Remainders: 30 March 2024

My morning mug from an outing to Rosie Jo’s Cafe in Ozark, Missouri. Shot with the Nikon F2AS on Ilford XP2. Exposure data were not recorded.
  • PotaLog is yet another POTA logging program. This one purports to run on Winder$ and Linux. It is based on the QT library, so it might run on OS X as well.
  • Directions for Bronica exposure adjustment for extension tubes and, more importantly, information about replacing the mirror and focusing screen foam.
  • Much information about the Bronica cameras is at this link.
  • Dan Schneider has some suggestions for those of us who enjoy old cameras and other devices that require mercury cells to operate.
  • I have an old Pentax Spotmeter in my inventory. It uses an odd mercury battery. I think it is the equivalent of three cells in series. The Spotmeter V is a newer version of my old meter. The manual indicates that three G-13 cells are to be used. These are mercury cells. However, the report in the link indicates that the author used three LR44 silver cells. That might indicate that the Pentax meter contains a voltage regulator that will adjust the output from the cells to match the requirements of the metering circuit.
  • An alternative is a Soligor Spot Sensor II. Like all of the Soligor products, it is not as strong as the Pentax offerings (and others), but was good for its price point.
  • I found a link to a Pentax Spotmeter V repair. I was looking for a circuit diagram to see if there is a voltage regulator in system. No joy yet.
  • And for the technically inclined owners of a Soligor Spot Sensor II, there is a calibration procedure if the meter is off.
  • The JS8Call Utilities software looks like an excellent to that ham radio software.
  • A YT content creator (K7SW Radio) posted a short introduction to N4PY software. This is very cool stuff for use with older radios or as a hub for integrating a number of options and/or rig control.
  • Julian, OH8STN, posted an excellent review/setup video on using the Microsoft Surface Go 2/3 tablet computer for field use. The review is recommended.

Daily Image: Rocco’s Pizza 28 March 2024

This is a favorite Italian joint here in Ozark, Missouri. Shot with Bronica S2A and the Nikkor 75mm f/2.8 at about f/8 with Kodak Gold 200 film.

I shot this image a couple of weeks ago using Kodak Gold 200 film. It is from the first roll of color film through the new-to-me Bronica S2A medium format camera. The Bronica is my first square format camera and is a beast of a brick! I think it weighs in at about four pounds with the standard Nikkor 75mm f/2.8 lens and a film back.

The firing of the shutter is a thing that has to be experienced to be appreciated! There is a lot of movement inside the camera body with the moving of the mirror and focal plane shutter. It is also loud. However, although I have read of motion blur complaints, I am not quite sure that I believe them. A tripod will be required for slow shutter speeds.

Kodak Gold 200 works well in bright sun. I like the color rendition. I think I will shoot some more of it and send it for processing at a place that can produce higher resolution scans.

US-4838 — Busiek SF POTA Activation 19 March 2024

Carter Cemetery, established 1891, in Busiek State Forest, POTA US-4838 in Christian County, MO. It is south of Ozark about ten miles. Shot with iPhone 13 Pro Max.

Busiek State Forest, POTA US-4838, has been on my to activate list for a long time. I hiked the Yellow Trail with the kids a couple of years ago. Along the way, we came on the Carter Cemetery, an old family plot that was established late in the 19th Century. It looked like a perfect place to activate the park.

But, I never got back to do the activation. So, last week I had a day off and it was a pretty nice day. So I took The girl and we drove out there. There were not a lot of people, it being a weekday. So there was not much traffic to deal with.

We had a nice hike up to the cemetery. I decided to set up on a bench there, although I had to face away from the trail to get my leg high enough for my kneeboard. I did not care for that facing, but it was necessary.

I decided to use the Elecraft KH1 for the activation. I am still learning that radio and have a little trouble with the paddles. But I can make it work and it is an excellent little rig.

I was just starting to work calling stations when Sera broke away from me and approached another dog. The other do said No! emphatically, but there was not really a fight. I had to drop everything and retrieve my dog.

There was no damage other than a pissed-off handler. But it really affected me emotionally and in one way really ruined the day. I just cannot take my attention from Sera when we are out in the field and might encounter another.

