TARC swap meet haul

The Trident Amateur Radio Club has a small swap meet/tail gate every year that usually has a handful of people with stuff to sell. It’s not huge, but it’s a nice little gathering and an opportunity to meet up with other hams that I don’t get to see often.

This year’s tail gate gathering was this morning. I usually go more for the hanging out aspect than to find  stuff to bring home, but this year I managed to find a few things to bring home with me.

One of the older hams was giving away a bunch of his older amateur radio books, and being a sucker for old vintage books, managed to get a few of them. A 1979 ARRL handbook, an old ARRL antenna book (from 1958 or so I think), an ARRL Radio Fundamentals book from 1972  and a 1959 Rapid Radio Repair book were the ones I grabbed.

He also had an old US Navy AN/URM-26B signal generator in a big heavy duty looking case that still worked (according to the sticky note he put on it anyway), so I bought that from him too. $10 for what looks like a neat piece of equipment (even if it doesn’t work) seemed like a pretty good deal. I’ll wait to check it out once we’re settled in the new house.

The last couple of items I grabbed were off Tom/W4DAX’s table, an MFJ SWR/watt meter and a dead power supply that he didn’t have time to fix up. The SWR meter will be useful in the shack, and the power supply will be a nice project to work on once I get the bench back in operation.

MFJ-815C SWR/Watt meter
MFJ-815C SWR/Watt meter
Dead power supply
Dead power supply

Another Si5351A board

A few days ago, Jason/NT7S announced the Etherkit Si5351A breakout board was getting an upgraded TCXO oscillator with improved performance. I’ve already got a few of them waiting for me to put to work, so why not add another one.

Unlike the previous boards I bought (from the crowdfunding campaign), the latest versions now come fully assembled except for the header pins. If the thought of soldering tiny surface mount devices was keeping you from trying the breakout board, worry no more.

The 10 mW WSPR beacon app note looks pretty interesting, and I think it would be fun to try to get one set up once we’re in the new house. I’d love to see how far it could be heard.

We’ll hopefully be in the new house in a few more weeks. I’m looking forward to getting the shack and workshop set up again so I can get to playing.

Review: Emergency Power for Radio Communications

I added Emergency Power for Radio Communications (2ed) to the library a little while ago and with the move to the new house soon, thought it would be good to give it another read.

The book covers a wide range of options for lighting when power goes out, generating and storing power for your shack, instrumentation for monitoring and safety.

Generating power is covered by chapters on solar, gas generators, wind turbines and even a short blurb on hydroelectric generators. Chapters covering load sizing and battery systems are very informative. The battery chapter talks about several different types of batteries, with the bulk of the chapter covering the venerable lead acid battery. There are several examples of large battery banks and how to install and maintain them.

An appendix (one of three) collects a bunch of useful articles from past issues of QST, including projects, reviews and informational articles.

Most of the content is geared towards supplying supplying emergency and backup power for fixed installations, but the many of the ideas and concepts in the book can also be scaled down for mobile and portable stations as well or applied to powering anything electrical.

Overall, the book is pretty easy to read and contains a lot of good information that will come in handy. I learned quite a bit reading this book.

This would be a good addition to the bookshelf if you’re

  • looking for power ideas for portable/mobile ops
  • thinking about adding emergency/backup power to your shack
  • augmenting an existing emergency/backup power system
  • wanting to learn more about power systems in general

I’ll give this 5 stars out of 5.

Charleston area school radio clubs

There are two school radio clubs in the Charleston area that aim to encourage kids to get involved in amateur radio: Dubose Middle School (K4DMS) in Summerville and Palmetto Scholars Academy (K4PSA) in North Charleston. I know K4DMS has connections with CARS, and I think K4PSA might have connections with TARC.

I haven’t worked with either club, but I do hear bits and pieces of some of the activities they participate in, and I occasionally hear them active on the radio. I’ve heard about the clubs doing high altitude balloon launches and operating during the ARRL School Club Roundups.

It’s pretty cool that there are schools with radio clubs around here.

CQ WW 2015 log check

The log check for the 2015 CQ WW contest landed in my email a few days ago. Only one busted QSO due to NIL (Not In Log). Not bad, although 0 would be better. That brought me down to 108 contacts and a final score of 24119.

Looking forward to being back on the air in time for the next CQ WW.

************************** Summary ***************************

     109 Claimed QSO before checking (does not include duplicates)
     108 Final   QSO after  checking reductions

     280 Claimed QSO points
     271 Final   QSO points

      59 Claimed countries
      59 Final   countries

      30 Claimed zones
      30 Final   zones

      89 Claimed mults
      89 Final   mults

   24920 Claimed score
   24119 Final   score

    3.2% Score reduction
    0.9% Error Rate based on claimed and final qso counts
       0 (0.0%) calls copied incorrectly
       0 (0.0%) exchanges copied incorrectly
       1 (0.9%) not in log
       0 (0.0%) duplicates (Removed without penalty)
       0 (0.0%) calls unique to this log only (not removed)

********************** Results By Band ***********************

             Band   QSO  QPts  Zone Cty Mult

   Claimed   160M     0     0     0   0    0
   Final     160M     0     0     0   0    0

   Claimed    80M     0     0     0   0    0
   Final      80M     0     0     0   0    0

   Claimed    40M     1     3     1   1    2
   Final      40M     1     3     1   1    2

   Claimed    20M    24    59    13  17   30
   Final      20M    24    59    13  17   30

   Claimed    15M     0     0     0   0    0
   Final      15M     0     0     0   0    0

   Claimed    10M    84   218    16  41   57
   Final      10M    83   209    16  41   57

   Claimed    All   109   280    30  59   89  Score    24920
   Final      All   108   271    30  59   89  Score    24119

************************* Not In Log *************************

28532 PH 2015-10-24 2139 AB4UG            5 LT0H            13

*******************  Multipliers by band  ********************

160M multiplier total 0

80M multiplier total 0

40M multiplier total 2



20M multiplier total 30

CM    EI    FM    HC    HI    HK    HK0/a KG4   KL    OH    
P4    PJ4   PY    SM    TF    VE    YV    

  1  2  3  4  5  7  8  9 10 11 14 15 40

15M multiplier total 0

10M multiplier total 57

9A    CE    CN    CT    CT3   CX    D4    DL    EA    EA8   
F     FG    FJ    FM    FS    FY    HK    HK0/a HP    IT9   
JA    K     KP2   KP4   LU    OA    P4    PA    PJ2   PJ7   
PY    TI    V2    V4    VE    VK    VP2M  VP2V  XE    YN    

  3  4  6  7  8  9 10 11 12 13 14 15 25 30 33 35