From the Archives 2023...
November 17, 2023 - 7 PM
Start Enjoying Voice Contacts With FreeDV
Feeling wiped out after a few hours of listening to noisy static? Tired of finding space on crowded HF bands to talk with your friends? Have you felt that SSB or AM were out of reach because you couldn't put up the antenna or put out the power that you'd like? In this presentation, Mooneer Salem K6AQ talked about how to get started with FreeDV, a digital voice mode designed for HF that can help you finally start making and enjoying voice contacts on HF using the computer you're already using for digital modes.
Mooneer Salem (K6AQ) has been a ham since the early 2000s. Mooneer is a software engineer by trade specializing in medical devices and has helped develop and maintain the FreeDV project since 2020. He has contributed code to and developed several other open-source projects, including a Web based magnetic loop controller and to Winlink. When not developing software, Mooneer typically monitors 14.236 MHz for FreeDV traffic or other digital modes such as FT8 or JS8Call.
October Membership Meeting
October 20, 2023 - 7 PM
LoRa is a sophisticated low-power/long-range digital modulation technology originally designed for industrial and agricultural use. If you have a gas or water meter that is read remotely you probably already have a LoRa radio in your house! In this presentation, Bruce MacKinnon (KC1FSZ) provided an overview of LoRa technology and described an innovative project that leverages low-cost LoRa digital radios, operating on 33cm in solar-powered birdhouses, to create a functional digital mesh network across his town in Wellesley, MA.
This project was featured in a Hackaday article for those who want to learn more: https://hackaday.com/2022/04/09/lora-powered-birdhouses-enable-wireless-networking-when-the-internets-down/
Bruce MacKinnon (KC1FSZ) holds an Extra Class Amateur license, a General Radio Telephone Operators license, and a Ship RADAR Endorsement. He is an experienced software developer, an avid radio homebrewer, and a frequent speaker at club and ARRL events. Bruce has written technical articles in various radio publications and has published a successful study guide for the FCC RADAR exam. Bruce is a board member of the Wellesley Amateur Radio Society (W1TKZ) in Massachusetts.
September OVARC Membership Meeting
Portable ham radio, how to take the hobby outside
Now that you know all there is to know about POTA & SOTA from last month’s meeting, let’s talk about how to actually take the hobby outside and operate portable ham radio. Our guest presenter this month was Joe Domaleski, KI4ASK. Joe gave a presentation about portable radio operations. He covered the following topics with some real world examples:
How not to operate portable ham radio • What is the difference between mobile and portable ham radio? • Why is portable ham radio so much fun? • Why is portable ham radio an important skill? • Planning your portable mission • Getting to your portable operating location • Portable radios & power • Portable antennas • Developing your RF awareness
Joe Domaleski holds an Extra Class Amateur Radio license as KI4ASK, his original callsign. Licensed for over twenty years, he’s had an interest in radio that goes back another twenty years. He believes that radio sounds better outside in the same way that food tastes better cooked outside over an open fire.
Joe is a Past President of the Fayette County (Georgia) Amateur Radio Club and currently serves as the Assistant Section Manager for the ARRL Georgia Section. He believes it’s important to promote the hobby and serves as a Volunteer Examiner with the ARRL. He’s also the Public Information Officer for Georgia AuxComm, which provides volunteer auxiliary communications for Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security. Joe has extensive training in ICS and is COML, COMT, and AUXC certified.
Joe has been married to Mary Catherine, KI4HHI, for 29 years. Together, they enjoy operating outside with SOTA, POTA, amateur radio satellites, and fox hunting. In 2020 they were featured on the cover of CQ Amateur Radio magazine together. Joe and Mary Catherine have three grown children and reside in Atlanta, Georgia. Joe is a proud Army veteran.
