Happy Easter to all, Spring is here, though as I write this it’s supposed to snow Friday, but Spring should be here soon. So in this edition we have a couple of member profiles to share, a part 2 on Ray Buchicchio’s antenna project, and an article on the BITX40 transceiver kit.
Enjoy this months edition of the RHG and please if you have something to share please send it to me K9KQX.
I am always thoroughly impressed when I hear the attendance numbers for the construction project. Very often above 20. This is great. It’s unfortunate that my schedule doesn’t allow me to make it to them very often. I also enjoy the photos from the construction project that show up on SARC All from time to time. These certainly help to keep everyone informed of what is going on.
Some of the best things that come out of the construction project, by far, are the working projects. Every now and then there’s a great write up of how a project came together complete with instructions. Or, someone will bring a project to a club meeting and show off parts of it (whether it’s the night’s program or not). I recently got to hear the end of some of the details of the build of a graphical clock featured in the October 2017 QST. This made me quite proud of the number of active members we have in the club.
I mention these projects because they would all make great material for our updated web site. Continue to post your successes, trials and photos to SARC all and we will begin taking some of this information and posting it on the web page. If it’s an original work, we will ask for your consent first.
Construction Project Gary N9VU
Next CP meeting will be Saturday, April 14th and 28th from 8am till noon.
Location is at the Schaumburg Tennis Plus, 1416 Payne Rd, Schaumburg, IL
EMCOMM Bob Langsfeld WB9TZC
Leo N9NBH reported exercise of the Sunday night Net and the Peoria-based ARES 3.905 MHz test 4:30PM conducted for all districts within the state.
Bob Langsfeld WB9TZC reminded May 20th is the Chicagoland Marathon in Busse Woods. Start 6AM and goes till 1PM
Repeater updates – Kent W9KAO
Reports audio on the UHF side working well. Kent responded to recent repeater hang as follows: “……. It released when I restarted the system. Most likely you heard the connection between the VHF system and the Link System.
I did hear an Echolink connection earlier in the commute. There has been some talk on the HamVoip group that there may be a lockup interaction going on between Echolink connections and the repeater application. They seem to think it is a stuck Echolink push to talk problem where a user leaves Echolink in transmit mode, but it has been my observation that the USB interface freezes with PTT stuck. The only solution is to restart the PI operating system. One suggestion is to implement Echolink on its own node, which is certainly doable, but I don’t think that is the problem, although an active Echolink connection may be involved in some way.
Stuck USB interfaces with this application has been an ongoing issue for years. This is one of the downsides to using USB interface connections. In the past it seemed that the longer the system ran without a reboot, the more likely a lockup would occur. We are restarting the system on a weekly basis, but on the rare occasions, this problem still occurs.
One of the authors of this version of the software was incredulous when I suggested it wasn’t if but when a USB interface got stuck, of course it certainly couldn’t be his software, but it does happen. There is a reason that at least two vendors provide usb interfaces that now monitor the usb device heartbeat signal and provide a logic signal if it stops flashing. I implemented two of these usb devices on the UHF system, as there is no internet connectivity to do a restart should the system lockup. I use the logic signal as an interrupt to automatically restart the system. We probably should consider doing the same on the VHF system as well”.
Kent requests hardware: Board approved $120 budget for purchase of two new interfaces.
President’s Report – Matt AC9IG
Reports we’re in need of avoiding consternation when there are unplanned events that conflict with planned meetings. Several events can occur within our large membership and will sometimes overlap. SARC_All is a public forum for club members so be careful with dialog.
We’re in need for Field Day Chair: Rob N9MVO can assist and hopefully others will step forward to help him.
Public Service – Rob N9MVO
All Public Service events are over for the year. Next years public service events start in April and May of 2018
Roger Ryan W9RDR not present; Robert Kocourek W9RKK has stepped forward to become Social Chair.
Education: Leo N9NBH
Reported plans for a winter General Class with the Library District are in place. September 8th through the end of October at the Hoffman Estates facility, same as last fall’s Technician class. Publication will be ready for the August issue. Looking for some text on ‘Why do you want to become a General?” as once published.
