Amateur Radio Weekly – Issue 146

Amateur Radio Satellite Nayif-1 launched
Just like FUNcube-1, this mode has the spacecraft sending high power telemetry when in sunlight and with the SSB/CW transponder active when in eclipse.
AMSAT UK

Hamcation Recap
Hamcation is a great Hamfest. It’s huge, spread out, and located in the one place where the weather is actually amazing – Orlando. It’s sunny, 75 degrees, and I’m pretty sure I’m sunburnt. I forgot that this kind of weather exists.
N0SSC

DMR Hotspot from SharkRF
The first thing I noticed when listening to some of the more active talk groups is that it seems like every person getting on the system said “I just got this Tytera MD-380 radio and you are my first DMR contact.”
K0NR

Decibel hell – the reign of antenna gain pain
Let’s step our way though the topic and see what we can learn from the pros.
Ham Radio . Magnum Experimentum

FreeDV 700C
The US test team report 700C contacts over 2500km at SNRs down to -2dB, in conditions where SSB cannot be heard.
Rowetel

W8SRC repeater IDs are distinctive… to say the least
If you want to get a little more professional with your repeater ID, just ask.
KB6NU

PicSafari: QRZ Ham Radio Image Library
QRZ has the world’s largest collection of amateur radio related images.
QRZ.com

Alaska’s HAARP facility once again open for business
The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) in Gakona, Alaska, will soon undertake its first scientific research campaigns since the facility was taken over by the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
ARRL

Video

2 Meter tape measure beam antenna
The 2 Meter band tape measure beam antenna is a 3 element Yagi with about 7.2 db of forward gain.
KB9VBR

Setup Icom 7300 on iMac with RUMLogNG
This is for beginners and I’m a beginner on the Mac, but it proved to be simple.
K0PIR


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.

The 2017 Novice Rig Round-Up!

VE7AIJ's Original Setup




There's a relatively 'new' contest in town that seems to be gathering a lot of growing interest. I'm talking about the 'NRR' or "Novice Rig Round-Up".





Harry, VE7AIJ, recently sent me a wonderful picture of his original station reproduction as used back in 1956. Hopefully Harry will be able to activate it along with countless others in the upcoming NRR.

The NRR is the brainchild of Bryan, AF4K, and Gary Johanson, WD4NKA, who developed the idea through chat on the Boatanchor and Glowbugs reflectors. They put the concept to the test in 2015 with the initial running of the NRR. Station pictures and soapbox comments from the last two runnings may be viewed here and here ... and they are truly inspirational.

With so many retired or soon to be retired 'baby boomers', there are a lot of guys out there that really enjoy recreating their original station setup, which for most U.S. hams, would have been their Novice station. There is also a huge group of 'not so old' hams that just enjoy refurbishing or homebrewing rigs from the 50's and putting them on the air ... the NRR will present another great opportunity to get on-the-air and light up those filaments once again.

As indicated on the NRR website, this is "more of an EVENT than just a typical contest ... once again taking our OLD ham radios off the shelf and putting them to use again! "

courtesy: http://novicerigroundup.com/
Although the NRR strongly encourages participants to use era-appropriate 'Novice type gear', using a modern rig will not prohibit you from joining in on the fun ... as well as give you a chance to hear how some of these old classics sound on CW.

The full rules are available on the dedicated NRR webpage. You will also find information there for Yahoo's NRR Group as well as the Facebook link. An excellent FAQ page also makes for valuable reading.

Many of the contest stations will be crystal controlled, just as they were back in the Novice days and a list of individual rockbound frequencies can be downloaded for your reference here ... those using crystal control will also tune well above and below their own frequencies for callers, a long-lost technique once required, when all Novice stations were using crystal controlled rigs ... tuning high and low should give rockbound stations better chances of success.

The NRR takes place from 0000 UTC February 18 through 2359 UTC February 26 - 9 full days, covering two full weekends.

Suggested HF frequencies are: 3550 - 3650 kHz, 3579, 7055, 7060, 7080, 7100 -7125 kHz, 21.114, 21.120, 21.150 MHz, 28.114, 28.120 MHz.

An automatic logger page has been set up for log handling as well as a 'live skeds' page to announce your frequency or to chat. Clearly, a lot of effort by the organizers has gone into this event!

Hopefully you can participate and make the 3rd annual NRR an even more enjoyable event than the first two. I know of several VE7's, including myself, that will be operating.

Harry's homebrew 6AQ5 crystal oscillator (Feb '55 Popular Electronics) and Hallicrafters S-53, pictured above, allowed him to work the world back in the amazing radio days of Cycle 19. Let's relive some of that excitement in the closing days of Cycle 24 ... in the NRR!

