Amateur Radio Weekly – Issue 166

Receive pictures from space
The International Space Station is transmitting SSTV pictures to Radio Amateurs around the world on 145.800 MHz FM.
Southgate

Serious DX: The Deep Space Network
Amateur Radio operator Paul Marsh (M0EYT) recently bagged the Cassini probe, currently making its final orbits of Saturn before plunging into the gas giant in September.
Hack A Day

Using SDRTrunk on Linux for live trunk tracking with an RTL-SDR
SDRTrunk is a cross platform Java based piece of software that can be used for following trunked radio conversations.
RTL-SDR.com

Antenna Summer
This summer it is time to get serious about putting up a decent antenna. Being a sensible guy I set myself some goals.
AmateurRadio.com

Connect with the global community of Amateur Radio enthusiasts
I first got involved in amateur radio (also called ham radio) in 2010, mostly to prove a point that “girls can be amateur radio operators too” — and discovered I was joining a fun community by doing so.
Make:

Scrap dealer finds Apollo-era NASA computers in engineer’s basement
Plus hundreds of mystery tapes from Pioneer and Helios probe missions.
Ars Technica

Review: Hiland adjustable DC regulated power supply kit‎
Limiting the amount of current a prototype can draw is really a must. Also, Did I mention the power supply goes down to zero volts? Not an every day need but definitely a good feature.
EA4EOZ

Video

A close look at our Ham Radio go box
We show you what is in the Go Box and how we installed all of the equipment.
YouTube

New digital mode FT-8 for the fast & furious
Here’s a short demonstration on the new digital mode FT-8 developed by K1JT & K9AN.
K5ACL

Replacing dead capacitors in consumer electronics
Replacing the capacitors in an old Netgear FS116 Ethernet switch, but the same methods should apply to any other piece of consumer electronics.
The Life of Kenneth


Amateur Radio Weekly is curated by Cale Mooth K4HCK. Sign up free to receive ham radio's most relevant news, projects, technology and events by e-mail each week at http://www.hamweekly.com.

Canada Post / QSLs / Magicband Transformations



Several weeks ago I mused about my interest in earth-mode VLF experiments, following the inspirational exploits of G3XBM in his earth-mode work a few years ago.





His low powered system utilizing a 5W audio IC and simple circuitry produced surprisingly interesting results over several kilometers.

With possible future experimenting in mind, I found a nice low-powered IC audio amplifier kit from China on e-Bay, capable of producing about 18W at 12V ... more with higher voltage and proper heat-sinking.



Whenever buying from China, I look for a dealer with the highest feedback rating and always compare their complaints versus the number of orders shipped. There always seems to be a few that are 99.9 - 100%, which, for me, has always assured that they are probably not selling junk. Anything lower than 98% can often be a red flag.

The kit was just $1.50 and with free-shipping, what's to lose?

A few weeks after I had placed my order, the nightly TV news had a spot regarding the problem that these "free shipping" packets were creating for Canada Post and their customers. It seems that in the past few months, as more and more "free" shipments were arriving from the far east, Canada Post had not been able to keep up with the processing. The news spot showed row upon row of shipping containers parked at the back of Vancouver International's (YVR) postal processing plant, with all of them filled with thousands of small "free" packets waiting to be processed!

It seems that each packet needs to be scanned by the border security folks (CBSA) for illegal material before it can be processed by Canada Post and the back-up was building at a tremendous rate. There appears to be little if any profit for Canada Post with these smaller untracked packages and they are given the lowest priority-rating possible.


In order to speed up the process, both CBSA and Canada Post facilities would need to expand their operational capabilities at the airport and I suspect there is no serious will to do this until pressured politically by angry customers.

All parcels from China that are mailed to Canada stop at Vancouver's YVR before going further. The mammoth recent increase in online "free-shipping", in spite of the normally estimated 3-4 week delivery time, has proven too attractive for customers and our domestic system has failed to meet the new load demands.

With this new information in mind, my e-Bay purchase would prove to be an interesting test of the system and of the TV news spot's accuracy. Normally, I would have expected my tiny parcel to arrive in about 30 days, but mine would be one that eventually ended up in the airport parking lot.

