NoGa Meeting - March 2001
Subject: [NoGaQRP] My rambling notes on the NoGa Meeting Today 3/3/01 and other philosophical stuff!
Well we had another great get together at the North Georgia QRP Club meeting > today. We used the RadioShack.com training room and again filled it to standing room only.
I hated to report that Mike W3IRZ and I were unsuccessful in contacting our VK2 NoGa friends this morning at 7AM EST but the old Sol storm kicked up the A/K indexes and the VK6 beacon that normally booms in at that time was only heard two times in the hour scheduled for the event.
My ICOM756 has the neat Dual Watch capability so I could listen on 14.100 and simultaneously on the frequencies we were using (14.050 or 14.055) depending on the schedule.
It was good to see George Allgood W4GFA from Walhalla, SC make one of the
meetings. He said he had quite a foggy ride this morning to get to the meeting. George and I shared a neat TTF "To the State Boarders" event several years ago and make a hike to the tri-state corner of GA/NC/SC. We had a great day. Check my web page for a short write-up on this adventure.
Jim Stafford W4QO gave a demonstration on the PATCOMM 2 bander and I was the lucky guy to get to take it home to kick the tires. I'll me getting it back to Jim by next Thursday so be looking for a report from me on my testing and operating efforts. Nothing too scientific but hopefully a useful evaluation. My gut feel BEFORE trying it is that for the money it's got to be well worth it. We'll see.
Bob Confrey and I have customized and delivered all the K1EL K8 keyer chips to the members that have requested them except for K8EAB, K4HCM and W4DU. These guys missed picking their chips up at the meeting. So get in touch with me on the next delivery step (mail, visit, meet for lunch,etc).
BTW Bob and I will start collecting more requests soon and see if we need to get another batch ready for the next meeting. This little service is for the NoGa members only.
I got to demonstrate my hand crank generator/gell cell charger and my GA Sierra and associated gear that I'm using for the NoGa WAS effort. I got started late Mar 1st so have just started posting new contacts.
I measured my GA Sierra power when I got home and found I was putting out about 600mW rather than the 1 watt I have been saying. So this will be a good test for QRPP WAS effort.
I also got to show my testbed DDS VFO and PIC controller. It's a neat arrangement using the AD9850 DDS and the PIC 16F84 micro. The code was developed almost a year ago and I plan to build an ALL HF BAND Tx initially and then add the corresponding ALL HF BAND Rx section.
Since the AD9850 puts out very clean RF I will just need to have a couple of linear RF stages. Probably an simple 2N5109 driver (linear) and a push-pull FET arrangement. (probably the RS IFR510 - it's cheap and rugged). Hopefully I would need too much in the way of final filtering if things are really linear as expected. TO BE CONTINUED. You'll have to access the NoGa-TECH list on TOPICA to follow this effort.
BTW that's why you're seeing less traffic on the old NoGaQRP list. We're trying to move the more technical stuff to the NOGA-TECH list.
We are starting to plan for the NOGA club outing for ARRL Field Day coming up in June. We had a great time last year and Russ thinks we can use the same location at Dr. Long's farm near Flowery Branch as last year. It is a super location for what we need and I recommend that we take him up on the offer.
As a more fun, less radio, more casual outing event several of the NOGA group plan to setup at one of the public camp points along the Appalachian Trail in May (Friday night, All Saturday and break camp Sunday morning). Details forth coming. This is a fun get together with hiking, resting and eating to be on equal footing with any radio activity.
I would encourage each of you to get use to operating outside in temporary setups like local parks or initially even you back yard. It's a lot of fun to sit on your deck and talk to someone halfway around the world with a simple antenna and battery/solar power. I really brings home the idea that amateur radio should be fun and not just delegated to the basement or attic. This QRP gear will fit into a shoe box and you can really have fun.
Mike W3IRZ showed a number of his homebrew creations. He's always a treat to talk to. He's exactly right about having fun and learning by melting solder. There is nothing in ham radio more fun than communicating with other hams using gear the you have make with your hands. The thrill never goes away.
I have a short article on my web page about my efforts with my $10 PIXIE kit that I "enhanced" with external pieces to actually make a useful transceiver even in the busy 40 meter band. I'm still amazed that with 150 mW I have QSOed with 12 states (including SD) and that was more than a year ago. I had to stop using the PIXIE because I wasn't playing with any of my other gear. I had as much fun with the PIXIE ($10) as I do with my ICOM756 ($1K+). It's hard to believe but true.
Build a pair of Vectronics (20-30 bucks) have some fun. If you run in to trouble call or email someone in the club. We're here to try to help. We may not have the time at the moment but I will guarantee that the interest in helping will be there and the guys will go the extra mile to make it a learning experience.
SEVERAL QUESTIONS WERE RAISED AT THE METING:
Q. What do I recommend for making limited numbers (one or two) printed circuits?
A. I use a product called PnP-Blue. It's a transfer sheet that you copy your layout on with a Xerox copier and than transfer the resistance by ironing on to you PC board. Very simple, clean and almost full proof for standard sized components. check out http://www.techniks.com/ for pricing, ordering.
Q. What software package do I use for laying out circuits for printed circuits?
A. I use PCB Developer's Individual Assistant for Windows Version 2.2 in April 1998 If you lookup on the web you'll like many places to download demo (limited - no saving work) version. I think the cost is about $45+ to get the key to turn on the saving option. I did find it tonight at:
If that doesn't work search again and you'll find one that does.
These were specific questions raised at the meeting. that's why I'm addressing them on the NoGaQRP list. More details, questions, etc try the NOGA-TECH list.
The Joy of QRP is directly proportional to the effort you put into it. It's lots more fun if it's NOT a spectator sport. Get out there and try something.
72's Sam Billingsley AE4GX Atlanta, GA
This page last updated 08/25/2005