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

DMR Hotspot from SharkRF

Amateur adoption of Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) continues to increase, with a number of new innovations playing out. It was way back in 2012 when I wrote this article about DMR for CQ VHF Magazine: TRBO Hits the Amateur Bands. 

A few years ago, I picked up some used MOTOTRBO gear to use on our local DMR repeater system (MOTOTRBO is Motorola’s version of DMR). Here in Colorado, the Rocky Mountain Ham Radio group has been instrumental in establishing a great network of DMR repeaters, a real asset for Colorado radio amateurs. See Rocky Mountain Ham Radio TRBO/DMR Network.  Worldwide, the DMR-MARC organization has created a robust network of MOTOTRBO repeaters in over 60 countries.

A more recent development is the establishment of the BrandMeister Network, which promotes more of a homebrew approach to DMR. This evening, the BrandMeister dashboard shows 634 industrial repeaters (commercial equipment), 263 homebrew repeaters and over 1300 hotspots of various types.  A variety of DMR hotspots are available, including the DV4mini. I’m not going try to list all of the hotspots available as I’m sure I’ll miss something.  The SharkRF openSPOT caught my attention because of this excellent review by John ‘Miklor’ K3NXU. Because of its popularity, the openSPOT is on backorder (price: 182.5 Euro).

This HamRadioConcepts video walks through the setup and basic operation.

I thought the openSPOT would be a good widget to have around the shack. It is a standalone hotspot, so I don’t have to dedicate a computer to it. Also, it is very turnkey…no assembly required…but some configuration to work out. Its user interface is a web page that you access via your local network…nicely done. I got it working in less than one hour and have been fiddling around with it ever since.

Hotspots are a funny item. They have very limited RF range, so their main purpose is to provide local RF access into the network (just like your Wi-Fi hotspot). One role they play is to provide fill-in coverage when no repeater is available. Another role they fill is being a personal device that can be connected to your favorite reflector or talk group.

I should point out that the openSPOT also operates as a D-STAR and Yaesu Fusion (YSF) hotspot. You just change the configuration of the modem and it starts speaking the selected modulation. More surprising is that I was able to use a YSF handheld radio to talk to the openSPOT which routed me to a DMR talkgroup. Yes, a Yaesu YSF radio talking on DMR.

The first thing I noticed when listening to some of the more active talk groups is that it seems like every person getting on the system said “I just got this Tytera MD-380 radio and you are my first DMR contact.” OK, sometimes it was a Connect Systems or Motorola radio but the MD-380 at around $100 is having a big impact. I picked up an MD-380 and while its not quite as nice as my Motorola, I really do like the radio. (Note that there are other low cost DMR radios that have serious technical issues.) There will be other radios on the market…the technology will keep improving and improved models will hit the market. Right now, everyone is wondering who will create a good dualband 2m / 70cm transceiver for DMR.

I see some very strong technology and market trends in play here that are going to impact the ham radio world. First off, DMR is a true industry standard (ETSI),  well designed and documented. Second, we are seeing multiple radio vendors offering competitive, low cost transceivers. Third, there is high quality commercial repeater gear available from land mobile providers such as Motorola and Hytera. But there’s one more thing that really tops this off: the number of ham-built products emerging that are focused on DMR. This is classic ham radio adaptation and innovation that leverages commercial gear for ham radio use.

Stay tuned…this is going to be interesting!

73, Bob K0NR

The post DMR Hotspot from SharkRF 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].

AmateurLogic 101: Android RTL, BitX40 & lots more


AmateurLogic.TV Episode 101 is now available for download.

Tommy explores Android RTL SDR, Peter completes a BitX40 transceiver, Emile takes a Byte of Pi, George talks about tool stores, and special guest John Ossi, N3DRH has part 1 of 2 on Karl Jansky. You won’t want to miss it.

1:23:43

Download
YouTube


George Thomas, W5JDX, is co-host of AmateurLogic.TV, an original amateur radio video program hosted by George Thomas (W5JDX), Tommy Martin (N5ZNO), Peter Berrett (VK3PB), and Emile Diodene (KE5QKR). Contact him at [email protected].

