Upcoming for March

For most of March & part of April, I’ll have a lot of spare time on my hands and not many of life’s normal distractions – a dangerous combination. And I’ll be in that hotbed of cultural activity – Oklahoma City.

As William Clark said upon reaching the Pacific Ocean in 1805, “O! The joy!”

To fill in the idle hours I’ve arranged a series of projects that I’ll be posting about here:

  • Building the HF Converter for my FunCube Dongle. Not just building it, but trying two techniques that I’ve not used before – (1) using the solder paste/hot plate/hot air gun method of soldering and (2) using my webcam to display a magnified image of the SMD components and their placement on the board. This idea was written about in the March 2012 issue of QST.
  • Pending the success of that I’ll continue the techniques and build my ATS-4 – or not – maybe conventional soldering will be more my style. Either way, the ATS-4 will get built soon after the HF Converter.
  • Operating CW in the Oklahoma QSO Party – maybe as a rover; maybe fixed in a rare-ish county. I’ve re-vamped the mounting of the FT-857D in my car and did it the right way rather than the half-assed way mentioned in a previous post. Now I have one of those flexible extension arms to which the face of the Yaesu is mounted. The guts of the rig are conveniently under the passenger seat.
  • A few outdoor excursions with portable QRP, or Have ATS-4, Will Travel. Travel where? Probably the Wichita Mountains, my favorite place in Oklatucky (that’s an inside joke, not a 51st state). Check out the slide show con music. If I can put the camera down, the ATS-4 will get a workout.
  • The helicopter? I bought this gadget 2 days ago having absolutely no idea about how to fly it. Is it a toy or can it really fly in a stable manner with someone like me at the controls? I had no idea. Five flights and $50 later I’m happy to report that I can chase the dog around the house, hover, fly to, fly from, spin…whatever – all with amazing ease. Who woulda thunk? So here’s my thinking – Aiptek and other brands of thumbdrive-sized video cameras exist for $20-$40. Gadget lovers like yours truly are putting them on these helis and posting their videos and still photos¬†to YouTube. My plan is to become enough of a “pilot” to return home and make aerial photos in all directions from my dipole’s feedpoint. Just something to put on my QRZ.com page like all the Yagi owner’s do ;-)

We’ve all gotta make our own fun, right?!

About that $50…that wasn’t for spare parts – that’s the total cost of heli, tx/rx, LiPo battery & charger. How do they do it…?

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  6 comments for “Upcoming for March

  1. Mike N5JKY
    February 24, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    Hey, we even have flush toilets now in Oklahoma City. ;-)
    I’m with you – the Wichita Mountains are my favorite place in Oklahoma. 73.

    • February 24, 2012 at 10:07 pm

      Hey Mike, I really do enjoy my trips there but need to see some area other than the Wichitas for a change. Maybe the OK QSO Party will be the justification for that.

  2. Wes, AC5K
    February 25, 2012 at 7:43 am

    I have often thought about trying to tow a small string over some of my very tall pine trees with a R/C helicopter like that one. The small line could be used to get larger ones in the trees. Try that and let us all know how it works (plus you can use that to justify the expense to the XYL!).

  3. February 25, 2012 at 8:00 am

    I’ve had the same thought Wes! I’m not sure if this one would lift 150 feet of lightweight fishing line but I’ve already got my eye on one that will. If your goal is just to shoot a line, get one of these:
    http://www.antennalaunchers.com/antlaunching.html
    If you want a cheap, easy-to-fly toy helicopter, here’s the one pictured above:
    http://www.xhobbystore.com/jxd-333-b333.html

  4. Jim
    March 4, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    Very cool copter!
    Would be neat to add a cam.

    • March 4, 2012 at 1:07 pm

      Just bought a bigger copter last week – stand by for aerial vids…!

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