Net Check-ins – Leo N9NBH
SARC Net Check In’s For Thursday, March 8th, 2017:
The following hams checked in to the net this evening.
N9NBH Leo (Net Control)
Thank you to the following hams that checked in to the net,
- N9VU Gary
- KD9HIJ Ken
- AC9EM Steve
- W0RI Dirk
- K9KQX Mike
- KB9RGU Jim
- W9RKK Robert
- KD9IPO Ron
- W9KAO Kent
- K9EKL Ron
- N9LQ Joel
- N9NBH Leo
- KD9FMN Paul
- KB9QVX Kevin
- KD9HIK Dennis
- KD9JBU Joe
- N9AAE JR
John Shofield provided the following report: Results March 3rd, 2018
|Walgenbach, Neil E.
|Richier, Taylor L.
Next examination date: April 7th, 2018
All of us at SARC would like to congratulate all those that received or upgraded their license this month, and we welcome you to the amateur radio community. Hope to hear you on the air. Should you have any questions, come join SARC at our regular monthly meeting on the 3rd Thursday of the month or stop in at one of the Construction Meetings.
By Dirk W0RI
Ray Buchicchio WA9BLP Antenna Project, Roselle, Illinois, Saturday March 10, 2018
Site Profile (Ray Buchicchio):
Ray was born 1927 in Chicago, IL, his Elmer was his Ham Dad. Lives with wife Millie in Roselle, IL. Ray was a charter member of SARC going back his friend Bill Sneed. An interesting fact is that the SARC repeater was on his tower for many years !!! Small world !!!
Ray contacted me end of last summer on 2M, we chatted for a while and informed me that he needed help fixing his station. He has Rotor and antenna problems, in several discover visits it was confirmed something is wrong on the tower. A few days later we cranked the tower over to take a look. Very shortly upon inspection all coax cables were bad-damaged since they have been on the tower for close to 40 years. In the meantime Ron KD9IPO (donated for temp use) helped me install an end feed wire in -20 degrees weather, to get Ray back on the air until we could solve the coax problems etc. The early volunteers were Mike Sorenson, Peter Mazuik, Rob Glowacki, and Dirk Smith. Hence from that point the project was planned and scheduled during warmer weather, which turned out to be Saturday, March 10, 2018.
The project required new coax, which Ray purchased, 250 foot spool of 8U, I had a spare rotor cable and also purchased new PL259 and SO239 connectors.
Weather: Clear Skies, 34 – 45 degrees
Start Time 8:00 AM
End Time: 8:28 PM
AM Donuts- Coffee, lunch – pizza (donated by Dirk Smith W0RI)
James Richardson AC9PH, Bill McGovern KD9JQM, Ron Delpiere-Smith KD9IPO, Rob Glowacki N9MVO,
Kevin Willard KB9QVX, Kevin Chin K9AAB, Peter Maziuk N9POL, Steve Karson AC9EM, John Schofield AC9JS,
Chris Brewer AC9GN, Mike Sorenson (plus daughter Katie)K9KQX, Dirk Smith W0RI,
You Tube Link: https://youtu.be/6WxyP60FYu8 by Kevin Chin K9AAB
Pictures: ALL Volunteers, Steve, James, Kevin W., Chris, Kevin C, Dirk, James at https://invertedlight.com/
- Replace 4 Feedlines with new 8U COAX and a Rotor cable
- 1x 3 Element Multi band Antenna
- 1x Rotatable Dipole (Multi Band)
- 1x 2 Meter antenna
- 1x Fixed Dipole antenna
- Rotor cable
- Terminate cable with PL259 outside and solder to connection plate in shack, incl. Rotor cable
- Replace SO239 connectors in shack
- Replace Matching network on 3 element Multi Band Antenna
- Visual Check of Rotor, replace junction box for rotor cable connection next to Rotor
- Remove and reinstall fixed dipole from tower
- Drape 5x cables on tower, feed cables into attic then down wall into shack, with drip loop, extra in 2 feet in attic
- Verify operation when all ends terminated and tower raised again.
