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K9ZW Joins the JT65 160m Affray 31 - December - 2011

Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, K9ZW, K9ZW Operations.
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Decided I should give the JT65 mode a whirl after hearing how much success Scott W9JSB was having.

As I had earlier been on the 160m SSB Every Night Net, I thought I would see if there was any JT65 on 160m.

What a surprise as at 1.838 there is a raft of stations – at least that is what it sounded like “by ear.”

Downloading the JT65 software was easy – setting up things to work with PowerSDR and the Flex-5000A was a bit roundabout but doable.

The result was QSOs from the start!

Here is a screen shot of the software running (you can click to see a larger version):

K9ZW in a JT65 160m QSO with N4UPX

K9ZW in a JT65 160m QSO with N4UPX

All told I only made Eight JT65 160m QSOs – they take several minutes each – here is the calls and reports:

WA3WZR -17
N4UPX -08
WB2HTO -3
K4JJQ -08
VE9DX -03
N6KMR -10
K0IDT -04
W5GW -12

Went right back and added another ten QSOs:

AB8KZ
W9OL
KB3MOW
KJ4IZW
KA1QW
WT9S
KD8EZS
N4UFO
N4WD
WB4FSD

JT65 is a rather unusual mode in that it is about making the contact, and just about anything else is “chatter” and generally technically a difficultly.

Here is a descriptive and history of the mode: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WSJT_(Amateur_radio_software)

The Project’s Homepage is at: http://sourceforge.net/projects/jt65-hf/

Flex had an article on configuration that was based on an older versions, but helped: http://kc.flex-radio.com/KnowledgebaseArticle50362.aspx

Definitely an interesting mode and I am sure I will play around with it a bit.

Hope to meet you on 160m JT65 sometime soon!

73

Steve
K9ZW

Jeremy KC9BWK with his Scratch-Built Homebrew 80/20m Transceiver Logging QSOs! 30 - December - 2011

Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, K9ZW.
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This post is a combination of two the appeared at our club blog featuring Jeremy KC9BWK’s ultra-Steampunk 80/20 Scratch-Built Transceiver and some of his first QSOs! In the last picture the operating rig is ALL the parts in Yellow Lines!!

Congratulations Jeremy KC9BWK, you’re inspiring us all!

73

Steve
K9ZW

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

At our November 12th 2011 meeting Jeremy KC9BWK gave an outstanding presentation on his 80m & 20m SSB Transceiver Project.

Jeremy KC9BWK used several references and worked out his own design, with each module built up as a separate entity.

Some examples – like the 5 kHz oscillator module in the candy tin feature cut-trace circuit boards.

Others like the mixer module standing on edge in the center featured boards he etched himself.

Where appropriate or where revisions required it “dead bug” and mixed building techniques are used. These are amplifier modules built around parts taken from old computer supplies. The smaller outputs roughly 20 watts and the larger design 120 watts on 80m.

Much of the transmitter portion is built inside a shielding framework, again with a mix of cut-trace and dead-bug design.

Most of us never think how there are a series of functional modules in our radio. This is Jeremy KC9BWK’s transceiver with frequency counter & display, filters and most components.

Much of the inspiration for his design is based on an excellent web-book “Crystal Sets to Sideband” by Frank Harris, KØIYE, the latest version (#12) which is available as a PDF or for online reading at http://www.wa0itp.com/crystalsetsssb.html and also in a printed copy (it is 436 pages to print out) at http://www.lulu.com/product/hardcover/crystal-sets-to-sideband—a-guide-to-building-an-amateur-radio-station/16249809 (I intend to order one at one of Lulu’s periodic sales).

Jeremy had to report that the current ARRL books were not very useful for this sort of work, though he did adapt one module’s design from an old ARRL Handbook. Compared to the Frank Harris K0IYE book he couldn’t recommend any of the main ARRL books.

Here is another view of the exciter portion of the transmitter.

Many of the controls have been remoted to allow eventual placement in a case.

The frequency counter uses a PIC chip, which Jeremy has offered to program member’s PICs if they want t build their own.

The modules mostly use coax with RCA plugs to interconnect.

Many parts are salvaged from old gear, with a handful of purpose bought components. Jeremy described how he mostly winds his own air-coil toroids rather than trying to wind on ferrite cores.

Many of the components are surface mount items!!

In general he does not drill his boards, preferring to solder leads to the face of the traces.

Here is a final shot of Jeremy KC9BWK showing off his handy work!

Well done Jeremy KC9BWK and thank you for sharing your inspirational project!

73

Steve K9ZW
Secretary/Treasurer

——

Update on Jeremy’s Radio – even some DX in the first contacts logged!

Well done Jeremy!

73

Steve
K9ZW

Hi Steve K9ZW,

I just wanted to share the news — I made a couple contacts today on 20m!

#1 was KA3UNQ/P at the Drum Pt. lighthouse in MD, #2 was KB1KTF in West Hartford Ct.. I talked a little longer with KB1KTF, and he gave me a good report on audio and signal, so I was very happy! I got the final output up to 5 – 10 watts with a 12v supply and I was going to try 24v next to see if I could get the power up a bit more, but things seem to be working ok so far.

