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[#] Wed Sep 17 2014 20:19:53 EDT from Sig @ Uncensored

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Proprietary digital modes can die in a car fire. I really enjoyed Bruce Perens' rant about digital voice at last year's TAPR conference, and I hope that goes somewhere. Wrote about it hither: http://sigspace.wordpress.com/2013/09/23/tapr-dcc-digital-voice-yaesu-and-bruc e-perens/

[#] Thu Sep 18 2014 00:46:22 EDT from ax25 @ Uncensored

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I agree with you sig.  The prorietary nature of the "voice codec" - that is not a part of the digital data mode can die in a car fire.  I hate voice modes myself and stick to mostly digital.  I am saving up for the next wave of software defined radios to play with as it is just getting interesting in the last year or two.



[#] Thu Sep 18 2014 00:52:32 EDT from ax25 @ Uncensored

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vince-q,

Yes and no.  The DD mode of D-Star is standardized, but the voice codec is proprietary.   Other hams have implemented the data side just fine.



[#] Thu Sep 18 2014 04:31:02 EDT from vince-q @ Cascade Lodge BBS

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On both six and two meter, I'll stick with the digital mode that I've come to find as absolutely the best for real weak-sig and contest work: CW

[#] Thu Sep 25 2014 18:26:07 EDT from Animal @ Uncensored

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http://mule.smugmug.com/Work/i-49kVJ7P/0/L/USRP2920-L.jpg :)
New toy at work. Recording GPS signals. :evilgrin

[#] Thu Sep 25 2014 19:38:41 EDT from vince-q @ Uncensored

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I still contend that copying 10w CW beacons on two meters is more fun. And when one of those beacons is 430 miles from the Mountain, the fun becomes even greater!

[#] Fri Sep 26 2014 01:37:27 EDT from ax25 @ Uncensored

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Animal, I did not know you "has the bug".  Sweet looking SDR, but at the price break for quantity (5) minimum, I think I will pass and stay with the RTL-SDR line.  Fragile yes, but at $10-$20 per system, I can burn through a few...  Not the same range, but has enough to have fun with (especially with folks much smarter than me hacking at the cheap devices to overcome the limitations).  Still fun at FM -> 1 GHz  (or so).  Please post if you find / or know of some mid range alternatives as I want to play a bit more with this stuff!

781906-01 NI USRP-2920, 50 MHz to 2.2 GHz Software Radio Bundle 5 - 10 $ 2,746.00

 



[#] Fri Sep 26 2014 01:39:47 EDT from ax25 @ Uncensored

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vince-q, it would be even more fun with SDR, as you could see all the beacons at once and watch them fade in and out in real time.  I do understand the fun of scanning as a former and occasional swl'er, but looking at the whole spectrum in a waterfall display all at once is a bit of fun as well.



[#] Fri Sep 26 2014 02:32:56 EDT from vince-q @ Cascade Lodge BBS

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Most of the fun and challenge of weak-signal VHF work is using the ears on your head to do the work.
Today's software/hardware "enhancements" do absolutely NOTHING to improve the abilities and talents of the license holder. They make things easier, to be sure. And in that, they *fail* amateur radio just as the internet has *failed* amateur radio.

[#] Fri Sep 26 2014 09:14:42 EDT from ax25 @ Uncensored

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Damn kids these days :-)



[#] Fri Sep 26 2014 12:25:09 EDT from vince-q @ Cascade Lodge BBS

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Sep 26 2014 6:14am from ax25 @uncnsrd (Uncensored)
Damn kids these days :-)


Actually, the concept of "internet not helping ham radio" has little to do with day-to-day ham operations and lots to do with getting young people interested in amateur radio as "something they should want to do."

"You can talk to people all over the world!"
...but my cell phone already does that.
OR
...but internet chats and instant messaging and Facebook already does that.

You no longer get "Wow! I want to do that!" as the answer. Maybe rarely, but "back when I was teaching" it was an overwhelming response. No longer. In fact the "no longer" thing was starting to hit during the last five years of my teaching career (which ended with retirement in June 2001).

The internet has done to ham radio interest amongst our teens what DSL and other broadband internet technologies have done to the dialup BBS. And unless something can be done to reverse this, soon, ham radio will die off forever once folks like me are all gone. Give it twenty, thirty, forty (at the most) years. Gone. A fond antique memory of days gone past. Like the spark gap radios on the Titanic. Requiem aeternam...

--K2NE

[#] Fri Sep 26 2014 12:41:34 EDT from vince-q @ Cascade Lodge BBS

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And yet there is still interest in ham radio and new people entering the hobby every day. But it's the age of the newcomers - 40 and up.

For that I "blame" (credit?) the "prepper movement."

And there's more than a small bit of validity to that.

Without getting political, we live in a very troubled society. There is no longer the confidence, here in the United States, that our Way Of Life has permanence, or even a long-term sustainability.

That which once seemed permanent is being increasingly viewed as fleeting.

As Goethe once put it:
"Alles vergaengliche ist nur ein Gleichnis." [Faust II, Final Scene]

And as pessimistic as all this may seem at first glance, in the case of Amateur Radio, therein may lie our salvation.

Those post-apocalyptic wilderness "off grid" retreats do not come with telephones, or cellphones, or internet access. For even if those amenities exist now, the Prepper operates under the assumption that in the New Way Of Life, they won't be there. But ham radio gear, and ham radio techniques, and the physical "stuff" needed to support those - they *will* exist. Between solar power, wind power, and other ingenious ways of getting ham gear running without a power company the need will be there.

In that Mad Max world, the one thing you *won't* need is a ham license. Just the gear, the knowledge required to get it running and keep it running, rudimentary (or better) knowledge of antennas and how to "make an antenna out of almost nothing store-bought," and so on.

