Friday, February 5, 2010

Stuff To Do Tomorrow

Hams 'n Eggs tomorrow.  Fox Hunt to Follow.

Friday, January 29, 2010

New Posts (3 of them) On Club Blog. Comments welcome.

It's your club.  So please participate and add feed back.
Just surf over to:

"el presidente"

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Off Grid Living

There have been several good conversations lately about "alternative power".

A quick Google search of "Off-Grid" yields several promising hits.

I'll have to look at each site to find their strengths and weaknesses in terms of the info they offer.

If you find an interesting article in one of them, make a reply and let us know.


#1.  Life Unplugged.

#2. Off The Grid Living takes it to the next level with discussions on new technology, what works and what does not.

#3.   Tips on what works and what doesn't.

#4. Home Power Magazine   Look for the free sample issue

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Who are Hams ?!?

Okay,  while waiting for some prints to get approved by our field techs (who did catch a few mistakes on my part) I had an opportunity to think a bit about "What is Ham Radio".

The ARRL has a lot of materials available to anyone, (yet targeted mainly at club PIOs) but I needed a goal in mind to help me make sense of it all.

In a diverse group of people, I've learned it's good to not discuss technology for technology's sake right off the bat.  So if I was going to homebrew a small deck of slides they would go something like this:

Slide  1: Who is a ham ?
Slide  2: What do they do ?
Slide  3: How do they do it.
Slide  4: Why bother ?
Slide  5: That License Thing.
Slide  6: Internet Links
Slide  7: Someone to call

Most anyone can make it through 7 slides without falling asleep.  More than 10 requires complimentary cokes and cookies.

Now, another thing I learned (at the phone company) is even if the boss is paid enough to cause you to  assume he is smart or important or doing something right (because he runs around town in a Porsche) he can't handle more than 3 bullet points in a slide.  No matter what.  So, I now assume none of the rest of us can either (if we could, we'd have Porsches, yeah ?)  So I take a stab at the above.

Slide  1: Who is a ham ?
* Hams come from all walks of life with all sorts of interests.  The common thread between them is that they all have assembled the components of an amateur radio station and use it to communicate with other hams without (necessarily) the commercially available telephone, television or Internet services.

Slide  2: What do they do ?
* This is a loaded question the answer is very broad and the sky's the limit.  Hams can operate equipment to send and receive voice conversations, image and data messages around town and around the world. 

Slide  3: How do they do it.
* Amateur equipment (power supplies, radios and antenna systems) range from pocket models with whip antennas ranging to desktop sets with backyard antennas.  Typically, pocket sized equipment is used to communicate with local folks with the larger installations capable (depending on weather and physics) of global communications. 

Slide  4: Why bother ?
*  Amateur radio has a proven track record for operating "when all else fails".  Other seemingly similar technologies (wireless data, cellular telephones, long distance phone networks, etc.) are dependent to varying extents on the commercial power grid, backup batteries, buried fiber optic and copper cables, so on and so forth.

* While seemingly antique in it's pure form, that simplicity is what makes ham radio work.  Voice and CW are 'lowest common denominators' that are (almost) universally understood.

* For the electronically or technically inclined, amateurs have a long heritage of experimentation.  Amateur radio operators have banded together at times to build and finance satellites, established wide-area data networks pre-Internet, bounce messages off the moon, etc.  Present work is in wi-fi networks and Internet-based methods to provide communication methods when traditional HF radio is not available.

Slide  5: That License Thing.
* In the USA, the FCC and ARRL work together to administrate a licensing scheme.  As a rule, the more tests passed and licenses obtained, the greater you're able to communicate.

Slide  6: Internet Links

Slide  7: Someone to call

Then, comes a rest break with cookies and sodas.  And if anyone comes back, we run through the deck again with added facts and terms like "VHF and HF and no-code tech, and verticals vs. dipoles vs Yagis, etc.) 

I know I painted with a broad brush to "keep it simple". 

Suggestions, comments, thoughts on elementary explanations of Ham Radio ?


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

VHF+ in Salina

Beams.  Dishes. Towers, oh my !

The antenna farm of Pete, WB0DRL, near Salina, Kansas


Check out for W5BBS / amateur radio-related news.

