RF Exposure Rules Presentation Video Recording

screen grab from RF Exposure PresentationMany amateurs have requested a recording of the RF Exposure Rules presentation featuring Eastern MA Technical Coordinator Dan Brown, W1DAN on May 4, 2021.  ARRL Laboratory Supervisor Ed Hare, W1RFI also participated in the call, fielding questions from the audience.

The presentation can be viewed at: <https://register.gotowebinar.com/recording/6908389202243184643>.

[See also: Additional RF Exposure Rules Presentation, May 4, 2021]

Additional RF Exposure Rules Presentation, May 4, 2021

Dan Brown, W1DANEastern MA Technical Coordinator Dan Brown, W1DAN, will hold another presentation addressing the new FCC RF exposure rules on May 4 at 7:30 PM using the ARRL GoToWebinar platform. 

His April 27 talk was a hugely successful–a maximum number of 100 connections for the call was reached just as the discussion started. The GoToWebinar has a much higher limit and should accommodate all who are interested.  ARRL Laboratory Manger Ed Hare, W1RFI, will serve as Technical Moderator on the call.

To sign up for the presentation, visit:

Tech Support: (833) 851-8340
 

RF Exposure Rules Discussion Video Posted to Internet

Dan Brown, W1DANThe April 27, 2021 RF Exposure Rules Zoom Discussion by Eastern MA Technical Coordinator Dan Brown, W1DAN, has been posted to the Eastern MA ARRL website at: <https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1_qIGZhHyMrha-axJt87Dcu0UZuJO0t8F>. 

The discussion was a huge hit. The maximum number of 100 connections for the call was reached just as the discussion started; many late arrivals were disappointed to be turned away, but W1DAN plans to hold at least one additional online discussion before the May 3 deadline using a larger “Zoom room.” 

Watch this space for details. 

AK1WI: “Adventures in Home Brew SDR Design” at New England Sci-Tech ARS, April 27, 2021

AK1WI homebrew SDR radioAK1WI will present “Adventures in Home Brew SDR Design” at the New England Sci-Tech Amateur Radio Society on April 27, 2021 at 7:00 PM. 

In this talk, Derek will describe his multi-year project to develop the hardware and software for a stand-alone SDR system using the “Teensy” family of microcontrollers from PJRC.  In particular, it uses the Teensy Audio Library structure, hence its name “AudioSDR.”   The software is now freely available from GitHub.

Derek will describe the origins of the project from a graduate course he was teaching in 2010, and how it was not initially intended for ham radio, but rather as an exercise in applied DSP (digital signal processing).   He will describe in very broad terms the structure and operation of the system.    Math will be kept at a minimum. 

The talk will also cover the associated hardware for the RF front-end and the LCD display, as well as how the system is controlled, and the software structure for the Teensy Audio Library coding.   We will look at (extremely) over-simplified seudo-code to demonstrate concepts of real-time software.  We will write such code for an SDR version of the humble crystal-set – the simplest of all radios.

Derek will also discuss current developments and future enhancements for AudioSDR, including the addition of a transmit function to make it a true transceiver. 

If feasible we will have a demonstration of the operation, or at a minimum, pre-recorded sound clips of the output.

New FCC RF Exposure Rules Discussion via Zoom, April 27, 2021

FCC logoEastern MA Technical Coordinator Dan Brown, W1DAN, writes:

QST!

The new FCC RF exposure rules become effective May 3, but do not fret! I will explain what we should do. Please forward this invite to anyone you may think is interested.

Dan
W1DAN
EMA-ARRL Technical Coordinator

Dan Brown is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: RF Exposure
Time: Apr 27, 2021 07:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting
https://zoom.us/j/98941600273?pwd=TDc2Mjd4NldWdjBtdzlwY0JGRjhkZz09

Meeting ID: 989 4160 0273
Passcode: 134832
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Find your local number: https://zoom.us/u/abXuYdDvqm

Tape Measure Antenna Build at Bristol County RA, May 1, 2021

Fall River ARC bannerThe Bristol County Repeater Association  / Fall River ARC will conduct a tape measure antenna build party on May 1, 2021 from 1:00 to 4:00 PM at the South Swansea Baptist Church in Swansea.  The club asks for $20.00 to cover materials. They will supply the tape measures, 1/2″ PVC pipe and fittings, clamps, and a connection for your radio.

