Monthly Archives: June 2011

Field Day 2011 Recap – K2BAR

As in past Field Days, I operated with my club BARA – Bergen Radio Amateur Assoc at the Bergen County – as K2BAR at the OEM Facility parking lot in Paramus NJ. Friday night I captured the ARRLs transmission of the Field Day Bulletin at 9pm. It was transmitted in PSK and I grabbed it on 80m. It was a bit stormy out so I had a few spots where the transmission was garbled by a lightening strike, but 2 other club members also copied it so together we have the full copy.

We met Sat morning where all our equipment is stored, loaded up a box truck and set off for the site a few miles away. There was already a group of folks there shooting ropes for wire antennas, setting up tables for stations and other areas where we would setup operations. We unloaded the towers, antennas and generators from the truck and started to get the main tribander tower and antenna up and secured. It went up without any issue. We followed that with a short tower for 6m with 2 loop antennas on it. The 40m station had a 40 m dipole up between trees and the 80m station had a 80 wire antenna up in the air. We also had a GOTA station where a couple of club members setup some HF & VHF equipment with a nice vertical and a wire dipole. They had their station setup and working before anyone else.

I spent most of my time at the tribander station which we operated inside an air conditioned OEM trailer from Montvale NJ. It was powered by a gas generator running outside. The equipment was a great Icom 7700 that can put out up to 200w though we didn’t push it that high. We had a pair of Heil headphones so 2 folks could operate with one doing the transmitting and the other logging or listening. The club still uses CT as the logging program which really is as basic as you can get. The notebooks running XP aren’t connected to the transceivers so there’s no frequency/band/mode info being provided and needs to be handled manually by the operator. It shows dups after you enter a call and it will show the count of contacts as well as the sections worked. The keystrokes are not intuitive but for 24 hours a couple times a year (VHF contest + FD) I can deal with it.

Saturday at the start of the contest I started on 20m which was pretty crowded with a lot of overlapping signals from folks on or near the same frequency. I checked out 15m and spent time there being productive. I called CQ constantly over the entire weekend with very little S&P other then when I would switch bands. 15m was the best 10/15/20 band for us last field day and it was the same this field day. I checked 10m once in a while and started to hear stations on it so I started calling CQ and was getting a lot of activity. In fact, late in the day on Saturday there were more 10m contacts logged than 15m contacts. When I was speaking with the other folks from the club, they never recall logging this many contacts. In fact, 10m seemed open for the entire length of the contest, and we weren’t working just local stations.

I took very short breaks on Saturday and tried to operate as much as possible or at least log for others that were operating. We had a nice lunch of hero sandwiches and a great dinner of pulled pork, beans and biscuits. Other than checking on other stations, I only worked the 10/15/20 tribander station. The 40m station was cooking and 80m was just getting warmed up until early in the evening when the activity on the band started to pick up. The only DX station I worked the entire weekend was on 15m in the early evening on Sat night when a VK4 station from Australia called us and was an easy S9 copy. He could have been on the local repeater he was so clear. I had enough around 1am, mostly because we were getting a lot of noise that made hearing all but the strongest stations difficult. So I went into my car and got some uncomfortable sleep for a few hours. I think we ended Sat with more 10m contacts than 15m contacts and 20m contacts had the least contacts logged.

Woke up around 6am, got cleaned up, filled up the generator with gas and got back on the air. 20m was still not very productive though 15m was and 10m was again. We switched back and forth between bands and had no problem running the entire morning. I did a bunch of operating and during mid morning I was just banging out 2-3 Q’s a min as fast as I could work stations on 15 & 10m. It was great!! I took a short break and KC2SKL Kelly got on the radio. I came back a few mins later and spent the rest of the time logging for her and giving her pointers. It’s hard to get into the rapid fire contesting type of responses vs the friendly lady-like repeater chatter she is accustomed to, but after a little bit of pushing she was really starting to fly and was easily working 2 contacts a min on 10m & 15m. I think once you start and get into that mode, you can see how much fun it is working stations as quickly as possible. We were setting some short term goals to keep focused on making contacts as quick as possible with our final goal being 800 at 1pm ET. We made that goal.

