Author Topic: My other hobby, ham radio  (Read 19364 times)

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Mary B

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Re: My other hobby, ham radio
« Reply #27 on: February 18, 2016, 04:36:39 PM »
Well Xcel Energy finally decided to look at the noise issues out here after a complaint was filed with the MN Public Utilities Commission, and not by me! The guy who lives near the bad spot has lost satellite TV reception because the interference is so bad. He asked me and I told him call the power company and file a complaint. Xcel gave him a bad run around and ticked him off so he went to the state.

They had the regional engineer out to look at things, when he saw 13 splices in one span he had a fit. Also the cross tree of the bad pole has to be replaced, it has been burning on and off and is so carbon tracked that it is a conductor. He asked me what I thought should be replaced so I walked out to the pole holding the streetlight on my property and stuck a screwdriver into it up to the handle. Then I pointed out the line of them that are rotten on my property, the line of them that are rotten going off the pole with the problem, and the fact that 3/4 of the poles in town are crap. Last time anything was upgraded out here was 1965...

Soon as they can arrange to have 2 trucks here the bad pole is getting redone, they may pull new wire in those bad spans where it has broken 13 times and the engineer questioned why the line guys never reported a repeat problem in the area that has to have an underlying cause with the design...

DamonHD

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Re: My other hobby, ham radio
« Reply #28 on: February 18, 2016, 04:42:46 PM »
Sometimes, when you finally get someone in who (a) cares and (b) is a real engineer and (c) has some clout, things get fixed properly.  The beancounters will cry.

Rgds

Damon

ChrisOlson

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Re: My other hobby, ham radio
« Reply #29 on: February 18, 2016, 06:19:38 PM »
Yeah, Xcel is a relatively new company only a little over 15 years old.  They came from Northern States Power.  They inherited two of NSP's nuclear plants and run about 7.5 MW of coal plants.  They brag up their wind portfolio but in reality that's very small.  They buy the majority of the power on their system from Manitoba Hydro and bring it into Minnesota via a 500,000 volt transmission line that runs from Winnipeg to Chisago City.

Used to work on some of NSP's standby and peaking plants when it was still Northern States Power.

madlabs

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Re: My other hobby, ham radio
« Reply #30 on: February 19, 2016, 01:49:55 PM »
It's a mixed bag here. Those that home brew equipment do get extra respect around here and I know a few new hams like myself that enjoy building stuff and playing with salvaged junk on the cheap. True, we are the minority but at least nobody snobs home made.

On the other hand, I took my extra test alongside a woman who had to ask me to help her with the PL tone of a repeater and in that it became clear that she didn't even understand the need for the offset, let alone the PL. She passed her test and immediately changed to an extra 4 call. While I did pass the test, I don't feel like I have earned a 4 call. I hope to earn the extra as I go along, much like I did with my general. I still won't change to a 4 call because I like the consecutive calls that me and the YL have.

One advantage of the lack of motivated, hands on new hams is that the elmers in my area have showered me with all sorts of stuff. They like that if they give me something it gets put to work, that I ask questions and that they can see my skill level improving. It is easy to impress with the currently very low bar! :-)

There is some good stuff on VHF and repeaters around here. We have a great tech net and swap net, a good YL net and a good county-wide net. Our digi net failed but we are working on getting it going again. The VHF community is a great place to turn for help here, advice and hands are always available.

So, I do wish I had gotten my license back in '76 when I tried three times. Missed a lot of the good stuff over those years. But I am still really glad that I got it when I did and there is still some good operators to learn from and much fun and utility to be had.

While I have been typing this the YL just finshed wrapping the next inductor for the HF receiver kit we are working on during this rainy afternoon. Fun stuff.

Jonathan


ChrisOlson

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Re: My other hobby, ham radio
« Reply #31 on: February 19, 2016, 02:26:42 PM »
There is some good stuff on VHF and repeaters around here.

