ARC-SHORTS April 2014
Rick N4ASX – Editor
Club Repeaters: 147.315 (PL 107.2), 444.6 (PL107.2), 224.82 (PL107.2), 53.13 (PL107.2) 927.6 (-25Mhz, PL107.2), and 1282.600 (PL 107.2), DSTAR 145.38Mhz, 442.060, and 1284.600
Our next meeting is APRIL 11,2014 at 3600 Wheeler Ave. Just off Duke Street in Alexandria about 1 block west of Quaker Lane. We start the meeting at 7PM with our program and follow with a short business meeting.
This month’s program Kim KD9XB who will talk about the disappearing shortwave broadcast stations and VOA.
Dinner prior to the meeting will be at Atlantis (Bradlee shopping center of Rt. 7 just east of 395) with folks starting to gather about 5:30. Our guest speakers get a meal on the club.
MARCH MEETING MINUTES
Erik was not at the last meeting. The program was given by Keith who presented the use of modified routers to use WIFI and IP technology to create a MESH net for use in Amateur Radio. Turns out that two of the WIFI channels are in an amateur band. Keith pointed out that you can pick up the routers for a few bucks and modifications is not too difficult.
Lots of possibilities
It has come to my attention that identifying members by name and call sign in our newsletter which is on our web page and sent via e-mail access to personnel information. In order to correct this (for those where the cat is not already out of the bag), we will use first names and call suffixes in future articles.
VA QSO PARTY
Our February program was the yearly VA QSO Party presentation and it served to energize the club members. VA QSO Party is the second largest QSO party in the country next to Pennsylvania. This is not normally a high power high pressure contest, but it’s getting that way!
This year I offered my station to our newest members and John KK4RBB took me up on the offer. Due to his time and my time he was limited in the number of hours he could work (I had range duty on Saturday morning and my XYL had dinner plans), but John did a great job with 131 contacts mostly on 40 meter SSB and I would bet that he learned a great deal about HF SSB operations in the process.
In order to stay in the low power group, we did not run more than 100 watts (150 is the max!). The antennas were a poorly placed dipole and a GAP vertical (ON4UN calls it a dummy load), but John worked most of the state and several other states. My guess is that next year he will double his score.
Another point to think about is that this can be the warm up for the annual Field Day event.
- The 59th annual York Hamfest, takes place on April 12 at the Porter’s Community Fire Company in Spring Grove, PA. The York area is a couple hours north from Alexandria off I-83.
- The annual Chesapeake Amateur Radio Service Springfest takes place on April 13 at Moose Lodge 898 in Chesapeake. Talk-in is on the club’s 146.82 (PL 162.2) repeater.
- The Greater Hagerstown Hamfest takes place on May 3, 2014 at the Washington County Agricultural Center in Boonesboro, MD. The hamfest is sponsored by the Antietam Radio Association. It’s a nice location with a good size building and room for tailgaters. Talk-in will be on the club’s 147.090+ repeater.
- It’s also not too early to start thinking about the Dayton Hamvention. This year’s event takes place May 16, 17 and 18. I have 5 rooms reserved for this year and 4 and a half have been spoken for. We have room for one more club member who would like to go. The cost per person should still be around $200 plus whatever food and goodies you buy. If you are interested in going, let me know by the club meeting on April 11 so I can order the tickets. N4ASX has offered to drive his SUV, so Rick has room for one more person.
Our class continues with between 10 and 12 students each week. As we write this month’s ARC Shorts, it’s hard to believe we are halfway through the class. We should be hearing them on the air by mid-May.
If you participated in the VA QSO Party and have not sent in your log, be sure to do so ASAP. The deadline is April 15. When filling out your score, be sure to include the Alexandria Radio Club in the space for club name. This will help with the overall club score.
- April 12 & 13 – New Mexico QSO Party. Exchange is your name and state.
- April 19 & 20 – Michigan QSO Party. Exchange is a serial number and state.
- April 19 & 20 – Ontario QSO Party. Exchange is RST and state/province.
- April 20 – SSB portion of the ARRL Rookie Roundup. Operators licensed less than a year can work all stations. Operators licensed longer than a year can only work rookies.
