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 »
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) 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 »
Ole’ Virginia Hams supported the NOVA STEM Day event at the Manassas Northern Virginia Community College, running one of 35 information booths. Many ‘thanks’ go out to John (KG4NXT), Theresa (KG4TVM), Cat (KM4PBD), and Don (WA2SWX) who answered the multitude of questions from parents and kids regarding amateur radio. There were displays and demonstrations of digital radio, home-brew products (e.g., Raspberry Pi fox transmitter, crystal radio, WSPR, etc.), and other radio set-ups. NOVA loaned us a 50 inch Screen which we used to display FT8 activity in real time and also to display a world map of stations hearing us from NOVA using the PSK reporter application. NOVA also provided us WI-FI which was need for the psk reporter application. Three people were interested enough in our presentation that they asked for information on how to become a ham. We… Read more »
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 »
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 »
Our repeater committee decided to replace the 2 meter repeater antenna to fix the noise problems that have occured when there is a lot of precipitation. Ken, KE2N, had run a separate transmit antenna and the results appear to validate the theory that the antenna was the problem. When the new antenna arrived, it was decided to do an immediate installation because of national weather service warnings of a storm the next day. With only a few hours notice, Ken had a team of 4 club members : Byron, AK4XR, Gil, KM4OZH, John, KG4NXT, and Ken himself. The team arrived and installed the antenna without notable problems. Byron ,who learned safe tower climbing in Iraq, climbed the tower and installed the antenna with the rest of the team as support. Ken inspected the old antenna and reported “The old… Read more »
Wayne Phillips, N7QLK, is our new W4OVH repeater trustee. We thank Stu, W4PR, for his able service as our previous repeater trustee. As the repeater trustee, Wayne is the ‘chief control operator’ and can appoint and fire control operators for our repeaters. In addition, if you want to use the club call W4OVH at a special event or otherwise, you need to get Wayne’s approval. Thanks Wayne.