Point me in the right direction

Dan KR4UB accepted the satellite challenge for Field Day, a noble challenge indeed.  Aiding his effort, Dan reclaimed and repurposed available parts and materials to build an industrial strength satellite antenna boom…materials and instructions follow.  Nicely done Dan!

  • army surveyors tripod non magnetic construction, no ferrous metals added below to disturb compass reading.
  • left over 2″ PVC electrical conduit and elbow..
  • some ironwood strips inside the PVC to take the floppy/flexy out and balance out weight of antenna.
  • wood doweling, epoxy, brass screws to reinforce compass support elbow butt glue joint onto PVC elbow
  • good quality surveyor’s compass bought to rough out new boundaries when  purchasing adjoining land some years back
  • section of left over central vacuum cleaner return pipe (near perfect fit over PVC electrical pipe).. rotates for quick antenna polarization adjustment.
  • Brass  screws (where used) so no ferrous metal near compass
  • Arrow VHF/UHF gamma matched antenna. The foam covered handle fits perfectly inside the end of the 2″ dia PVC electrical conduit used as the boom.
  • powered by arm-strong…..

OCRA Membership Meeting – March 11, 2019

Introductions:

Treasurer Report:

Dan (KR4UB)

We have 68 paid membership current and 33 requiring renewal.   You can renew membership easily and securely on the website under the heading of “Members.”   

Chatham county continues moving forward with establishing new radio towers.  Currently they are writing specifications to publicly bid the work.  They plan to establish additional towers beyond current need for anticipated growth, with the understanding it is more cost-effective to erect the additional towers now than re-bid the work at a future date.  

WordPress is the most common blog and website platform in use around the globe.  OCRA uses WordPress as our primary club communication channel.  WordPress has many additional features and functionality that we can leverage for multiple uses.  One such use is capturing interest and availability for Field Day. 

With just under four months to go, Field Day 2019 is quickly approaching.  However, we can more easily start planning now.  Dan has created an on-line sign-up form to capture availability to volunteer for food, station, and field site preparation, staffing, and dismantling.

You can easily complete the sign up form on your computer or even phone!  The steps for expressing your interest and availability follow:

 1.     On the site, navigate to the “Member” tab and click “Receive Access Link”.

 

2.      Enter your call sign, answer the math question, and click “Submit”.  An email will be sent to your registered public email address.

3.       You will receive a confirmation screen notifying you the link has been sent to your email.

4.     Login to your registered email address and click the link.  If you bookmark this link, it can be used to update your profile…be sure to bookmark!

5.     Complete the Field Day sign-up sheet.  Be sure to click the “Save” button located at the end of the form.  If there are any data corrections, they will be highlighted in red.  Band captains will reach out to you regarding the specifics. We look forward to seeing you during Field Day!

Program:  Connectors

As many Hams know, it is important when making decisions about getting the right coax for your Ham Station to understand that there are trade-offs that have to be considered between transmitter power, antenna gain, coax loss, and your total Ham Station system performance.  Your bank account may also enter into the equation like most Hams.

Cables and connectors are no exception to the above as they make up the lifeline of your entire station, allowing all of the components to work together.  Steve (KZ1X) shared that oxygen is the enemy of every connector, as oxidation due to poor connections will limit the performance and life of the connector.   Dan (KR4UB) and Steve (KZ1X) further explain the importance of having the right connectors, wires, and crimpers to produce a gas tight crimp.  As Dan shared, in his experience most poor transmissions are the result of bad connectors.  However, with quality material and practice you can build connectors that provide decades worth of radio fun and enjoyment.   

Dan (KR4UB) explaining contact spring tension  Steve (KZ1X) explaining Power pole connectors

Vendors who sell quality connectors and supplies include the following:

·         DXengineering – https://www.dxengineering.com/

·         Digi-key – https://www.digikey.com

·         Mouser – https://www.mouser.com

If you attended this meeting, we would welcome your feedback.  If there are other topics of interest, please let know.

73

Annual Ham Migration

While the crew at Virlie’s Grill took their annual vacation, the ham conclave met at the Root Cellar in Pittsboro for an enjoyableSaturday breakfast.

Pete, K4PHS, appeared wearing a tee shirt which advised us that there were “two types of people: 1) Those who extrapolate conclusions based on insufficient data.” (Some paraphrasing may have occurred.)

Bill, N8BR, is now selling his supply of RG400 coax in 10 foot lots. Cheap.

Terry, KK4JGT, our Chatham CERT organizer, announced a request for CERT support for a Haw River rescue exercise. He now has over a hundred on his mailing list and there are 21 hams.

Hank, K3YDX, participated in Field Day with a Snow Camp group. Casual and fun.

Herb, N4HA, enjoyed a 20 meter CW stint with the DFMA/OCRA team at W4EZ. Thanks to them.

John, KX4P, worked the Baker dxpedition on 40 meters 11 minutes before they closed up shop. That’s cutting it close, John.

SHOW & TELL TIME! John, KK4VUR, brought his newly constructed antenna amplifier for his satellite work. He added a T-bias to supply power. Does anyone remember what the Lagrangian point is?   

Nick, KA1HPM, brought his duplexer on which he repaired a broken coax center conductor with some electronic brain surgery.  

