Bill, N8BR on the OCRA Monday Night 10M Net via Video Conference

Remember the HF phone patch that used to be commonplace in the ham shack years ago?  How about a video conference HF patch?  Or for that matter, flip a switch and it’s a video conference to VHF/UHF patch?

Bill, N8BR does not have an HF station at his QTH, but that did not stop him from listening to the net and Dan, KR4UB passing on his comments to the net.

Dan hosted a video conference and invited Bill to join the OCRA Monday Night 10M Net on 28.450 via video conference.  Ham station audio is fed into the computer running the video conference application. A simple switch of the video conference microphone device driver setting from the normally used Logitech HD camera microphone to the computer line-input brings the ham radio receiver audio and Dan’s Heil headset microphone audio into the video conference.

Much of the equipment used and shown below has origin in other usage and has morphed into a small home audio studio serving multiple purposes. This application is a good example of the versatility it can provide.

The video conference “audio patch” application demonstrated here might could be built using some of the audio interfacing devices found in today’s ham shack for computer sound card driven amateur radio communication modes. However, if undertaken getting the audio chain correct might still require use of external audio mixers, attenuators, and additional isolation and perhaps impedance matching transformers, and instrumentation to get the sound right.

W2IHY Technologies Equalizer Function

The ham radio connections in this setup uses a W2IHY Technologies Equalizer that has multiple microphone inputs, one used for the Heil Headset microphone and a second input is used for the video conference inbound audio feed.  The internal microphone amplifier gain is adjustable to ensure appropriate drive level to the selected ham transmitter with the output fed via an internal isolation transformer for RFI protection. The output is switch selectable to one of  two ham station transmitters, in this case a Yaesu 8900 VHF/UHF and the Elecraft K3s transceiver. The phone jack output is an outbound (ham transmitter mic input) audio monitor output that is also connected to one of the Roland Monitors as described below. The equalizer interconnection ports available for all audio outbound to the ham radios are shown below.

Roland CM-30 Studio Monitor Function

Two Roland CM-30 Mini-Cube Studio Monitors in an interconnected stereo link configuration provides multiple audio channel mixer inputs as shown below on the one of the two units. One of the CM-30 units is used for all inbound (video conference incoming audio & ham radio receiver audio) feed mixing. Outbound (ham transmitter microphone inputs & video conference outbound) audio is separately mixed in, permitting audio from all sources to be monitored on the Heil headset as a final control operator quality check. Roland, a major manufacturer of musical instruments and sound stage equipment describes the CM-30 as a multi-purpose portable mixing monitor for the home-studio and portable live monitoring onstage applications.

A Jensen two channel isolation transformer previously used in a home theatre application is used to provide RF & ground loop isolation between the ham station and computer audio connections.  Braid ground strapping bonds all equipment to the common station ground.

A recently added connection for the video conference audio output will permit that feed to be mixed into the Elecraft HF or the Yaesu VHF/UHF mic input so video conference folks have half-duplex two way audio communications and can join the rag chew. None of this will be automatic and will require the control operator to set up the “audio patch” and operate the PTT control, the same as was required by the FCC back in the days of “phone patch” operations.

Inbound, Outbound, Mixing, Attenuators, etc, etc

Does the above discussion of all the inbound, outbound, audio mixing sound like one giant circular loop?  Not surprising… Ever wonder why speakerphones, telephone handsets, cellphones, bluetooth headsets, hearing aids and now video/audio conferencing…. any accoustic environment where speakers and microphones are in close audio proximity doesn’t turn into an enormous squealing audio feed back loop?  You’ve probably heard that many times with public address systems. What’s the magic?  What invention took place and has been deployed in telephone systems from the beginning?  The telephone hybrid transformer, used in bidirectional audio paths where two audio directions are combined in to a single audio channel. This function is essential in today’s world of communication devices and typically done with digitial signal audio processing. The mixing and combining of audio paths described in the above setup had to be done in a way to avoid generating an audio feedback loop at several possible points in the circuit.  The bidirectional processing or half-duplexing of conference audio by a video conference service is also a necessary ingredient.

The Nearby HT / Repeater Echo Effect

You’ve probably have experienced this effect in ham gatherings when you transmit on with your HT into a repeater and someone close to you has their HT volume turned up on the same repeater you are using.  You’ll hear your own voice coming through being delayed in time or an outright audio feed back squeal occurring. The delayed audio echo effect is caused by an audio delay line in the repeater controller for the purpose of removing squelch noise bursts at the beginning and end of every transmission into the repeater and also for masking DTMF repeater control tones sent to the repeater.  The OCRA 442.150mHz repeater is programmed to use a 70 msec audio delay to accomplish the above purposes. Sounds short, but very disorienting to hear your own voice delayed in time as you try to speak!

The conference to repeater audio bridge described in this article can have similar echos in the video conference side when repeater radio transmissions are recirculated from radios in the video conference. Video conferences can be more vulnerable as downloaded video conference applications typically provide a microphone audio AGC (automatic gain control) that if checked as shown below that will adjust your computer/conference device microphone gain on the fly to make all voices at the same level in the conference. This is a good thing for the conference, but stray radio audio can be problematic.