For more information visit the club web site at <https://bcra.club/bcrawprel/2021/04/06/fox-hunting-antenna-build/>.

Update on MIT Radome Project, March 2021

From the MIT Radio Society website:

Our perseverance is beginning to pay off! After much discussion and collaboration with MIT Facilities and various contractor groups involved in the Green Building renovations project, we have completed an initial design and project cost for the renewal of our Large Radome.

MIT has informed us that, if we raise $1.9 million before May 1st, 2021, the restoration of the radome can be included in the Green Building renovation project. While this is an enormous challenge, we believe it is not insurmountable.

We have already raised a part of this in the process of our overall station renovation fundraising drive, and there is additional interest in this project across MIT — from Physics’ J-Lab, to AeroAstro’s Small Sat Center and STAR Lab.

If we can raise this, we can ensure that this historic radome can continue to serve the MIT Radio Society and the MIT community overall. With your support, we can safeguard this treasure. [Full story] [See also: MIT Radio Society Update: Station Renewal and COVID Response]

Request for Assistance: Two Meter Interference, Hudson MA

Bob Glorioso, W1IS, writes on NE Mass Fox Hunters list on Mar 11, 2021 at 6:06 AM:

W. Middlesex ARES uses 147.435 MHz with 110.9 Hz tone simplex for our net and emergency calling frequency.   When the local Fire Dept. moved to a new building and left the tower in the center of town for Fire and Police repeaters, we were stuck with a 2M antenna at 90 ft but no place for a rig.  We worked with Fire Chief Landry and shared the expense of putting a new antenna and remote base in the equipment shack at the base of the tower that has automatic power back-up.  Its input is on 70 cm..

Interference from a strong intermittent broadband signal started on 147.439 MHz late last year. It is dead full quieting into our remote base on 147.435 and wipes out direct calls on 147.435 around town. The base only comes on when someone with the right tone triggers it but, if the noise comes on, many of the handheld stations around town are wiped out.  I found it was strong near the Intel plant in Hudson by driving around when it was on.  Early in January it went off and, unfortunately, came back on yesterday right after our monthly net.  I heard it today coming back from getting our Covid shots at Gillett when we got to Hopkinton on 495.

Any assistance locating and silencing this noise will be appreciated.

Thanks & 73,
Bob W1IS
EC Stow

WØMXX Experimenting With Weather Balloons

Shoebox containing W0MXX balloon payloadfrom WickedLocal.com:

Ten-year-old amateur radio operator Max Kendall is having a blast with his latest weather balloon project. The Medway youth has been constructing a balloon payload around a Raspberry Pi computer and camera. The microcomputer he’s programming will collect atmospheric data, and convert the temperature values to the Fahrenheit scale “because I have a better feel for Fahrenheit than Celsius.”

A fourth-grader at the Benjamin Franklin Classical Charter Public School in Franklin, Max spends many hours of his free time preparing for a spring launch of his very own weather balloon. He launched his first weather balloon from a field in Agawam, predicting it would eventually land many miles to the east in or near Halifax. After a few unsuccessful attempts to get the balloon airborne using party balloon helium purchased at Target, the apparatus went aloft but soon afterward, the tracker stopped sending signals. Max suspects it went too far out of his limited range  or “may have frozen as it drifted higher” despite the disposable hand warmer he placed in the box with it.
 
Max has founded the Medway Balloon Society, a club for youths and families who meet online and “share messages, files, chats, text messages and voice and video calls.” When the club has enough local members, he plans to hold in-person meetings and launches. Max’s mother, Jennifer Kendall, says Max is working with the Medway Public Library’s Makerspace coordinator, Diane Busa, to find interested individuals and families to participate.
 
“He would just love to have more people in the area to collaborate with him on weather balloons.” She adds, “there is just so much to love about them–the engineering and coding needed in building them, the thrill of the launch, and the adrenaline rushing when you attempt to recover them after the launch.”
 