- Check AMP and AMP power supply, both replaced with spare. (see detail write up from Rob, below)
- Clean up yard and put away ladders and supplies
TBD: (remaining issues can all be done by simply by folding over tower)
- Rotor repair or replacement does not fully rotate skips in some directions.
- Determine is 20 M band was dead, or Antenna issue or FTDX1200 radio/configuration
- 20 M coils bad?
- FTDX1200 took a hit on 20M?
- Drop 2M antenna approximately 2-3 feet, interferes with antenna rotate loop.
Report from Rob Glowacki N9MVO (Kevin Willard KB9QVX)
Also, he had some rather unusual connections in his shack. The FT 1200 was connected to the ‘antenna’ connector of the SWR/Power meter, the SWR power meter’s ‘transmitter’ connector was hooked to the ‘antenna’ connector of the MFJ auto tuner, and the ‘transmitter’ connector of the MFJ was connected to the input of the amp. At least the amp was connected correctly.
The SWR/Power meter was backwards, which made ‘forward’ and ‘reflected’ power readings reversed, but worse than that, the MFJ tuner was connected backwards. That *might* have caused it to try to tune for lowest ‘forward’ reading, and most ‘reflected’ reading, as forward and reflected would be reversed with that connection.
When we first got things connected, we heard NO signal on 20 meters at all, we found that the attenuator on the radio was turned on, at -18 dB. That would kinda reduce signals by about 3 S units. You know of the Antenna 1/ Antenna 2 switch
problem. He said the 1200 rig is rather new, so he’s not real familiar with it, yet. He may need a little hand holding to help him get things set up right for usual operation.
Of course, he also needs to have the 80 Liter antenna coax connector mounted on the wall, on a plate of some sort, and yet another coax jumper cable made to connect THAT to the antenna switch.
His backup amplifier power supply, the switching supply, smells of burning resistor shortly after getting turned on. Both amplifiers work, at about the same power output level, with the same 45 Watt input. The amp he usually uses indicates on its own meter about 550 Watts, the backup amp on the shelf indicates about 300 W output with 45 W drive.
Both amps show about 300 W on the same external power meter (his meter) and about 500 Watts on my genuine Radio Shack power meter, that MUST be made for CB, because it has a 2000 Watt scale (;^D) Actually, the package for it says it has a Buene bridge, which should be accurate across the HF bands. I know the 20 and 200 Watt scales on it are pretty close. I don’t use the 2 KW scale, so I don’t know how close that reading is.
The backup amp DID work on the backup power supply before we started smelling smoke, so it apparently was putting out SOMETHING for a while. We shut it down as soon as we smelled something bad..
It was a very worthwhile effort! Now we need to figure out what’s wrong with the tribander on 20 Liters, and the rotatable dipole on 10 and 40 Liters.
In Garage: Mike K9KQX prepped the coax 8U cables and soldered new PL 259 on ends. (Daughter Katie keeping an eye on Dad)
Roof Crew: Kevin C, Bill Cable drape, fixed Dipole remove and install (final tower tilt back work Dirk)
Spotters: John, Steve
Antenna: Ron, Chris, James, Dirk
Rotor: Ron, Peter, James, Dirk
Shack: Kevin W., Rob, Ron (solder cables, solder rotor cable, test power supplies and Amplifier)
Attic: Dirk, Kevin C., James, Kevin W.
Although the project is not 100% completed, Ray is back on the air with his Amplifier. Ray and Millie were very impressed with the courtesy and work ethics on this project. He could not get over the fact that so many people showed up to help him repair his issues. What I mentioned to Ray: “ You risked your life/ limbs in WW II, for many, it is now our turn to do this small thing for you ,as a token of our appreciation, as a Veteran, fellow Amateur Radio Operator and charter member of SARC.” In the next week or so I and Mike K9KQX RHG Editor, will feature Ray’s life profile in the RHG.
A personal message from me: Although I was not born in the USA, but did become a citizen, I was proud to have this kind of response and Crew working to help Ray. Looking back I believe we had the right number of volunteers, I actually had to turn people away prior to project start.
