Monthly Archives: March 2011



I am officially declaring a new category of PC and I shall call it the “SDRPC”. Now some of you may think that ole KS4JU has way too much
time on his hands, but I think the SDRPC wind up adding additional aesthetics and function to your Ham Shack. It also adds a little extra “flair” for Software Defined Radio users. It really does give you that “feel” of an old school rig and looks darn good doing it.

The PC Case
I was in the process of doing some upgrades to my old PC and decided to give it a facelift in the process. I had built several HTPCs in the past and thought the principles behind the HTPC would transfer pretty nicely to a dedicated Ham Radio PC. If you are not familiar with the HTPC (Home Theater PC), this was category of hi-end PCs that were designed to be integrated into a Home Theater environment. The HTPC was typically a high-end PC used as a DVR, Audio Server, or Video Processor. As an offshoot of this, a series of PC cases were designed to look like high-end audio components. The nicer HTPC cases were typically built …

Sanyo Xacti VPC-GH4 HD Camcorder Review


Okay technically this is not an Amateur Radio product or is it? Well, Amateur Radio operators do love our gadgets and cameras are one of our favorites. They do come in handy for documenting projects, field day activities, or just for fun. The reason I decided to write this review here is that I needed a small inexpensive video camera for documenting some of my projects for this blog, as well as doing some videos for some of the projects. I typically use my Canon Digital SLR for most of the pictures used on this site and needless to say it does a great job. I also have a digital 480i video camera that I always found a bit disappointing to say the least. I thought I would try out a couple of the inexpensive pocket HD pocket video cameras. Ok, long story short. Most of these little pocket HD video cameras can do a pretty good job under the right conditions. They are well suited for shooting video outdoors but do a pretty poor job indoors. They have very limited zoom features and usually can only be used for medium to long shots. Still pictures are usually not …

It’s Contest Weekend!

Of course there’s an argument that there’s a contest every weekend (and that’s true) but this weekend is the CQ WW WPX SSB Contest. Starting at 0000 GMT Saturday (Friday night for those of us in North America) and running 48 hours to 2359 GMT Sunday this is one of the big contests of the year.

And good news: There’s a good chance that conditions, especially on the higher bands, could be very good. (The certificate is from G8DYT who took First Place for High Power SSB Single Operator – 80 Meters in 2008. Cool!) Keep an eye on the propagation numbers.

So what does this mean to the new contester? It means your modest 100-watt signal into a dipole (a beam is preferable but we use what we have) on 15 and maybe even 10 meters can provide DXCC in a single weekend. This is especially true if the band opens to Europe in the morning and the Caribbean in the later afternoon where there are tons of separate countries.…


Hi everyone. Chief Editor James, KS4JU, has invited me to contribute to Ham Radio Science so this post is an introduction. You can tell by the call that I’m a Canadian ham.

I’ve been licensed since 1980 and I hold a Canadian advanced certificate but my interest in ham radio got started when my dad, Leo, VE3FWR (SK) got his license in the mid 1960s.

Dad’s station grew from an Hammarlund HQ-170 and Heathkit DX-60 feeding a dipole to the Drake pair (R4 and T4XB series) and a 20-meter monoband four-element 204-BA at around 75 feet. When I drive through the old neighbourhood in Etobicoke (part of Toronto) I’m amazed that Dad got away with the antenna structure as the suburban lot was pretty tiny.…