Better yet, contact me at with your news (club meetings, breakfasts, test sessions, nets, tailgates, so on and so forth) and we'll get it on the site.

Tell your friends to stop by too.

Thanks & vy 73

(collecting news on might be better use of it than net transcripts.  I never could get in the habit of it anyway.)

Thursday, September 17, 2009



I think it is a.....

No. They have been gone for years.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

What Is This ?

What is this ? There are these holes and all ?!?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Balloons, File Sharing, Old Satellite Dishes, Ham Radio

Passing traffic via wi-fi connection from neighboring ham to ham to ham might be viable if a disaster ever took down Cox or your Internet provider.

And these young folks did it with surplus materials.

Substitute a 4,600 ft mountain with a balloon-mounted wireless router and you could probably exceed their record of 50 miles...

Just a thought ...

if I was a Glue Dobber...

I'd build something like this:


Something interesting to release from a balloon ? :)

Monday, September 14, 2009

A Newer Take on The Ham Balloon Problem

Okay, if I separate the web-link with blank lines, I'm told it's clickable, so here goes:

Link above for NW5M's balloon project. Uses a newer, more popular microcontroller and Canon cameras among other changes.

I'll go over my take on these developments if anyone's interested. I wanted to do something like this once, but couldn't find a lot of support locally.


Boss says dig a hole...

This is way cool. M J Rainey, avid QRPer, has built himself an underground ham shack and shop.

If the neighbors let me grow up...I want one.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Balloon Chase Hobby

Here is a very good site and quite an interesting story about a Ham Radio guy and a balloon

  1. It talks about Video

  2. LINUX Computer on a board.

  3. Balloon Launch, Chase and Recovery

  4. Shows Photos

This is a great story. Maybe one of you would like to recreate this adventure.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

September Meeting: QSL Cards: Arctic / Antarctic Regions

I enjoyed tonight's presentation. I'm going to try and find out more about places on QSL cards that were discussed.

Until then...


September Club Meeting: Echolink

At the club meeting, an interest in Echolink was indicated again.

It might be time to revisit Echolink as the BAARC has two functioning VHF and 2 functioning UHF machines. We should be able to set up shop on one of them.

Some questions and concerns were raised:

1. SITE:
A) Tiger Hill:
pro: Internet access via City of BA
con: Internet access via City of BA (firewalls, etc.)

B) Leonard Mtn.
pro: excellent line of sight.
con: no existing data service

C) TBA: possibly Asbury UMC or BA "Towne Center" Water Tower.
pro: we have a guy "on the inside" at Asbury.
con: we need to shield the heck out of the repeater so it doesn't interrupt Sunday Service.

general feeling was that Echolink shouldn't be conducted on a "primary repeater". So that would suggest NOT .91 or .45

To satisfy that request, I was thinking 443.600 out of Leonard Mtn. But the radios we use to backhaul the audio back to someone's house (it used to be Jeff / AE5ME) would have to be in the 440 range to satisfy some FCC requirements on remote control. I don't know if that is asking for intermod issues or not considering a 443.600 XMIT frequency. We could avoid the backhaul radios by getting a computer and Internet up at Leonard. I don't know if we could set up a microwave / wi-fi shot or not. Alternately, we could backhaul at 900 MHz. Does anyone live nearby ?

Thoughts ?
Questions ?
Comments ?

September Club Meeting: Ron for PIO !!

Congrats to Ron on his appointment to the position of BAARC Public Information Officer.

Ron has some ideas about how to get our club "out in the public eye" (and ham radio too).

Let him know you're interested.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Teletype over Amateur Radio (RTTY)

Anyone active presently on RTTY ? Guy (WB5MXO) has mentioned past work with RTTY on VHF lately. Sounded interesting. Any particular websites for such stuff ? I found this one:


Friday, August 28, 2009

Microphone Cable Information

Here is a very good site that Earl(WB5UUW) talked about on the YAH Net on Friday.
I hope you find it useful.


Food For Thought

Here is a link to a list of tools for checking your thoughts.
One of the things that we do on Ham Radio is to compare ideas that might make the load a little lighter for others. This is for discussion guaranteed proof of outcomes is included. I have used the list as a listening tool.

If you like it, let me know.