If, like me, you enjoy listening in to the various aviation communications, then here is a list of the various Honolulu Airport frequencies:
- 127.900 – ATIS (Automatic Terminal Information System. You have to listen to this and remember the information letter so that Clearance doesn’t have to repeat any information already on the recording).
- 124.100 – Clearance (To get your planes callsign into the system, verify you have the information from ATIS, and give you permission to depart Class B airspace via any one of the departure routes).
- 121.900 – Ground (Permission to taxi to the runway).
- 118.100 – Tower (Controls the planes through the takeoff and the landing).
- 119.100 – Approach/Departure (For planes turning West after takeoff and for all planes coming in).
- 124.800 – Departure (For planes turning East after takeoff).
By the way, those are in order for a plane leaving Honolulu, from the first to the last. You could listen to an airplane’s communications all the way through. You could also listen for a friend/family plane to come in. For a plane coming in, it’s a little easier: 119.100 (for clearance into Class B airspace), 118.100 (for runway, permission to land, and taxiway), 121.900 (for permission to leave the taxiway and taxi to the terminal).
Well, I’ve been busy. I’ve passed IS-700, qualified as a Net Control Supervisor for my club, and have taken on every other Wednesday (starting tonight) as the NCS for our nightly net. That’s 3 FEMA courses done. I have at least 4 more that I want to do.
Our last club meeting was at the Hawaii State Red Cross building over by DiamondHead. Wow. Great meeting. Depending on the progress of my various projects, I may volunteer as an amateur radio operator for the Red Cross. We’ll see.
Speaking of projects, one of them is that I’m rebuilding the club website. The current one needs a facelift. I should have it ready to upload in a week or so.
So, I’m joining a black bear hunt for this fall on Kuiu Island in Alaska. For emergency communications off the island, I am the only General Class licensed ham (so far) and so I picked up an FT-897 off eBay. This should be a great rig in the event we run into any problems.
I have a ton of questions based on the following information:
- I have not yet ever operated HF.
- Though I understand many antenna basics, much of it still confuses me.
- I do not have an antenna tuner.
- The manual for the 897 states
“When installing a “balanced” antenna such as a Yagi or dipole,
remember that the FT-897 is designed for use with an
(unbalanced) coaxial feedline. Always use a balun or other
balancing device so as to ensure proper antenna system performance.”
- My pack weight for the trip is already exceeded with this radio and batteries, I must go absolutely minimum portable with the antenna.
- Near the end of the trip, if we haven’t used the radio for emergency contacts, I plan to drain the batteries making QSO’s, which I have not yet made on HF.
Question 1: What band/frequency do you recommend for making contacts from the island?
Question 2: What antenna design do you recommend? It needs to be simple and inexpensive (which I think means a wire dipole), but I’m confused about the statement from the manual about the radio designed for an unbalanced coax feedline.
Question 3: Will I need an antenna tuner? Would an antenna tuner be only for multi band operations? Can I get by without one if I only plan to operate on two frequencies (one for QSO’s and one for the Alaska HF emergency frequency)?
Question 4: What recommendations and suggestions do you have for a beginner making his first HF contacts? I’d like to go on the air and not make “newbie-blunders”.
Basically, I’d like to make a trip to the hardware store this weekend and get the materials to build me an antenna. I can experiment with it next week, while I’m still on leave. I’m just not comfortable enough with the information I have to start building one. I’ve read everything from “you will need an antenna tuner if you are using unbalanced feedline such as coax, even with a balun” to “just throw a wire over a tree and make your contacts”. There’s a lot of middle ground between those statements.
So, any ideas for the newbie? Thanks in advance!
Just got home from the hospital. Had a baby boy (well, my wife did – ok, we both did) on Feb 4th, 2006 at 8:10pm.
He weighed 10 lbs and 4.6 oz, and was 20.5 in long. Big kid… we thought he was going to graduate college he was in there so long. He went almost 42 weeks.
Everybody is resting tonight, I’ll post pictures tomorrow.
…So, I’m the proud new winner of a used eBay FT-897! I know, I’m excited too. I already can’t wait to get it. Should be here within a week or so.
And, what next? Hmmm… antenna. I’m thinking a really simple really portable string-up wire dipole antenna. Not necessarilly all band, but at least 20m and maybe 40m. Something that can be thrown up over the trees and operated on low power (for battery life).
Then, portability. Transport container. Something hard-cased like aluminum, or soft cased? Something hand-carry, or shoulder/back carry?
Of course, I’ll need another programming cable (I think) and programming software (definitely).
What about solar charging? Portable panels are getting pretty cheap nowadays.
Hmmm… and the
habit addiction hobby expands…