Thank You again on behalf of a very grateful Ray and wife Millie…..
Update (06/05/2018): Ray WA9BLP Antenna Project Update
by Dave Sims K9KBM
(Copied from Ad)
When was the last time you used a radio you had built? The BITX40 board is a two board, 40 meter SSB transceiver module kit with digital control! Inside an evening, you can be on-air with this digital SSB transceiver, chatting with the local gang or chasing DX across the world. Plug in the earphones, the included electret mic, tuning and volume controls, and you are on air! Included are high quality connectors, all the needed sockets and jacks, tuning and volume controls, mounting hardware, etc., all for $60.
The BITX40 is shipped as a set of two boards : The Raduino and the Main Transceiver Board, with connectors and external components. You have to supply your own cabinet, mic, speaker, power supply and Antenna. Soldering is required, but all of the SMD and other components on the Main Transceiver Board and already soldered in place for you. Your kit-building efforts are little more than connecting the off-board controls via the supplied wiring connectors.
The new BITX40’s Raduino is a small, hackable, board utilizing an Arduino Nano to control a rock-steady Si5351 synthesizer and a clean 16×2 frequency display. The program code is free and Open Source. The Raduino features 6 analog ports, three oscillators and six digital lines.
Listen to the very clean, crisp, and quiet receiver. The front-end has a triple-tuned circuit that limits out-of-band signals. The diode ring mixer front-end makes this a crisp receiver that doesn’t overload easily. The all-analog signal path to your ear provides outstanding signal clarity that must be heard to be believed.
7 watts of low distortion SSB provides you with enough power to have thousands of contacts on 40 meters, daily rag chews, and occasional DX chasing. Any common 2 ampere, 12 linear volts, power supply will provide enough juice for this transceiver. Or you could simply run it from a battery!
The BITX40 will inspire you to experiment. Modify it, mount it, tweak it, change it. The Users’ Group is filled with plenty of ideas for modifications if you want to experiment.
Raduino uses a standard Arduino Nano that makes it easy to write code in simple C language to work on more modes, bands, utlilities. RIT, dual VFOs, more bands, CW/RTTY are just some code away! Who will be the first to add the Raduino keyer?
The main board comes with all analog large-sized SMD components already soldered on the board. The components are laid out on an easy-to-understand manner on a double sided board with broad tracks to encourage experimentation. There are jump-points from where you can add more modules like the DDS, more bands, better audio amplifier, etc. Your imagination is the limit. You can separately increase the power amplifier’s supply voltage to 25 volts to be more than 20 watts of power if you want. (You will have to add a larger heat sink.) The mods are on the way!
The boards can be installed inside any box that you like. Make your own station rigs, man-packs, SOTA rigs, trail radio, or mount it in a cigar box and leave it on your bedside table. Watch the instructions video.
We have tried to include all the connector/hardware you might possibly need to build a full radio. However, we also had to balance the shipping weight to keep the overall cost down. You will have to supply your own box, power supply and earphones/headphones/speaker.
- 4-1/2 inches by 5 inches tested SSB transceiver module, covering any 400 KHz segment of the 7 MHz band
- The Raduino board with Si5351, Arduino Nano with code loaded. Fully tested
- High quality BNC connector for the antenna
- Small electret microphone
- Two earphone-style audio jacks for the mic and the earphones/speaker
- A set of DC power socket and plug
- Volume control with on/off switch
- 10k linear pot for tuning
- 8 brass standoffs with mounting nuts and bolts
- Connectors with wires for all connections to the board
Note : A speaker is not included in the kit as earphones/headphones/speakers are easily available locally. No cabinet is included to save on the postage cost. Almost any box maybe used.
The BITX boards are hand assembled by a collective of women. Each of the toroids is hand wound. This provides these women with a livelihood. The assembled boards are then DC checked and a final RF check is performed to check the receiver’s sensitivity as well as transmitter’s output before being shipped. Each board is individually numbered.
The most difficult part of this kit is deciding on a container and the mechanical work. You can find many on line pictures showing how to layout and (also how not to) your chassis /container. A few builders made 3D printed cases and offered a free download of their design, one that I particular like is shown below.