The kit finally arrived this week, with a delivery time of 89 days! Many online sellers will offer an inexpensive option to pay for faster shipping, something that will still take a couple of weeks but much better than three months. If you are given this inexpensive shipping option I would highly recommend that you choose it, and if not, ask for an alternative to "free shipping". Unless something changes soon, delays will continue to increase.

I also wonder, and perhaps you can comment below, are U.S. customers seeing the same long delays as we here in Canada are experiencing when the "free shipping" option is chosen?

#########################


QSLs in my mailbox always excite me ... especially like yesterday's, arriving in a thin light-brown envelope decorated with colorful stamps.





I'm 100% certain this is because of receiving similar-appearing envelopes containing QSL cards during my formative years from age eleven onward and how much enjoyment the cards from shortwave stations all over the world brought me at this young age. For me, there is no replacement for a paper QSL, but sadly, this long-standing tradition is slowly slipping away due to the high cost of mailing even a normal-size envelope.

Earlier this summer I had a nice run of JA's on 6m Es but this time, instead of CW, they were on JT65A. Yesterday's card was for one of the digital contacts.


Signals were weak, at -23 db ... far too weak to be heard on CW but easily readable during the 60 second deep-listen period mandated by the JT65A mode. With so many stations now listening higher in the band for JT-mode signals, there has been very little activity on CW and now, with the introduction of yet another new digital mode, FT8, even the digital activity is split into sections, with neither mode being compatible.

I have held off installing the newer WSJT-X version containing the FT8 fifteen-second transmission mode until all of the bugs are ironed out ... the software will likely be tweaked a few more times yet before it reaches the polished final version we see for JT65 and others. 

FT8 has been designed for weaker 6m Es openings that are often too short in duration for the longer time periods needed by JT65's sixty-second sequences. FT8 contacts can be completed quickly, before short-lived signals can drop out, but the shorter sequences come at the cost of reduced sensitivity ... probably a worthwhile tradeoff.

Conventional mode activity on 6m has suffered tremendously with the introduction of these new modes and it seems that if you want to work weak signal DX (and not all do), sadly it may be digital or nothing at all if the trends continue.

If all of the DX moves from CW to digital, for me, much of the magic will disappear as well. Letting the computer do all of the thinking is not nearly as satisfying or enjoyable as using my brain and CW skills to put a new rare one in the log. Six meters continues to evolve and I'm not overly excited by the direction it seems to be going.

Steve McDonald, VE7SL, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from British Columbia, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

Canada Post / QSLs / Magicband Transformations



Several weeks ago I mused about my interest in earth-mode VLF experiments, following the inspirational exploits of G3XBM in his earth-mode work a few years ago.





His low powered system utilizing a 5W audio IC and simple circuitry produced surprisingly interesting results over several kilometers.

With possible future experimenting in mind, I found a nice low-powered IC audio amplifier kit from China on e-Bay, capable of producing about 18W at 12V ... more with higher voltage and proper heat-sinking.



Whenever buying from China, I look for a dealer with the highest feedback rating and always compare their complaints versus the number of orders shipped. There always seems to be a few that are 99.9 - 100%, which, for me, has always assured that they are probably not selling junk. Anything lower than 98% can often be a red flag.

The kit was just $1.50 and with free-shipping, what's to lose?

A few weeks after I had placed my order, the nightly TV news had a spot regarding the problem that these "free shipping" packets were creating for Canada Post and their customers. It seems that in the past few months, as more and more "free" shipments were arriving from the far east, Canada Post had not been able to keep up with the processing. The news spot showed row upon row of shipping containers parked at the back of Vancouver International's (YVR) postal processing plant, with all of them filled with thousands of small "free" packets waiting to be processed!

It seems that each packet needs to be scanned by the border security folks (CBSA) for illegal material before it can be processed by Canada Post and the back-up was building at a tremendous rate. There appears to be little if any profit for Canada Post with these smaller untracked packages and they are given the lowest priority-rating possible.


In order to speed up the process, both CBSA and Canada Post facilities would need to expand their operational capabilities at the airport and I suspect there is no serious will to do this until pressured politically by angry customers.

