22 January 2012

New 5.11 tacticool hat for 2012.

Most people who carry a radio or two in their line of work are probably familiar with the 5.11 Tactical line of clothing designed for extreme operators, door kickers, and donut munchers. I know a few blacktical shemagh wearing forum moderators who have whole 5.11 outfits that color coordinate with their Magpul accessories.

Now nothing says Mutual Aid like 5.11's fade resistant polo shirts that have three points to clip speaker mics, and you gotta love a pair of pants that have enough pockets for a couple dozen radios. But before you suit up to head down to the local Starbucks you better pick up the new 2012 hat from 5.11.

5.11 doesn't sell their hats, they only give them away. I picked mine up last week at the SHOT show, but I'm sure LAPG will soon have some sort of deal where you get one free if you buy three pairs of pants, or a Light for Life, or some polos, etc. 

I will admit for being a Cambodian made give-away-able hat, 5.11 did a good job this year. The hat is made of ripstop material, and the embroidery is pretty solid, they even embroidered a little sniper dude on the side. They removed the traditional metal button (the thing that smashes into your skull when you wear shooting muffs) from the crown of the hat and replaced it with a 1" x 1" piece of "loop" which I guess you could velcro a infrared reflector patch to so helicopters can see you sitting out on the patio at Starbucks. I also noticed, the interior stitching is piped with a 5.11 ribbon similar to the way New Era does their 59Fifty ball caps, but unlike the 59Fifty's these of course are not fitted. However, the adjustable hook and loop on the back can reasonably fit my size 7 1/2 mellon. 

14 January 2012

Picked up a new BK

Well, not new it's an old LPX2101 800MHz LTR trunking radio. It was listed as broken for parts, but with a price of $2 I figured I'd pick it up. It's pretty unique, physically, for a Bendix King. I powered it on and it spears to be working, but just the screen is dead, or more likely just needs to be reseated. We'll see what happens.

10 January 2012

What old Moto radios are NB capable?

I was in a discussion the other day of what Jedi series radios could be narrowbanded to 12.5kHz. This pdf file from Motorola lists that the following discontinued portables "may be capable of migrating to 12.5 kHz Efficiency."

HT1550 XLS
JT 1000
MT 2000
MTS 2000
Spirit GT
XTS 3000
XTS 3500

Not sure what they mean by "May Be," probably just means depending on when the radio was made, or how it is flashed you are SOL. Why don't they just publish a "these will be paperweights after Jan 1st, 2013" list, or a FUBAR list?

08 January 2012

I almost ran into a police pursuit tonight.

I saw the local bird flying ahead of me as I was driving tonight, but thought little of it since it's Saturday night. Then I heard over the local PD freq that a pursued vehicle had just pulled into a cul-de-sac about a block or two from where I was, and the occupants had bailed. I caught a little of the ending on video from a side street, then boogied on out of the way and let the boys in blue do their work.

07 January 2012

Alternate batteries to Alkaline AA's

There has been some discussion on the Bendix King user group about alternate batteries to standard alkaline AA batteries when using a BK clamshell. For years I have kept a set of nine 2000mAh Sanyo Eneloop batteries in my clamshell and I will say they outperform the standard BK battery as far as run time and there is also a notable improvement in "getting out" from areas where I have been unable to raise dispatch or hit a repeater. Even in my FT-60r "alkaline tray" I have used the eneloops with results that outperform the standard Yaesu battery.

The Energizer Ultimate Lithium are some of the lightest and longest lasting AA batteries on the market. They have a shelf life of over a decade even in extreme environments, so you can leave them sitting in your backpack for years and don't have to worry about them. Here is a spec sheet from Energizer comparing them to Alkaline cells. While the lithium's are not an economical alternative to the eneloops, which have a +1000 cycle recharge life, when backpacking the lithium batteries would cut the weight of my clamshell in half. You could probably go on a three day backpacking trip with just a clamshell of lithium cells and as long as you keep transmissions to a minimum it would probably last the entire trek.

Open free ham HT software.

Get all those frequencies on that HT organized!

Free software from Jim Mitchell, KC8UNJ

Of course use at your own risk, Don't brick your radio!

DIY BK tactical repeater

Here is a pdf file explaining how to convert old Bendix King HT's into a low power tactical repeater. I have done this before with a MPH and LPH I bought off eBay for about $10 each. I'll post more info later.


06 January 2012

NIFC communications hot sheet

Wild fire season is a serious concern if you are like me and live in the wildland interface areas of So Cal. The National Interagency Fire Center has a blog where they post communications info pertaining to wildland fire fighting.