AUGUST 2023 OVARC Membership Meeting
PRESENTER: Anthony Schlecht – KG7YTR
Many parts of our amateur radio hobby are “On The Air” activities. For instance, SOTA, POTA, IOTA, VOTA, WLOTA and probably others. These “On The Air” activities are a great way to get outdoors and enjoy ham radio at the same time. It's also a great way to collaborate with other amateur radio operators when it comes to equipment selection, antennas and destinations.
Anthony Schlecht – KG7YTR, came to us in August with a live presentation on his SOTA & POTA experiences. Anthony has done both many times and gave us some great instruction on how to prepare and enjoy a SOTA/POTA activity.
JULY 2023 MEETING PRESENTATION:
Winlink: What, How, and Why
Presenter: Greg Butler, KW6GB
We enjoyed an overview of the Winlink system. Worldwide email via radio can keep you in contact with friends or family, whether they are across town or in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on their yacht. With common hardware, most of which you probably already own, and easy to acquire software, you can be sending email via amateur radio in short order. A live demonstration was included.
ABOUT OUR PRESENTER:
Greg is a former resident of the southern California desert. While working for the Building & Safety Department of the City of La Quinta, near Palm Springs – coincidentally also very near the southern San Andreas Fault – his graduate studies in Emergency and Disaster Management alerted him to the need to return to the hobby of amateur radio for his own personal preparedness, after a decades-long hiatus. He found in Winlink a resilient means of communication outside of the disaster zone in the event of California’s long-anticipated “Big One” earthquake.
Upon retiring in 2014, Greg relocated to Virginia’s northern Shenandoah Valley, 65 miles west of the Washington Monument. He now spends most of his time volunteering with the Warren County Office of Emergency Services, where he can combine his interest in amateur radio with community emergency preparedness.
Greg has orchestrated supplemental communications capabilities between the county Emergency Operations Center, Police headquarters, the local hospital, predesignated disaster shelters, and even fire and rescue apparatus. He was also instrumental in developing UHF/VHF/HF voice and data communications among a dozen hospital facilities in northwestern Virginia, for which Winlink is a key component.
ARRL FIELD DAY 2023
Saturday, 24 June 2023, 11:00 to
Sunday, 25 June 2023, 13:59
Click HERE for information from the ARRL about Field Day 2023
OVARC used the Oro Valley Police Department's Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at the Oro Valley Marketplace. The EOC is air-conditioned and comfortable; a great place to have fun in the heat of summer. A map to the EOC is included in a link below. On the map, the EOC is labeled
"Oro Valley PD Substation".
Operating time was on Saturday, June 24th from 11:00 am to 11:00 pm.
We had 2 stations setup. One was an Elecraft K3, and the other a brand new Yaesu FTDX10. This allowed us to run on 2 bands simultaneously. Both stations were equipped for voice, CW, and WSJT-X. (RTTY/PSK31.
JUNE MEETING PRESENTATION:
FCC Compliance - New Human RF Exposure Rules
Our June 16th Meeting featured an in-person presentation by fellow OVARC member Carl, KB7AZ
New FCC rules require that every amateur radio station must evaluate human exposure to RF transmissions by May 3, 2023. Carl, KB7AZ, presented a method for complying with the updated requirements. The evaluation process has recently been simplified, and Carl's presentation showed how to perform the required evaluation and be compliant with the current FCC rules. The evaluation is not required to be submitted, but it must be available for review if asked.
In addition to being a club member, Carl is also the ARRL Arizona Section Technical Coordinator.
MAY MEETING PRESENTATION:
FCC ULS system
Our May 19th Meeting featured an in-person presentation by fellow OVARC member Joe Silvasi-KC2J
The FCC Universal Licensing System (ULS) - How to exploit it for your club’s benefit!
All hams - new and old timers alike - get an opportunity to use the Universal Licensing System or ULS. It's required! If you are a new ham you will need to get an FRN and make application for your initial license grant. If you've had your license for some time and need to renew or change your address, this is the place to take care of all that business. But what most hams don’t know is that like many other "federal databases", the general public has access to most of these data assets. You can download the data directly from the FCC and slice and dice it just about any way your little heart desires.
