Saturday, 25 October 2014

The YRARC Hamfest is 1 week away!

The York Region Amateur Radio Club is proud to present its annual Hamfest at the Markham Fairgrounds. Doors open at 0630 for vendors, 0730 for coffee and snacks, and doors open at 0900 for general admission. Chris Wilson, N0CSW, who is the national sales manager at Yaesu USA, will be making a special presentation at 1030 in Hall 2 on the Yaesu Fusion System.

More information, including directions and talk-in frequencies, is available here. We are having excellent participation from vendors this year so you won't want to miss this year's event!

Many thanks to Geoff VA3GS whose efforts have made this event possible. Please come and support your club by buying some stuff!

Chris VE3NRT

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Notes from the Shack - October 2014

Computer Problems and RFI

RFI is one of life's deep mysteries. As my station evolves it comes and goes in strange ways. I used to blow my garage GFCI any time I ran high power on 80m. That no longer happens. The Carbon monoxide detector starts beeping on 40m - the power required depends on the mode with CW being the most sensitive. 10 metres makes my subwoofer growl.

More recently, a new problem cropped up. I noticed during the CW WW RTTY DX contest that on 15m my USB Keyboard or USB mouse would go off line when running full power. To reset then, I could just unplug for a second or two and then plug it back it. 2 seconds is a long time during a RTTY contest but fortunately both weren't disconnected at the same time, so I could respond to a call with either.

The next day, while transmitting on 17m, the computer downstairs started throwing errors while I was copying some large files. A longer second transmission threw the disk drive off line completely and I had to restart the computer to get it working again. The next day I powered up my desktop system and got the blue screen of death. Hours of testing revealed that my SSD had failed completely. It's under warranty so the manufacturer will send me a blank one in return for the defective one. Whether RFI contributed to the demise of the SSD I'll never know - but so much for SSD reliability - I've gone back to hard drives, and added mirroring because I don't want to have that happen again.

Finally, a couple of days ago, while reinstalling software on the computer, I noticed a loose connection on my power supply. It turned out the U-shaped lug on the negative side of the supply to the transceiver was completed detached from the supply. Now one might think that this would have rendered the transceiver inoperable. However it seemed to be working perfectly normally! It is likely that the return path was made either through station grounding or the much thinner gauge power circuit to the antenna tuner.

Once the connection was fixed, I could transmit full power on 15 metres without upsetting the station computer at all. Good thing, because my opportunity test it was trying to reach W1AW/KH0 in the Mariana Islands on RTTY. I could barely copy him and needed all the power I had to get through.

One must learn from one's mistakes - and so I should be glad that I have so many opportunities to become more knowledgeable.


Sunday, 5 October 2014

YRARC General Meeting Minutes 2014-09-02

Meeting held at the Sharon Temperance Hall. The meeting was called to order at 19:35. Chaired by Chris VE3NRT. 39 members and 2 guest in attendance.
  1. Agenda
    • The agenda for the meeting was presented (attachment #1). Barry VA3LLT requested that an item be added to the agenda to discuss the trailer. Item was added.
  2. Minutes of the last meeting:
    • Motion 2014-09-02-01 by Bill VA3QB to approve the minutes of the June 3rd General Meeting as published in the Splatter Blog, seconded by Barry VA3LLT. Motion carried.
    • Motion 2014-09-02-02 by Bill VA3QB to approve the minutes of the June 3rd Annual General Meeting as published in the Splatter Blog, seconded by Glen VA3AU. Motion carried.
  3. Opening remarks:
    • Chris VE3NRT presented the new board, highlighting that there is still one open position to be filled.
      • Chris VE3NRT - President
      • Rob VE3RQB – Vice-President, Property
      • Chris VA3DXZ - Secretary
      • John VA3JI - Treasurer
      • Eric VE3OIC VE3EB – Events chair
      • Dave VA3DCY - Events
      • Geoff VA3GS – Membership, Hamfest, …
      • Barry VA3LLT - Property
      • Steve VE3UT – TBA…
      • Open
    • Club’s accomplishments of the last year
      • the purchase of a large storage container to house club property,
      • reconstruction of the tower trailer,
      • improvements to the communications trailer,
      • the basic license class,
      • the microprocessor project night, and
      • a very successful field day
    • Old news and gossip
      • Two letter calls OIC->EB, PIP->EZ
      • Brad VE3HII moved to Beeton
      • Chris VA3DXZ moved to Schomberg
      • Anthony VE3HIS put up a tower
      • Chris VE3NRT talked to his neighbour about maybe putting up a tower
      • Bruce retired to his country home in FN05
      • Hamfest back to Markham Fairgrounds
      • Equipment donations received
    • Goals for the coming year
      • Increase membership; Another class in the Spring, Marketing (mostly free) activities, Member survey
      • Another project night – Thanks Brad!
      • Special Event Station – 177th anniversary of the Toronto Rebellion
      • Community Service Tracking
      • Balanced Budget
  4. Financial update, John VA3JI (Attachment #2)
    • FY 2015 Opening balance [available to members on request to Treasurer]
      • Income (July and August) $500.00
      • Disbursements (July and August) $1,215.70
      • Closing balance Aug 31st [available to members on request to Treasurer]
    • Pending items
      • Payments for field day
      • income for Hamfest tables
    • A special meeting will be called to approve the audit
  5. Field day Steve VE3UT
    • Participation by members was up this year. A lot of fun had by many people.
    • Total score submitted to ARRL was 3,598, slightly higher than last year at 3,496 See Field Day report prepared by Steve VE3UT
  6. Public service update Eric VE3EB
    • Eric thanked those people who volunteered their time over the summer to support the community events
    • Volunteers needed for upcoming events; Sharon Temple Illumination, Markham Fair, and CIBC Run for the Cure
  7. Hamfest Geoff VA3GS
    • Hamfest is the largest fundraising event for the club and volunteers are needed to support the event
    • Don VE3IXJ thanked Russell VA3WTR for his work and support of the Markham Fair organizers which led to improved pricing for the club and the ability to relocate the Hamfest to the Markham Fairgrounds site
  8. Communications trailer Barry VA3LLT
    • Barry reported that the communications trailer has been deployed to many public service events throughout the summer
  9. 6m Net is still on 8PM Monday evenings at 50.135 USB
Meeting adjourned at 21:30 following a presentation by Don VE3IXJ on his work with portable repeaters. Don has been experimenting with the Surecom SR 328 Duplex Repeater Controller and the SR 112 Simplex Controllers interfaced to various HTs. The duplex controller is used with a Sinclair MR356E Duplexor (F1 458Mhz, F2 468Mhz).