Hope you will join us and add your ham radio input to our next Saturday breakfast at Virlie’s Grill in Pittsboro. Photos by John, KX4P.

73, Herb, N4HA

OCRA Club Meeting Monday, April 9th Presentation – The Lurid Details of a W4BOH antenna for Bouvet

When the Bouvet Island DXpedition was announced, some of W4BOH, Wilson’s DXer friends ganged up on him and urged him to put up a respectable antenna for 160m, since making a contact with Bouvet on 160 would be a real challenge. Or maybe they wanted company in the misery of not contacting Bouvet.

In any case, Wilson exercised his best management skills and recruited expert assistance from two of the DXer friends to help design and erect the antenna, which turned out to be a 57 foot top loaded vertical with four tuned radials. Always looking for a bargain, Wilson got W3AHL, Steve to adjust the EZNEC model to make the antenna potentially useful on other bands and in other configurations by changing the matching arrangement at the base.

Once the design was done, WA4PSC, Howie visited the Land of Magic and made two magnificent shots with his PBTBL (PneumoBallistic Tennis Ball Launcher) to get ropes over some of the highest trees at the OCRA/DFMA Field Day Site. At least the last two shots were magnificent. Steve then helped assemble some strong wire, of unknown parentage, into something resembling his design and helped pull it up into the ether. Of course his skill and analyzer were used to tune the radials to bring the antenna to resonance in the low end of 160m.

You’ll have to come to the OCRA Monday, April, 9th meeting to learn the lurid details of just what the beast (the antenna) looks like and what it can do on the air. Who knows, there might even be another story about getting a suitable amplifier assembled in time to contact (Or NOT) Bouvet some day.

Hams & Eggs at Virlie’s

An octet of hungry hams conclaved at Virlie’s in Pittsboro for the last breakfast gathering of the year this past Saturday morning.

John, KX4P, brought in a broken main frequency dial digital encoder for the group’s examination. It was from a Collins KWM-380 from the 1979-83 era that he recently repaired.

Dave, W4INN, determined to get on the air one way or another, is toying with the idea of just running anantenna wire out the window. Dave likes bees because he likes honey. His daughter-in-law gave him a whole jug of the stuff for Christmas.

Terry, KK4JGT, agrees. He has four hives now and a gardener neighbor who gives him produce in appreciation for his quadrupled yields since Terry became a beekeeper. With perhaps the best eyes in the group, he made several good observations regarding the shapes and orientation of the slots in the rotating disk assembly of John’s encoder.

Nick, KA1HPM, described working back-in-the-day with, and the workings of, the coordinateograph, a beautiful machine which is basically a highly precise Etch-a-Sketch. He is still puzzling out his mysterious loss of power on FT8.

Roy, WA2JLW, commented on the Bouvet Island DXpedition as well as CW and digital operations. He is now getting out of his back yard on 160 with his improved antenna which sports a pair of 30 foot radials.

John, KK4VUR, reports that Elon Musk’s SpaceX will attempt to put a car into heliocentric orbit on its next test launch. Maybe a Tesla? John confessed that he has been listening to HF on his SDR. (Ah, the HF siren beckons.)

Bill, N8BR, suggested that John try a vertical antenna for his HF SWLing. Bill is bracing for Bouvet.

Herb, N4HA, kept busy trying to remember what was being said so he could compose this. Thanks to KX4P for mnemonic assistance and the photo.

We hope you will join us in the new year for some stimulating conversation, friendship, and breakfast. We still meet around 8:30 AM.

Happy New Year to all.

and thanks to Herb, N4HA and John, KX4P for the always interesting reports and photo.


					

Herb, N4HA wins Third Prize in the ARRL 2017 Antenna Design Competition for his 20M Two-Element Wire “IV” Beam

A week ago, at the Pittsboro Virlie’s Grill ham’s breakfast, Herb Allred, N4HA, mentioned he had entered an antenna design competition and been awarded 3rd place. We all congratulated him.

Nick, KA1HPM, found Herb’s name in the latest issue of QST. What he discovered was that Herb had placed 3rd in the 2017 ARRL Antenna Design Competition for “80 through 10 Meter” antennas ! His design was for “A 20-Meter Two-Element Wire ‘IV’ Beam.”

See QST, November 2017, page 45.

This is a significant accomplishment with a cash award and possibility of publication !

Congratulation Herb!

Information web-page for hams in Raleigh

http://torborg.com/a
I created a web page to provide information for hams, originally new hams, but it kind-of got out of hand. The page is intended for hams in Raleigh, specifically, but much of the material is interesting for the surrounding region as well.  I wrote a repeater listing page which was intended to be more up-to-date than RARS’ page.  Now RARs links to my page.  Please comment if there is material missing that seems like it should be there and especially if the page is completely wrong about something.

I’d like to add a new page which lists the best repeaters for drivers in NC and in surrounding states.  145.21 and 442.15 are examples of wide coverage repeaters in this area.  What’s are some good ones useful while driving in other areas including in SC, GA, TN, WV, VA ?
Thanks for the help.
The page is at http://torborg.com/a

73 de Tadd – KA2DEW, Raleigh NC