wb5tka Amateur Radio Web Site

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Welcome to the WB5TKA Amateur Radio Web site. I hope that you find your visit informative and interesting. Well at the least, it may be amusing!

Since you are here, it's most likely because you are a amateur (ham) radio operator or, you are at least interested in the hobby.

Hobby? I think that it is that and more. Stay with me now. Somewhere on these pages I hope to make a better distinction between a mere hobby and a passion.

If ham radio is a major passion for you as it is for me, I hope that something here will be interest to you - technical or otherwise. Share your ideas and experiences with me.

If you are unfamiliar with the ham radio, or if you have have preconceived ideas about it and about those who enjoy it, stay with me. Perhaps I can share some of the excitement those who enjoy it experience. Perhaps I can also dispel some of the negative stereotypes. I'll have a go at it, at least.

Unable to sleep? Read my comments on some ham radio related topics of interest to me. That just might help - the sleep problem, that is. On the other hand, there might be something here of interest! Though a lot of the subject material posted on these pages is of direct interest to me and fits into my ham radio interests, it is not strictly limited to ham radio related subjects which are just of interest to me. At least it is not my intent to make the material so restrictive in scope. If you have a particular aspect of ham radio which is not covered here, it is either because I have not had the time to create a section devoted to that subject, or it is a subject which I am not well versed in and probably have little or no experience in and thus don't feel qualified to try to offer any substantive information. It is for that reason that I offer others who DO have expertise and experience in ham radio related subjects which I have not covered here the opportunity to contribute to the content of this site. Even if I have touched on it, your expertise and experience is valued and I will gladly add your material.

Some of the subjects which I have the most interest are QRP (low power operating), Antennas, and Digital Modes. So far, my coverage of those subjects is somewhat limited. Particularly the subject of Antennas where right now all I have pages for are for the Butternut HF9V antenna I use here. I want to add more and will over time but I will need to rely more on outside sources and references. Right now my covereage of the digital modes is limited to PSK31 but I also have experience operating a few others. I will be adding pages at the least discribing some of those. Additionally I will be updating the current PSK31 pages to add additonal information related to the technical as well as operational aspects of this mode and offering updated resources. Oh, by the way, don't expect me to delve into the technical workings of the mode itself. I'm not going to get that technical. There are other resources available for that.

I have had the opportunity(?) to dig into some of my radio equipment here to make repairs when they have failed to operate properly. Those experiences have given me the opportunity to share with others what I have learned as a result of the troubleshooting and on more than one occasion to be able to offer advise and technical assistance (no I won't physically work on your radios) to others regarding problems on their similar problems. I continue to extend that offering. I am not an expert on any of these radios but as my entire working career has been involved in technical troubleshooting as a field service engineer in medical electronics and as my career began with some time spent at Motorola diagnosing technical faults on commercial and public service 2-way FM radio equipment, well, such experience helps from time to time. Note the articles on equipment troubleshooting listed in the section below.

Ameritron AL-811H amplifier

Until recently I had never owned a power amplifier. My maximum station power was one hundred watts. Though it had been one of those things I said "some day" to, I had no existing plans to add one. But, one day some months ago I ran across a very good deal on an Ameritron AL-811H amp (pre-owned) and though I knew it needed a little work, I had to have it.

Getting this amp operating just right has been a bit of a, well, let's just call it a "project." That's not a bad thing. The amplifier lends itself to tweaking and even modifying to some degree. It is not a perfect amp and that opens it up to work and improvements. But, it's a great amp and an economical one. Follow The Story

The information posted on the page will surely be added to as well as changes made as the amp gets used more and experience dictates changes so be sure to check for updates now and then.

Recently I have received a number of inquiries from ham radio operators looking for Yaesu HF power amplifiers. Primarily the Quadra amplifiers. That means if you have this amplifier for sale, there are people wanting to buy it. Of course if you have any brand or model of power amplifier which you wish to sell, chances are good that there is someone looking for that amplifier. Contact me if you have amplifiers to sell. Or any ham radio related equipment, for that matter.

Going on right now. The biggest antenna project I have ever undertaken. Biggest antenna project and biggest antenna. Bringing back to life a little known and undocumented commercial antennas in the ham radio world. The Lightening Bolt five band, two element delta loop "quad" antenna. Covering 20, 17, 15, 12 and 10 metres in its standard form, 6 metre coverage addition with the reflector and driven element for that band added, makes it a three element, six band antenna.