I moved us about 50 feet away from the trail, behind a low rock wall. She could not see the trail and I could. I put her in a down-stay and sat on my sweatshirt and started over.

I could pay attention to my operations and stay aware of the situation around me. It was a much better location from which to activate the park.

I made 14 contacts on three bands — 20m, 17m, and 15m. It was more than enough to make the activation and there was still time to get in a bit more walk before returning home for the day. I packed up the kit, donned my pack, and we walked on up the trail another quarter of a mile to a split. Both ways would require fording the stream. I was not geared for a fording, so we reversed and walked back down the trail and to the rig.

The Girl got a nice big drink from the stream. (I love the rocky-bottomed Missouri streams in the Ozarks.) We crossed the bridge and stowed gear in the rig, then drove home.

I had a lot of maintenance scheduled for the 4Runner starting the next day. All of the 200,000-mile scheduled maintenance was done, plus I replaced the tires and had the alignment checked and adjusted. It was a lot of money, but I think the rig might have another 100,000 miles left in it and I might as well get them.

In the end a learned a few things:

  • I absolutely have to station myself so I can remain aware of what is going on around me.
  • I cannot ever allow my attention to be completely subsumed by another activity when I have The Girl out with me.
  • The little Elecraft KH1 is an excellent radio. But I doubt I will ever operate pedestrian mobile when I have The Girl with me. There is just too much that can go wrong in a hurry if I do not have hands free to wrangle her.
  • I think the paddles need a little more adjustment to be right. I still fumble my sending more than I should (and normally do).
  • I really like POTA activations. I want to do more, but I have to choose my OP carefully so I can remain aware of what is going on around me. Yes, I repeated myself. It is that important.

Despite the uncomfortable feelings associated with Sera’s behavior and the engagement with another dog, it was a good day to be out. It was a good day to be with her. And it was a good day to play a little radio.

I am grateful. Life is good.

At our second operating position in Carver Cemetery. Shot with iPhone 13 Pro Max.

Daily Image: Scramblers, 20 March 2024

A new favorite breakfast restaurant here in Springfield, MO. Capture with Fujifilm X100V and Reggie’s Portra 400 film simulation, SOOC.

A week ago DiL took me to breakfast at the subject venue. They produce solid American Diner food and the breakfast was good. I had an appointment to drop off the 4Runner for maintenance and the shop is only a couple of miles from Scramblers. So I decided to treat myself to breakfast.

They were not busy at 0700h this morning so I was seated quickly. Coffee was at hand shortly thereafter. I made my order and working on an image to post to Vero. My food appeared before I finished my edits.

Once again, the food was good and priced reasonably. I enjoyed it, put a little bit in a napkin to pay the dog tax, and then finished my edits and posted my image to Vero while finishing my coffee.

Then it was off the Christian Brothers Auto to have the 4Runner serviced. There is a long list of scheduled maintenance to do. I was on the fence about keeping my 2013 Fifth Gen 4Runner or trading for a new one. My rig has 200,000 miles on it, but has no known mechanical issues.

I have decided to try for another 100,000 miles. So, I am going to clean up a few minor issues and keep running the mileage clock.

Reflecting On A Day

This is my lovely Sera, playing with her ball in a field while we were on walkies. Like Ki before her, she is the love of my life and a joy to be with. Shot with my iPhone 13 Pro Max without post processing.

One of the things I like about my weblog is that it is a diary or journal of sorts. I have posts going back to 2001, although those from 2001–2012 (or so) are off line for reasons described elsewhere. Last year I found an On This Day plug-in for my CMS and got it installed. It pulls entries dated on the access day (like today) and puts them on the left sidebar.

This morning I checked my weblog and found this entry. It is a description of Ki and I walking the ridge at Hidden Valley Regional Park on the east side of Reno. At that time, we were housed in a La Quinta in Reno while I worked and figured out what was next for us.

Some mornings we walked in town. That was not very interesting as I really do not care for city energy and Ki had to be on leash. Once I discovered the park, we went there nearly every day until I moved us to Carson City, where we live.

