February Meeting Tues 2014-02-11 -ARES

Mike McPherson, KQ9P, will be doing a presentation on ARES/RACES.

Meeting will be at NRAO but I believe it will be in a different room than usual as another group will be using the auditorium.

Meeting Location: NRAO Auditorium, 520 Edgemont Road, Charlottesville, VA.
Lat/Long: 38.036817, -78.518115
google map.

Hamfest Saturday 2014-02-01: Richmond Frostfest

frostfest logo

Frostfest will be on Saturday, February 1, 2014, from 8:30AM-3:30PM at the Richmond Raceway complex.

Details, directions, website links, floorplan, and video below the fold.

January meeting

Annual meeting at NRAO 7:30PM Tue Jan 14. Election of officers for 2014.

Update: Bill Arnold K4IB and Mike McPherson KQ9P gave a presentation on the Kicksat project which launches on February 22.

Surplus Pan/Tilt mount as Azimuth/Elevation Rotator and satellite tracker.

Picture of Pelco Pan/Tilt Mount with cover removed.  Small Version.  Front Side.  Visible items include two slow-syn synchornous AC motors in NEMA23 mount and two worm gear sets for vertical and horizontal rotation.

No, that isn't a picture of a cute little robot. Or is it? It is a robot for moving your antenna but in a previous life it was a weatherproof mount for moving large expensive closed circuit TV cameras at secure facilities. With the cover removed, the motors look like eyes. Seller had 25 available and at least 11 have been sold but some are still available. New, it cost about $1000 or in the same price range as a Ham Alt/Az rotator but these are available surplus and in this case we have an unusually low price of $30 $39 on a Pelco, let alone one with the rare feedback pots, plus a reasonable price on shipping. I have purchased one and another club member has followed suit and a couple more plan to do so.

While these aren't quite as good for amateur use as a proper az-el rotator, at least for large antennas, you will probably never get a deal anywhere near this sweet on one of those.

This article will describe these mounts in more detail and will also discuss how antenna rotators in general work, balancing and wind loading issues, and the history of stepper motors.

Sat 2013-12-13 VE License Exam Session

ARRL Volunteer Examiner Patch

AARC will be holding its quarterly VE (Volunteer Examiner) session where people can take exams to obtain or upgrade an Amateur Radio (ham radio) license.

Sat, December 14, 9am – 12pm
NRAO Headquarters, 520 Edgemont Road, Charlottesville, VA 22906-9999
Google Map

Note that the breakfast bunch will be gathering at Panera Bread before the VE session.

Travel Advisory: The good news is there is no football game to disrupt traffic; unfortunately, at the time of this writing, the weather forecast for saturday includes snow, ice, rain, and freezing rain starting around noon.

Hourly forecast (Charlottesville)

Annual/50th Anniversary Dinner Banquet

AARC 50th Aniversary Mug: Albemarle Amateur Radio Club Est. Nov. 1962

AARC 50th Aniversary Mug: WA4TFZ W4DO www.albemarleradio.org

The Albemarle Amateur Radio Club invites you to join the membership for the 50th Anniversary Celebration at the Annual Awards Banquet on Tuesday, December 10th. The celebration will take place at the Elks Lodge across from the entrance to Towe Park.

We plan to gather between 6 and 6:30 pm for a social with a cash bar. We will take our seats at 6:30 at which time dinner will be served. The dinner will include a Fruit and Cheese Table, Filet of Beef, Crab Cake, Country Style Green Beans, Baked Potato, House Salad, Tea or Coffee, and Cake. A vegetable plate will be available if the desire is stated in the reservation. Dinner tickets will be $25 per person pay at the door. Change is always a problem so bring the correct amount of cash or your personal check.

We will need your reservation by Friday, December 6, to make sure we have a place setting for each person and enough food for everyone. Reservations should be made by return email to deason[at]comcast[dot]net or by calling Don Eason, Jr. N4UVA at 434-973-9119.

Michael has lined up some great raffles and the food and festivities will be excellent.
Look forward to seeing everyone there and please bring exact change

Just a reminder that tonight's banquet at the Elk's Club is on! Also, the mugs are in. We are asking for a $3 donation to the repeater fund for each mug.

Microwave Mesh Networks and Services for Emergency Communications

Many of us took note of the article in the July 2013 QST about the HSMM-MESH (now Broadband-Hamnet, broadband-hamnet.org) mesh network and its use by a group of Austin Amateur Radio Club hams in support of a major public service event. Having already decided that I was seriously interested in EmComm, I immediately started thinking about what we could do with this technology here in Central Virginia. I began the process of designing a microwave mesh network for ARES/RACES in Virginia District 3. There are two parallel efforts underway: design of the network itself; and experimenting with possible services that we might like to run on a dedicated amateur radio intranet. If you are intrigued, please check out the developing Web pages on my personal site, kq9p.us under the "EmComm" tab. There are lots of opportunities to get involved...

