News

May Program – ‘Orbiting’ Balloons

Our May meeting, on Thursday May 4, features Alan Adamson, W7QO, the guy who holds the record for the:

  • Longest duration balloon flight (over 200 days)
  • Longest distance  balloon flight (over 500000 km – which is to the moon and about half way back)
  • Most number of circumnavigations – just about to finish 13 and start 14, and still counting
  • Lightest trackable payload
  • Most number of days of consecutive received reports by a non-satellite system

The Topics

  • What started all this Balloon stuff (for me)
  • Overview of the pieces required to join the fun
  • Early flight learnings
  • Current long duration flights
  • How to get involved/started
  • What to expect
  • Records to be attained

The Speaker

– Alan has more than 30 years of Design, Development, Management, and Delivery of High-Tech communication and security products.

– Designed a variety of microcontroller, ARM based solutions including a frequency agile, fully programmable, RF radio/GPS tracking platform, a 3 axis camera stabilization system, a multi-axis, multi-motor, flight controller, and various small projects targeted at the internet of things environment

– Successful management of an RF consulting business, with focus on rooftop management of RF spectrum, communications technologies, public exposure and RF safety training issues.

– Held engineering and product management positions with BellSouth, BellSouth.com, Hayes Communications, and Symantec.

– 30+ year Holder of an Extra Class Amateur Radio license.

His professional career included working and retiring from BellSouth (before it was AT&T).  As a result of his communications background, about 13 years ago he left the world of working for someone else, and started a couple of consulting businesses.

A Different Approach for RF Balloon Flights

Alan chose a different approach by developing his own hardware and software technologies.  He was tired of the lack of flexibility surrounding the AVR, and specifically the Arduino platform.  At this time the ARM was just starting to take shape and the technology curve vs. cost was dropping dramatically.  He switched to the ARM platform then and has never looked back.

He’s designed and developed the following

– an Arduino feature/function/pin compatible STM32F1 and STM32F3 version of what Arduino calls the pro-mini

– a 3 axis gimbal controller for camera stabilization, built on either the STM32F105 or the STM32F405 processor.

– Working for a large West Coast company, he designed and developed the hardware and firmware for a balloon tracking system based upon a satellite modem

– a Silabs Si4463 radio module that can mate to either the Arduino Pro Mini or his ProMini32

The latter is what was used to prove and develop the radio module that he uses on his balloon controller.

W7QO – Atlanta HamFest Speaker – June 3rd, 11:00 AM

 
We are pleased that Alan will also share his balloon experience at the 11:00 AM forum at our June 3rd HamFest in Jim Miller Park. Alan plans to launch a balloon in the afternoon at the HamFest! You can see the record breaking balloon telemetry and follow along its flight using the tracker at this website.

February/March Atlanta Ham

The February/March edition of the Atlanta Ham has arrived and is available for your immediate enjoyment! Thanks again to David Harden, KJ4CMY, for his continued contribution of articles. Also thanks to Jim Stafford, W4QO, for allowing us to include his “Antenna Observations” article from the recent NFARL newsletter.

Download the newsletter by clicking here now!

April Member Meeting

This month we have our very own W2NP Chandler Friedman, who is the founder and owner of World Gone Silent, and the Emergency Coordinator for Atlanta ARES. On Thursday, April 6 he’ll be talking about the role that ham radio operators played in the running of last month’s Publix Marathon.

We look forward to seeing members and visitors as we learn about the Amateur Radio Emergency Service and the role they have in assisting our public service partners in Atlanta and Fulton County.

See you at 7:30, The Atlanta Red Cross Center on Monroe Drive in Atlanta. Stop by Cowtippers Restaurant on Piedmont at 6 o’clock to join the pre-meeting meeting – Great Food and Greater Company!

March Member Meeting

Looking forward to WU4B Clark’s program on March 2 at the Atlanta Radio Club monthly meeting!

Clark’s program is “So You Think Your Antenna is Radiating Well, eh?”

Clark will show us how to best use that handy antenna analyzer to maximize your RF, especially at QRP levels.

Clark was first licensed in 1961 while in college – this is when vacuum tubes were the norm and transistors were a relatively new component. After a 20 year hiatus Clark returned to the amateur radio hobby in 2006. His main interests include DXing and QRP ops using CW. Currently he has worked 163 countries with QRP!

See you at 7:30, The Atlanta Red Cross Center on Monroe Drive in Atlanta. Stop by Cowtippers Restaurant on Piedmont at 6 o’clock to join the pre-meeting meeting – Great Food and Greater Company!

January Atlanta Ham

Surprise! The January 2017 edition of the Atlanta Ham has been posted here. If you weren’t expecting one until next month, I’m sorry to disappoint. This year my goal is to make sure this newsletter has an edition every month. If it gets to the first of a month without a newsletter for the previous month, feel free to email me to bug me about it!

Also thanks again to David Harden, KJ4CMY, for continuing to produce the Beginner’s Corner article. If you have an original article that you’d like to have published or would like to write a monthly column, please email me at [email protected] and I’d be happy to publish it.

See you all at the member meeting on Thursday!

February Second Sunday

February’s Second Sunday event brings back hands-on kit builds with a 40 meter mini CW QRP transmitter. Our new Second Sunday chair, Alan Sellers (KW4MO) has pre-purchased 12 kits at a cost of $8.50. If you would like to reserve one, please contact him at [email protected].

As always, note that we have pre-purchased the kits as a convenience and the purchase of a kit is not required to attend the session; you could buy one directly from a seller on eBay or another online store, or just come by to hang out.

Lastly, if you have soldering equipment please bring it with you.

February Member Meeting

Rial Sloan, N0OTZ, will be giving us a presentation about AMPRNet at the February member meeting next week on February 2nd. The following is the full description of the program:

AMPRNet (Amateur Packet Radio Network), a brief overview of Internet Protocol Addressing in Amateur Radio in the past, present, and possibilities for the future. Topics touched on will include the amateur transmission protocol AX.25, IPV4 Addressing, how to apply for your own AMPRNet address space, and what to use AMPRNet addresses for. Demonstration of the basic navigation of the AMPRNet Portal, and joining the AMPRNet mailing list will also be covered. Time Permitting, additional discussion will be directed at utilizing AMPRNet address space as a foundation for building a state-wide amateur radio network of services and connectivity measured in megabits of throughput.

Please check the Member Meetings page for directions to the meeting as well as to the pre-meeting dinner at Cowtippers.

TechFest this Saturday, January 14th

This is just a reminder that the GARS TechFest is this Satuday, January 14th, at the Gwinnett Medical Resource Center. The following is the announcement that was posted to several Yahoo groups including ours:

The Gwinnett Amateur Radio Society (GARS) will be hosting our annual TechFest in January. In recent years we have invited regional radio groups to participate by setting up a table with information about their activities and to demonstrate some type of amateur radio mode, method, technology or experience. This will be an opportunity for the community to become aware of the many modes of operation of Radio Amateurs and view some of the preparations taking place by public service volunteers in the Ham radio community. Unlike Field day, or the typical swap meet, this is not a contest or race. It is a chance to experience modes of our hobby that you might have never seen. Or to show your friends and family what Amateur Radio is about.

January Second Sunday

The January Second Sunday event, which is tomorrow, will be a live build of the two “Easy as Pi” projects from Thursday’s meeting. Come and see just how easy it is to build these projects.

Additionally, sorry for the late posting. I thought I posted this earlier but apparently it slipped my mind.

Edit: The presentation from the Thursday meeting is here.