Tech Net News 07-11-2020

p44
Venus had a much neater ion tail back in the 1970s.

Would you like me to talk about impedance transformers (instead of baluns) at the next virtual Lecture and Lab? Would you like to build a simple, but high-performance balun? I’ll be planning out my lesson this Sunday, so tonight’s your last chance to give me your suggestions.

Field Day was exhausting, but great. But no job is over until the paperwork is complete. Please don’t forget: if you made even one contact, submit your entry to the ARRL and to the Dallas Amateur Radio Club. If you participated in the 13 Colonies special event, you’ll have to resort to postal mail…don’t forget to include some sort of address label; it can be a scrap of paper, and should not be an SASE.

The contest calendar for this week looks pretty quiet, but if Field Day got you in the mood to get back on the air—like it did for me—you should give in to the urge.

Continue reading

Tech Net News 07-04-2020

DSC_2748_crop
A dipole will work just as well without a flag, but it will be less fun.

Our next club meeting is coming up this Tuesday, July 7th, at 7:00 PM. Like most meetings these days, it will be on-line. Please have a look at the club event calendar for the link you need to use. I’ll be giving the presentation and discussing one of the things I find most mysterious in our hobby: baluns.

I will speak at our next meeting about the basics of baluns, including how and why they work, what choices you have, and when to use them. Baluns can be easy and cheap to make for yourself, so I’ll will cover a few construction tips, too.

The contest calendar has a scattering of events, but the two most interesting are the 10-10 International Spirit of 76 QSO Party, which is is wrapping up this weekend, and the 13 Colonies Special Event, which is well under way.

Continue reading

Tech Net News 06-20-2020

original-3
I’m pretty, AND I’m important! Credit: Jeremy Sanders, Hermann Brunner and the eSASS team (MPE); Eugene Churazov, Marat Gilfanov (on behalf of IKI)

It’s the last weekend before Field Day! Are you ready? If you still need some hints, please check out the the “DARC Field Day 2020 Participation How We Can Have Fun” document that your fellow club members have been working on.

If your looking for some on-air fun to help you finish your Field Day preparations, there are a few events on the calendar. The West Virginia QSO Party gives you a chance to pick up a sometimes-difficult state, while the All-Asia DX Contest will let you try for a long, long-range contact or two. It’s not hard to reach Venezuela from the Dallas area, so you might want to check out The Battle of Carabobo International Contest, and if you love a noisy challenge on 160 meters this is one of the Stew Perry Top Band Challenge weekends.

Continue reading

Tech Net News 06-13-2020

May-30-2019-4-1612x981
Blue jays HATE paying for overdue books.

I’ve found one battery that will never come back from the dead, and wondering what to buy to replace it. How are your Field Day preparations going? That the DARC still has one more virtual forum coming up on June 18th to help us get ready for Field Day on our own, and we’re continuing to update our participation gude.

Lots of the bonus points that we used to take care of as a club are now available to you as an individual. For example, you can earn 100 points for sending a radiogram to the ARRL NTX Section Manager, and 10 points each (up to 100) for sending radiograms to your family and friends. Don’t know how? Get started at the website for our local traffic net.

There’s no Lecture and Lab this month, because of Field Day, but there’s still plenty you can do on and off the air. The contest calendar has plenty of small events and the second six-week series of the RSGB Hope QSO Party is still ongoing. The biggest event this weekend, though, is the ARRL June VHF Contest. It’s hot and sunny, so give six meters a try…or go even higher.

Continue reading

Tech Net News 06-06-20

060220_bb_maya_feat-1028x579
With a huge ceremonial platform and a complex of buildings, this ancient Maya site has been hiding in the jungle for millennia. Credit: Takeshi Inomata

Field Day is coming soon! I’ve been testing my inverters, taking inventory of my antenna supports, and running the May supply of gas out of my generator. But there’s lots more that all of us can do. Remember that the DARC still has one more virtual forum coming up on June 18th to help us get ready for Field Day on our own.

Lots of the bonus points that we used to take care of as a club are now available to you as an individual. For example, you can earn 100 points for sending a radiogram to the ARRL NTX Section Manager, and 10 points each (up to 100) for sending radiograms to your family and friends. Don’t know how? Get started at the website for our local traffic net.

The contest calendar for this week has a number of small events and a few that are a little bit larger, like the 10-10 International “Open Season” PSK Contest, the Kentucky QSO Party, and the second six-week series of the RSGB Hope QSO Party.

