Category Archive: News

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Ten Dollar Transistor Tester

Russ AD0QH brought this kit to meeting

Russ AD0QH
brought this kit to meeting

SWIARC Pres Russ AD0QH brought this Transistor Tester Kit to the meeting in September. It was fourteen ($14) bucks and tests resistors and capacitors too. We tested a transistor that he brought, and also a capacitor. You just stick it in and the included computer chip figures out whether it’s NPN, PNP, FET, or a component such as capacitor or resistor AND THEN DRAWS A SCHEMATIC.
I found one for ten bucks Hard part is getting brown paper off plexiglass

I found one for ten bucks
Hard part is getting
brown paper off plexiglass

It looked so good that I ran home and looked on E-Bay. Many vendors. A little skeptical of the Brown Ckt Board, but that turns out to be Brown Paper stuck to the plexiglass case, and that’s the hard part. No soldering.
No destructions None

No destructions

The circuit part comes in an anti-static bag. It’s all together already.
Look at this again Screwdriver points to notch that aligns with 'handle'

Look at this again
Screwdriver points to notch
that aligns with ‘handle’

If you don’t read the instructions (joke – none provided) you might wind up assembling it incorrectly. F’rinstance the little blue handle has to fold down 90 degrees into a side panel notch. Gotta think of that Before you assemble it all. [six (6) plastic parts: top, bottom, and four sides]
Runs on a 9V battery I used the old one from our Smoke Alarm

Runs on a 9V battery
I used the old one
from our Smoke Alarm

This is a really neat kit! Takes over an hour to assemble, especially if you have to put on glasses to figure out how to peel the brown paper off the plexiglass case, but when you get done and plug in a part, it reads out pin numbers versus component leads, and give you some specs. Great! We should have a couple of these for Door Prizes at McClelland first Saturday in March.

Election Results

Gary WDØCFC writes, “Albert KEØLOL won president, Bill KDØFJR will remain as VP, Rich WAØZQG changes roles from Treasurer to the new Secretary, and Greg Ross NØGR is now the club Treasurer.  Greg will also remain repeater trustee.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Omaha Fest Springfield NE

One of many power supplies offered at Springfield (This from a Yaesu 301)

One of many power supplies
offered at Springfield
(This from a Yaesu 301)

Every fest has a ‘theme’ in the form of a Lot Of Something or Other. I thought there was an unusual selection of Power Supplies – an Astron 35 with meters and adjustable Voltage and Current offered at $80 (they’re $200 new), and a lot more including this orphan FP-301 made to match the Yaesu FT-301 all solid state HF transceiver. The 301 is Ham Band only so the receiver is NOT general coverage. It came in a variety of models, the basic one a Twenty Watt input QRP rig, or with a 2 inch thick wide band amp on the back, a full hundred Watts. That’s what the power supply is for, a regular hundred Watt rig, and it has binding posts on the back to connect any other of your rigs. No meter, but you could put one of those digital voltmeter modules on the front (D&L sells them).

An ICOM 746 all band all mode (HF + 6M & 2M)

An ICOM 746 all band
all mode (HF + 6M & 2M)

The ICOM 746 was an earlier all band all mode that didn’t have 440. (Nobody’s on 440.) It does have a hundred Watts out on ALL bands including 2M. You haven’t lived until you’ve had that much on 2M SSB.

Astron 35 for sale $80

Astron 35 for sale $80

This is a really good deal. Even if it doesn’t work fully they’re easily fixed.

Albert KE0LOL offered his homemade antenna mount (looks exactly like com'l one)

Albert KE0LOL offered
his homemade antenna mount
(looks exactly like com’l one)

SWIARC member Albert KE0LOL offered his beautifully made portable Antenna Mount and a selection of HF whips to go with it. Perfect for Field Day. It sets up in five minutes or less.

Irma, Learning Experience and update!

20170910_150935Hey all howdy from sunny Florida.  They said it would be nice and relaxing down here – so much for that.  Thanks all for the prayers and thoughts – Ken AA0UU gave me a shout on IRLP today and passed well wishes along.  Hams are supporting the local shelters. In our town the club listens for

5 minutes at the top of each hour – repeater is pretty much monitored all day though.  There is a central Florida linked repeater system with nightly nets and some HF nets but I have not heard them.  Looks like this is going to be a good time to see what a guy needs when it hits the fan.

Got the Generator ready, filled up and extra gas. Stocked up on food, water, car is full. taking reasonable precautions – I didnt get plywood but I got some other stuff to board up a bunch of windows.  I even took 4 bifold doors off of closets to put in front of our patio doors to break the wind and shield them a bit.   Things get nuts – lesson learned – get hurricane shutters or plywood EARLY.

Gas stations ran out of gas yesterday, food stores were wiped out.  See ya alls later !   73

Joel , KQ0J   Sun City Center Fl


Well here is an update. We did OK – we stocked up on fresh water, had 65 gallons saved in a garbage can and various containers. 2 weeks of food and drinking water and beer and bourbon for medicinal purposes.  Medicines, first aid supplies, batteries flashlights etc.