However, the effect can be totally eliminated by proper audio protocols being practiced by those in the video conference. Those procedures will be described in a separate article.

Want to generate colorful, interesting video feedback loop?

If you have a separate, moveable video camera used for video conferencing with its video signal being displaed on your computer, take the camera and point it back at your computer display and see what happens.. You’ll see something like the image below. While it doesn’t squeal like audio would, it appears as if one were looking down an interesting, almost infinitely deep video hole.

While the equipment used here may border on overkill, hopefully the above audio discussion explains the necessity and there are advantages especially in the ability to measure, set and monitor audio levels at the key points in the audio chain. Among other uses, this setup has been used for some years as the final over the air audio level checks before a newly built repeater is deployed to a difficult to reach site such as the OCRA 442.150 mHz repeater located high up on the TV tower.

The setup is also used for periodic repeater checks and troubleshooting when repeater problems have arisen. The computer can do extended VOX triggered recording of the repeater to catch intermittent problems and spectrographic analysis software can be helpful on certain types of repeater issues.

An actual recorded example spectrographic display below shows a microphone output to a transmitter, a bit overdriven and prior to equalization for optimim voice clarity on the left side. A received repeater end of transmission squelch tail noise burst not being masked by a properly timed repeater delay line is shown on the right side. The duration of the repeater carrier hang time, including the PL outbound tone (the solid orange line) being transmitted past the inbound received carrier drop is shown on the right channel. The VU meters show the instantaneous and peak audio levels on the left and right channels. The computer cursor when placed on points in the spectrographic display gives precise readings of frequency and decibel level.

The Software used above…..

The display above is actually two computer applications, the first program called Spectrogram, used in a vast range of fields, was written many years ago by Richard Horne, an Electrical Engineer working for the U.S. Navy. The second program Goldwave, a professional digital audio application was used to analyze historic recordings of the Moon landing, including establishing the “missing word” from astronaut Neil Armstrong’s famous line.

In summary, the building of this setup has been heavily influenced by other audio interests & needs, but also by experience in building the OCRA repeaters for the last 20 years. Mentoring by Danny, K4ITL in the early days of repeater building taught what it takes to set up repeaters to have excellent audio quality.

An SDR receiver is also integrated into the station setup.  More informaton and photos of this extended use are available at this link https://www.qrz.com/db/KR4UB

Dan, KR4UB

OCRA-DFMA Saturday Morning Breakfast, rather Video Conference

from Jack, KM4MBG & Chris, KK4VBE

Reminder tomorrow, April 4th, after the 9:30am Orange County Auxcomm net on the 442.150 repeater

There will be a Saturday morning video conference to help fill the void left by the cancelation of our celebrated ham breakfasts due to the Covid-19 pandemic. That net usually doesn’t last long, so we’ll try to start at 9:45am local time.

Directions for Joining:

Make sure you have a computer with good microphone and speakers (a headset often works well). There is no software to install. Use your web browser to go to URL address posted in the video conference announcement note on the OCRA-DFMA Joint Email list at the appointed time.

Thanks to Chris, KK4VBE, for hosting the server. Hope to see y’all online.

And more from Chris,

If you do not have a computer with a camera and or mic but have a smartphone you can still join in on the video call. You will need to install the Jitsi app form the app/play store.

IOS App Link https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/jitsi-meet/id1165103905
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.jitsi.meet

Then at the appointed time click the link in the recently posted note on the OCRA-DFMA Joint Email list and your web browser will open and give you the option to launch the app.

73, Chris KK4VBE

Earlier note from Jack, KM4MBG,

  • WHO: As some of you know, there are various HAM groups in the area that meet on Saturday mornings for breakfast.
  • WHAT: At least one of these groups organized a virtual meeting March 28th among themselves. We had also talked about doing a virtual meeting on the DMFA net.
  • WHEN: Originally, I had called for the club’s virtual breakfast meeting to be at the same time as one of these other gatherings, but decided to defer to next Saturday, April 4th.
  • WHY: Those of use who are not introverted [1] need some socialization time. In addition, those of us who are not working from home or are unhappy with the remote collaboration tools that our workplace is using, wanted an excuse to play with technology.
  • WHERE: This wasn’t asked, but it fits the theme. For the first meeting, we’ll be using the Jitsi Meet browser application. I’ll send out more details and a reminder next week.

Many thanks Jack & Chris!

Monday Night 10 Meter SSB Net – April 17, 2017

Tonight we had 14 check-ins.

