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!

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


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


contributed by: WA0ZQG

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?

Read the rest of this entry »

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?

Read the rest of this entry »

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

Scanning .52

This is a Bombardier Lear 75 DWE only said 'Learjet'

This is a Bombardier Lear 75
DWE only said ‘Learjet’

Sunday night 01/08, two hours before the 9PM net on 146.94, you could have heard Mark KC0DWE aboard a Learjet at 39,000 feet traveling from somewhere North towards Florida. He mentioned coming out of the Dakotas, across a corner of MN, and then down diagonally across Spencer Iowa to Fort Dodge and Des Moines.
You had to ‘have been there already’ to get in on it because the whole thing lasted only a dozen or two minutes, DWE crystal clear on 146.52 and most everyone else undiscernable (except Nick KC0YKO who called several times unsuccessfully).
DWE was S2 to S4 most of the time, full quieting, and responded to stations KE0KER, K0FTB, KE0LCQ, and KD0VYD among others. Every time he got done talking there was a pileup, unheard here in Co/Bluffs, but Mark would say ‘I heard FTB’ and then get the full call and have a short QSO. He finally quit nearing Des Moines, saying he was hearing a 2 way on the ground and didn’t want to interfere. He also said the flight was of a medical nature.

DWE flyover notes from logbook Callsigns, cities, etc.

DWE flyover notes from logbook
Callsigns, cities, etc.



Meteor Scatter



by Joel KQ0J
I have recently enjoyed some 6 meter meteor scatter contacts on a budget
using the new version of WSJT-X software with the new MSK144 mode. I am
just using a homebrew 6M square loop – omnidirectional antenna. I am just
using A 100w RIG, running 50-70W output on the 15 second bursts that the
software transmits with.

A good calling frequency is 50.280. People also use 285, 287, 290 when
arranging contacts. WSJT-X V1.7 allows a station to state ” CQ 285 W2FRD”
when calling CQ on 280 and when you click your mouse on that decode, the
SW will QSY automatically for you to 285 when you click on that station!

During the recent Geminids meteor shower on Dec 13-15, I made 2 confirmed
meteor scatter contacts and a handful of partial contacts. I am sure I could
do better on the next shower. Seems most ops are on during the early morning
till about 9 AM. I was only on for an hour or two during the last shower but
it was enough time to see how well this software works.

There is a website where you can online chat with other currently active
stations, set up QSOs and see who is listening or transmitting on what
frequency and mode.

Download the Beta WSJT-X software V 1.7 at:

Descriptive text from:

New Mode for meteor scatter:
1. MSK144 is intended for meteor scatter at 50 MHz and higher. It
uses a low-density parity check code (LDPC) designed by Steve Franke,
K9AN. The mode is a direct descendant of the now-defunct mode JTMSK,
with a number of improvements for better performance on weak and short
meteor pings. The effective character transmission rate is about 250
cps, compared with 147 cps for FSK441. Like JT4, JT9, JT65, and
QRA64, MSK144 uses strong forward error correction. Message decoding
is all or nothing: partial decodes do not occur, and you will see
little or no garbage on your screen.

Standard MSK144 message frames are 72 ms long, compared with about 120
ms for an equivalent FSK441 message. The MSK144 waveform allows
coherent demodulation, allowing up to 3 dB better sensitivity. After
QSO partners have exchanged callsigns, MSK144 can use even shorter
messages, only 20 ms long. As in all the fast modes in WSJT-X, the 72
ms (or 20 ms) messages are repeated without gaps for the duration of a
transmission cycle. For most purposes we recommend a T/R cycle
duration of 15 s, but 5 s and 10 s sequences are also supported.

Short (“Sh”) messages in MSK144 are intended primarily for 144 MHz and
higher frequencies, where most pings are very short. These messages
do not contain full callsigns; instead, they contain a hash of the two
callsigns along with a report, acknowledgement, or 73. Short messages
are fully decodable only by the station to whom they are addressed, as
part of an ongoing QSO, because only then will the received hash match
that calculated using the known strings for “My Call” and “DX Call”.
If you are monitoring someone else’s QSO, you will not be able to
decode its Sh messages.

An MSK144 signal occupies the full bandwidth of a typical SSB
transmitter, so transmissions are always centered at an offset of
1500Hz. For best results, selectable or adjustable Rx and Tx filters
should be set to provide the flattest possible response over at least
300 – 2700 Hz. The maximum permissible frequency offset between you
and your QSO partner is 200 Hz, and less is better.

Gretna, NE

Nov pgm on Readiness

Gas Mask for emergencies George NME shows surplus mask

Gas Mask for emergencies
George NME shows surplus mask


The new Disaster Prep Net (.82 at 9PM on Tuesdays) has elicited a lot of interest. George KD0NME
is one of those who has actually thought about it and done some preparation. Staying home and
having a gasoline generator is great fun, especially when Field Day comes around, but George was
showing his ‘Go’ kit for our November program assisted by his XYL JoDee KD0RNC.
He had quite a few items, mostly cheap to buy and useful for a variety of purposes, and only the
last item, a Sony ICF-7600 GR, related directly to radio. George and JoDee used to sell butane
stoves at Flea Markets and that was the first item he showed. Among other items, he said many
were available at lower prices if you bought a dozen for 20 bucks rahter than one at a time.
Here is a list of the items I was able to copy down:
1 Cook stove, 1 burner, butane
2 Fresnel lens, large, explodes crickets
3 Tooth brush & floss kit
4 small mirror (plastic)
5 Fresnel lens, wallet size, kills bugs slower
6 Mylar blanket, 3 x 5 packet
7 single edge Razor blades
8 small pad of paper
9 couple of short pencils
10 crank light (visible in pic)
11 mosquito net 2′ x 2′
12 Leatherman tool
13 knife & fork, folding type
14 P38 G.I. can opener
15 ‘550’ cord (parachute line)
16 dish towels (3)
17 2 qt canteen, surplus
18 K-bar knife (not the cheap ones)
19 55g leaf bags
20 pocket knife
21 ‘Life Straw’ (individual water filter)
22 hatchet/hammer combo
23 Multi-tool, hammer/plier/knife
24 gas mask (his was surplus from Poland)
25 ferro-cerium lighter
26 the Sony radio, fancy, copies SSB
The ferro-cerium (sp?) lighter uses regular Ronson lighter fuel but has an ‘O’ ring and does not
leak. The ferro part allows you to ‘strike’ a spark to ignite it. Buy a dozen for forty bucks
on Amazon. Sell the rest. That applies to a lot of these things, a very few bucks each if you
buy a dozen or 20.
George’s delivery was full of humor, especially regarding the 2 Fresnel lenses and how they work
on bugs. The entire set would fit in a backpack or tool box for when you need to ‘bug-out.’
Note: Gas masks all use a standard thread for the filter element. Well. One of two standards.

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