December 13 Meeting
* Election of Officers
* Annual Auction
At our December 13 meeting we will elect our 2017 officers, and hold our annual auction.
December 13 is less than a week away! We have received over 200 items for the Auction this year including several HT’s, a collector quality Hallicrafters HA-1 T.O. Keyer, Drake 2B Communications Receiver, Alinco 220 MHZ HT, Drake 2C speaker, short wave radios, many station accessories, scanners, antennas, test equipment, books, coax, electronic parts and much more.
We are still accepting donations to make this year’s event even better! Please look around your station and home and donate used Ham and other related electronic items. Email Ron at K9RH@arrl.net so he can arrange to get the items.
This year we will again be featuring BUY IT NOW tables (like you see at a hamfest) and with items attractively priced.
(New 12/6/2016) An updated list of items with starting bid or buy-it-now prices can be found here.
(Note: There are numerous small items and books not on the list which will be available at the auction).
Please review the updated Auction Item listings carefully. Items that failed testing were deleted. Some descriptions have changed as further information became available. Additional items were added to the list. Minimum bid prices have been added. Please discard any previous copies of the inventory as they are no longer accurate.
Everything will be available for inspection at 6:30 PM and available for sale at 7:00 PM. Come early to check out the bargains! No one will be admitted to the center before 6:30 PM. The actual auction begins at 8:00 PM. You do not have to be a member to attend and buy! As an added bonus, when you attend you will be given a ticket to enter the free drawing for a 220MHZ/144MHZ Baofeng Dual Band HT with programming cable. Officers and Board members of the club are not eligible to win so your odds are good! This drawing is free and the winning ticket will be drawn at the end of the meeting. The winner must be present to win. It cannot be picked up by anyone else.
Frequently asked Questions About The NSRC Auction
1. How do I know what’s for sale at 7:00PM and what is in the Auction? Most auction items will be on a separate table marked AUCTION ITEMS.
2. What can I buy at 7:00PM? Anything that is not on the Auction Item tables.
3. What if I don’t like the price on an item on the buy it now table? The prices on the buy it now items are firm but fair. They were determined by looking at recent online and Hamfest sales, averaging and then setting the price lower than the average. Check them out on eham, QTH.com and ebay in advance or bring your smart phone and check them out at the meeting tonight.
4. I saw Frank on American Pickers bundle several items for a discount on the pile. Can I bundle several items and get a discount? No. Reread answer three above.
5. The drawing for the Baofeng 220/144 HT is at the end of the meeting. Do I have to be present to win the 220/144 HT? YES
6. The Publishers Clearing House team is awarding the Giant Check at 8:30 and I have to be home in case I win. Can my friend pick up the HT for me? Bring the Publishers Clearing House team and we will give them a ticket also. The person whose name is on the ticket is the only one who can pick it up. We will keep drawing tickets till we get a winner.
7. Is there a guarantee on any of the items or can I return anything I buy? No. Every effort has been made to accurately describe the condition of each item for sale or Auction. It is impossible to test every item in every possible circumstance. Therefore, all items are sold as is with no warranty expressed or implied. Please choose your purchases with this in mind. If you have any questions about any item, please ask BEFORE you purchase it.
Any questions? Email K9RH@arrl.net.
Come join us for the fun and pick up a bargain on Tuesday December 13 at the Heller Nature Center, 2821 Ridge Rd. in Highland Park. Bring a friend!
147.345 Repeater Now System Fusion
November 30, 2016
Late this afternoon our Technical Committee installed a Yaesu System Fusion repeater at our Northbrook site, replacing the analog repeater we’ve had there for several years.
Yaesu System Fusion is the latest entry into the field of digital voice used by ham radio operators. Similar to D-Star, Fusion was designed specifically for ham use, unlike some of the commercial systems (P-25, DMR, NXDN) that have been adapted for ham use. What is unique about System Fusion is that it supports both analog and digital use as well as the ability to connect to “rooms”, which are similar to D-Star reflectors or DMR talk groups.