1. KZ1X – Steve: Very interesting RARS with fewer dealers this year. Some not there due to illness.
2. NC4CX – Butch: Really enjoyed the RARS fest and seeing folks that he has not seen in quite some time. Good to finally meet Bruce and Laurie. Also saw many of the regulars on the Monday night net. Very little radio activity but did get his 6 meter beam up with some good preliminary reports. Now he can switch from his 40 meter I-V to the new antenna.
3. KX4P – John: Able to copy everyone so far. Really enjoyed going to the RARS fest with a friend that drove in for the weekend. Brought lots to sell but ended up bringing everything home again. Did end up purchasing a few things. Using a Collins S-line tonight.
4. KR4UB – Dan: Also enjoyed RARS fest – the most enjoyable part were the eye-ball QSOs. Enjoyed the after RARS trip for super hamburger lunch. Looking forward to the Tar Heel 10 mile run.
5. KJ4UZU – Clint: Real good to see so many familiar faces at RARS. Did not bring a new HF radio home from RARS. Did purchase a couple 6 meter FM HTs and they both work! Great to see Wayne after such a long time. Now up to 93 on 80 meters – getting closer. Got South Shetland for a new country and it was on 80! Now at 280 total confirmed. Now looking forward to Durham Fest.
6. K4FD – Dan: Good evening to everyone – been off the air for a couple years and got back on a couple weeks ago. Heard about the 10 meter net and wanted to check in. This is the first time he checked in. Been spending some time working on antennas. Also really enjoying 17 meters. The band noise has been very low allowing Q5 contacts without huge signals. Also enjoyed RARS and purchased a few things including some small tools. Able to copy everyone on the net!
7. KU4GC – Dee: RARS was fun and the club tables did fairly well. DFMA made about $300.00 net after paying for the tables. Don’t yet have the OCRA final $$ but in the last minute one of the ICOM rigs went for $400.00 that will certainly help the final results. Have a DFMA Board meeting tomorrow night. Also looking forward to the Tar Heel 10 mile race. Not much HF work – Clint is 1 ahead on 80 with Dee’s total being 92. At 236 on all band DXCC. Still have an ICOM 706 for sale – had 2 one left so Dave (NA4VY) still has an opportunity.
8. W4BOH – Wilson: Also enjoyed RARS and controlled his purchases. First time ever he did not purchase anything from the club table. Enjoyed seeing Laurie – hope she did well. Saw a couple Hammarlund receivers. Bought JR’s amp – it is a big Heath Kit with (2) 3-500s. This will be one of the next Land of Magic amps. (Perhaps a SB-220 or SB-221 depending on age.) Good to see some regulars but some of the regulars were missed. Been working on taxes almost all day. Greta was visiting for a few days and just went back home. Still in need for a food committee for Field Day – really needed to keep the food moving on Saturday night / Sunday morning.
9. NA4VY – Dave: Running the Yaesu FT1200 today. Hope it sounds good as he is using he mic that was purchased from Bruce. Made it to RARS and enjoyed walking around seeing people and checking out the boat anchors. Want to get rid of some stuff, so nothing was purchased. Was tempted to purchase the ICOM 706 that was on the OCRA table. Also busy with taxes.
10. KG4NNT – JR: Good to see everyone at RARS last Saturday. Looking forward to the Durham Fest in a few weeks.
11. KK4PH – Lowell: Had company so got to the net late but made it!
12. WQ8U –Mac: Using his only modern radio, the Ten Tec Jupiter. Wilson showed up in Mac’s driveway to help solve a noise problem and pointed out a few antenna related issues. One issue was lack of use – this helps by checking in on the net!
13. KE4VNC/M – Joe in Knightdale – very light copy.
14. N1LN – Bruce: Net Control

Monday Night 10 Meter SSB Net (March 27, 2017)

Tonight we had 9 check-ins.

Upcoming Events:

1. DFMA membership meeting: April 2 at Bullock’s Restaurant

Check-ins:

1. NC4CX – Butch: Unable to check-in last week as he could not hear net control. Did listen to those that he could copy. Did not get on WPX at all this weekend. Listened but nothing new heard. Did work Ivory Coast before they left. Hope they confirm as it is needed. Did get Niger for an all time new one.
2. KZ1X – Steve: Using a different antenna tonight – a 10 meter squalo about 10’ off the ground. His usual antenna is under construction. Worked 12 contacts on WPX and now only 1 short for a SA prefix for Excellence Award.
3. KJ4UZU – Clint: Has rf audio issues with his FT897. Now using the Kenwood and all is fine. Did work a few countries in the WPX contest – about 11 contacts. One new one on 80 – Iceland and now looking for a confirmation. Also worked Western Sahara on 80 and looking for a confirmation. Still stuck at 90 confirmed. Worked Papua New Guinea on 40 from the mobile.
4. W4BOH – Wilson: Nothing new at the Wilson residence. Went to Peter’s over the weekend. Did some metal detecting today with his grandson. Got the Loudenboomer going. Found a power supply issue and also a filter choke issue. Replaced it with a choke from the Land of Magic inventory and now the high voltage is MUCH better. Going to write it up for the link. No new DX – Niger pileups were horrible. Listened Bangladesh – wonder if anyone worked them. Had a very enjoyable trip to the mountains but some rain on the way home.
5. KG4NNT – JR: Able to hear Bruce. Glad to be in the net tonight.
6. KA5ETS – Doug: Wilson came up a few S-Units due to turning his beam. Not going to be able to do much with Field Day this year. Got on 60 meters a few months ago and getting used to that. Running some JT65 around 5:00am. FCC may open more of 60 meters up for wider use. Awaiting their decision. Also now have a vertical for 80 meters with 4 radials. Have worked some Europe and Russian stations with JT65.
7. WA4PSC – Howie: Sorry to have missed the OCRA meeting last week. Been involved driving Sarah around but she is on the mend and actually drove her car the other day. Been working on lots of new projects for Dayton. Trying to get parts with long lead times reduced. Just got in from the machine shop – now eating dinner.
8. KU4GC – Dee: Missed most of the net tonight due to an OCRA Board Meeting. Heard Doug and Howie only. Not much to report. Worked Ukraine on 160 JT65. Also putting some time in on the Link proofreading. Enjoy The Egg and I breakfast.
9. N1LN – Bruce: Net Control

March 20th, 2017 – Monday Night 10 Meter Net Notes

Joel KM4NOU, filled in for Bruce N1LN as Net Control.

