Frequency Measuring Test, November 2022

We had three entries, the “official” W8EDU entry by Matt Canel and Jon Jacobs (IC-7610, GPSDO); the AC8XY entry by Rachel Boedicker, Liam Crowley, and Grace Ansburg; and KD9VUY with Ricky Anesi and David Kazdan. All did at least well; no one was “green box” (within one hertz) for all four unknowns.  More later…perhaps in April we’ll have less noise, a more stable ionosphere, and new antennas.  Right.

Homecoming 2022

The Case Amateur Radio Club W8EDU will again have a presence for Homecoming, this year on Saturday 8 October 2022. This year we will have four separate stations running, weather permitting:

The Glennan rooftop hamshack will operate either as W8EDU or as the special station W8M, in commemoration of the 1897 Michelson-Morley Experiment. The shack tour is the most signup-for event in all of homecoming, and we look forward to showing off the station and its antennas.

In the Glennan 3 Undergraduate Electronics Lab, demonstrations of electronics will include W8EDU with the club’s Elecraft KX3 go-backpack, which will be talking with the rooftop on 6 meters. There will be demonstrations of radio electronics, antenna directionality and polarization, high-voltage effects, and a control system.

We will also be QRV (on the air) from the engineering quad and from the Linsalata Alumni Center, all on 6 meters as part of the local network. We will add pictures as we can! Join us on 6 meters, probably on 51 MHz USB but we will post that here.

News as it happens…but join us for Homecoming!

DE AD8Y

A Club First – Transatlantic QSO Between Two Club Members

This summer, on the 14th of August, we had two club firsts in one go — that is, the first QSO (radio contact, for those unacquainted) between two Case Amateur Radio Club members across national borders, but also more impressively, the first QSO between two CARC members across an ocean!

The two parties involved were faculty advisor David Kazdan AD8Y, and club president Andrej Antunovikj K8TUN. AD8Y operated from his home station in the Cleveland area, while K8TUN was back in his home country of North Macedonia over the summer and operated from his hometown club: ARC “Stevo Patako” — Bitola, callsign Z37CEF. They tested several modes of operation to probe the 20-meter band, famous for being open between Europe and the United States during the summer afternoon/evening time, before landing on an interesting choice: Olivia.

From its information site:

Olivia is a ham radio digital mode designed to work in difficult (low s/n ratios plus multipath propagation) conditions on HF bands (though it also works as well on VHF/UHF). The signal can be decoded even when it is 10-14 db below the noise floor (i.e. when the amplitude of the noise is slightly over 3 times that of the signal).

If all of that sounds like jargon to you, the short version is that it is a computer-to-computer digital mode of operation that allows for data transmission over weak signal or high-noise situations. And my, did it ever! 100% copy was achievable on both sides, even despite the rather spartan setup that K8TUN had to use due to a failure of the USB audio interface in his club’s rig (for those curious, he used his phone’s speaker right against the microphone of the radio transceiver to transmit.)

All in all, the “sked” was a great success. The signal travelled almost exactly 5000 miles from grid locator EN91fl to KN01pa (fun fact: Cleveland and Bitola are on the same latitude of 41°N, meaning that the signal basically travelled along a parallel!)

As is customary for such a momentous QSO, the two exchanged QSL cards:

K8TUN opted to write his QSL on a vintage Z37CEF card from the early ’90s for maximum effect!

What We Did This Summer: Part III – Plans for the 2022-2023 Academic Year

In this final installment, we’ll be covering our recent and future planned activities for the 2022-2023 academic year.

All of the work done over the summer and the new additions to the club equipment have opened us up to new opportunities for demonstration, education, and expansion of outreach for club programming.

Starting at Spartigras and the Student Activities Fair, the club demonstrated and deployed the go box as well as the Icom 705, demonstrating multiple forms of portable radio communication and their abilities to be deployed quickly. Many students showed interest in the club and several have joined and 11 have already become licensed with 3 additional members upgrading.

As we mentioned in another post, for homecoming, we deployed all portable stations and all hands on deck to host a total of 4 operating positions at 4 separate events coordinated on both the 6 meter and 2 meter bands into a communication network, each with a different radio and antenna type. One station with the 705 and a 6m Ringo Ranger vertical was deployed at Linsalata Alumni Center, the Go-Box was deployed on the quad with a Par End-Fedz 6m antenna lofted into a tree with Case Alumni Association, our KX3 was positioned in the Glennan 3 Circuits Lab with a dipole made from components found in the lab and adhered to the ceiling (and a handheld radio for 2 meters), and the fourth station, our rooftop hamshack was operating 6m from an Icom 7610 and 2m from the Icom 5100 while we were also giving tours and helping anyone interested get on the air at all locations.