Around here we are too spread out and too many hills for VHF to work very good.  The old 11 meter with a good 5/8 wave antenna beats a 2m repeater by 3x on range.  Of course, 11m is no longer ham radio, but about 75% of the people around here use 11 meters so it's way more active than the VHF ham bands.

Mary B

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Re: My other hobby, ham radio
« Reply #32 on: February 19, 2016, 02:40:46 PM »
When it was NSP we had lineman in almost every small town and stuff at least got fixed right away. Now the closest line crew is over an hour away, in bad winter weather that can be 3+ hours...

They do have a lot of wind near me along Buffalo Ridge but it is hard to tell who owns what up there, some of it belongs to a Florida company, some to a Texas company...

Yeah, Xcel is a relatively new company only a little over 15 years old.  They came from Northern States Power.  They inherited two of NSP's nuclear plants and run about 7.5 MW of coal plants.  They brag up their wind portfolio but in reality that's very small.  They buy the majority of the power on their system from Manitoba Hydro and bring it into Minnesota via a 500,000 volt transmission line that runs from Winnipeg to Chisago City.

Used to work on some of NSP's standby and peaking plants when it was still Northern States Power.

ChrisOlson

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Re: My other hobby, ham radio
« Reply #33 on: February 20, 2016, 09:09:32 AM »
When it was NSP we had lineman in almost every small town and stuff at least got fixed right away. Now the closest line crew is over an hour away, in bad winter weather that can be 3+ hours...

They do have a lot of wind near me along Buffalo Ridge but it is hard to tell who owns what up there, some of it belongs to a Florida company, some to a Texas company...

Oh, it is way less reliable than it used to be.  NSP had a distributed generation network with diesel peaking and standby plants at every member cooperative.  If a line went down they could isolate it and fix it without whole areas losing power.  The cooperative here had two Colt-Pielstick generators, plus ran two hydro plants on the Yellow River.  When Xcel took over in the late 90's they built a new 250 KV transmission line from Minnesota and that line feeds 8 different substations that power most of the northern part of the state.  The hydro plants and diesels were de-commissioned and everything went to the central "smart grid".

Today, the single feed system is overloaded with no redundancy and power outages are numerous and lengthy because a single point failure takes out wide area networks.  The generators that used to provide backup and peaking for whole cooperatives are gone  When a power outage occurs entire towns now shut down and lock their doors.  Nothing works - no gas pumps, the credit card machines are down, the banks lock their vaults and doors, internet and landline telephone communications go down, everything comes to a halt.  Because it all depends on one 500 KV feeder from Canada to power the whole works.  Because it is a "smart grid" they cannot even operate the two nuclear plants or coal-fired plants if that feeder goes down because those plants must maintain phase angle with the 500 kV feeder and their controls are not designed to operate without it.

They went from a system with numerous points of redundancy to a Borg-type system controlled by a conglomerate.

The generators here came out in 2000 and were hauled to Racine and went into Lake Freighters.  They were Pielstick 2.6B's 15,600 hp apiece driving 10 MW generators.  They ran here for 57 years and just one of those generator produced more power than all of Xcel's coal-fired plants do today, at just about 2x the efficiency of their coal plants.  It went from a quite reliable system operated by human operators that ran flawlessly for close to 60 years to a computer controlled "smart" system that I would not give a plug nickel for today.  And I worked in the power generation business for Cummins for 19 years.
http://www.fairbanksmorse.com/engines/colt-pielstick-pc26b/

tanner0441

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Re: My other hobby, ham radio
« Reply #34 on: February 20, 2016, 11:56:00 AM »
Hi

That is one hell of an engine, and all at 600RPM. I worked as the auto electrician for a local river authority in the Midlands, I was based at a sewerage works and we had an engine there running on recovered methane that pumped the processed sludge over half a mile to drying lagoons. The pistons were the same size as 205ltr oil drums, the flywheel was some 20ft or more in diameter and the whole thing ran at 78RPM.

At least your power companies are American owned most of ours are owned by foreign companies, a lot of them French. So far reliability of supply has not been an issue,  but I think it is only a matter of time especially as our utility companies have had their knuckles rapped for over charging and not passing on price reductions to their customers.

