Category Archives: HamCram Note

Satellite Antenna Project – Next Step

With the Diplexers and Wiring Harnesses completed, it is time to do the easy part – the physical antennas. (for the Diplexer & Harness Build see  Building Microdiplexers with Victor KC9NWB )

Looking locally for the 1/8″ diameter common brass rod VE2ZAZ designed his antenna version around neither the quantity nor price-point were very attractive.  Little short pieces and expensive.

Found that McMaster-Carr has the rods at a very good price in 6 ft lengths.  They must have a special deal with their shippers as the shipping charge was very modest as well.  I also bought the CPVC tube and Vinyl End Caps from them, to top up my order above minimums and for ease of shopping.  Those prices were also very very good, though I don’t know what I am goingto do with all the extra vinyl end caps, given that the minimum order quantity was 100 pieces!

Did find that my circuit boards are a hair oversized, and I will need to make a decision whether to go to a larger boom or if I am going to add a “Diplexer Pod” externally.  I am leaning to the Pod and exterior wiring, with the idea of using the Pod as a future attach point for a receive preamp.

Mechanically I am looking at ways to make the elements easy to remove and reinstall.  Thinking of trying a couple ideas with scrap materials before drilling the booms.

Thinking of using an epoxy putty ball  with a small plastic cross-pin through it applied to each element on one side of the boom and then using elastic rubber bands to hold the elements in place when assembled.  Would provide for positive indexing and I could use letter stamps to mark each element for location.  Have a couple other ideas with heatshrink tubing and a clip.

Pictures soon!



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LTC/Sheboygan VE Group/Mancorad Teamsmanship Mints Baker’s Dozen New Hams

Through the efforts of Mancorad’s Paul Benfield KC9RKG Lakeshore Technical College (LTC) has minted 13 new Technician Class Licensees and Paul himself is now KC9RKG/AG General Class!

Paul saw an opportunity to include the Technician course material into class studies at LTC and a large group of his students prepared & tested.

He has several students who plan to test at a later date.

The Sheboygan ARRL VE Group lead the testing, with Art K9XJ, Ed K9IZT and Bob KC9HBA representing their team. Many thanks to the Sheboygan Team!

Participating from Mancorad in the test session were Bob KC9HBA and myself. Helping with administrative duties and observing were Paul KC9RKG/AG and my son Victor KC9NWB.

Bob spoke on ARES/RACES opportunities and I gave each candidate either Mancorad Information or SCARC (Sheboygan County Amateur Radio Club) information as appropriate.

I should mention that Paul passed his Technician Class on Feb 6th as a Mancorad/LTC Hamcram student who signed up the day before, and now that he has passed his General Class is already studying for Extra Class! Well done!

Congratulations to Paul and his students, and thank you to everyone who helped out!



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Five New Hams and an Upgrade to Boot – Hamcram Results!

February 6th Mancorad W9DK held its first Hamcram at Lakeshore Technical College, and the effort minted five news hams and an upgrade to boot!

Congratulations to Seth, Levi, Russ, Paul & Rich (call signs once the paperwork is processed and the FCC issues their first calls) and to Scott KC4JXS/AG !!!

With support from a speaker from Manitowoc ARES/RACES (thank you Bob KC9HBA) and very strong support from the Sheboygan Amateur Radio Club’s VE group (thank you KD9TZ, AA9SJ, KC9DLO, AB9HH and KA9WYK !) the event proved a worthy effort.

From Mancorad instructors included myself, Scott KC4JXS and Tim N7TAL. Assisting with testing was Mark WB9WRT. Helping with the many items needed to support the effort were Rich KC9LOA, Carl KA9WYK and Jody KC9KVT.

We learned a few things this Hamcram, which I will write about in a week or so. In the future we intend to support candidates under age 16 with a different program and support overcommitted professional types with an added series of mock-exams. More about our Hamcram-Youth and Hamcram-Plus revisions later.

Congratulations to the successful candidates and many thanks to everyone involved!



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Hamcrams, Hamshacks and Guests

Have been working on materials for the February 6th Mancorad W9DK Hamcram and VE session at Lakeshore Technical College.  Very excited personally to get the W9DK Mancorad Hamcram program fired back up.  Currently have a VE assistance request out for Extra Class VEs to help with upgrade testing, as a number of people have asked to sit higher exams.

