Saturday, July 29, 2006

Interesting way to earn money 

This from the mailing list at Skyview.

Here is a way to generate funds for the radio club.
The University of Pittsburgh (Oakland Campus) is running an experiment on auditory cognition using Morse code.
They are looking for CW operators for an experiment
a bit longer than an hour. You get paid $25,00 at the
end of the experiment.

I cannot tell you what the
experiment is about, except that you need to have
moderate CW skills.

If you would like to participate please send a message to
Dalia Balsamo at:

balsamo.dalia@medstudent.pitt.edu to schedule an appointment. Times are flexible including
evenings and weekends.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Tonights North Hills Amateur Radio Club meeting 

If you have the time I think you will find attending the meeting of the North Hills Amateur Radio Club tonight, Wednesday July 26 2006, worth your while.

The guest speaker this evening will be Dennis, KB3HPC, who will give a multi media presentation of his time in the US Army in Vietnam. Serving with the combat engineers he erected and ran radio stations among other things. This is going to be an enjoyable evening I'm sure.

The meeting will be held in St. John's Lutheran Church directly across the road from the library where the meetings normally take place and will start at 07:00 PM local time. I hope to see many of you there.

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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

A modification for the PRO-83 

Here is an interesting tidbit that I picked up from the PRO-83 mailing list on Yahoo. I have a PRO-83 and love the little radio although I have not tried the mod yet. As with any of these types of projects if you are one of those that likes to tinker but is not sure which end of the soldering iron gets hot I advise you to enlist the help of a more experienced friend for this one. Thanks to Eric for his efforts.

This is my first contribution to the group and I hope it helps some
frustrated Pro-83 owners out there. About a year ago I see there was
quite a bit of discussion about the Pro-83 suffering from roaming or
random birdies in the VHF LO band. My unit fell into that catagory, so
much so it had been nearly impossible for me to listen between
30-50Mhz without it stopping on a frequency for a duration of a few
seconds up to 15 minutes before I had to press scan again. I live in a
rural area and the VHF-LO band is still heavily used by the local fire
department, and I was damned if I was going to miss out on any of it.

Today I had a few hours to burn and experiment with my Pro-83 and I
have solved the problem. I'm not an engineer so I can't explain why it
works, I've just used some "old time" techniques from years ago when I
built radio kits as a kid. What you'll need is a small piece of hookup
wire, a .0001uf (100pf) mica disc capacitor and basic soldering skills.

1. Remove the back off of the Pro-83 by unscrewing the 6 phillips
screws, don't forget there's two inside the battery compartment.

2. Carefully separate the front and back and lay face down on a
cushioned surface or piece of cloth (We don't want to scratch our nice
scanners up do we?) Be extra careful not to stress the power leads
coming from the battery compartment to the PCB either.

3. Locate where the antenna BNC connector is soldered to the printed
circuit board. Obviously, it's at the top where the volume and squelch
are located. Take note there are 3 solder points on the BNC connector,
the one in the middle is the actual connection to the antenna and the
other two on the outer most left and right are ground.

4. While looking straight down on the circuit board with the BNC,
volume and squelch at the top, solder one end of your hookup wire to
the LEFT ground point of the BNC. Solder the other end of your wire to
the closest corner of one of the tin shields covering the oscillators
and other components. This should be easy to do since there's plenty
of solder blobs on the tin shields already and keep your wire as short
as possible. The idea here is for us to have "positive" contact from
the antenna ground and the PCB ground bus and we're sure there's no
resistance of any kind.

5. Solder one lead from your .0001uf (100pf) capacitor to the center
connection of the BNC (or antenna connection) where it connects to the
printed circuit board, and the other lead to the RIGHT ground
connection of the BNC, keeping the leads as short as possible on the
capacitor without burning it up with your soldering iron.

Ta-da!, you're done. Carefully slide the front and back together
making sure not to pinch or crush the battery leads, replace and
tighten the screws and enjoy birdie free VHF-LO scanning.

Now, before you all ask why this works I'll truthfully say I don't
know. Maybe the engineers can come out of the woodwork. I do know that
nearly every radio kit I built as a kid involved some sort of 100pf or
1000pf mica capacitor connected at the antenna as described here to
act as a small RF choke...and essentially that's what we want to
achieve, choke the RF birdie from getting into the attached portable
antenna. As for the hookup wire, there's an added bonus other then
making sure our antenna has a "positive" connection to the ground bus.
It also appears to improve reception slightly most likely because
there's no chance of ground resistance and the tin shields now act as
a small ground plane.

After making this simple modification I have now been listening to my
Pro-83 for three hours straight without one birdie lockup on VHF-LO
using a 3 foot telescopic whip. The local fire deparment comes in loud
and clear as well as all signals on VHF-HI, UHF and 800Mhz.

May the force be with you.

Eric / N3KMJ

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Monday, July 24, 2006

TRAMA Net Sunday July 23 2006 

We had a very good net last night. Twenty two stations checked in counting the net control station and we managed to answer a few questions. We had a brief discussion on that growing number of consumer devices that are “wireless” and how that will affect monitoring in the future. Dave, KB3NFQ, tells us that West Deer is using 453.725 mHz as a police frequency on the weekends normally being a township maintenance use during the week.

Speaking of Dave, he is one of our scanner net members who I used to speak with on the phone now and again who is now licensed. I just realized that when I looked his call sign up on QRZ and discovered that he was newly licensed this past April. Congratulation Dave!

A note on our Pod Cast. I got a call from Mike, KB3HCG, just prior to net time last night telling me that even though he was not home the net was being recorded and would be posted latter. He also mentioned that he had not yet had a chance to post last weeks net so they will both be available sometime soon.

Hope to hear all of you again next week on the Sunday evening TRAMA net.

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