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August 8 Club Meeting

Mini-Swapmeet & ClubLog Presentation

Date: Tuesday, August 8, 2017
Time: 7:30 P.M.
Place: Heller Nature Center — 2821 Ridge Road, Highland Park

Randy K9OR will make a brief presentation on Club Log, a free web-based tool for producing DXCC league tables, expedition tools, log search services and, most-wanted lists for ham radio

North Shore Radio Club (NSRC) Swap Meet

Do you have unused Ham equipment laying around gathering dust that you would like to turn into cash? Here’s you opportunity to do it for free without driving 75 miles to a swapmeet! 

Back by popular demand, The North Shore Radio Club will hold its Mini Swap Meet indoors at the Heller Nature Center on Tuesday, August 8th. This will be our fifth annual Mini Swap meet as part of our August monthly meeting.

Any NSRC member in paid up status is eligible to acquire ½ of an eight foot or six foot table as a selling space free of any charge. That’s right, free!  There is a limit of ½ of a table per member. You may also utilize the floor space under your ½ of the table. 

You may sell any Ham Radio, computer, electronic items or test equipment, etc. Items should be limited to the types of equipment sold at our annual auctions. No beanie babies, fidget spinners, moose heads, chain saws, zombies, etc

Seller spaces will be reserved on a first come, first served basis. Two members can get a whole table together by making a reservation clearly indicating that they want to share a table. PLEASE do not show up with stuff to sell without contacting me first to make a reservation. That way I can determine if there is space available. We want you to have the opportunity to sell your stuff. By making a reservation you will have the best chance for a selling space.  Last year we had several members who we could not accommodate because of limited table space.

Space on Eight foot tables will be assigned first followed by space on six foot tables. We have a total of 11 tables available, eight 8 foot tables and three six foot tables.

Tables will be assigned by making a reservation by EMAIL ONLY. Reservations will be made by sending an email to me at my email address, hillharroff@aol.com.  I will respond to the members as I receive their reservation till we run out of spaces. Any leftover spaces will be available to members the night of the meeting. Remember, you must be a paid up member to sell at the swap meet. 

This swap meet is indoors at the Heller Nature Center. Sellers may begin setting up at 5:30.PM  Sales start at 6:30PM. Please respect the sedate and well maintained facility by carefully moving your equipment in and out of the building. No outside sales anywhere on the property will be permitted. You must clean up your space at the end of the evening and remove any unsold merchandise (or consider donating it for the NSRC December Auction.) 

There are no commissions or other fees. All buyers will be admitted free. Buyers MUST wait till 6:30 to be admitted to allow sellers to set up. Please respect this request.    

Please contact me with any questions.

73,

Ron Harroff, K9RH
Director, Auctions
North Shore Radio Club 

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Latest VE Results: 

The ARRL/VEC finally processed the VE session from Northbrook, IL for 28 June 2017. Here are the new upgrades and newly minted hams.  Congratulations to all.

73,
Rich, K9RD

Casey Diers KD9EGF Extra
Paul Davidson KD9BWS General
Benjamin Lind KD9IWX Technician
Roman Skyba W9AAT Extra
Bob Fieberg KD9IWY General
Sergey Kravchenko KD9EBS Extra
Robert Williams, Jr. KD9GGM General
Jonathan Lorenzen KD9IWZ Technician
Sharon Regan KD9IXA Technician
Tami Witbrodt KD9IXB General

 

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July 11 Foxhunt Recap

The 2017 NSRC Fox Hunt concluded last night at 8:15 with the hunters retreating to a local watering hole to share stories and misadventures. There were 12 hearty hunters who set off from Starbucks in the Glen Town Center for unknown parts throughout the large park. The park is surrounded by lots of natural features…there is a huge man-made lake, housing, offices, trails, wild fields and a fabulous prairie preserve. Well, that is exactly where last year’s winner, Warren Pugh, KC9IL, hid the little squawker.

First place goes to Pete Walter, K9PW…a veteran of multiple Fox Hunts, but a first timer for the NSRC. Casey Diers, KD9EGF, came in second. Using his simple old fashioned ruler on PVC pipe proved, Casey showed that you can win this event with even low tech…may take you longer, but it is possible. Don Whiteman, KK9H and Mark Klocksin, WA9IVH came in third followed by Dan Elekman, WD9E and Rob Orr, K9RST. Dan and Rob took the north routes and got to enjoy some deep slogging in the marshy land. Hey, you do what you have to do, even though both of knew there is no way Warren would have ever put us through such hell. Still, it was the shortest path from where we stood.

Several people came with a HT and a rubber ducky antenna and did well just pirouetting around looking for nulls.

Murphy always stops by for these events….he dogged George Slominski for a while, as he couldn’t find the right connector. Murphy also worked Rob Orr as well, until Rob realized that the squelch on his radio was set so high that no signals could be heard. Al Hovey held down the fort at Starbucks while the hunters did their thing. In total, it is estimated that the average hunter walked 2.5 miles for this event.

In keeping with tradition, the teams retired to the Curragh, an Irish establishment in the Glen for food and good times. It was a beautiful night, in spite of the heat and threats of rain. It was good to be outdoors and catching up with our fellow club members. Congrats to all who participated.

Written by NSRC Staff reporter, Ace Arrow

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Marv Michnik N9SXS (SK)

I have to admit, it took many repeated calls before I really understood Marv’s call sign, N9SXS. If you say it fast enough, well it sounds like more like something from a Masters and Johnson study than a ham call! When I finally met Marv in person and got his call sign right, I discovered the person behind the call. Marv was a passionate, caring ham radio operator. He devoted his valuable free time to this hobby, helping us with many local events and organizations. He recently retired and was expanding his activities. He was eager to learn and patient with the rest of us. I think many got to know him best as our Skywarn lead. He had a special passion for this activity and really worked hard to maintain our systems, recruit operators and be there when it was needed. His shoes will be very hard to fill…but we must as that is exactly what Marv would have wanted for us.

Pictured above is a shot from last year’s Field Day. Marv worked the GOTA station, helping many of the young people get on the air. He seemed energized by the youth he met. It was fun to watch him work with the young people to build up their confidence to talk on the radio and manage a QSO.

Several people have talked about Marv’s demeanor. He was a gentleman in all things on the radio, in person and when representing a group. The world needs more people like Marv, if nothing else to show us how we should all live our lives. Now, with his passing, the best we can do is simply reflect on his memory and the generous spirit he left behind for the rest of us.

Thank you Marv for all you have done to make us a better community.

Rob K9RST


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.

 


147.345 Repeater Now System Fusion

November 30, 2016
Warren KC9IL

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 (VW) 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 VW 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.


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.

Rob K9RST