Posts Tagged ‘ham radio’

The Monster will Live Again

September 6, 2016 2 comments

You may recall The Monster is Deaf

But look what I ordered!

KP1-4 10-500pF 10kV Vacuum Variable Capacitor


I have new plans for the monster, to get it away from the building and to better tune it

It may have to wait until I move to a new home, but the plans are underway and this capacitor is an integral part of those plans


Categories: HF, Home Brew Tags: , ,

iMac Reboot

September 4, 2016 2 comments

My business used to have a stack of iMac’s but many of them had been sold off. Two were in storage in my old home town. Recently I was able to bring one of them back and almost simultaneously got offered another at a ridiculously low price. While I was retrieving the old iMac from storage I located two 3Gb drives that I had intended to put in the business iMacs as the hard drives were a bit small.

To cut a long story short the brilliant offer turned out to be a bit of a dud as the hard disk failed within 48 hrs so I robbed the RAM out of it to speed up the other. Finally this weekend I got a chance to see what I could do with the dead one.


After plugging in an ethernet cable, and replacing the RAM with some I had retrieved from storage,  I found that the machine would not boot, there was no chime and a black screen at start up and diagnostic LED4 was out. My years as technical troubleshooter soon came to the fore- what has changed? The RAM! Aha yes, I had accidentally put two different spec cards in it. A quick change and a slight reduction in overall memory later, I got 4 LEDs lit and a backlit screen.


Now to the hard disk problem. I hate the process of making bootable USBs but luckily I recalled I had a bootable USB with OSX Yosemite Installer on it. Once I restarted the machine with that baby in the slot, it came to life. A run of the diagnostics demonstrated a failed hard disk. So off came the front bezel and the LCD screen and in went a new HDD. Booting into off the installer, I got OSX Yosemite installed and then upgraded to OSX 10.11 El Capitan. Using the Time Machine backup from the other iMac I installed all my favourite applications and settings and … now? It Lives!


Categories: Daily News Tags: , ,

80m Apartment HF- The Monster in My Bedroom

August 20, 2016 4 comments

I have been toiling away on a mag loop antenna for the 80m band. I needed it to be cheap, I also wanted to be able to use it on other bands later, with some modifications.

Since my balcony is not really big enough for a larger mag loop, I decided to make a loop that took up the entire wall of my bedroom which is my radio shack. The problem with this idea is that I suspect the building is one huge faraday cage. We will see when I am finished. If it turns out that it is a faraday cage, I will go to plan B which if it happens, you will see blogged here.

Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 06.33.52

To keep costs down I made the capacitor out of RG213 coaxial cable which has capacitance of about 1pF/cm thus my design required aprox 195 cm of cable. Tuning will be via a homemade trimmer capacitor consisting of two printed circuit board blanks attached to the end of the coaxial cable. By making this cable removable, I will be able to interchange various lengths to change bands.


Morning CW I Miss You

August 14, 2016 1 comment

Since moving from acreage in Northern Queensland (home of the Gnarly Net), to a one bedroom apartment in a high rise building in Sydney, I miss my morning morse code. Finally I have my radio set up and I can hear the Gnarly Net people doing their morse code in the mornings but my ear is way out of practice after a year and a bit without any practice. My mobile whip antenna hanging off the balcony picks up lots of electrical noise making it difficult to copy. I had not yet tried transmitting CW with it but I gave it a go this morning at 0530 and got a 549 report from Rob VK4ARQ in Mt Fox about 2040 kilometres away from me. Feeling pretty stoked.

Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 05.59.18

Next project is a big mag loop antenna which I hope will be quieter but as efficient as the whip or better.

Thanks Rob and Dennis

PS Mike VK4MIK your key will be on the way back to you this week.

Categories: CW, Daily News, HF Tags: , , ,

My Shack has Shrunk

August 14, 2016 Leave a comment

My small shack

As mentioned in my previous post “A Woman’s Prerogative” there have been significant changes in my life. My once very impressive shack is mostly now in storage. My small one bedroom apartment does not permit such a shack, besides the storage facility is interstate.

I have managed to put together a small shack that at least allows me to operate on 2m, 70cm, 20m and 80m (80m with a low efficiency antenna).


My 80m antenna

I look forward to being able to afford a D-star rig also.


My small shack

A Woman’s Prerogative

June 19, 2016 3 comments

I was originally going to archive this blog and made an announcement that it would not be updated any longer. Then I changed my mind. I am sorry to say that many of the older posts have lost YouTube content due to me deleting my YouTube account. I could not bear to see myself, such is the nature of gender disphoria.

I have now decided that this blog should become my own again. I changed the  name of the blog to match my new callsign. There is not much I can do to change the old posts to match my affirmed gender nor my new name.

I have moved from acreage in a regional city to a one bedroom apartment in Australia’s largest city. My partner and I lost our business, almost all of our possessions and personal wealth due to my depression, anxiety and panic attacks due to gender disphoria. My new location, housing arrangements and budget mean that I will not have the impressive station that I once had. I will have to find new ways to operate and new interests within amateur radio.

For those of you still interested in what I post, thank you.


Kimberly Olsen VK2KMI/VK4KIM ex VK4MDX



Ham Radio and World-Wide Friendships

January 16, 2014 Leave a comment

One of the things I originally liked about ham radio prior to the internet age was the possibility of making friendships all over the world. I must say I have found to a great extent that this element seems to have disappeared. I’ve found the interactions with many hams on air to be more about the contact and report “599 73” is about as talkative as they get. In the internet age, the interaction with hams on Facebook has been mostly good but sometimes abysmal, and the other day in a local electronics store while shopping for some specialised cable I told the very gregarious salesman it was for a high tech antenna- his comment

“Oh you’re a ham?”

“Yes,” I said.

“But you’re so easy going and polite” he replied.

Wow! is this the image we present to the rest of the community? If so time for a rethink!

Anyway I digress. Since learning CW I’ve been amazed at the friendships I have made on air, and the long chats that we have. I’m especially enjoying the chats I have with Joe HL5KY. Joe’s QRZ page says the following-

I developed an interest in Amateur Radio after reading a comic when I was 10 or 11 years old. The story was about a young boy talking on the radio to far away places and making good friendship through the radio.

It took a couple of years until I got my first license in 1976 as HM5KY and it was changed to HL5KY in 1981 as HM was given to North Korea. I also had a chance to take FCC license exam in Korea back in 1992. Taking 5 different written and 3 different morse tests in one day, I got AB6KT in 1992 and had it changed to a vanity call, N2KYin 1997.

Among many aspects of Ham Radio, my main interest has always been having nice conversation and developing good friendship with people all around world.

I share my interest with my xyl, Yuni HL5BTF who had already been an active Ham even before we met. Only daughter, Jenny also got her ticket as 6K5CDJ in 2008.

After about 10 year absence from Amateur Radio, I came back to this great hobby September 2011 with an Internet remote station. The radio and antennas are about 10kms away from where I live. I only have a front panel of TS-480SAT on my desk.”

Thanks Joe for the opportunity to chat with you most nights via morse code.

Categories: CW, Daily News, HF Tags: , , , , ,