Amateur (Ham) Radio Station KG9AE

KG9AE QSL Card

I have been an Amateur (Ham) Radio operator since 1992. I have been an extra class operator since May, 1995. I am an accredited volunteer license examiner under the ARRL/VEC.

KG9AE on VHF/UHF

On very high and ultra high frequency bands (VHF/UHF), I operate 2 meters and 70 centimeter FM simplex. I operate an Alinco DR-605T 2m/70cm twin-band mobile transceiver in the truck. And I also use my Icom IC-746PRO on 2m at home. My mobile antenna is a Diamond NR770HA and the base station antenna is a Diamond X-500H.

KG9AE on HF

I operate high frequency (HF/shortwave) bands on an Icom IC-746PRO general coverage, all-mode transceiver. The HF antenna is a random wire. The entire station is powered by a 2kWh UPS with "dual conversion" mode (e.g. to stabilize a generator without depleting batteries). I also have a 5kW generator to provide electricity in case of an emergency.

A laptop computer running Ubuntu Linux is used for control of the Icom IC-746PRO and for digital modes such as SSTV, PSK31, RTTY, MFSK, and so on. The computer is connected to the Icom IC-746PRO through an interface box that combines a RASCAL kit and a homebrew CI-V interface. I chose a laptop because it will run from 12VDC just like the HF radio. I also use 2.4 GHz wireless Ethernet to eliminate interference to my HF reception. I found that running Ethernet cables so close to the HF radio causes nearly insurmountable radio frequency interference.

HF Antenna

For general HF coverage I would highly recommend an Inverted-L antenna over any type of dipole or expensive gimmick-of-the-week commercial antenna. There is some information about the Inverted-L antenna by Arnie Coro, CO2KK from Radio Habana Cuba DXer's Unlimited. I made a diagram of my old Inverted-L antenna installation. When using the antenna with a transmitter you will need an extremely good ground system, antenna tuner, and downlead wire with insulation that can handle at least several thousand volts. I strip out the insulated center conductor from some old RG-8 for the downlead and use the braided shield for RF, but not electrical, grounds.

Depending on soil conditions you should do well with an 8 foot ground rod driven within a few feet of your antenna tuner. Don't forget to bond all of your ground rods to each other and your main electrical ground using heavy gauge stranded or solid wire and sturdy clamps. Run braided wire from your equipment ground rod to an "equipment use only" ground bus bar where your wires enter the radio shack. A good quality ground bus bar costs about $3 at any hardware store. Run braided wire from each piece of equipment to the bus bar. Don't assume your coax shielding is a good enough ground. If you don't have very good grounding and insulation you may shock someone, give them a RF radiation burn, start a fire, or just degrade your signal quality. If you find that your soil isn't very good you can supplement the ground rod with a counterpoise wire run along the ground beneath the antenna. I have 6 awg stranded copper wire running along the ground roughly underneath the first 30 feet of the long wire. The wire functions as a counterpoise and electrically bonds all 3 ground rods. It starts at the equipment ground rod, runs to another ground rod at the center and ends at the main electrical ground rod.

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