Category Archives: Radio

Kenwood TM-241A Battery Replacement

Now I that I picked up a dual band radio for home, the 2 meter Kenwood TM-241A mono band is going up to the mountain cabin. This Kenwood uses a 3V battery soldered to the front control store the memory presets. Before I go through the trouble of programming all the presets, it would sure be nice to do it with a fresh battery. The radio is over 15 years old, and my guess was that it was unlikely that the battery had been replaced. Continue reading

Pacific Crest Trail Repeater Guide

I was looking for a list of two meter repeaters accessible while hiking, mountain bicycling, and road bicycling in areas without cell phone coverage in Southern California. I stumbled on this great Pacific Crest Trail Repeater Guide.

I cross checked the guide against our local 2012 Southern California Repeater Location Directory, which I had previously purchased from Ham Radio Outlet. The list is in need of some minor updates (which I’ve sent to the website owner), but is still reasonably current.

Here’s the list of repeaters (from south to north) I’ve programmed into my HT for hiking and bicycling. Continue reading

Raising Up the Antennas

I recently installed a J Pole antenna on my roof, with great results. My main goal was to be able to hit the two main 2 meter repeaters also accessible from my cabin in Wrightwood: Keller Peak and Table Mountain. (On a side note, both of those repeaters were used for Friday’s Stage 6 of the Amgen Tour of California bicycle race, listening in was a great way to hear where the riders were while I was on the course waiting for them to arrive.) I was able to hit Keller Peak over 50 miles away, but was unsuccessful with Table Mountain.

A friend suggested getting a Yagi directional antenna if I was serious about hitting Table Mountain. Continue reading

New Antenna Mounting – Cabin

Since I did such a good job of installing a J-Pole antenna at the house, I made my own J-Pole to install at the cabin. (I borrowed someone’s SWR meter and got 1.2:1 on the 2 meter band, and 2:1 on the 440 MHz band. That’s pretty good, I’m told it’s hard to mess up if you follow the dimensions exactly as shown on the sketches.)

The chimney at the cabin isn’t as tall and sturdy as the chimney at home. So I decided to mount the antenna go on the eave of the garage. Tripod mounts are available, but I didn’t want to put any holes in the roof – at least at this stage. Continue reading

GMRS and Ham Radio Testing

Lately I’ve been experimenting with handheld radios for activities such as keeping up with friends while bicycling, hiking, skiing, etc.

The FRS/GMRS “bubble pack” radios are the obvious choice, as they are common and inexpensive. They advertise a 35 mile range, but since they operate in the UHF frequency band (around 400 MHz), their range is dependent upon line of sight between the two radios. So if I’ve crested that hill on the bike ride, and you’re still on your way up, there’s no way we’ll be able to talk even if we’re 1/4 mile away from each other. Continue reading