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Saturday, February 24, 2018

Chevy Chase Country Club


Featuring: Skip Talbot WX9KIP - Storm Chaser                                         

Skip Talbot is a storm chaser.  He is also a software developer, pilot and amateur radio operator from Illinois.     

Captivated by and compelled to witness tornadoes since the 1990 Plainfield F5 tracked near his childhood home, Skip has been roaming the plains in search of supercells and tornadoes since 2003. He’s participated in endeavors from forecasting for a Tornado Intercept Vehicle IMAX movie, piloting small aircraft for aerial supercell shoots, to driving for the College of DuPage’s Thunderstorm Lab. Combining his programming skills with his passion for storm chasing, he created the software for the El Reno Survey, a study of the deadly and record breaking El Reno, OK tornado of May 31, 2013. Skip also helps run an all-volunteer, non-profit organization that raises money for storm victims called Storm Assist. 

We are thrilled to have Skip join us as our featured speaker at this year’s dinner.  Bring friends.  Weather buffs.  Really anyone. This event is open to anyone.  You do not need to be a ham radio operator to attend! The North Shore Radio Club serves the Chicagoland ham radio community. (

Saturday, February 24

Chevy Chase Country Club, 1000 Milwaukee Road, Wheeling, IL 

6:00 p.m. Social gathering

7:00 p.m. Dinner

8:15 p.m. Awards, Recognitions and Skip’s presentation

Cost: $45 per person

Banquet Registration

A banquet registration form can be downloaded here.

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North Shore Radio Club 

Amateur Radio License Class 

Spring, 2018 

Northbrook Fire Department Rich Davidson, K9RD 

Administration Building Education Director 

740 Dundee Road (847) 295-8845 (home) 

Northbrook, IL 60062 (847) 220-5771 (cell) 

Classroom — lower level 

Tuition: none 

Preparation in all written elements required for Technician, General, and Extra Class Amateur Radio Licenses. Preparation also for GROL, MROP, Radiotelegraph Operator, GMDSS Operator and Maintainer, Ship Radar Endorsement commercial licenses. Preparation for Radio, Electronics, and Electricity merit badges for the Boy Scouts. 

Text: The ARRL License Manual (Technician, General and Extra Classes) 

Topics: Operating Procedures Electrical Principals Practical Circuits 

Radio-Wave Propagation Circuits Components Signals And Emissions 

Amateur Radio Practice Antennas and Feed Lines Question Pools 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018, 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM - Electrical Principals 

AC, DC, Pulse, Ohms Law, Safety, E, I, R, X, Z, P, Q, Phase Angle, RF, IF, AF 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018, 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM - Practical Circuits and Electronic Components 

Analog and Digital, Transmitters, Receivers, Filters, Power Supplies 

Resistors, Capacitors, Inductors, Non-Linear and Active Devices 

Wednesday, April 25, 2018, 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM - Instruments, Modulation, and Emissions 

Oscilloscope, Spectrum Analyzer, Logic Probe, Techniques 

Mixers and Detectors 

AM, FM, PM, SSB, DSB, Pulse 

Wednesday, May 2, 2018, 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM - Antennas and Propagation 

Matching, Configurations, SWR, Transmission Lines 

D, E, F Layers, Skip, MUF, Solar Flux, Scatter 

Wednesday, May 9, 2018, 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM - Advanced Topics 

Smith Charts, AMSAT, Complex Impedance, ATV, SSTV, FAX, Digital Modes, EME, 

Meteor Burst, Direction Finding, Opto Electronics, Receiver Design Principals, Mobile 

Wednesday, May 16, 2018, 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM – Problem Sets 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018, 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM – Problem Sets 

Wednesday, May 30, 2018, 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM – Testing administered by the ARRL/VEC program 

Testing fee $15.00, established by the VEC, session is open to the public, location same as classes. 

Test candidates must bring photo ID and copy of current license


We Did It!
Number 1 in Illinois!

ARRL Field Day 2017 was held on June 24-25 at the Grove Cultural Center in Lake Forest located just a few blocks north of the Heller Nature Center. Our call was K9OR and we operated in the 3A class with a GOTA station using the call K9EAA. Our score of 12,410 points placed us 29th overall out of 2964 total entries which is in the top 1 percentile. We were also 1st in our Illinois Section, 2nd in the Central Division and 2nd nationally in the 3A class. This is our club’s most popular annual event that included 120 members participating in a variety of ways throughout the weekend. However, don’t let our success scare you away, we also have lots of fun socializing from set up to take down and we have a great Saturday evening barbeque. Field Day 2018 will be during the weekend of June 23-24. Come and join us next June!

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


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.


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.