I am just relieved to finally make some contacts so that I can say that the transceiver DOES work! Until now I just thought it was probably working. Getting power output on 20m has been much more difficult than 80m; I made a few changes today that brought the output up a bit more, so I thought I would give it a try and to my amazement it worked.

After trying to make contact for quite a while on 80m it was a huge surprise to hear someone come back to me. I made another contact this evening — VEA6POP in Calgary and he gave me a 5/7 report. It must be a world of difference from the 80m band where I was fairly certain I was putting out more than 5x power than I am on 20m. Now I have to design a QSL card to send out.

73

Jeremy KC9BWK

Jeremy KC8BWK's Homebrew  SSB Transceiver

Jeremy KC8BWK's Homebrew SSB Transceiver (in Yellow Lines)

The ARRL’s “The DIY Magic of Amateur Radio” on YouTube 29 - December - 2011

Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, K9ZW, K9ZW Just Rambled, QRP.
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Just in case you haven’t seen a link for this great video yet:

ARRL’s new video, “The DIY Magic of Amateur Radio,” is an 8-minute video that follows some of the innovative, imaginative and fun ways “hams” use radio technology in new and creative ways. The presentation is directed toward the DIY (do it yourself) movement, which is inspiring a new generation of creators, hackers and innovators. The message should be helpful for existing members to shape the ways they understand and talk about ham radio. For more information and related resources, visit http://www.arrl.org/wedothat-radio-org.

Enjoy!

73

Steve
K9ZW

Be a ham radio operator – the Courage Center Handiham System for Blind & Disabled 26 - December - 2011

Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, K9ZW, K9ZW Recommends.
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Included in my personal 2011 end of year giving - -

- – (you ARE putting “something back” in someway – whether Time, Talent or Treasure (money) for 2011??!! whew!  Glad to hear you are!! ) – –

- – is the excellent Amateur Radio charity & teaching/support machine “Handiham“:

Be a Ham Radio Operator!

Handiham Logo

Be part of an activity that includes astronauts, teachers, kings, actors, police officers, pilots, and people just like you! Call Courage Center’s Handiham System and learn ham radio operation today. It’s easier than you think! Morse code is not required for any level of ham radio license. Courage Center’s Handiham System will get you started with your ham radio studies, and you’ll be on the air before you know it. Having fun with electronics, talking to your friends on the radio, and helping your community with emergency communications are some of the new experiences you can look forward to with a ham radio license.

Cost: $10 annual membership

Golden Valley Contact: Nancy Meydell, 763.520.0512

(Outstate, toll-free, 1.866.426.3442)

Or email: hamradio@couragecenter.org

Office appointments are available Monday through Friday, 9 am-1:30 pm at Courage Center Golden Valley or by arrangement at Courage Center St. Croix in Stillwater.

Classes also are available at various locations. Week-long Radio Camp sessions each year are available at Courage North, in northern Minnesota’s beautiful lake country, if you want to study in a residential camp setting. The cost of camp is based on ability to pay. Self-study is possible anytime and anywhere with audio or print materials, or on handiham.org with your computer.

Online courses are a self-paced member service, and are delivered as audio lectures each week:

Beginner course (Technician Class License) Intermediate course (General Class License) Highest level course (Extra Class License) Operating Skills course (For those with any level of license who want to learn to operate better.)

There is also a Handiham World newsletter. Find it online, delivered weekly in both text and audio, or as an audio podcast at handiham.org, or call toll-free, 1.866.426.3442.

via Be a ham radio operator! | Courage Center Handiham System.

Their blog: http://handiham.blogspot.com/

and main webpage: http://www.handiham.org/

I’m seldom in the position to do as much as I would like for them, though I do find a way to slide a hundred to them now & then, as Patrick Tice WA0TDA told me at Dayton that every little bit helps!

As you finish up your year, perhaps you can your join me in finding a few dollars to send their way?

THANK YOU in advance!

73

Steve
K9ZW

If you would be so kind as to let me know either in comment or by email (I am good at QRZ.com) I would appreciate it!


ARRL Diamond DXCC Challenge – Looks like fun! 23 - December - 2011

Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, DX Interests, K9ZW, K9ZW Just Rambled.
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This looks really neat:

2012 is the 75th anniversary of the ARRL’s DXCC Award. The world’s preeminent DXing award continues to be DXCC, so reaching the “Diamond milestone” is an event that we all want to celebrate. Going back to the roots of the award, and specifically reading the 1937 DXCC List (January, 1937 QST pages 52-3) to learn what countries were counted at the onset led us to create the Diamond DXCC Challenge.

The country list we will use for the Diamond DXCC Challenge is based upon the list of 231 places shown in 1937. We tried to find corresponding entities today that would represent the places listed in 1937, but there are four places (Baluchistan, British Cameroons, Canal Zone, Hejas) which were on the oldest list that just don’t exist today in a form that could even loosely be represented by someplace current. The Diamond DXCC List represents 227 of the 233 1937 “countries.” The list is fascinating and leads us to learn more about world history and how geopolitics has changed leading up to today.

