Thursday 19 August 2010

New Kenwood TS-590 Release Specifications


The new Kenwood TS-590 that created a buzz at Dayton this year is finally being released worldwide this October. Kenwood Japan has released the final specifications. It looks like it’s going to be a superb receiver but the pricing looks to be well over 2K USD. Kenwood’s Japan site lists it at 228,900.00 JPY=2,679.41 USD. No doubt this is due to the fluctuating value of the YEN these past few months.

You can read all about it at these links at Kenwood Japan

Here’s a pretty good page translator for the second link:

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Tuesday 17 August 2010

The Latest From PAR Electronics – Dale W4OP

PAR_logo_animated One of my most popular postings is the interview I did with Dale Parfitt, the owner of PAR Electronics, 2 years ago. Dale makes amateur and commercial antennas. The amateur line and specifically the PAR EndFedz antennas are big sellers, used by amateurs, SWLs, and commercial interests alike. If one checks the eHam ratings on the PAR antennas, well, they can’t get any better than a 5 across the board.

Over the years Dale has had trouble filling amateur orders and has had to rely on time slots of one to two weeks where amateur orders were taken and then filled. These windows of opportunity happened several times a year as PAR was just too busy with commercial interests to accommodate the amateur market full time. That is about to change.

On August 2, 2010 on the PAR Electronics website a press release was published indicating “LNR Precision acquires EndFedz line of amateur and SWL antennas”.

PAR EndFedz are now being manufactured exclusively by LNR Precision. Please contact them for pricing/availability.

On August 2, 2010 LNR Precision, Inc. acquired the popular EndFedz line of amateur and SWL antennas. Larry, AE4LD, is the new owner. Larry is a talented machinist, active amateur, QRPer and will be far better equipped to manufacture and expand the EndFedz line of antennas. In recent years, PAR has had to resort to only accepting orders in 1 week windows in order to better balance their growing commercial segment and the amateur products. LNR Precision will have much larger manufacturing capabilities and thus amateurs will benefit from much faster order filling. Dale W4OP will be staying on to complete new designs and offering technical assistance to LNR Precision. Amateurs can expect new novel EndFedz models in the near future.

I wish to thank the many thousands of amateurs who have bought EndFedz and whom I think of as friends. I will continue to design/manufacture both commercial and amateur filters and expand our line of commercial and amateur VHF/UHF antenna products and hopefully some really interesting surface mount accessories for HF rigs. You may contact Larry at

Give us a few days to complete the transition.

I had also read about the change at PAR on several other websites like eHam and one of the Yahoo amateur groups.

I was surprised but glad that Dale had taken some steps to alleviate the EndFedz supply problem. I was sceptical about the level of service LNR Precision might be able to provide as Dale was always there to answer questions; even late into the evening. I don’t think we have to worry. I contacted Dale a few days ago and he graciously agreed to another interview. Here it is in its entirety:

VE3MPG: You've obviously made some difficult decisions in the last few months to sell off your amateur antenna division. Tell us how and why this came about and also finding a competent and astute business person, Larry  AE4LD, to carry on what you started.

Dale W4OP: This was a very hard decision to make. I felt as though I was caught between the proverbial rock and hard place. Our core business has always been commercial. Those clients are  very valuable to us but they can also be very demanding. As the EndFedz line continued to grow, I had to resort to limiting orders to 1 week windows every 5 weeks or so. This allowed us to better compartmentalize amateur production and time requirements but was not really fair to our clients. I was personally involved 80+ hours per week. This obviously was very tiring and also prevented me from pursuing other interests. So, I began looking for a buyer for the EndFedz. After four false starts, Larry came into the picture. He is the perfect candidate. He was already using our product. Larry also has injection molding capabilities and an extensive machine shop. Finally, he lives in North Carolina which made the entire transition much easier and smoother.

You mention some new antenna designs in your press release on your website. Can you give us an exclusive look into what's developing?

Dale W4OP: I really cannot divulge what I am currently working on- but it involves several new designs that I simply could not bring to market through  PAR for lack of production time. A couple are antennas that customers have long been asking for though. Look for some very novel antenna designs with pending patent claims.

With the acquisition of the manufacturing of the PAR amateur antennas including shipping and technical support, what will you do with your spare time? Any plans for a real holiday?

Dale W4OP: I love to play billiards and also I am a competitive distance runner. I will finally have the time to practice both sports and travel to meets. I also just bought another SGC SG-2020 and will be doing a lot of portable ops here in the mountains.

I live on a large Lake (Glenville) that has excellent lake trout, bass and walleye fishing. I have not even bought a license in the last three years. That also will change (my new fly reel just arrived today).

Amateurs around the world are using your antennas and have nothing but praise for the performance and build quality. Your almost immediate email support is legendary. I'm sure that my readers and the users of your fine products  will miss your rapport and camaraderie. What can you say about the loyal following your product and your service have created?

Dale W4OP: I have really been blessed by our clients; made many friends and really appreciate how loyal you all have been. This loyal, patient following is what made all the long hours worthwhile.

PAR will still be manufacturing our Omniangles, Stressed Moxons and filters for amateurs and scanning enthusiasts. I plan on staying active on the QRP reflectors and attending Dayton and FDIM.

In addition I will continue support for PAR products that are out in  the field and will be answering tech questions for LnR for at least a year.

It's been a great run and it's a wonderful feeling knowing the EndFedz line will continue on with Larry and the enthusiasm that he brings to the plate.

Can you add anything else?

