Updated October 15, 2016
September 8, 2016
Darrell Crimmins, KG5E, recently returned from the world’s largest hamfest, the Dayton Hamvention, and shared his experiences at the September 8 meeting. Darrell and his wife Marty, K5VQM, have attended most of the events over the last 25 years, having missed only about five.
The Dayton Hamvention has been an annual event since 1952. “It’s a ham’s dream,” according to Darrell. “Every ham should try to attend at least once.”
Attendance has been as high as 33,000 and is typically in the mid 20,000s. However, it has outgrown the aging Hara Arena, and the Hamvention organizers have announced a new venue for 2017 in Xenia, Ohio. Only time will tell how it will compare with the old, which has served the ham community well since 1964. Please go here for a gallery of photos from the Crimmins’ collection.
Next, Darrell talked about “Four Days In May,” or FDIM. This event is put on by QRP Amateur Radio Club International.
This annual event celebrated its 21st anniversary this year and is an exceptional way to extend the 3-day Hamvention into a full four-day event, hence the name, FDIM. The symposium is a first class event with excellent programs, social events with a super banquet in Fairborn, Ohio.
One of the highlights at FDIM was a presentation by Scott Cowlings, WA2DFI, on Raspberry Pi and the TAPR QRPi shield to transmit 20 meter using weak signal propagation reporter, or WSPR [WHIS-per].
Using only 100mw, and a G5RV at about 40 feet, KG5E was able to get a report from New Zealand! This works out to about 75,236 miles per watt! This was Darrell’s first adventure into the realm of the Pi, but it proved to be successful and fun. Please go here to see screen shots of some of his reports. You’ll find links to more info about FDIM and WSPR at the end of this article.
In closing, Darrell encouraged all hams to make the trek to Dayton and join the QRP crowd at FDIM. You shouldn’t be disappointed.
FDIM Conference Proceedings [PDF]
WSPR Software: http://physics.princeton.edu/pulsar/K1JT/wspr.html
Reaching New Heights
August 11, 2016
Curtis Hays, KC5CW, brought his outdoor expertise to the MARS meeting in August. Curtis is a passionate fan of Summits on the Air (SOTA). SOTA is an amateur radio operating program that encourages portable operations in mountainous areas. The activity combines hiking and climbing with ham radio.
Those who set up a station on a summit are known as activators, and those who work activators on summits are known as chasers. Points are awarded to the activator for operating from a summit, and to each of the chasers working the activator. The higher the mountain is, the more points the activator and each chaser receive. Understandably, operators typically work QRP.
You can follow Curtis on his blog http://kc5cw.tumblr.com/.
For more information about the SOTA organization, please go here: http://www.sota.org.uk/
You can download an audio file and a PDF of Curtis’s presentation from the links below.
Digital Mobile Radio for all of us
July 15, 2016
Jason Johnston, KC5HWB, gave an excellent presentation about DMR at the July meeting. Digital mobile radio is a digital standard that compares favorably with D-Star and Fusion. There are several DMR repeaters in the north Texas area and it shows a lot of promise for hams.
You can see an excellent video of Jason’s program on YouTube. Please go here to check it out: