Welcome to my amateur radio website, n0xmz.com. My main persuits in ham radio are home-brewing and working DX. Ever since I was a kid, I've been fascinated with electronics. I loved to take apart electronic devices, especially radios, just to see how they were built. I seldom could put them back together. I built my first AM transmitter when I was about 8 years old and learned how to program computers in BASIC 2 years later. Today, I pretty much do the same thing, but on a more advanced level. In addition to my amateur radio hobby, I'm working on a BS-CIS (computer information systems) degree. I enjoy working with Linux on all of my computer (except one) and several servers that I run from home, some are hosted. I enjoy learning C, C++, and Java programming. Lately, my focus has been on shell scripting and managing headless servers and databases, some for work but mostly as a hobby.
I like to work all the bands I can, given my current real estate. I'm usually on 20 meters. I miss 40 but there's just too much noise on all bands below 10 MHz where I live. I like SSB, PSK31, and occasionally SSTV and other digital modes. I'd like to see some more digital activity on 30 meters. Contact me to arrange a scheduled attempt. As for repeaters, I'm almost always available on the Allstar 900 MHz Link (Node 41170) and occasionally 2m and 70cm. I scan most local repeaters within range. Tom Apel, K5TRA, runs multiple nodes that connect the entire Austin, TX area to a system that connects other 900 machines in other states like HI, OR, MO, etc.
I was first licensed on June 15, 1993. I passed the written exams for the Technician and General class licenses but I didn't know Morse code. In 2006, I finally learned it after a few weeks of daily practice with an excellent program called "CW Player" by Gabriel, F6DQM. I was then able to upgrade to Extra Class at Hamcom in 2006.
There isn't much room for antennas when you live in an apartment so I make do with what I have. I'm always looking for new ways to "make a better mousetrap". I'm able to work all bands from 7 to 927 Mhz. I keep a 20 ga. dipole hidden in the trees, about 20 feet on each leg. The trees are covered by a long vine that has latched onto my wires, making them stronger! On the balcony, I have 2m and 70 cm yagi antennas that I built, based on the designs by Kent Britain, WA5VJB. A dual-band j-pole for FM repeater work is kept in the bedroom to keep some distance between the similar antennas.
Above: The radios are Icom IC-706MkIIG, Motorola Spectra (900 MHz), and some HTs (not shown): Icom T7H, Motorola MTX9250 (900 MHz), and a Uniden BCD-396T scanner.
Below: Home-brew 4.8 GHz AMD 6-core box with 16 GB of RAM running Kubuntu Linux. It feeds both of the 24" monitors shown in the first pic. Also pictured are the cable modem, a auxilliary switch, sillyscope, breadboards, other goodies.
Below: Balcony antenna farm. I live in an apartment, so stealth operation is important. I threw (2) 20 ga. wires into the trees and it works 40m and up. I don't know how long they are, I just threw a wire (tied to a fishing weight) as far as I could, as high as I could, into the trees. Some vines growing on the tree have attached to the wire so they are extra strong now. What a nice surprise that was! I also hung a cellular mobile antenna with a ground plane for the 900 MHz radio. It's hard to see here, but you can see its feedline going up on the left, behind the yagis. The yagis are also home-brew, using the designs by Kent Britain, WA5VJB. There's a 6-element for 144 and an 11-element for 432, all built with 3/4" PVC and 1/4" copper tubing.
Below: The mobile antenna farm. On the left is a Larsen 2/70 dual-band VHF/UHF. In the middle is a is a Larsen for the 900 MHz band. Don't be afraid to drill holes for the antennas. It's the ONLY way to do it and your car will not lose its value. They're waterproof, the most reliable, and the most durable way to connect a mobile antenna. You don't see police cruisers using lip mounts, do you? The only mag-mount antenna is the tiny (barely visible) 802.11 antenna on the far right. Next to it is a Byonics GPS reciever. I used to run APRS but now I use those for wardriving.
Below: The Commodore 64, circa 1983, still works like a champ. Just about invisible in this pic is a Beaglebone Black running headless Ubuntu (just to the right of the monitor). The 'Bone, a Windows 7 machine, a 386 and a 486 all connect to the KVM switch that outputs to this 19" monitor (except for the Commodore, of course. The Windows machine (which I hope is the last version of Windows I'll ever buy) serves as a Media Center client, recording TV shows. I also use it for VOAProp, Nova, MixW, and SDR#. I may eventually move them to a virtual machine but for now, I'm happy with the setup.
Below: In my opinion, the Asus RT-N16 is the best single-band router money can buy. It has external antenna ports on the back so you can use any antenna you want. Avoid the ones with internal antennas like the plague! The best part is that they can be flashed with DD-WRT or Tomato firmware to give them a lot more capabilties and even increased output power. I use Tomato, which is Linux-based, so I can even SSH into this bad boy. If you look closely, you'll see a small black box to the left with a red LED. That's a 300 GB external HDD, plugged into the router which includes USB ports and a Samba server.