Though there exists available on line the installation manual for the cubical quad (four sides) version of the antenna which was more widely available, no documentation at all exists for the delta loop (three sides) version. Thus the construction project consists of a lot of "engineering" on my part. And of course documenting the project as it comes along is part of the plan. I will soon start a page on this site to document the project in detail. Stay tuned.

Let Me Help Sell Your Ham Radio Gear Here
Consignment Sales of Ham Radio Gear

For almost ten years, I have been selling collectibles and collectible dolls through my consignment service on which I offer on my Dooley's Treasure Chest web site. I have provided that service to collectors and doll aficionado and now I am offering that same service to ham radio operators. I know that there are many outlets for selling unwanted gear and I am not saying that I can do it better. I am simply offering another outlet. Do you have in demand ham radio related parts and components? What will be allowed to be listed? Anything ham radio related. I'm not going to be too strict in that definition either. Transceivers, receivers, transmitters, antennas, keys, microphones, amplifiers, and the list goes on. Ham radio equipment from estate sales is also welcome.

There is no fee for listing here. A commission is collected only when your listed item sells. There is no listing time limit and there is no limit on the number of items a seller can list. One item or one hundred items.

Ready to list your items for sale? Here is where they will be listed. Ham Radio Equipment For Sale.

For more information on listing your ham radio items for sale here, see the Consignment Service Information page.

For those considering listing items for sale on the web site and for those already with products listed on the web site, if you place your email response to fall under the system described below, your listing will be deleted and new for prospective listings, they will be refused. I have to be able to get ahold of you and if you set up the white list opt in system I cannot reach you by email. I will not go through the process of trying to enter a white list.
"I apologize for this automatic reply to your email. To control spam, I now allow incoming messages only from senders I have approved beforehand. If you would like to be added to my list of approved senders, please fill out the short request form (see link below). Once I approve you, I will receive your original message in my inbox. You do not need to resend your message. I apologize for this one-time inconvenience. Click the link below to fill out the request:"

Have Ham Radio Equipment or Ham Radio related items to sell? Let me list them for sale here.
Ham Radio Equipment For Sale

Hallicrafters SX-101 and HT-32A

A new collection of amateur gear is in the process of being listed. This equipment which includes among other things, a working Hallicrafters station with SX101 receiver and HT-32A transmitter, Kenwood and Tentec transceivers, an Alpha 87A HF amplifer and other transceivers and station equipment. Names in the collection: MFJ, Vibroplex, Astatic, Palomar, AEA, Mirage, and more See the items for sale in this collection.

Don't hesitate to make a reasonable offer. If you see a piece of ham gear in this collection which you would like to have but feel the price may be a hindrance, ask about another price offer. I will check with the seller to see if it is agreeable and it just might be. Offers must be reasonable of course but it never hurts to check.

Several Motorola base and repeater factory service manuals. These manuals cover equipment which operates in the VHF and UHF bands of commercial and public service radio. Often using the terms "Low Band" and "High Band" these radio frequency bands are above 30 MHz and up into the range of 430 to 470 MHz. Both solid state and tube type radios, they operated for many police, fire, ambulance and business services in the mid 1960's and beyond. Many of these radios have been retired from their original service and often have been moved to the Amateur Radio Service use. These are not reprints. The are the original Motorola manuals with large, clear print schematics and service and tuning instructions. These are the same manuals I used many years ago when I worked for Motorola. See Them.
Motorola Base/Repeater FM Two Way Radio Service Manuals

Military Technical Training Manuals. Manuals covering transistor and vacuum tube theory as well as radio and test equipment. Originally used in military training applications and later in some civilian electronics school applications.See Them

Vintage Army, Navy and Air Force Technical Training Manuals

Switches, transistors and other components. See Them

That is just a partial list of the ham radio items listed for sale.

Here's something just for fun. How many of us began our entry into the hobby of ham radio by building and listening to a crystal diode radio? I built a number of them during my teen years. Even long before actually getting my ham license, I used scrounged parts, parts salvaged from old defunct AM broadcast radios and other sources, and built the simple, no external power required crystal diode receivers very much like the very first receivers in the pioneer days of radio. Crystal Radio Receivers.