All parcels from China that are mailed to Canada stop at Vancouver's YVR before going further. The mammoth recent increase in online "free-shipping", in spite of the normally estimated 3-4 week delivery time, has proven too attractive for customers and our domestic system has failed to meet the new load demands.

With this new information in mind, my e-Bay purchase would prove to be an interesting test of the system and of the TV news spot's accuracy. Normally, I would have expected my tiny parcel to arrive in about 30 days, but mine would be one that eventually ended up in the airport parking lot.

The kit finally arrived this week, with a delivery time of 89 days! Many online sellers will offer an inexpensive option to pay for faster shipping, something that will still take a couple of weeks but much better than three months. If you are given this inexpensive shipping option I would highly recommend that you choose it, and if not, ask for an alternative to "free shipping". Unless something changes soon, delays will continue to increase.

I also wonder, and perhaps you can comment below, are U.S. customers seeing the same long delays as we here in Canada are experiencing when the "free shipping" option is chosen?

#########################


QSLs in my mailbox always excite me ... especially like yesterday's, arriving in a thin light-brown envelope decorated with colorful stamps.





I'm 100% certain this is because of receiving similar-appearing envelopes containing QSL cards during my formative years from age eleven onward and how much enjoyment the cards from shortwave stations all over the world brought me at this young age. For me, there is no replacement for a paper QSL, but sadly, this long-standing tradition is slowly slipping away due to the high cost of mailing even a normal-size envelope.

Earlier this summer I had a nice run of JA's on 6m Es but this time, instead of CW, they were on JT65A. Yesterday's card was for one of the digital contacts.


Signals were weak, at -23 db ... far too weak to be heard on CW but easily readable during the 60 second deep-listen period mandated by the JT65A mode. With so many stations now listening higher in the band for JT-mode signals, there has been very little activity on CW and now, with the introduction of yet another new digital mode, FT8, even the digital activity is split into sections, with neither mode being compatible.

I have held off installing the newer WSJT-X version containing the FT8 fifteen-second transmission mode until all of the bugs are ironed out ... the software will likely be tweaked a few more times yet before it reaches the polished final version we see for JT65 and others. 

FT8 has been designed for weaker 6m Es openings that are often too short in duration for the longer time periods needed by JT65's sixty-second sequences. FT8 contacts can be completed quickly, before short-lived signals can drop out, but the shorter sequences come at the cost of reduced sensitivity ... probably a worthwhile tradeoff.

Conventional mode activity on 6m has suffered tremendously with the introduction of these new modes and it seems that if you want to work weak signal DX (and not all do), sadly it may be digital or nothing at all if the trends continue.

If all of the DX moves from CW to digital, for me, much of the magic will disappear as well. Letting the computer do all of the thinking is not nearly as satisfying or enjoyable as using my brain and CW skills to put a new rare one in the log. Six meters continues to evolve and I'm not overly excited by the direction it seems to be going.

Steve McDonald, VE7SL, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from British Columbia, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

Heathkit has a new product out.

The HM-1002 
As many of you know Heathkit has made a comeback and is offering clocks, antennas and evening clothing! They have now introduced the "precision RF meter" kits
The spec's are below:

Power / SWR / Return Loss Accuracy:
  • Meter: 2% nominal for Power, SWR, Return Loss. 
  • Sensors: Specs vary per sensor model. 5% or better when assembled as directed (no promises yet but we actually hope to beat 2%).
Power precision: Up to four displayed digits, measurement significance one part in 8,000 (125 PPM).
Frequency Accuracy & Precision: 6-digit precision, displaying 100Hz units with +/- 100Hz accuracy for MF, HF, 6 meters. Accuracy and precision always depend on sensor as well as meter. Frequency measurement requires a Heathkit® frequency-capable sensor; one is provided with each meter purchase.
Range: Frequency and power range depend on the sensor model(s) in use. With standard sensor, meter range is 50mW to 2kW power (17dBm to 63dBm) nominal, and 1.6MHz to 54MHz frequency nominal, when assembled as directed. (Subject to change) As with any power device, true SWR handling capability varies with sensor and depends on applied power level, and we will report lab results here as they are confirmed.
Front panel: Sensor/mode cluster, power cluster, SWR/return cluster, color graphic LCD display, calibrated DigilogTM bargraph, configurable visual alert.
Rear panel: Power jacks, sensor jacks, digital jack, audio annunciator.
Enclosure: Hardwood sides, plastic top/bottom, screwless top & front design with integral feet (patent pending).
Size: Approx. 2.2" high x 5.5" wide x 4.75" deep (6 x 14 x 12cm).
Weight: 1 lb (0.5 kg) nominal.
Included: All kit parts, any required assembly hex wrenches, one sensor, silver solder, one six-foot (2m) indoor sensor cable.
Compliance/legal: RoHS. Optional AC power adapter is UL approved. Patent pending.
AC power: Optional AC adapter accepts 90-130 VAC 60 Hz pure sine wave (North American standard), approx. 4 watts. 6ft (1.9m) power cord. (UK, Europe: 50 Hz compatible, but requires a different power adapter.*)
DC power: Accepts 12VDC nominal. Anderson PowerPole jack.
Tools required: Low-wattage soldering iron, wire cutters, needlenose pliers.
RFI/EMC & safety: No switching power supply brick. No mains line voltage (no 120VAC or 230VAC) in the box.
Accessories: (Coming soon) AC adapters, cables, more sensor models.

