The Ham Shack of James Perkins, KN1X

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Call SignKN1X
NameJames Perkins
LicensedOctober 2006
ClassAmateur Extra
LocationCN85td, Colton, OR, US
35 mi. SE of Portland

The Gadget Person's Hobby

You have been warned... this is a hobby for people who love gadgets.

New Topics

Personal History

I earned my Technician license on Oct 29, 2006 (after testing at Swaptoberfest), upgraded to General in ~April 2007 (thanks to testing at the Puyallup ham fest), and to Extra (SEA-PAC in May 2008).

My Father was very interested in 80m/40m CW, antique equipment and its restoration, and building transmitter kits and power supplies using antique components ("tubes"). One time he even brought home a working Tesla coil to salvage the high-voltage transformer out of it. His call was WA7GLZ when I was a kid, and N1DHY when he lived in Vermont. I never really caught the bug then, but was primed to catch it later.

VHF/UHF Station

Granite Peaks Repeater Repair Trip
On weekends when I'm puttering about in the yard I operate on VHF/UHF, usually to a repeater or several on Goat Mountain near my home. I tend to listen to the N7PIR repeater all the time, but have been known to jump in to chat with N7QXH on various repeaters when he's out hiking (it was fun to talk to a repeater on Goat Mountain with my HT when I was hiking on Mt. Adams, about 90 miles away).

Mobile (Walking): My VHF/UHF handheld transciever is a Kenwood TH-F6A which covers 2m/1.25m/70cm bands. I use an earbud/mic sometimes as well. I sometimes use a dual-band magmount antenna.

Base Station: In Sep 2008 I started getting quite active with the South County team of the Clackamas County Amateur Radio Emergency Service. We hold weekly simplex nets, and in order to get through the hilly terrain I set up an ICOM IC-2200H VHF transceiver, a Diamond X-30A Dualband Antenna (photo and a nifty coverage map courtesy of Windows Radio Mobile software.

Packet: In 2010 I set up a HTX-202 handheld transciever with a Kantronics KPC-3+ TNC to operate digital packet radio on 145.770 MHz with the Clackamas ARES folks. It's hooked up to a magmount antenna on my steel house roof, for now. See my notes about interfacing an HTX-202 to a Kantronics KPC3+ - can you believe noone has an explicit picture and notes for this?

Mobile (Driving): Starting in Spring 2009, my pickup includes an ICOM IC-208H 2m/70cm dual band transciever, connected to a dual-band magmount antenna.

I ocassionally help KD7OFU with his repeater projects, and even went snowshoeing up a mountain to repair a backcountry repeater he has set up on commercial 2m and 70cm frequencies.

HF Station

Here's the station bill of materials, starting from the Antenna all the way back to the Power Supply. Thanks to W9PJA, KC7RFN, W7TYG, N4KIT, K7UQ, KN6EI, N8UG, KE7GXC for all their advice.

Antenna: G0FAH design, derived from G5RV, see the article Five Bands, No Tuner, Bill Wright G0FAH, QST, June 1995. Its feedpoint impedance is 50 ohms on parts of the 40/20/17/12/10m bands. Another ham describes it here and N4KIT worked up graphs in an EZNEC model for me. Finally, with a borrowed MFJ-259B antenna analyzer, I was able to plot the actual SWR curves, see them here - this allowed me to finally tune the antenna to optimal resonance.

The axis of the antenna is approximately SW to NE and roughly horizontal. The ground below is a 15 degree slope heading down to the SE so I tend to get more low angle radiation toward the US, Caribbean and South America. I have worked Japan on 20m PSK31 more than once, and heard as far as NZ, AU, and ZA.

Supplier: The Wireman.
  • 803 Center insulator 3 hook, 2 tail for balanced line
  • 800A Stainless steel thimbles (4 pair)
  • 864 wire termination kit (4 pair)
  • 810 HQ-2 end insulators (1 pair)
  • 531 Silky 13AWG stranded wire (47' each horizontal leg)
  • 552 16AWG stranded window line 450 ohm (41' from center ins. to balun)
  • 827 1:1 W2DU Balun 6" pigtails to SO-239 (at bottom of window line)
  • 865 ladderline/coax splice
  • solder (applied with propane torch)
  • silicone sealant for thimbles
Rigging: Select two fir trees ~100' tall, 160' apart. At each tree, hire an arborist to climb and install an eyebolt, through which a halyard (a loop of rope) runs to the ground. While he is up there, remove branches that might get in the way of the antenna raising. Attached to the halyard is a pully. Through the pully goes the antenna support rope. The pully can be raised and lowered via the halyard. The antenna support rope is attached to a free weight at ground level. Click on the image for pictures of the rigging work. Suppliers: The Wireman had great rope prices, the rest of the components came from the local West Marine store.
  • 817 1/4" Dacron (polyester) rope, UV resistant (800')
  • eyebolt, 3" thread, 1" shank, 1" eye, stainless steel
  • Pully, sailboat grade, ball bearing (rope will not jam) (quantity 2)
  • Hunk of firewood (quantity 2)
Transmission Line: Connect the antenna to the shack through a window, and ground all the shields to earth ground. Supplier: Ham Radio Outlet
  • HRO8X/75U RG-8X 75' w/PL-259 connectors (silver) (antenna to panel)
  • 2332RT-10 Copper braid w/end loops, 1/2", length 10' (attached to existing ground rod which in turn is connected to service panel via large copper conductor)
  • MFJ-4602 Antenna Feed-thru Panel
Inside the Shack: The usual tuner, transceiver, power supply. Supplier: Ham Radio Outlet