Friday 2013-11-22: Ham Radio on TV: Last Man Standing

Picture of Tim Allen's character and child at ham station
Last Man Standing Website (ABC)

Photo Credit: show via eham.net (John Amodeo) ,
American Radio Supply, and KK4SHO.
©Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.
fair use.

Tim Allen's character on the show Last Man Standing will work the 20m band and generate a pileup using audio recorded by real hams then videolog about ham radio.

If you can't catch it during the original air time, the episode should also be available online at the show's website for 1 week only, on Hulu (free) for about 5 weeks, and on Hulu+ (paid service) for the duration of the current season. Season 3, up to the current episode, is on Hulu+ and seasons 1 and 2 are available on Netflix streaming (paid service).

WA4TFZ 146.760Mhz & 444.000Mhz Repeaters Down for maintenance

Repeater rack photo
stock photo of 146.760 repeater from prior trip

Bill Pond N0WP and Dave Damon K4DND have temporarily removed the entire 146.760 repeater (other than antenna/tower) from the mountain top for maintenance. The repeater will be down for a week or two. Dave's 146.730Mhz repeater, which has similar coverage area, can be used instead; this repeater will be disconnected from the IRLP East Coast reflector during maintenance. The 444.000 repeater will also be down during this time as it is in the same rack which was removed from the mountain.

Remote Operations During the Great ShakeOut

On Thursday, 17 October 2013, I conducted two remote operations. Lots of folks have asked about the technology and configuration, so here’s how it happened.

My Shack Setup With Rig, Interface, and Webcam
My home shack includes a Windows 7 computer, an Icom IC-706MkIIG HF/VHF/UHF transceiver, and a ZLP DigiMaster Pro3 soundcard/rig control interface. For what I did on Thursday full rig control isn’t necessary. You need the ability for your computer to put audio into and take it out of your rig, and the ability for your computer to control the push-to-talk (PTT). Most any soundcard interface and PTT control that you would normally use for digital mode operation should work for remote operation. I also had a Webcam connected to my computer and pointed at my rig and interface so I could see the displays and blinky lights, but that is not absolutely necessary.

Apple Harvest Boy Scout Camporee - Saturday 2013-10-12

Apple harvest camporee logo

Ham volunteers needed for the Scout Camporee. This is located in Pleasant Grove Park in Fluvanna County. This park is a work in progress and may not appear on maps, gps, or online services. It appears to be located off 53 between the Fluvanna County High School and the Fluvanna County Library. Apple Harvest Boy Scout Camporee Facebook Page. There is also the Apple Harvest Trail 5k Run, not to be confused with the other 5k run in Belmont area that morning, which will affect vehicle access to the site in the morning.

Latitude/Longitude coordinates: geo:37.874722,-78.290278
Google maps

Ed Murphy writes:

The Camporee will be on October 11-13, 2013 at the Pleasant Grove Park in Fluvanna County (see directions below). The Scouts will be camping on Friday and Saturday evenings, and we are expecting 600-800 Scouts. We are planning a day of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math activities for the Scouts all day on Saturday, October 12.

We would like to arrange for a demonstration of amateur radio from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 12. Scout patrols will show up at the demonstration site throughout the day, usually one patrol of 4-8 boys at a time. If possible, we would like each group to offer some kind
of competition for the Scouts to help us select the winning patrol at the end of the Camporee. The Camporee will run rain or shine. Please let me know if you need power and/or shelter.

Charlottesville Maker Faire Sat 2012-10-12

Maker Faire Poster
AARC has been invited to set up a table at Charlottesville's first Maker Faire, an event for people who like to build things. Saturday 2012-10-12 from 10am to 4pm at Monticello High School, 1400 Independence Way, Charlottesville, VA 22902, geo: 37.998545,-78.48949 (Firefox plugin for geo URLs) (Google Maps).

KQ9P is organizing our participation. W4MBW and AK4OL will also be there.


Also happening that same day:
- The scout camporee, at which AARC has been invited to set up a station from 9:30AM to 4PM. Contact K4DU.
- Safety day at Sears/Fashion Square mall. 10AM-4PM. CERT and the 911 EOC will be participating. And the Albemarle county fire department will be offering Fire Extinguisher training.
- AARC every other week breakfast. 7AM-10AM. This happens earlier in the day than the other events.
- Clark 5k fun run. AARC is not participating in this event but CERT members, especially traffic team members, have been asked to help. 7AM-9:30AM. Note that this is close to the Maker Faire and may affect traffic. This race is north of I-64 and the Maker Faire is south. But you might want to avoid avon street route to Monticello High School and take route 20 instead.
- There is another 5k race that will apparently obstruct vehicle access to the camporee from 7AM-9:30AM. This is the apple harvest trail run and is organized by the scouts. http://www.bsa-sjac.org/trailrun
- The Virginia Wine and Garlic Festival 10AM-5PM at Rebec vineyards in Amherst. This runs both
Saturday and Sunday.
- Crozet Arts and Crafts Festical, Saturday and Sunday.
- The only saturday in October with no UVA home game traffic.