In hopes of avoiding the same loss of contact with his second balloon that he experienced with his first,  Max studied online and earned an FCC General class amateur radio license.  His callsign is WØMXX. With his amateur radio privileges he hopes to track his second balloon and retrieve its data and images via ham radio. He’s currently studying to earn his Amateur Extra license.
 

Max is focusing on his next weather balloon. He thinks it will be ready for launch later this month, or in April. 

 
“The highest weather balloon went up 140,000 feet,” Max says. “My goal is 100,000 feet. That’s just about 63,000 feet short of the top of the earth’s stratosphere.”
 

For details about Max’s first weather balloon project, visit  https://maxkendall.wixsite.com/home/post/first-weather-balloon.

 

ARISS SuitSat-1 Experiment is the Star in this Haunting New Sci-Fi Video, “Decommissioned”

screenshot from the short sci-fi movie "Decommissioned"Most of you will remember SuitSat. In 2006, the ARISS team managed to acquire a Russian spacesuit with an expired expiration date that would have just been thrown overboard to burn up. ARISS designed and built an antenna and radio gear that was approved for installation into the suit and the whole shebang got deployed by a cosmonaut and Commander Bill McArthur, KC5ACR at the start of a spacewalk.
 
It transmitted a lot during its short life. After the ARISS engineers figured SuitSat-1’s orbit and spin characteristics, they knew the legs and arms would have to be filled with something, so they asked the crew to stuff dirty laundry inside. That’s just what they did.
 
Here’s a small part of what Rick Lindquist’s ARRL story said about SuitSat-1  (http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter?issue=2006-02-03):  
 

“The Amateur Radio community, students, scanner enthusiasts, space fans and others have been eagerly awaiting the launch of the most novel satellite ever to orbit Earth. SuitSat-1 will transmit its voice message “This is SuitSat-1 RS0RS!” in several languages plus telemetry and an SSTV image on an eight-minute cycle as it orbits Earth. The three batteries powering the satellite are expected to last about a week, and SuitSat-1 should re-enter Earth’s atmosphere after several weeks of circling the globe. and  SuitSat-1 has piqued the imagination of the news media over the past couple of weeks. In addition to articles in The New York Times, the Houston Chronicle and Associated Press, National Public Radio, Fox News, CNN, Readers Digest, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, MSNBC and others also produced broadcast or cable news reports. A magazine article is set to appear in Aviation Week and Space Technology.”

 
Well, SuitSat is back! It’s featured in an eerie, six-minute sci-fi short, “Decommissioned.” The  video can be viewed at

https://io9.gizmodo.com/an-astronaut-has-an-unwelcome-and-possibly-undead-visit-1846085578.

-Thanks, Rosalie White, K1STO, ARRL ARISS US Delegate

WK4 – Winlink Radio Soundcard Interface Workshop, August 13, 2020

Please plan to attend the Thursday, August  13 ARES Zoom session. 

9:00 PM AST / 9:00 PM EDT / 8:00 PM CT / 7:00 PM MDT / 6:00 PM PDT / 5:00 PM AKDT / 3:00 PM HST

Topic: WK4 – Winlink Radio Soundcard Interface 
Speaker:  Kevin Custer W3KKC

Thursday’s meeting will be OPEN for all to attend. Please feel free to invite others. Please note that we have a Zoom participate limitation of 500.  Let us know if you can’t get in so that we can send you the video link. 

  • This meeting will be recorded. By participating you consent to being recorded. 
  • Please change your display name to Your FirstName, CallSign and Location, e.g. Dan K7REX Idaho
  • Please stay muted until ready to speak. Your space bar works like a PTT for unmuting
  • To be fair to everyone, there will be a three minute limit for each person during Q & A
  • You may ask questions in chat; please stay on topic while using chat.  

[For Zoom conference details, email Tom Walsh, K1TW at k1tw@arrl.org or Phil Temples, K9HI, at k9hi@arrl.org.]

