Month: February 2013

A Review of the KST V6

So I’ve had the KST V6  for three days now and I find myself really liking it. I’ve been comparing it to my Yaesu VX-7r and I know it’s not a fair comparison of a quad band against the monoband V6.

Transmit works very well. I can hit repeaters on the order of roughly 20 miles away without issue. I can hit a repeater in Fall River, MA on 5W without any scratchiness in the signal.

The radio was a bit of a bear to configure but once I got the Chinese to English manual translated into standard U.S. English I had no problems. You can see if you follow the tags that I created a quick reference guide to programming.

Another thing I like about the radio is it’s size. It’s almost 150g lighter than the magnesium bodied Yaesu. But it is all plastic.

Another thing I wish it had is a keypad back light. I have to take mine apart and see if the keypad has any translucence. If it does I’ll mount some smd LED’s and tie them to the display LED’s. The reason I even noticed it is at night, I had the radio in the charging stand and the indicator LED was lit in red. That red casts across the keys and lights them nicely.

Another mod I might do is throw a cap across the speaker leads. Even when the volume is turned very low there’s an audible click when the audio comes on. Capacitors block DC and allow AC to pass. Audio is an AC signal.

BTW, the TYT-800 is the exact same radio. Had I known about TYT, KST, Baofeng and Wuoxon when I bought my Yaesu I probably would have gone with one of those. But I’m sort of glad I have the Yaesu. It’s completely indestructible.

In the end though, I’m amused that the Chinese are starting to eat the lunch of the Japanese manufacturers of radio gear. And I’m also interested that the barrier to entry to amateur radio has now been demolished when you can get a handheld for anywhere between $30 and $100 now. So I’d give the KST V6 a solid three out of five stars. A solid buy.

I do wish search engines would realize a dead link

I’ve seen my blog stats polluted by this:

Apparently they don't know the link is dead.
Apparently they don’t know the link is dead.

I think it had to do with a post I had made about these parents who thought it was a good idea to let their kids watch them having sex. I pulled the post because it was attracting serious negative comments. But apparently the link got shared around. So now my stats/logs include the above.

The fact that it’s all from Palo Alto, CA indicates to me it’s probably coming from Alta Vista  – remember that?

 

 

A new meme

Got this from Polt who got it from House of Lime

With no further ado the questions:

1. I’m inventing a new yoga position inspired by you.  What does it look like and what shall I call it?

Imagine me, a laptop in my lap, laying on a leather recliner, cell phone and 1.25m handheld radio to my right. Angie the cat to my left. Call it “assuming horizontal polarization”.

2. What is your quest?

Oh this one is easy. I want to shatter the likes of National Grid, Verizon, Cox, Comcast and the whole kit and caboodle into a million little fucking tiny pieces. And to make enough money to own a few politicians. Once that’s the case – perhaps get myself appointed as Chair of the FCC. I’m so sick and tired of the lawyers driving that organization – let we engineering types have the reigns for awhile.
3. Ghengis Khan or Snooki?  Why?

Ghenis Khan – at least I understand that kind of ambition and on the other hand, Snooki is essentially a whore.
4. What does the color turquoise smell like?

There’s a little spot in the Ocala National Forest called Juniper Springs. It’s a small body of water that smells like the everglades and the water sparkles a bright blue. It’s beautiful

5. I’m giving you butterscotch candies, cabbage, yak milk, and escargot.  What sort of tasty dish will you prepare for me?

A cabbage and yaks milk reduction and buttered, steamed escargot seasoned with a little thyme, salt, and pepper. Then the butterscotch candy can be melted down into a butterscotch pudding with milk and starch.
6. If you wear garlic around your neck to keep vampires away, what should you wear to keep zombies away?

Ground zombie! At least as to what I’ve learned from the AMC series The Walking Dead. I’ve also learned that a crossbow really IS the ultimate weapon. And it’s COMPLETELY legal.
7. What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?

Slightly faster than one with a full belly?
8. Tell me a story involving a bathtub of macaroni, a red wagon, and a head of state.

John Boehner visited, fell into a red wagon and because the floor had a slight grade to it fell right in the tub of macaroni. But because he is the Orange Goblin, the macaroni looked like Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.
9. Invent a family game using a pile of lentils and a thimble.

Pickup! Using the thimble of course. Whoever picks up the most off the table/floor first wins.
10.  You may not use paint or wallpaper.  With what will you cover your walls?

Stucco or brick. Yes I’m boring that way. However I could integrated a bunch of LED’s and EL-Wire into it and make it glow.

11. When?

Anytime, anyplace. Remember that old Janet Jackson song – ooo that was a good one to knock some boots to back in the day.

Another good one from her is That’s the Way Love Goes:

 

 

TMI Thursday Again:

First attributions: Via Patently Queer who got it from Just a Jeep Guy

My boy Sean over at Just a Jeep Guy posts questions and answers every Thursday, and invites bloggers to participate by doing the same. (He previews the questions beforehand so that bloggers can post them on Thursday). So here I go.

DO YOU BELIEVE?

…in coincidence?
They do happen. It’s pretty common in densely packed areas.  Though there’s one that is interesting. A former co-worker and I shared similar trajectories on our career paths. Both worked for CVS at one point in the past, both did radio gigs on the air, both had our amateur radio licenses independently of each other.  I mean really, what are the odds of that happening. But then there’s the Defcon group I’m a member of – things in common include a full six of the core members holding amateur radio licenses.

…in magic?
No I don’t. I know a few magic tricks

…in love at first sight?
There is no such thing as love at first sight.

…in soul mates?
Yeah you could say so. Been with mine for 20 years now.

…in miracles?
Nope – even the weeping statues that they’ve found to be human creations more than anything.

…that absence makes the heart grow fonder?
Undoubtedly. Also, familiarity breeds contempt. – No need to change this one at all.

…in life after death?
No I do not. I’ve watched enough people die in my life to know you get one shot at it.

Bonus Question

…in God?

Always kind of a weak believe before I did my communion. Then the first twelve years of my education in Catholic Schools. That did the trick of cementing my disbelief.

 

Programming the KST V6

It’s pretty simple once you get the hang. First of all you have to set the I/O to 1.6MHz for the 222MHz band. This is done by doing the following:

– Press the orange F key and then the 9 key to get into settings

– Scroll to option 4 with the up and down keys – until the frequency differential reads 01.60

– Press the F key to save it.

Now the repeater offsets will work. The radio has a split personality – it originally started out as a radio for 2m and 70cm so now that it’s on 1.25m it retains the 10MHz offset which doesn’t work so doing the above gets you set to go!

So now key in your frequency – for my example I just programmed in the 224.060 repeater with negative offset and CTCSS of 103.5.

1) Enter the frequency into the radio, in this case 224.060.

2) To set the offset hold down the orange F key and press 5 and it cycles between none, positive and negative offset. Another relic of 2m and 70cm here.

3) To set the CTCSS press the orange F key and then the 8 button. Then use the navigation buttons to scroll to item 14 which is the 103.5Hz CTCSS tone to access the repeater.

4) To save the repeater in memory press the orange F key and then the * key. Use the direction buttons to choose a memory slot to store the memory. The radio does not automatically go to next empty slot btw, so try to remember where you started.

5) Once you’ve programmed it in the radio will be in channel mode. To switch back to Frequency mode hit the # (VM) key. You can continue to add repeaters following the steps above.

** Special Note ***

To change the power level on a channel simply hit the orange F key and the # key. It toggles between lighting the little L indicators in the display and turning it off. When the indicator is off it’s in high power mode. Save the channel again (F+*).

I hope this helps folks out. It’s a whole lot more clear this way than in the Chinese to English manual.

A hundred bits you didn’t know about me

1. Are young at heart, or an old soul?
Young at heart – I don’t feel like I’m close to 50. I feel more like my 30’s to be honest. That is at the time when body parts aren’t screaming and you’re not bleeding out of several orifices. :) 


2. What makes someone a best friend?
* A best friend is someone who knows your faults and the mistakes of your past, yet sticks with you because they know the best is yet to come. It’s also someone who’ll help you hide the bodies.  (I didn’t change this one because I agree with it completely!)
3. What Christmas (or Hanukkah) present do you remember the most?
I remember one where I was about 4 years old. I have the picture around here, it’s me standing in front of a literal wall of toys. All mine of course, the benefits of being an only child. Then of course I remember being 11 or so and getting my first 101 Electronics Projects kit. Radio Shack pushed a ton of these things on the market and I WANTED mine. So perfect!
4. Tell me about a movie/song/TV show/play book that has changed your life.
Can’t honestly say anything really moved me. I do like This American Life podcasts though. I like how it makes me look at life from a different perspective.
5. Name one physical feature that you like about yourself, and one you dislike.
I’m a tiny bit overweight. I wish I could drop some weight but I realize I love my food a bit too much. And my weight has been constant for decades now.
6. Would you like to reconnect with any friend you’ve lost contact with?
With facebook there’s no such thing.
7. What’s more important in a relationship: Physical attraction or emotional connection?
* Emotional connection.
8. Name a movie that you knew would be terrible just from reading the title.
Atlas Shrugged – Netflix has it in the Fantasy category for a reason.