Brian.

ChrisOlson

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Re: My other hobby, ham radio
« Reply #35 on: February 20, 2016, 01:54:47 PM »
That is one hell of an engine, and all at 600RPM. I worked as the auto electrician for a local river authority in the Midlands, I was based at a sewerage works and we had an engine there running on recovered methane that pumped the processed sludge over half a mile to drying lagoons. The pistons were the same size as 205ltr oil drums, the flywheel was some 20ft or more in diameter and the whole thing ran at 78RPM.

A lot of the industrial pump and generating engines are built by Fairbanks-Morse.  Diesel power remains the standard in remote off-grid areas like Alaska where there are Fairbanks-Morse O-P and Pielstick PC4 generating engines that have been running since the 1940's.  Those engines are built in Beloit, Wisconsin:
https://youtu.be/BxlOaBKwlxk

tanner0441

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Re: My other hobby, ham radio
« Reply #36 on: February 20, 2016, 04:17:06 PM »
Hi

Interesting link. The bit on multiple pistons had my attention, I used to work on some Commer TS3 engines they have 3 cylinders and 6 pistons, it is a 2 stroke engine and because you can't scavenge a 2 stroke diesel they have a big Shorrock supercharger bolted on the top. One drawback they were just as happy running backwards which with a vacuum governor on the pump was held wide open, so it was a case of hammer the fuel line flat to stop it.

Another interesting one is the Napier Deltic 36 pistons 18 cylinders, 3 crankshafts. It produced 5300 BHP and threw a rod out through the crank case at 5600 BHP. To keep the piston phasing correct one of the crankshafts has to run in the opposite direction from the other two.

Brian.

Mary B

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Re: My other hobby, ham radio
« Reply #37 on: February 20, 2016, 04:48:40 PM »
Yes power outages here have been lengthy, last one was 23 hours... get any ice the breakers on the substation trip out leaving the town in the dark until the ice is knocked off and the breakers reset. Fire department finally got a bang stick from Xcel to do it themselves instead of waiting hours. They drive town and make sure no lines are down and reset it. We have been talking about adding a backup generator for the entire town, with only 100 or so houses it is feasible. The grain elevator/co-op would not be on it because of the large motors they use to move grain and fertilizer.

David HK

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Re: My other hobby, ham radio
« Reply #38 on: February 20, 2016, 05:11:36 PM »
Mary B,

Reference your note above.

Apart from cost, it would seem beneficial to locate your small village sub station underground to avoid the annual problem.

Dave

ChrisOlson

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Re: My other hobby, ham radio
« Reply #39 on: February 20, 2016, 06:12:38 PM »
Apart from cost, it would seem beneficial to locate your small village sub station underground to avoid the annual problem.

That would akin to creating your own disaster.  With above ground substations a transformer core can explode if the sulfur hexafluoride breaks down under heavy loading and arcs without taking out the rest of the station.  With an undergound sub station, containing 100-250KV transformers, is like locking a nuclear bomb in a closet and hoping it contains it if it goes off.  One transformer failure with an underground HV transformer would turn your entire substation into a smoking crater.

People who have never been around, or worked with, high voltage power transmission don't usually have a clue of the dangers:
https://youtu.be/MPemriIw2xo

Mary B

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Re: My other hobby, ham radio
« Reply #40 on: February 21, 2016, 05:12:27 PM »
As mentioned underground has issues we don't want or need. If memory serves me right the feeder here is around 50kv... it is not one of the big lines. And it isn't just failures at our substation, poles are rotten, lines have been spliced way to many times, insulators date from the 50's in spots... the whole system out here is recycled junk from when they do upgrades in the metro areas.

PNW_Steve

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Re: My other hobby, ham radio
« Reply #41 on: February 22, 2016, 07:21:09 PM »
Yes power outages here have been lengthy, last one was 23 hours... get any ice the breakers on the substation trip out leaving the town in the dark until the ice is knocked off and the breakers reset. Fire department finally got a bang stick from Xcel to do it themselves instead of waiting hours. They drive town and make sure no lines are down and reset it. We have been talking about adding a backup generator for the entire town, with only 100 or so houses it is feasible. The grain elevator/co-op would not be on it because of the large motors they use to move grain and fertilizer.

