate on the mast.

To counteract this I decided to upgrade the T-8-to-Mast and Mast-to-Rotor connections with Tennadyne’s improved attachment method, the Tennadyne SlippNott.  (The much smaller T-28 Log Periodic doesn’t have enough surface area to need this upgrade.  U-bolts work perfectly fine for the smaller antenna.)

T-8 Original U-Bolt Clamp

T-8 Original U-Bolt Clamp

Another view of the original attachment. It had taken six years to pivot perhaps 10 degrees, though no matter how you look at it, it was moving even if very slowly.

T-8 Original U-Bolt Clamp

Original U-Bolt Clamp – Another View

The SlippNott retrofit upgrade uses two machined clamps with roughly one hundred time the surface contact area of the two u-bolts.

T-8 with SlippNott Retrofit

SlippNott Retrofit – another view

Another look at the retrofit in place.

T-8 with SlippNott Retrofit

T-8 with SlippNott Retrofit

I did the install from scaffold after lowering nd tipping over the whole tower.

Tower Access

Lower, Tilt and Scaffold

Also installed was a second SlippNott providing additional grip of the mast at the antenna rotator rotor unit.

SlippNott rotor installation

SlippNott rotor installation

This one was a fiddle to install given the restriction of the three nested tower sections.

Inside Nested Sections

Tight Quarters

Again it provides a huge increase in clamping action and limits the risk of the newly enhanced situation at the antenna twisting the whole mast in the rotor clamp.

Rotor SlippNott Installed

Rotor SlippNott Installed

A worthwhile project – wish the SlippNott was available when I put the tower and antennas up.

You can read more about them at the Tennadyne website – http://www.tennadyne.com

 

Direct link to the SlippNott page is http://www.tennadyne.com/slipp_nott.htm

73

Steve
K9ZW

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A Sandy Necessity – After the Prayers & Action, a Call to Prepare

The storm hasn’t finished, with large winds, snows, rains and storms still causing damage and taking lives over a wide part of the country.

Millions without power and mobility. Some without heat.

After the prayers we all have had for those affected, and the immediate action of aid that can be rendered, a person’s thoughts run to “what if it was here – what it is was us?”

These are the natural questions that lead to preparedness efforts.

Over the weekend I spoke with my eldest son Tom KC9JGD about what would he do if his University was hard hit? Does he have a 72-hour pack? Where would he go?

Not done with the intention of scaring the young man, but rather asking him “what is your Plan-B if your housing & dining were unavailable?” Simple common sense questions.

Was rather pleased he had some ideas and plans, and most importantly saw the immediate challenge of putting together what items and plans he doesn’t yet have.

Today my office was abuzz with questions like “do you have a generator at your house?” and “do you keep some spare water & storage food at home?” Great questions and one every head of household should have asked themselves and responded to!

What have you done to be ready for the unexpected?

If there is interest I will post links to some the resources I have found useful when I have looked into this question.

73

Steve
K9ZW

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Be a ham radio operator – the Courage Center Handiham System for Blind & Disabled

Included in my personal 2011 end of year giving – –

– – (you ARE putting “something back” in someway – whether Time, Talent or Treasure (money) for 2011??!! whew!  Glad to hear you are!! ) – –

– – is the excellent Amateur Radio charity & teaching/support machine “Handiham“:

Be a Ham Radio Operator!

Handiham Logo

Be part of an activity that includes astronauts, teachers, kings, actors, police officers, pilots, and people just like you! Call Courage Center’s Handiham System and learn ham radio operation today. It’s easier than you think! Morse code is not required for any level of ham radio license. Courage Center’s Handiham System will get you started with your ham radio studies, and you’ll be on the air before you know it. Having fun with electronics, talking to your friends on the radio, and helping your community with emergency communications are some of the new experiences you can look forward to with a ham radio license.

Cost: $10 annual membership

Golden Valley Contact: Nancy Meydell, 763.520.0512

(Outstate, toll-free, 1.866.426.3442)

Or email: hamradio@couragecenter.org

Office appointments are available Monday through Friday, 9 am-1:30 pm at Courage Center Golden Valley or by arrangement at Courage Center St. Croix in Stillwater.

Classes also are available at various locations. Week-long Radio Camp sessions each year are available at Courage North, in northern Minnesota’s beautiful lake country, if you want to study in a residential camp setting. The cost of camp is based on ability to pay. Self-study is possible anytime and anywhere with audio or print materials, or on handiham.org with your computer.

Online courses are a self-paced member service, and are delivered as audio lectures each week:

Beginner course (Technician Class License) Intermediate course (General Class License) Highest level course (Extra Class License) Operating Skills course (For those with any level of license who want to learn to operate better.)

There is also a Handiham World newsletter. Find it online, delivered weekly in both text and audio, or as an audio podcast at handiham.org, or call toll-free, 1.866.426.3442.

via Be a ham radio operator! | Courage Center Handiham System.

Their blog: http://handiham.blogspot.com/

and main webpage: http://www.handiham.org/

I’m seldom in the position to do as much as I would like for them, though I do find a way to slide a hundred to them now & then, as Patrick Tice WA0TDA told me at Dayton that every little bit helps!

As you finish up your year, perhaps you can your join me in finding a few dollars to send their way?

THANK YOU in advance!

73

Steve
K9ZW

If you would be so kind as to let me know either in comment or by email (I am good at QRZ.com) I would appreciate it!


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REPOST: Well Balanced Machinery – How some Machines just Work and Feel ‘Right’!

Back in 2007 when this Blog was rather new, I had posted:

Man designs and makes so many machines to be either the most extreme on some measure or another – the fastest, the biggest, the sleekest, the most luxury, the most horsepower, or some other extreme.

And then man occasionally designs and builds tools, cars or equipment that has something special – a balance that appeals.

In shooting I have found this to be the case in the Jeff Cooper Steyr Scout.

Jeff Cooper Steyr Scout 308 Rifle

 

Shotgunning, for me it is the Benelli Montefeltro.

Benelli Montefeltro Shotgun

 

For handguns I have found the Steyr GB 9mm to have the elusive balance sought.

Steyr GB 9mm Pistol

 

Of the planes I’ve flown and owned one stands out as balanced exceptionally well, the uncommon Twin-Navion.

Tempco-Reily D-16A Twin-Navion

 

In motoring I’ve found that my vintage Panhard PL-17 Sedan, the Citroen CX2400 Pallas C-matic Sedan and the Benelli 900 Sei motorcycle have that special “something.”

Panhard PL-17 Sedan Grand Routier

 

Citroen CX2400 Pallas C-Matic Sedan

 

Benelli 900 Sei Motorcycle

 

Later this week I will outline what Amateur Radio gear I’ve found has that special balance – and I would love to hear what you have found has that balance for you!

73

Steve
K9ZW

I’ve still been thinking about how certain designs just “have it” – some special quality that becomes something noticeably greater than the mere sum of its features would suggest.

The Flex-5000A SDR Radio seems to fall in this class.

As does a SML Baritone Saxophone I had rebuilt by Sarge at Worldwide Sax with his special updating for my personal use.

Or how about that Forester Coaxial Reloading Press that makes it seem so easy, by actually making it easy?

What great designs that have that special synergy have you found?

73

Steve
K9ZW

G0KYA’s Amateur Radio Blog: Stealth Antennas – now available in USA

From Steve G0KYA’s Blog:

LINK URL G0KYA’s Amateur Radio Blog: Stealth Antennas – now available in USA.

My copy of his book arrived while I am traveling and I’ve found it a great read, having already run through about half of the book in short order.

I bought mine through the ARRL.

Looks excellent – recommended!

73

Steve

K9ZW

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