QCARC Calendar

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December 2018
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Polls

Should QCARC continue giving VE Exams before club meetings in even months?

  • Yes, but occasionally on other days and times (67%, 2 Votes)
  • Yes (33%, 1 Votes)
  • No (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Yes, with more months (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Yes, but fewer months (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 3

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QC Weather

Winter Storm Watch

Issued:
11:01 AM EST on November 14, 2018
Expires:
10:00 AM EST on November 16, 2018
Partly Cloudy
Wednesday 11/14/2018 0%
Partly Cloudy
Partly cloudy. Temps nearly steady in the low to mid 30s. Winds NNW at 5 to 10 mph.
Ice Pellets
Thursday 11/15/2018 100%
Ice Pellets
A wintry mix in the morning will transition to mainly snow in the afternoon. High near 30F. Winds ESE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precip 100%. 3 to 5 inches of snow and ice expected.
Overcast
Friday 11/16/2018 20%
Overcast
Cloudy. A few flurries or snow showers possible. Temps nearly steady in the mid 30s. Winds W at 10 to 20 mph.
Quad-County Weather Page

On-line Radio Wave Propagation Course

Sky, space, and surface waves

An interesting and informative course is available from Comet/MetEd titled Radio Wave Propagation. The course web-site: https://www.meted.ucar.edu/training_module.php?id=1394#.Wylt6Rwnb4Y

If you are relatively new to amateur radio do not be concerned with the technical aspect of understanding all of the details and terminology. You may be surprised that many of the graphics and audio explanations that are given will definitely provide you with a greater knowledge of what goes on with the signals radiated to and from your antenna, even without getting wrapped up in the technical terminology. I sincerely believe that you will learn some interesting aspects relating to amateur radio which will give you a better understanding of the why and how radio signals work.

This course is also for the veteran amateur radio operator. There is plenty content that will likely get you thinking and recalling some of the information you may have learned years ago.

There are quizzes during and at the end of course. You can take them but again do not get overly concerned with getting all the correct answers. Then again, you may be surprised at what you have learned! Passing the final quiz will net you a printable certificate of completion.

This course has great graphics with very good explanations, turn your speakers on. Give yourself about 1.5 hours for the course and quizzes. You can’t beat this education, at no charge!

You will need to register to create an account to take any of the MetEd courses. Radio Wave Propagation is only one of many other informative topics, be sure to check the list of available courses.

Layers of the Ionosphere

“The source of this material is the COMET® Website at http://meted.ucar.edu/ of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), sponsored in part through cooperative agreement(s) with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC). ©1997-2017 University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. All Rights Reserved.”   (Posted due to use of the graphics)

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SOLD!! ICOM 706 MkII for sale

Selling my ICOM 706 MkII

It comes with separation cable, face mounting bracket, and original mike.

Everything works as supposed, very good radio, but, time for something new….

Comes from smoke free enviroment.

I will not ship!

Price $ 475.00   Email: kvantlars@gmail.com

 

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W3CDG-11 Balloon Launch In The Air From Pittsburgh

The W3CDG-11 balloon launch is in the air. To watch the progress go to: aprs.fi for the current info. Launch was from the Pgh. Zoo.CLICK FOR LARGER

 

 

The Balloon has landed in the Brackenridge. PA area.

Congratulations to those affiliated with the successful flight!

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High Altitude Balloons Pass Nearby

balloon3 J

CLICK FOR LARGER DISPLAY

 

 

 

 

 

Two high altitude balloons with APRS telemetry reporting transmitters passed just west of DuBois on September 13. These balloons were reporting altitudes of just over 45,000′ and temperatures around 12 degrees F.

I happened to capture a screen shot one of the balloons as it was posted online, via the WA3UFN-1, APRS I-Gate.