Joel reported that he’d had a nice weekend visiting his son and family in Centreville, VA.  Grandma always likes to visit the granddaughter, Sierra, who is now 10 months old! Joel took his radio and portable antenna with him and was able to participate in the Virginia QSO party as a Virginia station.

KZ1X (Steve) – a little DXing; some antennae problems

KR4UB (Dan) – administrivia, working on taxes, first pass thru; needs to work on DMFA club minutes (this prompted Joel to remember that he needed to work on OCRA meeting minutes!)

KU4GC (Dee) – confirmation on Thailand, new country; DMFA board coming up; visit to the Egg and I; some power supply problems

KJ4UZU (Clint) – new country on 80, French Polynesia on JT65; a couple of new countries on 80M; looking forward to the weekend contests; worked Ivory Coast on 80M;

W3AHL (Steve) – Been a while since he was on the 10M net; some time working on the tower today, cranked it up today; spent several hours working on ICOM HT; shack computer wouldn’t power up so has to work on that;

KA1HPM (Nick) – with contests over the weekend, enjoyed contesting and some DX; working on digital interface for JT65; heading to Nags Head in May, working on the rig for traveling;

KX4P (John) – using old Collins running barefoot, glad to be heard. Still working on 100 countries confirmed digital (stuck at 99);

KG4NNT (James) – in and out on the second list;

W4BOH (Wilson) – Reporting from the Land of Magic; Working on an old amp, fixed power supply; went out to local greasy spoon for dinner; Some DXing, got Ivory Coast, etc.

We had a total of 10 stations, including KM4NOU as Net Control.

Jan 2nd, 2017 – Monday Night 10 Meter Net Notes

Joel KM4NOU, filled in for Bruce N1LN as Net Control. Bruce was went to a Dook basketball game, but this Tarheel still filled in to let him go!

We had a total of 11 stations, including NCS, so not bad for a holiday weekend, with folks just getting back into town.

Joel KM4NOU reported from NCS that he’d had a very nice holiday, visiting his son and family in Centreville, VA. Joel and Jan got to see seven-month old granddaughter Sierra at the beginning and end of the week, since during the middle of the week, the Centreville contingent made a trip to visit other relatives in Kentucky. That left Joel and Jan in charge of his son’s house, their own two Labrador Retrievers, and also the two ten-month old Labrador Retriever puppies that call it home. It was a Labapalooza! Joel had his HT, and the VHF/UHF in the truck, but didn’t find anyone to talk with on the local repeaters. He did make a trip to the HRO store in Woodbridge, VA, and bought himself a Christmas present: a new Heil HM-12 mic, a pedestal, foot switch, and appropriate cables to hook to his FT-450D.

KR4UB – Dan: Not much happening with him, made it to the Egg and I, and had some neighbors over for NYE. Dan said that Joel’s new mic sounded good 🙂

KM4MBG – Jack: Lots of food over the holidays, but mostly relaxing. He’s wanted to get a 6M antenna, but tried tuning his HF antenna and got an SWR of 1.5, so he’s pretty happy and was able to connect to the OCRA 6M Friday Net. Getting ready for “back to work.”

KU4GC – Dee: Being retired means every day is a holiday! He did a little HF, but it was slow; picked up a couple of new band/countries.

KF4PAB – Lenore: Enjoyed holiday parties, food and festivities, but is now getting focused on getting back to work.

KJ4UZU – Clint: Happy New Year! Not much DX (yeah, like we believe that, Clint!) but did work Belarus on 80M last week. Like others, he’s getting focused on back to work.

K0OUX – Vic: Late coming into the Net, had been talking on another frequency, and didn’t shift sideband when he came onto 10M. Still recovering from a double hit of Chickenpox and Shingles that really hit him hard. We were all happy to hear that he was well on the mend after a rough time.

W4BOH – Wilson: It was a fine holiday! Going to carpool to the DFMA meeting on the 3rd, so the Western Orange contingent will be represented. He’s done little DX’ing, but a few cards are dribbling in. Still stuck at 213 countries. One of the kids got a Yaesu 817 for Christmas, but not much other radio stuff.

KK4PH – Lowell: Just rolled back in from a trip to Pennsylvania, Happy New Year, all! Just got the car unpacked, ate dinner, and turned on the radio. It was good to have time off work; worked on a few projects, including installing radios into his truck (that involved welding a bracket to the transmission hump, so serious work there!).

KA5ETS – Doug: Just back from the grocery store, turned on the radio and caught the Net in progress. Enjoyed Christmas with the family in Nashville, and then the beach for New Years. Has been doing a bit of digital mode radio.

