Squelch Button

I recently reverted to an older commercial VHF rig in my car when my Yaesu mobile died on me.  It has to be programmed with a special vendor device that hooks into the mic connection.  You can only have about 16 channels or frequencies programmed at any one time.  Which is fine for around town use.

What I love about this little Relm rig is that it actually has a squelch button on the volume knob.  So to hear the squelch, you push the volume.  This make adjusting the volume a breeze.  I love that feature.  I wish it was included in modern radios.

The Shack, 2007

Here is a look at my Ham Shack as it appears in the garage right now.  On display are my HF and VHF radios and my computers.  Currently, my primary box is running Ubuntu 6.10.  I have a white box Windows XP Pro for getting into my work PC via VPN.  A second PC on the left, is an old MPC box that has Edubuntu on it.  I’m going to be donating it to my kid’s school.


You can also see some of my books. :)

Hamfest Preperations

The Geek Garage, a local Boise, ID website devoted to Open Source Programming, Linux and Ham Radio, will be sponsoring a table at the local Boise Hamfest this month. We’ll have a modest PC running Ubuntu to show off Linux and a bunch of freely available Ham Radio related computer programs. I will also be demonstrating programming on Linux. We will also be handing out free Ubuntu CD’s and generally talking up Open Source, Linux and the Ham radio net we run on Saturday nights.

This will only be my second Hamfest as a Ham, my father used to take me to Hamfests when I was growing up, so I’ve been to plenty of them over the years. Last year I was able to find a old microphone for my Eldico radio set at the Hamfest. You can often find useful radio items at bargan prices and this is the reason most Hams enjoy going. Of course, getting together in large groups with the people you talk to on a regular basis and doing face-to-face QSO’s is also really fun!

If you are a Ham and live in the Boise area, come on out and join us at the Hamfest.

VOI sponsored Hamfest on Saturday April 22, 2006 at Vallivue Middle School in Caldwell. Further details as they become available!

Date: April 22, 2006

Time: 7:30am – 9:00am – Table Setup
9:00am – 1:00pm – Hamfest Open to general public.

Location: Vallivue Middle School
16412 S. 10th Avenue
Caldwell, ID

New Net in the Treasure Valley, Idaho

Geek Garage Net is a technical net for those Hams who use Linux and who enjoy programming.

The Newbie Net has morphed into a leaner, more focused net that is designed to appeal to the more technical members of the Ham community. Geek Garage Net can be found on the HPBARC repeater (147.26+ 100Hz CTCSS), every Wednesday evening at 2100 Local time, Boise Idaho. The nets do not meet on the second Wednesday of the month.

I missed my Ham Radio today!

I had to switch cars today and take the kids to school. I missed out on listening to and checking in to the morning commute net on the local Ham repeater.

I never realized how much I was hooked on that radio until I didn’t have the option to turn it on and talk to my morning friends. Just the other day I actually turned it off on the ride home so I could hear a song on the radio. There is not as much traffic on the radio going home as coming to work. But on that day I really was into the song and the Ham chatter was getting annoying.

For those of you who do not know about Amateur Radio, it’s a secret society of technically minded friendly folk who love to talk using licensed and self moderated radio frequencies. Go check it out, you’ll be glad you did. ARRL

6 Meter Mobile

My friend Dave (K1ZH) came over today and helped me fix up my 6 meter FM Genave radio to work with a tone generator on the local repeater. We studied the schematics and suffered through a power supply failure but managed to get it going. The radio was designed by my father, Gerry McConnell back in the mid 1970’s. It has ten crystal channels one of which allows for repeater use.

A good friend of mine secretly purchased the crystals for me from the original supplier to Genave. So finally the radio will hit the repeater. A quarter wave mag mount antenna on my Honda and now I’m on my way.

The tone generator is a little black box that sits on top of the Genave with electrical tape straps. I’ll have to devise a proper mount for it next.