Hamradio Homebrew 2 Meter Square Dipole Plan

Here is a plan for homebrewing a 2 Meter Square Dipole plan. The advantage of this antenna is that it is unidirectional, and it takes less space than the regular 2 meter dipole. The calculation included on the diagram below is for building the antenna using copper tubing, you should use MMANA-GAL or other antenna simulation software to come up with new dimension for other materials (aluminium, wire, etc).

2 meter square dipole plan

2 meter square dipole plan

Click on the diagram to enlarge it. Hopefully this will help you in brewing new antennas! Original plan taken from KOFF website

Hunting and Scraping for Solar Panels

Late this few weeks I’ve been hunting and finding Solar Panels which can be use to power up various items. Among the Solar Panel that I’ve found is listed below.

solar panels collections

1. 14 volt panel – obtained from a hobby shop
2. 4.5 volt panel – scrapped from a damaged garden light
3. 2 volt panel – scrapped from some car accessories

Why would I need solar panel for?
Just to satisfy my hobby in electronics. The place where i’m staying (Alor Setar, Malaysia) always receives equal amount of sunshine, (near the equator), except for monsoon season of course. So I’m thinking that, it’s kinda shame if I let it waste.

Among of my plans would involve of hooking up one of these panels with a regular car battery and inverter to power up my backyard lamp and various electronic projects that depends on solar power. I’m looking for any good schematic to aiding me, not too complex, but good enough for a beginner.

I would appreciate any of your suggestions, btw.


Tak-Tenna Compact and Space Saving HF Antenna Review

Tak-Tenna is a type of compact antenna which is suitable for those who has space constraints on erecting their HF antenna. It is small enough that a 40 meter Tak-Tenna is just about the size of a 4-element Yagi 2 meter antenna. Here’s photographs of 40-meter Tak-Tenna in action. Compare that to the typical 40-meter dipole or Inverted-V configuration ! Thus it has the advantage of space-saving and unobtrusive setup when compared to other design of HF-antenna.

Tak-Tenna 40 meter
Tak-Tenna 40 meter

Tak-Tenna is available in 3 models – 40, 20, and 10 meters, with the 40 meter model can be use on 40, 30, 20, 15, and 10 meters with a tuner.

Refer to this article: “The TAK-Tennaâ„¢ Review – A Limited Space HF Antenna Review” for further review on Tak-Tenna performance and advantages.

Tak-Tenna can be ordered from the official Tak-Tenna website

Moved to Dreamhost ! Thank god it was smooth

Thank good the move to Dreamhost went without a hitch. As the result of the move, I now can access my blog frequently without the downtime associated with the previous webhosting provider.

Hopefully I can be more productive in writing new posts each week about things related to amateur radio and my other hobbies.

p/s: Personally I felt Dreamhost is the best web hostng provider that I ever subscribed, I’ve tried 6-7 other webhosting provider (concurrently) in Malaysia and oversea’s but none of them offers services as great as Dreamhost. In that spirit, I think it’s only fitting to move Please.Name.My from the problem-ridden local webhosting provider to Dreamhost, along side with my other domains.

A very quiet September for 10 meter band

Woops, seems like the SSN (smoothed sunspot number) count for this month is equals to 0.

I only manage to make 6 contacts with DX station on 10 meter during September. Partly due to bad propagation, partly due to my busy schedule, which kinda limit my ham activities to Sundays and Saturdays.

I’ve been getting all sorts of questions about working 10 meter from fellow hams in my place. I advises them against it as the propagation right now isnt as great as couple months before

Plus, I’ve known quite few local hams that regret that they venture into 10 meter unprepared, as it requires a lot of patience and different skills to work with.

In another note, I would like to extend my warmest congratulations to those who has passed the 2008 Morse Code test, more details in 9M2MGL website

10 Meter band ham radio calling frequency in Malaysia

Since 10 meter activities gained popularity lately in Malaysia, I decided to publish 10 meter calling frequency for the benefits of local hams in my region :

28.480 MHz USB
28.485 MHz USB
28.490 MHz USB
28.495 MHz USB
28.500 MHZ USB

Most local and DX activities concentrated on these frequencies with 28.490 MHz being the most popular for calling DX stations.

