Congratulations to Nathaniel KB1QHX on his graduation – and on his graduation cap!
Congratulations to Nathaniel KB1QHX on his graduation – and on his graduation cap!
We (KB1QHX & AD8Y) are at the Dayton (Xenia) Hamvention with the ARRL Collegiate Amateur Radio Initiative booth.
We’re hosting a special event station at Grimes Field in Urbana, Ohio today to celebrate the Gathering of B-17s. Look for us on the bands!
We had a good time and good travels back and forth to Urbana. That red wire from the go-box got us through about 25 contacts on 20 meter ‘phone. Some of the stations will visit us Friday at the ARRL Collegiate Amateur Radio Intiative booth, Dayton Hamvention, Xenia, Ohio.
In August we bought a repeater at the ARRL New England Division Boxboro Convention. (See W8EDU at Boxboro for why we went and W8EDU at Boxboro part II covers the fact that we didn’t know what we were doing.) It is a MSF5000 and we have a tired looking but functional Celwave 6 Cavity UHF duplexer to go with it.
I still don’t really know what I’m doing, but I’m pretty sure that I haven’t screwed anything up thus far. We currently have a Proposed Frequency Assignment and are on the clock. We received the assignment on April 5th. Through Saturday May 5th we were in a 30 day objection period in case a neighboring state repeater coordinator thinks we might cause problems. I think objection is unlikely given our planned location puts us a stunning 60 feet above average terrain, thanks to the Portage Escarpment. (That lovely slope between bottom and top of the hill on the south side of campus.) We also estimate that we will be pumping out a staggering 6 watts of power.
Between when we purchased the repeater in August and April the repeater project wasn’t really moving forward. I was doing some research and acquiring bits and pieces to eventually get us operational. At the end of last semester we purchased a PiRLP, getting W8EDU/R registered with IRLP. We also got W8EDU/R registered on echolink. I want to say thank you to Jonathan Taylor K1RFD, for the donation towards the repeater, the advice on connecting with Echolink (from the designer), and for giving us the opportunity to meet a childhood friend of our faculty adviser AD8Y. It seems whenever we travel with David we find friends which makes the travel even more fun.
Our duplexer is being tuned and we haven’t built an antenna system yet, but plans have been made and parts acquired. (Most of the antenna bits we had, but I did spend ~$10 for a couple more pvc connectors and a copper pipe cutter.) The antenna will be a dipole in a pvc housing, but none of it has been cut yet. Also we will need to do some wiring for the antenna and duplexer.
On the plus side the repeater is on and nominally keying W8EDU/R into a dummy load. (Given that the coax I used is of unknown age and origin and the coax center connector on the dummy load was designed with an air gap I don’t know that much power is actually reaching the dummy load/heat sink.) The repeater responds to a couple of different tones right now, but I think that it will be without tones for the first on air test period. (I have to read about the system to see if it can be set to respond to carrier and also to parrot back a tone if one is sent.) The IRLP & Echolink functions will likely remain off until after we are pretty sure that the repeater is functional and isn’t randomly getting keyed from campus noise. So we will be using the internal controller to start with. The IRLP/Echolink set up will see us transition to the PiRLP for most of the control functions. That will require either I do a lot of reading up on Linux and the Pi or more likely this will move into the “somebody else’s problem” field. (N8OBJ I’m looking at you potentially, as you are comfortable with both Linux and the Pi.)
I have intentionally not listed the assigned repeater frequencies. When the repeater is ready for use and/or public testing they will be listed on the Repeater Page. However as it currently is transmitting into a dummy load and doesn’t have a receive antenna connected, having them won’t help much. We are getting close to being functional and the frequencies will appear when we are. If you really want to know the frequencies feel free to contact me, but I don’t know if the repeater ID is able to be heard two rooms away from it let alone out side the Glennan building so I’m mainly hoping to prevent complaints from having people find frequencies listed but not on air. They aren’t a secret, I just don’t want them to be scraped from the website and for it not to be there. Also we potentially could find our frequencies changing if complications arise.