The way I put it at a recent club meeting, "imagine that every day is Field Day and that you won't ever have to renew your license!"

In the final analysis, it just may represent our best motivation toward growth and survival.

Now ain't *that* just "something else" !!!

--K2NE

[#] Mon Sep 29 2014 00:43:13 EDT from Sig @ Uncensored

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And yet without the internet, I wouldn't have ever gotten into it. Still wouldn't know much of anything about it; I don't know a single "real" ham operator, but have learned from a lot of them via blog posts and YouTube videos.


[#] Mon Sep 29 2014 02:27:24 EDT from vince-q @ Cascade Lodge BBS

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Sep 28 2014 9:43pm from Sig @uncnsrd (Uncensored)
And yet without the internet, I wouldn't have ever gotten into it.
Still wouldn't know much of anything about it; I don't know a single
"real" ham operator, but have learned from a lot of them via blog posts

and YouTube videos.




So go meet hams.
Find a local amateur radio club. Go to a meeting. Introduce yourself.

You may even enjoy it!

[#] Thu Oct 02 2014 03:05:46 EDT from vince-q @ Cascade Lodge BBS

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Well, the first horizontal (SSB/CW) antenna for 2 meters is up in the air.

And working.
Quite well, thank you very much!!

From here, I am copying the 40w CW beacon on Tehachapi Mountain all the time. Before, on the temporary antenna, it was very much hit or miss.

For you east coast folk, that's like copying a 40 w beacon in Charleston SC from Philadelphia.

The difference out here is that I have this Mountain.... ;)

On Sunday afternoon we just might hang trigonal reflectors on the antenna (currently a 10-el Yagi on a, roughly, 13 ft boom). That should add about another 2.5 to 3 db of forward gain and an almost "infinite" front to back ratio.

Next project is "beefing up" the vertically polarized 2m antenna. A trigonal reflector pair should to the trick there, as well.

Once this stuff is all done, and the inevitable bugs found and fixed, we'll be on to the six meter antenna systems.

Now *that* will be a story!

[#] Mon Oct 06 2014 13:36:29 EDT from Sig @ Uncensored

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So go meet hams.
Find a local amateur radio club. Go to a meeting. Introduce yourself.


You may even enjoy it!


I'm not sure why that would be inherently a more valid way to spread knowledge.

The main advantage to YouTube/blogs/etc. is that they are asynchronous. None of the local clubs meet at times that I can attend.

[#] Mon Oct 06 2014 13:58:56 EDT from vince-q @ Cascade Lodge BBS

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The main advantage to YouTube/blogs/etc. is that they are
asynchronous. None of the local clubs meet at times that I can attend.



That is a very valid reason for using the online resources, of which they are many and mostly very good.

You really should work on finding a local ham or three. There will come the day when you want to do something related to antennas that absolutely requires "assistance on site" and it really helps to have that helper be someone who knows the difference between a driven element and a soldering gun!

And it also helps to know people who are experienced in assembling, erecting, and ***climbing*** towers. If it is even a remote possibility that there is a "tower in your future" find a climber - yesterday!

[#] Tue Oct 07 2014 20:32:33 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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You really should work on finding a local ham or three. There will

...or better yet, find one within radio distance and talk to them! :)

So anyway, what's the origin of the word "ham" in the context of describing amateur radio operators?

[#] Tue Oct 07 2014 21:35:23 EDT from vince-q @ Cascade Lodge BBS

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Oct 7 2014 5:32pm from IGnatius T Foobar @uncnsrd (Uncensored)
You really should work on finding a local ham or three. There will



...or better yet, find one within radio distance and talk to them! :)



So anyway, what's the origin of the word "ham" in the context of

describing amateur radio operators?



1. depending on the band you're using, "radio distance" can be anything from across the street to halfway 'round the planet. :-) But that wasn't the point - the ham friend is for helping with antenna projects, towers, etc. Hard to do that over the radio, and until we actually invent the transporter...


2. the origin of "ham" has been the subject of discussion and debate now for almost a century. The bottom line on this: nobody knows!

On a slightly different note, all the gear has been moved from what was the "HF shack" into the office here in the house. This required a major "move around" of the mountains of clutter, books, and other assorted "stuff" that just materializes over the years.

That took most of yesterday.

Then we moved a table into the room, set up the 2 meter stuff, and made sure all was working.

Today I moved the HF/50Mhz rig, the memory keyer, and a couple of power supplies into the room, set everything in its place, and now have a compact, easy to use, and actually rather nice looking ham shack that should double quite nicely as a contest station, at least for starters.

Something keeps telling me that we will be back in the other building with some of this stuff, at least for contest weekends. There's simply no real room in here for a pair of kilowatt amplifiers (1 for six meters, the other for two meters). But in this day and age of "solid state" small-sized stuff, who knows?

The old original six meter amp (we called it the "Six Appeal II") was about 2 ft square and just under 4 feet tall - a pair of 3-500Z tubes in grounded grid with 3,500 volts on the plates - the power supply was in the bottom of the case, the RF deck at the top, relays on the back, etc. A real monster. But it REALLY did the job!!

Two meters was very similar.

The pair took up a *lot* of space back in the Chatsworth NJ shack (and also helped heat that end of the house during the January VHF Sweepstakes contest!).

While I wouldn't mind using power amplifiers to heat the house in January, space is at a premium in the office, and it just won't work.

We shall see...

--K2NE

[#] Sat Oct 11 2014 02:36:12 EDT from vince-q @ Cascade Lodge BBS

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For updated events here on th Mountain, visit the web page(s):

http://www.netk2ne.net/contestbio.html

--K2NE

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