I really loved reliving the tale told in the entry. I remember walking that ridge with Ki and how much fun she had running out and back searching for lizards. In that regard, she was much like Sera is today and I love them both for it. They are/were so engaged with life and such good life lessons for me.

Today, The Girl (Sera) and I will get out and have a nice outing. I am thinking that some radio play might be in order.

I am grateful. Life is good.

Remainders: 16 March 2024

After the storm, these mammatus clouds appeared. Shot with iPhone 13 Pro Max.
  • Every now and again, The Atlantic does something journalistic. This article about KPH is one of them.
  • To follow up the above, there are more images by Anne Hermes here.
  • Fast Log Entry (FLE) is a quick radio logging program (for Winder$) that is useful for migrating paper logs or as a light weight logger in the field.
  • SidioCrate looks like a better alternative to my Husky bins for camp, radio, and other gear.
  • I want an outside shelter for those times I setup camp for more than a night or two. The Gazelle popups look like a solution.
  • I came across a reference to JS8Mapper Friday. It will map JS8 contacts without the Internet. Hmmm…
  • While thinking about wire antennas for portable operations, my request to the low-power operators mailing list returned a recommendation for Kev-Flex Wire. A good buddy also recommended it. I guess I will buy some and do some testing.

Pi Day 2024

Light-Up PiPi Day was a relatively uneventful day here in Ozark, Missouri. I slept a little late, but still managed to send off Older Son and DiL. I then made a coffee and sat down at my desk to start the day.

I am working on a hydraulic model and it is not being completely cooperative. I sorted most of the wrinkles Wednesday, but had a couple more left to deal with. So I worked on some bathymetric conditioning and then made the needed adjustments to the boundary conditions. I set off a model run and left the desk to let it run.

I warmed a Braum’s banana nut muffin with some butter for a light breakfast, finished my coffee, and got The Girl out for an outing. We walked our normal route near the house, where we encountered a young man preparing to run a small topographic survey. I stopped for a chat before heading on.

I had three trading sessions back-to-back around the noon/early afternoon hour. I worked through those, with the last one producing no trade. At least, there was no official trade. One of my trading services does a once per week one-day trade on the SPX Index. The approach is to choose a put or call spread that is near enough to the trading price to produce a profit but far enough away to reduce the overnight risk.

But it depends on the trading action at the end of the day. The coach did not like the action during our session, so he called it for the week. After the session, I continued to monitor the price action and it turned not long before closing. So I put in my order and it filled at my price. So, now I wait for the theta decay to work its magic and expect my good-till-cancel closing order to execute on Friday’s open.

After all that, I was hungry, so I took The Girl and we drove over to the B-29 Cafe for a sandwich. It was threatening rain but I thought I might be able to beat it.

I ordered a BLT with an added slice of American Cheese. This is the BLTC and I really like this sandwich. It is relatively light but has enough protein and fat to keep hunger at bay. The B-29 fries are also excellent and part of them (usually half) go to pay the dog tax. While enjoying my sandwich, a tornado warning sounded. The B-29 proprietor informed us they have no safe area in the building, but the bathrooms/halls are the best reinforced.

Most elected to finish their meal and stay alert. No tornado appeared, but I finished up my meal and cleared my bill quickly. I wanted to beat the rain back to the rig and The Girl.

I did. And I paid the dog tax before the rain started. But, we drove home in a heavy shower that blew the rain and trees about.

we were able to sneak into the house between bouts of rain.

I have been careful with The Girl to not let her get frightened by thunder. This one seems nonplussed by loud noises and I do not make a deal of them. If anything, I get more playful with her during storms and when there are fireworks.

I ended my day with my son. We emptied the back of the rig so I can take it for service Friday.

The Elecraft KH1 Handheld Transceiver

My Elecraft KH1 5-band handheld transceiver. Shot with iPhone 13 Pro Max.

This is not a formal review. There are plenty of those out there in the wild. This article is a bit of my experience in using this little rig in the field. Perhaps someone will find something useful from my experience.

The KH1 was designed by one of my favorite radio engineers, Wayne Burdick of Elecraft. I do not know how long the little rig was in development, but it was released late in 2023. I ordered mine on 20 October 2023, an hour after I learned of its existence. It was delivered in February 2024.

