Category Archives for "Clubs"

Club Program Ideas: Antenna Modeling Software

image 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: Antenna modeling software.

A lot of contesting wars are won before the antenna is ever put up in the air.

Sure, geography helps — a lot. But if you have choices for antennas, you can win or lose a lot from where you are planted. Knowing your ground, your elevation angles to distant population centers, and the type of operating you do makes significant differences in your choice of antennas.

Then comes antenna modeling.

Antenna modeling can be used for dipoles to beams. Verticals to inverted vee’s. How antennas are placed, how high they are, and the surrounding ground will optimize their performance. That is what antenna modeling software will tell you.

Program ideas:

  • Why use antenna modeling software
  • Antenna modeling software for the average ham
  • Practical example of using the software for an antenna (have a club member who is going to be putting up an antenna be the example)

Antenna modeling software has come a long ways since the early DOS versions. Given the power of home computers today, great analysis can be done for our antennas.

Scot, K9JY

Photo Credit: Antennex.com

Club Program Ideas: Moonbounce

image 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: Moonbounce.

Bouncing signals off of the moon and listening to them come back is a fascinating entry into Doppler shifts, weak signals, long distances, and knowing when the moon is available at your QTH.

Program ideas;

  • Why the moon?
  • How it works
  • Building Antennas — and rotors
  • Software (WSJT)
  • Frequencies to listen

Hams were working the moon long before astronauts landed there. It’s time to brush up on how all that was done.

Scot, K9JY

Photo Credit: SV1BTR’s antenna on Skynet

Club Program Ideas: Managing Public Service Communications

image 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: Managing Public Service Communications.

A proud tradition in ham radio is providing public service communications both in times of need or in times of fun. While communications in the emergency realm with government officials is rigorously evaluated, typical public service events are not.

Usually, when covering a walk or some other public service event, we get together, decide the communications points, and go.

The purpose of this program is to provide how the club manages on the ground the day of the event. Then, build a checklist of what items should be added to improve the event. Should packet be used for communications? What is a good distance between hams on the event course? Simplex or repeater? Or both?

This will get the club members on the same page for how events are managed plus engage in making events better.

Scot, K9JY

Photo Credit: Arizona Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk

Club Program Ideas: Repeater Construction

image 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: Putting repeaters together.

Repeaters have become standard operating procedure for hams. We take our handheld, hit the repeater and start talking.

But repeaters are placed far away in little rooms with fans and other radios. No one ever sees them.

This program idea is to take a deconstructed look at repeaters. The component parts, the function of each of the major components, the feedlines to the antennas and how to deal with interference from all the other radio sources (typically) found for a tower site.

And if that isn’t enough, how those high mountaintop repeaters connect to each other to give multi-state coverage.

Bonus points: Linking radio repeaters together anywhere there is Internet service available.

Scot, K9JY

Photo credit: CAT-400 Repeater Controller, Computer Automation Technology

Club Program Ideas: Digital Contesting

image 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: Digital Contesting.

Scanning this past weekend’s contests revealed new digital modes that I have heard of, but don’t know how they work in a contest.

For example, the DigiFest contest this weekend offered up RTTY75, BPSK63, MFSK16, Hellschreiber and Olivia modes. The Digital Pentathlon was more specific with using just MFSK as a mode.

You and I can probably guess that RTTY75 and BPSK63 are merely faster speeds for the base RTTY and BPSK modes we’ve seen. The rest?

Program possibilities:

  • Explanation of the modes
  • What contesting software is needed for the modes
  • How digital contests work differently than CW or SSB contests
  • Digital contest schedule.

One of the exciting developments in ham radio has been the development of these digital modes. Now some specific contests are being developed using these digital modes. Contests are a great place to try new modes for the station and operator and this program will help introduce this mode of contesting to the members.

Scot, K9JY

Club Program Ideas: CQ Sixty Meters

DipoleIn 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: CQ Sixty Meters.

So here is the truth: I know nothing about 60-meters even though it has been available to hams since July 3rd, 2003.

Since the band is limited to channel operation, fifty watts ERP and USB only, life is a challenge on this band.

What equipment is used? How do channels work? What is on the band?

Even if I never went on the band, I’d like to know how this band works and a club program from someone on the band would fill the need nicely.

Scot, K9JY

Club Program Ideas: 100-pound DXpedition

image 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: 100-pound DXpedition.

The idea behind this is really a blog that was dedicated to the planning and execution of DXpeditions using 100-pounds of equipment or less.

The program would provide how to do a DXpedition using minimal equipment and weight, yet still performing well. After all, at $15 a checked bag, with more charges on top of it for weight, airlines would have a feast in fees from regular DXpeditions.

Bonus: this program idea can be used for anything that requires extensive planning to mitigate significant constraints. Backpacking the Olympic Mountain Trail with QRP. Bicycle radio station.

Or, focusing a program on one aspect of “going light” — antenna or radio.

Scot, K9JY

Club Program Ideas: The New Digital Modes

old & newIn 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: the new digital modes.

There used to be CW, RTTY, and SSTV. Then came packet. Then PSK. Then came a rash of new digital modes that did everything from bounce a fast signal off of meteor trails to remotely turning your coffee on in the morning. OK; I lied about the coffee.

What are these new modes and what do they do? How do they compare to other modes more of us are used to using?

Bonus: do a program on one of the newer specific digital modes. How about JT6M and FSK441 for meteor scatter?

Scot, K9JY

Club Program Ideas: Grounding the tower

LighteningIn 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: grounding the tower.

While yesterday’s grounding topic was the station, today we extend that idea outside to the tower.

Grounding the tower will go a long way to protecting the station — and the rest of your household electrical items.

Possible program subjects:

  • Lightening myths
  • The role of concrete and rebar in lightening protection
  • How many grounding rods you need
  • How to maintain the grounding system
  • Welding the wires — why it is needed.

When I belonged to the Four Lakes Amateur Radio Club in Madison, WI, we were fortunate to have a 40,000 student University in town. Along with the professors. We had a great lightening protection program done by one of the professors.

His great theme was busting the lightening protection myths with this simple question: do you think lightening traveling five miles will be stopped by X? Fill in whatever for X and you can see where he was coming from.

Bonus: do one program on the myths and the theory of protecting the tower. Do another program on the practical how-it-is-done part of the work.

Scot, K9JY

Club Program Ideas — Grounding the Station

LighteningIn 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: grounding the station.

Grounding — both for safety and for RF — is tricky business. From “whole house” surge protectors to copper plates attached to everything in the shack, grounding is filled with mystery, urban legends, and science. Perhaps in that order.

A program on grounding the station would serve all hams well. Here’s some possible program subjects:

  • Urban legends of station grounding
  • Identifying your inside protection needs
  • Implementing your “single ground point ground panel”
  • What surge protectors really do

Practical grounding tips, including pictures on a screen, would turn this normally dry subject into supercharged.

Scot, K9JY