Generator load bank

After a number of power outages I finally decided to purchase a portable generator to power critical loads when an outage was more than a few hours. It was put to use recently during a 38-hour outage and at least kept the house warm and the food cold.

Part of owning anything mechanical like a generator is routine Load bank board with three sockets mounted and wiredmaintenance and operation. A generator should not be left for long periods of time without being run, so the oil and fuel don’t deteriorate and other parts don’t begin to corrode. The manufacturer recommends running it once a month. I decided to build a load bank to provide a load for the generator’s output and to prove tht the generator could deliver power. Continue reading “Generator load bank”

TYT TH-8600 Channel Programming

The TYT TH-8600 is a compact, inexpensive  25-watt VHF/UHF FM radio made in China. While it gets the job done, it has a number of shortcomings that users of the “name brand” equipment take for granted, such as automatic repeater offsets, alphanumeric channel labels, and the like. But you can’t have everything in a small package that costs around $100. I bought it more because of its form factor than its price – it fits neatly in the accessory tray in the dashboard of my car. I plan to upgrade to a better transceiver soon, but this one has served me well since I bought it at the Dayton Hamvention last year.

Dan KB7JZI, who uses the TH-8600 and has much advice for its users, quips on his club’s website that TYT stands for “take your time” – programming the rig is not a simple task. And the manual isn’t much help either. It’ll give you the information you need, sure, but it requires going through many steps to accomplish anything. I wanted to program a few channels during a road trip last fall, so I patiently took my time, read the manual, and dictated each step into my voice recorder so I could transcribe them and follow them later.

So here, for your benefit and mine, are the steps to program a repeater or simplex channel into the TH-8600. Continue reading “TYT TH-8600 Channel Programming”

Contesting notes, May 2022

A summary of radiosport topics for the casual contester

I hope I got a chance to work you during the Michigan QSO Party. I was on the air from the Michigan State University Amateur Radio Club station W8SH. The students were home for the Easter/Passover break, so I operated solo. The QSO count was 384, mostly CW on 20, 40 and 80 meters.

As I write this, the Florida QSO Party is about to kick off. Florida usually features many mobiles operating from most of the 67 counties, some on county lines, so it should be easy to pile up county multipliers. The FQP always starts on the last Saturday of April, so this year it’s April 30 and May 1.

The  blockbuster of all amateur radio events returns after two years off due to the pandemic. Continue reading “Contesting notes, May 2022”

Contesting notes, April 2022

A summary of radiosport topics for the casual contester

March was bookended by two popular contests, the ARRL International DX Contest (SSB) and the CQ Worldwide WPX SSB contest. The WPX is a unique contest in that the prefixes of the stations you work are the multipliers, and full time operators can score in the millions because there’s an unlimited supply of prefixes and many, if not most, that you will work are new ones. I got on for just a few minutes at the beginning and the end, and by the end I was still a multiplier (NF8) for the stations I searched-and-pounced. If you missed the WPX fun, the CW running is the last full weekend of May.

April continues the succession of state QSO parties, Continue reading “Contesting notes, April 2022”

NF8M/B Six Meter Beacon back on the air

Update: The beacon is back on the air as of 29 April 2022 at 2040z. The antenna is a few feet lower than it was previously, but it shouldn’t make any difference for skywave. I noted about a half S-unit increase in signal strength at my home QTH, possibly due to a new run of transmission line. Please post to your favorite DX cluster if you hear it, or email me with a signal report.

(Previous information:) The six-meter beacon will be off the air for a few days starting Wednesday, March 30,  2022 while it is relocated. The grid square and subsquare (EN82il) will remain the same. An update will be posted when the beacon returns.