Our upcoming plans include a workshop to teach new members how to build an antenna, a series of demos of all of the new equipment and how it can be used, a cleanout of some old equipment to better homes, more exams and study sessions to license more people (if you are a student, W8EDU will cover your license fees), the impending replacement of our towers, a pizza party for our members courtesy of the ARRL (achieving the long term club goal of having someone throw us a pizza party), School Club Roundup, Sweepstakes, Field Day, and so much more.

Keep an eye on our website as we continue through this year as we post our upcoming events and recent highlights.

73 DE W8EDU

What We Did This Summer: Part II – A Donation From K8WFL(SK)

We’ll be covering the new equipment that we received as a donation from the family of Tim Price, a railroad engineer and friend of the station who sadly passed away much too young last spring at the age of 53.

Many thanks to the Price family for their wonderful donation of items from Tim’s estate. A crew of several club members led by David AD8Y picked up a large quantity of items, including several transceivers, the highlights of which include a matching Icom 7610, an Icom 9700, an Icom 705 portable transceiver, and an Icom 5100 for our center VHF/UHF position which can be seen in the photo below.

Along with all of the radios was an incredible collection of mobile antennas, portable setup tools, and a variety of handheld radios and receivers that will serve the club for future events including field days, foxhunts, and homecoming.

With this donation, W8EDU has also received and will shortly be deploying a collection of digital mode devices including dedicated Raspberry Pi’s for D-Star, Fusion, and potentially Wires-X.

Stay tuned for the final part in this three-part update; tomorrow, we’ll be covering our planned activities for the fall semester and for the 2022-2023 academic year.

What We Did This Summer: Part I – New Antennas

While most of you were all out enjoying your summer break, your favorite university amateur radio club was hard at work improving the Glennan 9A shack site. This summer, the club decided to take on a new project – restoring the antennas.

The tower-mounted antennas had not been touched in 5 years and maintained in over 10; so, even though they proved to be dependable, they were still in desperate need of some TLC. However, due to university regulations and requirements, that project will extend further than the Fall 2022 semester. In the meantime, the club’s technical advisor, John Gibbons N8OBJ, rallied the troops and got to work on an interim solution – deploying a GAP Titan DX omnidirectional antenna. On top of this, he and his team of dedicated volunteers spent hours during the summer doing whatever maintenance they could on the existing antennas, including the replacement of bad cables, inspections of the smaller (non-tower-mounted) antennas, and the replacement of rusted hardware.

The volunteers in question were:

  • David Kazdan AD8Y
  • John Gibbons N8OBJ
  • Matthew Canel KE8NZR
  • Nathaniel Vishner KB1QHX
  • Kristina Collins KD8OXT
  • Sergy Prokvolit KE8QFY
  • Ben Kaufman KB3VSC
  • Laura Gooch N8NFE
  • Mackenzie Elmer KE8RRK
  • Gabriel Foss KD9TOS

The end result? A much-improved antenna site that will serve the club well for years to come!

The project was a huge success, and most of the antennas are now in much better condition than they were before. The club would like to give a big thank you to John Gibbons N8OBJ as well as all the other volunteers who helped make this project a reality. We couldn’t have done it without you.

Stay tuned for the next part in this three-part update; tomorrow, we’ll be covering the new equipment that we received as a donation from the family of Tim Price, a railroad engineer and friend of the station who sadly passed away much too young last spring at the age of 53.

A Little Outing – Trying out our new Icom IC-705 on the Case Quad

Pictured: Andrej Antunovikj K8TUN (foreground)
and Matthew Canel KE8NZR (hand model.)

Today was an interesting day for the Case Amateur Radio Club (then again, what day isn’t?) — we got to test out some new equipment and increase the campus’ awareness of our club at the same time!

Andrej Antunovikj K8TUN, David Kazdan AD8Y and Matthew Canel KE8NZR took to Narnia to fish out a nifty dipole which can both transmit and receive on the 40, 20 and 10 meter bands, covering most of the commonly traversed HF space. Andrej strung it between two trees on the quad, led some coax cable out of it and connected it to the club’s new portable rig, the Icom IC-705. That’s really all it takes! Within 20 minutes or so, we were on the air. Andrej and Matt tried to make some SSB (phone) contacts, while David attempted CW — of the two, only David was successful at making a contact, partly thanks to CW’s ability to be decoded more easily. Our little experiment drew up a crowd of both people who had no idea we existed and members of the club alike; most notably, partway through the outing, Sergy Prokvolit KE8QFY saw us as he was leaving class and joined the fun.

We’ll be sure to have more of these outings, if the weather permits, of course!

W8EDU-Supported Senior Projects, Fall 2021 and Spring 2022

David Kazdan AD8Y was interviewed about coherent CW on ARRL Eclectic Tech’s podcast by Steve Ford, past editor of QST. The interview will “go live” on 16 June 2022 http://www.arrl.org/eclectic.