Wanna find out how many extra class licensees are in your zip code? ULS data to the rescue. Wanna find out how many hams died last year by license class? ULS data to the rescue. Wanna find out how many "technician" class licensees are still on the rolls? Yep - ULS data to the rescue. But wait, it's not all peaches and cream - you still have to figure out how to actually use the data because the answers to these and other questions don’t just jump out at you. This short presentation showed some of the techniques used over the years by some Hams to exploit FREE government data from the FCC, FAA, National Flight Data Center (NFDC), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and others.
APRIL MEETING PRESENTATION:
All About APRS (Automatic Packet Reporting System)
by Marnee Dearman - KG7SIO
Do you know what APRS is and what it can do?
Marnee presented the basics of APRS, its uses, and the equipment required to get started. She discussed the various types of data that can be transmitted via APRS, such as GPS coordinates, weather data, messages, and how this data can be displayed on maps or other visualization tools. The presentation was geared towards beginners, and included examples of how APRS has been used in emergency situations, public events, and other applications. This was a great opportunity for hams to learn more about this powerful technology and how it can enhance their amateur radio experience.
About our Speaker...
Marnee Dearman - KG7SIO is a passionate ham radio enthusiast with a particular interest in Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS). She has been involved in the ham radio community since 2015 and has made numerous contributions to the field of APRS, including developing new software and sharing her knowledge through presentations and articles. She is also an active member of her local ham radio club, where she enjoys mentoring new hams and participating in operating events.
MARCH 2023 MEETING PRESENTATION:
Presented by Eric Webner K4FAN
This presentation was an overview of antennas commonly used in amateur practice across frequency bands from 160 meters to UHF, including ham antennas for portable, base and mobile use. This was geared towards the new ham, but useful to all hams. Primarily, he answered the (BIG) question of, “Now that I’ve got my license and I bought this Super Whiz-Bang radio, how do I get this thing on the air?
Well, it depends on a lot of things. Hopefully, you took some of the things he taught and came up with some ideas to set up the best antennae (yes, that’s the plural of ‘antenna’) for your hamshack, whether it is at home, in your car or at a portable location. Since this was very basic, he did not dive into the mathematics, transmission line theory, grounding nor construction techniques (wait for Antennas 102).
73, Eric Webner K4FAN
FEBRUARY 27, 2023
VarAC - HF and VHF P2P real-time chatting application
DO YOU SEND TEXT MESSAGES WITH YOUR PHONE? . . . HOW ABOUT TEXTING OVER AMATEUR RADIO? . . . HAVE YOU TRIED THAT YET?
VarAC is a FREE, modern HF and VHF P2P real-time chatting application for the amateur radio operator that leverages the glorious VARA modem. Like phone texts, you can send emoji’s, pictures, images and other message formats. You can also “ping” other stations for signal reports.
Join us on February 17, 2023 for an in-person presentation that will describe all that is necessary to use this interesting protocol.
Our presenter is Walt-AL7KE, a long-time member of OVARC. He has been so helpful to the club and to many members that have reached out for some assistance.
January 20, 2023
Radio Amateur's guide to Space Weather
What is space weather? Why do I care? What are Ap, Kp, F10.7, and X1? Answers to these and other questions were addressed by amateur radio operator and space scientist, Rob Steenburgh (ADØIU).
Rob has been a licensed radio amateur since 1980 (KA8JBY until 2014). He is currently the acting lead of the Space Weather Prediction Center's (SWPCs) Forecast Office and has been associated with the organization since 2007. In addition to SWPC, Rob has worked for the United States Air Force (23 years) and NASA. He was the Radiation Mission Manager for one of the last flights of the space shuttle, STS-130. He enjoys QRP operating, home-brewing, and repairing radios.
To download a PDF from Rob's presentation, click HERE.
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