KH6JRM’s Amateur Radio Blog


This has been a busy week in the newsroom, with
budgetary issues raised by President Barack Obama
and Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie dominating
the local news.  In short, Hawaii, like many states on
the U.S. mainland is defacto bankrupt.  In his state of
the state address on 24 January 2011, Governor Aber-
crombie vowed to implement a round of tax and fee in-
creases to reduce Hawaii’s $844 million deficit.  Of
course this pales beside the nearly 15 trillion dollar
shortfall projected by federal economists.  For amateur
radio operators, that means available dollars will buy
less of what’s available.  It’s time to make do with what
we have, spend wisely for things we need, and stay out
of debt.  I still have that Elecraft K-3 somewhere in the
future, but for now, it’s time to buckle down and get
creative.  The older rigs will just have to run a bit longer
and those antenna projects will focus on the home-brew
variety.  The operating situation isn’t too bad, since I’ve
been conservative in my radio spending habits.  After
paying the bills and putting food on the table, there isn’t
much left over for other pursuits.  Fortunately, I have no
problem fixing my equipment and building the various sky-
hooks needed for running a ham station.  I don’t claim to
be a technical wizard, but I do my best to keep the equip-
ment clean, functional, and not over-driven.  The recent
surge of amateur radio kits and several good repair
facilities may portend what the future holds.  At the
radio station I call my home away from home, main-
tenance, conservative operation, and wise purchases
have been the norm for many years.  Our staff fully
uses equipment until it can’t be used anymore.  With
three radio stations in Hilo going dark since October
2010, there’s no guarantee the future will be any kinder
to my operation.  Thank goodness for a hard working
sales force and resourceful engineers that keep us solvent.
I try to apply such principles to my own life, with varying
degrees of success of course.  So, with no immediate
amateur radio purchases on the horizon, I’m back to the
conserve and scrounge mode.  My “junque” box is well-
stocked with wire, coax, twin lead, basic tools, and
reference material.  I have a nasty feeling way in the back of
this aging brain that the current economic situation will stick
around for several more years…all the more reason to monitor
spending and stay out of debt.  Be glad you still have a job–
many in this great land do not.  Try to remain positive.  Things
could be worse–we could be organized.  Aloha es 73 de
KH6JRM.

KH6JRM’s Amateur Radio Blog


Now that things have calmed a bit after the tragic
shooting incident in Tucson, Arizona on 08 January,
the news cycle can return to some degree of normalcy.
Having covered broadcast news for over 35 years, it
never ceases to amaze me how people like this assass-
in can just run loose in society without anyone doing a
thing about it.  Where was the intervention for this guy
who apparently had problems stretching back several
years?  No telling how many others like him are milling
around in society.  And what about security for our con-
gressional representatives?  Just something to think about.
All that has transpired during the past week makes me glad
I can get away now and then and work off stress by physical
exercise and pursuits such as amateur radio.  I’ll spend some
time this weekend repairing antennas and working some brass
on the old J-38 key.  Sometimes, one just has to get away from
the disfunctional everyday world and refresh the spirit.  Fishing
and hiking also come to mind–both activities my XYL and I
enjoy.  I trust you made it through the week intact–my heart
goes out to those affected by last week’s event.  The world
surely is getting off to an uncertain start…all the more reason to
take a break, get on the air, and be thankful for what we have,
however humble.  Have a good weekend.  Aloha es 73 de
KH6JRM.

KH6JRM’s Amateur Radio Blog


Now that I’ve survived New Year’s Day, it’s ever onward
into the news cycle at the radio station news cubicle.  Due
to work requirements, I wasn’t able to do much on Straight
Key Night, but I did fire up the the Icom R-75 receiver in
the studio and “read the mail” between news breaks.  The
antenna projects slated for the first days of the year are
nearly done.  While I’m happy with the  40-meter
loop under the house, the 40-meter vertical still needs work.
The old MFJ fiberglass mast has been battered by the elements.
It needs to be replaced.  I have a jackite pvc mast in the garage
that will be standing in the backyard soon.  Hopefully, a spare
weekend will be available to install the mast and get a decent
ground screen in place.  The old system was a variation of a
33′ vertical wire with tuned counterpoise–all this fed with 450-
ohm window line.  The setup worked reasonably well and could
work bands from 40-10 meters.  No complaints about RFI from
the neighbors and nearly invisible during the day (I lowered the
mast on a swivel when it was not in use).  Since my lot is rather
small, I’ll have to be creative when it comes to putting in the
radial system.  All of this will take some time, so I’ll have to
block an afternoon for the project.  Meanwhile, the 40- meter
loop is adequate for the limited operating schedule I have.  The
project has been delayed by thunderstorms passing through the
various cold fronts that dominate the weather during the winter
months.  A while back before the fold down days, one of my
verticals took a hit from Thor’s hammer–not much left but
pvc fragments.  At least I disconnected the wires and had
them connected to a ground stake.  After that close brush
with mortality, I always disconnect everything in the shack,
including the telephone, when the XYL and I are at work.
Now that I’m settled into the normal news routine, I can
arrange a plan to get the little odds n ends taken care of in
the shack.  I trust you are facing the new year with a certain
guarded optimism–it doesn’t pay to be too negative.  Expect
the best and plan for the worst (or is it wurst?–food topics
always seem to creep in after a long day of broadcasting).
Have an excellent weekend.  Aloha es 73 de KH6JRM.

KH6JRM’s Amateur Radio Blog


The New Year has arrived.  For those of us in the broadcast
news business, it’s time to produce our top sports and news
stories for the year.  These programs are usually aired as
special programs on the weekends.  Once all of that is done,
it’s time to rough out plans for the year ahead, discard the
old files, and review equipment, transmitter, and program
logs for any problems.  New Year’s Day on Hawaii Island
has dawned bright, sunny, and warm, a perfect time to
complete the necessary tasks, produce the daily news
broadcasts, and get ready for a weekend of amateur
radio.  Not a bad mix.  This approach could also apply
to our amateur radio activities–clean out the old files,
fill out and mail qsl cards (or enter data into the various
e-mail qsl programs), repair the antennas, clean up
equipment, and straighten out the “junque box”.  I
doubt if I’ll do all of this, but it is a start.  As for those
pesky resolutions, I’ve adopted a new approach–no
resolutions.  That eliminates guilt and allows me to for-
give my occaisional bouts of stupidity.  If there are to be
resolutions, decide to become more active, try a new
mode, erect a new antenna, build something, and help
a new ham get on the air.  I wish all of you the best in
this challenging new year.  Don’t give up, ignore the nay-
sayers, and do your best to remain civil in a world that
is slipping into darkness.  Love and protect your family,
support your neighbors, and hold people, including your-
self, accountable.  Things could be worse–we could be
organized.   Aloha es 73 de KH6JRM.

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