All things technical
How to Clean After Corroded Batteries
Jerry Woodworth, N1DD writes on the YCCC mailing list:
I forgot to remove batteries from a measuring instrument. AA Panasonic batteries cracked and some kind of fluid came out. On visual the damage does not appear to be fatal. However there is considerable white residue left. Any hints on what will remove the residue?
Greg Zenger, N2GZ replies:
Flush with de-ionized water and then dry with alcohol.
I avoid vinegar (acetic acid) as it can do more damage than good. Sure it neutralizes the alkali, but diluting it with water is just as effective at reducing the alkalinity and doesn’t leave an acid residue. If there is a lot of leaked battery electrolyte you can wipe it up with a cotton swab and then neutralize with vinegar before putting it in the trash, but don’t put the vinegar on your electronics.
De-ionized water readily dissolves the contamination and washes it away, the process can be sped up by scrubbing with a cotton swab. You can get de-ionized water at the grocery store in gallon jugs.
I prefer methanol for use on electronics, but isopropyl (rubbing alcohol) is commonly available and will work just fine. Look for a high percentage for best results. Medical isopropyl is often only 70-90%. 99% or greater is what you want. A gallon can of it from the hardware store is generally the cheapest way to get it. Water content in the alcohol slows down the evaporation time and can get left behind in little crevices like under chips or in through vias.
Flushing with pure alcohol washes away residual water and then quickly evaporates leaving nothing behind.
You may need to use a dental pick or some emery cloth to remove any corrosion that has increased the contact resistance of the battery terminals.
New England Wolf Pack Fusion Net
National Grid Talk at Dan’s Tech Night, April 12, 2018
Looks like we’re on this month with the two engineers from National Grid. They have verified they will be coming this week. So we’ll learn some interesting things about the local power grid, and be able to ask questions about it. I mentioned five topics to them as examples:
- The local large transmission lines – what are they used for, power to/from where, voltage, etc.
- The Sandy Pond inverter station – not a National Grid asset, but maybe some basic facts
- Working on live transmission lines – what’s it like to have 13KV in your hands
- What is the effect of all the solar installations in the area?
- How to deal with RF Interference issues.
If you’ve ever wondered how the power gets to your house, here’s your chance to find out this Thursday, April 12, at the Grady Research Building in Ayer at 7:00 PM.
See www.DansTechNight.com for details and directions.
Hope to see you there.
“Bootleg” CubeSats Earns FCC’s Ire
From Slate.com: “In January a Silicon Valley–based commercial space startup named Swarm Technologies launched four experimental satellites into orbit aboard an Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle rocket… There’s just one problem: It appears Swarm launched the SpaceBEEs without an experimental authorization from the Federal Communications Commission, something that should have been acquired before launching.”[Full story]
80-Meter Amateur Radio Direction Finding Activity in Westford
Andy Stewart, KB1OIQ writes on the PART of Westford list:
I have built an 80m fox transmitter and plan to deploy it once spring arrives. I also have two ARDF receivers for 80m. Very preliminary testing shows that the fox can be heard on 3.5805 MHz at least 3/4 mile away on slightly hilly terrain. This fox transmitter consists of an Arduino, which I programmed for this project, and a Cricket 80a (an 80m QRP CW transceiver). It runs off of a 9.6V NiMH rechargeable battery.
More detailed information and the Arduino source code, can be found at https://sourceforge.net/projec
You have time to get your 80m fox receivers before spring arrives. Consider the R3500D from China, or the RigExpert FoxRex 3500, or build your own!
Have a lot of fun, and 73.
W1YW to Receive 2018 Hamvention Technical Achievement Award
Chip Cohen, W1YW, of Belmont, Massachusetts, has been named to receive the Hamvention 2018 Technical Achievement Award. Licensed for 52 years and bitten by the antenna bug, Cohen became a radio astronomer and astrophysicist, working at Arecibo, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), the Very Large Array (VLA), and others. While a professor at Boston University, Cohen connected fractal geometry with antennas, pioneering a paradigm shift in the design of fractal antennas and what they make possible. An inventor with 41 US patents, Cohen is known for inventing the invisibility cloak using fractal antenna techniques.
Starting 30 years ago with simple flea market treasures, W1YW bootstrapped fractal antennas with modest gear and employed ham radio to report on the success of his new technology. He started Fractal Antenna Systems, Inc. with WA1ZWT (SK) in 1995, and is presently its CEO.
