About KG5JBE

My journey into the world of ham radio and homebrew…

This is where I got my Technician Class license.
This is where I got my Technician Class license.

The primary goal of this blog is to help other new hams get a start in the ham radio. A big part of that goal is to help dispel the idea that you have to spend thousands of dollars to do anything as publications like QST Magazine might lead you to believe. Don’t get me wrong, I have a subscription and enjoy reading it every month, but it will be a long time (if ever) before I can afford some of the rigs they advertise. I feel that homebrew radio is a great way to really understand the hobby and to keep the expense down. I’ve always enjoyed making useful things out of the stuff that other people throw away, so that’s where a lot of the homebrew information on this blog will focus. Content that is reposted from from other blogs and articles that I find will be in an effort to collect that information and have it available in one place and to catalog my experience with the application of that information. So, have a look around and hopefully there’s something here that can help you along your way, and, in the spirit of ham radio, feel free to contact me with questions and I’ll do my best provide a helpful answer. I make no claim to be an expert in either radio or electronics. I’m certainly no engineer, but I’m pretty good at figuring things out.

I took my Ham Technician test in August of 2015 at Burning Man. I’d like to say that I passed with flying colors, but that would probably not be accurate. I was very excited to have taken the test and passed, but was stuck in the desert for a month without access to a radio nor the money to buy one. When I got back home after almost 2 months of motorcycle travel and a stint at Burning Man working for Yellow Bike, I actually had to save up to get my first $70 HT. I bought a Baofeng BF-F8HP from Amazon. I wanted the 3 power settings (1w, 4w, 8w), but didn’t realize the UV-5R would have been the way to go with it’s 5w transmission and $28 price tag. I still plan to get one some day.

Soon after, I made it to my first ham radio club meeting for the WCARC and immediately joined for $10. I really had no idea what was going on or even how to talk to these guys. I met one Ham who’d had his license for 50 years and referred to his friend as “another new guy” because he’d only had his for 45 years. More recently, I moved back to Austin and joined the AARC. They are a little bit younger crowd, but every bit as knowledgeable and friendly.

My first venture into homebrew started with attending the Ham Fiesta in Schertz, TX where I bought a Yaesu FT-212RH mobile rig for $50. I got it home and spent that evening and the next day researching how to get the thing on the air. I ended up hacking an ATX power supply for the 12v rail, and building a “coat hanger” ground plane antenna out of $25 worth of parts and cable. And just like that, I was on the air with my new rig.

Now I’m working on learning morse code and building one of several possible QRP rigs for 40 meters or 20 meters. I haven’t decided but I’m leaning toward 20 meters if just for the antenna length. It would seem that morse code and homebrew are alive and well in this sub-genre of ham radio.

If you would like to contact me, for whatever reason…

[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]