WQ8U – Mac: Wilson had been harassing him about joining the Net, he turned on the radio, and there we were! He had a great, if hectic holiday, with 4 of his 6 kids at home at various times.

Respectfully submitted by Backup NCS
Joel KM4NOU

Dec 5, 2016 – Monday Night 10 Meter Net Notes

Joel, KM4NOU, filled in for Bruce as Net Control. Bruce was stuck at work listening to vendors trying to sell product to make their end of year quota 🙂

It was a busy night (making it challenging for the rookie NCS!), with 15 stations, plus Net Control, for a total of 16!

WA2ROC, Dick – Not much to report, happy to keep the tubes lit and listen in. Dick gets the “gold star” for early checkin at 7:50PM.

KA2DEW, Tadd – Not much to report, just wanted to be in on the conversations. Still working thru antenna repair (actually, not so much antennas as the support systems for antennas) after Hurricane Matthew. It’s a work in progress.

KW4JY, Calvin – It’s been a while since he was on the 10M net, thought he’d swing by and keep us company.

W4BOH, Wilson – Glad to hear everyone, not much news, Christmas prep is overwhelming radio. However, he did have a banner weekend on 160 CW, with for than 50 contacts. More 160 contacts than he’d ever made before, so he was pretty happy with this!

W3AHL, Steve – Long time since he’d been on the ‘net. Working on setting up computers for volunteer tax work. Also helping to install a radio for KI4KKY in a Jeep, and trying to finish other projects.

KU4GC, Dee – Keeping up with a few nets, worked a couple new country/band combos. Replaced a hard disk with an SSD in one of his computers, and is really happy with the results. Much faster!

KZ1X, Steve – Still planning restore of his receive antenna. Also 40M antenna still broken, and one of his three 80M antennas is not working. Lots of projects. Don’t take your antenna to Steve’s QTH unless you want it to stop working 😉

K0OUX, Vic – Coming to us from Chapel Hill, low noise this evening, but 10M seems to be a bit strange as to who he can hear and cannot.

KM4MBG, Ed – Happy to have the time to be on the 10M net tonight, and looks forward to hearing from everyone.

KJ4UZU, Clint – Good to hear all. Picked up Indonesia on 40M SSB Monday afternoon at 5:30PM, was quite surprised and pleased by this. Has had good luck on 40M lately. Picked up a couple new countries on 80M, and picked up Alaska on 80M.

KF4PAB, Lenore – Using new desk mic, hoping folks can hear well. Most reported that she was coming in well; for some reason Net Control was hearing a lot of noise from Lenore, probably due to geography and antenna orientation. She’s looking forward to the DFMA holiday party!

N1LN, Bruce – Glad to have escaped the vendor presentation in time to check in on the net! His voice was a bit horse due to attending a Duke ladies B-Ball game on Sunday. Had a great weekend for the AARL 160 CW contest. He and his team were in 6th place nationally! He has antenna envy of the first place station, which is located at an old AM radio station next to a salt marsh in New Jersey, with two 300 foot towers!

KR4UB, Dan – Almost missed the net, was watching TV! Working on outside projects before the weather gets colder. Repaired his auxiliary antenna, and fixed his headset. Also looking forward to DFMA!

KK4PH, Lowell – Setting up a new radio that will go in his truck, an FT891. Currently in his house on the desk right now, waiting on a fuse for the truck. It sounded good, tho. As to DX, he talked to South Africa on 40M SSB. Worked on a UHF repeater, and continued the never-ending work on fall leaves.

NA4VY, Dave – Only running 100W tonight, rather than 300W, hopes everyone can hear him (was coming in fine to NCS). Had a really bad RF problem, where he found that if he left the stereo, TV, and phone on at the same time, his 300W radio was leaking RF to all these devices, and his voice was coming out of all the other speakers in the house. He’s still working on this, but thinks some ferrite chokes have helped the problem! At least his XYL didn’t come running when he transmitted to the Net 🙂

Respectfully submitted by Backup NCS
Joel, KM4NOU

Nov 28, 2016 – Monday Night 10 Meter Net Notes

Tonight we had 17 check-ins.

> Don’t forget to sign up for the upcoming OCRA Christmas Dinner Party at the Hillsborough Exchange Club.  If you have not already signed up send an email ASAP to w4ord@freelad.com or call or text him at 919-455-3330 or call his home phone number 919-304-0796. Cost will stay at $18.50 and it will be held on December 12, 2016 with doors opening at 6:00pm and dinner served at 7:00pm.

> The DFMA Christmas Dinner will be held on December 6 and for members only as the club picks up the tab for the dinners.