I am amazed at the spectrum of service level from utilities.

Last year I moved from a town of 2000, in a County of a little over 5000 people, to a much larger town in a county with a population of 745,000.

The town that I moved from had a resident lineman. We also enjoyed significant snow, ice and wind. Power outages occurred somewhat regularly but they were generally no more than a few minutes or at worst several hours.

In my new home we enjoy warmer winters, very little snow/ice and less wind. We have had more than a dozen power outages in the last 3-4 months. The longest was almost 5 days. Three of them have been over 24 hours.

I have logged more hours on my generator in the last three months than I had in the prior three years.

If I provided the same level of reliability in the systems that I maintain as my local power utility does it would take about 90 days before you would see me on a street corner with a "will work for food" sign....

David HK

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Re: My other hobby, ham radio
« Reply #42 on: February 22, 2016, 07:31:25 PM »
Chris,

Thanks for the interesting note on exploding transformers.

Can you offer any idea what happens to power generation on nuclear aircraft carriers and submarines? Are they not subject to the same risks of exploding transformers, or, is the power production very different?

Dave

ChrisOlson

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Re: My other hobby, ham radio
« Reply #43 on: February 22, 2016, 10:18:39 PM »
Can you offer any idea what happens to power generation on nuclear aircraft carriers and submarines? Are they not subject to the same risks of exploding transformers, or, is the power production very different?

While I worked in the power generation industry here for 19 years and am quite familiar with that, I have no experience with nuclear reactors on boats or submarines.  I would suspect it is very different because shipboard power does not require high voltages that land-based long distance power transmission requires.  The system in use in the US is aged and quite unreliable for the most part.  They have strapped computer controls to an ancient power grid and flip 250-500 KV lines back and forth to try to equalize loads on various parts of the national grid system to prevent it from overloading.  But it is nothing but a patch on what is a poorly designed system using split-phase power, which complicates keeping legs of the high voltage feeders balanced.  A transformer on one phase overloads and you get a giant explosion because the cooling system fails, the oil boils in the core and builds pressure like a pressure cooker until the core splits.  One of those transformers goes up in flames, someplace, weekly here.

Europe (and most of the rest of the world except for Canada) has a much better designed power grid than the US does.

David HK

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Re: My other hobby, ham radio
« Reply #44 on: February 22, 2016, 10:57:40 PM »
Chris,

You're a star! I am sure you enjoy writing about your professional life. Its refreshingly nice to read your synopsis of the national system shortcomings.

I recall years ago on this website reading about a member in the USA (perhaps Canada) who described a power outage in his small town. Apparently his RE system kicked into play during darkness and his neighbours were curious to know where he was getting the power from. His esteem amongst fellow citizens mushroomed accordingly.

Dave
 

joestue

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Re: My other hobby, ham radio
« Reply #45 on: February 23, 2016, 02:34:05 AM »
From what i've read the utility routes power around hot transformers if that "hot transformer" is warmer than it should be, that is if they calculate it is cost effective for them to do so.
every 10C increase in temperature cuts the life of the insulation and oil in half.  but the document i read didn't mention how many degrees Celsius a "hot transformer" is.

Power transformers are a potential 100 year investment considering the average age is about 30-40 years far as i recall, and the reliability keeps getting better, not worse, as the reasons for why the oil breaks down are better understood. pretty sure one of my neighbors' house is still running on a 70+ year old pig pole on a 7,200 v line to ground power line.