At 1pm we needed to shut things down as the OEM trailer we were operating in needed to get cleaned out and taken away. We ended up with the following totals (dupes removed) for the weekend on that 1 station:

20m SSB - 117 Qs  38 Sections
15m SSB - 424 Qs  58 Sections
10m SSB - 260 Qs  47 Sections
Total   - 801 Qs 143 Sections
Pretty darn respectable! The 40m station had a few morning contacts even though they had some severe noise issues at the start that prevented anything productive for the first 3 hours of the contest, but they also operated all night and we were completely off the air for 6 hours. Next year maybe we can beat the 40m station.

Total Q’s for the club for the weekend are approximately (not all counts for satellite and solar are in) 2278 total contacts and we worked all states but Alaska and all sections except SB, MB, NWT & AK.

There were enough people to tear things down and pack up the truck. I was pretty beat and didn’t help too much Sunday afternoon. I got home, showered and crashed before 9pm I think. it’s tough getting old but I’d do it this weekend again if I could.

Field Day is GREAT! Great fun operating, great fun hanging out & great fun working the stations with others. Only 51 more weeks until FD 2012.



TS-2000 Filter Problem – Static Crashes and No S Meter

This is a going to be a rather long entry and possibly only relevant to those with a Kenwood TS-2000 radio, but feel free to read on. It documents a problem I experienced and what was done to correct it, so hopefully others with the same problem might find this in search results with the info they need. I’m not the original source of all the info but just aggregating it in one place.

A week or two before I was heading out to Dayton for Hamvention 2011 I started to notice noise when using my TS-2000. At first it would come and go infrequently so I didn’t pay too much attention, but as time went on it got worse and more frequent. I initially started troubleshooting the problem as interference from something in my home or the surrounding neighbors. I spent a few hours one weekend tracking down a noise source in my house, but it ended up being unrelated to what I was hearing on the radio. The problem would show as intermittent bursts of what sounded like lightening strikes/static crashes that would push the S meter on my TS-2000 up to S9+60 and then it would go away. As time went on it would become more frequent. Transmitting was fine and when there weren’t those loud crashes, receiving was fine too. When the noise was present, I could press the +/- band buttons and the noise would be there regardless of band. I didn’t try and see if it was on FM or not.

I moved the radio into my car and without an antenna connected and on a standalone battery source I was still hearing the noise as I drove around, essentially eliminating external interference as the cause. I started to search online and through my archived emails I have as a member of multiple TS-2000 groups and came upon what seemed to be a match to my symptoms.   A few folks reported the same static crash symptom with some sending their TS-2000 to Kenwood for service and some adressing the issue on their own. One op, LA4AMA, even created a great PDF file with step by step instructions for anyone that wanted to do it themselves. I checked with LA4AMA and he was fine with me posting it here in case you aren’t a member of the TS-2000 Yahoo group.

The actual problem is 1 to 3 bad filters. Maybe there was a bad batch that Kenwood received but I wasn’t paying enough attention in the various threads to determine the specific range of manufacture dates for those reporting the problem. My TS-2000 happens to be manufactured in April 2008. I’ve also seen subsequent posts about other manufacturers having a similar filter issue but I’m not sure how related their problem might be to the Kenwoods.

The parts are surface mounted and require a desoldering tool that sucks up the solder to do it right. Even if I had that tool, I’m not sure I would have taken on the task myself.  So I checked with a local club member that owned an electronics repair business to see if he might be interested in checking it out, and if not I would just send it to Kenwood for repair. I sent along the PDF that La4AMA created and a couple of posts from the various Kenwood groups describing the problem. He reviewed everything and said he’d give it a shot. I ordered the parts for the 3 filters that share 2 distinct parts from Kenwood Parts aka East Coast Transistor. The 2 parts are L72-0985-05 and L72-0984-05 and each part is under $5. You need at least a quantity of 2 for part L72-0984-05 and 1 of part L72-0985-05. I ordered a spare of each, just in case. With the necessary parts, 2 spares & shipping (USPS), it came to $29. Without the spares it would have been just over $20 total including the shipping. They arrived within a week of ordering.