Power Line Noise Resource at National Grid

John Salmi, KB1MGI, writes on the PART of Westford mailing list:

I have had a S-9+ power line noise on my VHF beams on 2 meters and 6 meters along with my HF vertical antenna during the dry spells this spring and summer. When it rained the noise reduced or stopped all together. I traced it down to a pole 200 feet from my QTH.

I called National Grid a week or so ago about the issue. This morning a National Grid Senior Engineer from the Engineering Laboratory NE Lab & Testing services from Worcester stopped by.  The first thing he said was, I wish it did not rain this morning.
 
I invited him into the shack and there was no noise. He said he went to the pole in question and could not pick up the noise, either.
 
He was going to send out a crew to check the connections and replace fuses, etc. He said they run into these issues from hams and knows what causes the noise on the radios.
 
I got his card and will call him in two weeks to see if the noise is gone. 

New England Sci-Tech 20-Meter WSPR Beacon Project

Charlie Bures, WA3ITR, writes in the Wellesley ARS Spark Gap newsletter, June 2020:

New England Sci-Tech WSPR Board

Derek, AK1WI started a NEST group in January to work on a 20-meter WSPR beacon project he is leading. Foolish me signed up to write the construction manual.

The goal was for the group to eventually build it for around $25 per kit – – Stu, W1SHS; Bruce, N9JBT; Mark Seltser; Nicole Deshone; Mindy, KM1DY and others from New England Sci-Tech were part of it, but then it all kinda shutdown in March due to COVID-19. Derek is up to revision 1.6 on his custom PC board and software and supplied me with some parts to try building the older version 1.5 board. He put together a small kit, and last week and this, I soldered the parts, sockets, LED, etc.

Derek designed the board from scratch and wrote the software, which gets loaded into the Espressif ESP microcontroller.

Search for WA3ITR on 20m then click UPDATE. You’ll see where 3 watts in Natick reaches.Tuesday afternoon, I went to Derek’s house and he made the last mod and at 17:45 PM, we turned it loose with his dipole strung around his study area. It has been running ever since, using my callsign, WA3ITR.

https://wsprnet.org/drupal/wsprnet/map

PART of Westford Repeater Antenna Improvements

PART of Westford logoTerry Stader, KA8SCP, writes on the PART-L mailing list:

Last week, I sent this message out to our D-STAR users…. I am forwarding it since it contains some information that may be helpful.

The latest information is that new antennas are up and the new hardline is installed. There is a tentative switch over to the new water tower scheduled for next week. As soon as I know what day this is to occur, I will send a message out.

There will be some downtime where all three repeaters will be offline to conduct maintenance. All three repeaters have been on the air without any down time since December of 2018. That is over 11,500 hours EACH. We expect that the switch will be seamless, but please be aware that during the changeover, the repeaters may be up one minute and then down the next. If we encounter any issue with the changeover, we will revert to the previous configuration.

From: Terry M. Stader – KA8SCP
Sent: Thursday, April 02, 2020 9:45 AM
To: wb1gof-dstar@groups.io
Subject: Re: [wb1gof-dstar] antenna Change

Change is coming… so let me expand on what is existing now and what is happening soon.

Today, the VHF analog VHF 146.955 and D-STAR UHF 442.450 antennas are sited on the top of the older Town of Westford Prospect Hill water tower built in 1918. The D-STAR VHF 145.330 repeater antenna is located on top of the communications building at the base of that water tower, 90 feet below to other two antennas located on the top of the water tower, hence, the difference in signal levels.

 

  

A new, bigger water tower was built adjacent to the old tower. The old water tower is scheduled to be torn down in the future.

Three NEW commercial grade replacement antennas were ordered and are waiting for the new coax lines to run, then the new antenna to be placed (all 3 of them) on top of the new water tower tank on a pedestal that has already been built. When the antennas and hardline runs have been tested and we have been advised they are ours, I will go to the site and start making the switch to the new antennas.

The latest word I have was just this week… the hardline/coax installation was to be started this week. I was asked about the new antennas, so hopefully they are being transported to the site/installer.

