Welcome to the first episode of shacktime. We have recieved a lot of interest in how to get started in ham radio. So I thought, why not talk about a different piece of gear every so often and help people get started. There is some gear that you should borrow form other people (or just have them come over and help) and there is some gear that you should buy. Power supplies are really one of the items that you should own on your own.
When you first get started in ham radio, you really aren't going to be pushing the legal power limit on any bands. I think it's safe to start with the assumption that you will be running a 100W station (or 50/35W on VHF/UHF respectively). You also have to think about electrical safety as well. Always make sure your antenna is away from power lines and properly grounded to your house/station. And it is always a good idea to unplug and disconnect everything when they are not in use. It seems like every year i hear about people losing radio equipment and computers to lightening. Remember, lightning an sneak up your phone/cable lines and through your ethernet switches. So make sure to disconnect those too.
We talk about automobiles and radios being 12V power. However the automobile's electrical system actually runs at 13.8V when the engine and alternator are running. Most power supplies will put out power at this Voltage. But are you sure that you only want power for a radio?
This is one of the many power supplies I own.
QEX is a bimonthly publication of advanced radio knowledge. (Quite honestly a lot of it is over my head).
http://edition.pagesuite-professional.co.uk/Launch.aspx?PBID=1025e13a-735b-4a99-8b09-149c006f5765 You would need to login with your ARRL credentials. I know the link is different, but it is legit. Just in case you are still skeptical, you can get there from this page as well. http://www.arrl.org/arrl-magazines
However, they have launched some university level Electrical Engineering essays to help increase knowledge for anyone interested. QEX will now be available as part of your ARRL subscription.
Essay 1: Introduction to QEX: The ARRL experimenters' Exchange
Essay 2: Setting up your home electrical engineering lab
Essay 3: EE math the easy way
Essay 4: Ohm's Law - Do you REALLY believe it?
Essay 5: Simultaneous Equations
Essay 6: Kirchoff's Voltage Law (KVL)
Essay 7: Kirchoff's Current Law (KCL)
Essay 8: The Maximum Power Transfer Theorem
Essay 9: Energy Storage and Recovery
Essay 10: Mechanics of Waves
Essay 11: Filters
Essay 12: Impendence Matching (Is that like a fashion thing? Does this toroid go with my feed line? I wanted to go with red, but they only had black left)
Essay 13: Introduction to Active Devices
Essay 14: Free Electrons and Plasmas
Essay 15: Introduction to Digital Techniques
Essay 16: Contrasting Combinational Logic and Sequential Logic
Essay 17: Digital Signal Processing
Summary and Wrap - Up
This will be produced by Eric P. Nichols, KL7AJ, a two-time recipient of the William Orr, W6SAI Technical Writing Award. He has written numerous articles for QST and QEX magazine as well as four ARRL books, the latest being "Receiving Antennas for the Radio Amateur." Eric's latest focus is on encouraging experimentation on our two new LF bands on 2200 meters and 30 meters, heroically attempting to make up for lost time in catching up with our LF brethren across the pond.
I had written a very nice and heartfelt post. And wouldn't you know it? The Second I click save, the web program logged me out and lost my message. Go figure right? I promise this one won't be as good as the one lost in the ether.
I just spent a large amount of time trying to clear a backlog of messages in the contact us email box. You might have gotten a duplicate reply, however- and more likely, you didn't get any reply at all. And for that I am sorry.
I tried to come up with a reasonable compromise for working through messages that may have been replied to already, but still left in the mailbox and for messages that likely that had never been acknowledged or replied. Some messages that absolutely deserved a reply, no matter how old the message, they were answered/replied. For the others, I tried to reply to items that were actionable and still-somewhat time relevant. If you didn't get a reply, I hope you will forgive me and can understand.
The Atlanta Radio Club is a volunteer organization. It is made up of Leaders and also members. If you are interested in the club doing something and we aren't doing it, please let us know. If you feel really passionately about it, please volunteer! It is always easier to have things get done when multiple people are willing to help.
