RADIO AMATEUR NEWS & VIEWS, MAY 2016

RADIO AMATEUR

NEWS & VIEWS

MAY 2016

IN THIS ISSUE...
An External VFO VT City Marathon Essex Parade
Field Day 2016 Secretary's Minutes

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BUILDING AN EXTERNAL VFO
The May 10th RANV Meeting

Chris Degrassi, KC1BGK, will describe, and show us, how he built an external VFO for the classic 49-er QRP 40 meter CW transceiver. This project was from an article in QST earlier this year. Chris will tell us what worked as it should, and what did not, as well as show us his improvements on the original design.

VERMONT CITY MARATHON

Mitch W1SJ

The Vermont City Marathon is Sunday, May 29th. There is one key job still unfilled: Trail Bike. This position requires riding a bike at the end of the Marathon to keep track of the runners at the end of the race. Their pace is very slow, so there is no need for high speed cycling – in fact their speed approaches walking speed. If you love to combine ham radio and cycling, and interested this assignment, contact Mitch at w1sj@arrl.net immediately.

The Marathon is the largest event ham radio supported event in Vermont, consisting of 8000 runners, 30,000 spectators, 1000 volunteers and 32 licensed ham operators.

ESSEX MEMORIAL PARADE

Mitch W1SJ

The Essex Memorial Parade is Saturday, May 28th from 7:30 until noon. Hams are needed to serve as Parade Marshals who line up the participants, report any changes and march with them to make sure they all behave. This is a fairly easy, low-key event. And it is fun to march down Pearl Street with everyone cheering at you. If interested in helping out, please contact Mitch at .

FIELD DAY 2016

Mitch W1SJ

Field Day 2016 and it is time to start planning. The dates are Friday, June 25th through Sunday, June 27th.

Last year, we were dealt a terrible deck of cards with awful propagation to work through. This year we have lost many of our key CW operators and will have to figure out who will do the operating. Field Day is always a challenge! And I have no doubt we will rise to that challenge and come out on top.

New this year is grounding and RFI procedures to keep RF out of the computers and to keep the computers and generators out of the receivers. It will require more cheap and well trained manpower to make it happen correctly and in time for the start of Field Day.

We need a large support staff to make the operation run like a well-oiled machine. Besides the operators, it takes many setup and takedown people, as well as support people to keep the generators, computers and foodstuffs running. Field Day is the activity which brings us all together to learn the myriad details of running a large operation as well as having fun in a group setting.

Very soon, we will be soliciting your input on when you will be available. Field Day activities fall into these categories:
Monday June 21: Planning meeting
Friday June 25: Setup
Saturday/Sunday June 26-27: Operating and Support
Sunday June 27: Takedown.

Choose which activities you will like to do. Choose all of ‘em if you can!

We especially need operators for the GOTA (beginner) station as well as youngsters for the youth bonus. Bring a kid to Field Day - they'll love it!

SECRETARY'S MINUTES

by Kathi K1WAL

After introductions and establishing the important business of who will bring snack next month we began with announcements and upcoming events.

First up was NEARFest which is now come and gone until next fall. I saw many of our RANV members there. Hopefully everyone was able to score something they needed, wanted, or will be useful in the future.

May 28 The Memorial Day Parade in Essex, volunteers needed!

May 29 The Vermont City Marathon. I am sure everyone has replied to Mitch W1SJ as to their availability.

June 4-5 Museum Ships on the Air will be operating from the Steamship Ticonderoga again at the Shelburne Museum.

June 24-26 Field Day! We need help with set up, operators, cook, and tear down.

September 9-11 Boxboro Ham Radio/ARRL New England Convention. This is now being held the first weekend after Labor Day.

And in between all of these activities and events there are many contests and ongoing activities such as National Parks on the Air and Summits On the Air (SOTA) to sharpen your skills on. Otherwise, just get on the air!

Jim KE1AZ will bring snack for the April meeting.

PRESENTATION: Bobs & Logs
The Bobs, KB1WXM, W4YFJ, and KB1FRW talked about their favorite logging software packages. They have used many over the years, and as W4YFJ said, "If you search on eham.com you will find over 130 different logging programs that range in price from nothing to $129."

First up was Bob KB1WXM presenting Ham Radio Deluxe, or simply HRD. There is a free version of HRD, but Bob uses the premium version for $99 the first year and $49 a year thereafter. He showed some screen shots of how he arranges the various windows such as the DX Cluster, grayline, logbook, and time.

Bob showed how HRD lists award tracking. Data from LOTW can be imported and HRD will tell what is still needed for different awards. It also keeps track of QSL cards as well as prints labels for sending them. HRD has a rotator program and can tell how far away a contact is and the heading to turn the antenna. It lists and tracks satellites and the ISS.

He uploads his HRD logs to Logbook of the World (LOTW) and QRZ so he has backup copies of his logs in various places. Files from HRD can be exported in many formats. One drawback of using HRD is that it creates rather funky Cabrillo files so Bob does not recommend it for contesting. Bob uses N3FJB for contests and updates his logs to LOTW through HRD. The website is ham-radio-deluxe.com.

Our second Bob, W4YFJ, talked about the N3FJP software package. He used HRD for many years but not for contesting. One issues was that the screen was too @*!# small. In fact, when looking for a good program he found many software packages had screens that were too small or too busy. He settled on the N3FJB software. There is a onetime cost of $50 with free updates thereafter. The software is composed of an Amateur Contact Log (AClog) and like HRD supports LOTW. Bob uses the free version of HRD and sometimes FLDigi for digital modes. The website has several tutorials to show how to set up, customize, and do things with the software. The customer support is very good. N3FJP has many, many contests logs. It no longer maintains the state QSO logs for each state. The website is www.n3fjp.com.

N3FJP Field Day logging software is used for our RANV Field Day GOTA station and we use it for the Museum Ships on the Air when we set up our W1T special event station. Over the past several years N3FJP has supplied a gift certificate for their software program as a door price for our Ham-Con.

Our third and final Bob, KB1FRW, talked about N1MM. His visual presentation was cut short when the projector refused to cooperate with his laptop but he was able to explain the features. He said to install the full version then go back and install the updates. There was a major revision in the last couple of years.

While this free software is powerful and very configurable it is also very complicated! There are several instructional videos by Larry K8UT on how to set it up on the N1MM website at n1mm.hamdocs.com. Click on Support from the menu at the top then select Instructional Videos.

During the presentations there were a few comments from the Peanut Gallery. Carl AB1DD said he uses XMlog. KC1APK likes HRD. Paul AA1SU likes N1MM and uses their macros. Paul also said that with N1MM you can make voice recordings with a .wav file. For example, you would press CTRL-SHIFT-F1 and say "CQ Contest" then press F1 to play it back. For the exchange you would press CTRL-SHIFT-F2 and say “You are 5 9 Vermont” and press F2 to play back the exchange.

It was a very informative evening by three very knowledgeable Bob's.



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