Cohen is a DXCC Top of the Honor Roll DXer and a strong advocate for technical “innovation culture” through Amateur Radio. He is a Life Member of ARRL and a Fellow of the Radio Club of America, where he served as Vice President and presently as a Director.
Eastern VHF/UHF Microwave Conference Seeking Papers and Speakers, April 20-22, 2018
The North East Weak Signal Group is seeking papers and speakers for its Eastern VHF/UHF/Microwave Conference, April 20 – 22, 2018 in Manchester, Connecticut.
PART of Westford Kit Building Session, March 10, 2018
PART of Westford is holding a kit building session on Saturday, March 10, 2018, according to PART club president Andy Stewart, KB1OIQ.
“The club has chosen the Cricket80A QRP CW transceiver for the 80 meter band,” Stewart says. “I’m looking for a building chairman, two to three Elmers to help and encourage kit builders, a technical person to spend a few minutes explaining the circuit theory, and people who want to build the kit!”
Interested parties should contact KB1OIQ at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information about the Cricket80A kit can be found at http://4sqrp.com/cricket.php.
K1YOW Wins QST Cover Plaque Award
Nashoba Valley ARC member Joe Dzekevich, K1YOW was presented with ARRL’s Cover Plaque Award for his December, 2017 QST article entitled “Upper Level Lows and 6-Meter Sporadic E.” ARRL New England Vice Director Mike Raisbeck, K1TWF, presented the award to K1YOW at the February 15, 2018 NVARC meeting in Pepperell.
The QST Cover Plaque Award is given to the author or authors of the most popular article in each issue and is determined by a vote of ARRL members on the QST Cover Plaque Poll web page.
Zola Center Kit Building Workshop, Feb. 17
Members of the Zola Center ARC are participating in a kit-building workshop on February 17, 2018 at the Irving K. Zola Center for Persons with Disabilities in Newton Highlands.
According to Zola Center ARC’s Bob Druk, WA1UIY, “the group will build continuity testers as a club project. At the December meeting we held a soldering workshop where we they learned the basic fundamentals of soldering. At the end of the session each participant was able to successfully solder the ends of wires together.” Many of the current Zola members are either legally or totally blind.
WA1UIY adds: “The continuity tester project is the next step in their progression. Their goal is to build an AM/FM radio from an Elenco kit which they hope to start by April.”
Additional volunteers are sought to assist in this project.
Dan Brown, W1DAN, Eastern Massachusetts Technical Coordinator and president of the Wellesley Amateur Radio Society will conduct this week’s session.
NASA Chooses Six Local Student Projects
Bob Phinney, K5TEC writes in the Clay Center ARC mailing list:
Six student projects were chosen by NASA to fly in a rocket or high-altitude balloon this summer. As part of the activities offered by the Clay Center Amateur Radio Club (CC-ARC) at Dexter Southfield School, students designed projects for the NASA “Cubes in SpaceTM” program, the only program in the world to provide students (ages 11-18) with a free opportunity to design experiments to be launched into space on a NASA rocket or balloon.
Lead members include Julie KC1GMW, Morgan KC1GRZ, Nathan KB1RD, Hardy KC1ESU, Raif KC1GRX, Jason KC1GBV, Conrad KC1GBW, Rishi KC1BKX, and Sean K3FAY. Thanks to adult supervisors Christy KC1GAF, Bruce N9JBT, John AB1ZV, Ted KB1NTJ, Marlene Schwarz, and Dan Sage.
PAVE PAWS Talk, March 28 at Clay Center ARC
David Wolfe, KG1H writes:
Lieutenants Theodore Kruczek and Meredith Prinz will be visiting from Cape Cod Air Force Station on Tuesday, March 28, 6:30-8:00 pm. They are crew commanders on the Early Warning Radar located there. The site’s primary mission is detecting and reporting intercontinental ballistic missiles and sea launched ballistic missiles. The secondary mission is tracking satellites in low earth orbit, including amateur radio satellites utilized by amateur radio operators. They will be discussing radar operations, how that data helps amateur radio operators, and the importance of proper amateur radio use.