And remember, not all of us are computer or information technology people. Some of us are just plain crazy... I mean counselors/psychologists. (Not me, but some of us- and they are interesting to talk with as well, I am playfully teasing W4CLR if by some odd chance he makes it to the blog.) Anyway, I am using humor to try to make a point. It takes time and energy to run a club. And that time isn't usually easy coming highly productive fun flowing energy. It's "Free Time". Honestly I don't even know what free time is anymore, it's whatever time I can scrape together after Work, Family, Chores, etc. I imagine it's the same for other members of the club, they are just way nicer and more professional than me to actually say anything.
I have seen several people recently get their ticket (Ham License) and submit applications to the club. Welcome to the club! Make sure to let us know what you want to see, so we can make the club a fun place for everyone!
Some Resources to maybe help you get started.
I think for me the number 1 barrier most people face, is an actual radio. However an antenna is a very important part of the radio station that we tend to forget about. For most people I recommend you start out with a mobile station (anything from 20w - 50w) for a vehicle. You don't actually have to have it in your vehicle, but it makes a decent place to start. Throw on a mag mount, fish the power wire from your battery through the little "plastic grommet" in your car door, and you have an easy, non-permanent entryway to your vehicle. Remember to come up from the bottom and leave a little "loop" or curve so any water drips down from the wire into the door jam. And not down the wires into your car.
Being a metropolitan club a fair number of us live in apartments. Or Condos/Home Owners Associations. (Talk about a royal pain.). And that means antennas are a large challenge. We have had plenty of operators work VHF/UHF from their house with a mag mount on a filing cabinet or even a baking sheet. (I do not recommend putting a mag mount on a microwave, I don't have any proof of that, but I think you don't want competing magnets at work there).
I bought one of these antennas and used it at an apartment, absolutely loved it. KB9VBR. https://www.jpole-antenna.com/shop/2-meter-slim-jim-antenna/
For HF, trees are your friend. Being in Atlanta, i have been spoiled and can just run down to see Marky Mark and the hammy bunch at Ham Radio Outlet and just buy an antenna. I tend to go with the radiowaves, but i don't know if they are still made or not. Here is a good link on how to make a dipole Antenna.
I am trying to upgrade my ham radio craft a little bit. I found some instructions for making an end fed half wave multi-band antenna. Basically you just run a BIG wire and you have a really heavily wound toriod to allow it to be resonant on multiple frequencies. I am attempting to go this route because I am trying to sneak in an HF antenna into my neighborhood without getting caught.
Instructions for a End Fed Antenna I am attempting to use.
I think the hardest thing to come by is where to buy a toriod. I am waiting for mine to arrive from torroid king. https://www.kitsandparts.com/ I don't think you want to go through all the work to buy some random unknown/untested/unverified toroids.
If you are interested in more details, someone posted a link to this book in a public electronics forum. http://seklad69associates.com/seklad69associates.com/EEG_808_and_815_files/Antenna%20Engineering%20Handbook.pdf I am not posting it directly to the radio clubs site, so you can technically find it through your own googlition.
Also the RSGB has a book on stealth antennas, I highly encourage you to check it out if you are wanting to get on HF (High frequency). This will be mostly geared to people with general or extra class licenses.
http://www.rsgbshop.org/acatalog/Online_Catalogue_Antennas_37.html (have to scroll down, sorry no direct link.)
After you get the radio and antenna setup. Then we normally like to standardize power connectors. ARES like to use the anderson powerpole connectors. Available online at powerwerx.com or ham radio outlet.
Wow, our blog site is so empty. So I have decided to start posting some things and try to generate some content for anyone interested in ham radio or technology. We aren't limited to technology or electronics, they are just a means to communicate with people locally or all over the world. Or with the upgrades to the International Space Station, even people in space. No word if Elon Musk is planning a Ham Radio Club on Mars. (For the HI-SEAS experiment they used a high latency simulation to provide mars-like communication experience. A 20 minute delay, talk about being zoomed out.)
