EROCK ARES Net

Date: 20 Aug 2015

Event: EROCK ARES Net
Organizer: N1YI Deuce, KB1WFK Mike

 

Event Details:

Weekly ARES net.

 

My Loadout:

  • Yaesu FT897, Open Stub Jpole.
  • Yaesu 2900, Copper pipe slim jim. (Backup)

 

Loadout Performance:

No issues, no comment

 

Net:

  • NCS: N1YI
  • 6 Checkins

 

Event results:

  • KA1UVH Anoucne:
    • Recap on digital training
    • Stratham Hill Bike Race Saturday
    • Digital training nets on <EMAIL ME!> 145.550
    • Alternate Simplex: <EMAIL ME!> 147.465
  • Mount Washington Hill Climb AAR.

 


Thoughts for Future:

  • Allow for repeater pause with “Pause” or “Lemme Drop” and not “Break”
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EROCK ARES Digital Net

Date: 20 Aug 2015

Event: EROCK ARES Net
Organizer: KB1WFK Mike

 

Event Details:

Weekly digital practice/learning net.

 

My Loadout:

  • Yaesu FT897, Open Stub Jpole, signal link USB sound card
  • FLDIGI 3.22.05
  • FLAMP 2.2.00
  • Ubuntu 14.10

 

Loadout Performance:

  • Linux is a bear, very painful to work with.

 

Net:

  • NCS: KB1WFK
  • 1 Checkin. (Me)

 

Event results:

  • Started with PSK125 (Voice instruction)
  • Mike had technical issues transmitting.
  • I had a S9+ from Mike.
  • He got things working and we started transmitting digital traffic.
  • We tested FLMSG, but I failed to get the message to transfer into FLMSG from FLDIGI.
  • We then tested FLAMP.  Again, I had issues.  I found there is an autostart option within FLDIGI.  See image.
  • It was then time to have the Voice net on the primary repeater. <EMAIL FOR DETAILS>
  • Following the voice net, we got back and were able to transmit a FLAMP message.

 


Thoughts from the past:

  • The previous practice we worked worked with RXID and TXID. See image
    • Use TXID when you transmit to tell the listening station what to listen for.
    • Likewise, use RXID to listen to what they are telling you (and what format it is.)

 

Thoughts for Future:

  • Figure out how to interface FLMSG to FLDIGI.
  • Might try a windows machine for the next net.
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Hillsborough ARES Net

Date: 17 Aug 2015

Event: Hillsborough ARES Net
Organizer: N1MEO, Fletch

 

Event Details:

Weekly ARES net.

 

My Loadout:

  • Yaesu FT897, Open Stub Jpole.
  • Yaesu 2900, Copper pipe slim jim. (Backup)

 

Loadout Performance:

No issues, no comment

 

Net:

  • NCS: N1MEO
  • 17 Checkins

 

Event results:

  • My first time on this net.  We operated via a linked repeater system.
  • Several doubles were observed, NCS handled them all very well.

 

  • Training on “Are you Ready for the Tropical Season?”
    • Is your go bag ready?

 


Thoughts for Future:

  • This group handles checkins very different thank WROCK or EROCK.  
    • My note taking style will need to be adapted.
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WRock ARES Net

Date:16 Aug 2015

Event:WRock ARES Net
Organizer: KA1UVH Mike, W1UV Loren

 

Event Details:

Weekly ARES net.

 

My Loadout:

  • Yaesu FT897, Open Stub Jpole.
  • Yaesu 2900, Copper pipe slim jim. (Backup)

 

Loadout Performance:

  • Wired through SWR meter.  I disconnect at the meter when leaving the shack.  Did not screw the coax in all the way and had poor signal into the repeater.

 

Net:

  • NCS: KA1UVH
  • 15 checkins.

 

Event results:

  • Derryfest is coming up in early September.

 


Thoughts for Future:

  • Secure antenna!
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MWHC AAR (After Action Report)

Date: 15 August 2015

Event: 38th Mount Washington Bycicle Hill Climb
Organizer: Cliff N1RCQ.

 

Event Details:

7.6 mile bike ride, 4618 feet of elevation gained.  Race starts at 0835.  Net Control sets up at the base of the mountain, approximately 4 miles line of sight from the summit.

15-20 Hams.  1-2 at NCS, 2 at summit, remainder along roadway.

 

My Loadout:

I came prepared to be stationed along the road as well as to be stationed at the summit.

Mobile:

  • Yaesu 8900 and Diamond SG7900, tied into car battery
  • Yaesu 2900 and Diamond NR-22L powered by a 26 amp hour AGM battery.

