Latest Antenna: 135-Foot Dipole

Just before the CQ WW DX RTTY Contest I found time to assemble the time-tested 135-foot dipole.  It is fed with ladder line almost all the way to the coax switch in the shack.  I had avoided using ladder line because of numerous stories about RFI causing all kinds of problems in the shack.  Also I did not know how to connect the ladder line to the coax switch.   Continue reading Latest Antenna: 135-Foot Dipole


Huntsville Hamfest 2014

I just returned from Huntsville Hamfest and had a great time. I attended the presentation “Arduino and You: Let the Fun Begin” by Glen Popiel (KW5GP) and learned about all of the cool projects you construct for around $50. Interestingly I had not met Glen before this presentation and was surprised to learn that he lives about an hour away in Southaven, MS. ARRL is publishing a book authored by Glen named  Arduino for Ham Radio and it will be available for purchase soon.

The second presentation was “Understanding and Customizing Arduino-Based Transceivers” by Glen and John Henry (KI4JPL) from Ten-Tec. They explained how to modify the code on the Arduino-based Ten-Tec Rebel (a CW only rig) to do JT-65.

I have programmed an Arduino to drive a relay to tap out a CW beacon message by modifying the classic LED blinking light program and now I’m interested in doing more after seeing all of the possibilities of the Arduino platform.


Interesting Sounds

Tonight two coworkers are coming to the shack to capture a few audio samples for use in music.  We will probably have some good luck on 20 and 40 meters because they are wanting some CW (Morse code) samples and some DX just to get a foreign language.  If we get really lucky we will hear the numbers lady but I need to find what band she is on these days.  


Ten-Tec Orion II – Working Split

This is a photograph of my Orion II working a RTTY station (WB2NVR/K2A) that wanted to be called “up 1” which means 1 kHz higher than the frequency where you hear him. On the photograph you will notice LEDs indicate VFO A is the transmitting frequency and VFO B is the receiving frequency. On the screen VFO A (on top) is 1 kHz higher than VFO B.

Ten-Tec Orion II working split.
Ten-Tec Orion II working split.


Get Raspberry Pi IP Address by Email at Boot

I like to use Remote Desktop to access my Raspberry Pi but that is difficult to do if you don’t know what its IP address is. My solution was to have the IP address emailed to me, read that email on my phone, then log in using Remote Desktop. The rc.local file is executed at boot so I edited it as shown below.

#!/bin/sh -e
# rc.local
# This script is executed at the end of each multiuser runlevel.
# Make sure that the script will "exit 0" on success or any other
# value on error.
# In order to enable or disable this script just change the execution
# bits.
# By default this script does nothing.
rm /home/pi/ipAddress.txt
hostname -I > /home/pi/ipAddress.txt
ssmtp < /home/pi/ipAddress.txt
exit 0

Explanation of the code…

  • rm /home/pi/ipAddress.txt deletes the file where I store the IP address so that I can make a new file with the latest IP address.
  • hostname -I > /home/pi/ipAddress.txt gets the current IP address and saves it to a file.
  • ssmtp < /home/pi/ipAddress.txt emails the contents of the new file to me.

I also had to set up SSMTP to use my email host – in this example it is
and the account holder is “user”. My edits to ssmtp.conf are shown below.

# Config file for sSMTP sendmail
# The person who gets all mail for userids < 1000
# Make this empty to disable rewriting.

# The place where the mail goes. The actual machine name is required no
# MX records are consulted. Commonly mailhosts are named
# Where will the mail seem to come from?

# The full hostname

# Are users allowed to set their own From: address?
# YES – Allow the user to specify their own From: address
# NO – Use the system generated From: address

I modified or set the mailhub, AuthUser, AuthPass and hostname settings.

Be careful with this file because it will have your account name and password in it. You may want to use an account other than your main one for that reason.

With both of these files (rc.local, ssmtp.conf) you will want to make back-up copies of before you edit them.