Amateur Radio Weekly – Issue 145

ARRL seeks opinions concerning possible new entry level license
An Entry Level License Committee was established by the ARRL Board of Directors and appointed in September 2016.
ARRL

ISS SSTV active February 13th and 14th
The SSTV images will be transmitted as part of the MAI-75 Experiment on 145.800 MHz FM using the Kenwood TM-D710 transceiver located in the Russian ISS Service module.
AMSAT UK

The “Slick Six” 6 Meter Horizontal Dipole
This antenna is easy to adjust and can take any of the weather Texas can dish out.
KK5ID

‘Mysterious foghorn’ in Ham Radio bands
Observed on 7, 10 and 14 MHz, this is a Chinese OTH radar.
Southgate

Adding 160 meters to a Hustler 6BTV
I have never been able to transmit on the 160 meter band. As I hear it, it’s referenced as the “Gentleman’s Band.”
K5ACL

Baofeng for digital modes
When playing around with wireless mobile traffic lights, I also thought about options to transmit on the VHF and UHF bands.
Carriers Everywhere

Asus takes on Raspberry Pi
32-bit A17 CPU bolstered by fast Mali-T764 GPU, 2GB of RAM, and gigabit Ethernet.
Ars Technica

Easy homemade beginner ADS-B antennas
Easy to build, costs less than $1, no tools or equipment, takes maximum 15 minutes.
Radio for Everyone

ICOM IC-2820 fan mod
The replacement is a Pabst 0412 fan that comes with a 5,25” PC connector. I replaced it with a 1.5mm two pin JST ZH connector.
Notizbl0g.

Another outstanding year for Amateur Radio licensing
New Amateur Radio licenses issued were up by 1% over 2015.
ARRL

Video

Airborne TV DX Miami to St. Louis flight
Scanning the TV bands from 3, 000 feet – Miami to St. Louis and back with a Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-955Q dongle receiver and 3 inch stick antenna.
YouTube


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.

Russian QRP with a Handcrafted Magnetic Loop

Not so long ago, I discovered a group of people here in Russia, who likes so called “green” radio, i.e. Q-mac, Codan, Barrett, Soviet R-143 and other professional and military transceivers. They prefer work on air outdoors, fleeing from big city’s (and even small village’s) QRM. They are experimenting with extremely short antennas such as 3-meter-whip even at low bands. They have their own frequencies that they call “channels”. For example, channel “5” is 7175 kHz and channel “7” is 14342.5 kHz. They work low power, usually less than 30 Watts, SSB. They shoot video and exchange it via Youtube. They never feel boring of talking to each other repeatedly. They call themselves “manpackers” and call their activities “A man-pack day.”

You can have a look at one of these QSOs, between me and R1BBG/P located about 700 km away in suburbs of Saint-Petersburg, made at “channel five” by means of a handcrafted magnetic loop antenna and QRP rig Yaesu FT-817. 10 Watts and Icom was from his side. The weather was fine, minus 10C only.

These days I contacted these man-pack people several times. I used power of less than 30 Watts and small antennas. I really liked it! Not bad part of hobby somewhere between QRP and QRO. Yes, not truly QRP, but truly fun of the radio!


Peter Dabizha, R2ABT, is a special contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Moscow, Russia. Contact him [email protected].

630m Midwinter Activity Summary





Last weekend's 630m Midwinter Activity Event appeared to bring out a lot of new listeners to the band as well as to the crossband activity.


John, KB5NJD, reports in his daily 630m summary, that numbers were higher than previous events, indicating much new interest in what might eventually become the new 'Topband'. John has a very detailed timeline of events for the night including extensive coverage of experimental station reports.

Unfortunately, as is often the case, geomagnetic conditions were still suffering the effects of a week long coronal hole stream bombardment, particularly geo-effective in VE7 and the PNW, which always seems to tickle the southern elongated tail of the auroral oval further north. Stations to the south reported better, but quickly shifting propagation paths, while VE3OT in Ontario seemed to have no difficulty in working his numerous QSX callers.

Murphy's Law in action. The yellow disturbance coincides exactly with the event!

The path from VE7 was predominantly north-south, with the east-west path almost non-existent ... often the case when K indices are higher than 0 or 1. Several of the crossband stations reported heavy QRM on their HF QSX frequencies, which was expected. There were a number of CW events, including the NA CW and the FOC parties, as well as an international RTTY contest in full swing. I found my QSX of 3526 kHz to be busy but manageable as stations did not seem to stay too long before moving to another frequency. My 40m QSX of 7115 kHz was clear all night but most callers chose to use 80m.

Eventually, if and when the U.S. gets the 630m band, crossband work will no longer be needed. With all of the loud VE7 and Washington state activity on 630m, it will be an interesting challenge to work within the band itself ... but what great fun it will eventually be to hear 630m sounding like 160m during a winter CW contest!

Here is a rundown on the Canadian crossband action:

Joe, VO1NA out on the rock, used 80m as his talkback frequency while running 50W to a large inverted-L.

  • PE5T              
  • VO1DI             
  • PAØO             
  • K1PX          

Additional 'heard reports' were received from LA6LU, VE2PEP, DL4HG and PAØRDT.

