Hello all! I have not been doing much ham radio stuff lately. My son’s battle with cancer is over and we were victorious! But when I had to quit working to provide the full-time care for him since our insurance was with my wife’s employer, it put us way behind and we are having to rebuild and basically start over with my business. Because of that, I have had very little extra to put towards my hobby.
Things are definitely picking back up and we are thankful for that! I do not have an HF rig right now – I had to sell a bunch of stuff for us to make ends meet during that time. But I know I will be back in the swing of things soon and will be able to get moving in the hobby again.
After milking my 2002 Suburban for 304k miles, the transmission bit the dust this past week. Instead of investing a bunch of money into it right now when further repairs could be necessary with that kind of mileage, plus the fact that I get such poor gas mileage, I decided to buy a new car. I spent a little over $1,500 in gas in February because of how much I drive for work, so I got a car that gets more than twice the fuel economy as the Suburban – a 2013 Kia Soul.
I LOVE my new car! It is not a great car for having a big ham radio antenna, so I had to make a compromise. I am just going to use 2m/70cm while mobile. I did not have a great experience with the Yaesu FT-857D and ATAS-120A configuration. So I sold them both and am now using my Yaesu FT-8800R in the mobile. I also bought a through-the-glass antenna to use. It does not pick up quite as well as an antenna mounted in the middle of the roof, but it certainly looks better! There again, a compromise. I gave up a little gain to have a nice looking car to go see my clients in. I am still contemplating going ahead with drilling through the roof for an NMO connector to mount my Larson 2/70C permanently for the best gain possible. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I think I will go ahead and do that!
I am also having an issue where my Kenwood TS-2000 is transmitting off by 100 kHz on the 440 band. It works flawlessly otherwise. I am about to dive into the user manual to see if I can find a menu item than can fix it. If not, I am visiting my Elmer tomorrow and we will see if we can get to the bottom of it without having to send it in to Kenwood for repair.
Other than that, things are going great! We are so blessed. Happy Easter to all and remember – Jesus is alive!
I upgraded a couple of weeks ago. They were giving the tests in a city that I work in often during the week. I had been studying for a couple of weeks and went over and took the exam. I passed! I am still waiting for the FCC website to update with my new license information. In the meantime, I am making some QSOs using the /AG tag until it does update.
The week after I got my upgrade, I got myself two very nice radios. I had been saving for a few weeks and used some of my “play” money to buy them. I am the proud owner of a very nice, used Kenwood TS-2000, as well as a brand new Yaesu FT-857D for my truck. The Kenwood is working great. My Elmer – KE4PKB – showed me how to build a great 80-meter dipole and it is working fantastic. I made my first international contact with a ham in France on that dipole!
My FT-857D is having a little trouble with getting out through the ATAS-120. Another seasoned ham gave me some pointers on grounding the antenna and grounding the hood where it is mounted to the firewall. That is what I am planning on doing over the next few days.
Both of my sons are studying for their Technicians exam, but I imagine that they will be able to spend more time on it when school is out this summer. I have bought them Baofend UV5R’s as an incentive for them to have when they get their licenses. My oldest son is also doing great at learning CW!
I’ll say 73s for now and will work harder at keeping the blog posts coming! God bless you.
I am currently K4KKM, but am waiting on the FCC website to reflect the new vanity call sign I switched to. I have changed my sign to K4SAX to reflect one of my passions in life. I own a life and health insurance agency, but I am also a professional sax player. I am married to the love of my life – Holly – and have two amazingly talented boys, Caleb and Joshua.
In September 2011, my then-eleven year old son, Caleb, was diagnosed with a rare bone cancer called Ewings Sarcoma. There were two documented, unexplainable miracles that took place during our journey through that battle. I blogged the entire journey and you can find our story at http://keithmurray.us. It is very encouraging and a great example of the power of prayer and faith.
I am a Christian, first and foremost. I am a Conservative. I believe in our Constitution and Bills Of Rights, including the right to bear arms. I am a NRA Life member. I love my wife and family. I love being a HAM!
I was licensed in 2007, but never made any friends or knew of anyone else that was in ham radio. I talked on the 2m Yaesu FT-1802 I had bought for a few weeks, but quickly sizzled out. When Caleb began his fight against cancer, we had to move to a larger city and I decided to start getting back into it. Both of my boys are enamored with it, which has kind of fueled my desire to go further.
I have met some awesome local hams this time around, which is making it a much more enjoyable experience. There are so many hams that are so willing to help others. One particular ham has sort-of become an Elmer to me. He has helped me build an 80-meter dipole and helped me pick out a nice, used rig at a hamfest we went to together a couple of weeks ago. I am currently studying for my General ticket and plan to take the test in the next couple of weeks. I will certainly update here when I get it.
Stick around and enjoy the journey as I learn more about this awesome hobby. I hope that others can come behind and learn something from my journey here. I plan to update with any new things I try and hope others can learn from my experience as a beginner up to whatever level I can achieve. Thanks for checking it out and your suggestions are always welcome! 73s!