We congratulate this semester’s licensees, both new and upgrades:
Now get on the air, everyone!
As of April 9th W8EDU now has Triple Play WAS Award #2037. Going into this school year we had completed Worked All States (WAS) for CW (Morse Code) and Phone (Voice). CW was completed in 2009, Voice completed on Logbook of the World (LoTW) in 2014 with a 2012 contact to Hawaii. We began the school year with 22 digital states confirmed and an idea that we could do this. The short version is that we got the other 28 states we needed.
That isn’t the end of it though, in December we experimented with FT8 and made a few contacts. Five different states of the course of one day (12-15-17 UTC). In March, well the best way I can put it is I got bored… Starting March 5th UTC I started playing with FT8 again. I was making a bunch of contacts, I started marking off states we needed for WAS digital. As the list of needed states got shorter I noticed something else as well. The list of states we hadn’t worked on FT8 was pretty short as well.
I added a new goal for myself pick up all the states not just on digital, but on FT8 as well. I worked my way down the list, then I looked back at the dates we made contacts. I had duplicated all five of the states we contacted in December and covered every state on FT8 between 3-5-18 UTC and 4-5-18 UTC. Between 00:39 UTC March 5th and 23:56 UTC April 5th I worked all 50 states. In that time I also worked Puerto Rico and various of DX entities along the way.
Vermont was the final state we needed for the Triple Play, Kentucky was the final state to confirm on LoTW for FT8. Arkansas confirmed on FT8 at 00:39 on March 5th, starting my run, I contacted Vermont at 00:45 UTC April 4th, at which point WAS digital (and Triple Play) was complete. For FT8 I still needed Missouri, West Virginia and Kentucky. Missouri and West Virginia I worked and got confirmed on the 4th as well, 02:44 and 02:53 UTC respectively. I had worked a Kentucky station, but they weren’t on LoTW. I got a confirmation for a Kentucky contact made on FT8 at 23:56 UTC April 5th to complete FT8 digital WAS.
de Nathaniel KB1QHX
ps I would not recommend what I did, I should have been sleeping better hours than I was.
A few months ago, Bill Barrow of the Cleveland Memory Project visited our station to look at a collection of QSL cards we rescued after the closing of Amateur Electronic Supply. One of them caught his eye: a card from W8WBN, showing the Terminal Tower. He asked us for a copy to use in his exhibit on the history of the Terminal Tower as a symbol of Cleveland, and we were happy to oblige.
We were able to visit the exhibit just before it closed today, and were treated to a fantastic collection of Terminal Tower memorabilia across the years.
To any archivists out there: those AES cards still need to be scanned and cataloged. Comment on this post if you’re interested in taking this project on.
We had a grand time this evening with some balloon antennas. During another successful deployment of the go box at CWRU Live, we took some of the balloons used as decoration for the event and used them to loft a 20 meter monopole. Even from inside the gym, we could hear a station in the Azores. We couldn’t make contact, though, and remarked that the go box was an elephant station, which prompted AC8XY to christen the new antenna Dumbo.
(An elephant station is a station that can receive signals easily but cannot be easily heard — big ears, small mouth. The opposite is an alligator station, which can transmit a loud signal but can’t necessarily hear other stations reply.)
Later, during our regular operating hours, Frank K1QCD and Nathaniel KB1QHX constructed a 40 meter monopole and lofted it with the rest of the balloons. With this antenna, they were able to make a contact with a station in Michigan.
Operating hours were a grand time, with visits from several prospective students. Many thanks to Cami KD8ILG, a visiting ham from Lake Erie College, for bringing doughnuts!
The balloon antennas were pronounced a good experiment by all. We certainly know what we’ll be doing the next time we happen across a bunch of helium balloons.
We enjoyed a visit today from nine members of the Gilmour Academy amateur radio club, ND8GA. Many thanks to Brother Ken KG8DN for organizing this, as well as our visit to Gilmour earlier this year. We look forward to spending more time with the students of ND8GA both on and off the air.