  • It is a five-band CW mode (Morse Code) ham radio transceiver that is small enough to fit in my hand.
  • It has an internal battery pack that will run it for hours.
  • It has a small set of paddles that will store in their socket on the bottom of the radio.
  • Two knobs on the bottom provide access to volume and VFO and protect the paddles.
  • There are four small buttons on the front panel that provide access to many regularly used functions.
  • There is an internal speaker, but the little rig sounds much better with phones.
  • The rig has an internal log feature.
  • It will run with a short telescoping whip antenna and a counterpoise affixed to the radio.

There are a lot more features to the KH1 than listed above. But you can induct from that list.

There is a menu system for features/settings not directly settable from the front panel and bottom controls. The menu requires some learning and reading the manual is suggested. (I need to read it again a couple of times.) The manual is well written and complete to the best of my knowledge.

The display is bright and readable in daylight. It is backlit so is readable in low light. The bottom line can display decoded Morse Code if desired.

Deployment of the radio is very quick. The steps are:

  1. Retrieve the radio from its bag (or other storage).
  2. Affix the telescoping whip to its stud and extend it.
  3. Attach the counterpoise and throw it out on the ground. (Or let it droop from the drivers side window of your rig if waiting for your SO to finish shopping.)
  4. Unplug, turn over, and reinsert the paddles into their socket.
  5. Turn on the radio and start operating.

I can have mine running in less than five minutes. It will match 15m, 17m, and 20m easily with the internal loading coil. It will kinda-sorta match 30m with same internal loading coil. The 40m will not match without help. The best I can tell, one can still operate the KH1 on 40 meters as the finals are resilient, but power is reduced.

Right after I received mine, I carried it with me one afternoon when I drove over to Lowe’s to pick up my son from work. While waiting, I deployed the counterpoise, affixed the whip, and was operating the KH1 with the antenna sticking out my slightly open drivers side window. (It was cold.) I chased three POTA activators while waiting the few minutes for my son. Recovery did not take much longer than deployment and we were off for home.

The receiver is very good. I do not have its specs and I do not care. I find that I hear plenty of signals and the three filter levels work well for my style of operating. When chasing activators, I can use a little XIT (transmitter incremental tuning) to move my sidetone away from the pack so the operator can hear me a little better than the others.

Rejection of strong adjacent signals is solid. I expect this from Elecraft radios.

I have used the KH1 to activate several parks for the Parks on the Air program. I am still getting used to the little paddles, but they function well and are adjustable. I use a pilot’s kneeboard to log on paper. I might be able to position my iPhone on the kneeboard and use it for logging as well. But, for now, I am logging on paper.

I also have the Elecraft AX1 and AXE compromise antenna systems. Given that the KH1 already has a loading coil and switch for the 15m, 17m, and 20m bands, the AX1 seems superfluous. However, I mounted the AXE on the antenna stud and affixed the 33ft counterpoise that accompanies the AXE to the KH1 and pressed the ATU button for 7.060MHz. The KH1 buzzed and fidgeted a moment before returning a 1.2 or 1.3 SWR match. This is plenty good enough to operate on 40m.

My KH1 puts out about four watts (indicated) on the 40m band. That is enough.

With the AXE and long counterpoise attached, the KH1 will find a match on the 30m band as well. I flipped the switch to the 15m/17m side and hit the ATU button. I got a 1.1 SWR match.

I removed the AXE but left the long counterpoise attached to my KH1 and the rig will match frequencies on the 15m, 17m, and 20m bands easily with the longer counterpoise. That means all I have to do is remove the AXE from the rig and replace the whip and I can operate on the higher bands. That makes changing bands very fast.

After several POTA activations and a SOTA activation, I really like this little radio. It does everything my KX1 does but adds the 15m and 17m bands, which I find more useful for my field operations. I have other rigs that will do the other bands if I want them.

I have not done much with wire antennas and the KH1 yet. That is an area I need to explore and I will.

I have an unbuilt MTR5b in my inventory that I bought to get 15m in a pack-friendly radio. Now it seems I will not need the 5b.

I really like the Elecraft KH1. I plan to use it a lot this summer. I will also know a lot more about using the rig in a few more months.