The cost for all this is 575.00 U.S. 

Mike Weir, VE3WDM, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Ontario, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

On this day, 48 years ago


Here men from the planet Earth 
First set foot upon the Moon
July 1969, A.D.
We came in peace for all mankind

Neil  A. Armstrong     Michael Collins     Edwin E. Aldrin Jr.
Astronaut                Astronaut                  Astronaut

Richard M. Nixon
President, United States of America

To read about the communications systems that the Lunar Module employed, here are two good links from the NASA Archives: https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19720023255.pdf and https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20090015392.pdf

The S-band transceiver was the primary transceiver used for TV, telemetry, biomedical data, and voice communications from the Lunar surface. It had an output power of  750 mW (QRPp!).  That signal then went to the S-band power amplifier, which boosted the signal to an outstanding "QRO" signal of 18.6 Watts.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least

Larry Makoski, W2LJ, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from New Jersey, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

RepeaterBook – A FREE Online Repeater Directory – ETH078

ETH078 - RepeaterBook

In this episode of the Everything Ham Radio Podcast, we talk with Garrett Dow, KD6KPC, the creator of RepeaterBook.com. RepeaterBook is a free online repeater directory that covers all of the US and Canada as well as several other countries around the world.

You can use RepeaterBook directly from its website, or through its app. You can find the app on IOS, Android and Kindle. RepeaterBook has done a great job on getting and maintaining the information of about 35,000 repeaters thank in a large part to about 95 admins that maintain the records in their assigned areas and from the ham community at large.

Make sure you give the interview a listen and check out the show notes.


Curtis Mohr, K5CLM, is the host of Everything Ham Radio podcast. Contact him at [email protected].

Technician License Class – Black Forest, CO

Time: Saturday Sept 30 and Saturday Oct 7th (8 AM to 5 PM) 2017

Location: Black Forest Fire Station 1
(intersection of Burgess Rd. & Teachout Rd., Black Forest, Colorado)
Sponsored by the Tri-Lakes Monument Radio Association

The FCC Technician license is your gateway to the world-wide excitement of Amateur Radio, and the very best emergency communications capability available!

  • Earn your ham radio Technician class radio privileges
  • Pass your FCC amateur radio license exam right in class on the second day
  • Multiple-choice exam, No Morse Code Required
  • See live equipment demonstrations
  • Learn to operate on the ham bands, 10 Meters and higher
  • Learn to use the many VHF/UHF FM repeaters in Colorado
  • Find out how to participate in emergency communications

For more background on ham radio, see Getting Started in Ham Radio.

Registration fee: $30 adults, $20 under age 18
In addition, students must have the required study guide:

HamRadioSchool.com Technician License Course
Second Edition, effective 2014 – 2018, $21.95

Advance registration is required (No later than one week before the first session, earlier is better, first-come sign up basis until class is full.)

To register for the class, contact: Bob Witte KØNR
Email: [email protected] or Phone: 719/659-3727

The post Technician License Class – Black Forest, CO appeared first on The KØNR Radio Site.


Bob Witte, KØNR, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Colorado, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

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