SCCARC Club Meeting Aug 16: GO BAG, Show and Tell

Greetings, All,
The August 16 Santa Cruz County Amateur Radio Club meeting will be at the Santa Cruz Chapter of the American Red Cross (2960 Soquel Avenue) at 7:30pm.  The discussion topic and hands-on presentations will be “GO BAG SHOW-AND-TELL”.  Club President Don Taylor (K6GHA) will lead off with a brief slide presentation, then demonstration of his emergency radio preparedness kit (aka “Go Bag”).  He will then invite members of the audience to share presentations (5-10 minutes each) about what their Go Bag contains, how it is organized, and why.
Don’t miss this hands-on fun evening, and share how you have prepared for emergency communications with others who may be just thinking about it.   September is National Preparedness Month…so let’s get prepared!

Please forward this to others whom you feel would be interested.

CAKE Crumbs     July 27, 2019

Greetings one and all  Having just returned from my annual family visits I am pleased to be back in the saddle (or is it Harness?)

Delighted to have some new members with us David KN6DHW and Arthur KE6DRD.Plus some familiar faces.  Richard K8SQB, Steve K6SBW ,Gary K6PDL. Rene K6XW and Glen  KG0T both made special efforts which is much appreciated.  Glen waswilling to find out something on the uP used in the QRPLabs U3S digital mode beacon  as it could he problem in the  U3S Ron made about a year ago

David is considering a vacation by train and asked about Ham Radio en route. A dual band VHF/UHF fm radio is well worth having and I suggest checking the directory for repeaters en-route.

Gary has installed a back-up camera in his car which appears to do the job at a modest price. I am considering doing something similar as rear-view visibility in my Honda FIT is very poor.

Arthur came up with a mystery involving the behavior of a strip of Power Poles. True to our hobby the case was opened for inspection and testing, a faulty LED was located.

There was some conversation on antique instruments and radios, which I missed. Rene is the go-to expert on all such items

We have usually met twice/month on the second and fourth Saturdays however I wlll not be attending the next session on the 24th.

Have more fun 73

Ron W6WO

BTW I just had a birthday and became a 16 year-old boy with 70 years experience

Can you copy at 20 words per minute by hand?

By Dan Romanchik, KB6NU
About a month ago, this email from the ARRL was send to the CWOps mailing list:
From: Fusaro, Norm W3IZ [mailto:w3iz@arrl.org]
Sent: Monday, July 1, 2019 4:00 PM
Subject: W1AW Code Proficiency Certificate
Greetings Morse Code Enthusiasts.
I have some exciting news that I want to share with you! The ARRL has reinvigorated the W1AW Code Proficiency Certificate program. Several things have changed beginning with our new sponsor, Vibroplex, a legend in Morse telegraphy equipment. If you see Scott Robbins W4PA and the Vibroplex team at a hamfest or convention please be sure to thank him for his support. The Vibroplex logo will appear on the newly designed certificates (see below) and in the award recipient page that will appear every month in QST.
That’s right, each month in QST we will publish the most recent recipients of the W1AW Code Proficiency Certificate, beginning with all the 2019 recipients. As a bonus, we are sending all the 2019 CPC holders a new certificate at no cost to replace their older style award.
The award is available to anyone who copies one solid minute of code during the qualifying runs. Complete program details can be found on the web at http://www.arrl.org/code-proficiency-certificate.
And to make the award available to more people we will double the number of opportunities to copy the CW text. Beginning September 2019, the qualifying runs will increase from twice per week to four times per week.
I am sharing this advanced notice with the Morse code clubs so that you can share it with your members. I have attached PDF files of the new certificate and the announcement that will appear in August QST, available in digital format July 8. I hope you are as excited about this as I am.
In closing, I want personally thank all of you who promote the use and proficiency of Morse code on the air waves and ask that you challenge your club members to submit their copy for the W1AW Code Proficiency Certificate.
Norm Fusaro, W3IZ
Director of Operations
Almost immediately after I posted this to my blog (at KB6NU.Com), my friend, Paul, KW1L, replied, “How does one copy legibly at 40 wpm?” When I replied, “Typing,” he countered, “On page 98 of the July 2019 QST, it says, ‘Legibly copy at least 1 minute of text by HAND…’”
To this, I replied, “Well, I guess you and I are both screwed then. I can’t copy by hand at 20 wpm, and it’s really not worth it to me to practice and get that fast. I’m guessing that I’m not alone in this regard. The upshot is that the ARRL is going to be sending out a lot fewer of these Vibroplex certificates than they think.”

I then emailed W3IZ for a clarification. He shot back, “By hand is to mean not using a code reading machine.” I suggested that he clarify this, both on the ARRL website and in QST. Of course, they haven’t yet taken my suggestion, and the website still reads, “Copy one of W1AW’s qualifying runs and submit one minute of solid copy (legible).”

Dan Romanchik, KB6NU, is the author of the KB6NU amateur radio blog (KB6NU.Com), the “No Nonsense” amateur radio license study guides (KB6NU.Com/study-guides/), and is one of the presenters the ICQPodcast (ICQPodcast.Com). Feel free to reply to his CW CQs at any speed you so choose.

