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March 10, 2011Editor: S. Khrystyne Keane, K1SFA
+ HR 607: NPSTC Says HR 607 "Needs to Be Amended"
+ FCC News: FCC Adopts Spread Spectrum Rules Changes
The R&O explains the Commission's actions this way: "We believe that these rules changes will (1) encourage individuals who can contribute to the advancement of the radio art to more fully utilize SS technologies in experimentation, and (2) balance the interests of all users in mixed-mode and mixed-service frequency bands until sharing protocols are sufficiently developed to avoid interference." Read more here.
+ FCC News: FCC Issues California Man $7000 Forfeiture Order for Refusing FCC Inspection
After a Merced, California man refused to let FCC investigators inspect his Citizens Band (CB) radio station, the FCC issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) for $7000. The Commission found that Ira Jones "apparently willfully and repeatedly" violated Section 303(n) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and Section 95.426(a) of the Commission's rules by failing to permit the inspection. Read more here.
+ Amateur Radio in the Classroom: Middle School Students to Launch Near-Space Balloon
+ Propagation: Respected Journal Publishes Explanation for Low Sunspots
+ ARES® E-Letter Now Available in Audio Form
Hints & Kinks : Weatherproofing Your Automatic Antenna Tuner
Geoff Haines, N1GY, of Bradenton, Florida, sent us this idea for waterproofing your automatic antenna tuner. Contact Geoff via e-mail for more information.
As an avid Amateur Radio operator, I sometimes use an automatic antenna tuner to operate more than one band with the same antenna. My mobile unit uses an LDG RT-11 autotuner to feed a pair of "Hamstick" style antennas on several different bands. One antenna covers the lower bands and another antenna covers the higher ones. An excursion into operating "fixed portable" with a telescopic vertical had me looking for another solution.
Owning an LDG Z-100 automatic tuner already, I looked for a way to mount it at the base of the antenna and yet protect it from the elements. A phone call to LDG gave me the necessary specifications for a 50 foot extension of the control cable so the only thing left was to find a workable enclosure for the tuner itself. I discussed the requirements for such an enclosure with my spouse, Audrey. Without a word, she rummaged through a kitchen cabinet and produced a semi flexible plastic container that had a snap-on lid and fit my Z-100 and its cables to a T.
I drilled four small holes in one end of the container into which I fitted two short coax jumpers, one for the antenna and one for the radio. I also made up and installed a short 4-conductor cable to connect the stock control harness to the 50 foot extension. The fourth opening was used for a similarly short insulated wire to connect the grounding stud on the Z-100 to the radial system of the antenna. Once these four cables were in place, I sealed the drilled openings with hot glue. Silicone caulk could be used just as easily, provided it will stick to the container. I did not try that because the hot glue was at hand so you are on your own there (see Figure 1).
With the jumpers connected to the tuner, the extension cable and coax were run to the transceiver and the antenna erected. Now, testing was in order. The pressing of the TUNE button on my IC-706MKIIG did exactly what it was supposed to do. The Z-100 ran through its paces and signaled a good match. Now if the afternoon showers come while I am operating "fixed portable," the only thing I have to worry about is keeping me and the radio dry. The tuner is cozy in its own little raincoat (see Figure 2).
This project has enabled me to comfortably operate "fixed portable" from the beach, at Field Day and many other events where a vertical was the only feasible antenna. As long as the container can handle the physical size of the tuner with room for the connecting cables, any automatic tuner could be protected in this way.
Do you have an idea or a simple project that has improved your operating? Maybe you've taken something commonly found around the home and developed a ham radio use for it? Why not share your hints with fellow hams in "Hints and Kinks," a monthly column in QST. If we publish your hint, you will receive $20. Send your hints via e-mail to h&k(at)arrl(dot)org or to ARRL Headquarters, Attn: "Hints and Kinks," 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111. Please include your name, call sign, complete mailing address, daytime telephone number and e-mail address.
ARRL Field Day: 2011 Field Day Packets Available
Amateur Radio Fun: New QuickStats Poll Now Available on ARRL Website
Four new poll questions have just been published on the QuickStats page on the ARRL website. Let your voice be heard!
Questions in this month's QuickStats poll:
Visit the QuickStats page and be sure to bookmark it in your browser. Results from this QuickStats poll will be published in the June 2011 issue of QST on the QuickStats page, located in the rear advertising section of the magazine. Along with monthly poll results, QST QuickStats offers colorful charts and graphs that highlight interesting Amateur Radio statistics.
This Week on the Radio
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