I do not mean to sound like an industry whore but they know what they are doing. catastrophic failures are not common.


however where they seem to be making their money is lack of maintenance on overhead lines, also, fees.. they keep rising. and the ownership of the present system is changing hands too fast to guarantee transparency in my opinion.

there is a movement to create a local utility in my town and i'm not sure i want to know who is behind this plan. seems to me the reliability and price is good enough.
the present utility has been trying to find land to build a fourth substation but the city won't let them. so instead they spent a bunch of money subsidizing more energy efficient utilities such as heat pump hot water heaters, heat pumps instead of resistive heat, natural gas instead of electric heat.. their campaign was actually sucessfull enough they may not need to build a 4th substation for another 20 years.

however... they could just buy land to re route the existing substations.. and.. wait for it.. hook up the cooling fans on the existing three substations, then they would have a much longer term solution. honestly i don't understand all the friction in the system to pursuing logical activities. --and neighter does the person who told me they don't even have the existing three substations running at capacity nor do they have the cooling fans plugged in.. which I, having lived here 27 years can verify i have never seen them turn on.

on ships, dry transformers. resin encapsulated, probably filled with fire retarders which are usually also very toxic unfortunatly, very expensive, also much larger due to the air cooling requirement so they run just as hot but at a lower flux density, lower current density also due to lack of cooling capacity, however they run just as warm. lots of ships might have older dry transformers (cellulose, and , epoxy insulation) with 150C temperature rises. 
« Last Edit: February 23, 2016, 02:40:00 AM by joestue »

ChrisOlson

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Re: My other hobby, ham radio
« Reply #46 on: February 23, 2016, 08:35:30 AM »
From what i've read the utility routes power around hot transformers if that "hot transformer" is warmer than it should be, that is if they calculate it is cost effective for them to do so.

Well, they can't really do that, so I don't know what your reading was referring to.  Power transmission is three phase and loading is primarily split-phase.  So there is inherent built-in problems trying to keep the loading on the high voltage side balanced.  So you get a hot day in the southwest, everybody turns on single phase air-conditioners, no way to balance the phases, a phase overloads and you got another blown transformer.

At Cummins Power Generation we specialized in supplementing the grid to account for its shortcomings, and completely replacing it with standby power when it fails.  The failure mode analysis of the US grid system is dismal at best, and the DOE is fully aware of it.  But the cost to "fix" a flawed design is beyond practicality.  So it's been patched.  And with patches you get cascade failures like what happened in the desert southwest about three years ago, caused by one transformer failure, where the entire system went down in two states and it takes three days to bring it back online.  The US grid system is so unreliable that federal law mandates that any facility (such as hospitals) where human life support systems are in use, that standby power must be able to take over and accept full campus load from the UPS within 9 seconds of power outage.  And the cost to the facility to install redundant QSK60 2.5MW on-site generator sets to meet the requirements for a mid-sized facility is in the millions because QSK60 generator sets cost around $2.7 million each.  That's some serious change to have to lay out to back up something that's supposed to be reliable.

So it's like Mary says - the whole infrastructure is not being maintained at all.  Only fixes and patches being applied when it fails.  And those failures are quite common.  At any one time, there is a portion of the US where power is out due to a failure of the system.  It is not a secret, it is not getting better, and the US does not have enough money to fix it
http://www.ibtimes.com/aging-us-power-grid-blacks-out-more-any-other-developed-nation-1631086

Frank S

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Re: My other hobby, ham radio
« Reply #47 on: February 23, 2016, 09:51:31 AM »
25 to 30 years ago my wife couldn't understand why I was always so down on the electrical supply system of the US. In my fabrication and machine shop I insisted on having as many things as possible run on 3 ph even it those machines only required fractional HP motors or induction loads When ever possible I completely stayed away from any 120v usage. OK , my reasons for this were primarily in an effort to reduce un-ballanced meter loading to hopefully a lower utility bill each month.
  After living in Kuwait for 10 years she began to understand the reasoning behind the European style electrical supply.
 After we returned to Texas we bought a motor coach to live in temporarily while we searched for property to settle on for our eventual permanent Diggs. Having now lived off the electrical grid for 3 years  relying on solar, batteries, and a diesel generator for our energy, seeing the power go out around us dozens of times in the past 3 years one of the very first things she told me when got the house and property a few months ago  was we are not moving into it on a permanent basis until I install a diesel back up generator and relocate our PV array.
 