As you “check-off” these entities during the course of 2012 working DX (which is an achievement even today) using spotting networks, pan-adapters, 200 watt rigs, and stacked tribanders, imagine how DXing was different in the early years of radio and DXCC! Working Tibet or Aldabra with 50 watts and crystal-controlled transmitters to simple wire antennas, had to be a thrill like no other in that time for ham radio operators.

We anticipate that this award will be very popular thanks to the unique nature of the entities which we will try to put-into the log in 2012. Not only are there traditional DXCC entities, but there are cities, Islands on the Air (IOTA by RSGB) island groups, and various sub-political entities inside DXCC entities, such as the Indian State of Goa and many States in Malaysia and islands in Indonesia. There are even three individual “countries” that make up today’s Yemen (7O — Yemen, Socotra Islands and the City of Aden)! Yes, we would like to have even one of them on the air. An interesting factoid about this 1937 list came via the late Jim Maxwell, W6CF. Jim said the only entity from the 1937 list to be removed without a single QSO being made was Wrangel Island.

For some entities that today consist of multiple countries, you may work any of today’s entities to qualify for that single, 1937 country. For example, French Equatorial Africa will be considered worked if you log a station in TL, TN, TR or TT in 2012. The Diamond DXCC country tables show the current entity names and prefixes that qualify for the 1937 countries.

The Diamond DXCC Challenge is an “Honor Award” and will not require acquisition or inspection of QSLs or proof of confirmation, although it still will be fun and useful to seek out cards or LoTW confirmations. We will provide forms online to use at your operating position to track what you have worked and forms for applying for awards and endorsements. As the year goes on, we will also provide hints and tips about what is happening with the Diamond DXCC Award and for instance, who might be on the air from Goa or Gdansk!

The Diamond DXCC certificate will be available for working 100 of the 226 entities, and will be endorsable at 5 levels: 125, 150, 175, 200 and 225. If anyone works all 226, there will be a special award for that remarkable achievement! We hope to publish award recipients’ call signs online during the year, and identify high numbers.

There will be a Diamond DXCC Challenge Honor Roll. The Honor Roll level will be determined by the leader in worked entities submitted to HQ, and the bottom of the Honor Roll will be 9 entities less than that of the leader. Example: If W1AW has worked 165 entities, the bottom of the Honor Roll will be 156 entities. In February, 2013, HQ will issue a final Honor Roll tally with overall leaders.

See the Diamond DXCC web page for more information and to read updates during 2012.

ARRL Diamond DXCC Challenge Rules

1. The Diamond DXCC Challenge Awards are available to all amateurs worldwide who contact a minimum of 100 countries from the Diamond DXCC List. US amateurs must be members of the ARRL. Generally, the rules for the Diamond DXCC Challenge are the same as the rules for the DXCC Program, except as listed here.

2. Contacts must be made from within the same DXCC entity by the same operator.

3. Contacts must be made during 2012 — from 0000Z on 1 January, 2012, through 2359Z on 31 December, 2012. All amateur bands may be used except for 60 meters.

4. There are no mode endorsements or band endorsements. The Diamond DXCC Challenge is considered to be a Mixed-Mode/Mixed-Band award. There are no power categories or restrictions for the award.

5. Confirmations are not required to obtain this award, but HQ will review submitted entries for accuracy and validity.

6. The Diamond DXCC Challenge certificate will be available for working 100 entities and will be endorsable with stickers at the following levels: 125, 150, 175, 200 and 225.

7. Applications should use ARRL-supplied forms available online or obtained by writing DXCC, 225 Main St., Newington, CT 06111.

8. The Diamond DXCC Award certificate fee is $12 including shipping within the USA, and $13 including shipping outside the USA.

9. Endorsement stickers are $1, including shipping in the US, and $2 outside the US.

http://www.arrl.org/news/arrl-diamond-dxcc-challenge

http://www.arrl.org/diamond-dxcc

I’m going to look a bit more at this to see if I can put into my 2012 Radio goals!

73

Steve
K9ZW

About RadioReference.com 21 - December - 2011

Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, K9ZW, K9ZW Learned.
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Picking up where published guides once covered, and where formerly easy to access web databases once ruled, RadioReference.com is whole lot of information cleanly put together online.

RadioReference.com

RadioReference.com is the world’s largest radio communications data provider, featuring a complete frequency database, trunked radio system information, and FCC license data. RadioReference is also the largest broadcaster of public safety live audio communications feeds, hosting thousands of live audio broadcasts of Police, Fire, EMS, Railroad, and aircraft communications.

With hundreds of thousands of members, RadioReference is a world leading collaboration platform for public safety communications professionals and hobbyists.

via RadioReference.com.

As a heads-up the Mobile version http://m.radioreference.com is hand and shows very cleanly on my phone, though it is a limited portion of the whole website.

73

Steve
K9ZW

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