Monthly Meeting Postponed and moved. 2013-10-15 7:30PM - Our Lady of Peace

Collins transmitter and receiver restored by KX4PThe monthly meeting of the AARC has been postponed and moved. Our normal meeting location is unavailable due to the government shutdown and our backup location is in use that day. So we expect the meeting to be held a week later than usual.

From the beacon:

John Green KX4P will be giving the program at the October 8 AARC meeting. The topic will be
"Restoration of some Old Collins Radio Classics." The program includes photos of his restoring a 75A1 receiver and a 32V3 transmitter. These are genuine "boat anchors!" Included in the program are some movie clips made by Matt (formerly KD4COA) and Jim (K4BAV) Wilson of the station operating CW and AM Phone. As an added incentive of interest, you can see the same units being displayed in "K2TQN's Mobile Museum" in the current October QST, page 99. The program should be of interest to old timers, collectors, those interested in restoring old treasures, and every one interested in our great amateur radio heritage.

October Issue of The Beacon is now available

The October Issue of The Beacon -- the club newsletter has been posted. Take the link in the column to the left marked "Beacon Newsletter."

Paper Maps

Image of various maps described in text
Need a printed map which is bigger than your printer can handle or which works without power or batteries? Paper maps are getting harder to find. Here is what is available in Charlottesville.

Boys and Girls Club Cycling Challenge 2013 recap

Image of cyclists at BGCCC 2013
Cyclists Arriving at Broadus Wood Elementary School Rest Stop. These are some of the first riders on the 100mile ride arriving at rest stop about 73miles into the ride. Not shown: N4UVA and AK4OL.

New: Alinco DX-SR9T SDR Friendly Standalone Transceivers

Image of Alinco DX-SR9T
Radio: new Alinco DX-SR9T HF Transceiver with I/Q input/output. Photo Credit: Alinco.

The just recently released Alinco DX-SR9T is apparently starting to show up in retail channels. $800 HF rig with I/Q. 160m-10m. 100W SSB/CW. 2013 model. Requires external sound card but has I/Q inputs/outputs. BTW, The Alinco DX-R8T/E Receiver looks very similar but is receive only and has I/Q outputs and the DX-SR8T is a similar HF transceiver without the SDR I/Q feature.
DX-SR9T Brochure

Field Day of the Past. Friday-Sunday.

Picture of Intertype Machine
Intertype Machine (equivalent to Linotype).
Photo: AK4OL CC-BY-3.0-US.
Watch Video

It isn't ARRL field day. It isn't even a ham radio event. But it will interest many hams interested in old technology. It is an annual event with Steam Engines, Tractors, Humongous Diesel Engine, Saw mills, Machine Shops, Blacksmith Shop, Wood Shop, Rock crushers, steam shovels, Print shop including Intertype machine (similar to linotype), Wooden Spoon factory, Weaving Looms, spinning wheels, and sewing machines, Tools, corn shellers, cotton gin, sorgam mill, Petting Zoo, Panning for Gold, Old Fire Engines. When they tore down the original town of short pump to make way for the strip malls, they relocated the Garage, General Store, and Post office to the fairgrounds. The scale of this event is huge; they have the land all year round and thus can have a bigger show than one would ordinarily see.


Silent Key: Publisher Wayne Green W2NSD

Photo of Wayne Green W2NSD/1
Wayne Green from his Last 73 Editorial Column.

Wayne Green died September 13, 2013. He was editor of CQ magzine for 5 years and then publisher of a number of Ham Radio and Computing magazines, as well as some other publications considerably less grounded in reality, including: 73, Byte Magazine, Kilobaud Microcomputing, 80 Micro, CD Review, Cold Fusion, RUN, InCider, and Pico. He was a constant thorn in the side of the ARRL but remained a member. He argued that the 20wpm morse code requirement drove extra class hams insane; he held an Advanced class (13wpm) at the time of his death and believed in cold fusion schemse but not the moon landings.

AARC Digital Net Schedule Update

One of the take-aways from the survey concerning the Digital Net is that we may be doing it a bit too often to be sustainable. So, starting with this week, the AARC Digital Net will meet on the first and third Mondays of each month, starting at 8:15pm on the 146.730 repeater (thanks, Dave K4DND!). That means the next session will be on Monday, 7 October 2013.

We have a separate email list for the Digital Net and topics pertaining to digital operations. If you would like to be added to the list, please email me at mcpherson[at]acm[dot]org.

Watch the Club Web site to see if anything else pops up in the open Monday evening time slot. If you would like to organize something, send your idea out to the email list!

73, Mike KQ9P

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