I live so far outside of the box, when I die they will stretch my carcass over the coffin

PNW_Steve

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Re: My other hobby, ham radio
« Reply #48 on: February 23, 2016, 10:01:28 AM »

When I got started in the hobby we made fun of people that got their license and then went to the Ham store and bought everything readymade. We called them "appliance operators". We figured that if you didn't homebrew at least some of your gear then you were not really a Ham.

Pretty much the other way around now.  The hams that build everything from scratch get made fun of by the appliance operators because the appliance operators think their stuff is so much better. They hang out on internet forums like The Zed with big signatures listing all their store-bought stuff, instead of hanging out on the air.  They work contests to fill up electronic logs over the internet, don't keep paper station logs, and don't send paper QSL's anymore to confirm a contact. They make fun of the people on 75 meters that still enjoy the good old ragchew nets. In fact, they don't even call 3,900-4,000 kHz 75 meters - they call it 80 meters now, when 80 is 3,500-3,900 kHz to the old hams.  They prefer impersonal computer-controlled digital contact modes like JT65 to fill up electronic logs instead of working CW or other modes that actually require some communications skills. One foreign station comes in on 20 meters and you got a big pileup with 500 or more stations all calling at once to make a 30 second contact and get an entry in their internet logbook.  They operate VoIP on internet repeater nodes instead of HF.  They send each other text messages on cell phones to arrange a 2m repeater QSO, or otherwise are only on during "drive time".  That would describe about 95% of today's operators.  They have become internet and cell phone operators posing as radio operators.

You'll find us "old timers" groups that still operate the old way on 160m, and in the Extra and Advanced portions of the HF bands where the appliance and internet operators can't come and spoil it.  We still work CW with a straight key or paddle and message each other worldwide on 40 meters, 7091.3 KHz, with RTTY, PSK or MFSK instead of arranging QSO's or contests on the internet. We still use 11 meter SSB for local communications and our non-ham wives consider it more convenient to grab the mic and give a call on the radio instead of using a cell phone.  But it is a quite small group anymore.

It is quite amazing - one of the General class appliance operators from the local club caught some PSK-125R messaging on 40 meters one day between me and another station when I was sending a schematic of a circuit with Flwrap.  I don't actually belong to that club but I do run a 6m net for them.  Anyway, this guy called me on my cell phone and told me that I haven't kept up with modern technology in ham radio.  He said people use cell phones and internet, and PSK on radio is for making contacts.  He does not even understand that there is still a small group of us that communicate by radio only.  Doesn't have even the faintest grasp of the concept.  Their club identity is their website, all their communications are done with their email reflector or cell phone text messages.  They even send out a cell phone text message reminder for everybody to jump on their weekly 2m repeater check-in net or nobody would show up on the radio.

If you've been "out of touch" for awhile you may be horrified at what it has become when you get back on the air.

I have to laugh... I remember showing people how I could make a phone patch with my 3lb brick of an H/T. It would draw a small crowd. "Wow! How do you do that? How much does it cost? Can I do that?"

When I last spent time on the 2m repeaters  a number of us were unhappy about the huge increase of traffic that consisted of, mostly, folks that thought they were still on their CB.

You have piqued my interest and I am headed back to my place on the East side of the state tomorrow. I am going to dig up some of my gear and drag it back over here so I can get back on the air. I do hope that my area is not as bad as you describe. We will see....

I did let my Advanced license expire. I thought that I had 10 years from my "upgrade" date rather than the date of original issue to renew. When I realized that I had expired I headed to the nearest test session and found that the Advanced Class was a thing of the past so now I am a lowly General Class. You mentioned that there are still quality HF operations in the Advanced/Extra band segments. What do you recommend for General Class HF operators?


ChrisOlson

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Re: My other hobby, ham radio
« Reply #49 on: February 23, 2016, 10:18:22 AM »
Having now lived off the electrical grid for 3 years  relying on solar, batteries, and a diesel generator for our energy, seeing the power go out around us dozens of times in the past 3 years one of the very first things she told me when got the house and property a few months ago  was we are not moving into it on a permanent basis until I install a diesel back up generator and relocate our PV array.