Ham radio: All HT’s charged,  SLA battery charged and adapter for HT.   Deep Cycle battery charged and next to the rigs in case it was needed. Emergency antennas at the ready.   The local club did a good job with people stationed at the Hospital and nursing home and other places.  We had a Net at the top of every hour during the storm to share reports and any needs.   Hams set up an orange sign EMERGENCY in front windows to let neighbors know that they had communications if needed. If you had an emergency yourself you could put a pillow case over your street lantern.  VHF nets and linked reoeaters / IRLP were the best way to know what was going on in the immediate vicinity.

Emergency services:  Just a note -these are all suspended when the winds reach 35 MPH or so. If you have a problem you are just out of luck until the storm passes – they tell you that if you call 911 for any reason nobody is coming out until after the storm.   Shelters filled up early for the people nearby in evacuation zones – we were not in one at 45 feet above sea level but just a few miles from us were evac zones.    The eye of the storm passed 30 miles from us inland – it had weakened to 90 PMH by then and we only had peak winds of 70 MPH – just like a big Tstorm in Nebraska – only lasting for hours.   STRANGEST THING > NO LIGHTNING in the hurricane storms.  There were a lot of tornadoes in the storms and that was a bit scary in the dark when the worst came through.

If you are ever in that situation or for Tornadoes – get you supplies EARLY dont count on ANYTHING being available including gasoline or water – you need to be able to be self sufficient for a week or two after the storm.  Don’t sit on your rear end thinking that the ‘ Government ‘ needs to take care of you – you need to take care of yourself and your family.

Remote Receive Reactivated

We’re waiting for details as our SWIARC repeater committee has unilaterally decided to reactivate the remote receive site which links a second radio receiver at a remote location to the main 146.82 repeater. The question is, will 82 “hear” better now? UPDATED 17:22 9/2 Read the rest of this entry »

Tropospheric Ducting

Jake (ke0nkc) in South Dakota was one of several distant hams on the SWIARC 82 repeater Saturday night (7/22/17) talking with Albert (ke0lol) and some other locals. They were also making the trip from northern and eastern Iowa to north Nebraska.  Stations 200 miles away were talking on the club repeater, some full quieting.

Read the rest of this entry »

Designs by KC0KJK

Kevin KJK with new Loop Ant

Kevin KJK
with new Loop Ant

Kevin KC0KJK was looking at a couple pieces of RG-6 and thinking, “It’s not very long. What could I do with that?” Then he noticed a surplus conduit right angle box thingy. A quick trip to the hardware store to get a short pipe segment, and a few minutes work taking the insulation and center conductor out of the coax and presto, the makings for a Loop Antenna.
Kevin has already tried it on AM with a single wire pushed through the center of the coax, and has plans for 3 or 4 wires, switch, and variable capacitor. It was very directional with the single wire on AM. (You look for the Null if you want to use it for directionality; broadside if you just want to listen.) Here’s another look at the details:
KJK's Loop up close

KJK’s Loop up close

Field Day in McClelland

SWIARC met in McClelland Iowa for Field Day 2017. We’ve put together a collage from photographs for you to enjoy while we await the official results. Everyone enjoyed the good weather and lunch was served with those much awaited Omaha Steaks. Read the rest of this entry »

Heartland Hams of Iowa, Field Days 2017

Chris Skinner KD0IVV writes, “Our call club call sign is WØHLH (HeartLandHams) and we had 3 stations set up giving us the station-class of 3A-IA.  As far as the Heartland Hams are concerned, we didn’t feel like we were in competition with anyone except ourselves.  Trying to better previous years totals seemed to be the task at hand.”  See the full story… Read the rest of this entry »

100W Rptr Amp

Greg N0GR holds Bird shows 100W output

Greg N0GR holds Bird
shows 100W output

On Sunday, June 11, The Repeater Committee with the guidance of our illustrious leader Greg N0GR, installed the new 100 watt power amplifier and the PL tone encoder on the 146.82 repeater at Simms Avenue. The amplifier is a Henry model C130AB10R, which delivers 100 watts output with 10 watts of input. The PL tone encoder is a Communications Specialist model TS-64WDS.

The repeater had been delivering 42 watts output prior to this installation. Greg re-programmed the repeater to low power out, which is 10 watts. After confirming the 10 watt output with a Bird wattmeter, the repeater transmitter was connected to the amplifier. The amplifier output was measured at 99 watts in to the duplexer. This represents a power output gain of about 3.8 dB.

The PL tone encoder was also installed, using a continuous tone coded squelch system (CTCSS) (PL) tone of 136.5 Hz (PL code 4Z). This allows the repeater users to enable tone squelching on their receivers if they want to hear just our 146.82 repeater when the bands are up, and not any of the others in the area. If the users choose not to use tone squelching, or if a radio is vintage enough to not have that option, they will still be able to receive the .82 repeater as they always have.

A note on the PL designation for CTCSS operation. PL was coined by Motorola. It stands for Private Line. Motorola assigned an alpha-numeric code to each of the CTCSS frequencies that they use. 136.5 Hz is PL tone 4Z, 100.0 Hz is PL tone 1Z, 141.3 Hz is 4A, etc.


written and published by: WA0ZQG

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