Dale W4OP: I appreciate your site Bob. It is not everyone that can  put together insightful questions and keep all of this going. I know I speak for other followers of your site and blog in thanking you for putting your journalism skills to such an interesting and creative  use. Much success in the future. Now is Tokyo ever going to release that 160-->6M HT-200?HT-200

Thanks Dale for your generous contribution to my blog and to my readers. We wish you and Larry, AE4LD, at LnR Precision the very best in your new directions and endeavours.

My previous interview with Dale, W4OP, can be found at this link:

First interview with Dale Parfitt, October 2, 2008

PAR Electronics

LnR Precision

Sunday 15 August 2010

We Have Met The Enemy, And He Is Us

The first step is admitting you have a problem and then asking for help. Nothing wrong with this approach. The Radio Amateurs of Canada, Canada’s national amateur radio organization is in dire need of help. The organization wants change and it identifies itself as having ‘dinosaur disease’ as one fundamental problem amongst many.VE3HG Peter

Peter VE3HG, VP of Public Relations at RAC, has a plea on the RAC blog for members and non-members alike to look at 7 documents for ideas on transforming Radio Amateurs of Canada. Download them to read and please send your comments to Peter in the comments section of the RAC blog or write Peter directly at his RAC email address - ve3hg @ . (remove the spaces)

Is RAC worth saving? Let’s hear from you, hams and non-hams alike. Tell it like it is.

About this entry’s heading – Earth Day 1971

Monday 9 August 2010

California Dreamin’

June and July were busy. Two trips to California and I’ve only been back less than a week from the last one. I had a few days of work and took a few days to just take it easy and see some of the coastline of California. One afternoon was spent on the Pacific Coast Highway north of Los Angeles. Then it was off to San Diego, a beautiful coastal city on the border of southern California and Mexico.

San Diego is home to the Pacific Fleet and there was no shortage of things to see in the harbour. Below is the USS Nimitz, a nuclear powered aircraft carrier anchored at the San Diego Naval Base. The USS Carl Vinson was anchored alongside.

© Bob Baillargeon - CVN-68 - USS NimitzThe ships were surrounded by floating buoys shaped like fat cigars – used to keep any boats away from the carriers – a precaution for all navy ships ever since the USS Cole was targeted and severely damaged in Yemen a few years ago. US Navy armed patrol ships continuously ply the waters near the naval ships guarding against intrusions.

The decommissioned USS Midway, named after the Battle of Midway, is anchored as a permanent museum in the harbour. She was launched in March of 1945 and she served in Korea, Vietnam and Operation Desert Storm. The Navy launched 228 sorties from Midway and Ranger (CV-61) in the Persian Gulf, from Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) en route to the Gulf, and from John F. Kennedy, Saratoga, and America in the Red Sea. Her flight deck is 4 acres in size.
© Bob Baillargeon - USS Midway 
© Bob Baillargeon - USS Midway Harbour Level
© Bob Baillargeon - USS Midway - Flight Deck The USS Midway is one large ship. It actually functioned as a small city so it had its own postal code. Naval engineering practices 60 years ago were quite advanced and subsequent refits over the years made it quite a modern carrier. Newer carriers have a 50 year life expectancy. The United States has 11 active aircraft carriers.
© Bob Baillargeon - USS Midway - hangar area below flight deck © Bob Baillargeon - Midway Flight Deck
© Bob Baillargeon - Radio Central - USS Midway Radio Comms center above (no ham shack here!). The main items that are visible are the three AN/USQ-69 data terminal sets with keyboard and CRT display, and an AN/UYK-20 computer.
© Bob Baillargeon - racks of R-1051B HF receiversRacks of R-1051B HF receivers in Comms Center 
© Bob Baillargeon - R-1051B Receiver© Bob Baillargeon - Command centerThis is the Command Center where the Commander and Officers watched Desert Storm play out on automated monitors – this was the ship’s nerve center. 

© Bob Baillargeon - HF antennas horizontal These are the outboard HF antennas in their horizontal positions on tiltable bases. There’s a set port and starboard.

© Bob Baillargeon - hf antennas vertical


Midway prepares to moor at her final resting place at Navy pier in San Diego where she was to become the largest museum devoted to carriers and naval aviation. (10 January 2004).

I also boarded a “Foxtrot” class Soviet submarine, B39, commissioned in the early 1970s. It was based on German WWII era U-boats. It had a crew of 78, was 300 feet in length and displaced 2000 tons. B39 was assigned to the Soviet Pacific fleet. I’m not sure how 78 sailors lived inside this sub for long period of time. I had a difficult time manoeuvring inside each compartment. Each compartment was accessible via a round porthole about 38 inches wide – you went in feet first and propelled yourself through it. The confined space was claustrophobic. They were extremely low tech but lethal and carried 24 torpedoes and some capable of low-yield nuclear warheads. They played a large part in the Cuban missile crisis and other cold war scenarios.

© Bob Baillargeon - Foxtrot Class Soviet Sub 70s B39 was Diesel-Electric – this design was even quieter than nuclear powered subs. They were used to track NATO and U.S. warship throughout the world’s oceans. See some interior shots here > B-39 Foxtrot-Class Diesel Submarine

So it was a great summer trip to California again. It’s an extremely beautiful state and the people of California are great. I’m headed out next month for a final visit this year.

© Bob Baillargeon - Sunset along the Pacific Coast HighwayTo those of you wondering what kind of camera I use it’s a Canon Powershot G10. I have a future article in the works on how I take and process my digital photos.

The Midway Museum