When using a plastic case you should line the case with foil tape, conductive paint or space the assembly off an un-etched PCB blank for best practice. I’ll give the instructions an A- and the pictorial an A. Depending on the layout some of the wire leads were long so I took the precaution of twisting the leads with a drill before I cut then to length. If you noticed in the case photo, one knob (the tuning knob) is bigger than the other which provides a better feel for tuning. As mentioned, the mechanical work takes the longest time and effort once completed the electrical portion only takes a few hours. One of the wiring options is to provide the power amp with a higher voltage supply allowing you to double the output.
Firing It Up
As a test, the instructions recommend monitoring the current while hooked to a dummy load and noting that the current jumps from .25A to 1 Amp when loudly speaking. That worked well on the dummy load but poorly (very little current change) on an unturned antenna. The receiver worked well on my long wire and station were not difficult to tune in as a large knob worked as a veneer.
The same company offers a 40M rig and for $114 you can buy an 80 thru 10 transceiver.
Each month we present a new list of websites that club members find interesting. We’ll share these with you. If you find something of interest that’s Ham Radio, or technology related, ie electronics, science, engineering, computers, kit building etc, please feel free to send submission to Mike K9KQX.
ARRL Repurposes AM Transmitter for HAM Radio Use – Thanks to a joint effort by ARRL and the Vintage Radio and Communications Museum of Connecticut (VRCMCT), a classic Gates BC-1T AM broadcast transmitter will enjoy a second life on the Amateur Radio bands for occasional use under W1AW or under the ARRL Headquarters Operators Club call sign, W1INF
Stephen Hawking, Who Awed Both Scientist and the Public, Dies – There aren’t very many scientists who achieved rock star status. Stephen Hawking, who has died at the age of 76, family members told British media early Wednesday, was definitely a contender.
Leo Ribordy N9NBH Chairman opened the meeting at 7:00 PM.
|Dennis C Calvey
Chris Brewer AC9GN reported current financials:
Beginning Balance $5,026.29
Income $ 378.00
Expense $ 96.53 ($60.42 Data Line, State of Ill Annual Report, $46.55 club plaque).
Ending Balance $5,307.76
Current fully-paid membership: 75
Geoff KA9QGH related the late start of our February meeting was due to the Park District losing our regular meeting schedule when an older database was transported to their new scheduling system.
John K9WIC fortunately discovered the error earlier in the day and Facilities was directed to bring chairs to the classroom once the previous group ended their session.
The meeting addressed Field Strength Meters, imaginary numbers for impedance calculations as appear on the Extra exams. Fall Class offering discussed and Geoff surveyed the group for interest in Extra class training but nobody showed interest. Therefore our fall class offering will continue with Technician level.
Dennis Calvey KD9HIK said there was nothing specific to report but asked the Board for publicity ideas to pursue. Suggested we utilize local newspapers with simple press releases, maybe capture the Winter Field Day article from last year as published in the Daily Herald to help inform the community or our public service contributions. Field Day activity allows the club to invite local village management and provides us the opportunity to reinforce our contribution to the Fire Department, Park District, EMCOMM preparedness exercise support.
Rob N9MVO and Terry AE9TJ not present. Chis AC9GN hasn’t been contacted for reimbursement of newly-authorized SPARES purchases at the moment but we believe some equipment has already been procured with more to be acquired. The Board had previously approved expenditures for various Repeater items such as Lightning suppressors, controller modules, etc.
Cliff Sowka K9QD: Approval of February’s BOD Minutes as published on our website.
State of Illinois Agent of Record is currently K9QD and will need to transition to KD9HIJ when he returns later this quarter.
John Zietlow K9WIC EMCOMM Chairman reported:
The following events should be listed on the SARC Calendar
- Simulated Emergency Test April 27, 2019
- Chicagoland Marathon May 19, 2019
IEMA is in the process of implementing a COML orientation course. This course will provide an overview of the COML position in four hours whereas the full course is twenty hours. Bob Langsfeld, WB9TZC was part of the rollout group and is a certified instructor for the course. When the dates for local courses are established, they will be announced through SARC.
