Western North Carolina Social PSK31 Net

Please join us Tuesday night at 9 PM for the first “Western North Carolina Social PSK31 Net” on 10 meters – 28.120 MHz which follows our Clay County ARES Net which starts at 8 PM on Tuesday evenings on the K5PRE repeater (146.955- 100 Hz PL).

If you have any questions or need any advice on how to get started on PSK31 feel free to ask any questions.

Additionally, if you need to test or check TX/RX of your PSK31 gear I currently run an automated and remotely controlled PSK31 PropNet.org station and software on 28.119 MHz (about 1500 Hz on the waterfall). My station ID’s 6 times per hour. If you call me (KK4EKN KK4EKN DE MYCALL MYCALL K) the “robot” will call back your callsign as well as log the contact on PropNet.org (click link to see 10 meter activity)
Hope to see everyone on the waterfall and 73, de KK4EKN

Convert a Mobile 2m/70cm Vertical Antenna to Ground Plane Antenna

On July 15, 2013 KG4GPJ, Larry gave a presentation on how to convert a typical “mag mount” antenna into a ground plane antenna.

0717131256a
MFJ 1401 – Ground Plane Conversion Kit

So the question is why would you want to do this?

  • Much more efficient, therefore a more effective antenna
  • Very easy to do – you don’t need to know all the technical stuff
  • Easy to implement

Generally speaking mobile antennas use the vehicle’s body as the ground plane, however most mobile antennas are capacitive coupled to the vehicle therefore making the antenna less efficient.

 

Monitoring Times to Cease Publication

EDIT: Watch HamRadioNow interview with Bob Grove, W8JHD

“Its time for us to retire.” The Monitoring times after 33 years will be ending its monthly publication. Grove says the decision wasn’t easy and was mostly based on the declining subscribers due to a slow economy and availability of content from other sources. Monitoring Times, which promotes itself as “The World of Radio All in One Place,” covers — among other topics — shortwave and broadcast listening, scanning, military, maritime, and aviation monitoring, equipment reviews, clandestine stations, and public safety monitoring. You can read more about the Monitoring Times ending its publication on the ARRL website. Source: ARRL – Monitoring Times to Cease Publication, http://www.arrl.org/news/em-monitoring-times-em-to-cease-publication

Social Media Integration & Site Changes

I have added social media integration features. That means if you have a Facebook, Twitter, or some other social media accounts you can now share, like, and comment on content from our website.

Those of you who have used the sidebar login on the right will notice that it is gone. A recent update to WordPress caused the plug-in to stop working correctly. The good news is that I have added the Login to the menu under the Home button, this should redirect you to the regular login page. Just login with your user name and password. I will work on adding a register page soon, look for that under the Home button.

I have also posted some new content. I have included all the local NOAA All-Hazards Weather radio stations in our area. If you have some additional stations, or have some ideas on things to add, just let me know. You can view this page by clicking here, or look under Local Repeaters on the menu.

WESTERN CAROLINA (“WAYNESVILLE”) HAMFEST – JULY 27, 2013

2013 Annual Western Carolina Hamfest 

Saturday July 27, 2013
Sponsored by Western Carolina Amateur Radio Society
WHERE: Haywood County Fairgrounds
758 Crabtree Road, Waynesville, NC
(GPS Coordinates: Lat: 35.533414 / Long: -82.960174 )

Gates open at 6:00 AM (you won’t find me there at 6AM!), Doors open at 8:00
AM. Advance tickets are $5.00, Tickets at the gate are $7.00, correct change
is appreciated.

Hamfest Flyer and Advance Ticket Order Form:
http://www.wcars.org/WCARSHamfestNotice2013.pdf 

KG4GPJ/R: Coverage Map vs. Real World

I’m always skeptical when it comes to simulations. Earlier this week I posted coverage maps of our repeaters to get an idea of where exactly one can be and be able to reach the repeater. However, what good is a coverage map if it isn’t accurate?

Today I had to make a run up to Robbinsville. On the way over I decided to ping the repeater going through Andrews, NC. My mobile rig consists of a Yeasu FT-2900D, 75-watt 2 meter radio and a 5/8 wave antenna, with some terrible coax that I need to replace. So I’m positive my setup is less than optimal.

Likewise very good coverage between my QTH and Murphy along the main highways of US 64 and US74. However, I was curious of the results once I reached Andrews. I was lucky that Charlie, KK4JTF was on the air and was able to hang out and have a QSO while I was driving down the road. Signal reports were pretty much on par with what I was expecting, scratchy but full copy. This was the case until I got past Andrews, about a couple miles past Hardee’s going along 74. My destination was just a few miles outside of the city limits of Robbinsville right off US 129 and gave one last call on the repeater. I was able to open the squelch but was not readable and vice versa. I heard only a portion of Charlie’s transmission and was below the squelch threshold.

So looking at the coverage map and my route, I think we can agree that the coverage map is remarkably accurate. Each pixel on the map is equal to 100 meters x 100 meters, so this doesn’t take into account of mobile flutter. At the VHF frequencies, moving a few feet in any direction can make the difference between an S5 signal to nothing given the terrain and distance. Folks up in Andrews may or may not get into the repeater down here, propagation favors those on the northern parts of Andrews and at the peaks of the mountains. Realistically however, once you get past Andrews it’s time to switch to the KI4AIH repeater.

Overall the coverage map is a reliable way of determining where you can reach the repeater with a decent mobile setup. I will also be looking into producing coverage maps and site to site maps that would determine coverage from handheld and low powered stations from strategic locations. It’s a good thing to know as hand held radios often have a -5 db gain on the “rubber duck” antennas and have a reduced range and yet are very important part of a ham’s arsenal. More on that coming soon.