A welcome treat at the February meeting was Don Porter’s [AF5QD] presentation on Back to Basics – Using a Multimeter in the Hamshack. He discussed using a multimeter for basic troubleshooting on radio hardware and antenna systems, how to perform continuity testing on transmission lines, and safety precautions to take (for example a static grounding mat). He spent some time discussing using an antenna analyzer, and a few finer points of testing electrical components (like using denatured alcohol to clean out connections before testing). Some of the basic uses he discussed was using a multimeter to test power supplies, finding a faulty fuse, and checking recently installed cable connectors. Official minutes of the meeting can be found here.
Category: Meeting Presentations
At the January meeting, Mike McKay (N5DU) gave a terrific presentation on digital IP gateways/hotspots, specifically the Shark OpenRF module. He discussed different modes, uses, and module models, including pros and cons of different systems. He discussed in depth the Shark OpenRF system, including setup and operation. Some highlights of the device are: Supports DMR, D-Star (DCS, REF/DPlus, XRF/DExtra, XLX), System Fusion (FCS, YSFReflector) networks. Supports cross modem modes. Talk with your C4FM radio on DMR, and with your radio on System Fusion networks! USB powered, low energy consumption, 20mW RF output. Create your own private radio network! Also discussed were different repeater access around the region using RF hotspots. Official minutes of the meeting can be found here.
At the November CMSARA meeting, R.A. “Smitty” Smith (W4UDH) presented a class entitled “Six Meters, The Magic Band.” Covered were topics such as: what are the best months for good propagation; the importance of good antenna selection; and additional sources of information and guidance for those wanting to get into the 6 meter band as well as for all those already utilizing it. As usual, Smitty did a great job conveying his vast knowledge to the group. Thank you Smitty and a job well done! Official minutes of the meeting can be found here.
At the July meeting, CMSARA hosted our neighbor to the north, Glen Popiel KW5GP by Skype. Glen is the author of the recently published book High Speed Multimedia for Amateur Radio: Build a High Speed Amateur Radio Microwave Network (ARRL). Glen gave CMSARA members a jump-start for their MESH Tech Team, led by Rusty Yates KG5FSA. His book is available from the ARRL or from Amazon.
Few hams in the U.S. know more about high-speed multimedia modes than KW5GP: he wrote the book on it! His engaging style and witty sense of humor kept the crowd highly engaged throughout his talk. Glen shared his slides used in his presentation below. Unfortunately, due to a change in computer systems, the planned recording of KW5GP’s talk failed. However, he will be appearing in late August on the Amateur Radio Roundtable (w5kub.com) show, co-hosted by Tom Medlin (W5KUB) and CMSARA VP-Programming Frank Howell (K4FMH) using the same talk. We will add the Youtube link to that video when it’s online. (more…)
Over 40 amateur radio enthusiasts crowded the ad hoc meeting place for the March meeting of CMSARA. Due to the Tuesday election, the Association moved it’s meeting to a conference room at the City of Brandon Municipal Building to welcome one of the most influential amateurs in the U.S. Gordon West WB8NOA brought his best “game” via Skype to educate those in attendance on the “care and feeding” of ARES teams. For an hour, Gordo demonstrated key procedures and issues facing ARES teams in California and around the U.S. using actual radio QSOs from emergency situations. Moreover, he shared with the crowd his suggestions for improving emergency radio teams as they grow and mature.
Gordo complimented CMSARA’s motto of “We Do Stuff” as exemplary, saying that it’s important to keep engagement among ARES teams to keep their abilities sharp. By “doing stuff,” ARES teams have fun, the key to continual engagement. (more…)
We promised that there might be a hurricane at the July meeting. There was! Well, of sorts. Bobby Graves KB5HAV has been a leader in the development of both the Hurricane Watch Net (hwn.org) and the Maritime Mobile Service Net (mmsn.org). Some hams are active in this segment of emergency communications while others are fairly oblivious to them.
The Hurricane Watch Net was founded in 1965 during Hurrican Betsy. An informal group of amateur operators saw a need to provide communications into and out of the impact zone. The HWN has operated since during every hurricane that is projected to reach landfall in the Atlantic, Carribean Basin, and the Gulf of Mexico. It developed and maintains a direct formal communication partnership with the National Hurrican Center in Miami. The Net activates on 20M at 14.325mhz and 50M on 7.268mhz whenever a hurricane is within 300 miles of projected landfall or is a serious threat to a populated area. There are about 40 amateurs located in strategic locations around North America who officially support the HWN’s activities.
At the May meeting, Mike McKay N5DU gave a good, down to earth, presentation of the various options available to amateur radio operators involving digital voice communications in the VHF and UHF bands (and higher frequency). N5DU focused on developments in Central Mississippi, the coverage area for the Association. Being a practicing attorney, Mike spends his days getting to the heart of the (legal) matter! It showed in his informative talk to those in attendance at the Rankin County EOC / MSU Extension Service auditorium.
“Digital voice gives the amateur a much greater fidelity in the transmission of messages,” said N5DU. But, he added, it tends to be an on or off condition as the digital signal drops out sharply relative to conventional FM analog. The data capabilities are growing with the ability to send pictures and other forms of communication. (more…)
Remember the Haiti disaster? How about those in the Philippines? We all remember Katrina! The Salvation Army is a worldwide church who has a strong emphasis in disaster relief implemented through emergency communications. Bill Fiest WB8BZH attended the Global Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Conference held last year in nearby Huntsville, AL. He plays a prominent role in the Army’s emergency network, SATERN. (more…)
Wow! The crowd in CSpire Auditorium in Ridgeland on Tuesday evening, March 31, 2015, was spell-bound by the mastery of antenna and RF transmission line characteristics exhibited by Martin K5FLU. If you don’t recognize that call, it belongs to Martin F. Jue, President of MFJ Enterprises in Starkville MS. He is the pioneer of the “antenna analyzer,” originally called the “SWR analyzer”.
For two hours, Martin showed the fundamental characteristics of resistance (R) and inductance (X) as they play out in amateur radio antennas and transmission lines. Coupling the MFJ-269C analyzer with the ARRL software, TLW, he gave a virtuoso performance educating the crowd of about 50 in attendance in Ridgeland.
CSpire executive John Nordan said, “We are most happy to serve as host for this very interesting meeting.” They played excellent hosts with audio-video support and making the Central Mississippi Amateur Radio Association bring off it’s first public program in Madison County, home to some 150 licensed ham radio operators.
Mike WM5A, Special Events Coordinator for CMSARA, said it best, “A good time was had by all.”