Custom Kantronics TNC – Radio Cables

Kantronics KPC-9612+ TNC

I don’t use external TNCs, but I have friends that do, and every once in a while a friend or customer will ask me about a cable to connect one particular Kantronics TNC to one particular radio, and I always refer them to this company – Associated Radio – they have been making custom interface cables for years now and their prices are reasonable in my opinion.

Associated Radio
8012 Conser
Overland Park, KS 66204
(800) 497-1457

I was initially directed to them by Kantronics technical support, and I encourage anyone looking for custom Kantronics TNC-Radio interface cables to give them a call.

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Kenwood TM-281A 2 Meter Mobile

Kenwood TM-281a Two Meter Mobile Amateur Radio

I was helping a friend program his new Kenwood TM-281A Two Meter radio, and we had an interesting problem. We had recently performed some maintenance on our local 2M repeater (WA5CKF in Irving, TX) and the programming file I had for the TM-281A didn’t seem to work with the repeater now. We could “open” the repeater, which tells me we had the right PL Tone set, but we heard nothing from the repeater, despite seeing the S meter indicate a signal.

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NIST Time and Frequency Standards

With all this talk of the NIST cancelling some time and freq. standard services to save $6.5M, I present this overview of their services. The material may be dated, but should be fairly accurate.

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Favorite Mustang

289 C.I. V8 Fastback, spotted in Plano, TX

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Programming Notes: Yaesu FT-4X

Yaesu FT-4X Dual-band Hand-held

Yaesu has recently released a new dual-band hand-held amateur radio, the FT-4X. I always encourage hams that buy a hand-held to try and program their new radio by hand – it’s a great way to get familiar with your new radio, and prepares you in-case you find yourself in an unfamiliar situation and need to program a new repeater or frequency into your radio for a special event or as part of an emergency response team – this document is intended to help you do just that.

The attached document explains how to set the radio frequency, squelch type and PL tone, how to write that new repeater pair to memory and give it a meaningful label. Once you’ve programmed a few repeater pairs it also shows you how to set the radio to scan those programmed pairs.

Programming Notes for Yaesu FT-4X

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General Class License Question Pool

A few years ago I foolishly told my fellow club members that I planned to test for am upgrade from Technician to General class amateur radio license. I say foolish, because now my friends would be expecting me to pass – I had put pressure on myself to pass the test!

I had been reading the ARRL General License Manual intermittently for several years, but I never committed to actually upgrading my license. Anyway, I came up with an idea to help me prepare for the General test, and I wanted to share it with you. I went out on the web and downloaded the then-current question pool in MS Word format, and went to removing every incorrect answer – I created a document that had every question in the test pool and it’s correct answer (and only it’s correct answer). I committed to reading the test pool, cover to cover, several times a week – it honestly didn’t take that long to read it, maybe an hour or so – for the last few weeks before the test.

What I was doing was conditioning my brain to identify the correct answer when I read the exam… ANd it worked! I not only passed the General exam, I went on to pass the Extra exam, earning the highest operating license in US Amateur Radio!

Linked below, find a PDF of the current General Exam question pool – I never made a similar document for the Extra license question pool (it has too many questions!), but I found my Extra exam was very similar to my General exam.

I don’t offer this as an alternative to studying the material, I offer it as a means to reinforce your study of the subject material.

EDITED FINAL Revised 2015-2019 General Class Question Pool 2-11-2015 

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Boss 302 Mustang


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Dayton Hamvention 2018

Hara Arena Auditorium

Soon I will be travelling to the Dayton Hamvention 2018 in Xenia, OH for three days of Amateur Radio goodness and a chance to network with industry leaders at the largest Hamfest in the country (if not the world, but I digress). As I wander the Greene County Faire Grounds, I intend to post updates on this blog.

I will also be attending Contest University, and while I am not a contester, I enjoy the presentations and they will be all the more pertinent to me as I prepare to build my first little gun station this summer.

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How-to Program FT-65r

The Yaesu FT-65r is a good, solid-performing, inexpensive dual-band (2m/70cm) handheld. It is popular with new hams for it’s price and features, but new hams find it hard to program, so I worked with a fellow ham (Matt Mathews, KG5QZO) to draft this document to help the new (or experienced) ham get started with radio.

Programming Notes – FT-65r

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43 Foot Vertical

Zero Five 43 Foot Vertical

I’ve been considering various antennas lately, and one design I keep returning to is the 43 foot vertical. Below are a few of the resources I’ve come across.

There are many vendors offering 43 foot verticals, the one I like is from Zero Five Antennas who offers two models, one that includes a 4:1 UNUN and one for a remote tuner.

Why a 43 foot vertical? Phil Salus, AD5X, put together a presentation comparing the 43 foot vertical with a couple popular vertical antennas, and to address a shortcoming with the 43 foot vertical, he designed an 80-160 meter matching unit to install at the base, and MFJ has designed a product, the MFJ-2910, that is apparently based on the same design.

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