KH6JRM’s Amateur Radio Blog


Things are quiet at the KKBG-FM/KHLO-AM news
room on this Memorial Day.  I just finished an exciting
2 days at the Hilo Drag Strip where the Big Island Auto
Club celebrated the 40th edition of the Memorial Day
Drags.  The station has broadcast coverage of the drag
racing season for 27 years and that falls under my job
description.  Extensive use of the FRS (family radio
service) and MURS (multi use radio service) is used
at the track to maintain contact with the tower, pit
areas, drivers, security, and track crew.  Low power
UHF FRS radios (0.5 watt TPO) and VHF MURS
radios (2 watts TPO) give those of us in the tower
a good 1.5 to 2.0 mile range.  The track also has a
legal, 100mw AM station for the fans, who can tune
in on the tower chatter at 1610 kHz. The 8′ whip is on
top of the tower and gives a decent signal out to
a mile.  My reports are cell-phoned to the station
(4 miles away) for broadcast.  Racing fans may want to
get a good hand-held scanner and follow the action.
This isn’t ham radio, but it does give us some radio
“face” time unitl we can fire up the rig at home.  Have
a good weekend.  Aloha, 73, KH6JRM.

KH6JRM’s Amateur Radio Blog


Another week at the KKBG-FM/KHLO-AM news
room is just about over.  There has been plenty of
events to keep this new hound busy–from that BP
oil leak to the latest crisis in the Middle East.  After
the morning shift, I’m more than ready to head for
the shack for some quality radio time.  The 20-
meter vertical dipole is working well.  The antenna
is supported by a 31-foot “jackite” mast and fed
with 450-ohm balanced line.  I’ve put a bit of top
and bottom loading to compensate for the short-
ness of each element (about 1 1/2 feet).  The
dipole fees well and the old Drake MN-4 seems
to match everything up.  The antenna is usable on
20, 15, and 10 meters.  The performance on 40
leaves a lot to be desired, but I have a separate
40 meter vertical elsewhere in the yard, so that
band is not a problem.  Getting on 80 meters is
a tad difficult from my postage stamp lot, but
perhaps I can erect a homebrew vertical helix
tuned for 80 meters to take care of that band.
The 40-meter loop under the house works very
well for local contacts–its original purpose.  My
antennas are mostly invisible, since I can swivel
the verticals to ground level when they are not in
use. None of these skyhooks will break a pile-up,
but I do manage to get a good signal on the air and
have some fun.  The beam will have to wait until I
get the house built on a 2-acre property south east
of Hilo.  I then will have room to erect some decent
antennas.  For now, I operating and that’s good
enough for now.  Have a good weekend, 73 and
Aloha from the Big Island.  KH6JRM.

KH6JRM’s Amateur Radio Blog


‘Back again after another exciting week in the KKBG-FM
KHLO-AM news room.  Never a dull moment around
here with more than enough oil spills, intrigue, and local
corruption to cast forth on the airwaves. ‘ Sort of makes
me glad to close shop and go back to the ole Swan
100-MX for some cw therapy.  I just finished reading
an interesting series by Eric Nichols, KL7AJ, on
“Plasma Physics for the Radio Amateur, I-IV.”  This
series is pretty good stuff, fully understandable, and
easy to apply to one’s current antenna situation.  You
can find the series at hrrp://www.eham.com.  My
antenna activities are doing well, with another vertical
antenna modification in the works.  This time around the
Smith Chart, I’ll be building a vertical dipole for the 20-
meter band.  I’ll use my old 33′ MFJ fiberglass mast for
the project. ‘Should be fun.  Meanwhile, under the house
40-meter loop is doing well as a NVIS antenna.  The
loop also does a pretty good job on 15 and 10 meters
when those bands are open. ‘Hope your weekend has
been productive and enjoyable.  It’s back to the grind-
stone in14 hours, so I’d better drift on home, get in a
few hours of cw, and call it a day.  Aloha from the Big
Island.  KH6JRM (Russ).

KH6JRM’s Amateur Radio Blog


How the time flies when you’re having fun. Not that
working in the radio station newsroom is all doom
and gloom, but now that my weekend shift is just
about over, I’m glad the cares of the world and our
financially-strapped state can be left behind until early
Monday morning when the news cycle begins anew.
I’m happy to squeeze in a few hours of amateur radio
operations–this provides a needed break from the
concerns of the “real” world.  The 40-meter loop
beneath my house is doing well for a “cloud warmer”.
The noise level on this balanced lined antenna is very
low and it’s a joy to listen to contacts without the usual
level of noise in my area.  Proximity to power lines surely
doesn’t help, but the loop seems fairly insenstive to this
type of vertically polarized rfi.  The loop is great for my
local Hawaii state contacts.  The backyard vertical does
alright for DX, considering the dinky lot that encloses my
rental house. I’m not disappointed in the performance of
either antenna once I consider how inexpensive it was to
create either one.  Have a good weekend and try to remain
positive the doom sayers.  Allow at least one day to do some-
thing good for yourself, community, and loved ones.  Aloha
from Laupahoehoe. 73, KH6JRM (Russ).

KH6JRM’s Amateur Radio Blog


After a few busy weeks at the radio station news-
room, it’s time to break away and head for the
amateur radio station at the ole qth.  I really
haven’t done to much operating because of
work requirements…news is a 24/7 require-
ment these days.  Anyway, it’s time to re-
place the old, weather-beaten MFJ mast
which has taken a real beating from the trop-
ical sun and rain.  I’ll reposition my Jackite
mast, which has served as a temporary back-
up.  This mast is well-made and should do
better than the MFJ.  The temporary arrange-
ment using a 33′ piece of wire, base tuner, and
4-tuned counterpoise wires will be used until I
get some time to do a quality installation.  This
system will be used with my under the house
40-meter loop to provide good local and DX
contacts.  Nothing fancy here…but it works.
Have a good weekend…good DX.  Aloha and
73 from the Big Island.  KH6JRM (Russ).

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