Category Archive: News

The default category if the posting party is too lazy to select another for the story. Trump says this is Fake News!

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.

Don’t Talk

This is what the Sun looks like when you filter out ALL the other frequencies

This is what the Sun looks like
when you filter out
ALL the other frequencies

There will be a spectacle. People act nuts at eclipses. Funny, but it underlines how these things affect us. Primal reflexes I guess. I saw one at Torrey Pines, CA, a few years ago. Those people were really weird. Costumes, bonfires, chants. Nebraskans won’t be quite so entertaining.

It will be interesting to see how Midwesterners handle this. There are those who will go about their normal routine, ignoring the fact that it becomes dark at midday.

Stay away from any lights that come on at dark, i.e. streetlights, advertising.

Take a thermometer, place it in the shade and note how the temperature drops during the event.

While the light level decreases as the partial phase progresses, your eyes will adapt and you’ll not notice it until a couple minutes before totality. Perhaps use an old fashion light meter or one that reads foot-candles, and note the lowering light level. At 50% obscuration your eyes won’t even notice it, but a light meter will.

You will notice an odd coloration change as less direct sunlight reaches you. Normally at low light levels, the colors are reddened (by sunset) but during an eclipse it darkens with no sunset. This has an unsettling effect on your sub conscience. Twilight, even darkness while the Sun is overhead. Your brain doesn’t know how to interpret that combination.

When your sunlight is emanating from just a tiny piece of the Sun, there is a sharpening of shadows, and there are tiny images of the Sun on the ground, beneath things like trees, as the light gets through the countless gaps in the obstructions.

Carry a cardboard, about 2 feet square, with a few holes near the middle, from a pinhole up to about 3/8″, and watch how they make images of the Sun on the ground as the partial phase advances. Maybe take a white sheet or tablecloth to project onto.

A few seconds prior to totality you may see “shadow bands” of light moving across the sheet. Wavy. It is a phenomenal thing, not fully understood. Probably an interference pattern.

There is so much going on. Don’t miss anything. Watch any wildlife. Watch other people.

Don’t spend a lot of effort trying to photograph this event, focus on the overall experience.

George KD0NME


300 Watt Duo Band 84 was made in Council Bluffs

300 Watt Duo Band 84
was made in Council Bluffs

This is the inside back cover of ’73’ magazine from April of 1966, way before Japanese rigs took over the market. WRL, right here in Council Bluffs IA, run by Leo Meyerson W0GFQ, was making the Galaxy V, an equivalent of the much more expensive Collins KWM-2, and also had this dual band HF rig for only $159 or $8 a month if you couldn’t come up with that much cash all at once. (A new Pontiac sedan could be had for $3000.)

Chmn/Board Sheraton owns National NCX-5 HF transceiver

Chmn/Board Sheraton
owns National NCX-5
HF transceiver

Or, if you had the money and wanted a little more status and all five bands, you could buy a NATIONAL NCX-5 for (see the small print at bottom of ad) $685. Pic shows NCX-5, optional VFO for HF split operation, power supply – speaker, and 2kW linear (that’s another $685).
KENWOOD came out with the 520 in early 1970s, the first few with a planar dial around the main tuning knob, but all after a conical section (tapered angle) dial. The 520 was all transistor except for 12BY7 driver and 2 x S-2001 finals (similar to 6146), and had all features included – Noise blanker etc. The later 520-S had 160M, and the still later 520SE only cost $599 versus $629.
Covers on '73' were often interesting/memorable or even collectable

Covers on ’73’ were often
or even collectable

Wayne Green W2NSD was editor of 73 magazine, and famously argumentative with the ARRL. He put out really interesting magazines. Note the cover here – reminiscent of another mag with the slogan ‘ENTERTAINMENT FOR’ their readers. He later ventured into computers with BYTE magazine until it was wrested from him; then KILOBYTExxx KILOBAUD, 80 Microcomputing about Tandy/Radio Shack computer, inCIDER for Apple, and a few more. The 80 Micro mags ran to 4-500 pages; over 600 once.
73 magazine was alternative to QST and more interesting

73 magazine
was alternative to QST
and more interesting

What’s Wrong Here

Astron 50 ready for mod

Astron 50
ready for mod

OK, here’s my idea: I’m using an Astron 50 for Field Day, but want to have backup if the power fails or at least receive function while the generator is being refueled, so I’m hooking up a solar panel to the filter capacitors in the Astron (right after the diode bridge rectifier).
The Astron will handle all normal functions, and indeed, with the solar panel addition will not have to work so hard (1 Amp worth) and that will save a little bit of gas on the generator. Then, if the power fails, the panel (it’ll have a diode to prevent reverse current) will be regulated down to 13.8 by the Astron circuitry and power the HF rig enough to receive.
F/Day Solar Panel (white wire to Astron)

F/Day Solar Panel
(white wire to Astron)

