Amateur Extra class amateur radio operator in the Tri-Cities region of Nebraska



Howdy, KEØTCF here.

I'm an amateur radio operator in central Nebraska. I have just recently passed my General and Amateur Extra exams. My primary antenna is my home-built Off-Center Fed Dipole, good from 80m up to around 10m. I am new to HF, but looking forward to trying out as many different things on amateur radio as I can. I enjoy digital modes, phone, and I am hoping to try out some image modes soon, and I'm working on learning CW!

The Shack

Being a relatively new ham with tight budget, my setup is rather meager. My shack lives in a detached garage, which is my workshop for all my hobbies. It houses my 3D printer, and my general electronics/computer workbench. My ham shack lives in the back along one wall where all my gear is set up. The garage is insulated and drywalled, and has an electric heater and window AC unit, so I can keep the temperature fairly comfortable year round!


All of my operations from the shack occur on an ICOM IC-7100. This is powered by an MFJ 4230MV 30A power supply. I also use an MFJ 941E tuner between the radio and my primary antenna. More on the antennas below! I use the IC-7100 for my VHF operations (primarily local nets and occasional contacts off I-80) as well as all of my HF operations.


A spare laptop acts as my station computer, resting out of site under the bench, and connecting to a monitor, keyboard, and mouse to the right of this image, as well as connecting via USB to the IC-7100. I use Win4ICOM Suite for rig control, and Log4OM 2 as my primary logging program, as well as for a few other handy functions.


My VHF antenna consists of a home-built quarter-wave ground plane trimmed for 2m. My HF antenna is an off-center fed dipole antenna, roughly 130' long, and fed around 33%/66%. The feedpoint sits about 20' up on my "mast" outside the shack. The house had a very sturdy basketball hoop in back which doesn't get used, so I used a 20' length of steel gas pipeline and hoseclamped it to the basketball hoop pole, which is heavy steel tubing, bolted to a concrete foundation. At the top of the steel pipe, the last few feet are covered with plastic PVC pipe, and topped with a short section of smaller PVC attached at 90°, and a T attached to that. In the middle of the horizontal segment, a pulley is mounted, and the feedpoint of the OCFD is lifted up to hang just below that. My VHF antenna sits on top of the T joint on the end, and it's feedline comes out the bottom and runs down from there.

Solar Conditions Summary

Data compiled at 11/29 15:41 UTC and will refresh in 00:00 (refresh now).

Space weather for the past 24 hours has been minor.
No space weather storms are predicted for the next 24 hours.
Metric Value Observed
Solar Flux Index 110 11/29 15:10 UTC
A-Index 10 11/29 15:10 UTC
K-Index 2 11/29 15:10 UTC
Sunspot Number 67 11/28 00:00 UTC
Proton Flux 0.50 ptn/(cm2 s sr) 11/29 15:20 UTC
Electron Flux 1184.82 elctn/(cm2 s sr) 11/29 15:20 UTC
X-Ray Flux C3.7 11/29 15:27 UTC
Magnetic Field -0.95 Bz 11/29 14:00 UTC
Solar Wind 358.74 km/s 11/29 14:00 UTC
Wind Density 2.11 ptn/cm3 11/29 14:00 UTC
Calculation Value
Signal/Noise Level S1 - S2
Geomagnetic Field Quiet
Aurora 5
Aurora Latitude 64.5° - 62.4°
Solar Radiation Storms No impacts on HF
Electron Alert Partial to complete HF blackout in polar regions
Radio Blackouts Occasional loss of radio contact on sunlit side
Day Band Frequency Night
Good 71 160m 1.8 MHz Very Good 102
Fair 63 80m 3.5 MHz Good 78
Fair 64 60m 5 MHz Good 74
Fair 64 40m 7 MHz Good 70
Fair 57 30m 10 MHz Fair 60
Fair 58 20m 14 MHz Fair 58
Fair 50 17m 18 MHz Fair 49
Fair 51 15m 21 MHz Fair 48
Fair 44 12m 24 MHz Fair 40
Fair 45 10m 28 MHz Fair 39
Fair 36 6m 50 MHz Poor 22

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Gray Line