Archives

Updated October 15, 2021

The Great Tower Party

  Darrell Crimmins, KG5E, plans to move the tower at his Carrollton home to his QTH in east Texas. After adding new sections to raise it to 60 or 70 feet, he will install his refurbished Mosely tri-bander and a 2-meter repeater antenna high atop the relocated tower. But first, the old one needs to come down. Please go here to read how MARS hams came together to help with the not-so-easy task.

Not Your Grandfather’s Pocket Watch
Patrick Bolan KJ7ZSU

  For over 50 years, Geochron® has manufactured the world’s only mechanical geographic chronometer. The much-beloved timepiece typically has an honored place in ham shacks all over the world.

  At the September 9, 2021, general meeting, owner Patrick Bolan, KJ7ZSU, gave us a history of Geochron, walked us through his factory, and demonstrated the latest creation, the all-digital Atlas 4K version 2.0. Some of the new features include overlays of special interest to amateur radio operators.

  Please go here to view a video of his presentation.

Random QRM from the President’s Shack

September 2021

“When all else fails… Amateur Radio works!”

  When we can travel for fun again, I highly recommend a visit to the Computer History Museum (CHM) in Mountain View, California, https://computerhistory.org/. The CHM is on the site of the former headquarters of Silicon Graphics (SGI). A few years ago, I took the time to visit the museum. While the displays are self-guided, taking a guided tour is well worth the investment.

  While surrounded by components of the legendary computers ENIAC, ILLIAC, IBM and VAX, my docent had everyone in our tour group reach into their pockets and pull out their iPhone or Android and hold it up. He said, “Folks – you carry in your pocket a computer way more powerful than the sum of all the computing power in this Museum!” It did hammer home how far we have progressed with technology.

  And with the rise of “the cloud” and high-speed networking we now have way more computing power than a CRAY –  or the Thinking Machines featured in the movie Jurassic Park—in our pockets!

  However, a “smartphone” isn’t very smart when its cellular network—or WiFi connection—is unavailable.

  On Monday, August 30, one of our Corgis had a routine vet appointment. I knew that our vet grew up in New Orleans, so I asked how her family fared hurricane Ida. She was appreciative of my concern and said, “It’s been almost impossible to contact all of them by cellphone. The coverage is spotty and the few towers that are functioning are completely overloaded. I can’t get a call through. But after trying all night I finally received some texts and they are all okay.”

  Another example: after the Boston Marathon bombing in April 2013 the cellphone networks in downtown Boston were completely saturated.

“When all else fails… Amateur Radio works!”

  Many awards were bestowed on the Boston area Amateur Radio operators and clubs for their tireless efforts keeping vital communications alive in the wake of the bombing. The Marathon net became the disaster net and was operational for over 24 hours straight.

  In every major weather event, Amateur Radio is always that early important lifeline. The internet has plenty of recent news stories about how Amateur Radio has helped provide important communications for hurricane Ida including damage reports and other message handling in areas without power or cellular service.

  Even though fall is approaching we are still within the peak hurricane season, and fall can also bring its share of severe weather to North Texas. It is a good time to double-check your gear: HT batteries, battery backup power source for home rig, antennas (HT, mobile, home). If you have HF capabilities, practice listening to various traffic nets as good exercise for a real event.

  It’s an honor and a privilege to be a licensed Amateur Radio operator and as such be given the ability to assist with vital emergency communications in times of need.

“When all else fails… Amateur Radio works!”

  73, David Gilpin, K5GIL, President@KB5A.org

Review: Chameleon Tactical Delta Loop

—Kevin Grantham, N5KRG

  Chameleon Antennas makes a variety of portable antenna kits based on military models. With few exceptions all of the components are made in the USA. Various components are combined into different kits with different performance characteristics. One of the newest antennas they have produced is the inverted delta loop, model CHA TDL. This antenna won a US Army HF Low Power contest recently—details are on the Chameleon Antenna™ website.

  Andy Parcel, KE5KOF, and I decided to try this antenna out. We already had many of the pieces—Andy has the Tactical Dipole kit and some extra bits, and I have the Multi-Purpose Antenna System (MPAS).