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WIRES-X , The New Kid on the Block

This article was originally posted January 15, 2016

Just above the horizon – WIRES-X! Recently you may have heard some rather odd noises and unlikely QSOs taking place on the N3QC, 147.315 repeater. The latest update to our repeater was added January 12, 2016 when the Yaesu Wires-X Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) was added. More information will follow as we decipher some of the information and operational aspects of this new mode.NodeQSLScreen2

In case you didn’t hear, one of the first QSOs was a 3,565 mile digital contact with a station in England. The English ham was traveling to his home QTH while we were heading down the road in Du Bois, after the brainstorming session of getting the WIRES-X operational. Seeing the information showing a station that was just over 3500 miles away displayed on the radio’s display was quite a surprise!

The contacts are not totally automatic, you actually have to initiate a connection with one of the many WIRES-X nodes around the world. The connection can be made with either a Yaesu FTM-400 in digital mode or, as it it setup on the 147.315 repeater, any analog FM two-meter transceiver with a DTMF keypad (otherwise know as a touch-tone pad) connected to the transceiver. The digital connection to WIRES-X on the repeater is not available as it is set for analog only so that all can use it. You need to know the node number of the location that you want to connect, enter that on the DTMF keypad and the connection should be established. The digital mode displays much more information and has much more utility as well but as mentioned the digital radio is not needed, even a hand-held 2 meter rig can activate and use the system.

This is just a brief overview of the WIRES-X system, there will be much more to come on this website and at the QCARC regular meetings. Stay tuned for some very interesting experiences with WIRES-X!

 

January 16 article addition

I expect there are more questions about WIRES-X, since the announcement at the January Club meeting. Even though I was half of the team that set it up, I still have questions. The best place to begin to learn about the operation is to go directly to the Yaesu WIRES-X web site. Toward the left top of the page you will notice several tabs to connect to information that will better describe what WIRES-X is all about. The member log-in is for registered node users, you don’t need to worry about that part.

The three main information tabs:
The “What is WIRES-X?” tab gives an overview of the system.
The “User page” tab has a very good description, with good pictorials, of the way the system operates. Keep in mind this shows a digital radio operation but it is informative for both digital and analog modes.
The “WIRES-X ID list” tab will take you to the page that lists all of the WIRES-X nodes around the world and you’ll be able to see if there are any located near a city that you may want to talk to. You can sort the lists by clicking on the header for each column: call sign, city, state, country. Keep in mind the node list changes everyday as new nodes are registered.

The 147.315, N3QC repeater WIRES-X system is operating in the analog mode so that everyone can use it.

Stay tuned for more information as it relates to the N3QC/R WIRES-X system.

 

January 21, 2016 article addition

The WIRES-X room node will be connected for the time being. This should enable any one who connects to be able to more easily to use the system. To connect to a node room at a distant location, you will need a DTMF, touch-tone pad, on your microphone or hand-held, then you will need to know the node room number, available on the Yaesu WIRES-X web site . Remember to select the WIRES-X ID list tab to view the node number list.

 

February 3, 2016 article addition

So far the WIRES-X connection has served us well. I think that one of the biggest advantages that I’ve heard is that folks who may have moved from the area may now have the opportunity to get into the local repeater and talk to others they know. This has been proven out with K3AHS, Ed who is able to get into the 147.315 repeater, from his home in Texas, to check into the Sunday net and at other times to talk to hams who are in the area that he grew up.

The local room node is still connected, no issues appear to have resulted in the full time connection. In order to connect to another node you first need to disconnect from the local room by pressing the ” * ” touch-tone pad button. Then listen for the disconnect acknowledgement of an “H” in CW (4 dots, they’re sent fast). Once you hear the “H” enter the node room number of the distant location with a leading ” # “, via the touch-tone pad, to connect then talk to hams from that area.  Remember to read up on the information contained in the above links. This is a system where skimming or guessing just will not work, you have to play by the WIRES-X rules! Remember to play by the FCC rules too and identify when connecting to the nodes.

