Thursday, October 30, 2014

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Survivor Library

This site has a ton of old books on everything from farming to Boy Scout manuals, engineering, chemistry, education, and radio. They can be downloaded as PDFs or ePub files.

http://www.survivorlibrary.com

Monday, October 27, 2014

Kovea LPG Adapter

About a month or so ago I got a Kovea LPG adapter to use with my Kovea Spider stove. The little butane canisters that the Spider is intended to run on are handy, but sometimes they aren't available locally. In contrast, 1 lb. propane bottles are available pretty much everywhere, including stores like Target, Walmart, and local supermarkets. This weekend, I had the chance to test the LPG adapter for the first time.

Friends and I went on a camping/hunting trip in Tioga County, PA. The temperatures ranged from the upper 30s to the 60s. Most of our stove use was probably when it was in the 40s. I used the Spider with the LPG adapter to make coffee in my percolator and warm water for dish washing.

When using butane or butane/propane mix canisters, the stove makes a noise a bit like a jet engine. When using the 1 lb. propane bottles through the adapter, it sounds like an jet with the afterburner kicked in. When using the adapter the stove's flame needs more attention to prevent flare ups. I may need to tweak the pressure adjustment, which is done with a very small flat bladed screwdriver.

I didn't do any scientific testing to see if the stove boils water with one fuel or the other. My reason for getting the LPG adapter was to improve the stove's versatility, and in that it succeeded quite well. For that purpose I recommend it, even though I expect that going forward, I'll probably use the butane or butane/propane mix canisters for convenience, and keep the LPG adapter in reserve.


Wednesday, October 08, 2014

ARRL Web Server Breach

10/07/2014

Late last month, a security breach occurred, involving a web server at ARRL Headquarters. ARRL IT Manager Mike Keane, K1MK, said that League members have no reason to be concerned about sensitive personal information being leaked.

Link.

If you have a login at arrl.org, I suggest you go change your password.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Free Book: Radio Monitoring A How To Guide

N2EI has made his book, Radio Monitoring A How To Guide, freely available under the Creative Commons License. Go download it here.

{Hat tip to Sparks.}


Friday, September 19, 2014

Baofeng UV-5R with Extended Battery

It was just brought to my attention that Amazon carries the Baofeng UV-5R with a 3600 mAH battery included, instead of the 1800 mAH battery. At $38 shipped, that’s a great deal.

Don’t forget to order a better antenna than the stock rubber duck. If I were buying now, I’d order a SMA-female to BNC-female adapter and find a highly rated antenna that uses a BNC connector. By doing so, you eliminate wear on the radio’s antenna connection, and make it much faster to change out antennas.

An N9TAX roll-up slim jim antenna with a BNC connector would be a good match for the Baofeng when operating from a static location.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

FM Dipole Antenna

Out in my shop I have a CCrane CCradio-EP AM/FM radio for background noise while I work. I mostly listen to music on a few FM stations, including 102.5 WRFY out in Reading, for which reception has been iffy, so I looked into getting a better FM antenna. Not wanting to spend a lot of money, I got this simple dipole from Amazon.

The dipole appears to be made from 300 Ohm twinlead, and has plastic ends on each leg of the dipole, each of which has a small hole in it so you can tack it up to a wall. The feed leg has an F-connector, which attaches directly to the matching connector on the back of the radio.

This morning I got the chance to give it a try and so far I’m pleased with it. For about $8, it noticeably improved my reception of the Reading station, and even the closer stations come in better.

The CCrane radio has a separate, internal ferrite antenna for AM reception. The local AM news station, KYW 1060, comes in very strong in the entire Philly metro area, and beyond, so a better antenna isn’t needed in my application.

You can have the best radio but if you don’t have a good antenna it’ll be worthless. If you’re having problems with the built-in antenna of your radio, look into an aftermarket antenna.

More on Linked Repeater Systems

The other day I posted about the University of Pennsylvania’s N3KZ linked repeater system. Penn’s system is far from unique, even in PA. Going to Repeaterbook.com lets you find the linked repeater systems for your state.

Incidentally, Repeaterbook has a nice app for both Android and iThingies that will let you look up nearby repeaters, even if you do not have a data connection on your phone or tablet.

As I mentioned earlier linked repeaters are not a full substitute for an HF rig and NVIS, but they may be a useful tool in the event of an emergency. Many repeaters have emergency power, and many of us live within range of multiple repeaters. For example, from my home, I can directly hit two N3KZ repeaters which are geographically dispersed. The closest one is in the Roxborough neighborhood in Philadelphia, while the other one is near Robesonia, in Lebanon County. They are about 30 miles apart. I’m also able to hit repeaters in AllStar and WAN networks. Some repeaters may be linked to more than one link network. E.g., W3WAN in Roxborough is connected to both the AllStar and WAN networks.

Linking is done largely over the Internet. If it’s full-blown  TEOTWAWKI obviously you cannot depend on the ‘net. However, in a lot of SHTF situations you can. For example, on 9/11/01 I was able to communicate with family members on Long Island via AOL Instant Messenger even when phone lines into the NYC metro area were unusable.

In an emergency a lot of communications are done by hams over VHF and UHF. If you have a VHF/UHF rig, I encourage you to program as many nearby repeaters into is as possible, especially if they are linked.

Gear Advice from a Navy Seabee

“Machinegunseabee” posted a thread on Arfcom detailing what gear has worked form him in a (now) 18 year Navy career, over several deployments. IMO, a lot of his info is valuable for preppers.

Check it out here.