The new repeater will be on our same frequency of 147.345 MHz. In the analog mode, it will continue to use the same PL of 107.2 Hz.
What does this mean to you? If you are an analog only user, the only change we are recommending is that you activate Tone Squelch (PL receive - 107.2 Hz) on your radio. This way, when the repeater is operating in digital mode, your squelch won’t open up and you won’t hear the distinctive “white noise” of digital modulation. Also, when getting ready to key the mike and transmit, look at your radio to be sure the frequency is clear. Another thing to note is that with your radio in PL receive, you may not hear a courtesy beep, so please be sure to leave space between transmissions so a breaking station can get in.
If you are a System Fusion digital user – The repeater will operate in Automatic Mode Select (AMS). What this means is that it will retransmit whatever it hears. So if you transmit FM, it will repeat FM. If you transmit narrow digital (DN), it will transmit narrow digital. And, if you transmit wide digital (DW) it will retransmit the same. Since you will be sharing the repeater with analog users, we ask that you please use AMS receive at all times (that’s FM, DN or DW with a horizontal line above it in your display). This way you will hear FM users.
What about SkyWarn? Since the repeater always has priority for emergency and SkyWarn traffic, all users must yield to emergency traffic. Digital users must be aware that during times of potentially threatening weather, analog users may break in and need to use the repeater. That’s why we ask you to operate in AMS receive mode.
What about Internet linking? At this time we do not have an Internet connection at the site, so our short term plan is to use an RF link from a member’s home QTH to allow access to the Internet and Wires-X “rooms”, which are similar to D-Star Reflectors or DMR Talk Groups. In the startup period, our plan is to not have unattended full time connections to Wires-X rooms. The reason is that if the repeater is connected to a busy room and no one can execute a disconnect, analog users might not be able to access the repeater in an emergency. So for now, we ask that if you connect the repeater to a Wires-X room, please disconnect when you leave so that the repeater is truly open and available for both analog and digital users.
What if we have problems? We understand the migration from an analog-only system to a digital system can create unintended consequences. The North Shore Radio Club has nearly 200 members, the majority of whom are analog only users. While the number of digital users grows rapidly every month, we have carefully considered our implementation so that members are not negatively impacted. One of the reasons we are excited about activating digital on the 2 meter band (virtually all of the digital systems of all flavors in the Chicago area are on the 70 cm band) is that the cost barrier to entry on Fusion is much lower. While a dual band Fusion rig can cost between $300 to over $500, the 2 meter-only Yaesu FTM-3200DR is only $149 at HRO. As a result, more hams can “dip their toes” into digital waters. So to answer the question, if we find we are having problems, we can certainly alter the “rules of engagement” to allow as many people to enjoy the advantages of digital while maintaining a viable analog system.
What if I don’t want anything to do with digital? As we mentioned earlier, if you place your rig in PL receive, you will not hear any digital. Also remember we have a 220 MHz repeater on the very same site as our 2 meter repeater, with very similar coverage. And also understand that we have no plans at this time to convert our 442.725 MHz flagship repeater to digital. We have consciously decided to keep our widest coverage repeater an FM only machine.
What about D-Star? There are no changes to our three D-Star systems (70 cm voice, 1.2 GHz voice & 1.2 GHz data). We are committed to maintaining our D-Star presence in Chicago, since it was our first digital operation nearly ten years ago. D-Star still has more users worldwide than any of the other digital modes, and will continue to be popular for the foreseeable future.
So, in summary, we are excited to be adding this new technology to our fleet of repeater assets. We are mindful and respectful that hams have a variety of interests and are proud to make so many VHF/UHF voice options available to our membership. If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please contact any Board member. And thank you again for your continued support of the North Shore Radio Club.