Check-ins:

  1. KZ1X – Steve: Was able to fix his remote stack match today.
  2. W9KHP – Ray: Also planned on using the frequency for a round table for new ham intros. Going to drop to 28.400.
  3. WA4PSC – Howie: Thanks to Bruce for the time, shack and hosting the CQWW-DX contest.  Did well – great crew – lots of fun in spite of the bands.
  4. KR4UB – Dan: The OCRA Board Meeting was canceled.  Dan fixed his G5RV today.  He uses it mostly for RX. Did some posting on the OCRA web site – Lad’s Christmas Dinner and also Bruce’s last minutes from the Monday 10 mtr net.
  5. NC4CX – Butch: It is quite cool at Butch’s QTH tonight. Butch did some listening to try to improve his code speed.  Only worked one Q to PJ2T in Curacao.
  6. KM4NOU – Joel: Need to provision Bruce with an account on the server to publish some of the contesting info, Monday night net notes and the weekly DX notes.  This is the first time Joel picked up a mic in about a week.  The family and Thanksgiving were the priorities and spent some time on the coast.  Has his boat setup for the Christmas Flotilla with a light display.  This is the 6th or 7th year to participate in the boat parade.
  7. KM4MBG – Jack: Spent Thanksgiving with his parents in Durham.  Not happy to go back to work today but quickly getting used to it.  Not much radio activity this past week.  Looking forward to the DFMA December meeting for updates on everyone’s resolution successes.
  8. KJ4UZU – Clint: Good to hear everyone this weekend to the locals and out of state check-ins. Got 3 new ones confirmed on 80 and now up to 77. Hope propagation will help get to the magic 100. Worked French Polynesia from the mobile at lunch today.  Also at 277 mixed mode confirmations.
  9. KU4GC – Dee: Survived another Thanksgiving thanks to Jack and Lenore’s food efforts. Working on getting up his 80 meter count and made two new ones over the weekend. Surinam (already confirmed) and Puerto Rico (not yet confirmed).  The contesting CW speeds are still just a bit fast. French Polynesia may really be the Austral Islands. Will have the New Years resolutions to deal with at the DFMA meeting. Dee has made a few of his goals.
  10. KF4PAB – Lenore: Did some cooking for Thanksgiving including a spiced pumpkin pie. Enjoyed having his parents come over for dinner.  Got to check-in to the DFMA Thursday night net with her new mobile rig.
  11. KM4RDH – Mike: From Utica, KY. In North Central KY.
  12. W4BOH – Wilson: Coming to you from the slightly chilly Land of Magic. Trying to keep things moving forward. Fruit Cakes are in the construction process upstairs. Worked 25 – 30 Qs and almost the same quantity of countries. Added some new band countries and already have 5 new confirmations. Had some requests for repeats and then found out he was running 6.5 watts. So, some of the Qs were QRP contests. One of the ZLs was quite strong. Was unable to get through the Tanzania pileup. Looking forward to the upcoming Christmas parties.
  13. K4SAW – Steve: Evansville, In – Good to hear the NC group tonight.  Got his 4 call when he lived in SC so knows where Chapel Hill is.
  14. NA4VY – Dave: Using his beam tonight but getting almost 4 s-units of noise.  Wondering if he has a bad yard light.  Finished his biography so the next issue of the DFMA newsletter will include Dave’s bio.  Been doing lots of antenna work – focus on his 6 mtr / 2 mtr antenna.  It is now moved to a new mast to make it easier to work on.
  15. KK4PH – Lowell: Not much radio activity over the past week. Have a Vertex commercial rig for 6 meters and is now adding all the UK frequencies so he can catch the opening should it occur.  Ordered an HF rig for the pickup – FT 891. Would like to get an auto-tune Tarheel screwdriver antenna.  Got a new solder station for the shop after the only one failed. Borrowed Wilson’s wood splitter so he and his adult children went to work splitting wood.  Still working on the leaves.
  16. KX4P – John: Using a KWM380 tonight.  Wanted to make a special effort to check-in tonight. Enjoy reading the minutes every week.  Had a wonderful Thanksgiving. His daughter hosted this year and also had some of the students over. One from China, one from Israel and one from French Guiana.  Have a folded counter poise (K2AV design) antenna – just tested it and it will be in use this weekend in the ARRL contest.
  17. N1LN – Bruce: Enjoyed the CQWW-CW contest this past weekend and looking forward to the ARRL-160 CW this coming weekend.

Monday Night 10 Meter SSB Net (Nov 21, 2016

From Bruce, N1LN… Tonight we had 15 check-ins.

Check-ins:

  1. KM4NOU – Joel: Joel’s son and family are in for the holidays and brought a few dogs.  Not much radio activity but did sit in as the Net Control for a Sunday morning net.
  2. KA2DEW – Tad: His horizontal loop had an issue but the recent hurricane took it down so it was time to fix / replace everything.  The back yard looks very different now with all the trees gone.   The new antenna is an Alpha-Delta fan dipole with the 40/75 section being trapped.  Enjoyed the JARS Hamfest and bought a few things including a long boom 70cm antenna for only $40.00.
  3. WA2ROC – Dick: Running the Collins KWM-2 tonight.  Just finished a QSO with some VA friends on 160 AM.  The 80 meter loop survived the recent wind and rain.  The 160 mtr rig is a Johnson Viking II and a Hallicrafters SX-101.  Not much else to report tonight.
  4. W4BOH – Wilson: Also enjoyed the JARSfest this year.  Lots of good stuff for sale.  Good to hear everyone tonight and all the signals are stronger than usual.  Had an issue with the BOH mobile so the first attempt at the trip ended early and everyone went home for a replacement vehicle.  Time for a new water pump.  Work continues on the portable dipole.
  5. KR4UB – Dan: Not much going on in the radio world this week.  Enjoyed The Egg and I and also the JARSfest.  His big purchase was about a $20.00 purchase of cable ties.  Got the wood stove going tonight.
  6. KA5ETS – Doug: Have not been on much lately – was doing some 6 meter experimenting with Tad last night.  Conclusion – needs more elevation for his antenna.  Been working lots and also taking a few courses so not much free time.  Hope to have some time this weekend to get on the air some.
  7. KZ1X – Steve: The only ham activity to report is a bit of a story – W8VR in Detroit had a QSO with Steve’s uncle when he (W8VR) was in his teens.  He is now in his 80s.  Steve will soon be having a QSO with him using the same rig that W8VR originally used.  The rigs were mostly homebrew with receivers of the same vintage.
  8. KJ4UZU – Clint: This afternoon he was able to work the Central African Republic for a new country if it gets confirmed.   Had a good time at JARS.  Bob, W4RWC, made the trip up from Florida for the fest.  Bought another TS-2000 because it kind of followed him home.  Hope it will work well – it is in good shape.  Worked Australia this morning on JT65.
  9. KU4GC – Dee: Did get Central African Republic confirmed from an earlier QSO for a new one.  Went to JARSfest and he and MK enjoyed themselves.   Missed seeing some of the local gang.  Helped get new tires on Lenore’s van due to a sidewall leak.  This morning a complete new set of tires were put on.  Still stuck at 80 Qs on 80 with a goal to increase the totals.
  10. K0OUX – Vic: Not much new to report – no snow at the cabin.  His friends reported 4” of snow in Connecticut.  Enjoyed seeing many of the gang at JARS and was able to sell several things.
  11. KF4PAB – Lenore: Nice to see many of the gang at JARS this weekend.  Bought a new rig for the base installation for UHF and VHF.  Not yet installed but it will soon be on the air.  Enjoyed eating at a Smithfield BBQ restaurant.
  12. KM4MBG – Jack: Nice large net tonight.  Sorry to have missed Wilson but did see many from the BOH mobile party.  Gearing up for Thanksgiving on Thursday and will enjoy the cooking and also the eating.  Trying to squeeze five work days into 4.
  13. NC4CX – Butch: Not yet done with the leaves – expect to be working on them for another month.  Did get TL8 in Central Africa today on 20 SSB.  Was able to get through in the third or fourth call.  That was just about all the ham radio but now up to 201 countries.
  14. K2MZ – Duke: Good evening to all!  Have a combination of guilt and jealous due to no activity.  Been working on getting his airplanes in flying condition.
  15. N1LN – Bruce: Net Control.  Enjoyed ARRL SS this weekend.  Also getting ready for CQWW-CW the weekend after Thanksgiving.

__._,_.___

Posted by: “Bruce Meier” <bemeier@bellsouth.net>

ARES Net – Saturday November 26, 2016

Check-ins: 13 – WB4P(net control), KU4GC(backup net control), W4ORD, W3AHL, KR3AM, KI4RAN, KW4KZ, KM4BMG, KI4MXP, W1KES, KR4UB, NA4VY, KE4NBB.

Duration: 15 minutes

Next Week’s Net Control: KW4KZ (12/10-KR3AM, 12/17-KM4MBG, 12/24-W3AHL, 12/31-KU4GC)

Announcements:

OCRA Christmas Party – On 12/12/16 at the Exchange Club in Hillsborough at 19:00. Lad, W4ORD will post the details on the NCOCRA Yahoo Group soon. If you haven’t signed up already, let him know you will be attending. (W4ORD)

Training: Winlink Radio E-mail System Overview

E-mail has become the primary messaging method for most people, companies and agencies. When Internet service is unavailable in an area due to severe weather or equipment failures, Amateur Radio can provide backup e-mail communication for critical messages using the digital Winlink Radio E-mail Systems.

Winlink is a worldwide system capable of transferring messages anywhere in the world where Winlink-equipped radio stations exist. It was originally developed to support the maritime community. The messages can consist of simple text or can contain binary file attachments such as pictures, spreadsheets, documents, PDF files, etc. Since the radio data transfer rate is much slower than typical Internet connections, file sizes need to be limited, with an enforced maximum size of 120KB.

The Winlink system actually consists of several parallel systems. In addition to the one used by Amateur Radio operators, there are separate systems with different frequency allocations for MARS and SHARES.

The Winlink system has three levels:

1. Client Systems — Radio, computer with Winlink software (Winlink Express or Paclink) , TNC (or sound card) and you, the end-user.

2. Radio Message Server (RMS) – Radio gateways between the client (end-user) and the Winlink system backbone. On the air 24X7, scanning multiple frequency for client requests to connect to the system to send or receive messages.

3. Common Message Servers (CMS) – Winlink’s Internet backbone with 5 CMS locations that are redundant and fault-tolerant. They are located on 3 continents. One CMS is sufficient for normal system operation. Central storage of incoming messages, which can be forwarded to an RMS and Client via RF or delivered to Internet e-mail addresses immediately.

Winlink uses four connection modes:

1. HF Pactor 1, 2, 3 and 4 – Fast and reliable but requires an expensive modem ($1500+).

2. HF WINMOR – “Poor man’s Pactor”. Not as good as Pactor, but operates with inexpensive sound card device ($100). Speed between Pactor 2 and 3.