Is this a good idea or what? (insert Smiling Emoji)
Solar costs a lot! Sure, it’s great powering a radio out in the boonies, or for certain ‘low power’ applications where it’s inconvenient to run an AC wire, but for things like running your house and the air-conditioner it gets really expensive compared to the 10c/kWh commercial AC.
The dividing line is somewhere around a 60 Watt light bulb. If your basement is dark you can screw in a 60W bulb and run it all year, about 8000 hours, for (60 x 24 x 365 divided by 1000 times 10 cents) about fifty ($52) two bucks. You’re using 525 kWh of electricity doing that. How many 45 Watt Harbor Freight panels would it take to supply the 1.4 kilowatts you need every day? (The panels produce 0.180 kWh in 4 hours of sun if it’s not cloudy, and then you need some big batteries.)
P. S. The bulb, rated at 1500 hours, will last about 8000 if you never turn it off. Same advantage for tubes in WOW TV’s transmitter.
The ASTRON 50 idles at about 60 Watts with nothing connected. When the power goes off your panel’s precious milliamps, 750 of them, will be partially wasted running the regulator circuitry. There won’t be enough left to run a Yaesu 857 which draws 550 mA squelched and around an Amp with the audio on.
Note: The Harbor Freight three (3) panel setup runs 15W per panel. The single panel shown above doesn’t come close to making a full Amp. I mean 750 maybe, but never an Amp unless you get some big mirrors.

Portable HF Antenna

Patrick KD5LRO holds the  ALL ALUMINUM portable antenna base

Patrick KD5LRO holds the
portable antenna base

At our heavily advertised 4th Thursday May meeting, Joe K0NEB (ex WA0WRI) gave us a lot of history and info on the most popular Hamfest, the Dayton Hamvention, including the recent move to a new arena with pictures and videos from this year’s and other shows going back over 20 years. (Joe went to every one of them)
Joe went first so he could get back to his Lincoln NE home at a decent time, so after another hour of business meeting the secondary program of Albert KE0LOL showing off his newly constructed PORTABLE ANTENNA MOUNT was not seen by all.
Tripod mount looks the same as a multi-hundred dollar mount available for the 'Outbacker'

Tripod mount looks the same
as a multi-hundred dollar mount
available for the ‘Outbacker’

Albert found instructions and measurements on the internet and used his home workshop to make a really nice looking and working portable antenna base. It’s all aluminum as demoed by Patrick LRO holding it up with one hand.
Legs unfold to positive stops, and panels hinge out flat to make capacitive contact with ‘ground’ to make it work better. The mount takes a standard 3/8 by 24 thread screw base. Albert brought along a Hustler 20M whip, but you can use any other brand (Lakeview etc.) or a full size quarter wave if you wish. Just the thing for a quick F/Day setup.
Here's the detail  of the folding ground panel at the bottom

Here’s the detail
of the folding ground panel
at the bottom

With these closeups you could almost make your own

With these closeups
you could almost
make your own

Clean Bill of Health

Saturday morning (5/13) the SWIARC repeater was under the medical scrutiny of engineer John KB0QKH and trustee Greg N0GR. The examination included a sweep of the antenna, feed line, and duplexer. With the microscope applied, what did the doctors discover?

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Electric Avenue

Council Bluffs under attack!

Council Bluffs under attack!

As May opened with a crack and a bang, we were reminded to unplug and disconnect this morning. Around 3:00am was round one and shortly before 6:00am round two. Do you disconnect, or rely on lighting arresters?

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Waubonsie Picnic

Picnic pic by Mike KC0FAN

Picnic pic by Mike KC0FAN

Don W0AF said 14 people showed up, and Greg N0GR said they served ‘lunch’ consisting of grilled hamburgers etc. to a dozen people. Several radios were in operation although the pic above shows everyone relaxing in the sun away from the radios. 20M was hot, and 40M later at night. Don AF made about 20 contacts, someone else 2 pages worth (50), with a variety of operators participating.
One guy from Shenandoah brought along his 1941 Buick with only 16,000 original miles (used as a funeral limo). It had a straight 8 and DUAL carbs installed that way original at the factory. Most of the chrome was original as was paint and (slightly repaired) upholstery. No air. No automatic. They didn’t have automatics back then. 3 speed column shift.
car info de Greg N0GR

Bill KE0XQ Receives Lifetime Achievement Award


Congratulations to Aksarben and Plattsmouth ARC member Bill McCollum KE0XQ for receiving the Skip Miller W0KVM Lifetime Achievement Award for Amateur Radio Nebraska Section. If you remember, Bill came to a SWIARC meeting with George KB0ZZT back in October for the DMR/MotoTRBO presentation.

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Harbor Freight Coming to CB


Real Estate Agent Sarah O’Connor recently announced a deal to bring Harbor Freight to the Lake Manawa Shopping Center located at 3115 Manawa Centre Drive in Council Bluffs Iowa. In a 21,612 square feet building, this Harbor Freight is scheduled to open in the Fall of 2017.

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