Clubs

Club Program Ideas: Public Service Communication Modes

Blue Keyboard In this series on Club Program ideas, I’m providing possible programs for clubs to use in their meetings. You can find a full explanation of the approach in Club Programs – The Series.

Today’s program idea: Public Service Communication Modes.

Whether communicating for a community charity walk or helping in emergency disaster communicationsl, we most often think of simply using voice communications. Usually with a repeater. But, is this the only — or best — way of handling all forms of communication in an emergency?

This program looks at alternative communication methods for the support of emergency communications.

Possible format:

  • Current communication methods
  • Possible communication methods (for example, packet, PSK)
  • Matching communication modes with communication types
  • Implementing a change if needed

The great advantage of ham radio in emergencies is the ability to use different bands and modes of communication to still get through. Yet, in most public service work, we simply use voice communications. This program suggests that there may be other, better modes for some type of communicaitons work.

Scot, K9JY

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Clubs

Club Program Ideas: Building Practical Wire Beams

Bird on a Wire In this series on Club Program ideas, I’m providing possible programs for clubs to use in their meetings. You can find a full explanation of the approach in Club Programs – The Series.

Today’s program idea: Building Practical Wire Beams.

Sometimes we can’t have towers. Sometimes we don’t want towers. But, we have trees or other supports. This program shows members how to build practical wire beams for HF.

Possible format for the program:

  • The case for wire beams
  • Practical support considerations
  • Building methodology
  • Performance compared to Yagi’s

Wire beams can be a great addition to the ham radio arsenal. This program helps explain the how and why.

Scot, K9JY

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Clubs

Club Program Ideas — 1.2 GHz

Receiving In this series on Club Program ideas, I’m providing possible programs for clubs to use in their meetings. You can find a full explanation of the approach in Club Programs – The Series.

Today’s program idea: 1.2 GHz — the little antenna with the big punch.

1.2 GHz uses the littlest of antennas. A 20-element beam isn’t even three feet long.

Yet, 1.2 GHz offers some great ham applications, ones that we know little about.

This program would explore all things 1.2 GHz:

  • equipment
  • antennas
  • practical applications

Scot, K9JY

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Clubs

Club Program Ideas — Greyline DXing

Gold and blue In this series on Club Program ideas, I’m providing possible programs for clubs to use in their meetings. You can find a full explanation of the approach in Club Programs – The Series.

Today’s program idea: Greyline DXing.

The Greyline is where the sun starts to set and twilight begins. It is magic time for DXing, especially on the low bands. Especially on 160-meters.

This program explains greyline DXing.

Possible format:

  • Defining greyline
  • What makes greyline DXing so interesting
  • Why crooked path works for greyline DXing
  • Software programs for seeing the greyline

This form of propagation is eternally interesting. Sunrise and sunset DXing is magic. This program explains why that happens.

Scot, K9JY

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Clubs

Club Program Ideas — Sunspots and Propagation

The SunIn this series on Club Program ideas, I’m providing possible programs for clubs to use in their meetings. You can find a full explanation of the approach in Club Programs – The Series.

Today’s program idea: Sunspots and Propagation.

We’re in a new 11-year sunspot cycle and that’s exciting for a huge group of hams. But some in the club won’t understand the significance of the change in the sun and how it relates to the bands. Many people can’t remember what 10-meters was all about. And what do the numbers mean for opening a band?

Propagation gets lost in translation. A good club program on sunspots and effect on propagation is a solid idea.

Possible format:

  • Definition of the sunspot number
  • Definition of solar flux and relationship to the sunspot number
  • Definition of the A and K index
  • Equating solar flux to opening of a band. For example, a solar flux of 100 or more means 10-meters should open.
  • What happens to propagation when the A and K index goes too high

Bonus idea: software programs that use these numbers to predict propagation to different parts of the world.

Sunspots are our friend. Time to get to know them a little better.

Scot, K9JY

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Clubs

Club Program Ideas: Six Meters and the Magic Band

Diamond two element 6-meter beam In this series on Club Program ideas, I’m providing possible programs for clubs to use in their meetings. You can find a full explanation of the approach in Club Programs – The Series.

Today’s program idea: Six Meters and the Magic Band.