So A little bit about me to provide some context. My name is Michael Miller, KI4RDP. Many of you probably know me as RDP (Romeo Delta Papa, or Remote Desktop Protocol). I will have to give up my short 3 digit break in because the growth of ham radio callsigns has been pretty impressive since I first received my callsign.
I have been a longtime fixture around the Atlanta Radio Club, so quite a few of you know me. This is my first time become part of leadership. I have the complete enjoyment to serve with a great group of people. And want to thank Jeff Hochberg W4JEW for all of his hard work and time spent on the club. I believe he is responsible for the current website, configuration, and just a lot of the general back office stuff that most of us don't really want to be involved in. I know I don't want to deal with paperwork. I can't tell you how many half, quarter, eighth and zero-done projects i have scattered around the house.
This isn't my Club. This is your club. So help us to help you and make the club enjoyable for everyone. And in many ways, this is more a social club more than anything. We have people that work to get interesting presentations and topics together for our entertainment and occasionally we learn a few things along the way.
I think one of the main challenges for any Radio Club is that many of us are busy. We have work, family, social and other commitments that all try to get a slice of our time. It can be hard to have any time for radio. We want to have fun and enjoy the hobby. As Bill Perkins KB4KFT used to say (or at least I think he said), if your working hard- you are doing something wrong.
There are plenty of avenues to get your radio/technology fix. Or if you just want to talk to someone, you can get on the radio. I think one of my favorite memories was the daily commute. People would get on the radio and talk about whatever interested them while on the way to work.
Maybe you are like me. You moved, and now you have dozens of radios and absolutely none of them hooked up!. Well the good news is DMR is pretty accessible and doesn't require a whole lot of setup. Now you might have to find where you buried your charger, but I think that's a small price to pay. Check out our Repeater Nets Page: https://www.atlantaradioclub.org/nets.html Or if you are new, feel free to try and break that squelch to make your first contact! I think for most it's easier to just join a regularly scheduled net. I joined one and didn't even really know what it was, or even what I was doing when I did it. I'm sure Bill probably has my first check in scribbled somewhere on a sheet of paper or in a yahoo group before I even knew anything about the club.
So let us know what sort of things interest you. Or if you want to share some knowledge with other new hams, please let us know. And if you just want to practice or play radio, let us know. I am sure we can find someone to help be available to have an on air test. Or even get some people to help install an antenna in your home or vehicle.
73s, (Best Regards - it's from telegraph/wire days known as 92 Code)
Besides being a great Fleetwood Mac song, the truth of the matter is that rumors can be the bane of someone or something's existence.
With the cancellation of the Atlanta Hamfestival and the announcement of a Town Hall Meeting to discuss the future of the Atlanta Radio Club, there is a flurry of activity where "gums are flapping" without substantive evidence to prove what they are saying is true.
I would caution anyone who is on the receiving end of "hot air" to ensure you hear things from a reputable source and are absolutely certain they have accurate information.
Way back when I was in high school, my history teacher had us conduct an experiment. He would line up 10 people side-by-side. He would start things off by whispering a short story in the ear of the first person in line. That person would have to tell the story to the next person in line, then that person would tell the next, and so on...
By the time the story made it to the last person in line, it sounded NOTHING like it originally did!
That's because as stories are told, people have a tendency to add their own interpretation, perspective, or wording to the original story.
This happens all the time. It doesn't matter where you get your fake news from. It's all spun by the person that's telling the story and the person they got the story from as well.
The net of the story is - make sure you get your information from a reputable source.
The BEST way to do that is to come to the June 6th Atlanta Radio Club Town Hall Meeting.
I assure you - the sky is not falling. It's not raining cats and dogs. And the world is not coming to an end for the Atlanta Radio Club.
I hope to see you there!
*** There will be no Fox News or CNN correspondents present. :-)
A fresh new look - change is coming to the Atlanta Radio Club!
...and we're just getting started! Stay tuned!!!