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12 VDC Power Control

 

Many amateur radio operators have equipment operating on 12 VDC power supplies. There are times that the equipment needs to quickly switch to a 12 volt battery back-up. There is a very easy way to accomplish this without any intervention needed to switch back and forth from the AC operated power supply and the battery back-up as needed. I’ve found that the PWRgate meets the need to control a supply of 12 volt power to equipment when the AC power supply fails.
pwrgate
You’ll see in the photo that this unit has the Anderson Powerpole® connections that make connections super easy, if you have adopted Powerpoles® as your method of 12 VDC power connectors a standard. Remember that the Powerpoles® are the standard with most ARES and RACES groups across the Country to make interoperability of powering equipment easy but that’s another topic.

The latest model of the PWRgate has three output connections for the equipment that you may need to power, up to 25 amps. There is a connection for your back-up battery to charge your battery and power your equipment when the AC power supply loses its 120 VAC supply, as well as the input from an AC powered 12 VDC supply.

I can say from experience, I have one in use, this unit works as advertised. It is great to maintain 12 VDC to equipment that may otherwise lock up if the power is removed then reapplied when an orderly shutdown/restart should be done. The PWRgate is offered by an amateur radio operator, who provides fast shipping and super service if an issue may arise. You can visit the web site http://ki0bk.no-ip.com/~pwrgate/LLPG/Site/Welcome.html for more information on the PWRgate and other devices that are available.

 

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New Tri-Band Baofeng on the Market

 

UV5X3The Baofeng Tri-Band hand-held hits the market! For those interested in using the 220 MHz band it is now a bit easier with the new UV-5X3, 5 Watt Tri-Band Radio: 130-179.99mhz (VHF), 222-225.99mhz (1.25M), 400-520.99mhz (UHF), it also is reported to have the FM broadcast band receiver.The new hand-held looks a lot like a UV-5 but “you can’t judge a book by its cover”.

 

The best place to go for a good review of the radio is: http://www.miklor.com/COM/Review_5X3.php

 

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Yaesu FT-991 A huge step for mankind….

Hello again

It was a while ago since I wrote anything here, but now I really have something to write about!

As maybe some of you know, I took the step, and bought a new radio, the Yaesu FT-991. It is an all band all mode transceiver incl C4FM, where all the best parts from Yaesu’s more exclusive transceivers come together in a very compact sized box. Already the first day, i was struck by the radios very quite receiver and ease of use, even though it’s the first time I’ve ever used a radio with touch screen. But, if you are familiar with a smartphone or a tablet, then you feel right at home with the FT-991. Last weekend, I got to test it’s phenomenal ability to pick out stations just above the noise, even though I had 59+ signals right beside, and without earphones, it was easy to hear what the weak station said, and, to work him! This time Yaesu really hit the head on the nail! I dare to say, that nobody in this price range come even close to the FT-991! It is a radio that will fit in any Go-Box, since it’s even got a built in tuner as well as a built in audio board for digital traffic.   Yaesu FT-991FT-991 Rear Panel

I will bring the radio to the next meeting, so you all get a chance to play a little with it. I hope we get a weather like we had today, so we can put up some antennas, and make a few contacts!

See you all at the QCARC meeting!

Lars KB3WBT

PS: The Yaesu FT-991 price is now even lower, $958 after mail in rebate at RandL electronics, which is a super deal!

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Powerpole® Crimp Tool Review

For many hams the go-to 12 VDC connector is the Anderson Powerpole®. I feel the same, this connector is the only one that makes sense forPP crimper convenience and durability of connection among my own radios and if the need arises other power supplies. This form of 12 VDC power connection really makes the issue of interoperability for a power source a non-issue. The connector is recognized across the Country as THE power connector to use for ARES and other public service applications.

Anyway, where this is leading is the issue with installing the connectors on the wire. It really is not difficult but there is a standard, in order to interface with the rest of the world! Amateur radio has adopted the standard that when viewed from the contact side, the mnemonic for remembering the arrangement for the positive connector is: “Red Right — Tongue Top“.
Of red powerpolecourse red is positive while black is negative. Even though there is a standard, I feel it is still a good idea to confirm the connection that your rig may be connected to is verified visually and also electrically using a volt meter or one of the LED connectors that indicate if the connectors are configured to the standard.