3. VHF/UHF Packet
9600 baud – Fast, reliable, range limited and requires $400 modem (Kantronics or SCS Tracker).
1200 baud – Slower, but can use inexpensive Byonics TinyTrak-4 modem.

4. Telnet – Non-radio connection through the Internet. Good for training and use if radio is down or network is busy.

Orange County ARES has equipment capable of Pactor 3 and 1200 baud packet modes. Several OC ARES volunteers have personal equipment for packet, Pactor and Winmor operation also. NC AUXCOMM has several stations capable of Pactor 4 operation to support statewide messaging for NCEM.

Pactor is the most popular mode and operates at four speed levels ranging from about 100 bps (bits per second) for Pactor 1 to 5500 bps for Pactor 4, with 2000 bps being more typical for the Pactor 3 controllers. With automatic data compression/decompression, the effective throughput can be considerably higher however.

While Winlink typically uses the Internet to deliver radio messages received by the RMS gateways from Client stations to the CMS nodes, the system is very flexible and can function in several configurations that do not require any Internet service.

Winlink’s interoperability features connect different types of systems:

1. Bridge different radio capabilities (VHF/UHF/HF)

2. Bridge protocols: Pactor, Winmor, Packet, Robust Packet

3. Seamless integration with Internet e-mail

What Winlink Offers for EmComm:

1. Standard e-mail format with many features
2. Binary file attachments — pictures, pdf, spreadsheets
3. Automatic message compression/decompression
4. 100% accuracy using ARQ (Automatic Repeat Request) protocol
5. Encryption capabilities available to Agencies on non-ham channels
6. Time independence — ability to collect messages while unattended
7. Good operation at most power levels
8. Not limited by station-to-station propagation
9. Message logging, and ICS report generation
10. Wide adoption by EmComm related agencies

Winlink software is available at no cost, although a $35 donation to the Amateur Radio Safety Foundation (develops and supports the system) is suggested. Most modern ham radios can be used for HF/VHF/UHF messaging by adding a TNC or audio device.

For more information contact W3AHL or see:

www.winlink.org

http://www.philsherrod.com/Winlink/Winlink_PowerPoint.pdf (the source of some of the info in this brief overview).

There are several Yahoo Groups that provide support for Winlink users (request to join to view info):

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/Winlink_Programs_Group/info

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/WINMOR/info

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/wl2kemcomm/info

Steve Ahlbom, W3AHL
Orange County ARES/AUXCOMM Emergency Coordinator

OCRA Monday Night May 30th 10Meter Net Summary

Dan, KR4UB filled in for Bruce tonight as Net Control. The net met on 28.455Mhz due to distant South American traffic. Some signals were weaker tonight.

KJ4UZU/AE, Clint – was recognized first with the new /AE suffix on the call as Clint passed his Amateur Extra exam at the DurHamFest VE Session. Glad to have the extra class exam in the rear view mirror. Had a great time at DurHamFest, lots of familiar faces and voices. Worked a Turkish station on 20M JT9 just before the net.

KM4MBG, Jack – Great time at DurHamFest enjoyed working parking with Mark KR3AM, John KM4MDR and Don, KE4UVJ filling in for breaks. Enjoying being off for Memorial Day with lunch down in Hillsborough, some shopping and more fine eating at home.

KF4PAB, Lenore – Enjoyed the DurHamFest and the fine hamfest food. Enjoying Memorial Day off and making rhubarb pies and other fine delicacies.

KK4PH, Lowell – Enjoyed the hamfest, this being his 1st time setting up a table and selling some things, some for a friend, a TS-520, tuner and other items. The MCU is staying dry during the rain. Been doing some DMR programming so calling stations ID will show up on the radio display.

KA5ETS, Doug – Went to DurHamFest, one of the best he’s been to, and had a good time finding some needed items. Getting ready for Field Day exploring PSK-31 and JT-65 digital modes and getting his FT817 ready to go in those modes for weak signals when the band is down. Have antennas and rotators lined up. Been monitoring 6M every day and working stations, including an old junior high school friend in Shreveport, LA.

KU4GC, Dee – Gave preliminary report on DurHamFest, based on ticket stubs attendance is up 50% over last year. Still tallying cash figures, but believe it will be a good year. Will have a detailed report at the next club meeting at Bullocks on Tuesday, June 7th. The OCRA club table did well enough to cover table cost and then some. Dee complimented all the people who turned out to help with DurHamFest. Skip has been busy working on the DFMA Link which will be out in a few days. Not much HF activity due to frequent weather with possible lightning. QSLs for new DXCC contacts Heard Island and Palestine came in.

NC4CX, Butch – Came in late due to the move to 28.455. Enjoyed and really likes the new DurHamFest location, and of course had a BOH burger and met a number of folks. Very proud that KJ4UZU is now an extra class ham.

KR4UB, Dan – Enjoyed helping out with DurHamFest especially with the great new location, the full house of vendors, good conversation and of course good hamfest food.

After the net closed, Dan, KR4UB and Doug, KA5ETS both having vertical antennas had a QSO to compare signals on the vertical antennas to the horizontally polarized antennas.

Dan, KR4UB