Archives

Updated August 1, 2018

Musings from the Vice President

July 2018

     Greetings fellow Hams. I ran across this article on the internet and I’d like to pass it on.

Rohn 25G vs Rohn 20G By Tom Rauch, W8JI

     So, if you have a Rohn 25G, be careful!!!! Lots of people think all 1-foot face zig zag Rohn tower is 25G. It is not. Rohn 20G, which is a light duty TV tower, looks exactly like 25G to the novice. 20G has thinner wall and less bracing and cannot be guyed. I’ve seen entire Ham towers built with 20G because they were clueless about Rohn towers, and I see 20G sold every day on ham forums and eBay as 25G. The two different types even bolt together. The primary difference people can see is Rohn 20G which is unsuitable for guyed applications due to the thin walls and thinner and fewer braces has 7 horizontal braces per 10-foot section and Rohn 25G with the heavier 16-gauge walls has 8 cross braces per section. To the unexperienced they look the same.

73 de Andy Parcel, KE5KOF

President’s Corner

July 2018

     I’m excited to be your President as we start this new fiscal year for MARS. We have some very interesting programs planned, combined with Play Day projects, the Festival at the Switchyard in the Fall organized by Steve Darrah, KD5YPB, and more.

 

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Project Perfection

EchoLink®

     Dave Lane, N5GDL, has set up an EchoLink® connection to the club’s 442.650 repeater. Try it! If you haven’t tried EchoLink® before, go to www.EchoLink.org, sign up and download the software. The primary software is designed for Windows, and there are versions for Android and iOS (Apple) devices. There are other ports for Linux and Macintosh, although I’ve had good luck running it in a virtual machine on my MacBook.

     Plans are to move it to the 145.21 repeater at some point, after mechanisms are implemented to disable it when the repeater is being used for a RACES net.

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Remote control and other new toys

— Kevin Grantham, N5KRG

     I have been playing with the RTL-SDR, a USB stick receiver with an SMA adapter. It is very cool and great fun. Andy, KE5KOF, is putting together a program and a series of Play Days to explore these great little—and inexpensive—devices. My latest project is to use a directional coupler (less than $30 from Ukraine) and a wideband noise source (from China, also less than $30) to build an antenna analyzer for bands that I don’t currently have equipment to test. Such as the 23cm band, the 33 cm band and more. I also want to test the various bandpass filters that the club has used to see how well they really work, and test preselectors, Buddipole™ antennas and antenna tuners.

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Radio Defined by Software

     July will be Software Defined Radio Month or “SDR Month” for us. So, what is SDR? Wikipedia says, “SDR is a radio communication system where components that have been traditionally implemented in hardware (e.g. mixers, filters, amplifiers, modulators/demodulators, detectors, etc.) are instead implemented by means of software on a personal computer or embedded system.”

     ARRL says, “Software Defined Radio attempts to place much or most of the complex signal handling involved in communications receivers and transmitters into the digital (DSP) style. In its purest form, an SDR receiver might consist simply of an analog-to-digital converter chip connected to an antenna. All the filtering and signal detection can take place in the digital domain, perhaps in an ordinary personal computer. While there are still good reasons to use some analog components in high-performance gear, the SDR approach is becoming more common in Amateur Radio.”

     At our meeting on July 12, we will showcase the RTL-SDR R820T2. During Play Day on Saturday, July 14, we will download the software and see how it runs. We’ll show what software (for PC, Mac or maybe even Pi) can be downloaded to receive AM, FM, SSB, Fusion, D-STAR, DMR, and P25. (P25 requires 2 SDRs because it uses trunking.)

     The SDR receives from .1 to 2000 MHz RF. It has an SMA connector for an antenna and a USB to connect to a computer. These things are fun and quite addictive to play with.

     You can purchase these yourself on Amazon or you can order from the sheet at the link below and pay for them at Play Day. There will be no charge for shipping and some of these items may qualify for quantity discounts. These discounts will be passed on to you if available.

     For more about SDR please visit KB6NU’s Ham Radio Blog.

Please go here to place your order. SDR order sheet

New Officers

June 14, 2018

    At the June meeting, the membership confirmed the slate of officers for FY 2018-2019:

  • President—Kevin Grantham, N5KRG

  • Vice-President—Andy Parcel, KE5KOF

  • Secretary—Dave Lane, N5GDL

  • Treasurer—Annie Ackors-Bruce, KG5OVU

  • Director—Steve Darrah, KD5YPB

Many thanks to these folks for stepping up to serve our club.

Left to right: Mike Brown, W5MDB, Director; Dave Lane, N5GDL, Secretary; David Gilpin, K5GIL, Past President; Annie Ackors-Bruce, KG5OVU, Treasurer; Andy Parcel, KE5KOF, Vice President; Steve Darrah, KD5YPB, Director; Kevin Grantham, N5KRG, President; Darrell Crimmins, KG5E, Director

President’s Corner

June 2018

     Welcome to the most exciting month in Amateur Radio! Yes, it’s June!

     This weekend is Ham-Com - the third largest ham convention in the United States. Ham-Com has moved back to the Plano center location. That’s on Spring Creek Parkway just east of US 75 Central Expressway.

     Come and have fun! Upgrade your license. Attend interesting seminars. Fill in the gaps in your shack. Get ready for Field Day

     Many of your favorite ham shops will be there – DX Engineering, Main Trading (MTC Radio), Ham Radio Outlet, and more. Sadly, I think The Wireman is now an SK so I don’t know if they will be there or not. But all the main manufacturers will be there, so check out the new announced systems from Yaesu and Kenwood.

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