9. What holiday do you most look forward to?
Thanksgiving. It lets me shine as an amateur chef! Plus it doesn’t have the crass consumerism that the Christmas/Saturnalia holiday has become.
10. How is the relationship between you and your parents?
Mom has been dead since 1978. My father finally worked my last nerve almost two years ago. And of course the shit started on Facebook. Now I made it clear to him I no longer wanted to hear from him. He’s violated that request several times. My next step is to just get a no contact order.
11. You’ve got the TV on, but you’re not really watching. What channel is the TV on?
TVLand, or MSNBC. Why the fuck am I paying $85+ for cable every month and only really watch two or three channels?
12. Name a song that never fails to make you happy.
George Duke’s “Chillin”, or maybe some Azymuth. Both are Brazillian jazz based.
13. You know a least one person name Michael. Tell me about him.
Mike Airhart – journalist – worked with him to try to get gay rights pushed forward in RI. Then there’s Mike Reis – who I know through Keyron. And then of course my buddy, Mike Deignan.
14. Have you ever read “Missed Connection” on Craigslist? Have ever posted one, or wanted to?
Can’t say that I have.
15. If you could pick anywhere to live the rest of your life, where would it be?
I want two things – a nice place in Manhattan. Something near Greenwich Village and nose bleed high. And then a villa in southern Italy.
16. Can money buy happiness?
No it cannot. But it does provide one the ability to say “Fuck you” to everyone with impunity so yes, that is a form of happiness.

17. Do you drink? Smoke? Do drugs? Why, or why not?

Drink like a fish, or at least used to do so when I was younger. Never really liked smoking pot though.
18. Is there anyone close to you that you know you can’t trust. You don’t have to give names?

My aunt Carol. I had to block her on Facebook because even after I blocked my father she kept feeding him info. Sorry, don’t need that shit.

19. Where was your favorite place to go when you were a little kid?

Rocky Point. Sadly it’s gone now. But I still have fond memories of that place.

20. Have you ever spent the night in the hospital?
Let’s see, at 5 years old to have my tonsils and adenoids out. Then there was the car accident that left me with 12 stitches in my head and took most of a night.
21. Do you enjoy being with only one or two friends, or with a large group of people.
Small groups of friends. I only have close to 400 friends on Facebook. In real life probably about half of them on FB too.
22. Do you like the type of music your parents listen to? Do your parents like the type of music you listen to?
Well, I get my love of Jazz from my grandfather. The love for Mowtown and soul and r&b came from my parents.
23. Have you every been bullied. Have you every bullied anyone else?
A little bit in elementary school And a tiny bit in high school. But nothing I couldn’t handle.
24. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Oh tough question. Probably the chili I make. Beans and beef – something about it.
25. If your partner wanted to wait until marriage before having sex, would you stay in that relationship?
No I wouldn’t.
26. Do you believe in a god?
I think I might have believed until I was about 8 years old. And then I started realizing what the church was and how it functioned. When I was 13 and my mom died the priest had the audacity to tell my father he wouldn’t perform the right of Christian burial because he didn’t think we gave enough to the church. The one thing I’m proud of my father for doing is picking up Father David by the neck and seeing the priests eyes bug out behind his coke bottle glasses. Father David was a prick.
27. Of all the social networks in the world, why use Twitter?
*I have an account but rarely post anything to it. It strikes me as a complete waste of time.
28. What’s your favorite hashtag to track?
* See the answer to question 27.
29. Would you call yourself/your family “middle class”?
Yes I would. We’ve been lower to upper middle class. It ebbs and flows.
30. Name a TV series you didn’t enjoy until after it ended.
If I watched a series then I was interested in it. So I can’t say I’ve watched anything I didn’t feel like watching.
31. Have you every bought a product from an infomercial?
Nope.
32. If you could give up your car and never drive again, would you?
*Yes I live in a city where public transit isn’t a complete joke. But live outside the city and it’s a serious joke. Plus I have  Zipcar account for when I NEED a car.
33. If you could go back to one point in time to give advice to yourself, when would you go and what would you say?
I would go back to my 14 year old self and tell myself it was ok that I was gay and to just live with it.
34. What’s your “quirkiest” habit?
Don’t know if I have one to be honest.
35. What is “normal?” Are you normal?
Completely and boringly normal most of the time.
36. Someone close to you is dying. You have the choice to let this person live for 10 more years, but if you do, you cause the death of 10 strangers. You don’t have to see them die. Do you take the offer?
I probably would. I’m a little loose morally that way. But then what I know about medicine tells me that lifespans are increasing by dramatic amounts. There are more centenarians around now than there ever were in the past.
37. What is the one thing you could never forgive?
Betrayal is up there.
38. Would you rather be in a relationship after the honeymoon period ends, or be single.
The relationship.
39. Is it possible for guys and girls to be just friends?
I recommend you lookup the Ladder Theory. But then I’m gay so it doesn’t apply to me. Some of my best friends are female.
40. Where do you and your friends go to hang out?
* Usually at some  friends  house.
41. Write the first sentence of your obituary.
Oh epitaphs are fun. Probably “Fuck all of you!”
42. What is the best TV them song ever?
* Honestly – Family Guy.

43. When you were young, what would you dream you would be when you grew up?
I had toyed with being a doctor but then I realized I didn’t want to spend that much time in schools. As it is I spent a ton, but add another ton on for docs.
44. When you’re alone in your own home, do you walk around naked?
Sometimes. But when it’s freezing cold and I won’t boost the thermostat above 68F in winter, it’s best to be covered.
45. What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Hoo – the urge. You know, either to urinate or defaecate.
46. Do you want to have more friends than you have right now.
* Just about right as it is.
47. What part of the past year sticks out in your mind?
NYC Pride – DC401 – Doing the administrivia of setting up a free public WiFi MESH network in my political ward.
48. You win a scratch-off lottery game that give you $2000 a week (after taxes) for the rest of your life. Do you keep working?
* I’d probably take the lump sum to be honest. Then I’d build up my empire.
49. Could you be in a long-distance relationship? If you’re in one, what makes yours work?
* No I don’t think it’d work for me.
50. What’s the best route to your heart?
*You’ve got to show and tell me you love me.
51. Have you ever met someone through the internet, and then met them in real life?
* Yes
52. What is your favorite sport?
*None of them.
53. What has been troubling you lately?
* Lack of serious money.
54. Did you enjoy your high school prom? If you haven’t gotten there yet, do you look forward to it? it you didn’t go, why not?
* Didn’t go. Went to an all boys high school. 
56. Do you know what makes you happy?
* Being left alone to do what I want to do.
57. Tell me about the last book you read.
* I’m currently reading Susan Crawford’s “Captive Audience”. It’s about how the cable companies and wireless companies screw us in the U.S.  I tend to read a lot of stuff like this, about the unseemly underbelly of the beast.
8. What is the nicest compliment you’ve ever been given?
* I’ve been told that everyone was singing my accolades. That was pretty cool. 
59. Who was your first crush?
* I have no idea.
60. Do you believe that there is life on other plants?
* Put it this way, hydrogen, oxygen and carbon are the most COMMON elements in the universe. And what are we made of, mostly that group. So yeah, I think there’s probably life out there. It’s just the distances are so huge we may never know.
61. Predict what your life will look like a year from now.
* Well, within the next year I’ll begin my little empire – I just want to make enough money to be a serious thorn in the side of National Grid, Verizon, and Cox. Own a few politicians. That kind of stuff.
62. Often, people will ask how your last relationship ended. I want to know how it began.
* My current relationship of twenty years began as a random meetup. That’s all I’ll say about it.
63. Where is your favorite place to go out and eat?
* Place right down the street, Phoenix Dragon in Providence.
64. What is something you want to change about your current situation?
*A place that is ours to do with what I want to do.  For example I want to get active on the amateur radio HF bands. So I need to put up an antenna and I will not do so on a rented place.
65. Early bird or night owl?
* I’m a night owl.
66. Are there any childhood possessions you still hold on to?
*All I have are the photos. Everything else has been either sold off, thrown out, or otherwise lost.
7. Give me an unpopular opinion you have.
Government can in fact do great things.
68. What was the last song that was stuck in your head?
Sade – No Ordinary Love
69. Where do you live?
* Providence, RI
70. Do you believe in giving kids medals and trophies for participation?
* For just participation, no. For effort and accomplishment yes.
71. What is the longest car ride you’ve ever taken?
* Providence, RI to Ocala, FL. Picture it a traipse through the Carolina’s, Georgia, and Florida in a 1991 Lincoln Continental. 1,254 miles. I drove most of it because I found out my buddy was a whiny bitch when it came to not getting enough sleep.
72. Have you ever taken part in a protest?
* Yes I have. Numerous protests in the state, and even the National Equality March in D.C. I’ve been EVERYWHERE on the east coast.
73. Would you ever use an online dating service?
* No need to do so.
74. What is your ethnic heritage?
* Italian, with the other side predominantly Irish with some Mohawk thrown in for good measure.
75. Describe a person who inspires you.
* I don’t get a lot of inspiration from other people. I get inspired by the things I read though.
76. If you earned minimum wage doing what you love, would you?
* Hard question. I’ve done a lot of jobs I hated for the money.
77. Do you believe in luck.
* Sometimes. I am pretty lucky.
78. Describe that last time you were very angry at someone.
* As I get older I realize what a useless emotion anger is.
79. Do you want to live until your 100?
* It’s likely that with my family background and advances in medical research I’ll probably live to over 100. And yes I want to.
80. Do people change? If so, how do you keep a relationship together when both of you start to change?
* Yes people change. I’ve experience immense change in my life.
81. Have you ever risked a friendship by telling someone you liked them?
* No
82. Would you rather be alone doing something you enjoy, or doing something you don’t like with your best friends?
* The former.
83. Do you practice what you preach?
* I try
84. If you take precautions to stay safe, do you ultimately act more recklessly?
* Well, I wear a seat belt while driving, but I enjoy speed. So I do know that rapid deceleration from say 80MPH to 0MPH will kill me regardless.
85. What do you value more in a significant other: Attractiveness or intelligence?
* Intelligence. I need to be able to carry on a conversation with him.
86. Are you hard-headed?
* Oh I can be a stubborn bastard when I know I’m right.
87. Have you ever laughed uncontrollably when it was socially inappropriate?
* Not that I can remember.
88. When have you felt most alive?
* Politics – when I’m testifying, writing, etc.
89. Where do you prefer to live? A city? The suburbs? The countryside? The mountains?
* I love living in the city. And want to move to a BIGGER city.
90. Do you often skip breakfast?
* Nope – never missed it that I can remember.
91. How do you know what true love is?
* Yeah I do.
92. Would you want to know the exact date and time you were going to die?
* No.
93. Where is “home” for you?
*Well, where I live right now. But it’s starting to feel less like home.
94. What song best describes your life right now?
* Not really sure how to answer this one.
95. Do you want to be perfect?
* I try – and I can be. 
96. What have you never tried, but would really like to someday?
* I really should take some culinary classes too. I’ve learned a lot on my own but it might be nice to codify it.
97. How do you express your creativity?
* Blogging of course but I also engineer little projects to big projects.
98. Describe your neighborhood?
* Working class with about 12,000 people in it. The properties are interesting because the whole area was built between 1850 and 1900.
99. Name something you only liked because it was popular.
* Nothing. I’ve become immune to the popularity craze.
100. Give me the story of your life in six words.
* I don’t give a flippin’ fuck.

