An OpenBeacon to play with

Thanks to Matthew/W2MDW, I now have an Etherkit OpenBeacon to play with.

Etherkit Openbeacon
Etherkit Openbeacon

It’s a kit that I’ve been thinking of getting to play with in the near future. The one Matthew sent me was one of the early beta models and has had some modifications done to it, but it works. He didn’t have much time to mess with it anymore and thought I could put it to good use.

I’ll need to get an antenna for it and figure out how to program it, but it shouldn’t be hard to get on the air.

It looks like a pretty easy kit to build, so I’ll probably pick up one of my own to assemble and get up and running. Looking forward to getting this one going and seeing who picks up the signal.

I wonder how hard it would be to modify to broadcast on 6m.

Antenna bits

The coax and ZS6BKW antenna are both here!

Coax
Coax
ZS6BKW antenna from W8AMZ
ZS6BKW antenna from W8AMZ

It probably won’t be until after Christmas before I can get everything up and running though. Still need to finish getting the office and the computer back into shape, then make room to set up the radio (which mostly involves finding enough flat surface space for everything). Then I’ll invite some friends over for an “antenna raising” and see about getting the shack operational.

QSL card v0.2/v0.3

Rearranged the elements and made it a one-sided card with address information going on the other side.

QSL card v0.2
QSL card v0.2

Version 0.3 adds some captions to the two radiographs. I think I like this better.

QSL card v0.3
QSL card v0.3

QSL card v0.1

A first stab at my QSL card. I mocked it up in GIMP. Stamp icon clip art is from the Discovery Education’s Clip Art Gallery at DiscoverySchool.com. ARRL diamond logo is from ARRL. The small x-ray is a radiograph of Wilhelm Roentgen’s wife’s hand, made shortly after his discovery of x-rays in 1895. The big x-ray is a radiograph of my Yaesu VX8-DR.

QSL card v0.1
QSL card v0.1

Antenna location, location, location

ZS6BKW variant of the G5RV has been ordered as well as 100′ of RG-8X coax with PL-259 connectors on the ends. Now to figure out where to put the antenna up.

I don’t think I want to have 94′ of wire stringing out in front of the house, so that’s out. There are¬†neighbours on one side of the house, and the power lines/SCEG right-of-way in the back of the house¬†limits the amount of space I can use there.

That leaves the other side of the house, which faces a neighbour’s wooded property. With some assistance, I can probably get the antenna set up in an inverted V arrangement with the apex in one of the trees along the ditch. I just need to make sure the line stays out of the ditch and mark it so that the people who go through the ditches trimming back vegetation don’t take it out. I thought about maybe securing the ends of the antenna to the house, but that would put the antenna at an angle which I’m thinking would probably end up producing a less than optimal radiation pattern.

It’s too bad the tree behind the house didn’t survive the house construction. It would have been a great antenna mast.