Have spent a bit of time in the Hamshack, a maybe 40 QSO quick run at the NAQP (North American QSO Party) but more importantly was able to put a young 11 year old on the air fr his first experience with Amateur Radio.  He did very well and a huge thanks to Ed KD6RUH for helping with the favorable first QSO for this young lad.

Personally we were away  out of country from Dec 17th onwards, returning to have out of country houseguests  arrive Dec 28th and then changed over to family houseguests until yesterday Jan 17th!  At the peak we had 5 teenagers in the house with the extras!

Lots of projects here for my K9ZW radio room.  Some new gear to put up, some lingering minor glitches to sort out and now that the house is back down to just four of us for a while, some radio time to schedule.



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Winter 2010 “HamCram” Licensing Class at LTC – Feb 6th


Mancorad Logo

Mancorad Logo

Winter 2010 “HamCram” Licensing Class at LTC

February 6th, 2010 8 am to 4 pm

Join a fellow group of highly motivated Amateur Radio Candidates for Winter 2010 Manitowoc County Radio Club – MANCORAD’s “HamCram” Class

HamCram is a specially designed single day session that teaches everything needed to become an FCC Licensed Radio Amateur, with official FCC Licensing the same day.

A preparation session several weeks prior will explain in detail all that you need to study & know to pass the FCC multiple choice Technician License (Entry Level License).

We will show you how you can easily join the exciting Amateur Radio hobby through the use of the course preparation materials, a few on-line practice quizzes, the HamCram class and testing at our in-house test session.

Pre-Class: Wednesday January 27th at 5 pm

HamCram: Saturday February 6th, 2010 8 am – 4 pm

Where: Lakeshore Technical College, Public Safety Building Room P114, 1290 North Avenue, Cleveland, WI 53015

Cost: $42.00 which includes the $15 FCC Exam Fee, a copy of the ARRL Manual, $6 for your course materials, and a Lunch on HamCram Saturday. (Fee without the ARRL Book is $22.00)

Contact: Mancorad – HamCram, P.O. Box 204, Manitowoc, WI 542210-0204 (All Registration for this community service course are handled by Mancorad – LTC cannot directly register you for this course)

Email: Website:

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REPOST: The Carrot Dangle – Encouraging Young Amateurs

What is the “First Step” in insuring the future of Amateur Radio? That is simple, it is getting youth involved!

Education about Amateur Radio is task #1 for attracting youth. From simply making amateur radio known to the youth, to maing sure training & informational materials are out in the community, to running classes – whether HamCram or long-format, to simply Elmering the interested, Education is #1 for Encouraging Young Amateurs.

Youth can even download Technician Licensing Podcasts from HandiHams’ “Ham Radio Study”, or Ham Radio Class, among others (do a Google or search from iTunes).

Amateur Radio License Testing is a common fear, and common excuse amoung interested youth. If you hearken back to when you learned to drive, for many of us our driving instructor took us out on “Mock Road Tests” so we could perfect our technique. Mock Licensing Tests abound on the web, with a favorites being the tests at Logo and tests at Logo.

The Reward of being Licensed – use the Carrot!!

Of course becoming licensed is a reward in itself, but certainly we can add to the experience!

Our local club Mancorad W9DK Mancorad Logogives each newly licensed amateur a year membership as a gift from the club. Other than students who move away for college, where they hopefully join their college club – specially as we tip off their college club to search them out – all the new gift membership members have renewed & stayed active in the club.

On a personal level I dangle a new Handitalkie for each of our children who gets their Technician License (I’ve had to ante-up twice for with new HT’s) and a new Entry Level High Frequency Rig if they go on to General or better (still hoping to have to make good on this!). I would have found them radios when the licensed, but somehow adding the “Carrot” made it a real motivator and a lot more fun!

The next steps for each of us it to see how we can become a “dangler of carrots” in encouraging youth to take up amateur radio. We each have various resources to draw from, with time, talent and money each playing a role.

Put to good use a carrot dangled can bring up the interest level, provide encouragement, get the young amateur involved and on the air!

Have at it team! Carrots Up & Dangling!



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