The new water tower is considerably larger than the old water tower. It is about the same height as the old tower, exact dimensions are not yet known. The new tower is about 80-100 feet away from the old tower. That does mean that the hardline/coax runs to the new antennas are longer. The antennas are the same antenna models we have had previously. Because there is a little shift to the north in physical location, we expect pretty much the same coverage on the 955 analog and the 442.450 D-STAR repeaters. We do expect a significant change in coverage of the VHF D-STAR 145.330 repeater. 

This is all the information I have at the moment. I will advise of any significant deviation from what was outlined above when known.

Thanks all for your support to our WB1GOF repeaters.

Terry

Terry M Stader KA8SCP
WB1GOF Repeaters/D-STAR Admin

KC1LOM: “History of Titanic’s Radio” at New England Sci-Tech ARS (Online), April 14, 2020

Mark Rudd, KC1LOM
Mark Rudd, left, with Wayne Hanson, who will show an antique spark transmitter during the program. Presentation will cover Titanic’s “Marconi Radio” and related radio broadcast history.

Bob Phinney, K5TEC, writes:

 
“The STARS Radio Lecture Series is 7 pm on the 2nd Tuesday of each month. 
 
4/14/20: Mark A. Rudd KC1LOM: HISTORY OF TITANIC’S RADIO (and Related Broadcast Theory)
 
Guest Speaker:
Mark A. Rudd, KC1LOM,  is a retired Electrical Engineer and enjoys being a Technology Instructor for young and old students alike. Relevant to ham radio clubs, Mr. Rudd served as a radar engineer or “Lab Rad” at the USAF Rome Laboratory between 1985 to 1995.
 
After retiring as a Federal Engineer, Mr. Rudd always wanted to teach. So Mark served as a Sci&Tech Instructor at the King’s Co-Op since 2008, plus has been the Computer Tutor at the Tiverton Senior Center, both in Rhode Island.
 
To join the STARS Meeting at 7:00 pm just link your computer to https://zoom.us/j/231170127 Password: (email info@nescitech.org for password), or phone in: +1 929 205 6099, Meeting ID: 231 170 127, Password: (email info@nescitech.org for password).

HamSCI 2020 Workshop Retools as a Virtual Event

Phil Erickson, W1PJE, of Haystack Observatory in Massachusetts will speak on “Amateur digital mode based remote sensing: FT8 use as a radar signal of opportunity for ionospheric characterization.”
 
From ARRL Web:
 

03/17/2020 – Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the March 20 – 21 HamSCI Workhop will go on, moving to an all-digital webinar workshop. Registration and participation will be free and open to all, organizer and University of Scranton  professor Nathaniel Frissell, W2NAF, said over the weekend. A tentative agenda has been posted. Participants may register online. The workshop will be presented using the Zoom webinar platform. Those planning to take part should visit the Zoom website, create a free account, and download the client software. Frissell encouraged participants to set up a Zoom account, so they can get familiar with the system.The theme of the 2020 workshop is “The Auroral Connection — How does the aurora affect amateur radio, and what can we learn about the aurora from radio techniques?” Oral presentations will be as originally scheduled and in the same format, as if they were being delivered at the in-person workshop. Instructions for the electronic poster session are now posted, Frissell said.

“There are some really good things that are coming out of this switch to an e-workshop format,” Frissell continued. “I think the best thing is that it will enable greater participation, especially from people who wanted to come but were unable to before.”

Frissell said Zoom has the necessary tools to run the workshop in a way that will allow large participation while still keeping things manageable. The system will allow up to 100 panelists to share video and audio, and at least 1,000 people to watch and actively participating by asking questions through a text chat system, he explained. Moderators will monitor the text chat system and relay questions to the presenters.

Frissell has had to scramble since the decision was made to call off the in-person event. “It’s taken us a few days to get this lined up, as Scranton’s IT department has just upgraded their contract with Zoom over the past couple days to enable this workshop and other events on campus,” he said.

The HamSCI workshop will include addresses by guest speakers, poster presentations, and demonstrations of instrumentation and software relevant to the theme. The workshop will serve as a team meeting for the HamSCI Personal Space Weather Station projectthat’s funded by National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to Frissell. The project seeks to harness the power of a network of radio amateurs to better understand and measure the effects of weather in the upper levels of Earth’s atmosphere.