6:00 – Refreshments and Pizza
6:30 – Guest Speakers
Clay Center Amateur Radio Club
Dexter Southfield School
20 Newton Street
Nashoba Valley ARC’s “Lantern Battery Challenge” Begins in October
The Nashoba Valley Amateur Radio Club is continuing a neat tradition that encourages on-air activity by its members: the second annual NVARC Lantern Battery Challenge. This operating event begins at the end of the October meeting and runs until March 1, 2011. The goal is to contact as many stations as possible using a pack of lantern batteries as the sole power source. An entry fee is charged to cover the cost of the batteries. Complete rules and an entry blank will be available at the September NVARC meeting.
According to NVARC’s Bob Reif, W1XP, the Lantern Battery Challenge “is primarily a QRP event but the actual power is not specified.” There are several classes of entry, including: CW, SSB, digital, and mixed modes. Additionally, participants are restricted to using wire antennas or verticals no more than 50 feet in height. But, says Reif, “there is an unlimited category that you can compete in with your big antenna farm if you desire. The main purpose of this event is to have fun. And everyone that entered last year said they did.”
Participants operate for the event duration from October to March, or until his or her lantern battery is exhausted. They can run as much or little power as they wish, but all sending and receiving must be powered by the battery, comprised of ten lantern battery cells.
Logs will be due at the March meeting. Awards will be given out at the April NVARC meeting. Spreadsheets, computer logs or even paper logs on ARRL log book format are acceptable. A summery sheet is required and the exact form will be provided. QSLs are not required but verification by the judging committee is possible.
The idea is to have the period of operation cover the usually good HF conditions of fall and winter. All contacts must be made on the normal “contest” bands of 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, and 10 meters. Work any station only once per band, per mode.
Good luck in the “contest!”
–Thanks, Nashoba Valley ARC Signal, August 2010, Volume 19, Number 8
Massachusetts QRP Convention Tickets are now available
Tickets are now on sale for the Massachusetts QRP Convention to be held at the Westford Regency Hotel and Conference Center in Westford, Massachusetts March 12-13, 2010. Conference admission is $25 per person which includes access to the Friday night meet-and-greet and the Saturday conference event. Ten speakers are scheduled to appear including three members of the QRP ARCI Hall of Fame and Joeseph H. Taylor, Jr., Professor in the Department of Physics at Princeton University and winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics (1993).
A post conference banquet will be held Saturday evening featuring Steve Galchutt, WG0AT, the “goat hiker” and his adventures climbing Colorado’s various 14,000 foot peaks with his faithful pack-goat companions Rooster and Peanut. Admission to the banquet is $40 per person.
Tickets can be purchased on-line at
http://www.masscon.org/ [https://web.archive.org/web/20170210153035/http://www.masscon.org/index.html] with PayPal or any major credit card.
Open System Ubuntu OS And Ham Radio: A Great Combo
Ubuntu Linux enthusiasts are holding the first-ever Installfest on October 13, 2007 from 9:00 am-5:00 p.m. at MIT’s Media Library in Cambridge.
According to the group’s press release, “Volunteers will be on hand to answer questions, present demonstrations and help users install the free, open source Linux operating system.”
“This is of particular interest to hams wanting to try open systems that run well on old hardware,” writes Bill Ricker, N1VUX. Ricker adds that these workshops may rotate around the state. “Drop in on your way home from NEARfest!”[See
QRA Proposes Homebrew Construction Class
The Quannapowitt Radio Assocation is proposing a class for members interested in constructing electronic equipment.
If enough interest is warranted, Mike Rioux, W1USN will put together a home brew class to identify electronic components and simple electronic circuits. The class might also construct a small electronic project suitable for use in the ham shack. Rioux says the type of project and its cost will be determined by the class participants.
W1USN envisions the class meeting once a week or more, depending on the type of project selected. If you are interested in participating, contact W1USN at email@example.com.
–Thanks, QRA News, September 2007
Revolutionary Antenna Design by KD1FT
Rob Vincent, KD1FT, a University of Rhode Island Physics Department employee is reported to have developed a revolutionary antenna design that dramatically reduces the size of an antenna while improving its efficiency and maintaining a broad bandwidth.
“The Holy Grail of antenna technology is to create a small antenna with high efficiency and wide bandwidth,” explains Vincent. “According to current theory, you have to give up one of the three—size, efficiency, or bandwidth—to achieve the other two.”
One of Vincent’s test sites was situated in salt marshes in Westport, MA. [Full story]