NOTE: You can find an image of the new certificate at https://www.kb6nu.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/2019-Code-Proficiecncy-Certificate-Vibroplex-768×597.jpg

Field Day: Thanks to all club members!

Many thanks to all club members who participated in ARRL Field Day 2019! This year I was the “unofficial” organizer, and that meant that I relied more than normal on the efforts of the team captains. Please thank your team captains for their Herculean (or Xena-ean) efforts! Of course they relied on their team members for help during setup, operation, and teardown, and we especially appreciate the work of the volunteers from all clubs who labored in the hot sun.
  • CW Captain: John AC6SL
  • Digital Captain: Craig N6SBN
  • Food Captains: Angie KM6BHX and Robert KB6QXM
  • GOTA Captain: Ray W6LPW
  • Info Station staffing: Gary and others
  • NTS Messages: Bert KG6MBA and Cap KE6AFE
  • Phone Captain: Tom W6TJK
  • Recycling/Garbage Disappearance: Roy KF6KVD and Becky KI6TKB
  • Satellite Captain: John KJ6ZL
  • Safety Officer: Gary K6PDL
  • VHF Captain: Richard K8SQB
The Field Day wrap-up will be presented during the next SLVARC club meeting on July 12.

Getting loaded (antenna-wise, anyway)

By Dan Romanchik, KB6NU

A couple of years ago, I homebrewed a “Cobra” antenna (https://www.kb6nu.com/yet-another-new-antenna-the-cobra/). It’s a doublet antenna, meaning that it consists of two elements connected to a center insulator, where it connects to a feedline. The unique thing about the Cobra antenna is that each element consists of three parallel conductors connected in series.

My antenna uses a lightweight, three-conductor rotor cable that used to be available from Radio Shack. The feedline is 450 Ω ladder line that connects to an antenna tuner to give me multi-band operation.

Connecting the conductors in this way is is supposed to provide “linear loading.” Somehow, running the conductors in parallel is supposed to increase the antenna’s effective length. My antenna is only 73-ft. long, but it easily tunes up on 80m.

The ARRL Antenna Book has a short section on linear loading. It says that linear loading is a “little understood” alternative to inductive loading that can be applied to almost any type of antenna. Furthermore, “…it introduces very little loos, does not degrade directivity patterns, and has low enough Q to allow reasonably good bandwidths.”

As I mentioned, I’ve been using this antenna with good results for a little more than two years now. When I first put it up, someone mentioned the concept of linear loading to me, but not being an antenna guru, I didn’t ‘give it much thought. About a week ago, though, I ran across a link to the page Short Ham Antennas for HF (https://www.hamradiosecrets.com/short-ham-antennas.html). That got me thinking about the topic again.

This page describes a way to build a linearly-loaded dipole antenna with a feedpoint impedance of approximately 35 Ω. This allows you to feed it with coax instead of the ladder line that I use. The author uses 390 Ω ladder line for the elements. He says it’s commonly available, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen 390 Ω ladder line. You could probably use 450 Ω ladder line by adjusting the element lengths a little.

At that point, I started Googling. The next linear-loaded antenna design that I ran across is a design from M0PZT (http://www.m0pzt.com/40m-linear-loaded-dipole/). He built his elements from some sturdy wire and homebrewed spacers made from PVC pipe. He’s used this design for the 40m elements of a fan dipole covering the 40m, 20m, 15m, and 12m bands. Only the 40m elements are linear-loaded.

I also found a design for a linear loaded vertical antenna for 40m and 80m (https://www.qsl.net/pa3hbb/ll.htm). This antenna is only 7.736m, or 25.4 ft. tall. Of course, it requires a good radial system to work well, but it will work a lot better for DX than a low doublet or dipole.

Finally, there’s an eHam discussion on linear loading (https://www.eham.net/ehamforum/smf/index.php?topic=84418.0). Unlike a lot of eHam discussions, this one is quite civil. It’s worth reading if you’re interested in the topic.

So, if you’re thinking of getting loaded, errrrr, I mean loading your antennas, here’s a method for you to consider. It works!

Congratulations to Gary Watson, K6PDL

Congratulations to Gary Watson, K6PDL, for his volunteer communications workon our behalf.  For his work with County OES, Gary is scheduled to be recognized with a Outstanding Volunteer Award at the County Board of Supervisors meeting at 10AM on March 16th.  And Gary has just received his Certificate of Successful Course Completion for the ARRL’s advanced course, “Public Service and Emergency Communications Management for Radio Amateurs (EC-016).”  Gary is our first local ham to complete this training course.
Now Gary qualifies as Level 3 in the new 2019 national “ARES Plan.”
Thanks, Gary!
73, Cap KE6AFE

Photos from SCCARC Annual Holiday Celebration

Saturday December 15 at the Capitol Ihop.


IMG_1902k6ext chrismasIMG_1895

David Shoaf KG6IRW, SK

I am very sad to announce that one of our club members is SK.

David Shoaf (KG6IRW) passed last Thursday, Nov. 29th after a short, but valiant, battle with cancer.

