paulmccord.net

PAUL L. MCCORD JR. | K5GLH – OKLAHOMA CITY

paulmccord.net - PAUL L. MCCORD JR. | K5GLH – OKLAHOMA CITY

TV Fool

TV Fool Map

 

As one that really enjoys following DX whether it be AM, FM, Shortwave or even TV, this new web site called TV Fool is really cool.  In the above image, I have input my address and this site shows a chart with all of the TV stations that are within my viewing area and the direction they are from me. This makes pointing an antenna easier saving time.  This site tells the actual and virtual channels of the stations as well as the signal, distance and azimuth settings. It even allows for me to input the height of the antenna that I am using.  This is one site you need to bookmark if you are into DX.

GetTV

This morning, I was playing around with the TV in an attempt to scan for distant TV stations during an opening caused by an inversion.  I found that Oklahoma City’s KOCB, channel 34 now has a sub channel 2 that carries a new station called getTV.  This station carries some old classic movies similar to Turner Classic Movies (TCM) but can be received right off the antenna.  This is very cool and has some pretty good programming.

This morning I watched a few shows on there and was very impressed with the quality.  It seems that we have more than 40 TV stations right here in Oklahoma City, if you now include the sub-channels.  It is great to be able to have all these choices right off the antenna so that we are not required to pay for TV service.  While I am a Dish Network customer, I am very pleased with the choices over the air that we have.

Tropospheric Ducting

Tropospheric ducting 8/9/20104

 

Wow!  Last night would have been a great time to have my ham radio gear and my old tower. How I miss my tower.  When we moved out of Del City, I had to sell my 70 foot tower.  This image shows the signals picked up on the VHF portion of the band last night.  As you can see, there are stations hundreds of miles away from Oklahoma City that were coming in. This is made possible by a temperature inversion where the air is warmer a few thousand feet above the ground than it is on the ground.  Yesterday was a perfect time for this because we had the hot and humid day followed by a warm night.  When these conditions arise,  you can receive FM radio stations from hundreds of miles away.  I use to love to tune across the dial and pick up these stations when I was  young.  My dad had an awesome huge antenna back then that could receive them making it even better. Now I don’t have my equipment but I can still pick them up in the car radio.

Thanks to a Broadcast Engineer friend of mine for sending this URL…

http://aprs.mountainlake.k12.mn.us/

This site was put together to map real time APRS signals received and where they were received.  I will go into what APRS is on another post.  I am expecting company in the next hour so I have to cut this post short.  It is a ham radio tool that is involves computer packet transmissions.  We’ve had a lot of these “tropo” ducting instances lately so if you are in the Oklahoma area around sunset or a bit after, turn on your FM radio and listen across each frequency. If you hear stations you’ve not heard before, keep listening because FCC rules require that they give their station ID at the top and bottom of every hour. You can find out where these stations are coming from.  You will love it.

Yes! I’m Still Here

This has been a strange month if you ask me, at least in my head. I’ve really not felt like posting on here.  I’ve not been too busy but just haven’t felt like posting. This month, both my wife and I joined the American Radio Relay League (ARRL).  We thought it was time to represent the ham radio community since it had done so much for us.  I’ve been off the air for quite some time because my radio, Kenwood TS-2000, had quit working many months ago.  It would transmit but no audio would go through.  A few weeks ago I decided to send it back for repair.  It has not returned yet but I have received an email from them estimating the cost for repair and a request to know if I wanted to go ahead and repair it.  I told them to go ahead and fix it.

I have also decided that I am going to get another ham radio tower. It may take some months to save up for it but I really miss having a tower.  I’ve not had one for four years, almost five.  I’ve been trying to get active in ham radio again after being off the air for several years.  Part of what got me motivated was knowing that my brother is studying to get his license.  I will be so excited when he gets his license.  That will be four people in the family that are licensed.  The annual ham radio convention named Ham Holiday was this weekend in Oklahoma City.  I did not make this year because we had other things going on.