Workshop speakers include Elizabeth MacDonald, the NASA researcher who founded and leads the Aurorasaurus citizen science project. James LaBelle, a professor of physics and astronomy at Dartmouth University and auroral radio physicist, will discuss radio signatures of the aurora. Phil Erickson, W1PJE, of Haystack Observatory in Massachusetts will speak on “Amateur digital mode based remote sensing: FT8 use as a radar signal of opportunity for ionospheric characterization.” David Hallidy, K2DH, a retired microwave engineer and well-known for his work in auroral mode propagation, will discuss his practical experiences of using the aurora for radio communication.

Contester and DX Engineering CEO Tim Duffy, K3LR, who was to be the banquet speaker, will talk on the topic, “Let’s Push the Exploration of the Ionosphere to the Next Level.”   

 
 

CANCELLED: Dan’s Tech Night, March 12, 2020

Dan Pedtke, KW2T, writes:

Next Meeting IS CANCELLED. No March 12, 2020 meeting, due to coronavirus.

Sorry, our building hosts have suggested that we cancel our meeting for this month due to this unusual situation with this spreading virus. As I originally suggested, you should stay home out of fear of COVID-19.

TechNight is held every 2nd Thursday of the month, from 7-10 PM, at the Grady Research Building in Ayer, MA. It is open to anyone with an interest in radio or electronics, from age 6 to 100. Though it is directed mainly at the Ham Radio enthusiast, it also covers general electronics and computers. Amongst the marvels of radio technology like antennas, impedance matching, and software radio, we will discuss things like the Raspberry Pi, Arduino, ARM Cortex and the like, and even a little about LINUX and PC applications that work with radios. Meetings also include a period where anyone can ask questions about anything, or repair and test stuff people bring in. On occasion, the meeting will involve building a kit of some sort, that the participants have agreed to buy as a group. See the Topics page for more details.

You-Do-It Arduino Day 2020, Needham, March 21

You-Do-It Electronics is sponsoring Arduino Day 2020 on March 21, 2020 from 11 AM-4 PM at its store at 40 Franklin Street, off Route 128 Exit 19B, in Needham. 

“Join us in celebrating Arduino Day a world wide birthday celebration of all things arduino. Here at “You-do-it” Electronics Center we want to bring people together to share their experiences and learn more about the open-source platform. Various exhibitors will share their knowledge and resources of arduino- what it is and what you can do. We will also have product related specials, raffles and more! If you were ever wondering what this open-platform micro controller is or network with like minded individuals, you don’t want to miss this event
 
“If you have an arduino project you would like to showcase or are a STEAM related organization interested in being an exhibitor at our event email events@youdoitelectronics.com to reserve a table.”

Nashoba Valley ARC “Tech Morning” Participants Engage in Interesting and Varying Discussions

Stan Pozerski, KD1LE, writes in the February, 2020 issue of The Signal:

“Tech Morning continues to meet every week at 10:15 AM, Mondays at the Pepperell Community Center.

“From week to week we engage in widely (and wildly) varying, ad hoc, discussions on topics of current interest. At times we have a major common project focus, as we had for many months with the Arduino Antenna Analyzer. Mostly though, we just ragchew on our radio interests and issues of the week.

“In a recent session we discussed a kit Peter, N1ZRG, found for building a nixie tube digital clock for those with a big time hankering to solder. It is made up of only discreet resistor-transistor and diode logic! Over 1,200 through-hole parts, with no IC’s.

“Another discussion we recently had was on propagation issues that are impacting our morning 40m CW nets. Since we are in relatively close proximity to each other (max ~17 miles), NVIS propagation is expected to be a determining factor in signal quality. As it is, George, KB1HFT, in North Chelmsford is barely heard by Peter, N1ZRG, in Pepperell, even though George is pumping 50 watts into a resonant Inverted V. George reports that on the same antenna his 1 watt 40 M WSPR signal has been heard in Antarctica by DP0GVN. Hmmm. No NVIS? We set out to investigate.”