Category Archives: General Interest

Yaesu FT-857D

Well, I have had my FT-857 for several weeks now.  Being primarily a portable op, not backpacking or such, having this has necessitated re-thinking my field station set up.

Looking at a Gator Box, I decided on a knockoff box from MCM Electronics.  It was less expensive as well as being somewhat lighter.  This task is now complete and I will be posing pics on my gear page soon.

73 de Mike, W6GYC

Helpful Information

I have owned my FT-817 for a while now.  I had been using it only on internal batteries, so it was easy to tell what kind of power output I was producing.  Now, with the advent of my portable field station, I have been using an external battery pack.  This has produced some quandaries for me.  I had been able to produce the “blinking” LIII on internal batteries.  Not so with the external power.

After quite a bit of searching I have discovered that the FT-817 power indicators are different, depending on the source of the applied power.  When using an external power source, you DO NOT get the blinking LIII for 5 watts.  You get a BLANK or no indicator.  I have searched my manual but I have not been able to find that information stated there.  So, in summary, here are the FT-817ND power indicators (LCD panel):

Internal Batteries:
LI                     .5 watt
LII                     1 watt
LIII                    2 watts
Blinking LIII      5 watts

External Power Source:
LI                     .5 watt
LII                     1 watt
LIII                    2 watts
Blank                5 watts

73 de Mike, W6GYC

Field Station (Portable Station)

I wanted to be able to get out and quickly set up my amateur station without the need of unpacking a lot of stuff.  This would include radio, mic, battery, solar panel, etc. plus have some room for a few accessories.  After a bit of study, I came up with my portable field station.

This was not meant to take hiking, but as a portable station to go to the park, field day, camping, etc.

A sneak peek at my Field Station.  See more on my gear page.



73 de Mike, W6GYC

The Radio Amateur’s Code

I came across this on the Internet.  It is something we should all read, or read again and put it into practice as well!  I have posted it on a menu above as well.


The Amateur’s Code

The Radio Amateur is

CONSIDERATE…never knowingly operates in such a way as to lessen the pleasure of others.

LOYAL…offers loyalty, encouragement and support to other amateurs, local clubs, and the American Radio Relay League, through which Amateur Radio in the United States is represented nationally and internationally.

PROGRESSIVE…with knowledge abreast of science, a well-built and efficient station and operation above reproach.

FRIENDLY…slow and patient operating when requested; friendly advice and counsel to the beginner; kindly assistance, cooperation and consideration for the interests of others. These are the hallmarks of the amateur spirit.

BALANCED…radio is an avocation, never interfering with duties owed to family, job, school or community.

PATRIOTIC…station and skill always ready for service to country and community.

–The original Amateur’s Code was written by Paul M. Segal, W9EEA, in 1928.

73 de Mike, W6GYC

Changing course

Well, after having been involved with satellites for a time.  There has now come a time when  I feel it is best to change the course of my operating.

I have purchased an Alexloop antenna and using my FT-817, I will be trying my hand at primarily QRP operations.  That will be enjoyable as well as I like to go camping and the field station I am going to start work on will make it an easy task to go portable.

I will keep the blog posted and will be getting some pics up as I go go along.

73 de Mike, W6GYC

Beta Testing

I have volunteered to be a beta tester for the new Heavens Above Android app.  It is still in the early stages as yet, and as of today, 47 testers have signed up (in the Google community).  Being this early into the process the app is looking good.  The developers have been quite responsive and open to suggestions.

As they tell it, there will be two versions of the final product, free and paid.

As of 20 November 2014, the Heavens Above app has gone into a published status.  Check it out.  Nice app.

11/25: There is now a paid version in the Google Store for this.  Cost is $4.99.

73 de Mike, W6GYC


AMSAT has a Fundrazr campaign in progress to raise funds to launch the Fox-1C satellite in 2015.  Please become a part of this great opportunity and donate to help get this satellite launched.  please follow the link to the right to donate.

Also, if you are not already, please consider becoming a member of AMSAT.  Follow the link to the right at the AMSAT logo to get to their website,

73 de Mike, W6GYC

My First Award

Yes, in recognition for my first Amateur Radio Satellite contact, AMSAT gave me an award.  Well, it cost me a couple of bucks, but I got it.

Yes, a few dollars (yes, it helps support the great work of the AMSAT volunteer workers to spread the word, and help in the advancement of Amateur Satellite knowledge), and you too can have this nice certificate sent to you.  It is a fun way to commemorate your first “bird” contact.

Check out: the AMSAT store.


73 de Mike, W6GYC