Meeting Door Prize
In an effort to spur even more interest and excitement at our already outstanding monthly meetings, the Board has unanimously agreed to have a door prize raffle at our meetings through December. So, we’ve got six brand new Baofeng BF-F8+ dual band handhelds ready for proud new owners. Each radio will be pre-programmed with most of the 2 meter and 70 cm repeaters in Cook and Lake counties, as well as the North Shore repeaters. They will be charged up and ready to go. So be sure to get a door prize ticket when you arrive at the next meeting. Officers and Board members are not eligible, so your chances are even better! Winners will be selected towards the end of each meeting and the winner must be present to win. See you there!
NSRC 2016 Field Day
Field Day 2016 was a lot of fun - many new faces, lots of Scouts and other youngsters trying out ham radio in the GOTA tent, and many dedicated operators filling the chairs throughout the 24 hours. While propagation was not the best, with very little to be had on 15m and up, we managed to produce 12,058 points in class 3A. Down a bit from last year, but sunspots were not in abundance FD weekend.
*** NSRC finished 23rd overall , #1 in Illinois, and 3rd in class 3A. Well done, everyone, for a top 1% effort! ***
Thanks to all for your help and participation, especially in helping us score those bonus points!
NSRC at Dayton 2016
The usual suspects and a few first-timers.
Amateur Radio - A 21st Century Hobby
An excellent introduction to ham radio has been developed by the RSGB and is available on YouTube here. We encourage you to share the link.
Introducing Boy Scouts to Ham Radio
We have set up a small station at the Boy Scout camp for the Northeast Illinois Council, called Makajawan. When I was up to visit last week, there were 23 scouts taking the Radio merit badge! The station consists of an Icom 7200, donated to the program by Icom as a loaner for the season. We also have a Yeasu 757GX, an older radio but which seems fairly reliable, and an Alinco VHF station with two Baofeng HT radios.
The boys have been having fun with the VHF radios running around camp doing search and rescue drills. The Icom radio is working very well both as a PSK demo and as an HF voice station. This is connected to a 20/40 meter trap dipole. The Icom works brilliantly with Ham Radio Deluxe, so you have complete control of the rig from a laptop interface. That was really a great deal of fun to work with. Greg Karlove W9GAK helped me set up the station and the interface earlier this summer. We both got more ticks than radio contacts! The Yaesu was not working very well at all, so I did some antenna repair work and got it to hear better, but I have little confidence that it will last the summer with the antenna we provided. The balun had a dead short!
I was surprised to see that there are no AM radio stations to be heard during the day, we are that far north…plus that says more about the state of AM radio! There have been hams stopping by the station every week to help the boys get on the air, and frankly, this might be the weakest link. We need to find a way to make the station available to the boys at night. Also, this set up is currently only on East camp, which has about 300 scouts. There is another camp across the lake that does not have a station at all.
Based on what I have seen, I am very encouraged by the participation and interest. There is plenty of opportunity for us to do more. Next year, I am hoping I can spend more time at camp and help generate more interest in this activity.
NSRC 2012 Field Day Video
This is a short video showing some of the activities at the 2012 annual ARRL radio emergency event, called Field Day. North Shore Radio Club created three HF radio stations, a VHF weak signal station and a GOTA, Get on the Air station for newer operators. This is ham radio’s premiere summer event. The goal is to contact as many stations as we can in a 24 hour period, so it is part contact, part social and all fun, especially when the weather behaves!
We have an NS9RC-10 Winlink RMS Packet server on 145.61 MHz 1200 baud for sending and receiving email over RF. Learn more about it here.
Northern Cook County Skywarn Net Frequency Change
Northern Cook County Skywarn (WX9NC) is moving its spotter nets to our own 147.345+ MHz repeater with a tone PL of 107.2 Hz effective this spring. Our 2m repeater has much improved coverage and we hope that more hams will be able to participate in spotting severe weather for the National Weather Service. Severe Weather Net controllers for 2013 are still needed! For more information or to volunteer your services visit here.