Ham radio is an absolutely incredible hobby! Regardless of gender, age, or background, there is something to interest almost everyone.
In 2003, I kitted up 10 of the Zack Lau no-tune transverters for 28 MHz I.F. radios If you are interested in how to build a no-tune transverter, follow this link.More info on my 222 Xvrtr project.
I am the proud owner of a free standing Delhi DMX48 antenna tower. If you are interested in how to put up a tower, follow this link.To my tower project.
I've constructed some simple low maintenance, yagi antennas, which are all aluminum (nearly) and stainless steel. If you are interested in constructing your own antennas for VHF and up, follow this link.To my Antenna Construction pages.
I've constructed the DEMI 900MHz transverter. I'll add some details later but apart from a poor LO design the DEMI unit is a good transverter.
I enjoy QRP (or low power) operation when away from home, sometimes mobile sometimes based in motels, etc. I have a Yaesu FT-817 which in my opinion is amongst the best radios available for "turnkey" low power operation. The radio puts out about 5 watts on high power and covers all the standard HF bands as well as VHF and UHF. This radio also makes a superb driver for transverters such as my 1296 MHz and 2304 MHz equipment. The Z-11 made by LDG Electronics is an excellent companion automatic HF antenna tuner, that will probably load a wet string if necessary.
My primary HF transceiver at home is a Kenwood TS2000, an incredible multiband, multimode radio. It is stable and reliable, and tough to beat as a Swiss Army Knife of Radios. It has its own HF tuner built in and every feature that I can think of. On the HF side the radio connects to an MFJ 704 low-pass filter, and ultimately to a B&W AS80 inverted "V" antenna with its peak about 48ft. off the ground and favouring the west.
My backup HF/VHF radio and the radio I use for portable operation is a Yaesu FT847, and an MFJ 949E HF antenna tuner.
On 50 MHz (all modes), I use the TS2000 to a 5 element beam at 50 feet. I often monitor the SSB call channel 50.125 MHz.
For 144 MHz SSB, I use my Yaesu TS2000 connected to an 8 element rotatable yagi at 50' for VHF SSB and CW. I usually monitor 144.200 MHz. I get out quite well on this band and Rochester and Montreal are within consistent reach.
For 222 MHz I use a modified Radio Shack 10M transceiver as an intermediate frequency (IF) for transverters. The present transverter is a 28-222 Microwave Modules transverter into a 30w homebrew brick linear.
For 432 MHz SSB, I use my TS2000 connected to a 19 element rotatable yagi at 54' for UHF SSB and CW. I monitor the call channel 432.100 MHz.
I have built a 900MHz xvrtr and am active on that band.
I am in the process of building up a 10GHz xvrtr.
I generally use the FT-817 as a 144 MHz IF for 1296MHz. It can be set for .5 watts output and has access to its PTT, etc. and is very stable and feature rich. At home I use an SSB LT23S xvrtr to a loop yagi at 60 feet. Output power on the radio bench is 10 watts.
On 2.3 GHz, I have a Down East Microwave xvrtr with a FT290 IF radio. The xvrtr feeds a Varian 3 watt amplifier. The antenna is a parabolic grid or paragrid which I call a a Bob Meyers BBQ antenna, because of its appearance. This antenna is reasonably small and simple and provides 23 dbd of gain. It is fixed-direction mounted on my tower at about 45'.
Also for 10 GHz mobile experimentation, I have a Tellurometer wideband fm station. This equipment was used for topographical surveying in the 1970's and 80's. It is full duplex and when you have a pair, the remote locks to the master (AFC) so that they drift together. This is really interesting to tune, because you can hear yourself as soon as the distant end can hear you, so you know when you are lined up. Also, the equipment comes with built-in heater (oven) to help stabilize the drift. I have a pair of these for use in contests.
I use a TM741 triband radio on 2m/70cm/23cm connected to a discone at about 40'. I'm not into a lot of FM activity but it can be useful, so both the shack and the car are equipped.
I am a sysop for the VA3ODG system of digital repeaters in Ottawa.
This is a very broad field spanning protocols, baseband technology, computers, software, and so on but the basic elements of a packet station are a radio, a modem, and a computer. I am interested in both TCP/IP and AX.25. The following section about APRS is a good example of fairly old packet radio technology put to good use with the help of computers.
Amongst other things, APRS is an interesting mapping, tracking, locating, wx monitoring and direction finding package. There are already thousands of maps of various detail available for much of North America. APRS strength is its simplicity and it runs fine on the old ham radio equipment which is probably sitting in a corner under the electronics work bench. APRS uses UI AX.25 packets. You need a TNC (terminal node controller), a vhf radio, and a 68xxx (Mac) or 80xxx (IBM) computer or clone with a VGA screen, although other screens will work. The software is available free, check out the sites below. A GPS is not used for stationary installations, and is not necessary for mobile work but can add interesting information to your display.
There are many excellent sites about APRS on the web.