How many are still using an external CW keyer? Probably all modern transceivers have a built in CW keyer for the benefit of paddle style CW keys so there is probably much less occasion to use an external keyer. Older radios and certainly some more simple homebrew transmitters may need an external keyer. My Drake T-4XB does not have an internal keyer and as I use a Bencher iambic paddle key with it, a keyer is required. For many years I have used an old WB4VVF Accu-Keyer with it. This week the keyer failed for the first time and required a little attention. Read the story.

Are You Emergency Radio Ready? Communications ready should the unthinkable occur?

Got more antennas and radios to switch than good switches to do the task? That's a problem I had here. Homemade and questionable quality coax switches and still needing to unplug and change coax cable connections was a real pain. But there again, good quality coax switches with enough ports to do the job are expensive. Then someone suggested a coax patch panel. Switching Multiple Antennas and Radios

These pages linked to below are discussions on a variety of ham radio topics; such as troubleshooting experiences, mobile operating, antennas, QRP, digital modes, etc. I hope they will be of interest to someone, and perhaps will spark some interesting discussions.
Technical Articles
Technical Articles
The Radio Equipment at WB5TKA
Butternut HF9V Vertical 9 Bands
The Test/Workbench Setup
Mobile HF Antenna Discussion
PSK31 An Exciting New Digital Mode
Setting the Receiver Right (PSK31 Receive Audio)
The Drake Survival Story
The Roaming Yaesu VFO
Protect Your Yaesu FT-901/902DM PA Tubes
QRP: Another way to look at power
Free radio: Crystal radio receivers
Samlex America SEC-25 Power Supply Repair
A little TLC for the WB4VVF Accu-Keyer
Drake T-4XB T/R Relay Sticking Problem
Attic Coax Feed Without Going Into The Attic

Random Length Long Wire Antenna (updated)
Are You Emergency Radio Ready?
Switching Multiple Antennas and Radios
Add Break Release Delay to Your Antenna Rotator
Kenwood TS-2000 Inrad Roofing Filter Mod
Make Your Own PC-Radio Digital Mode Interface
Ameritron AL-811H HF Amplifier (new)

Rants and General Opinions on Ham Radio

I don't Own a HF Linear Amplifier.... yet
Ham Talk - what's that jargon mean?
Silly Talk - carrying the jargon too far
Ham Radio is..... is Not
The Resources Page is dedicated to ham radio related subject matter. Links to outside resource rich sites such as those dealing with particular aspects of ham radio such as antennas, digital modes, DX, operating practices, homebrewing, and so forth.

A special attribute of ham radio is that it gives us through the magic of RF the opportunity to meet and talk to fellow hams literally anywhere in the world. Geography is hardly a hindrance to reaching by means of radio waves. I don't know about you but the contact with another ham in a remote part of the world has more than once stirred up a twinge of what some call wanderlust. Even if I don't believe there is a realistic expectation that I can ever see that distant land the urge to see other places, places outside my own familiar ones is a real dream. If it is a dream to visit that land we have enjoyed a recent with a friend never seen but only heard, is there a good reason not to try to make it a reality? Sometimes trips are more affordable and easier to plan than we think if we know the right resources to help in the planning and booking. Unforgettable Travel Experiences. Unbelieveable Deals. Book Now on Viator.com
Book now on Viator


wb5tka amateur radio station
Dan W. Dooley - Bedford, Texas
Tarrant County - Grid EM12ku
Email Me
(spam proof email)

Licensed since 1976. First as WN9TKA and then as WB9TKA until 1999, when I finally shed the "9" from my call, so now I am WB5TKA.

ARRL Amateur Radio

(Click on image for larger view )

After an attempt which spanded across virtually my entire ham radio activity years, in 2014 the long coveted Five Band Worked All States (5BWAS) was won. What's next as a goal? We will see.

Ham Radio License Manual with CD (Arrl Ham Radio License Manual)

This book with accompanying CD contains all of the information needed to study for and pass the test for the ham radio Technician Class license.

Since 2007 the requirement for knowing and passing a CW (telegraphy Morse Code) element of the test has been eliminated. In other words, you no longer have to master the Morse Code to become a licensed ham radio operator. Morse Code is still a very popular mode of ham radio communication and thus in wide use but for a Technician Class licensee it's probably not going to be used that often anyhow so why not remove one obstacle to the license? It made sense.

Getting your license is now easier than ever. This book and CD can be the key to the entry into this fascinating hobby. The CD contains a program to allow you to create sample tests for practice. The material in this book and CD are current reflecting the latest question pool for the Technician Class license.

