LDG Z-11 Pro II Cheat Sheet

The LDG Z-11 Pro II is a great little tuner.  Once you get it set up you’ll never touch some settings again – that is until you fat finger something by mistake and have to unfuck yourself.  As such, it’s handy to have a cheat sheet:

Two notes:

  1. It is worth getting the accessory cable.  If you don’t use an accessory cable between the tuner and radio you have to generate a signal when you want to tune.  It’s not enough to key the mic, you have to be talking the entire time. All those spaces between words and conversational pauses – they don’t count.  Buy the cable.
  2. That battery pack install is more daunting then it appears.  I watched the installation video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfkRfw0jwtU) and opened up the magic box.  Those are some damn small holes and I am not a very good solder-meister.  At some point, after some practice, I will attempt the install.  For now I’m running external power.

Initial Setup:

Setup:

Connect Transceiver HF port to Tuner “TX” port.
Connect Antenna to Tuner “ANT” port.
Connect accessory cable Red to Radio to accessory jack, black to Tuner.
Connect power.
Func -> Thresh until Automatic Tune thresh hold is 1.5/2.0
Func -> Auto until outside lights blink (Semi-Auto mode engaged.)
Tune momentarily until lights flash once (Tuner engaged.)
Press Tune for longer then .5 seconds, less then 2.5 seconds to tune.

General Operation:

Before I transmit on any given band I will find an empty freq somewhere (+/- 2khz) around where I intend to transmit and engage the semi-auto tune (Press “Tune” for somewhere between half a second and two and a half seconds.)  If the freq I initially tune to is near the middle of the band I’ll keep an eye on SWR when transmitting.  If the freq I tune to is on the edge of the band I will re-tune if I move.

Troubleshooting:

No Power:

Verify power connector at the unit is seated.
Verify power poles between the connector and batter are seated.
Verify terminals at the battery are seated.

Failed Tune:

Toggle Bypass Mode (Press Tune Momentarily.  Tuner is engaged when LED’s blink once.)
Verify accessory cable is seated correctly (Red connector to Radio Accessory jack.)
Toggle Semi-Auto tune (Func -> C DN Outside LED’s blink)
Reseat jumper from Transceiver to Tuner (TX)
Reseat antenna at Tuner (Ant)

Everything below is present in the manual, it’s just cut up and formatted a little different.

Link to the manual: http://www.ldgelectronics.com/assets/manuals/Z-11ProIIManual.pdf

Page 5:

On the front panel there are six pushbuttons and four LED indicator lights.

  • Func: Pressing momentarily selects secondary functions for other buttons.
  • C Up / C Dn: Manually increase/decrease capacitance.
  • L Up / L Dn: Manually increase/decrease inductance.
  • Tune: Initiates a tuning cycle, or places the tuner in bypass mode.
  • 1.5, 2.0, and >3.0 LEDs: Indicate SWR. Tune LED: Indicates tuning is in progress.

Page 19:

COMMAND SUMMARY

Function  – Button Sequence

Toggle Auto / Semi mode – FUNC then C Dn
Auto Tune Threshold – FUNC then L Dn
High / Low Z Select – FUNC then L Up
Full Tuning Cycle – Hold TUNE for >2.5 seconds
Memory Tuning Cycle – Hold TUNE for 0.5 to 2.5 seconds
Toggle Bypass Mode – Press TUNE momentarily

Page 11:

When in Automatic tuning mode, the Z-11ProII will begin a tuning cycle any time that there is forward RF power, and the measured SWR exceeds a preset threshold. In

Semiautomatic tuning mode, a tuning cycle will only begin when specifically requested by pushing the TUNE button on the front of the tuner, or by pushing the TUNER/CALL button on an appropriately interfaced compatible transceiver.

Page 13:

Toggle Automatic / Semiautomatic Tuning Mode As described above… To toggle between the two, press and release the FUNC button, and then press the C DN/AUTO button. When Automatic tuning mode is selected, the inner two LEDs will blink. Press FUNC and then C DN/AUTO again, and the outer two LEDs will blink, indicating Semiautomatic tuning mode.

Page 12:

Toggle Bypass Mode To toggle between bypassed and active mode, press the front panel TUNE button on the Z- 11ProII momentarily. All four LEDs will flash three times to indicate that the tuner is in bypass mode. Press the front panel Tune button momentarily again to recall the previous tuner settings. The LEDs will flash once to indicate that the tuner is no longer bypassed. This function may be useful if you wish to compare antenna performance with and without the benefit of the tuner’s matching network.