When the parts arrived I arranged with the very generous friend to drop them off along with the TS-2000. We discussed him checking that with the radio on at his location, he could replicate the problem so he could hear it in action and then after replacing the filters, he should hear a difference. After dropping everything off I was heading over to another club members house to operate the VHF contest that was going on. While operating the VHF contest, I got an email to call him back, and when I did, he was explaining what he was seeing/hearing with my radio. It seems since I last had it powered on (maybe 2 weeks earlier) and with moving it to his house, the symptoms had changed. The S meter was no longer moving, even when receiving a strong signal, and he was hearing no static crashes. I know there needs to be a setting (AGC) enabled for the S meter to move, and it was, so that wasn’t the problem. He also said he was hearing only strong stations compared with moving the antenna over to his radio and hearing more stations. I hadn’t seen posted in the threads discussing the filter problem about the S meter being impacted by the filters going bad.

After operating the rest of the VHF contest I stopped back at his house to see what was going on. We did a full TS-2000 reset to see if that helped, but nothing was moving the meter on SSB, even with injecting a direct signal. We were hearing more stations than he original reported, but it was still VERY quiet compared to what I normally hear with an antenna plugged in. So we decided to proceed with replacing the filters and if things were still not right I’d send it in to Kenwood for servicing. Late that night he sent me an email to say he replaced the filters, reception seemed fine, and the S meter was again accurately registering noise/signals. Woohoo!!

I’ve only had it back home and plugged in for a short while but everything seems to be working well. Thanks are due to many people from the local ham that loaned me a TS-2000 he had, to the folks that posted about the issue, to my very generous friend that replaced the filters. Hopefully the post will consolidate the info and show up in searches for folks that might have the same problem and don’t belong to the Yahoo groups where they could also find the info.


2011 June VHF Contest

As has happened in the past, our club needed to cancel the weekend outing to setup a VHF site on the top of a mountain park because of threatening weather. It is disappointing because when we do all gather to put up a couple of towers and operate for the weekend, we have an excellent time. But because of threatening weather, I understand the concern and decision to cancel the event.

I was invited over a club members house who has a large setup of equipment to operate 6m, 2m, 70cm & 23cm. I popped over there on Saturday around 2pm and stayed until about 7pm. We operated with our club call K2BAR and while there a couple additional ops from the club came and operated. Activity wasn’t fabulous but while I was there we did have a 6m opening to northwest Florida and out into western Kansas hitting a few grids there.

Next big event is Field Day the end of the month and I hope weather conditions are moderate (not too hot) and nothing sever (thunderstorms) blow in. Come on mother nature help us out a bit.



Misc ham radio activities over the past week

I haven’t been on the air much over the past week but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been doing ham radio activities.

I mentioned a week or so ago that I was experiencing noise on my Kenwood TS-2000 and I thought it was electrical or interference around my house. What seems to be the issue has to do with failed filters in the radio. It seems to be something a few TS-2000 owners have experienced, and even some other radio manufacturers are reporting the same thing, so it could be a bad batch made that is causing the problem. Anyway, it took a bit of diagnosing and researching to determine the likely cause – all a learning experience in troubleshooting RF issues. I engaged the help of K2ZB and K2ZO in my diagnosing/troubleshooting. I ordered the parts (under $20) and they will likely arrive this week. K2ZC has graciously agreed to do the desoldering/soldering to replace them, and K2ZO has loaned me his TS-2000 until mine is back up and running. I’ll report back on the details once there is more info.

Randy, K5ZD, who manages the CQ WPX contests, put out a message about more paper logs arriving for the 2011 WPX SSB contest so I volunteered and entered in 3 sets of logs. One log was from a US ham with a note on his cover sheet that said “Still contesting @ age 91“. You gotta love it!

Saturday morning a few folks from my local club met up at an ops house to assist with some troubleshooting of his Cushcraft R7000 vertical multi-band antenna. We fixed a few problems and replaced the coax, but a few problems remained and there didn’t seem to be an easy way to troubleshoot specific traps, so we put it up and he should be able to operate on what he has until he decides to order some parts, if available, or replace the antenna.

Edit: I forgot I helped out Fred @ clean up dead links on the page at .

Tonight is our monthly club meeting and next weekend, if the weather is reasonable, we head up to  an old Nike site for a weekend of VHF contesting.

See you on the air!