Handheld:

  • Yaesu VX-6R, smiley ⅝ slim duck (2m variant)
  • Yaesu VX-3R, smiley ⅝ slim duck (2m variant)
  • Baofeng BF-F8, smiley ⅝ slim duck (2m variant)

 

Loadout Performance:

  • I was stationed at the finish line, I was not able to use my mobile setup.  
  • The VX-6R with the simley gave poor performance.  I switched to my backup Diamond SRH320A and got better results.
  • I briefly considered cross band repeat with the 8900 in the car.  There is enough RF at the summit that it would have been difficult to set up.
  • The VX-3R does not have enough power to transmit to Net Control.
  • I did not use the Baofeng for this event.  I suspect it would not have worked well.  TX power is advertised at 4 (maybe 5) watts.  My SWR meter shows closer to 3w.

 

Net:

  • Net was run from the start line.
  • Stations along the road reported the first 3 male and 3 female riders to pass, along with the time (time of day).
  • I worked with the announcer at the finish line to inform him when the cyclists would start arriving.
  • I relayed race times to NCS for the first 3 male and female riders.
  • I worked with the announcer to track the last rider up.  Cars are not allowed down until all riders have made it to the summit.
  • I worked with the announcer to inform the crowd of cyclists who dropped out and returned to the base under their own power.
  • Net ran 3 roll calls.  We provided weather updates and relayed any low priority information.
  • KB1OCE was stationed in the summit house.  He had access to their weather info and relayed that.  
  • Net control rotated on and off all day.  
  • A backup NCS was assigned.
  • We had 3 frequencies assigned in the event of QRM on tactical 1.  Tac 2 and 3 were not needed, neither was backup NCS.

 

Event results:

  • 640 cyclists entered the event.  Unknown how many were present.
  • 4 dropouts during the race.  Two returned to the base under their own power, two were transported to the summit.
  • No major medical issues. 1 or 2 spills.
  • Everyone who crossed the finish line looked like they were dead.
  • Summit was 55+- degrees.  10-15 mph wind.  Intermittent clouds.
  • The cloud cover made everything damp.  I took very few notes due to damp paper. KB1OCE took notes as needed for summit/finish line
  • The start line was in the 70’s.
  • The heat lead to cramping.  Event staff did not have sufficient water at the summit.
  • First cyclist had a time of 53 minutes.
  • Last cyclist came in at slightly more than 3 hours.

 

Thoughts for Future:

  • I have purchased via ebay an Icom IC-V82.  This HT can transmit 7 watts.  It is a discontinued model.  I will probably use this as my primary public service radio.
    • I will probably purchase a Comet BNC-24 to use with this radio.
  • I brought a friend up with me.  It made the 2+ hour drive more pleasant, as well as the time on the summit.  Several of the stations on the course were staffed by a husband and wife combo (both hams in several cases)
  • It is noisy at the finish line.  A headset is nice.
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Welcome Back!

Hi there!

It has been approximately fiveever since I posted to this blog. For the unaware, fiveever is one longer than forever. Likewise sixever is a REALLY LONG TIME. LIKE SEVENEVER!!!

Anyway. Where have I been? Working, moving, living and working.

I am:

1) Active with the worship team at my Church.

2) Working in Nashua NH (for a Software Company based out of San Francisco).

3) Living in Candia NH (and active with the local Boy Scout Troop).

4) Active with promoting STEM

5) A ham radio geek.

When I last posted (look below…) I was a student at the University of New Hampshire studying Computer Science. I was living with my parents, and I was dabbling with the Arduino platform.

I am now working for a software company, my office is based in Nashua NH, the team I am on is based out of Cambridge Ma. I have been with this company for 2.5+ years now. I lived in the quaint little town of Fremont for two years, and now live in the even smaller, quainter town of Candia. I put about somewhere on the order of 20000+ miles a year on my car.

My four by led cube still lives on my desk in Nashua, I turn it on when coworkers come by to ask me questions, I find it does a good job distracting them.

Anyway. I’m sure you are asking: “Why is he back all of a sudden??”