Moving further west, Mitch, VE3OT, had a busy night with his 250 watts and 340' rectangular loop pointing east-west:

  • VA3DN---ON
  • W3TS---PA
  • K1PX---CT
  • W8PI---MI
  • WB3AVN---MD
  • K3PA---KS
  • K3CCR---MD
  • AC9S---IN
  • WA8ZZ---MI
  • W3WH---PA
  • WA9ETW---WI
  • AB4KJ---IL
  • NS8S---MI
  • N9SE---IN
  • WA3TTS---PA
  • W2JEK---NJ
  • VE3GRO---ON
  • WØBV---CO
  • K2PI---VA
  • K1HTV---VA
  • N2MS---NJ
  • KB5NJD---TX
  • NO3M---PA
  • NA5DX---MS
  • K9RT---IN
  • WØJW---IA

Mitch adds:

"Good conditions here - and similar frequency choice as last year….all but 2 QSOs on 3.5Mhz. Lost 3 possible QSOs - just too weak - at the noise level, but they obviously were copying me on 477….interesting.
Thinking about band condx - I think I should have stayed another hour or so and see i the band finally opened further West than Colorado.
It was interesting to see the East slowly fade away and the Mid-West and Western stations started calling. A good exercise - and lots of compliments and thanks from the U.S. operators."

Mitch is working on a special QSL for those stations that worked him.

Out on the west coast, things were busy as well but other than a couple of brief periods, there seemed to be a Faraday shield not too far east of the Rockies ... mostly a north-south affair.

John, VE7BDQ, reports:

  • W7FI---WA
  • K7WA---WA
  • K6YK---CA
  • VE6XH---AB
  • VA7JX---BC
  • VE7BGJ---BC
  • K7CW---WA
  • AH6EX/W7---WA
  • CF7MM---BC
  • K6IR---WA
  • K7SS---WA
  • W9PL---WA
  • CF7MM---BC
  • CG7CNF---BC
  • VE7SL---BC

From Toby, VE7CNF:

  • AH6EZ/W7---WA
  • K7CW---WA
  • CF7MM---BC
  • K7SS---WA
  • W9PL---WA
  • N7BYD---MT
  • VE7BDQ---BC
  • W7FI---WA
  • W6TOD---CA
  • VE7KW---BC
  • VE6XH---AB
  • VE7BGJ---BC
  • VA7JX---BC
  • K6YK---CA
  • KB5NJD---TX

From Mark, VA7MM:

  • W7FI---WA
  • K7CW---WA
  • W6RKC---CA
  • W6TOD---CA
  • AH6EZ/W7---WA
  • VE6XH---AB
  • VE7KW---BC
  • K6YK---CA
  • VE7BGJ---BC
  • VA7JX---BC
  • K7SS---WA
  • CG7CNF---BC
  • VE7BDQ---BC
Both Toby and Mark were in the middle of a nasty ice storm, slowly watching their output power drop as their antennas gradually accumulated more and more ice. Thankfully neither antenna came down!

630m top-loaded 'T' (and multiband HF dipole) at VA7MM...100' vertical x 50' tophat.
At least there was no ice storm in progress here on Mayne at VE7SL:
  •  CF7MM---BC
  • W6TOD---CA
  • K7CW---WA
  • W7FI---WA
  • K6YK---CA
  • K7WA---WA
  • WØBV---CO
  • AH6ZE/W7---WA
  • VE7KW---BC
  • VE6XH---AB
  • VA7JX---BC
  • VE7BGJ---BC
  • NO3M---PA
  • KB5NJD---TX
  • K7SS---WA
  • N7BYD---MT
  • CG7CNF---BC
  • VE7BDQ---BC
Besides being just a lot of fun, these events always provide some interesting 'takeaways'.

It's clear that there is a lot of interest in this band and it continues to grow ... reporting levels have never been higher. One crossbander in Washington state indicated that he has a station already to go, once the U.S. gets the band.

Activities such as this continue to demonstrate that stations running something less than the maximum allowable 5 watts eirp can produce impressive signal levels, allowing solid aural contacts over considerable distances via skywave ... even under the marginal conditions just experienced.

Considering the amount of RF being generated nightly for several years by high erp experimental stations as well as during numerous frenzied 630m activity nights, there should be little doubt that interference to hydro switching systems is a non-issue. Sadly, this argument by power authority lobbyists still appears to be the main obstacle for the FCC's foot-dragging of 630m implementation in the U.S.A.

It was great to see participation and interest from VE6 land! Hopefully more Canadian amateurs will take up the challenges offered by 630m ... both in operating and in building a station. You need not have anything more than a suburban backyard to enjoy transcontinental work and like so many activities ... the more, the merrier!

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

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