Category Archives: VP Corner

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 »

VP’s Corner

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Jeff Fuller  WB6UIE   Spring is here at last (hopefully) and with it an opportunity to explore new trails, new modes and new frequencies. Like many of us, I’ve been stuck in my comfort zone on two meters for ARES and public service events. What about a backup in case one or more of our friendly repeaters goes off the air? Six meters may be a good choice for that backup. It falls into an interesting part of the spectrum known as LVHF (low VHF) whose characteristics straddle those of of both HF and VHF. Its ability to diffract around obstacles gives it somewhat greater range than two meters. And under sporadic E conditions, paths of 1000 miles or more are common. How to get on six meters? If you have a modern HF rig, chances are it already has… Read more »

VP’s Corner

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Jeff Fuller  WB6UIE 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 some new concepts? Then our latest additions to the OVH lending library (right)are for you. W1CRO recently donated several 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… Read more »

VP’s Corner

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Jeff Fuller WB6UIE 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 polo and nametag if you don’t already have them. Nametags can be ordered from the above link.  It will be some time before our next custom polo order. However, I have several generic polos (club logo but no name or callsign) available for purchase. E-mail me with your size and I’ll check stock. This year’s Virginia QSO Party, sponsored by the Sterling Park Amateur Radio Club, will take place on 17 and… Read more »

VP’s Corner

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VP’s Corner Jeff Fuller WB6UIE This month we’ll explore what has become one of amateur radio’s hottest high tech topics – Software Defined Radio, or SDR. SDR works by sampling the radio frequency spectrum and turning those samples into a stream of bits.  Sounds simple, but it takes quite a bit of computing horsepower to do so in real time.  Seems like just a few years ago in grad school when this was a computer exercise (submitted on punched cards) and actual SDR was just a pipe dream. Today, with the addition of a digitizer and software, you can have your own SDR running on a PC.  Here’s a short You Tube video covering SDR basics You can listen to a variety of SDRs from around the world via http://websdr.org/  Cascade your sound card’s output to Fldigi to demodulate digital modes. Or see how your own signal sounds on various bands… Read more »

VP’s Corner

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VP’s Corner Jeff Fuller WB6UIE The holiday season is a time for gathering with family and friends, celebrating our many blessings, and of course exchanging gifts. As I think back over the years, I’m thankful for the many gifts I’ve received from amateur radio – a chance to expand my technical skills, volunteer opportunities within the local community, and of the course the many friends I’ve made. I was first licensed back in the prehistoric era of the 1960s. Back then all telephones had wires and a rotary dial, there was no Internet, and computers were mainframes that needed punched cards for input. I remember running into quite a few young hams about my age as I made my first QSOs. Without today’s social media sites like Facebook, how did we keep in touch? We had “scheds” where we would… Read more »

VP’s Corner

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VP’s Corner Jeff Fuller WB6UIE 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. In honor of Veteran’s Day, here’s an account of some brave WWII vets who put their electronic  knowledge and amateur radio skills to work in an amazing example of extreme homebrew. It begins in 1941 with Wendell Fertig, a recent college graduate on his first job as a mining engineer in the Philippines. Having earned an Army Reserve commission through ROTC, Fertig soon found himself called to active duty as war clouds darkened in the Pacific. Within months Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, followed shortly afterward by an invasion of the Philippines. American and Filipino forces fought… Read more »

VP’s Corner

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VP’s Corner Jeff Fuller WB6UIE How many of you have mentioned your amateur radio hobby to family and friends? If so, I’ll bet you’ve heard comments like “Does anyone still do that?”, and “That’s so out of date. Everyone has cell phones and Internet now.” Well … if you’ve been following the news about the hurricane aftermath in Puerto Rico, you’ll know that two weeks after the storm most of the power is still out and less than 30 percent of the cellular network is working. The Red Cross went directly to ARRL and requested a deployment of 50 hams with equipment to support the relief effort. That “Force of Fifty” is now in place and providing communications support for hospitals and other key nodes [1]. So …keep those batteries charged and remember that we still have a very viable… Read more »