Category Archives: Club Newsletter

Nashua Area Radio Club Newsletter Articles

Our Club Moving Forward Into 2017

Our club has accomplished a great deal in the last year. We have grown to over 130 members. We have introduced many new people to Amateur Radio, helped them to earn their Licenses and worked with them to  get on the air and develop their knowledge and operating skills. We’ve also worked hard to provide opportunities to enjoy and learn about Amateur Radio for members of our club and for the Amateur Radio community which we are a part of.

Much of the credit for our club’s success this past year belongs to you, our members. We very much appreciate all that you have done to contribute to our success and the fun that we have all had as part of what we have done together. Your enthusiasm and support provides great encouragement and inspiration to the many new members who have joined us as well as to all of us who are part of our club’s Leadership Team.

We, as your club’s Executive Committee, have been working on a set of goals and plans to continue on this path during 2017 – to provide even better opportunities for our members to learn more about and to enjoy Amateur Radio, to continue to encourage people to join the Amateur Radio Service, and to provide opportunities for STEM learning for young people.

Our goals and focus for 2017 centers around continued success in and focus on the following areas to benefit both our members and our community as a whole:

To do these things and to be successful as a growing club, we are also pursuing status as a 501(c)(3) non-profit. This will enable our club to more effectively secure support from other groups to further our work towards these goals.

Each of us has taken ownership for creating a focus on meeting different aspects of our goals for this year. We are planning to share more about our plans for 2017 at our February Club Meeting.

We are asking that each of you, as members, to consider how you can get the most from all of these and the other opportunities that our club provides. We are working hard to try to create something for everyone that can provide enjoyable opportunities to have fun, to contribute, and to expand the value that we all create and derive by being part of the Amateur Radio Service. We are also asking each of you, our members, to consider helping us with these initiatives in 2017.

  • Jamey Finchum, KC1ENX – Membership Chairman
  • Anita Kemmerer, AB1QB – Activities Chairman
  • Brian Smigielski, AB1ZO – Programs Chairman
  • Mike Ryan, K1WVO – Interim Secretary
  • Wayne Wagner, AG1A – Treasurer
  • Greg Fuller, W1TEN – Vice President
  • Fred Kemmerer, AB1OC – President

Most Hams Collect QSL Cards, but Seriously Folks!

Some of us collect postage stamps; others coins or perhaps matchbooks. There are a few individuals who collect vacuum tubes. However, one Ohioan has set a somewhat loftier goal: amassing a collection of broadcast-type radio transmitters. Gerry Moersdorf, KC8ZUL,  began rounding up such transmitters more than 15 years ago, uprooting them from their former workspaces and hauling them back to a large warehouse-type building in a Columbus, Ohio, suburb.

Moersdorf is quite selective, though; not just any broadcast transmitter will do. He’s especially partial to representative examples from the likes of Collins, Gates, RCA and Western Electric — companies that once supplied transmitters for the majority of U.S. radio stations — and they must be vacuum tube-powered “big iron.” He has no interest whatsoever in the compact solid-state high-efficiency pipsqueaks from the last several decades. “I grew up in New Jersey, and we lived near a dump — actually in Jersey, everybody lived near a dump — and as kids, we used to go down to the dump to look for ‘All American Fives’ [five-tube AC/DC radio receivers] people had thrown out. “The highest-power one is a CCA AM2500D which was made in the 1970s,” he said. “It uses four 4-1000 tubes and can make 7,000 watts. The heaviest is a Collins 20T 1 kW model. With it, we like to talk about pounds-per-watt, not watts-per-pound. It came out in 1946 and weighs 5,700 pounds. It’s built like an armored battleship.”

Moersdorf has winnowed his collection down from a high of about 30 transmitters to a more manageable (and easily accommodated) 15, explaining that one factor in the decision was the lack of three-phase power when he recently relocated his collection and manufacturing business to Delaware, Ohio.

FULL ARTICLE HERE:

http://www.radioworld.com/columns-and-views/0004/seriously-collecting-broadcastings-big-iron/339027

ARRL Kids Day on the Air

On Saturday, January 7th the Nashua Area Radio Club participated in the ARRL’s Kids Day on the Air.  Fred (AB1OC) and Anita (AB1QB) opened up their station for any youth that wanted to come and participate!  We also had snap circuits available with help from Greg (W1TEN) and CW paddles for those who wanted to practice up on their morse code.

Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate with us as it was a snowy day with slippery road conditions.  We had a couple of youth not able to make the event due to the weather, but we still had a few show and they were very enthusiastic!

Connor (KC1GGX) started the event off by operating on 20 meters and made several contacts.  Despite having a little “mic fright” he warmed up nicely and didn’t want to share the mic when it was someone else’s turn!

 

Abby (KC1FFX) stopped by and had two friends – Samay and Jaegen – from her Destination Imagination team with her.  Abby got the ball rolling for her friends and  showed them how to create a pile up – just have a young YL voice and the calls start coming!  She then turned the mic over to Samay and Jaegen and helped them work through their first QSOs.  They soon were comfortable with the phonetic alphabet and they had fun spelling their names during their QSOs.

Despite the weather, the kids had a great time and it was a lot of fun to see the youth in our club improve their operating skills and watch the new kids make their first contacts!

 

Mark you calendars for Sunday, June 18th when the next ARRL’s Kids Day on the Air takes place.  I feel pretty comfortable saying there won’t be any snow… but, this is New England.

 

First Homebrew Contact on my Scratch Built BitX 20 SSB Transceiver

About a year ago I decided to build a SSB transceiver for making contacts with other amature radio operators on the HF bands.  I was given good advice from both Bill and Pete from the SolderSmoke Podcast  to start out with a direct conversion receiver then go with the BitX as a fist SSB rig.  I am very happy that they gave me that advice and I would agree that the BitX is not a good first project.

After getting all the proper adjustments made and confirming proper operation with a dummy load it was time to put this rig on the air (I don’t need a case)!   I tried calling CQ using SSB voice but no one came back.  I then decided to add some relays and other modifications to allow digital modes.

On January 15, 2017 at 21:46z I answered a psk31 CQ from Josh K1JOG in Kissimmee, FL.  Little did he know that he would be making history (maybe just for me) in my first home brew QSO.  Below is his eQSL card to me.

Thank you Josh K1JOG for the contact!

If you are interested in scratch building this rig you can follow the photo link  below:

BitX by Ashhar Farhan, VU2ESE

Ashhar Farhan also sells a BitX-40 at http://www.hfsigs.com/

The units he has built in India are almost ready to put on the air.  You build the case / box or just go open board style!  You can’t beat the $59 price for a rig!

Below are some photos of my project:

Mic amp on the left LM386 audio amp on the right

A good place to start is the Audio “end”.  I built mine using perf prototype board.  FYI the 10k ohm resistor on the mic amp needs to be 39k ohm for proper bias.

Balanced Modulator
Balanced Modulator

On the balanced modulator, I used a mystery toroid core because I have a bunch of them and they did not cost much!

10 MHz crystal filter

In this photo you can see some transmit and receive amplifiers and the crystal filter.  I built some test equipment and used a frequency counter to make a matched set of crystals.

Mixer circuit

The mixer circuit is shown here with some coax to the left that is from the VFO.

Original VFO design on the left. Filtered SI5351 clock generator on the right

You can see the benefit of building small modules.  With SMA connectors, I can quickly swap out the VFO “soul” of this rig!  No more drift with the SI5351 chip! I ordered mine from Adafruit. I added a small LC filter to the output to make a nice sine wave.  I am not sure it is needed.

Band Pass Filter by Pete N6QW

Now I had trouble with the original band pass filter.  I’m not sure why but a quick google search on 20m band pass filter and I found a replacement circuit on his website.  When I told Pete about this he sent me a new updated design to try.  My PTT relays are 5v so the small heatsink is for a voltage regulator.  I also included diode protection for the replays.

Irf510 power amplifier

The IRF510 is more of a switch and not designed for linear RF amplification but it is cheap and works great for QRP.  They have different bias requirements from one unit to the next.  That is why you carefully set the bias level with a trim pot.  The large heat sink was part of an old high power LED driver that died.  I used T37-6 toroid cores for the low pass filter on the right. The 2nd relay was needed to prevent the output of the IRF510 feeding back into the original PTT switch and back into a nasty loop.

I am not sure if this rig will ever get a case or future modifications but I do know that I would like to see if I can make more contacts with it.

I would like to end this article with a quote I very much like from a video with Rev. George Dobbs, G3RJV

“Radio construction is rather like a pilgrimage where the journey is often more important than the destination”.

73,

Mike,  AB1YK