Friday, November 15, 2013

Talking with the early birds 

Temporary operating position in the shack

Well I have a ways to go before the station is back in anything that resembles a reasonable state of order.  I do have a start though and am back on the air.  Really enjoying operating the HF bands again and have discovered a number of nets that I have been checking into.  This morning I checked in for the first time with the "Early Bird Trans Continental Net".

Seems like a nice group of guys and gals and I intend to check in as often as I can.  As the name implies though you have to be one of those early morning people to meet up with them and I have not traditionally been a "morning person".  I was experiencing some pain last night which had me up and down quite a bit and found me here in the radio room at 04:00.  I intend to dial around the bands and see who else is on at this time of the day before laying back down and seeing if I can get a little additional sleep.  If you have an HF station please join in on the fun and make some new friends across the country and around the world.  73's and I hope to meet you on the air sometime.

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Monday, October 21, 2013

Ah, the good old days! 

Sit back an enjoy this short movie from 1939.  Think of it the next time you open your cell phone to make a call.

Getting the message through.

Ham radio operators have contributed to the multitude of changes that you will see between this technology and what exists today.

For additional information follow this link and enjoy.

Morse Code

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Monday, June 03, 2013

Upcoming Amateur Radio events in the Pittsburgh area 

Here are some upcoming amateur radio events in the Pittsburgh area.  Remember you are always welcome at the North Hills Amateur Radio Club even if you are not licensed.  All with an interest in radio are invited to join the party.

2013 Pittsburg Area Amateur Radio Calendar

8-9 ARRL June VHF Contest
15 WPA ARES Conference-University of Pittsburgh-Blackington Hall-Johnstown, PA-Topic: Energizing Emergency Communications
830 AM to 5 PM-More Info & Registration: www.wpaares.org-Campus Info: www.upi.pitt.edu/30800.pdf
15 Mon County ARC Hamfest-St. Mary's Church Picnic Pavillion-Star City (Morgantown) WV
        More Info: www.moncarc.org-304 319 0412
15 ARRL Kids Day
22-23 ARRL Field Day

6 North Hills ARC Hamfest-Parkwood Presbyterian Church-4289 Mt. Royal Blvd-Allison Park, Pa
        More Info: www.nharc.org-email: johnr.fowler@gmail.com-phone: 412 366 3133.
6: Eastern Pa Section Convention/Firecracker Hamfest-Harrisburg Area Community College-3599 Industrial Road
Harrisburg, PA-More Info:www.w3uu.org-WB3BKN@gmail.com-717-896-0256-VE Testing Available.
7 Somerset County ARC Hamfest-Somerset County Tech Center-281 Technology Drive-Somerset, PA
        More Info: www.k3smt.org-email: ak3j@arrl.net-phone 814 444 0637-VE Testing Available
13-14 IARU HF World Championship
21 Pittsburgh Gran Prix-ARES Event
21 Western Pa Repeater Council Meeting-1:30 pm-Greensburg Pa (Tentative)
28 Breezeshooters Picnic (Tentative)

18 Warren ARC Hamfest&Computer Show-Trumbull County Fairgrounds-899 Everett-Hull Road-Corland, Ohio 44410
VE Testing available-More Info: www.warrenhamfest.blogspot.com-kd8dne@gmail.com-440 636 2806
25 Skyview Radio Swap n Shop/ARRL W.Pa. Section Convention-Club Grounds-2335 Turkey Ridge Road-Upper Burrell Twp, PA 15068- More Info: www.skyviewradio.net
25 Cuyahoga Falls ARC Tailgate Fest-Robert Pinn Armory-4630 Allen Road-Stow, OH
31 Uniontown ARC W3PIE Gabfest-Club Grounds-Old Pittsburgh Road-Uniontown, Pa

7 20/9 ARC Tailgate/Hamfest 2013-Austintown Senior Center-100 Westchester Dr-Austintown, OH-More Info: www.20over9.org
Phone: 330-651-8420-Checkin: K8TKA 147.315 MHz repeater.-VE Testing Available.
8 Butler County Swapfest-Unionville VFD-Butler, PA
22 Cleveland Hamfest & Computer Show-Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds-164 Eastland Road-Cleveland, OH

20 Western Pa Repeater Council Meeting-130 pm-Altoona, Pa (Tentative)
21-25 ARRL SChool Roundup
23-24 CQ WW DX Contest (CW)
26-27 CQ WW DX Contest (SSB)

2-4 ARRL NovemberSweepstakes (CW)
3 WACOM Hamfest-Washington County Fairgrounds-2151 North Main St. Washington, PA-More Info: www.wacomarc.org
724 350 6745-bud@n3tir.comVE Testing Available.
16-18 ARRL November Sweepstakes (SSB)

6-8 ARRL 160 Meter Contest
14-15 ARRL 10 Meter Contest
22 ARRL Rookie Roundup (CW)


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Sunday, August 07, 2011

Carrying my manuals with me 

I recently bought a Kindle K3 from Amazon after debating with myself for a long time about spending the money on one. The tipping point came when I ordered my last two hard cover books from Amazon and the day they arrived I found two additional ones that I wanted. The book shelves in my living room are bulging at the seams and I was going to have to start thinking about occupying another wall. This pleased my wife about as much as my wanting to put a 50' flag pole in the front yard to string antennas from.