 

The installation of the connector contacts can be problematic if the proper crimp procedure is not used. I’ve used the crimping pliers type PP crimper diescrimp tool, until now. I finally invested in a crimp tool made for the Powerpole® connector contacts. I have to say that I should have done it sooner, no exaggeration! There are are several styles of crimpers available with the special dies for the crimp, study their operation and style then decide for yourself which one suites your needs. The version that I settled on has a feature in the tool that helps maintain the alignment of the contact while the crimp in done (see photo). My opinion is that the crimp done with the pictured tool is far superior than the crimping pliers style. Along with the quality of the crimp, there is no distortion to the contact. With no distortion there is no reforming the contact which results in a much easier insertion into the Powerpole® shell and much better contact surface for maximum conductivity.

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Antique Radio Flea Market and Auction – May 3

atwaterkent206_34_

Tri-State Radio Fest
10th Annual Antique Radio Flea Market and Auction

Vintage TV, Amateur Radio, Audio & Phonograph (No Computers.)

Open to buyers from 8:30 am – 12:00 noon
-Entrance fee $5.00 
Check-in for auction items 9:00 am to 11:00 am
Auction to begin at 12:00 noon
Auctioneer: Richard Estes-www.estesAuctions.com
Raffle Prize—restored Atwater-Kent 206
Featured: Contest – Atwater-Kent radios

Center Stage Banquet Hall

1495 Old Brodhead Rd, Monaca, Pa 15061 

  • I-376 “Beaver Valley Expressway, Exit 39, Route 18 North (13 miles North of Greater Pittsburgh Airport)
  • Near the border of Pennsylvania & Ohio
  • Near the Beaver Valley Mall, food and lodging close by
  • Look for  TSRF signs leading the way

Sponsored by: 

Pittsburgh Antique Radio Society (PARS) 

The Buckeye Antique Radio and Phonograph Club  (BARPC)

For more detailed information, Visit :  www.PittAntiqueRadios.org or call :

Chris Wells          724-942-1113
Andy Manko        412-884-6194
Tom Dixon            412-343-5326

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The QCARC 443.85 Repeater Is Now Dual Mode, Analog/Digital

system-fusionAs of approximately 2:00 PM, 4/8/2015 the analog only UHF repeater was replaced with a Yaesu System Fusion Analog/Digital repeater. This is the same type repeater as used for the 147.315 repeater.

You can still communicate as you have in the past, you will not have to buy a new radio, your radio will not be obsolete. The main difference is that at various times you may hear a noise similar to buzzing or a static like noise, this is likely a digital conversation. The digital conversation noise can be eliminated by setting up your radio’s receiver with a tone squelch of 173.8 Hz. The digital side of the repeater does not transmit the 173.8 Hz tone, therefore your radio will stay quiet until another analog FM radio transmission is received by the repeater. If you want to use the repeater, just talk as you have in the past. The repeater has the capability to automatically detect what type of signal it is receiving and switch to the proper mode to enable you to talk to anyone whether they have a digital radio or the traditional analog FM. Also if you happen to hear or know there is a digital conversation on the repeater you can join the conversation just as you have in the past. When the repeater “hears” your analog FM signal it will switch to your mode and the folks who are using the digital mode will be switched to your analog FM mode. Everyone on the repeater will be able to talk, all automatically!
If you need help setting up your radio with tone squelch, check with one of the officers in the Club, they will be able to direct you to the right ham to help you.

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Website Update

QCARC-WebsiteI did some very much-needed maintenance on this website today. All necessary software updates were completed, configured and debugged. One or two small issues remain, but I think you will all enjoy the improvements!

Please visit the poll section on the left often to make your voice heard. Polls are once again working and will be changed weekly. you can click the link at the bottom of the poll box to see the results or participate in past polls. Have fun!

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