Tips for newbies hams on HF
Be sure to ask if the intended frequency is unoccupied by asking (“is this frequency in use ?”) at least three times. Then proceed to make a general call, “CQ CQ CQ this is 9W2QSO 9W2QSO 9W2QSO calling CQ CQ CQ, this is 9W2QSO calling any station and standing by” and listen for any call for few moments.

In Malaysia, the best time for 10 meter USB operation is around 4:20pm – 10pm, your milleage may vary though.

Good luck.

The Homebrew Slim Jim Antenna Gain

I’ve been searching for information regarding the radiation angle and the gain of slim jim antenna, but found none of it. So I decided to build the model of the antenna inside the ever useful MMANA-GAL software to get the information I needed myself.

From what I can surmise, the slim jim has a slightly lower radiation angle than vertical dipole antenna and is easier to mount, thus it is suitable to use for point-to-point communication VHF-UHF operation. It has a gain of about 2.8dBi-3.2dBi in free space and 4.8-5.8dBi when mounted at about 30feet from the ground. Here’s the result of MMANA-GAL :

Slim Jim 9w2wtf

Slim Jim mounted 30 feet above ground
Slim Jim Antenna gain

Slim Jim in free space

Common Courtersy and Procedure when working with Repeater

  • Before making a call, listen to the repeater frequency for 10 seconds or more to make sure it isnt busy
  • If you are going to test if a repeater is working in your place, just announce “your callsign, testing” “your callsign, monitoring”. Do not press the PTT and listen for its tail feedback (kerchunking).
  • When joining a conversation, do not say “Contact, contact” that will make it harder for the stations on the repeater to identify you and arrange your station in a conversation, especially for mobile station. The correct way is to announce your callsign between the pause, or say “your callsign, join”.
  • Most Important: When people pass the mic to you, do not immediately transmit. Wait for 2 seconds then continue your conversation. Failing to do so will prevent others to join your conversation, and will make other people uneasy with you when you are on a repeater
  • When you heard a station requesting radio check on a repeater, then wait 2-3 second then respond. It is common courtesy to do so in order to help a fellow ham testing his setup. But you should only answer radio check when you are in a good position to do that yourself. See Below
  • Avoid answering to radio check when you are operating in a less than desirable setup, such as operating on a moving vehicle behind mountains or tall buildings. Worst if you are operating from a moving vehicle with rubber ducky antenna
  • Please give an honest report to a station when responding to a radio check. If the station can barely hold the repeater, just say so. Do not give a Q5 report on a Q2 signal. The station might be in false impression that it can established a good transmission between repeater and this going to create undesirable interruption during a conversation.
  • Leave a conversation when the other stations are giving you a Q2 signal report, unless if its an absolute emergency. your signal would be too noisy to be readable by other stations it will disrupt communication.

Non Repeater specific

  • When signing off, simply say “guys, I need to sign off because i want to attend some chores, waiting for your final“, then pass the mic. Avoid using Q-Code, especially the wrongs one. Some station even combine QRU, QRX and QRT together in conversation when signing off, this will create confusion to newcomer as well as old-timer as the codes were used wrongly in this type of situation.
  • Using tons of Q-Codes simply to look cool, isn’t going to make you sounds cool . Using QSY as in “I’m going to QSY to Singapore tomorow” is not correct, QSY should only be use when you are changing frequency. Just say “I’m going to Singapore tomorrow”, sounds even better. Malay rendering would be like this, “Esok saya nak QSY ke Kuala Lumpur” versus “Esok saya nak pi ke Kuala Lumpur“. Notice the pronunciation “Q, S and Y” actually makes the conversation longer and harder to pronounce than a normal conversation. Try and think it over

Note that this post serve as a general reminder to myself as well to others when working on air, especially on a busy repeater. It is just a common sense guideline which I accumulated from old hams over time and it is a good advice to be practiced by all hams.