So I looked at the Kindle which has a six inch diagonal screen, is not as thick as a number 2 pencil and will hold over 3000 books. Now I won't go into a complete review of the Kindle here but I will say that so far I love it. I wasn't sure I would like reading on the device especially since I like the feel of a new book in my hands. Again, that is another story.

After I had my Kindle set up and had purchased a few books from the Kindle store I started exploring other aspects of this little gem. The first thing to catch my eye was that it would display documents in PDF format. In addition you are given an email address when you purchase your Kindle to which you can email files that they will then transfer to your device via WiFi or what they call "Whisper Net" which is just a 3G connection by way of the cellular network. I haven't tried it yet but you can also link with USB to Kindle and load PDF files that way.

Needless to say all of my ham gear manuals from Icom and Yaesu are available in PDF format. There is a trend now days to supply manuals only in digital form leaving it to the end user to decide if he or she needs a "dead tree" version. So now when I'm mobile if I want to look up some obscure function on my FT-7800-R dual band mobile I just need to take out my Kindle and RTFM. Yet another small way that computers are wedging their way into the shack.


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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Here is a small low power consumption computer that I ran across that looks like it would make a great Linux system for the shack. For that matter it would be nice for anywhere that you want a computer on that runs 24/7 and don't want to take up a lot of space. It is a little pricey when compared to some of the bare bones boxes that you can get from Tiger Direct or Newegg in conventional PC form factor. I see a trend in laptop computers where first RS-232 ports disappeared from them and now it looks like optical drives will be the next item to fall from the hardware platform in an every increasing drive to minimal size and weight. That trend is also evident in these types of systems also.

You can get a system with a faster processor and a built in optical drive for equal or slightly less money although it does come in "kit" form any you have to mount the components. It is just a screw driver job that requires a little time.

At one time I would have given a lot for a fan less system like this being overly sensitive to the noise from working in server rooms for extended periods. The technology has improved in power supplies and have become tolerable for me though.

So if you have been looking for a dedicated computer for the shack or if you would like a small form factor system to use in your office, den or living room this could be the ticket. Check out evo technologies and their products.

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Sunday, July 17, 2011

North Hills Amateur Radio Club to have new meeting place 

I received this email from the North Hills Amateur Radio Club and wish to make the information available to as wide an audience as possible. The NHARC has a very active membership and a long history of service to the community and the amateur radio hobby. Everyone is welcome to attend meetings and you are encouraged to bring a friend. If you have an interest in radio and electronics you will find a friendly group of kindred spirits there.

Dear North Hills Club Members,

A year ago all of you came to a meeting where I announced the Club would be moving. While this Christ Lutheran Church is better than the Northland Library, it was still not good for our growth.

At this time, I announce to the members of North Hills ARC we have found a permanent home. One where we can hold all Club events including Jota, Elmer nights and Club meetings. Most of all, the management of the new location is receptive to helping us grow in the future by providing us the possibility of a radio room. We will also be permitted to hold the hamfest there.

The reason for the change is cost, convenience and growth. We will meet for our first meeting at Parkwood Church on Mount Royal Blvd August 10th at 7pm. At that time, we will talk about the possibilities we have for making North Hills Radio Club better than we already have done.

On behalf of the Board I thank you for your continued support with North Hills and look for many great Club events at Parkwood.

Parkwood United Presbyterian Church
4289 Mt. Royal Blvd.
Allison Park PA 15101

Jim Heiles KB3IYS
North Hills ARC

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Ham Radio's Cutting Edge Technology 

Here is a link to a site that I picked up from twitter. While it is just a "tease" of the whole story if you know anything at all about amateur radio it is interesting none the less. Enjoy.

Hearing weak signals with amateur radio.

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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Breeze Shooters 10 meter PSK31 contest 

From the Skyview Radio Society's mailing list:

Breeze Shooters Annual PSK 31 GroundWave Contest is tonite.

Time: 7pm till Midnight
Place: 10 meter band

Quote: From a famous Statesman - "one if by home, two if by club"

Either way, the fun starts at 7pm. Be sure to fill in "club affiliation" as "SkyView" (if current member)

Check the Breeze Shooter's web site for more information.

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Friday, December 31, 2010

A very Happy New Year to all of my ham radio, scanner and Linux friends out there 

I want to take this opportunity to wish all of my amateur radio friends and fellow Linux users out there in cyberspace a very Happy New Year. I hope that 2011 brings you higher antennas, more DX and many new friends on the bands in the coming year.

I wish my fellow scanner listeners a Happy New Year and hope that Santa was good to you with new toys for Christmas and that you experience a lot of good monitoring in 2011.

If you are a Linux users, or would like to be, pay attention to the local repeaters for the possibility of a new net in the new year that will encompass some computer aspects and some interesting Linux information. Watch the blog for more information as things develop.