- April 26 & 27 – Florida QSO Party. Exchange is RST and state.
Alexandria Radio Club Repeaters –
All of the Alexandria Radio Club’s repeaters are now on the air. That includes both analog and digital repeaters. We encourage you to try them out. If you don’t have equipment for a band, someone may have something you can borrow. Who knows, you just might find your new favorite band.
73, Rich, KA4GFY
Two Annual Memberships awarded for support to the club.
At the last meeting the club voted to award annual memberships to Randy MJF and Craig GOR for their efforts to get our 6 meter repeater up and on the air. A letter will go out shortly to both informing them of their membership. I hope they see this in a better light then W.C. Fields who once remarked that he would not accept a membership in an organization who’s standards were so low as to offer him a membership. Craig and Randy, thank you very much for all the hard work in putting the new 6 meter repeater together and for getting it in place.
It has been a while sense we had an ARES program or a dedicated ARES meeting. Our area is not like other parts of the country, we rarely have a call up and most of them are due to weather. In order to get a better idea of who of you are interested in supporting ARES and what you can bring to the ‘party’ please fill out and return by e-mail the following questionnaire
1 – Call, Name, Phone number(s), License class
2 – Are you an ARES volunteer or would you like to have your name added to the list of Alexandria ARES volunteers?
3 – Please describe your radio capabilities (If you are a volunteer or plan to be volunteer)
4 – Do you have APRS equipment?
5 – Are you interested in supporting public service events.
Monday Night Half Price Burgers – There is a group that gets together at Shooter McGee’s (Duke and Paxton Streets) on Monday evenings at 6:15 PM. A good burger and soft drink runs about $9.00.
I am in the process of answering your reception reports from the past weekend’s VOA Radiogram.
Some of you are doing some interesting experiments with the digital modes on VOA Radiogram. And some of you are letting us know about some useful techniques to improve both the production and the reception of the program.
Mark, WA4KFZ, notes that the SSTV Denoiser software, part of the SSTV Tools suite from dxatlas.com/SstvTools/, can be effective with some of the “noisy” MFSK images you receive on VOA Radiogram.
In this weekend’s VOA Radiogram, one VOA News item will be in the MFSK22 mode (80 words per minute). Unlike the MFSK 16, 32, and 64 modes, which have a sample rate of 8000 Hz, MFSK22 has a sample rate of 11025 Hz. For this weekend’s program, I recorded to one track at 48000 Hz for the voice introduction and closing music, one track at 8000 Hz for MFSK 16 and 32, and one track at 11025 Hz for the MFSK22 item. Then all three were mixed to one .wav file with a sample rate of 48000 Hz.
Another “feature” in this weekend’s program will be five seconds of silence whenever modes are changed. This might improve the performance of the RSID.
The Flmsg-formatted VOA News story in this weekend’s program is 9 minutes, 6 seconds long. That might seem unusually long, but it includes 4 minutes, 20 seconds for a VOA logo in SVG format as part of the html. This was created for us by Mark Hirst in the UK.
Here is the lineup for VOA Radiogram, 10-11 August 2013:
- 2:30 MFSK16: Program preview
- 3:26 MFSK22: VOA News re import of Apple products
- 3:12 MFSK32: Greetings to l’Associazione Italiana Radioascolto
- 2:10 MFSK32 image: AIR logo
- 9:06 MFSK32/Flmsg*: VOA News re one year of Curiosity on Mars
- 2:26 MFSK32 image: Curiosity tire tracks
- 1:10 MFSK16: Closing announcements
- 2:20 Surprise image, text, image of the week
*To make Flmsg work with Fldigi (both can be downloaded from w1hkj.com), in Flmsg: Configure > Misc > NBEMS — Under Reception of flmsg files, check both boxes, and under that indicate where your Flmsg.exe file is located.
Please send your reception reports, audio samples, screenshots, comments, ideas, suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Keith KB3TCB source material for March 2014 program: “Broadband network up and running using a link-sys router, a raspberry pi and a laptop” Demonstrated transmitting video and data throughout the room and has uses for ARES.
Checkout his webpage http://www.remoteamateur.com and also the presentation at http://jcarcmo.org/broadband-ham-network-prese.pdf