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CQ CQ CQ…. a personal vent

January 28, 2017

My ham shack in Alaska

Most of you will not understand this posting because it deals with an avocation of mine, amateur radio. However since there is no one, other than my son, here in Texas to vent my consternation to this brief posting will have to do. Amateur radio has been a part of my life now since 2001. Back in Alaska it was not only something I looked forward to frequently throughout the day but something that gave my life a sense of purpose and sanity, but here in Texas it was relegated to a once in a while occurrence.

When I first started my journey on the road of learning about Amateur radio my ‘Elmer’ and every book I read on the subject said it was not how good or expensive the radio is it is the antenna that is the most important part of the station. At my present location I am restricted to what I can do as far as an antenna system and without a good antenna ‘ham’ radio is little more than a glorified CB. My son gave me a nice vertical antenna and though not in compliance with regulations at my apartment complex I have managed to once again get ‘on the air’.


My Texas ‘shack’ ?

This was accomplished by my operating in stealth mode, only raising the antenna whenever I wanted to operate. Not the best of circumstances but it at least gave me the occasional opportunity to reach out and see what was there. Now however I fear even that is in danger. I was on the radio yesterday with a station based at a VA hospital in California and for the first time in quite a while my noise floor was low and even the signal I was putting out was acknowledged at an S-9 level. I had barely finished the contact when a neighbor was knocking on my door telling me I was interfering with her daytime television show.

Not being one to quickly grasp at situations I mumbled an apology and shut down the radio. Now in hindsight I know I should have investigated more to analyze how best to avoid the problem. Could it be my placement of ground radials or the position of my antenna, or maybe my grounding was insufficient in any event I know I will have to speak with her again if I want to get back on the air. I have also thought about inquiring with other neighbors to see if they too have heard any interference.

But all of this does not address the reason I feel as bad as I do, because of all the problems over the years I have encountered in operating my radio this is the first time I have had to shut down my station. To most you would not understand its gravity to me, but it is a loss I would never think I would encounter. After giving up my wilderness cabin and the Alaskan lifestyle that I enjoyed for two decades this avocation which was borne in that remote cabin is my last remaining link to my sense of freedom.

I have vented
I know what needs to be done
I need only
find the will to do it.

15 Comments leave one →
  1. January 28, 2017 9:16 am

    Good luck with the diagnosis, Pete! I’d wager ya never such issues up here. Just sent in my CoCoRaHS (Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow network) report; 8.75″ of new snow across the last 12 hours and still coming down. Our snow pack is now a healthy 31.5″. I’m finally seeing a ‘real’ Alaskan winter; guess it is a case of ‘fourth time lucky’..? NWS blew the call on this one and that’s the second time this month they done so. In both cases they grossly underestimated the amount of snow we’d receive. Yesterday afternoon they were calling for 1″ to 2″ during the evening and 1″ to 3″ today; that’s 2″ to 5″ across a 24 hour period. I’ve already measured 76% more accumulated snow and it is still coming down. Me and the kidz are gonna head out to play once we see the morning light; I have to be able to see moose a ways off and it isn’t light enough to do so until around 09:15 (amazingly that’s already an hour earlier than the first morning light on December 21st!). As you know once the snow pack is more than 24″ the moose move out of the boreal forest unto the roads as they are much easier to walk on because of being cleared. The last thing I want is to surprise a moose, let a lone a number of them, when walking the kidz! Oh Dear, the power is fluctuating big time; thus far it has come back but given the snow we could see a line failure. Once I’m done with email I’d better insure the generator is primed for action…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Gina permalink
    January 28, 2017 3:04 pm

    I’m going to have the same antenna problem when I move to my apartment, however, I do have a dual band radio and antenna in my car. Would that work for you?


  3. January 28, 2017 3:08 pm

    Answering CQ, something tells me that it was not your fault or anything to do with your radio, but the TV service provider’s signal having issues and just bad timing on the TX or some dirty CB’er nearby… I’ve dealt with issues like that myself. One way to test, is put the antenna up, but don’t power on the radio, if there is a complaint, they may be complaining for complaints sake… GL and 73

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Scott permalink
    January 28, 2017 3:10 pm


    Thanks for your kind words regarding the storm.

    Your TVI – there are solution. I would suggest contacting the people who manufacture chokes. They must have beelines on how to use their products.

    Watch this woman and operate when she isn’t.

    73 de Scott/n7net

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Scott permalink
    January 28, 2017 3:41 pm

    Or you can go QRP. Have to pay attention to details, but I’ve done a lot of it. Kits and all. Might take a look at Bicycle mobile.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Jon permalink
    January 28, 2017 7:38 pm

    Good luck on solving your communication problems, Pete. You may be onto something with a simple grounding issue, but what do I know? Too bad you’ve run into dealing with someone else’s problems such as you didn’t have in the 49th state.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. john permalink
    January 29, 2017 12:22 am

    with out going in to a lot of stuff here, try doing what some of the construction guys do..install a mobile antenna on your vehicle,even a mag mount will work for not in motion, ,ham sticks or what ever and when you want to operate, simply run coax to the rig inside…Ive done this on occasion when I worked and was on the road, and it works well.. when you are done , just roll the extra coax up and remember to charge the battery..whether or not you were the problem, take down the other antenna,,out of sight and out of mind… quick disconnects help also , if you want to have the antenna on only when you operated good luck 73 john w8wej

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Dwight permalink
    January 29, 2017 3:49 am

    Good to hear that you are back on the air, Pete. I believe that you will find a way to beat the TVI issue. Would a bandpass filter on your transceiver help? Can you reduce power by going digital? PSK-31 or JT-65? Really good grounding is also a good idea. You could also try ferrite beads on your transceiver power chord. Just a few ideas for you…

    Liked by 2 people

  9. john permalink
    January 29, 2017 4:51 am

    ooo00000ss let me add a couple more things, if you still have the truck, and have no topper, put a mag mount there,,run the coax to operate and roll up when not operating,
    my bad,,, on the battery ,,, you will be operating inside…this has worked for years for folks on the road, in apartments , etc… now gl 73 john w8wej

    Liked by 1 person

  10. john permalink
    January 29, 2017 4:52 am

    shoot sorry, put mag mount in the bed,, mostly out of I am done 73 john

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Scott permalink
    January 29, 2017 8:05 am

    Hi Pete! Don’t give up. Problem solving RF issues is part of the hobby. After a bit of detective work, I’m sure you’ll come up with the answer. I may help to get a local club involved too. Possibly a simple filter or ground issue. Looking forward to having a QSO with you on the air!
    Scott AC2FV

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Cole permalink
    February 8, 2017 1:43 pm

    Pete, Do a Google on H.R.555 . It concerns HOAs and antennas.
    73s de KG6ZTM

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Mike Hohmann permalink
    April 2, 2017 6:56 am

    Lots of good ideas provided above, Pete. I wish you luck. I’m a relatively new Ham, perhaps we’ll make contact on the air one day! 73 de Mike, KEØGZT


  14. June 28, 2017 10:00 am

    Remind dear neighbor of the fact that a television is a Part 15 set. In essence Part 15 says the device may not cause interference and must accept any interference from licensed radio services. There are things you can do to mitigate the interference at her television but then you open yourself up to being called every time the TV goes on the blink


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