Here is the short version: A year and a half ago I got my ham radio Technician class license. Several months back I upgraded to General. In several months I will upgrade to Extra. I’ve included a link to wikipedia explaining the classes. To put it in simple terms for those who don’t want to read it all (learning a lot of stuff): if the FCC issues 100 frequencies for Ham use, then tech’s can use (that is, transmit on) 40 of them. General can use 95 of them, and Extra can use all of them. The FCC does not prohibit listening (with the exception of part of the 800 mHz range which was formerly used by cell phones (Citation needed))

Why does this matter: For me, the transition out of college and into Adulthood has been interesting (I’m not alone in this. I know this to be a universal weirdity.) Moreover, the transition out of Boy Scouts has been weird. Look at the URL for my blog. I earned my Eagle Scout. I’m not bragging here, I’m stating that to earn one’s Eagle and not serve the community, or have opportunities to serve the community, feels wrong. Service opportunities don’t walk up and slap you in the face. You have to seek them out.

Ham Radio has given me this. I spent most of the 15th on Mount Washington for the 37’th annual Mount Washington Hill Climb. Read the link, it’s worth it. I’ll dive into why I got into Ham Service at public service events later. I have worked bike races, half marathons, 5k races, hill climbs, century rides, dog sled races and parades in the last year and a half. And I have enjoyed every moment of it.

My true motivation behind this is slightly odd. The Boy Scout model is “Be Prepared”. One of the many aspects of Ham radio (there are nearly infinite aspects of Ham Radio to get involved with) is ARES, that is Armature Radio Emergency Service. The goal of ARES is to provide communication services in the event of a wide scale emergency. A great example (one that hits close to home) is the Boston Marathon Bombing. One of the lesser known details of this tragedy is that cell providers requested that users NOT make phone calls but instead send text messages. The logic behind this is when the cell towers face higher-than-average traffic they are prone to overheat and shut down to prevent damage. In most (all) cases, the cell towers shutting down is a problem. See also the Blizzard of 1978.

How do these two combine? I view community service as a chance for free practice at emergency communications. Granted: The West Rockingham ARES has a training meeting ever week on Sunday at 2000 local time (Frequency 146.850 mhz), East Rockingham is Thursday on 147.150 mHz. These weekly meetings are good practice for an emergency. I am not going to speak poorly of taking part of these meetings. I will however argue that to truly hone one’s skills, one must work CONSTANTLY to do so. The weekly meetings give this, but they the random factor. Public service gives a little more random feeling. I can tell you that 4 cyclists dropped out of the race yesterday. Two of them returned to the start under their own power, two got transportation to the summit. I can tell you that the riders with numbers 3, 5 and 80 made it to the finish line first. (You can google that one, it may take a couple days for results to get posted. (I wrote this on the 16th). (Rider 3: 53:00 minutes, Rider 5: 54.00 minutes.). What google can’t tell you is that those three riders had their positions locked in from the 3 mile mark on. The race is 7.6 miles long. Information like this is not part of our weekly training. However, details like this matter when facing a large emergency.

So why am I (trying) to reengage my blog? Any given day of the week I learn something. Be it related to Ham Radio Digital modes (with FLDIGI or APRS), building antennas, writing code in Python, IOS related or something completely random.

I have found that there is A TON OF INFORMATION regarding Ham Radio online. I have also found that it is all written in the WORST POSSIBLE FORMAT for the way I (eaglescout.jonathan) learn things. My goal is to present what I struggle to learn in a manner that is more inviting to the way I learn.

I’ll state it simple: I failed out of college once, nearly failed out twice, and left UNH without a degeree. It was studying for my General Class Licence that I learned how to study. It was exploring antenna design that I learned how I learn. My brain chemistry is not unique. I would wager that 1/10 to 1/3 people learn the way I do. I hope to provide a resource to those who learn how I do. It is my goal to share what I learn.

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I follow a handful of Youtube channels. I’m not going to list them or tell you which one is my favorite, the fact that I follow them should be a strong indication that I like the content they produce.

John Green posted a video to the Vlogbrothers channel at some point today discussing his approach to gambling in Vegas in contrast to the approach his brother takes. I have contemplated a similar approach to that of John, betting as little as possible and getting as many free drinks as possible. Then my analytical mind takes over and ultimately concludes that I will still probably end up in the negative, more so than an evening at a bar. Therefore I could save money by going to a bar, or better yet, going to work and getting paid for my time.

Towards the end of the video John concludes that he made less than $4 an hour at the casino that night. At least he came out with a little more than he went in with…

At the very end of the video he brings up Hurricane Sandy. Ah Sandy. He encourages those on the East coast to stay safe. He also speculates that those without power are probably doing things other than watching Youtube on cellphones. My response as we are currently without power is: Thank you John Green, for your concern. As I am at work currently because it still has power and internet I wonder if I would sacrifice the battery to watch John Green speak of gambling? I think I would. It is dark and boring at home. Any port in a storm.

In any case, thank you John Green for your concern.