When I was with the Cinco Nueve Contest Club at TI5N, we were privileged to hear a lot about six meters from Costa Rica from Kiko, TI5KD. A passionate proponent of six meters, I learned a great deal about six meters and the magic band.

With the ARRL VHF Contest just completed, a program on six meters would be a great addition to the club schedule.

Possible subjects could include:

  • Six meter propagation
  • Six meter antennas
  • Six meter equipment
  • Best times to listen (and why listening all the time helps)
  • Getting DXCC on six meters(!)

I have not been on six meters in my ham career. But there are people with passion for the band and that passion can translate into a great program for your members.

Scot, K9JY

Photo Credit: Diamond A502HB Base Station Yagi Beam

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Clubs

Club Program Ideas: Building a Quad

Quad Antenna, TI5N In this series on Club Program ideas, I’m providing possible programs for clubs to use in their meetings. You can find a full explanation of the approach in Club Programs – The Series.

Today’s program idea: Building a Quad Antenna.

Quad antennas are radically different then Yagi antennas. While there is debate over the effectiveness of one versus another, quad antennas offer a different challenge than a beam in terms of construction and mounting the antenna to the mast on a tower.

The program would show the various materials used to build the quad and how to mount it to a mast:

  • Materials for the elements
  • Wire used and support to the elements
  • Feeding the bands — single or multiple antenna feeds
  • Impedance matching
  • Mounting the antenna to the mast — the three dimensions of a Quad.

Of course, good pictures on the construction and the mounting would make a world of difference to the program effectiveness.

Quad antennas aren’t for every location (for example, the ice storms in the Midwest), but offers great performance with a different setup than standard Yagi antennas.

Scot, K9JY

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Clubs

Club Program Ideas: Building a tower

15m antenna In this series on Club Program ideas, I’m providing possible programs for clubs to use in their meetings. You can find a full explanation of the approach in Club Programs – The Series.

Today’s program idea: Building a tower.

Every year, someone in the local club is either putting up or taking down a tower. It is a special time, of course, but also a great way to document how good construction, or de-construction, is done.

Have someone with a camera be the documentation person for the construction of the tower. Sure, they can help with the tower construction itself, but the most important role for this person is to document how construction is done.

Then, the tower owner can provide a program that shows the various construction details — with pictures — on how this tower was built.

A great example is the HD-70 tower construction, delivered instead to the local club.

Scot, K9JY

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Clubs

Club Program Ideas: Radio Filters

International Radio Filters In this series on Club Program ideas, I’m providing possible programs for clubs to use in their meetings. You can find a full explanation of the approach in Club Programs – The Series.

Today’s program idea: Radio filters.

One of the most effective ways to increase your ability to hear is the use of filters on the radio.

Filters vary by radio as well as how they are implemented. Filters that are great for CW are crappy for SSB. RTTY offers a challenge for filters, but great ones shine.

Then there are mechanical filters as compared to software (DSP) filtering. Which is better? How can you tell?

A program on making the case for filters in your receiver could cover these subjects:

  • The need for filters in your radio
  • OEM or specialty filters?
  • Mechanical compared with DSP filtering — or both?
  • Roofing filters

Upgrading a receiver with correct filtering can help turn average to excellent.

Scot, K9JY

Photo Credit: International Radio Filters

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Clubs

Club Program Ideas: Inside an amplifier

Alpha 9500 Amplifier In this series on Club Program ideas, I’m providing possible programs for clubs to use in their meetings. You can find a full explanation of the approach in Club Programs – The Series.

Today’s program idea: Inside an amplifier.

Everyone loves a big amplifier, who wouldn’t? But the inside of an amplifier is a scary place. This program suggests taking a tour inside an amplifier so that hams can see the different sections. Here are a few ideas for the presentation:

  • Show the tubes and how they are rated
  • Show the various band switch areas
  • Show the electronics in today’s amp and compare with older tube models
  • Show the transistor amplifier sections in the new amplifiers
  • Show why you need an interface between new radios and old amplifiers

Amplifiers are, for many, a dream to own. This type of program can show hams the guts of power in a ham station.

Bonus program idea: set up a few tables and have club members (pre-arranged) bring in their amplifiers so that everyone can look at the various models and makes. Great for individual questions and answers as well.

Scot, K9JY

Photo Credit: Alpha Amplifiers

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