I hope that God has blessed you and your family and friends in 2010 and that he will continue to do so in 2011. Keep the real meaning of Christmas in your hearts and minds all though the coming year. It will improve your life beyond belief.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Ham Classes to be held at the Salvation Army 

Classes will commence at the Salvation Army, Parish Street, Greentree, PA on 1/12/11, Wednesday and 1/13/11, Thursday. Class time is 7:00 to 9:00 P.M.

The VE Test Sessions will be 2/16 and 2/17/11

To register for the classes, please contact Joe, KA3TDQ at 412-496-5441 or email KA3TDQ@VERIZON.NET or Jerry, K3FKI at 412-795-4595 or email K3FKI@VERIZON.NET.


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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Santa came early this year 

Well the North Hills Amateur Radio Clubs' flag ship repeater on 147.090 has been returned to service much sooner than expected.

The repeater is located above Pittsburgh's North Side on the WPXI channel 11 television tower and covers the city and surrounding Allegheny County area. The machine is the official ARES repeater for the county. It transmits a continuous CTCSS tone of 88.5 and if need be can be switched to 88.5 on the receiver. Normally though the machine runs with carrier squelch on the input.

If you are in the Pittsburgh area please feel free to use the machine and say hello to the hams in the area.


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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

NHARC's 147.09 repeater off the air 

The North Hills Amateur Radio Club's 147.090 repeater is out of service for repairs. If you are in the Pittsburgh area please use the sister repeater on 146.880. It is hopped that the 09 machine will be back on the air within a week. All of the North Hills Club repeaters have exceptional "uptime" service records so this is an unusual situation partially because of the holiday this week. I will post when the machine is back on line. The weekly club net normally held on 147.09 at 08:30 PM local time will be moved to the 88 machine this evening.


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Saturday, May 15, 2010

First Responders to End Radio Market Monopolies 

The 88 cities of Los Angeles County have banded together to end a long-standing business model that forces them to upgrade first responder radio systems at the whim of vendors.

The practice of selling closed-architecture systems has favored a small group of public safety radio manufacturers for decades, said former city of Los Angeles assistant police chief Michael Bostic, who now works for Raytheon as its director of public safety solutions.

A joint powers agreement signed by the cities will create the Los Angeles Regional Interoperability Communications System, which is designed to bring an open architecture system — commonly used in the commercial mobile phone market — to police departments.

To read the entire story follow this LINK.

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Friday, May 14, 2010

D-Star expands in Pittsburgh 

It is now public knowledge that the North Hills Amateur Radio Club will be purchasing equipment at this years Dayton Hamvention to put a second D-Star repeater on. This one will be a VHF high band repeater on the 146.22/146.82 pair which has languished unused in Pittsburgh for a very long time now. Those who have been around the Pittsburgh two meter scene for a while will remember when the 82 machine was located on the Westinghouse Research & Development Center in Church Hill and had very wide coverage in the area. Old timers quiz, anyone remember what the call sign of the 82 repeater was when located there? Bonus points if you remember what it was changed to when the FCC stopped issuing special call signs for repeaters.

As I have said in previous postings I would like D-Star a lot more if did not use a proprietary codex for the digital encoding and decoding of the voice portion of the transmissions. I would also like to see much faster data rates on the VHF and UHF frequencies. Still even at the slow data rates D-Star becomes a real tool for use in emergency situations where hams are asked to provide all of the communications or supplant public safety radio systems that have become overloaded because of the circumstances.

The new repeater will be co-located with the existing UHF repeater in the Oakland section of the city at the WQED transmitter site. This will go a long way toward making D-Star popular among local hams. I know I have herd more than one person on the air saying that D-Star is a big investment in equipment when you consider that there are very few repeaters around and thus not many other hams to chat with. Hopefully that is going to change now. As soon as I have more information I will post it here on the blog. Until then those that are making the journey this year have a great time at Dayton.


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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Rare Space Shuttle Landing 

Thanks to Larry, AA3ZN, for the heads up on this one.

SPACE SHUTTLE RE-ENTRY: On Monday morning, April
19th, space shuttle Discovery will make a rare "descending
node" reentry over the continental United States. The
returning spacecraft will pass over or close to many towns
and cities en route to landing in Florida at 8:48 am EDT,
including Fort Peck Lake, Montana; Pierre, South Dakota;
Sioux City, Iowa; St. Louis, Missouri; Tupelo, Mississippi,
Birmingham, Alabama, and Jacksonville, Florida.
Observers along western parts of the ground track could see
the shuttle blazing through pre-dawn darkness. As
Discovery makes its way east, it will enter daylight and
fade into the bright blue background. If you can't see the
shuttle, however, you might be able to hear it. The shuttle
produces a sonic double-boom that reaches the ground about a
minute and a half after passing overhead. Check http://spaceweather.com for maps and more information.

SPACE WEATHER ALERTS: Would you like to turn your
phone into a space weather monitoring system? Sign up
for Space Weather PHONE: http://spaceweatherphone.com

You are subscribed to the Space Weather mailing list, a free service of Spaceweather.com.

New subscribers may sign up for free space weather alerts
at http://spaceweather.com/services/ .


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