Monthly Archives: July 2009


Here’s a map I made of the working Packet radios around Arizona.

View Arizona Packet Radio in a larger map


Echolink is very fun, and easy. You can start with just a headset and a computer.

First Step

Go to and download the program. Register, and get going making contacts, and most importantly, HAVE FUN!!! I like Echolink for this fact, that you can talk around the world on your laptop. And when you are in the middle of where there is no repeater, but have internet access, you can talk to your friends.

Second Step

After you have fun talking with your computer, you might want to experiment with hooking a radio to your computer through some type of interface. You would simply use a simplex frequency and you can control echolink on your computer, through the DTMF on your other radio. Pretty cool! You can buy a interface, there links on , or build you own.

Building your own interface
There are quite a few plans out there, one that is close to what I built is K0KN’s.

Last Step

Make your own repeater! And interface a Echolink node into the mix.

Other VOIP Interests

AllStar Link-Linux based, Full Duplex, and built on the popular Asterisk PBX.
IRLP-Linux based, very nice interface. I like the idea of a onboard DTMF decoder. And some nodes are capable of Echolink aswell (EchoIRLP).
TheLinkBox-Linux Based, make your own interface, capable of Echolink, IRLP, and now AllStar


It’s APCO for hams! It is really cool. You can surf the web, check email, TXT message, send your postition, and much more, ALL DIGITALLY! And listening to it on Analog is cool.


It is like APRS, but Digital, Duh… Right? I would say it is much easier, than APRS in the way that you don’t have to buy a TNC. All you need is a GPS receiver, and make/buy a cable. Most D-Star radios have a diagram in the manual. Program in a few GPS sentences, aquire GPS signal, and your ready.


There are a couple of them out there, but I believe this is the most common one. TXT messaging from computer to computer. You can also TXT just from the radio too.


I really love to use my HT, and crossband helps me do that.

If you have a mobile radio with Dual Receive, such as FT-8800/8900, TM-V71A, or IC-2820 chances are, you can crossband.  Be sure to check your owners manual for proper setup and procedure.  The Kenwood V71 can actually be controlled by DTMF from your HT and become a Frequency Agile Remote Base.  It can also be used on echolink with the right cable.

Normal Crossband
Normally you just set one side of your radio to a VHF or UHF simplex frequency that is on the opposite band of the repeater your trying to use.  If both are simplex frequencies, you would have a faster return time.  But if it is a repeater, you have to wait for the repeater to drop before you can return.

Smart Crossband
Some repeater owners frown on crossband use on their systems, but with a little help, you can operate crossband without any trouble to you, the users, or the repeater system owner.  On your simplex frequency you are using, it is a good idea to set both your HT and mobile radio to Encode/Decode.  Meaning both radios require the same tone to pass audio, like a repeater.  And if your lucky enough that the repeater Encodes a tone, your even more golden.  You set the repeater side of your radio to Encode/Decode as well.  Your return time will be dependant on how long the Tone is encoded on the repeater.

Crossband Boost
If your HT has no problem hearing the output of the repeater, and just has trouble getting in full quieting, then Crossband Boost is for you.  It will even make your return time to almost instant.  You adjust your mobile to the input of the repeater, and
make sure you take off the split, or you’ll transmit on the output of the repeater.  Encode/Decode your simplex side of the mobile and you can just Encode on your HT.  Here’s the tricky part, you need to find out how to setup your HT to make a weird split.  My yaesu FT-60 can do it.  You want it to recieve on the repeaters output, say VHF, and transmit on your simplex frequency, UHF.  Once you get that, your ready to roll.

A good rule of thumb, is to contact the repeater owner, tell them what you plan to do, and see if it is alright.

900 Mhz

900 Mhz is a very exciting band. But you do have to have some know-how, or someone who does.  I do have a 900 Mhz repeater on Sacaton Peak, and it is really fun. I have it hooked up to Echolink and it is frequently on the 902 HUB.

K5TRA’s Presentation

A friend of mine Tom K5TRA, put together a great Presentation on 900 Mhz. It goes into detail about good choices in radios, and some pictures of his repeaters. Tom’s repeaters are up in Oregon, and I got to know him through the 902-HUB, which is all 900 mhz repeaters and simplex nodes tied together with echolink.

Motorola Gear

Typically 900 Mhz Motorola Gear takes a RIB (Device that allows your computer to program the radio) and RSS (Programming Software). Some of the RSS needs to be Hexed to allow the radio to operate in the Ham band, and some most of the RSS will on work in DOS. You can pick up RIBs at

Both the Mobile and Portable are great “Starter” radios for getting on 900 Mhz. They are limited to only 12 watts, and 10 channels. The power isn’t a constant 12 watts either. It might be 12 watts TX on 902, but only 3 watts TX on 927. There is a mod for this, but I haven’t tried it. There also is a software mod to get 15 channels in it. I have tried it and the results weren’t very good. The display starts messing up by only displaying parts of the channel. Also some repeater pairs came up as simplex, so I put it back to 10 channel.

MTX “Jedi Series”
Very nice radios. Again, takes a little software mod to make work. But it is well worth it. I have two of them, a full Keypad model III, and model I with no display or keypad.

Kenwood Gear

Kenwood gear is more forgiving. You can get the software a lot easier, and one kpg-4 programming cable will work on most mobiles. Portables are similar, but use a different cable. That is why I and a couple of others have made the switch to Kenwoods.  Alex KD6VPH has put together a really good site with much more info, it is

I have a couple of TK-931HDs that I got from my friend Alex KD6VPH. He sells them from time to time on ebay, so be sure to keep and eye out, they are great units. It has a huge heat sink, and 30 watts. With a good 5db antenna, you should have no problem.

The TK-981 works out of the box with no modification. Only a little programming hurdle.

Blu-UP-ick A.K.A. The Chick Mobile & Bluick

Fellow Troop Members, Lend me Your Ears! That wretched engine that made the Bluick into Blu-up-ick has been conquered! Fear not for the beast had been wounded prior to the engagement, therefore conquering was inevitable. But I cannot take all the glory of this battle, for if it was not for mine constant companion, with its shining luster and unbreakable steel. The beast was a formidable foe, for it hath put off its great day of reckoning to gather as much corrosion as possible. Still the beast was no match for this warrior with his wrench and composite impact. The beast struggled at first, not allowing me to remove one of the its vital organs, the torque converter. Being the brilliant warrior that I am, I diverted my efforts to the heads of the beast, first cutting off its air supply, then one of the heads. Alas the second head was most furious. With last effort the beast spat in my face, being wounded as he was, I quickly removed the last head. Serenity! Opened the underbelly of the beast and found massive internally damage to 1/6th of the beast. Its internal clock obliterated, along with 1/6th of lung capacity. Alas this warrior can hang up his armor forever… Or for a bout two years.

Removed motor and tranny
Separated motor and tranny
Engine wouldn’t spin to remove torque converter
Tore engine apart to free up stuck motor
Found cam shaft in four pieces (Internal Clock)
Bearings on No. 1 piston went out cause of lack of oil
No. 1 rod let go and hit both sides of the block cracking both out completely
The rod even took out the camshaft,
The pieces of the camshaft were keeping the assembly from rotating
In removing those pieces, the crank and other 5 piston spun freely

Food Map

Here’s a map I put together of some pretty dang good places to eat in the Valley. And I  even put some of my favorites on each place.

View Place to Eat in a larger map
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