It's sort of the same here.  When I retired from Cummins, came home and took over the family farm, we could not get utility services to power our planned expansion.  My wife and I built our house off-grid on a 40 and we entirely power the farm with diesel generators.  Today, with fuel prices dropping thru the floor after the US became the largest oil producer on earth we're laughing all the way to the bank.  I haven't even bothered to clean the solar panels off this winter because it's way less work, and ridiculously cheap, to just run the diesel generators instead.  We've spent less than $900 on our fuel bills in the generators since the first of November this winter.  And with wood as supplemental, that $900 has also covered the heat in the shop and house.

All the theories on "peak oil" sort of went right down the tubes when engineers figured out how to economically get oil out of shale.  And the realization hit that petroleum is actually a renewable resource and there's more of it being made under the earth's surface as we speak, and the process has been going on for millions of years everywhere from under the ocean floor to the deserts.

ChrisOlson

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Re: My other hobby, ham radio
« Reply #50 on: February 23, 2016, 10:29:21 AM »
You mentioned that there are still quality HF operations in the Advanced/Extra band segments. What do you recommend for General Class HF operators?

Steve, I would check out the digital mode portions of the HF bands because that has really become popular since you last operated, and has taken over from the old Western Union Model 28 Radio Teletype Machines.

You'll also find some really good ragchew groups on 40 and 75 meters on the SSB phone portions of the band, and as a General you can operate CW on just about all but the lower portions of some bands.  When you get on 75 meters on the ragchew groups and the "new breed" wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am electronic logbook filler jammers and tuner-uppers get on there and try to disrupt the whole group, you just have to take it in stride and don't let them win.  They enjoy disrupting a net until it can't operate and if you continue to operate and just crank up the amp to overpower 'em eventually they go away.

The Extra test is ridiculously simple and basic and if I was you I'd just go take that one and then you can join in on the more advanced technical discussion nets that we run in the lower portions of the low frequency 40 and 75 meter bands.

Mary B

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Re: My other hobby, ham radio
« Reply #51 on: February 23, 2016, 05:14:29 PM »
That was likely me... neighbors ask why I have such bright lights instead of candles...


Chris,

You're a star! I am sure you enjoy writing about your professional life. Its refreshingly nice to read your synopsis of the national system shortcomings.

I recall years ago on this website reading about a member in the USA (perhaps Canada) who described a power outage in his small town. Apparently his RE system kicked into play during darkness and his neighbours were curious to know where he was getting the power from. His esteem amongst fellow citizens mushroomed accordingly.

Dave

tanner0441

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Re: My other hobby, ham radio
« Reply #52 on: February 24, 2016, 12:52:31 PM »
Hi

Many, many years ago the UK had a fuel shortage and we had the delights of a 3 day working week with rolling power cuts, I had a small generator and made a suicide lead, when the power went of I switched the mains isolator off and fired the generator up. Less than an hour later there was a very loud knocking on my door.... "How come you've got lights?" I have a small generator, after a tirade of what right have you got to run a generator? Plus a few expletives and he stormed off, only to return shortly later complaining the noise and fumes from the exhaust were getting on his nerves, so I pointed out the generator was down the bottom of my garden the exhaust was fed into a a hole in the ground full of gravel and none of the fumes was escaping the gravel, not strictly true,. 

The next time the power went off I had a visit from the police, after he examined my set up and decided I wasn't doing anything illegal I spent 20 minutes explaining to the cop how he could set up something similar and where he could get a generator and how much it would cost, and what he could run off it.

The neighbor finally gave up when several other people ran lights from their cars.

Brian

DamonHD

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Re: My other hobby, ham radio
« Reply #53 on: February 24, 2016, 02:31:46 PM »
Yes, I'm old enough to remember the 3-day week as a kid. It had a formative effect on my subsequent politics...  %-P

Rgds

Damon