I already told you in a previous post about how much I like my Elecraft K1. I use it mostly in the field, when we backpack up a mountain or trail for an event like Field Day or one of the QRP field events held each year. The one drawback of the K1 is that having the controls on the front panel instead of the top makes it harder to use when you (and it) are sitting on the ground in the woods. Usually, I’d just find a rock or something to stick under it to prop up the front (and I can show you the scratches on the bottom of my K1 to prove it). Now, let it be known that Elecraft offers the KTS1 Wide Range Tilt Stand as a possible solution to this problem. And I’m sure that it’s a fine product. I was a little put off by the $35 price tag, though, so I finally decided to fashion a stand of my own.

Continue reading

I really like my Elecraft K1 QRP rig. Mine’s the 4-band model (40, 30, 20, and 15 meters). I also have the KAT1 internal ATU and the K1BKLTKIT backlit display installed. It’s a great rig for QRP CW in the shack or in the pack. Mine is a staple of my Field Day excursions.

Typically, when I hit the trail with my K1, I pack a 2-AH gel cell to power it. Works great, but the gel cell is kinda heavy and bulky. So, in a moment of boredom (I had the itch to build something, I guess), I ordered the KBT1 internal battery option and installed it.

Continue reading

I finally got around to trying another installation of Hardy Heron now that it’s gone final. You might recall that I tried installing Hardy Heron beta a few months ago and I couldn’t get my Linksys WUSB54G wireless network adapter working with it. Hardy seemed to recognized the adapter just fine out of the box, and even detected my wireless network, but I was never able to connect to anything over the web using my browser. My suspicion is that WPA encryption is still not supported for my adapter using the native drivers.

Well, now I’m pleased to report that I have my Linksys adapter working with Hardy Heron using the same procedure that I followed for getting it to work with Gutsy Gibbon.

Continue reading

Hello, my name is Dave, and I’m a mapaholic.

Being an occasional backpacker, I use topographic maps both for planning hikes and camping trips, and for navigating on the trail. My map of choice, just like practically everyone else, is the 7.5-minute USGS quad. I obtained my first one of these back in the late 80’s, before the internet, and before it was feasible to store much map data electronically (can you say “40 MB hard drive”?). I think I ended up ordering it from someplace, and it came in the mail rolled up in a cardboard tube. I think I just about wet my pants when I first unrolled it. It was soooo cool! The level of detail on that map (1 inch = 2000 ft) was more than I’d ever experienced, and I could determine the latitude and longitude of anything on the map. It wasn’t long before I could smugly recite the coordinates of my house down to the arc second or so.

Continue reading

I decided to give the Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron beta a whirl today, but really didn’t have much luck with it. First, I was having a hard time integrating it into my existing multiboot scheme on my computer (I use a separate GRUB partition for managing booting between Gutsy Gibbon and WinXP), but I ignored that for the moment. The real difficulty came when I tried to get my Linksys WUSB54G (ver. 4) wireless adapter working. I figured that I could simply follow the instructions that I wrote for doing so with Gutsy Gibbon, but alas, there was no joy. When I tried to manually configure the network settings, I found that I could not select the wireless network settings to modify them. Perhaps this will be fixed before it goes final, or someone else will solve this problem…

In the mean time, my experiment with the Hardy Heron beta has ended. I’ll pick it up again at a later time, perhaps when it’s released in final form.

I’m about to set up a new computer for myself, and it’s going to run both Windows XP Pro and one or more flavors of Linux. Obviously, it’s going to be a multi-boot system. So I’ve been boning up on a lot of the issues associated with setting up such a system, such as:

  • What’s the best way to partition the system?
  • Can I use a single /home partition and just share it with every Linux distro I install?
  • How can I easily share files between WinXP and Linux?

Continue reading

I’m an Ubuntu user. I made the switch a few months ago. I like it, and I won’t be switching back to Windows. Ubuntu is great, but I’ve never been able to understand the near-religious fervor adopted by aficionados of linux (or Mac, for that matter) when they talk about their beloved operating systems.

Ubuntu isn’t that much better than Windows XP. My installation of Windows XP was always extremely stable, and I haven’t found Ubuntu to be superior in that regard. I made the switch more for philosophical reasons than anything. I was having a big problem envisioning myself running Windows Vista in the future. Vista contains nothing that I find compels me to want to upgrade, and seems to have been created mainly as a vehicle to generate sales for Microsoft. Not that there’s anything wrong with MS trying to make money, but in my opinion there’s little added value. Was I running an operating system or a marketing tool? So I decided to make the switch to Ubuntu.

Continue reading

Here is the 4Nec2 input file for my shortened antenna model:

Short vertical NEC input file

I welcome any comments on the validity of the model.

Note that I make no claims that this is a super antenna. It works. It appears to suit my needs, given the constraints under which I designed it. I’ve documented my antenna design and building efforts here in my blog mainly so anyone who might be interested in learning about and using antenna modeling software like 4Nec2 might find the information useful. In my case, the model appears to predict behavior that’s consistent with the actual performance of the antenna. This is good–and cool.

Up to now I’ve been using XLog for logging ham radio QSOs in Ubuntu, but I gotta say I’ve never really liked it much. The user interface leaves a lot to be desired in terms of being unambiguous. I’d been using XMLog for doing my general logging under Windows–it’s a great free program that allows me to easily import contacts from my contest logger and exports to ADIF for sending to Logbook of the World. So, this morning I decided to see if I could get XMLog to run under Wine in Ubuntu 7.10.

Continue reading