Author Archives: Jeff Fuller

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June was quite a busy month for the club. In a span of two weeks we managed to cover the Warrior Bike charity event, Hamfest, Field Day, and a MiniTri – flawlessly. Well done Team OVH! In addition to celebrating our nation’s independence, this July marks another important anniversary – the 50th anniversary of man’s first landing on the moon. As a youngster I can remember being awestruck by those first TV pictures from the moon. It wasn’t until a few years later while pursuing a technical degree that I began to appreciate just how daunting a task the communications link design for the Apollo missions was. Among the challenges: – A path loss of over 200db ruled out the VHF communications used on earlier missions. A special S-Band (2GHz)radio and deployable parabolic antenna had to be developed to link… Read more »

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June is shaping up to be a busy month for club activities. We’ll have Hamfest, Field Day, and the Warrior Bike for the SOWW veterans charity. Speaking of veterans, this month also marks another milestone, the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landing at Normandy. Imagine what it must to have been like to maintain radio communications during the utter chaos as the first waves hit the beaches. Lets take a look at two radios which played an important role in bringing tactical comms to D-Day. U.S. ground forces found themselves on the eve of WWII with large HF manual Morse radios for headquarters elements, but nothing portable enough for the company or squad level. After several R&D efforts, the winning bid went to Galvin Industries, a manufacturer of car and police radios. Galvin’s design, the SCR-536, became the first production… Read more »

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As we celebrate Armed Forces Day this month, lets take a moment to recognize some of the contributions made by our fellow hams in uniform. This column, I’d like to recognize Edwin H. “Howard” Armstrong, W2XMN, whose contributions helped to forge the foundation for much of today’s radio communications technology. Armstrong grew up in suburban New York at the turn of the century and was fascinated by wireless technology. By age 14 he had filled his bedroom with wireless gear and erected a 125 foot antenna on his parents property (no HOAs in those days)[1] He was soon accepted at Columbia University where he received his electrical engineering degree in 1913.   America entered WWI shortly after his graduation and Armstrong joined the Army. Sent to France as a Signal Corps officer, he was tasked with improving short wave (<… Read more »

(Adapted from xkcd.com)

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Soon spring will be here, birds will be singing, and a young ham’s fancy turns to … antennas. Yes, as part of spring cleaning, now is a good time to check your RF plumbing or maybe think about expanding your antenna farm (cover your ears Pinkie …) A popular ham radio saying: “If your antenna stayed up last winter, it wasn’t big enough. After that last storm, I’ve determined that mine was big enough … Want to brush up on your antenna theory? Learn something new about gain, polarization, or baluns? Then our latest additions to the OVH lending library (right)are for you. W1CRO donated several copies of each to the club. Thanks Art! I’ll bring them to the meetings where they’ll be available for check out. How about something a little more hands on – like a simple mobile or… Read more »

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This has been quite a mind expanding week as I listened to John describe his favorite new digital mode, JS8. It runs on a laptop computer and manages to copy at subterranean signal to noise ratios. Wow, how does that work? And how did we get here? The journey leading to seemingly magical modes like JS8 began shortly after World War I as growing demands for commercial and government communications rapidly exceeded the capacity of manual telegraph circuits. A small group of clever inventors proposed a solution known as a “printing telegraph” or teleprinter. Its electromechanical keyboard and printer combination used a 5 bit Baudot code to represent 64 possible alphanumeric characters. Their invention was a resounding success and their company, the Teletype Corporation, went on to become a major supplier of telecommunications equipment during the 20th century. Both landline… Read more »

http://www.thesignman.com/clubs/ovhcart.html

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It seems our recruiting efforts have been paying off with several new members joining the club recently. When you see them at a meeting or club function, please take a minute to introduce yourself and welcome them to OVH. Club recognition has definitely helped our recruiting. So, as spring approaches with Hamfest and other activities, this would be a good time to order your club nametag if you don’t already have one.       Nametags can be ordered from the above link. It will be some time before our next custom polo order. However, I do have some generic polos (club logo but no name or callsign) available for purchase. I’m expecting a customization quote from a local vendor in time for our next meeting. This year’s Virginia QSO Party, sponsored by the Sterling Park Amateur Radio Club, will take place on 16 and 17… Read more »

Happy New Year

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As we enter the new year, I’m reminded  of a quote my faculty adviser kept posted on his wall: “We are surrounded by insurmountable opportunity.” Opportunities abound at OVH for programs, projects, and people. Based on your inputs, here are some ideas for programs and projects. I’ve added a couple of threads (links) to tug on for each so you can explore them further online. (1) Amateur Radio Direction Finding (ARDF) http://www.arrl.org/direction-finding http://www.homingin.com/ (2) Automatic Position Reporting System (APRS) http://www.arrl.org/aprs-mode (3) Digital Modes http://wb8nut.com/digital/ (4) Morse Code http://www.arrl.org/learning-morse-code Jeff, K9VEG, has established a weekly CW net for those interested in polishing their skills. See the OVH reflector for details. (5) 6 and 10 meter FM and Digital Anyone interested in exploring the acres of unused RF spectrum there for mobile,portable, and emergency use? Interested in giving a presentation or chairing… Read more »

Canteen Radio

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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 »

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