Anita and Fred at Dinner

Anita AB1QB and Fred AB1OC

This blog shares Fred’s (AB1OC) and Anita’s (AB1QB) experiences in building and operating a state-of-the-art Amateur Radio station. Fred and Anita were licensed in 2010/2011. We also plan to share other information about our Amateur Radio experiences here.

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15 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi Anita & Fred,
    This is really an awesome station. I love your shack setup and of course the stak of DB36 antennas. I hope you’ll have fun with this great station for many many years. Keep up the good work with your website too… really interesting. Lots of stuff to literally “INHALE” for us ham radio operators. Once again… great work !

    best wishes from Germany … Nik, DL7XT

    • Thank you Nik for the nice comments. We created this Blog to help others to do HAM Radio projects similar to the ones that we have done. I hope that you enjoy the articles here and find the information useful. We are working on several new articles which we’ll be posting in the near future so please do come back and visit us again soon. You can also subscribe to this Blog to receive an email when we post something new.

      73 … Fred, AB1OC

  2. Fred,

    I have been reading the series of posts on mobile ham radio installation with interest. I am curious, can a mobile rig such as the one you show here, be used as a base station ham radio? Can this type of radio and scorpion antenna be set up in a building or office to be used as as base station as well as a mobile one?

    Kristen Ridge
    ridge.kristen (at) gmail.com

  3. Hi love the site and your ham shack. Was curious the dimensions of the room you built in the basement? Looks like you have a lot packed in there. Did I also read right you have 125 amp service there AC as well as 70 amp DC? Thanks so much for sharing this with the world.

    • Thanks for visiting our Blog. The room is about 12 ft x 12 ft and you have the power numbers correct. Cooling was an important issue in the design of the room which is why we have a dedicate AC unit for the shack.

      – Fred (AB1OC)

  4. WOW! can’t say anything else! Just stumbled upon your website. My call is AK4QE and i’m originally from india (VU2KJS is my india call sign). I was licensed here stateside in 2012. My ham shack is relatively incomplete without the Db-36 which i dream of putting up hopefully this year. Right now i operate a FT-DX5000 and an AL-80B amp along with an ICOM pro-III as a back up transceiver. I live in a HOA restricted subdivision so my 40m dipole gets most of the job done! Hope to meet you on the air soon, and kudos to you on your wonderful station!!!

  5. Hello ,
    I am looking around for preamps for LEO sats , I see you have a few and wondering how you are using the AR preamps on the portable set up , do you patch the coax every time you change from a U/v to a V/u bird or use some remote coax switch?
    regarding the home preamps , have you used the SSB or MMV/2 brand preamps?
    How do you like the M2 preamp?
    it’s a lot of money and I d like to hear feedback before picking one.
    thanks for the great info and pics on your blog.
    73 Brad Ko6kL

    • Hello Brad,

      Thank you for taking the time to read our Blog.

      We take different approaches sequencing the preamps in our 1.0 vs. 2.0/3.0 stations. In our portable 1.0 station, we just change the coax patch connections when we change between U/V and V/U modes. This is a simple approach as the preamps are in the same place as the rest of the station equipment.

      In the 2.0/3.0 setups and our satellite and weak signal VHFUHF installation on our tower, the preamps are remotely located near the antennas. In this case, we use M2 sequencers to control which preamp is used and to Tx/Rx sequence the preamps in the case of simplex operation (example Sat/ISS APRS operation).

      We have had good results with the ARR preamps here at our station. We have a total of 5 sets of these preamps installed and they all work great. Also, ARR has been a good company to work with when we have had questions. I believe that M2’s preamps may be derived from ARR’s units but I am not sure of this.

      One last thing – many preamps have RF switching capability to protect them if you transmit through the preamps. The units we have here all have this capability. I would suggest you treat this as a “safety feature” and use a sequencer or some other mechanism to ensure that the preamps are turned off or in Tx mode BEFORE you send power through them. This is especially important as you approach power levels above 25W in the cases where auto switching preamps are rated above this level. Also, be sure you don’t exceed the power rating of thee preamps if you send power through them. The ARR units here are all rated for 160W. We use relays to bypass one set of our preamps used in the weak signal setup on our tower as we use an amplifier resulting in more than 160W during Tx.

      Hope to hear you on the birds,

      Fred, AB1OC

  6. hi anita, pretty damm impressive station you have there, as we had a ft8 30m qso on 30m on 1 july, you may be interested to know that ,at the time i was using my steppir urbanbeam(which i imported into the uk from steppir), the really curious thing is that ,my last 400+ ft8 qsos my beam has been pointed at 110 degress towards europe yet i have managed to work 200 plus us stations, and well into south america on all bands from 40-6m, ,and as such my us grid square map is filling up :), keep up the good work, hopefully some day i will be able to visit your station in the usa

    Kevin M6ENP io84fq

  7. Hi, Anita and Fred,
    I am Christian F1ADX (France) and just read your blog about satellite portable station. I am about to receive an IC-9700 and notice that “The IC-9700 can power and sequence our external ARR preamplifiers and we plan to use this capability to eliminate the outboard sequencers”. I tried to find something about it in the 9700 manual but couldn’t find it. Can you help me to find where the information is ?

    Thanks so much, best 73’s

    Sorry for my poor English !

    • Hello Christian,

      Thank you for reading our blog and congratulations on your new IC-9700! The following are some good references the operation of Coax Powered External Preamps inn the IC-9700 Basic Manual:

    • Page 4-1 – Explains how to turn an external preamp on and off once its configured
    • Page 8-11 – Explains how to configure (enable) a coax powered external preamp
    • Page 13-3 – Talks about coax power to an external preamp
    • You’ll need to be sure your preamp(s) are properly configured for powering through the coax. We use preamps from Advanced Receiver Research (ARR) in our station here. You’ll need to tell the folks at ARR that you want to power your preamps using DC through the coax when you purchase them ad they’ll configure them properly for you. You won’t need to use the connector for powering and controlling the preamp(s) on the units and you’ll want to cap those off to protect them from the weather. You can study the articles here on our blog for details. I hope that this helps you. Best and 73,

      Fred, AB1OC

  8. Hi Anita and Fred, thank you so much for this entire website. I’ve been studying it for months.

    I’m pretty far along in replicating your portable tower setup for the LEO pack and am struggling to find the mast clamps for connecting the G5500’s upper rotor to the mast. The hole separation on the G5500 is about 70mm, which is wider than the clamps that come with the rotor for the boom — and wider than any clamps I’ve found online so far. Do you have any advice about where to find such clamps?

    Maybe I need to machine them myself, but your photos look like you found exactly the right part off the shelf.

    Thanks for any pointers!


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