Initial Thoughts on the KST V6

So it’s sort of a bear to program this radio. I might just pop for the programming cable. It’s cheaper than the one for my Yeasu.

I did manage to turn off the beeping on the radio. Every device I own that came with beeping buttons – I’ve turned it off. It’s annoying.

But I did manage to trip a 222MHz repeater with it. At 5W output it should trip it. I also like that it has a hard power switch. None of this soft switch crap. It’s a nice, lightweight radio only slightly smaller than my Yeasu.

The body on the radio is plastic, very much unlike my Yaesu VX-7r which is a made out of Magnesium. But it was a little over 110g while my Yaesu tips the scales at almost 300g.

Sorry for getting metric on you there. But amateur radio by it’s nature is metric. Look at how we refer to the bands – 2m, 1.25m, 70cm, 6m, 10m, 20m, 12m, 15m, 30m, etc. All in meters.

And I discovered something about how USPS works. It seems packages are handled almost completely separate from the regular mail stream. I realized this because we shipped a package to Keyron’s mom and it went right from my local post office to Springfield, MA and from there to Raleigh, NC and finally to Columbia, NC. For my radio it went from Susquehanna, PA to Lehigh Valley, PA and then to the main RI postal facility at 02904 and finally to my local post office. 

Now had I sent a letter to NC it would have gone 02909 to 02904 (The main) then to Raleigh, then Columbia. So it appears Springfield, MA is a package hub for USPS. Interesting.