W6KKO Repeaters Clovis, CA ( DM06dt )

RX Only APRS iGate

Items For Sale

A fix for the squishy buttons on a Yaesu VX-3R

Dorn Roller Coater for sale ( DRC-50 )

Hello, My name is Rick.

I had my first amateur radio QSO via satellite SO-50. I was using a 5W HT with the stock antenna on July 10, 2012. I will remember that for some time. I exchanged a QSL card with KD6NFD as a reminder. An Elk log periodic antenna is now in my possession and what a difference it makes working satellites and the ISS.

I am a long time SWL, 40+ years I have enjoyed just listening on all kinds of devices on various bands. What actually pushed me to get a license was an inexpensive $20 HT. Since the radio did more than FRS/MURS, I figured I should obtain the Technician license if I ever wanted to key, but I did not intend to use it. Well, three days after my Tech license showed up in the database I was now /AG. I continue to experience the budget upgrade that class of license extends to an operator. My vanity call sign was in the database later that same month. I choose it because of the pronunciation, thinking it would be easier to understand as spelled, or phonetically. Satellite being fast and furious, I figured if it works there, it should be good for pile up's, contesting, QRP, or general QSO's.

While I prefer working DX, the ARRL Centennial easily provided contacts from most every state in the U.S. I attained over 10,000 points during the last two months of the centennial and that burned me out a little bit. Contesting is an interesting aspect of the hobby and I have found myself enjoying the ARRL VHF contests in January, June, and September each year. Single Op Portable is the category I prefer. Keeping at 10 watts and mainly less, I have added a few items to help push the envelope. The first is a discontinued Heil Improved Traveler Headset(HTSS). The next item is a FUNKAMATEUR DYC-8X7 compressor for $45 shipped. Delivery was about one week. It is a kit that takes less than 30 minutes to put together and is well worth the cost. I recommend the DYC-8x7 compressor over the One Big Punch.

Best decisions:
- Following the advice from K6OSX to take the General test and get it over with.

- While the 817ND is fun, I first ordered the 100 watt 480SAT to make contacts, and stay encouraged. The internal tuner was an influence to have an all-in-one, ready to go radio. The dual antenna ports are both employed using a K4KIO Hexagonal beam and an Off Center Fed Dipole. I complement my phone transmissions with a Heil HM-12. It works well with the 480SAT, and 991A and being able to narrow up my audio does wonders for getting through pile ups with only 100 watts and engaging the processor. I have also added the RemoteRig RRC-1258 MkII to the system and it is fun to use when remote or outside at the pool.

- I now mostly use a Yaesu 991A, also with a Heil HM-12 microphone. Additionally, I enjoy FT8 with the radio at 20W or less. PSKReporter is quite helpful as well.

- Buddipole - A fun antenna. I enjoy travelling and camping, so I ordered the Mini-Buddipole. I broke a whip, but turned it into a vertical with speaker wire as a counterpoise. I made contact with ON7HJA in Belgium on 20m with what I now refer to as "Broken Wing". See the photo. While I now have a replacement whip or three, it was nice to see it work well as a vertical with a proper length of counterpoise for the band.

- I also use a Chameleon F-Loop antenna. A 5W phone QSO to Hawaii confirms it works. It is also easy to dial up the FT8 frequencies and have some fun with low power.

ARRL VHF Contest Gear: (I'm usually in DM06lx for the contest around 7800' with 10W or less)

  • Yaesu 991A @10W or less (6 m / 2 m / 70 cm)
  • Kenwood TH-D74A (1.25 m)
  • Motorola (33 cm)
  • Diamond two element Yagi or M2 HO loop (6m)
  • Elk log periodic FM & SSB 2m/70cm or M2 HO loops
  • Omni 33 cm
  • Elk log periodic 1.25 m (vertical for FM)
  • 100W Solar panels & two 35A SLA as well as LiFeP04 batteries.
  • ARRL contest results. Just type in W6KKO if curious.

A few SSTV captures from RS0ISS using SSTV mode PD180 on 145.800 MHz FM.
I used an Elk log periodic antenna and a Yaesu VR-500 receiver, but when the ISS is reasonably overhead most any receiver and antenna will pick up something when they are transmitting images. Here is a tip, record the transmission and decode it later. I now use either the Icom R30 or Kenwood D74A to record the transmissions directly to a MicroSD card. Here is a MP3 recording of a pass so that you can identify it when you hear it.




ARISS SSTV Award commemorating the 40th anniversary of "Apollo - Soyuz" program.


Remembering Owen Garriott W5LFL - Operated the world's first amateur radio from space.

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Yaesu 817ND Power Draw Results