 


Manpack Mod2

Inspired by P’s radio rack and some of the existing “Manpack” forum threads on ARFCOM and the like, I built a rack for my 857d.  Construction material was 1/2″ copper pipe and the base was an old plastic cutting board.  It was spec’d for the radio, a tuner and battery.  My first time brazing, the box came out a little skew.  It’s one of those things you don’t notice unless you built it – but it was there staring me in the eye everytime.  The battery was bungee’d in and blocked access to the connectors in the back.  In addition, I hadn’t figured on the height of the radio mount, just the height of the radio and tuner and so the tuner wouldn’t fit.  The Mod1 pack took up the entirety of my 25l ruck, and wouldn’t fit in my frame pack.


BLUF

At a monthly get together, I had asked P about his rack and how it was working out.  I was thinking about rebuilding my rack with better access to the rear panel.  I’m commonly switching between headphones and speakers on the radio, and when running digital to my computer there’s some rigging to be done.  I’ve been idly sketching plans and thinking about a better method for making a square rig, and last weekend executed.  In the final design I kept the space for the tuner – it does cost size and weight – but now I can run a random wire antenna if need be.
Final Sketch
To keep things reasonably square my intent was was to braze the bottom/top and then the T’s that would connect the two sections.  I also brazed the back vertical section.  The stubs are used at the connector (90* -> Cross T -> Vertical T)  heavy sections at the front handles.
Layout
Dry Fit before final solder
Final step was the base fit.  I intended to use another cutting board, but Home Depot was closer and J had mentioned using a sheet of 8×10 lexan.  I drilled the holes for the radio mount, and then sized/drilled/cut/filed slots for the battery.  Finally, I riveted the sheet to the frame and mounted the radio and battery.
The tuner will be fixed to the radio using self-adhesive velcro squares.  The battery ties into the lexan plate using strips of one-wrap (velcro cable-ties)  I’ll work up some sort of a kydex mount for the microphone clip.
In the day pack
In the frame pack
Mod 1 top, Mod 2 bottom

Extra Extra!

Apologies for up and disappearing for February.  I got a little wild and started studying for extra.  There was also sufficient peer pressure and a low enough barrier to entry that I picked up a WolphiLink and did a little digital operating.

Updates will continue.


Downtime

As tends to be the case, when my wife comes down ill I follower her about a week later.  This was no different.  Co-incidentally it lined up with a rest week from exercise.

After last weeks post, I hashed out a commo plan with E.  VHF/UHF with freqs, windows and plans for both infrastructure and no infrastructure.  As part of this we’re going a little science to figure out what we can expect as far as signal propagation.  This also prompted the development of a UV5r cheat sheet – meant to be Index Card sized and provide a quick guide to common tasks.

I’ve also started work on my commo binder.  This includes gathering up the local VHF/UHF repeater, net and club information and HF net information (ARES, AMRRON etc).

I’ve started studying for the Extra exam.  Next test is late Feb, we will see how ready I can get.  CW training has stalled out.  I will rig my radio up to my pc to record CW traffic and begin working on copying actual traffic in conjunction with Koch-method type reinforcement.


Fear The Shopping List

A pal has recommended Fear The Walking Dead.  I’m working my way through the second episode now.  I’m a mild TWD fan (read the comics right up until Carl got shot – and lived) and caught up to the current TV show.

Bear in mind, you get out of this exercise what you put into it.  The more realistic you are, the better your return on investment.  Because the problems we face are complex we can’t take into account every variable.  The answers we come up to these problems may be worthless – but the process by which we get to those answers is where the real value lies.

Anyways, I’m not getting into the should haves and shouldn’t haves of fictional characters in fantastic situations, what I am going to scenario is this:


 

You have two hours heads-up on a suitable SHTF event.  This is a no-doubt, all-in situation.

Situation A: You’re going to bug in.  How long does it take you gather up your dependents?  What’s you shopping list?  What are your actions-on?

Situation B: You’re bugging out. How long does it take you gather up your dependents?  What’s you packing list?  What are your actions-on?


 

Here’s the So-So Samurai setup.  At the house we have a comfortable 2 months worth of food and water.  I’m not hip to our waste volume, but I’m going to suggest we can manage 3 months of sanitary waste before we’re squatting in the back yard.  Sun permitting we can triage electric needs.  We are deficient in winter heating (to be remedied in 2016.)

Situation A:  I am blessed to be within a half hour of home.  My dependents are closer then that.  My shopping list:  Home Depot Plywood, Lumber (plywood and econostuds), hand tools, Nails, Screws.  Grocery Store:  Medicine (cold relief, pain relief, first aid supplies), soap, canned goods, water, fire logs and charcoal.  Actions on: Notify the folks that need it.  Engage the locals.  Secure our chickens.  Pack one vehicle for bug out.  Pack two bags for bug out.

