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Bruce (KI6CYT) brought his new Field Day antenna for testing at Shop Night. It is a 20 meter dipole in an inverted "V". He has it mounted on a lightweight pushup fiberglass pole from MFJ. The mast employs two "crappie" poles as spreaders to secure the antenna ends.

Cass (AG6NT) and I helped set it up. One of Bruce's goals was to not only make it very light weight, but make it simple enough to set up so that one person could do it easily in the field.  Achieving the hoped-for single person setup didn't happen on this first trial, but our experience gave Bruce some good ideas about how to improve the mast.

Otherwise the antenna met Bruce's goals.  It was very light and portable.  Three guy lines secured it safely adequately in the evening breeze at the Training Center. A check of the antenna analyzer showed that the whole twenty meter band had an SWR of less than 2.0.  And a radio check showed that it was sensitive and could transmit 100w SSB.

Bruce and I agreed to meet again at the Sea View Park on Bay Farm Island to test his ideas to improve ease of use.

See more pictures here!

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New Time, New Location!

Come join us for our monthly meeting at a new location -- the Alameda Hospital, and a new time -- the fourth Saturday of the month!

Our very own Al Sweet will be giving a presentation regarding  'An evaluation of the Yaesu FT-991 "Shack in a Box" transceiver.' Al will discuss the important features of the FT-991 radio and share his own on the air experiences with the FT-991.

 

9am to 11 am

January 23, 2016

 

Alameda Hospital

Large Upstairs conference room

2070 Clinton Ave.

Alameda CA 94501

 

Tagged in: Meetings

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At one time or another it occurs to most members of ARCA and CERT that it would be fun to build a widget that you could toss into a tree and use as an emergency repeater. With the advent of inexpensive Chinese hand held transceivers, it becomes possible to try this out.

On Monday Shop Night, this August 3rd, we will get together at the AFD Training Center to see what it takes to put together the bare bones “Baby Baofeng” Emergency Repeater. Consisting of little more than two Baofeng radios and cable, it is the simplest possible solution. Does it actually work? Come, bring an HT and find out!

Event: ARCA Monday Shop Night
When: Monday, August 3rd at 7:00 pm
Where: AFD Training Center, 431 Stardust Place, Alameda Point
How to (updated): So You Want to Build an Emergency Repeater?

 

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At Friday night's ARCA meeting, Al KG6HM, presented a program on his experiences designing radio frequency integrated circuits (RFICs) for wireless communications applications. Al has been active in the RFIC field for many years, both designing die for clients around the world, and teaching RFIC design to graduate students at Santa Clara University. The types of RFICs discussed will be low noise amplifiers, gain blocks, power amplifiers, mixers, and VCOs.

Tagged in: Meetings

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Jim Wright, KJ6UHT, gave a demo on setting up a packet BBS and connecting to it. As Jim showed us, a packet BBS means that users are able to pass digital messages (mail) back and forth using the BBS as a post office of sorts. His BBS demo setup uses the  BPQ32 Mail BBS server software, an FT-60R HT and a the MFJ TNC-X packet controller. Two additional packet radio stations use the South Bay ARES Outlook Packet Message Manager to easily create, send and retrieve the messages from the BBS. Both Outlook stations employ the Signalink USB sound card (commonly used for HF digital) to connect to standard VHF radios. All setups are fairly portable, and have the potential to pass EMCOMM messages in the field.

PDF of presentation: Packet_Radio_Demo.pdf

Tagged in: EmComm Meetings

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Bruce Gillis KI6CYT gave a presentation titled "Ideas and Short Cuts to Use for Working for your Worked All States Award". It was interesting hearing how a number of topics came together to provide guidelines for getting this award. From antenna modeling to contests and logging, there were lots of different aspects to getting this award. He modeled his antenna, got it situated on his dock (over salt water!) and participated in a variety of contests. This allowed him to earn WAS on multiple bands and modes.

Tagged in: Contesting Meetings

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We had a nice presentation from Rich Holoch KY6R called "DXCC Honor Roll in One Solar Cycle". Rich made Honor Roll on New Year's Day 2013, and he did it in only 11 years between solar peaks using simple antennas – none of which were mounted very high (except the dipole). He presented on the process of improving his antennas to get over the "wall" -- a period of 3 years where he was stuck at 325, and had no new DXCC entities. One of the more interesting points for the club was his use of EZNEC and HFTA. We've had several presentations on using EZNEC as an antenna modeling program, but he went further and used a program called HFTA. This allowed him to take his antenna model, and see how his QTH affected HF gain, in the direction of the entities that he would need for DXCC Honor Roll.

Current PDF of his presentation: http://eastbayarc.org/pdf/pacificon_2013.pdf

Rich is currently working on DXCC on 160 meters, and will be presenting at Pacificon 2013. We are looking forward to seeing more from Rich. If you want to follow him, he's on twitter and has a blog here: http://ky6r.wordpress.com/

 

Tagged in: Meetings

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Jerry Juhala KT6CRT presented "Setting up a self sufficient EMCOMM station in the field" during our monthly meeting. He covered public service events, portable operations, vehicle operations and setting up a base station amongst other things. He also brought the equipment that he covered in his presentation. For more information, see his slide deck:

Presentation, documents, power point and handouts: http://tinyurl.com/JerryHam.
Briefcase and battery boxes information: http://tinyurl.com/Jerrygokit.

Tagged in: Meetings

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We had our April Shop Night outing yesterday at the usual meeting room at 731 Stardust Place in Alameda. There was an interesting mix of activities. One ham showed up with a new handheld and needed help getting connected to the local repeaters. David KI6AWR was able to help him with his new hand held. Joe KC6ZZT worked on wiring up a J38 CW key to the club's HF radio. There was even some soldering involved before the night was done. And finally, Jim KJ6UHT brought a new book edited by a Palo Alto ham (Leigh Klotz, WA5ZNU), titled Ham Radio for Arduino and Picaxe. And he also brought a small embedded device, an Arduino Duo. The Arduino looked like a lot of fun -- Jim was able to get going with it and load the first project from the book onto the Arduino. Working with the Arduino looked a lot easier than the older embedded systems. No EPROM to burn, just loading it through a USB cable! Several folks were interested, and I think several people might get the book (available at the ARRL, AES, and Amazon among others) and work through some of the projects.

If all this sounds interesting, why don't you come to our next shop night? It is on the calendar to your left, and is always the first Monday of the month. See you soon!

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Al Sweet Presenting at ARCA 3/2013.jpgAl Sweet KG6HM presented "Operating with Morse Code" at our monthly meeting. He covered the early history of Morse and signaling, as well as what it's like to operate CW. From coherers to spark gaps, he managed to convey the musicality of the original digital mode.

After the break, we discussed what we think Field Day will be like this year. We are planning to operate on Saturday from the CVS parking lot on Bay Farm. We'll have both MDU's setup, and probably run 3 or 4 stations. More details to follow!

 

Tagged in: Field Day Meetings