Want another resource for gaining your Technican Class ham radio license?

Technician Class 2010-2014

Having Fun With Ham Radio: Letting my inner geek out

So you have passed the test and have received your ham radio license. Now what?

21 Things to Do After You Get Your Amateur Radio License

Yaesu FT-857D Amateur Radio Transceiver - HF, VHF, UHF All-Mode 100W

Receives 0.1-56Mhz, 76-108Mhz, 118-164Mhz and 420-470MHz - AM/USB/LSB/FM/CW
Transmits The Amateur Ham Radio Bands 160 thru 2 meters, plus 70cm UHF too!
Output is 100 Watts on 6-160M, 50W VHF & 20W UHF, FM-AM-SSB-CW (25W AM HF carrier)
Built-In Digital signal processing, 200 memories, spectrum display, ctcss (PL).
Includes microphone & power cable. Requires 12-13.8Vdc @ 22 Amps minimum for power.

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Calling For Papers: That technical term usually draws the interest of professional engineers and technical writers looking to have their papers published for career advantage purposes. I can't offer that advantage, but for those ham radio operators and technical writers who have expertise in any field related to amateur radio or related and would love to see their technical articles posted on this site, Contact Me.

"How to" articles, essays, tips, radio equipment reviews and advanced technical papers on antennas, QRP, operating modes (especially but not limited to digital modes), homebrewing projects. Also especially desired are your technical troubleshooting experiences which would be of interest to other hams who may be experiencing similar technical problems. Your experiences with resolving those problems will make others happy.

I would love to receive articles related to receiving and transmitting considerations for the digital modes. PSK31, RTTY, Hellschreiber, and other similar modes. Oh yes, let's not forget SSTV and weak signal specific modes. SDR (Software Defined Radio) is a popular alternative to the more traditional "all in a box" designs for radio transceivers. I have no experience with this technology, so if you do and have info to share, let me know.

This is as a service to the ham radio community at large. There is no charge. Simply submit the text of the article to me along with (if applicable) pictures, illustrations, schematics charts, etc., and I will create a page for it. You will be fully credited as the author. Any questions, Contact Me.

The first thing a newly licensed ham radio operator will want and need after getting the license is a radio. For the Technician Class license, operation is limited to the higher frequency ranges of the VHF and UHF bands. The popular bands within those ranges are the very popular 2 meter band and the 70 cm band. With the wide spread availability of repeaters, large and high powered radios with big antennas are not needed. Small portable hand held radios, as well as compact mobile radios with modest antennas (antenna elements at the higher frequencies are smaller) will provide reliable communications over most metropolitan areas.

Good and reliable radios which can be used for both casual ham radio communications as well as for ham radio participation in public service and emergency preparedness do not have to be expensive. Very good hand held radios featuring 5 watts of power (more than enough) as well as operating both in the 2 meter band and 70 cm band and which are capable of accessing all repeaters are available for well under $100. In fact for some models, you can buy TWO for under $100.

The Baofeng UV-5R series of handheld radios has proven to be extremely popular among hams, both new and experienced. Their construction and performance far outstrip their price.

New Baofeng UV 5RA Ham Two Way Radio 136-174/400-480 MHz Dual-Band DTMF CTCSS DCS FM 5W Amateur Radio UV-5R Transceiver - 2013 Latest Version with Enhanced Features

BaoFeng *UV-5R Plus* UV 5R+ Dual-Band 136-174/400-480 MHz FM Ham Two-way Radio, Improved Stronger Case, More Rich and Enhanced Features (2013 Enhanced Version)

TYT TH-9000 60 Watt VHF Transceiver / 2 Meter Amateur Ham Radio 200ch

60 Watt Heavy Duty Two Way VHF Mobile Transceiver with ctcss/dcs ( PL & DPL ).
200 AlphaNumeric Channels, Full Keypad Microphone. NEW Cool-Blue Display Backlight (not shown). Includes mounting bracket & fused power Cable.
Great for Amateur 2M Band 144-148Mhz , full 136-174Mhz VHF. 2.5Kz Steps
Features 3 Selectable Power levels, DTMF,Keypad lock, Scan modes & more!
Requires Optional Suitable VHF Antenna, & hookup to 12-14Vdc ( 12-14A)

Yaesu FT-2900R 75 Watt 2 Meter VHF Mobile Transceiver Amateur Ham Radio


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Dan W. Dooley