List of equipment:
- Kenwood TM-281 2m mobile. I think I bought it from HRO.
- programming cable
- CHIRP software running on an old, linux-powered laptop whose keyboard is so busted up I usually VNC into it from my workstation
- Baofeng UV-5R 2m/70cm HT. An amazing bit of hardware widely available in the $40 range.
- Rigblaster Nomic
Also seen is a Harbor Freight el cheapo PV charge controller that keeps a deep cycle lead-acid 12v battery fed. The red meter gives current voltage of the battery. The blue meter reads the voltage the panels are being run by the controller. I’ve got a much better charge controller boxed up and a brilliant MPPT controller installed elsewhere at the moment but I’ll use this one until it dies. It hasn’t hurt the battery in the couple of years it’s been deployed.
The 45w of HF panels are outside the window. I used to chase maximum sun and minimum shadiness but the panels do so well in partial shade that I don’t worry about it any more. Set it and forget it. I’ve got a nicer 60w panel but I am thinking about using it to run an irrigation pump.
I got back into ham because I am interested in digital modes. I missed the heyday of packet BBS but I love the idea of store-and-forward systems. I ran FidoNet 1:24:3208 (the Penny University) for a few years and carried a couple of related networks; AfroNet and DHY if I remember correctly.
I’m not particularly interested in APRS, but it since there is a local digipeater it should allow me to get the Rigblaster figured out.
I may end up having to go to 6m or 10m for digital modes; we’ll see.
Local amateur scene
The Rains Area Amateur Association is based in Emory and meets the second Saturday of each month.