Our thoughts, prayers, and condolences go out to David’s family, his wife Sharon, and David’s son, and grandchildren.


Davidl appeared at a CAKE meeting in October, and Ron (W6WO) commented on how everyone was delighted and happy to see him attend the meeting. David had a way of making a conversation light up, especially when he talked of the hobby he enjoyed, and the equipment he supported. Always an ambassador of fun, David’s contribution to any conversation was appreciated, and interesting.

I met David around 2011 when he attended the K6BJ Club meetings, and he soon became a semi-regular at CAKE meetings. Elecraft soon occupied much of his time,  where he became their chief support and event manager.

Through a series of conversations, David and I came to find out that we had crossed paths many times in life. From our shared background working at Hewlett Packard (David for over 20 years), at events when he was representing Elecraft (Dayton, Friedrichshafen, and Visalia), and at his other passion of playing at local musical events, like Bocci’s Cellar and other locations around town. One of my favorite times to say Hi to David was as a runner in the Wharf-to-Wharf 10K race. My annual visit to him was punctuated by a quick wave, and a shouted ‘73’ as I ran past, while he played for the participants, and waved back.

David spent his time helping others. Setting up an HF station, giving inspiring talks to the club on a variety topics like Amplifiers and upcoming digital technologies. In one talk on JT-65 (I still have the link to his slides), not only did he tell us about it, he actually went to peoples shacks (including mine) to get them up and running! All you had to do was ask.

Storytelling by David was still one of the greatest joys in being around him. His smooth voice incorporated a warm southeastern style, with a little mischief. It was his signature on (and off) the air. When you got him talking, you also found out about his audiophile and engineering background, and his joy just talking to folks. David always had an ease and grace in making you feel like you were his friend, even if you only just had met him. There we many stories told at events, but none where so special to him when he proudly talked about his son as a pilot in the Air Force, and David working him on HF while in flight.

I’ll miss a David as a Ham, a musician, but most of all a friend.

It is unknown at this time if a celebration of life will be held, but please let everyone know if there will be one.
I am sure there will be some wonderful stories, good laughs, and warm friendships continued and created. Something David would enjoy.

73, de Don K6GHA
SCCARC President


Some Images from the December 8 CAKE Meeting

Rene K6XW and old rectifier

Rene K6XW and old rectifier

The CAKE group dec 8 2018

The CAKE group dec 8 2018  The seated group from L-R are Richard K8SQB Tom KW6S Fred KJ6OOV Eric WA6HHQ Ron W6WO and Vic AE6ID

W6WO ESR Test Board

W6WO ESR Test Board

Fine 60s era amp shown by Rene K6XW

Fine 60s era amp shown by Rene K6XW

Field Day 2018 at Ben Lomomd CDF Camp

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Reminiscent of John Reihart’s break  though in 1922/3

First USA – EU amateur QSO on 2200m, used QRP Labs Ultimate3S transmitter at both stations

It’s always nice to be able to report unusual uses of the well established Ultimate3S QRSS/WSPR/etc transmitter kit. The majority of constructors use the kit for WSPR. But it can transmit lots of other modes too! CW, FSKCW, DFCW, QRSS, Hell, Slow-Hell, JT9, JT65, ISCAT, Opera, and PI4. In all their various flavours. DFCW is very slow CW, sending Morse characters but with both “dit” and “dah” having the same duration; to differentiate between them there is a frequency shift so that the “dah” is typically 5Hz higher than the “dit”. It has a very high signal to noise ratio when long symbol durations are used.

Chris 2E0ILY and Paul N1BUG report the first ever USA – EU amateur radio QSO on 2200m band (136kHz band), on 26-Mar-2018. They used DFCW mode with 60 second dits and a frequency shift of 0.25Hz permitting a very high signal to noise ratio. 60 second dits in normal CW would mean about 1 word per HOUR!

Chris and Paul both used their Ultimate3S kits to transmit the DFCW messages. Antennas are necessarily electrically short on 2200m, and so typically high powers are used. Paul N1BUG says he uses a home-made single FET Class E power amplifier, with 175-200W output; the EIRP is estimated at no more than 0.5W. His antenna is a 27m tall vertical with 3x 33m parallel top hat wires spaced 1.5. The receiver is a 9m tall low noise vertical feeding home made band pass filter, pre-amp and Software Defined Radio. Paul says:

“We used an old technique of night by night transmission sequencing and completed the QSO in four nights which is the minimum possible with this method. This QSO would not have been possible without Chris’s kindness and dedication nor without my trust U3S!”

“The receiver is a modified Softrock Lite II. The oscillator has been reworked to provide a suitable LO for 2200m reception, the front end filter reworked and significantly augmented. It is preceded by a 2N5109 preamp and BPF.”

More details are on Paul’s website http://www.n1bug.com/lfmf/

The pictures below show Paul’s Ultimate3S, and Chris 2E0ILY’s transmission mberswith the “O” signal report as received by Paul N1BUG.

Congratulations to Paul N1BUG and Chris 2E0ILY on this achievement!