Situation B: Again, minimal time collecting dependents and getting back home.  Our bug-out supplies would include our camping and hiking gear, which is prepacked and ready to go.  Personal documents, radio gear, make some determinations regarding the chickens – we could take them with us.  Quick planning session on where we’re bugging out and routes.

Situation A I’m feeling pretty good.

Situation B identified some soft work to be done.  There are not so many ways out of the area that I can’t manage an hours worth of planning in any direction.

I’m also working out some comm plans with the folks near enough to worry about, but far enough not to reach to easily.


BDSM and CW

I have a friend who’s hot for Digital Ham stuff.  He’s a big “TEOTWAWKI” sort of guy who values digital comms for getting a message through when band conditions aren’t pristine.  He doesn’t want to learn CW (continuous wave) though…

On top of needing all the standard HAM equipment

…digital modes require:

A modem
A computer
An agreed to transmission protocol (and there’s a lot of them.)

…CW requires:

A keyer/paddles

You could argue CW also requires a protocol – but Morse Code is the standard.  Now, the question is how to learn Morse Code.

I picked up a straight key app on my phone to practice keying.  It’s not worth much, but at this point I know the alphabet from a “sending” perspective.  I don’t have the rhythm down to satisfy my phone regarding individual letters and words.  I imagine who ever is on the receiving end of my transmission w i l l b h o r r i f i e d b y t h e c a d e nc e.  More troubling though is that this has no impact on my ability to copy (receive) Morse Code.  I can grab one letter at a time from a string, but it’s a lot tongue hanging out, squinty eyes attention and focus.

I’m still working through it, 30 minutes a day for two weeks.  My ability to copy individual letters is improving.  Ultimately though this should be as fluid as regular language…  Time will tell.

I bounce between the following resources:

www.lcwo.net
http://jk3.us/morsegame/

I will confess the Koch Method of learning CW doesn’t interest me.  I immediately and unintentionally try to game the system.  This leads to 90% copy rates right up until the wheels fall off somewhere around lesson 3.  Drinking from the waterhose of 5 character strings is a two minute exercise of frustration.

I think kb6nu may be the way to go.  His thoughts on teaching CW are here.

 

 


Dry Fire Revisited

Previous thoughts on DF:

…So that’s where I was.  The pistol stuff was comprehensive and factored in a lot of one handed draws and reloads.  Currently my range time is sparse and so I’m thinking I should refocus on the basics.  Rifle work was way overkill.  In my daily life the chances of me using a rifle are somewhere below winning the state lottery.

The current regime is

  • 10 shots SHO from high ready
  • 10 shots WHO from high ready
  • 30 shots Freestyle from concealment
  • 10 reloads

I’ve been running the twice a week and I can subjectively state my reload has improved immensely.  There was enough slop in my reload technique that the improvement was noticeable.  Draw-stroke wise we’re looking at shaving off .20 and getting back into the 1.5s headshot range.  I run video every once in a while to get another view and watch the time stamp.

Here are some hardware tweaks to make regular dry-fire easier to engage in and improve ROI:

I’ve dedicated a gun to DF.
A NY-1 trigger (11lbs) spring has been installed.  If I can break a clean shot at 11lbs, I can do so at the 5.5lbs on my carry guns.
This gun has a Blade-Tech training barrel in it.  This gives me immediate visual confirmation that this pistol is clear.
I have two magazines set aside for dry-fire.  They have no followers or springs installed.  This allows me to run the slide in conjunction with the training barrel.

For reload drills I set a cardboard box containing a cotton tactical training enhancement magazine retention shemagh on my chair.  Reloads  are performed over the chair, the “empty” magazine is caught in the box (doesn’t bounce out because of the shemagh.)  This decreases the time between reload drills.

On the software side of things the short nature of the dry-fire session makes the attention to detail that much more important.  On the one handed work I pay close attention to trigger finger placement.  There’s been some talk about having “deep” trigger finger placement.  I’ve played around a bit and what gives me a consistently clean break is still the “tip” of my finger placed at the bottom of the trigger.  This keeps the rest of my finger off the frame of the gun, provides the best leverage on the trigger and keeps the sights steady through the trigger press.

During my draws I run my first five or so at moderate speed, focusing on hitting each of my index points cleanly.  The next 20 reps are done at speed, attention is paid  after each shot breaks to hold the front sight in view after the shot breaks.  The last five reps are done as fast as possible, remaining focused on the index points noted above and minimizing the “go fast” flailing.

Rifle dryfire, reloads and more dynamic pistol practice is done adhoc.

 

 


2016 Goals

So 2015 shook out pretty well.  What’s on the table for 2016?  Specific course of action and milestone information to come.

