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Updated June 13, 2022

A non-ham-radio project

Ron Reeves, NN5R


  I have a very nice strobe for my Canon AE-1 camera. I’ve had it for 40 years and have had to re-battery its NiCad battery pack a few times. I plugged the charger in recently and instantly there was a muffled bang and all the lights went out – it had tripped the 20A circuit breaker in the house. The charger is one of those sealed in black plastic mystery bricks. “No user serviceable parts inside.” Is that a fact or a challenge? Well I’m a ham and an engineer so I did the only thing I could think of.

  I got out the Dremel tool (of course) and proceeded to cut off the cover very carefully without damaging anything on the inside or hurting myself. The module was not filled with black pookey so I could get to everything and reverse engineer the charger to figure out what failed. I found it. The muffled bang was the transformer dematerializing its primary winding. So much for fixing the charger.

  I have a 20A 12VDC station supply I’m not using. I think I’ll put a 5A fuse on the 12v side before connecting it to the NiCad battery pack to prevent painting the inside of the garage with the guts of the NiCad batteries. Always think safety fritz, uh, frist, no, FIRST!

—73 Ron

David Duke, KM5YQ, Silent Key
David Duke KM5YQ

   It is with extreme sadness we report the sudden passing of David Duke, KM5YQ, on Sunday, April 24. David was a very active member in our club and MARS sends our deepest condolences to David’s entire family.

  David especially enjoyed special events, CW, and building ham gear. Being a good Elmer, he eagerly shared his expertise as a presenter during ARRL’s Mentorfest on April 2. Just a week later, he was involved with Texas Parks On The Air with his home built Elecraft K2.

  Recently, David got his Volunteer Examiner credentials from W5YI. Just a week before his passing he shepherded two new hams into amateur radio. We could always count on David to help whenever and wherever he could. We will miss him.

  David was laid to rest at the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery, 2000 Mountain Creek Pkwy, Dallas, TX 75211 on Monday, May 16. You may post memories of David here:

MARS Activates Ray Roberts Lake State Park

MARS’ TSPOTA team brings you greetings from the Johnson Branch Unit. L-R: Steve Darrah, KD5YPB; Liz Brown, K5EMB; Mike Brown, W5MDB; Kevin Grantham, N5KRG; Andy Parcel, KE5KOF; Tom Yenny, K5LOL; and David Duke; KM5YQ.

  MARS activated the Johnson Branch Unit at Ray Roberts Lake State Park during Texas State Parks on the Air, April 9 and 10. Unlike previous years, the weather was fantastic. The park’s Nature Center was our QTH and offered at least four operating positions.

  Part of the parking lot was blocked off and we used the 30-foot light stand to support an end-fed wire antenna. Other antennas were placed around the Center.

A Phoenix from the Ashes

  After a fire destroyed his shack, Dave Ellison, W7UUU, used the tragedy to design and build his dream radio room. At the March 10, 2022 meeting, he showed us how important lessons about fire prevention, escape considerations, and overall shack design came together for his new space. Go now to see the presentation.

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