Tag Archives: KC9NWB

Young Hams Improvised and Built Computers

‏A bit of a contrast between these two pictures and specifications:

KC9FVR’s Feb 2021 Computer Build

The contemporary build is a “production machine” build Winston KC9FVR is building to help his work-from-home experience.

  • A very nice case (“Be Quiet” is noted for cooling management without fan noise.
  • A 12-core/24-thread 3.7 gHz (4.8 gHz boosted) processor.
  • Dedicated coolers.
  • MSI Meg X570 Motherboard.
  • A couple 1TB SSD drives.
  • 32 GB of fast RAM (for a start)
  • Big nice graphics card.
  • and so on…

KC9FVR, KC9JGD and KC9NWB’s circa 2005 Improvised Computer

Quite a contrast to the improvised machine he and his brothers Thomas KC9JGD and Victor KC9NWB assembled secretly roughly 15 years earlier.

  • VIA C-3 single core at 900 Mhz
  • A salvaged no-name motherboard
  • A 3 GB Mechanical Hard Drive
  • 256 MB of Ram
  • A VGA to NTSC Video Adapter
  • A Root Beer Soda Box for a “case”
  • and not much more….

The back story on the cardboard box computer was that I said no more computers in the house, as homework was suffering. At least that was the official line I put out.

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Victor Builds a K-502 Amp

I was looking over Victor’s gear as he had just done done rebuilding and was so very pleased to see that he uses this Audio Amplifier he built. His brothers also each built their own K-502 amps, and while one is idle why the eldest is at University, the second K-502 is also in constant use. Excellent kits that youth will enjoy building and using the resulting amp:

Victor is the youngest of our three lads, and tonight he built a K-502 Stereo Tube Amplifier Kit.  A Father-Son project this was a chance to learn components, soldering, and circuit assembly.  Proud to report it works & sounds GREAT!

LINK URL Victor Builds a K-502 Amp.

These kits are an excellent way to get youngsters involved in building electronics!




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Satellites with Vic KC9NWB & Winston KC9FVR Update – 2

Well we are not quite there with the Satellite Work.

Programing the Yaesu VX-7R has proven to be a learning curve. Somewhere I have the cable & software to do it from a Windows Machine, but that isn’t useful when we were traveling with only my work computer (a MacBook) running OS-X.

Also the frequencies we downloaded and programed after puzzling over odd-split frequency memory storage command sequences were out of date – they were never going to work and given that they asked to program in steps smaller than the VX-7R is capable of, they appear to be “theoretical guidance” rather than “practical instructions!”

In the end we improvised and were able to listen to QSOs on AO-51 (ECHO) with ease.

As we were remote for the weekend, operating from EN55uu it is a bit of a shame that we didn’t get the transmit portion sorted out. Will be trying again from the home QTH (EN64dc) this week.

Both Vic KC9NWB and Winston KC9FVR had a blast trying and look forward to logging our first successful QSOs soon!



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Satellites with Vic KC9NWB Update

Well here we are at Independence Day Weekend! Always love the fireworks and fun, thoughts of the more serious side of why we remember the date, and of course time with family.

Victor KC9NWB and I hope to do a spot of work with the Elk Satellite antenna I purchased when I realized my workload was going to ramp up leaving me less family time. That limited time could be spent building or if I did a buy, it could be spent operating. Well the build can wait for winter!

We have the plots for the long weekend printed out, the VX7 charged and ready, and finally all the gear in place!

Wish us luck and a full report later in the week!



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Trees and Builds

Have a number of draft articles that are going to have to wait. Long due tree orders have arrived and I am busy getting them in the ground.

Also have the Satellite Antenna build with Vic KC9NWB to finish and a W9DK Mancorad Club Antenna Build for Field Day in progress.

Expect to see more posting after Dayton (I am not attending, but will be watching via Net as so many of will).



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Satellite Antenna Project – Next Step

With the Diplexers and Wiring Harnesses completed, it is time to do the easy part – the physical antennas. (for the Diplexer & Harness Build see  Building Microdiplexers with Victor KC9NWB )

Looking locally for the 1/8″ diameter common brass rod VE2ZAZ designed his antenna version around neither the quantity nor price-point were very attractive.  Little short pieces and expensive.

Found that McMaster-Carr has the rods at a very good price in 6 ft lengths.  They must have a special deal with their shippers as the shipping charge was very modest as well.  I also bought the CPVC tube and Vinyl End Caps from them, to top up my order above minimums and for ease of shopping.  Those prices were also very very good, though I don’t know what I am goingto do with all the extra vinyl end caps, given that the minimum order quantity was 100 pieces!

Did find that my circuit boards are a hair oversized, and I will need to make a decision whether to go to a larger boom or if I am going to add a “Diplexer Pod” externally.  I am leaning to the Pod and exterior wiring, with the idea of using the Pod as a future attach point for a receive preamp.

Mechanically I am looking at ways to make the elements easy to remove and reinstall.  Thinking of trying a couple ideas with scrap materials before drilling the booms.

Thinking of using an epoxy putty ball  with a small plastic cross-pin through it applied to each element on one side of the boom and then using elastic rubber bands to hold the elements in place when assembled.  Would provide for positive indexing and I could use letter stamps to mark each element for location.  Have a couple other ideas with heatshrink tubing and a clip.

Pictures soon!



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