The hold overs from 2015:

Lose Weight
210 again…  Why didn’t this work out in 2015?  Because I am a caloric vacuum cleaner that hydrates with alcohol.  Why’s this going to work in 2016?  Small steps and maybe some life style changes.  Slow it down on the booze, get back to a regular sleep schedule, change up the portions.

Super Hero Maintenance
I hate cardio.  Time to do more of it.  Goal is 30 minutes twice a week.
Two KB sessions a week.
Two “strict” DF sessions a week.  One “ninja” DF session a week.

Solar Stuff
Looking to increase my on-hand batteries.  Also looking to get a backpackable solar solution for keeping the HF rig charged while on the go.

The new or expanded stuff for 2015:

Learn CW
This might be the new type of goal… a little hardware and a little software.  Anyways, CW is like digital – but analog.  The ability to pass information with relative low power in poor band conditions without relying on additional hardware (Signallink and Modem.)  This is a commitment, and I don’t think it’s like riding a bicycle.

Commo Book

I’m going to set to work on a dedicated commo book.  Freq’s, schedules, etc.  All in one place, ready to go with the radio.  Easily shared, easily printed.

Yaesu 857 Appliance Operators Guide
As I was learning my radio, I took some notes.  I’ll get those notes a little streamlined and a little published.  Largely, it’s nothing that isn’t in the manufacturers printed manual, but will be set up in a crawl/walk/run and contextual manner.

SOTA
Hiking and radios?  Yes, lets give this a try.

Get a New Job
I work with a lot of great people, but there are some organizational things that I don’t think are surmountable.  I’m going to get ahead of the depression train, though, and start looking for new work before I burn out completely.

Training Plates
Pick up a set of AR500 plates for training.  The ceramic plates are fine, functional and good.  I’m going to save them for when there’s ill intent involved.  The AR500 plates for range time and the occasional man-card exercise renewel will be plenty good and less likely to fracture.

Up the CCW Game
I’m going to increase my NPE capabilities.  Also waiting for an AIWB+ Light solution that will work with current equipment.

Write More
I’m going to work on a novella – the sort of thing that’s been started a half dozen times but never made it past 5 pages.  I’m also going to publish an article here, at least twice a month.  Promise.


2015 YIR

The last few years I’ve been keeping a note book.  It’s mostly odds and ends, knife sketches, plans, directions etc etc.  Even when I’m not keeping a record here on the blog, it’s still being done.  The great part of this yearly journal is I can look back over the years and see how things have changed. The first page of the 2015 book was Goals:

Lose Weight
A perennial goal.  I was as high as 240lbs, goal was 210lbs, I am now 230lbs.  I can argue some change in muscle mass, but overall I’m not satisfied with where I am.  This goal will persist.

Solar Power
This goal was nebulous – but start high level and work down to the details.  Initially I was looking to be able to recharge battery powered tools.  Scope increased to charge batteries for my HF rig.  This goal is partially met.  I have the means to charge power tool batteries.  This goal persists because of an increased scope.

General License
Done, onto the next phase.

General Gear
Done, still room for improvement – onto the next phase.

Suppressor
Done!

308 Rifle and Glass
Not done, HF radio stuff stole the focus.  Persisting on.

Make a Spear
.22 Revolver

Preface this with, I live in the city.  I have this idea of urban critter pacification, in particular when it comes to defending the chicken coop.  I don’t want to go hands on with a critter, but I will pin it in place and use a CB cap to punch its tickets.  This is a laughable “it would be cool to make a spear” type goal.  The revolver is a nice touch.  This goal will persist, I expect the spear to maybe happen in 2016, the revolver is a target of opportunity.

8 Range Mags
2 Practice Mags
I have dedicated, hi-viz range magazines that I will use unto destruction.  I also have 2 practice magazines, rendered incapable of holding a bolt open or feeding rounds for dry-fire practice.

Base Layers and Blankets
Rain Pants and Poncho
Headgear and Gloves
I have this idea that I want to be comfortable in the back country in the winter.  I currently don’t have an optimal setup to support that.

Allen Wrenches
I’m not sure why this is on the list?

Dental Stuff
General Health Stuff
Done and done.

~40lb KB
I currently jump from 35lbs to 50lbs.  This is all well in fine for doing swings, but it’s murder on things like TGUs or Windmills.  At some point I’ll get a weight somewhere in between these two.  Until then though, it’s high weight low reps or low weight high reps.

 


Why hello there!

Lets kick the dust of this and get back to business.  I had started contributing over on SurvivalSpot.com but things there just didn’t work out.  Too much Ebola/Tinfoil, not enough good living.  I will back fill with some of my 2015 adventures and get a 2015 YIR going as well as the 2016 goals.