Saturday, November 3, 2012

And... We're back...

To anyone that cares, sorry that I haven't posted in such a long  time.  My real job as a systems engineer at a children's hospital can get hectic at times.  On the bright side, we successfully opened a brand new, absolutely state of the art hospital in Orlando, FL.  Check it out at >here<

In addition to working some completely insane hours, I also moved from the massively over-sized house in the burbs to a marginally under-sized house in the country.  I'm into RC planes as well as Amateur Radio, so having a place with a lot more land allows me to enjoy both of my hobbies at home.  It also helps that this place is cheaper to heat and cool being that it is around 1,200 sq ft smaller that the last house.  Hopefully we'll be able to buy again in a few years.

I have had time for a few projects, mostly in the last week to two, and I have had some searches running on eBay and a few other sites (like  As a result of these searches I have been able to acquire a Kenwood TR-9500 that I really wanted, as well as the matching BO-9A base and matching PS-20 power supply.  All that is left to have a complete system is the SP-120 speaker.  These occasionally show up on various sites, so I'll keep my eye peeled for it.  Here is a neat quick pic of my new rig:

The TR-9000 is on the middle shelf, left side (red freq display), and the TR-9500 is on the right side of the same shelf (green freq display).

Both of these rigs are all mode radios, so I have the ability to use single side band (SSB) in addition to CW and both narrow and wide band FM.  This is handy as some of the older satellites use SSB.  It also allows me to start dabbling in the world of VHF/UHF weak signal work, which takes place on SSB as well.  It is kind of neat to see how far you can talk on what are usually local area bands.  I am waiting on a Mirage B-108 to show up, which is an 80W amplifier that also contains a receive pre-amp to help with working low strength contacts.  One of these days I want to check out EME, or "moon-bounce", but that requires some seriously high-gain antenna arrays or even dishes (like re-tasked old satellite TV dishs, the big Ka band ones, not the little 18" DirecTV trashcan lids).

I also built a couple of quick desks since I no longer have an office.  I had to turn my "ham-shack" into a "ham-corner".  I built two identical desks out of 3/4" plywood and 1x12 whiteboard.  The main goal was to use as much vertical space as possible to maximize my storage options.  They are not quite finished yet, I still need to add trim, and build the linking section to make is a complete corner desk instead of two stand-alone desks.  Be at least I have a place to put my radios.  Here is a quick pic of the desk with my ham gear on it.  The other desk contains the gear that I use for work and is just to the left of it.  Not that anyone really cares how my shack is set I thought that someone might be interested in how my desk is designed.  Post a comment if you would like to see actual plans for them.  ;-)

One of the things that I am considering adding to the desks are a set of doors to hide the equipment when not in use.  I'm using the corner of my bedroom, and while I'm okay with seeing my stuff all the time, my XYL is only marginally impressed with the whole ham radio out in the open concept.  ;-)

Anyhow, I have a few other projects that I've been working on, and will work on adding those in additional posts this evening and in my "spare" time.  For now, have a good evening!


Richard, KK4JDO

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