I’ve been spending money on radio stuff. Holy shit have I been spending money. I think I’ve spent upwards of $1000 in just the last month. I keep finding things to upgrade. I was out of work for 2 months, but the vacation money and government check offset most of it; I went back to work in better short-term shape than I was.
Then I started blowing money on radio stuff again.
The Fullduplex hotspot, the NanoVNA, the new mobile antenna, an IC-7100; and now you can add a foxhunt kit to the list. I was up to about $800 in the last few weeks after buying the 7100; that’s not even counting the $300 I somehow spent the month before on HDD rescue. But I get it out of my system now…and I’m good till I start doing the VHF/UHF antenna (I swear it won’t be that expensive.)
So there’s a foxhunt being organized by the other area club (Woodbridge Wireless Inc.) that has been opened to everyone. This is not a small “go find the transmitter in the park” kind of foxhunt; this is a “get in the car and drive for 20 minutes between transmissions”. Someone is physically going to be out there, in a publicly accessible location within a specific radius of the starting poing; and we get to go find them.
Now I for the most part have the basic equipment; I have an HT and a tape-measure yagi. The Yagi is nice; in fact I may even fix it up and take it along as a backup. But after seeing a few of the Arrow antennas people brought to a pre-hunt gathering; they looked like a nice piece of kit. I totally will go out there with my tape-measure yagi and work; I’m not ashamed. It’d probably work just as well as the arrow. But it’s 2M only. That’s a problem for the other thing I’ve always wanted to do; satellites.
So I spent the $100 on the Arrow II Satellite. I didn’t pick up a duplexer because I don’t need it right now. I’m crazy enough to wrestle two HT’s for full-duplex, since it’s got dual feed-points. Typically it’s just the 70cm one you have to fool with; I never had much issue with doppler shift on 2m.
But wait…there’s more. Attenuators. I need a semi-decent attenuation so I can get better readings as I get closer. I started reading about the offset attenuator; basically a 4MHz LO with a simple mixing circuit to inefficiently give you weak images. It can provide an outstanding level of attenuation and looks relatively easy to build. I couldn’t source all the parts on Amazon; so I started tossing in the parts I needed; mostly the XO, caps, and diodes; in to a DigiKey cart.
But it was while I was looking around I found an old QST article that talks about a stepped attenuator that’s pi-networks. It looks almost easier than the offset attenuator; two resistors to ground, a resistor between them, you got attenuation. Do it on a DPDT switch and you can just short the other contacts out for a bypass. You know what’s dirt cheap? 1% resistors. I bought 10 of each recommended value for R2, and 25 of each value for R1; 10 total values. I didn’t break $2 on even the 25-count orders. In fact the cart was still under $20 with the previous parts. So…I bought all of those parts.
I still spent more money at Amazon. I needed switches, aluminium boxes, connectors of various types, and some coax. It was another $53. So far I’ve spent about $175 getting upgraded and prepped for this foxhunt.
Actually, that’s not as bad as I thought.