The first Wednesday of each month, the MHARS 9 PM net holds a “Tech Night” to discuss ham related technical questions. This month we discussed power supplies and the pros and cons of linear or analog power supplies, as well as switching power supplies and the issues that can arise when using them. See our recent post on switching power supplies. Other topics covered were batteries and rapid voltage drops of a Li-On battery, and a host of other topics. Stop by with your questions and somebody will certainly have an answer, an opinion, or know where to find the answer. Be sure to join us on June 1st for the next Tech Night!
We need more power! Switching power supplies have been around for some time now. There are many options, features, and price ranges. Some have various power tap options, like CLA outlets, power poles, banana plugs, and basic screw posts. Other features may include meters, or voltage adjustment abilities. Since these are specifically marketed for amateur radios, many have RF filtering to help keep from impeding on your radio session. Some, not so much…
You all know “that guy” – The one with the UHF/VHF antenna (or antennas) stuck to the roof or trunk lid and wires trailing off to the side that go through a trunk, door, or window gap. The antenna maintains its death grip on the outside of the vehicle with the mysterious forces of magnetism, via a lip or edge clamp, or something that bolts to your roof rack. You wash your own car and drive a couple extra blocks to avoid parking garages. It’s all for the better you tell yourself. It is also why your significant other won’t let you touch their car.
I was “that guy”. I also remember when I knew that it was time to no longer be “that guy”.
One thing that seems to make amateur radio folks more squeamish than finding a bag of frogs under their bed is the subject of drilling holes in their vehicle. Drilling holes to mount radios. Drilling holes to mount antennas. Drilling holes to mount a microphone somewhere on the dash. Some of you drill holes for microphone clips, or purchase alternatives that clip onto an air vent, and some of you simply toss the microphone in a cup holder. Today, I am going to share my solution for making a magnetic microphone mount that does not require holes in your dashboard.
The word of the day is BTech 2501+220. Okay, maybe that is 2 or more words. Several local hams purchased these from Amazon, on sale, for about $100. The results were a bit of a mixed bag. At the heart of it is essentially a UV-5R or UV-B5, with the added band of 220Mhz, in a mobile friendly package, with 25 watts. You can read some some great information at Miklor, so there is no reason to reinvent the wheel here. It is a dual watch radio, with the typical awkward menu system typical of these radios. But once you have programmed a memory location a few times, it goes fairly quickly. And as is also typical, it is easier if you use either software from the BTech web site, or Chirp.
The “mixed bag” experience primarily deals with the transmit audio being fairly muddy, muffled, and dull. One cure is: