10 May 2024

New Desk

 I finally got my new homemade desk in. There is still a lot of organising and getting used to it but after a few weeks I really love it. 

25 March 2024

POTA Activation Pine Creek Wildlife Management Area US-6369

This upcoming weekend (28 March 2024 - 01 April 2024) I will be spending the weekend at my brothers place at the Pine Creek Wildlife Management Area US-6369. This park in located in south-east Oklahoma in McCurtain and Pushmataha Counties. It has been activated a total of 4 times but only three of those reached the minimum of 10 QSO's. A total of 106 QSO's have been made from all of the activations. Two activators are tied at having 46 QSO's each. It's last activation was in October 2023, about 6 months ago. 

My setup will be using a sBITX transceiver with a homebrew 40-10 meter EFHW. I will be mostly on FT8 and some SSB work. One of my goals is to contact by radio my friends that live in the Oklahoma City Area. I also wish to surpass the 46 QSO limit that seems to exist for this park. Because I will be completely rebuilding my shack it may be a little while before I upload my log to LOTW, eQSL, and POTA. I will upload to QRZ.com. Follow me on Twitter or X what ever it is called this week, my handle is Aaron@K5ATG and I will post there when I get on the air. 

For this activation I will respond to all QSL cards, I will also try to make some QSL cards specific to this activation. They will not be of the highest quality because I will make and print them from home. My information is correct on QRZ.com. If you do see me on the air, I just please ask that you spot me. I would really like to get 50 QSO's for the weekend. 

For more information please visit the following links:

POTA (Parks On The Air)

Pine Creek Wildlife Management Area

Of course be kind to each other on the air and in life. For future updates please subscribe to this blog. Feel free to contact me at Aaron@K5ATG.com


Aaron K5ATG


20 March 2024

New Shack Desk II

 Got an update on my new shack desk. 

Special thanks to my son Dakota, the finish and the poly has been applied. Now we just need to air it out for a few days to get rid of the fumes and then put it in the house. I'm getting excited for it. It will make life in the shack so much easier. 

01 March 2024

Bob Heil K9EID SK

 The amateur radio community is sad by the loss of amateur radio legend Bob Heil K9EID. He is the founder of Heil Sound, who makes audio equipment that is used by the best musical artist around the world and also the first manufacture to be admitted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was also on of the original hosts of Ham Nation.  I could go on and write down all of his accomplishments but I would be typing here for a week. 

I was very lucky to have met him in 2019 OzarkCon in Branson Missouri

We exchanged probably over 100 emails over the years with him giving me advice on radios and antennas and me entertaining him with jokes. I'm sure that he is in Heaven building coaxial resonant dipoles and hooking up a audio mixer and stage monitors to a HF radio. 

Bob thank you for teaching us so much. 

Aaron K5ATG

P.S. SK stands for Silent Key which in amateur radio lingo means that a amateur radio operator passed away. 

31 January 2024

New Shack Desk

 I have not been on the radio for the last few days. Here we are in the middle of winter and here in the 405 it has been very beautiful. We have been in the 60's and 70's all week. It is one thing nice about living in Oklahoma, we have winter where it is cold windy, snow and ice. Then every now and then we get a nice break from winter and have spring type weather. So me and my favorite buddy, Dakota, have been taking advantage of the weather nad have been doing a lot of work on my desk. 

It is a corner desk just made out of yellow pine plywood. Once finished it will have a shelf that will go along the back edge. It isn't going to be the nicest to look at but it will be more efficient then the setup that I'm using now. Its slow going, I have been working on this since last June, so for about 7 months. 

I will update more as it goes along. 

22 January 2024

sBITX V3 Using a old laptop display as a larger display

 One of the nice things about the sBITX is that it was designed to use a 7 inch Raspberry Pi touch screen. Since I got just the board version of the sBITX v3 and no enclosure I used what I had on hand, a stand alone 7 inch LCD display.

The picture above was my standard setup using the 7 inch LCD display. It worked really nice and it was a clean setup (because all of the messy crap is hidden behind the black foam board :D ) My issue with it was how small it was. I practically had to use a magnifying glass held up to the LCD display to see who was answering my FT8 CQ call. Frustration levels went through the roof. 

Then I remembered that I have an old laptop tucked away in the corner of my shack. This thing was in worse shape than me. Half of the keys on the keyboard was missing, it ran off of Windblows 7, and it had a massive 250 gb hard drive. The Raspberry Pi 4 that is running my sBITX has more punch than this laptop. But the lap top had a 15.6 inch LCD display that WORKS! Heck Yeah! I can do something with this. 

I tore the laptop apart and freed the display from its prison of plastic. The picture above shows the laptop display. I kept the hinges on because they are attached to the display pretty darn good and I don't want to risk breaking the display. If that happened then i would have to borrow the neighbors new laptop and go through all of the trouble of removing his display and replacing it with my broken display and then explain to the neighbor that the cat knocked the laptop off the ceiling fan and broke it.  That is just a lot of work. I can use the hinges for now and if I need them gone later on down the road, I have a sawzall

With a laptop the controls for the display are incorporated into the circuit board of the laptop. Because of this you just can't hook the laptops LCD display up to the Raspberry Pi and get it to work.  You need to get a control board. To do that you need to find the model number of the LCD display. Gently turn it over and on the back you shall see a label. Here is the label on the back of mine.

   For mine the model number is LP156WH2. So I went to Amazon and searched for Control Board for LP156WH2 Laptop display and this is what I found.

MAKE SURE THAT THE CONTROL BOARD WORKS FOR YOUR LCD MODEL. If you get the wrong control board it isn't gonna work and it will make you madder than a midget in a NBA shower room. For this one it cost $23. So I just asked the wife for $25 to get her an early birthday present. I came off looking like a Romeo and she will forget about it by the time her birthday arrives. The control board comes with one of those cheap little remote controls that never work. I just use a sharpie and put one of my neighbors name on it and then tossed it in my other neighbors gutter. Not my problem anymore, let them figure it out. I'm not going to go into detail on how to hook the control board up to the laptop display. Plenty of videos about that lurking around. I got it hooked up and attached everything to a board. I used the hinges on the display to attach it to the board. This allows the display to be adjusted.

As you can see it makes a nice display for my sBITX. I still need to make a enclosure for the sBITX. The part that I have to figure out, should I use this large display and put everything into one large enclosure? It would be really nice but a bit hard to strap it down to my trike to take it to a city park and operate portable for a while. Or i could just dismiss the display on the sBITX and make a smaller enclosure for it and then for home use I can use the 15.6" display and I can still use the 7" display for portable use. Let me know in the comments section below. 

As always you can reach me at Aaron@K5ATG.com


Aaron K5ATG

New Desk

 I finally got my new homemade desk in. There is still a lot of organising and getting used to it but after a few weeks I really love it.