Saturday, August 18, 2012

At Last, A Motorsport For My People!

Two words: Blimp Racing.

Oh, yeah!

13 comments:

Tamara (remotely) said...

I immediately thought of you when I saw that this morning.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if it will replace going to watch the submarine races?

Gerry

Bubblehead Les. said...

Shotgun!

rickn8or said...

Sort of like listening to the coverage of a golf match on the radio...

Robin said...

Roberta, if you'll forgive an off topic comment, I got a ham license last week and will be going to the local Hamfest looking for gear. What's your opinion on what I should be looking out for?

Roberta X said...

Depends on what you want to do (and what license you've got) -- living anywhere with enough hams for hamfest makes it 99% sure there are repeaters, so an HT (handheld radio) for 2m and/or 440MHz (70cm) would be a very good thing to have. You could add a larger VHF/UHF mag-mount antenna for your car and whatever adapter it might take to connect to the HT. (They used to all have BNC connectors but more and more use SMA. A few can't use anything but the antenna on the HT, so check first). If there's a table with publications, ARRL has a repeater frequency listing that is handy. (I will point out that Chinese outfits -- Wouxun is a big name and Google is your friend -- make HTs that sell in the $50-and-up range. The cheapest are nothing to write home about but are a way to dip a toe in the water without overspending.)

If you'd rather try HF, you're looking for a working 80 through 10m transceiver of recent vintage from an outfit like Icom, Kenwood, Ten-Tec, Yaesu or (unlikely) JRC. (You want something that runs more than QRP but not a blowtorch. Typically the 50 to 200 Watt range). The ones with simpler displays are cheaper; if you have time, work the whole show before deciding, to get an idea of prices. Really good deals -- estate sales, people getting out of the hobby -- are "immediate action" items but you have to recognize them. Avoid: kit-built radios (If you want an Elecraft later, you can build it yourself) and older ones (with tubes or ancient solid-state: too likely to need a heap of work). I would counsel you to avoid QRP (low power) equipment at first; it can be a ton of fun to work the world with 5 Watts or less but it can be frustrating to start out with a signal that is lost in the noise!

For HF, you'll need the makings of some kind of HF antenna -- commercial multiband verticals can be bought in the low three figures and have a small footprint; buying wire, insulators and coax and stringing up your own simple antennas is a low-two-figures prospect but takes more work and more room.

How's that?

Oh -- if you are tempted by Morse Code, buy a good straight key. A J-38 in good condition (not the cheap copy with ball-bearing trunnions marked JJ-38!) or a Nye. Not one of the Ameco plastic practice keys, either -- they're fine to learn on but frustrating at more than 5 wpm.

Dave H said...

Robin, I'll echo Roberta's suggestion of a handheld 2 meter or 70 cm radio. (It's like a .22 caliber rifle - everybody should have one.) It'll get you in touch with other local hams in short order once you know the repeater frequencies in your area. It's self-contained, too, so you can start using it right away without having to buy a power supply (it should come with a charger) and put up an outside antenna.

Another benefit of a handheld, if you're buying one used, is that you should be able to try it out on the spot if it's charged.

Robin said...

Thanks for the suggestions, I got a Technician license a couple of weeks ago but then passed the General and am waiting for FCC to upgrade.

I had an old Icom 27A mobile 2 meter given to me, soldered up a copper pipe J pole antenna for it and need to scrounge up a microphone for it.

I'm thinking about HF rigs, but will probably have to limit myself to a inverted V dipole draped over the front yard tree or an attic for antenna. The antenna farm concept got a poor reception with the wife.

NAVIGATOR said...

ROBERTA !

Nice idea!

flashback to my not so misbegotten youth
in the Port of New York when as part of the official welcome of maiden voyages the passenger ships entering the port were welcomed by a huge variety of service craft yachts vessels of all types water displays from the fire boats the noise was deafening from every imaginable steam whistle siren fog horn and the like aircraft of every description roared overhead the centerpiece of this aerial salute was the US Naval Reserve LTA Squadron Blimp from Lakehurst NJ this escort started at AMBROSE and continued to the liners North River berth there was always a photo -op for Blimp and liner abeam of The Statue of Liberty it was fun!!!

Drang said...

Alas, the pre-race festivities fell into disarray when the advocates of the opposing "Type B-Limp" and "The noise when you thumped it with a finger" parties started shooting spitwads at each other...

NAVIGATOR said...

ROBERTA
BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR MY EMAIL TO YOU ON LTA

Stretch said...

Phileas Fogg would approve.

Robin said...

Didn't see any HF rigs in my price range (I'm pretty cheap and it wasn't a lot of tables) at the Denver Hamfest. But I picked up a very inexpensive used HT for messing around with in addition to the old Icom I'm trying to get into function.

I'll keep my eye out for the HF rig.