The lawn has been a lot of work this summer and getting some rain has really been a blessing.  Yesterday, July 26th was the first 100 degree day for the year.  It has been nice not being as hot as it has been in recent years.  I really hope the moisture and cooler weather continue for many months to come.  There is not much more going on that is newsworthy but I wanted to go ahead and post something before August moved in. :)

Sent In For Repair

Kenwood TS-2000

 

I sent my Kenwood TS-2000 multi-band, multi-mode ham radio in for repair this weekend for transmitting a carrier with no audio.  This has been a good radio. I received this radio from Ham Radio Outlet on August 5, 2004.  I was so excited to receive it and it lived up to the hype.  The most distant contact that I have made with this radio is from Lithuania. About seven or eight months ago I noticed that when I would transmit, no one would ever come back to me.  Then I noticed that when I was using single side band (SSB) that my VU meter was not bouncing.  Then I started to do some testing and found that no audio was going through the microphone on any band.  I changed the microphone several times and had the same results.

I was very frustrated and just turned the radio off for several months. Finally this weekend, I decided that it was time to send in to be repaired.  I am very anxious to see what the bill will end up being.  It cost $60.00 just for postage and packing to send it in.  I had to send it to City of Industry, California.  Hopefully it will not take that long to fix and not cost $500.00.  In any case, I am looking forward to getting it back on the air.

 

Baofeng UV-5RB

Baofeng UV-5RB Handie Talkie

 

I have been out of radio for the most part for nearly three years. Since we moved, life has been more demanding of my time and so ham radio has had to take a back burner.  My HF rig is broke and doesn’t work and since it has my two meter and 70 cm rig built in, I have been off the air completely.  Since I moved, I’ve just not had the discretionary cash to buy radios like I use to.

I was at my dad’s house last week when he had the repeater hooked up to the WIN System.  I heard someone on there talking on a Baofeng radio and they sounded pretty good. They told of how incredibly cheap they were so I bought one on Amazon for $43.00.  Compare that to the nearly $400.00 that I spent on the last Kenwood.  Honestly for that price, I was not expecting much.  I thought it would have all sorts of hang ups with it but I was surprised.

While the programming was a challenge, I eventually figured it out and after that, I discovered there was software to make it easier the next time.  This radio is pretty good.  I have to admit, that I’ve been out of radio so long that I have never even heard of Baofeng.  I am still not sure I know how to pronounce it.  It worked so good that my wife got one and my brother bought one as well.  It operates on both the two meter and 70 cm band as well as many adjacent frequencies, such as FRS and GMRS.  Of course the radio is not type accepted for those bands so it is not legal to operate though it physically will.

I am very pleased with this radio and has actually re-energized my enthusiasm for ham radio.  There is a new repeater, 444.000 MHz that is close to my house and makes communicating via an H.T. easier.  The owners of this repeater seem to be nice people.  I went to their Field Day event last weekend and while I didn’t participate, it was pretty fun.  Well, I better get this sent since it is getting late. I just wanted to share what a great radio this is and the price makes it even better.  I would recommend it for anyone.

Lawn Mower Damage

It is only June and I am on my third set of lawn mower blades on the riding mower. I’ll call it laziness on my part that has resulted in damaging these blades. My backyard is about 60% wooded area but there is still grass in those areas that I have to mow. Over the last couple of years we’ve had drought that has killed about 50 or 60 trees. Over time, they have either fallen down on their own or I have cut them down. I am not able to cut them low enough so as to not have a small stump sticking up. Well, I do cut them flush with the ground but the ground is so soft that my lawn mower wheels sink in the ground and the end result is that I end up hitting these stumps. There are just too many of them to have them removed without putting myself into bankruptcy. :)

I just need to make sure that I only mow the wooded areas with the push mower where I can be sure that I see the stumps before hitting them. What usually happens is that I try to get as much as I can with the riding mower so that I don’t have as much to mow with the push mower. Without fail, I always hit a stump and bend the blade. Well, I am not doing that anymore. I have a line that I mow around with the riding mower and then I get the push mower to mow the rest. The reason that I am so lazy about this is because my yard has steep hills and it is really tough mowing with a push mower without needing an oxygen tank to catch my breath :). I guess that I just need to get off my lazy back side and mow. Who knows… I may actually lose a couple pounds in the process. I’ve gained back nearly half of the weight that I lost last year. It is easy to stop by a drive through and get some food on the way home from work. I have some more mowing to do this morning so I guess I better get this posted and get busy.

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