Members are encouraged to review the new ARRL ARES Plan on the ARRL.ORG web site.
LINK: New Plan Aligns ARES with the Needs of Served Agencies. Search for ARES Plan.
There is a new ARRL EC-001 class on the Introduction to Emergency Communications. It is free and information is available on the ARRL web site.
The March EmComm report will focus on Skywarn activities and the desired communications’ concepts of the four W’s and the three C’s. While these concepts are published in the Indiana Skywarn pamphlet and others, they are key concepts for any radio communications, especially when under duress.
Construction Project (CP)
Robert W9RKK not present.
Cliff K9QD found 9 plastic-sided versions of parts cabinets with larger bottom drawers and will be ready for the next CP gathering. Cheap Chinese store had an ‘everything must go’ sale so the purchase was triggered. Goal is to organize the larger components such as relays and power resistors that are now scattered across several coffee cans.
The current Park District Free-Rental Agreement for the basement facility needs to be renewed. Vince K. has retired and the ladies at the front desk of the Tennis Club told us Richard W. was the new Superintendent. We will need to renew our insurance rider as well now that Kent W9KAO was notified insurance policy renewal is due for 2019.
John Douglas KD9KSH will assume Social Chairman Role for 2019.
Leo N9NBH is planning a Technician Class with the Library District for the fall timeframe. Library requires 6 months advance notice so Leo will submit his class announcement in March.
VE Tests Results for March, 2019
Dirk Smith W0RI reported 14 students for March. Passed 3 Technician, 2 General, 1 Extra. Dirk always hears the same questions: “What radio do I buy?” and “How do I handle Logging?” Suggestions include Ham Radio Deluxe, an entry-level 2Meter HT or 2M Mobile. Some students have been obtaining their Amateur License to support legal operation of commercial drones.
Matt AC9IG continues editor role until a new editor for 2019 can be appointed.
Bob Benwitz N9JAX
The following were contacted via phone and/or email during the month of February.
2/1 Mike C. (no call sign) more general info about the club
2/19 Mike C. (additional follow up and meeting location information)
2/23 Mike C. (more follow up with club membership information and “Elmer-ing” suggestions)
Leo N9NBH reported the NETS have been conducted as planned.
Rob N9MVO not present but previously reported the MS Walk has changed the venue for the event in 2019. More details will become known as the spring approaches for the Roselle event May 5th.
Cliff Sowka K9QD reminded a new SARC Program Chair will need to be selected for 2019. Nothing is scheduled for the March Business meeting at the moment.
No eBay sales to report.
A new Committee has been formed to consider a Bylaw mechanism that allows the club to remove an undesirable member(s).
30 Day advance notice for proposed Bylaw changes to be subsequently affirmed in a future Special Session.
Two separate proposals:
Article III Section 5
Revocation of Membership for cause will be considered in a method specified by the Board of Directors
Article VIII Section 3
No member shall act in an official capacity on behalf of SARC or allocate/order emergency funding without having prior approval of three (3) members of the Board of Directors.
For clarification in triggering an actual member removal incident under newly-proposed Article III Section 5 (if ratified by the Membership in April) for cause, Frank N9QPD moved the Board of Directors shall receive such complaint in writing. So moved.
Leo N9NBH asked for ideas to encourage more NET activity.
Mel W9FRT related a story of fellow ham’s widow’s request for help in vacating an antenna farm; looking to find someone to dismantle antennas and patch her home’s siding once the coax cables are removed. Such calls for assistance could be added to the weekly Nets to inform the membership of opportunity to help the radio community. Additionally, SARC-ALL could be used to enlist resources such as when Dirk W0RI organized an antenna tower/rotor restoration for a disabled club member.
Leo N9NBH suggested we install Wires-X on the Amita Fusion repeater on Barrington Road.
He will ‘git-er-done’ with the hospital’s facilities management.
Adjourn 8:44 PM
Submitted: March 7, 2019 by Cliff Sowka K9QD during the prearranged absence of Ken Krzywicki KD9HIJ, Secretary.