Author Archives: Jeff Fuller

Canteen Radio

VP’s Corner

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The approaching holiday season and year’s end are traditionally a time for reflection and giving thanks for our many blessings. This Veteran’s Day, lets take a moment to express thanks to our veterans – the young ones who are in harm’s way today defending our freedoms, and those who have gone before, sometimes giving all. Amateurs have a proud history of contributions during our nation’s conflicts. This Veteran’s Day I’ll cover a fascinating but little known part of that history – radios built by American and Allied prisoners of war. For a moment, imagine yourself as a WWII POW. You’re injured, on short rations, and living in primitive conditions. How will you find parts for even a basic receiver? And, of course, the design will be yours (no references or tube manuals). Since consequences of discovery by your captors will… Read more »

Pumpkin

VP’s Corner

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Cooler temperatures of fall will soon be here and, along with them, the beginning of the holiday season. I’m sure your family, like mine, has some holiday traditions which have been passed down over the years. We carry them on, not necessarily for practical reasons, but as a means of bonding and connecting with past generations.     The amateur radio family has its own set of traditions. Some, like QSO procedures, we use regularly regardless of operating mode. Others, like Morse code, seem at risk of fading away into the sunset. Many years ago, a Morse code test was part of every amateur radio license exam. General and higher license exams were administered at FCC district offices. I can still remember that crisp fall day many years ago, crammed into a room full of applicants with my 13 year old hands shaking a little as I waited for the code test to begin…. Read more »

boy scout stamp

VP’s Corner

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In keeping with September being national emergency preparedness month, along comes one of the largest hurricanes in recent memory. At this point, it looks like the impact on our area will be limited to a few inches of rain and some gusty winds. However, for those south of us who are in the path of Hurricane Florence, the impact will likely be devastating.      Ham radio will play an important role, both in support of local responders and in handling message traffic out of area. Info about HF traffic net times and freqs will appear on ARRL and ARES web pages. As always, two things to keep in mind when supporting any emergency. First, make sure that you and your family are safe. Second, do not self deploy. Begin by contacting your local Emergency Coordinator (EC), state what resources you have available, and he or she will let you know how… Read more »

My 4.5 Ah mini LiFePO4 and fused cable. (The battery came with Power Pole output connector.)

Mini LiFePO4’s

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If you’ve joined us in supporting Tri It Now and larger events, you’ve probably realized that the medium power setting on your HT (typically around 2 Watts)isn’t quite enough to provide reliable comms over the entire course. This is especially true if you’re using the short ducky antenna which came with it. How to improve coverage? Going with a larger antenna and/or adding a “tiger tail” counterpoise is one solution. Bill, K5AE has an excellent video on the topic at tiger tail tail video Or, you can up the power to 5 watts. This usually means buying a larger battery for your HT if you want a useful amount of talk time. If you’ve tried that option, here’s hoping you’ve had better luck than I did. Most of my my Li and NiMH choices seldom lived up to their advertised… Read more »

MOLLE vest fully equipped

VP’s Corner

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To those of you who, although new to both our hobby and the club, have already volunteered for ARES, TriItNow, and several other public service events, a hearty Welcome Aboard! By now you’re no doubt familiar with the yellow mesh ARES vests. They’re great for making you nice and visible to race participants and traffic while you’re out there with your HT. But .. where are the pockets? Where will you put your gear should you deploy in support of a real emergency? Here’s one solution. It’s a rugged vest with MOLLE loops from Canadian company Duty Apparel. Their compatible MOLLE pouches are ideal for your HT, water, and other gear from your ARES go kit (right). The rear panel needed for ARES ID (top right) is easily added either from an old vest or custom made (see Andy’s). *****… Read more »

VP’s Corner

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Congratulations to the OVH team for another successful Field Day. In true ham spirit, you braved thunderstorms and torrential rains along with high winds which sent your tent tumbling. And, as if that weren’t enough, you added a fox hunt to the activities and managed to fit in a briefing for a couple of ARRL VIPs. Well done! Of course Field Day is more than just a chance to enjoy some outdoor contesting. It’s good training for our role in supporting disaster communications. Some of us still get kidding from friends and family when we tell them about this role. After all, everybody has a cell phone now, so nobody needs ham radio. But just how resilient is all that modern hardware? Well … here’s some fodder from recent events for your response. Among the fires which erupted across the… Read more »

VP’s Corner

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I’ll begin this month’s column with a thank you to Hamfest Chair Don, WA2SWX, and his team of volunteers. They worked tirelessly to fill the vendor hall, provide a top notch series of drawing prizes, and schedule some interesting presentations like the wireless weather station by OVH member W4KRL(http://www.w4krl.com). Those who helped carry those big wooden tables during setup and cleanup can testify that there was also quite a bit of physical labor involved. Unfortunately this year there was one obstacle we couldn’t clear – the weather. Pouring rain most of the day really put a damper on attendance and resulting revenue. We’ll hope for better luck next year. Recruiting is up with several new members joining the club over the last two months. Some, like myself, started hamming as youngsters and are returning years later to enjoy the hobby… Read more »

VP’s Corner

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VP’s Corner Jeff Fuller WB6UIE June is just around the corner, and with it one of amateur radio’s signature events – Field Day. For OVH members, it’s a tasty BBQ, family get together, and a chance to have some fun outdoor hamming.  And, of course, a chance to hone our emergency communication skills. Emergency power plays an important role in our preparedness. For multi operator fixed stations, that power usually comes from a gasoline generator. Mobiles can work as long as the engine can keep the battery charged. What about a scenario where you need to forward deploy with emergency services? Vehicles can get close, but fallen trees and other obstacles mean you’ll need to carry your gear on a pack frame a mile or more to reach a good comms location. You could go with the ham’s traditional choice for this scenario –… Read more »