Tech Net News 07-11-2020

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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.

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Tech Net News 07-04-2020

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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.

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Tech Net News 06-13-2020

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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.

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Tech Net News 06-06-20

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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.

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Tech Net News 05-16-2020

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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!

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Tech Net News 05-09-2020

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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.

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Tech Net News 05-02-2020

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Look out dinosaurs, I will eat your eggs! Credit: Denver Museum of Nature and Science/Andrey Atuchin

Sadly, my first two announcements tonight are negative: Ham-Com 2020 has become Ham-Com 2021, and the DARC club VE session at the Business Jet center continues to be canceled until the public health situation improves. However, JJ, N5IMS, has sent me word of at least one examiner conducting on-line exams.

If we can’t meet up in person, there still are plenty of chances to get on the air. The Hope QSO Party is continuing, and serious VHF contesters will probably already have heard about the Araucaria World Wide VHF Contest, just as the CWers among us know about the 10-10 International Spring CW weekend. For more casual operators like me, there are QSO parties for the 7th call area, Indiana, Delaware, New England, and even Mie Prefecture, Japan.

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Tech Net News 04-25-2020

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Happy 146th Birthday! Credit: en.wikipedia.org

I don’t have any major club announcements today. Be sure to watch this website and the club Facebook page for updates about upcoming activities.

And unfortunately, I goofed up this morning and missed the Lecture and Lab. But, if you participated, please share what you did and learned. Have you tried a new digital mode today?

The contest calendar is offering plenty of was to have fun while you stay at home this weekend. In fact, did you know there’s an award for contacting “stay home” amateur stations? The RSGB Hope QSO party is still going on, and the 10-10 International Spring Digital QSO Party is trying to add excitement to the 10-meter band. The Florida QSO Party is also this weekend, and it offers a unique bonus opportunity: the chance to spell LOVEBUG with special event callsigns.

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Tech Net news 04-18-2020

iaruThe next Lecture and Lab will take place one week from today, and it isn’t cancelled—it will be a virtual event, focusing on using digital modes like FT8 and FT4. The Lab will take place at 11:00 am on Saturday, April 25th. Please see our post about virtual meeting information for instructions on how to participate.

Today is World Amateur Radio Day. I’ve hope you’ve been on the air having fun!

The contest calendar has quite a few entries for this week and this weekend, but please not that Texas State Parks on the Air has been cancelled. Instead, you could try your hand at the RSGB Hope QSO Party, still ongoing, or the Michigan or Ontario QSO Parties. If you’re a new ham or you’ve never made an SSB contact before, the ARRL SSB Rookie Roundup will be taking place tomorrow. Please note that in-person mentoring is strongly discouraged.

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Tech Net News 04-11-2020

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We seem to have inherited some string from our ancestors. Credit: M.H. Moncel

Remember, the next Lecture and Lab isn’t cancelled—it will be a virtual event, focusing on using digital modes like FT8 and FT4. The L & L will take place at 11:00 am on Saturday, April 25th. Please see our post about virtual meeting information for instructions on how to participate.

If you didn’t have time last weekend, be sure to check out our latest club newsletter for some cool stuff in the spirit of Old Timer’s Night.

And don’t forget that all our club nets are still going on, including a 10:00 am stuck-at-home net Monday through Friday on the 146.88 repeater. Remember, if Tom can’t make it, you’re welcome to take a turn as net control…and you’re always welcome to bring announcements, real or funny.

The contest calendar is full of events this weekend, with QSO parties in New Mexico, North Dakota,  and Georgia, as well as the ongoing RSGB Hope QSO Party for those stuck at home. In honor of Yuri’s Night, we also have the Yuri Gagarin International DX Contest available.

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