Continue reading

Tech Net News 05-30-2020

051320_SM_murder-hornets_feat-1028x579
It’s coming for us! Well, maybe. Credit: USDA.

I’ve been running late! It’s not easy to stop watching the video feed from SpaceX and from NASA TV today.

Our June 2nd, 2020, club meeting will feature a program written by Jerry Buxton, N0JY, and delivered by Tom Schuessler, N5HYP. Titled “AMSAT’s Future in the Microwave Bands” It will go into a little history on previous uses of microwaves on Amateur Satellites, look at what is being designed for the GOLF satellites and the design efforts to fulfill the ARISS International goal of putting Amateur Radio on the Lunar Gateway.

UPDATE: The DARC will also have two virtual meetings during June to talk about best practices and tips for Field Day. The first one is at 7:00 PM on Thursday, June 4th, and the second is at 7:00 PM on Thursday, June 18th.

The contest calendar is full of events which I have not read about, because space stuff is just so cool. Have a look, and remember that you might want to find small events to participate in to get ready for Field Day, like the Phone Fray or the ARRL June VHF Contest.

If you’re like me and have never participated in a Field Day on your own before, then Anthony Luscre, K8ZT would like to help by sharing a fun presentation with useful tips and links. He’ll be giving a live version of the presentation this Wednesday, June 3rd, at 7:00 PM Dallas time.

Continue reading

Tech Net News 05-23-2020

AB-Aurigae
At a little bright spot near the center, there just might be a planet being born. Credit: ESO/Boccaletti et al

Our June 2nd, 2020, club meeting will feature a program written by Jerry Buxton, N0JY, and delivered by Tom Schuessler, N5HYP. Titled “AMSAT’s Future in the Microwave Bands” It will go into a little history on previous uses of microwaves on Amateur Satellites, look at what is being designed for the GOLF satellites and the design efforts to fulfill the ARISS International goal of putting Amateur Radio on the Lunar Gateway.

The contest calendar is perhaps a bit quieter than usual this weekend, but there are two interesting events going on: The Day of the YLs contest, and the Strange Antenna Challenge. Get on out there and electrify your fence, your bird feeder, or your downspouts!

Continue reading

Tech Net News 05-16-2020

800px-Casuarius_unappendiculatus_-Northern_Cassowary_-oblique_front
This deadly bird is prettier than most! Hint—don’t feed it. Credit: en.wikipedia.org

Coming up just one week from today, this month’s lab will focus on the Winlink radio e-mail software, which is both fun and useful in an emergency. Served agencies just love to use email when they can, and Winlink is a way to get it through.

The contest calendar has plenty of operating possibilities even if there’s nothing famous. The RSGB Hope QSO Party is continuing, and there are some unusual events like the Portuguese Navy Day contest and a CW event to honor the King of Spain.

In amateur radio news, a new release candidate for WSJT-X has been released. It offers improved decoding speed and reliability, so you should give it a try.

The ARRL reports that the amateur radio transponder on Huskysat-1 is now open for use, offering an inverting transponder with VHF up and UHF down.

UPDATE: Gus, W5GUS, mentions that next (Memorial Day) weekend will feature the Strange Antenna Challenge, where your goal is to make HF contacts using debris you might find after a natural disaster, not the usual wire or pipe antennas. It’s time to get out your toughest old antenna tuner and load up a tomato cage!

Continue reading

Tech Net News 05-09-2020

Artist’s impression of the triple system with the closest blac
Two stars orbiting the center of mass they share with a hidden, nearby black hole. Credit: ESO

I’m sorry that I’m late posting my news today…Erin and I got to install some bees in a hive at our house! We were distracted this afternoon.

Our club will continue to hold virtual Lecture and Lab events. This month’s lab will focus on the Winlink radio e-mail software, which can be very useful both for fun and in an emergency. Radiograms work, and sending them is a good skill…but served agencies just love to use email when they can.

The contest calendar for this week is full of little sprint events, which are great if you have a chance to try one. The RSGB Hope QSO Party continues, and if you want an electrifying contest experience, you could try out the Contest Volta RTTY contest, sponsored by the Associazione Radioamatori Italiani.

And one quick tip: if you want to quickly check the time in UTC, just use https://time.is/UTC. You can also use their front page to check if your computer’s clock is reasonably correct.

Continue reading