A couple of hamfest forum presentations

I’ve been roped into filling in one of the time slots for the forum presentations at the Charleston Hamfest coming up in a couple weeks.

Rather than doing one long presentation, I decided to do two shorter presentations. One of them will be pretty easy to do, the other one I’ll have to research and make up as I go along.

This will be the first time I’ve done a hamfest forum presentation, but not the first talk I’ve done. It’s been a while though.

Also on the list for presentations at the hamfest are ARRL SC Section Manager Mark Tarplee, N4UFP, ARRL Roanoake Division Director Dr. Jim Boehner, N2ZZ, and ARRL CEO Tom Gallagher, NY2RF.

WA4USN QSL cards

One of the club‘s older members was clearing out some old stuff and offered up a stack of WA4USN QSL cards to anybody who wanted them, so I grabbed a couple of them.

Years ago he had been given a stack of postcards and information cards by the USS Yorktown Association, so he turned them into QSL cards.

One card features a drawing of the USS Yorktown from before it was modified to enclose the bow portion of the ship. The reverse side lists some interesting statistics about the Yorktown during WW II.

The other card (formerly a USS Yorktown Association “Pay your dues” reminder postcard) has a Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat on the flight deck of the Yorktown, in front of the island.

While they aren’t old cards, I think they are a nice use of some cards that probably would have ended up in the dumpster.

Battery box idea

I’ve got four SLA batteries that came out of my APC UPSs when I replaced the batteries with fresh ones. There were five, but one of the batteries turned out to be dead dead.

They work quite nicely as power supplies for the radio, and I’ve made up wiring harnesses that let me use one or two of them to run the radio on. They work pretty well and give me a couple hours of radio time at full power output (100W) at around a 20-25% duty cycle.

We’ve got some nesting wooden boxes that look kind of like pirate treasure boxes that aren’t doing anything at the moment except taking up space. They used to belong to Connie’s mother, probably a good find at a yard sale. I thought they’d come in handy for some project eventually.

Small pirate treasure box
Small pirate treasure box

Then I think to myself: “Self, how about putting the batteries in them?”

“Capital idea old chap. Let’s try it out”

As it turns out, the smallest box is just big enough to hold all four of them.

Batteries in the small box
Batteries in the small box

Five batteries will fit in the medium sized box with a little bit of room around them.

Batteries in the medium box
Batteries in the medium box

The medium sized box gives enough head room to make some holes to run wiring and Powerpole connectors through the side of the box, and maybe some digital voltage/current meters. It’s pretty hefty though, coming in at 13.2 kg (29 lbs). A fifth battery in the box would add another 2.5 kg to that. A fair bit to lug around, but this would be intended for setting up portable but not mobile operations somewhere like the back yard, or a field somewhere.

This should be a good weekend project to work on one of these days.

2017 ARRL Auction time

Bidding for the 2017 ARRL Auction opened up yesterday. Didn’t see anything that made me go “I NEED THIS“, but there were still a few items that I thought were interesting enough to put bids on.

Seems like there’s a fair bit of bidding activity going on in the auction already after just a day. The ARRL Mystery Junque boxes are back (only 4 of them this year). One of them is already up to $155. Hope it’s got something good in it.

So far, the items I’ve decided to chase are a copy of Introduction to RF Design, a reproduction 1st edition ARRL handbook, and one of the Vibroplex keys. Nice things to add to the bookshelf and collection, but nothing that I’ll be disappointed over if I don’t win.

I always enjoy watching the activity in the ARRL auction. It’s interesting to see what items end up going for.

Approved for 630 m and 2200 m

Got an email yesterday clearing me for operating on the new US 630 m and 2200 m bands.

Dear Eugene Mah (AB4UG),

This notice is being provided to Approve your proposed amateur radio station in the 135.7 – 137.8 | 472.0 – 479.0 band(s) at the following coordinates:  XXXXXXXXXXXXX.   UTC has determined that your proposed amateur radio station would not operate within a horizontal distance of one kilometer from a transmission line that conducts a power line carrier (PLC) signal in the 135.7 – 137.8 | 472.0 – 479.0 bands.

An amateur operator must not operate an amateur station if UTC responds that the proposed amateur station is located within 1 km of a transmission line with a PLC system that operates on the same frequency or frequency range.  Amateur operators are advised that their operations within 1 km of a PLC system could cause interference to PLC systems that are used by electric utilities to protect their electric transmission systems against faults and electrical outages.  Interference from amateur operations could affect the operation of PLC systems, thereby affecting the reliability of electric utility operations.  As such, amateur operators are advised not to operate any amateur stations within 1 km of a transmission line with a PLC system that operates on the same frequency or frequency range, and amateur operators will be subject to FCC enforcement for unauthorized operations, as well as potential legal liability for damages that result from interference caused by amateur operations to PLC systems.

Still need to learn about how to get on the new bands.