National Weather Service Tour

Save the Date!
Sunday November 24th ~ 5:30 PM

Sue KA3JKS has set up a tour of the National Weather Service center here in Moon Twp for members of the Steel City ARC club. including a weather balloon launch demo (weather permitting).  The address is: 192 Shafer Rd, Coraopolis PA, 15108


Google Map Link: https://goo.gl/maps/MySjJxDrb2MNs9zG8

Directions to National Weather Service
Take I-376 west to exit 57 (Business/Moon/Cargo)
Go towards the Cargo Terminal
Turn right onto University Blvd (Former Beer School Rd)
Turn left onto Broadhead Rd (Opposite Beaver Gade Rd)
There is a BP and a Walgreens on the corner
Turn right at the second traffic light onto Shafer Rd
PASS:  Wessex Hills Dr and Allard Elementary School – both on the right
Turn into the drive way of the NWS on the right just past the elementary school (sign not visible from the road)
If you go as far as Madison Dr on the left you’ve gone too far
Come inside the front door and ring the bell

This is a follow up of the April Skywarn presentation: http://w3kwh.com/2019/04/18/skywarn-presentation/

Oh there will be a balloon launch too!
Image result for nws balloon launch sites

 

Is your station ready?

Is your station ready for the next outage?   With more storms and section of the country having rolling blackouts make me wonder if the power goes out could you still get on the air.  Below is a link to a presentation take give a good talk about getting your station for the next black out.  How much does it cost and what equipment might be good for you to get.

The next HF or VHF net you check in try working the net on your backup power supply.  Do you have a mobile radio in your car?  Do you know how to call for help if your outside cellular phone range?  When you travel do you lookup the frequencies and PL for the repeater’s near where your traveling.  Do you have a battery eliminator cord and/or spare battery for your HT?

Presentation:
Emergency Power for Amateur Radio Stations

 

Red Cross Presentation

Red Cross Presentation
Wed. Dec 4th – 7:30 PM

Dave, KC3KAG

Will be giving a short overview of the Red Cross responding to national and local disasters and the importance of emergency communication capabilities amateur radio operators and specifically ARES can provide to the Red Cross during times of disasters.

Dave will highlight some of the roles amateur radio operators can fill for the Red Cross during a disaster.


Links:
Red Cross South Western  PA
https://www.redcross.org/local/pennsylvania

Western PA ARRL ARES
https://wpa-arrl.org/ares/

VE Testing – Nov 5th

LAST VE TESTING SESSION OF THE YEAR 

People interesting in becoming an amateur radio operator or planning to upgrade their license should get in touch with Chris K3PQ at the email/phone below.   The testing sessions will be held on Nov 5th at 7:00 PM at the Steel City club house. {DIRECTIONS HERE}  Preregistration is highly recommend and will have priority, but walk-in’s will be allowed if space is available.

Steel City Testing Page: http://w3kwh.com/ve-testing/

Got question? Feel free to email and to register?
Chris Grimm, VE Examiner
K3PQ {at} W3KWH {dit} COM
(412) 259-3319

Enjoy FT8 From Almost Anywhere

J. Robert Witmer, W3RW
From Sept 2019 QST

Imagine hunting 6-meter DX at a restaurant while eating breakfast, or making an all-time new DX contact while waiting for a flight. I’ve found myself operating remotely in these types of situations, and many others, using nothing more than my smartphone. If you think this type of operating is complicated and expensive, prepare to be surprised! My approach to remote FT8 operating combines WSJT-X software and a remote computer-control program called TeamViewer. Both WSJT-X and TeamViewer are free for personal, nonbusiness use. WSJT-X is available at Dr. Joe Taylor’s, K1JT, website,  and TeamViewer at
https://physics.princeton.edu/pulsar/k1jt/wsjtx.html,
https://www.teamviewer.com/en-us/.
The combination works Enjoy From Almost Anywhere Figure 1 — TeamViewer starting up when installed on the station computer The author relaxes outside while making contacts on 6-meter FT8 via remote control from his Fire HD tablet. FT8 well because, for FT8, audio streaming is not required. We’ll start with a description of a single-band remote operating setup, and then add suggestions for a  multiband approach.


Other Considerations
Be sure your computer is not set, via some type of internal time setting, to shut down or go to sleep to the extent it cannot be awakened via TeamViewer. You may have to experiment to find what settings need adjustment.

A related issue is automatic operating system upgrades. Try to schedule auto updates to occur when you are not operating  remotely. If the computer with WSJT-X restarts, you will lose access via TeamViewer. (When the computer and TeamViewer restart, TeamViewer assigns a new password, which unfortunately you probably won’t have knowledge of when operating remotely!)

Consider adding a Wi-Fi controlled power outlet for your transceiver’s power supply, but be sure it is tolerant of RFI. It is always a good idea to have an alternative means to shut down your radio if necessary.

Keep in mind that the TeamViewer software on your remote laptop or mobile device will log you out after approximately 3 minutes or less if your device goes to sleep, or if you switch to another app. If it does disconnect you, simply re-enter your station computer’s ID and password (if required) to resume access. It’s important that you select KEEP CURRENT for the random password function in the TeamViewer ADVANCED menu tab.

Read the Full Article Here:
http://www.arrl.org/files/file/QST/This%20Month%20in%20QST/September2019/Witmer.pdf


Editor Note:
There are many VNC program that you can use to do this remote connection.  Team Viewer and RealVNC are just a few that have a cloud connection that lets you get though your computer firewall and not to have to set up port forwarding.   But note if you are going to share the computer connection with several other people most of the cloud companies will want your to pay for the non-free version of their software.  This is the problem we are having at the club house.

2 Meter Antenna Disguised as a TV Satellite Dish

John Portune, W6NBC https://w6nbc.com
I’ve long wondered if it would be practical to hide an efficient 2 meter base-station antenna in a TV satellite dish. My homeowners covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&R) committee couldn’t force me take it down.1 But would all the metal in the TV dish compromise a 2 meter antenna? Finally, it struck me: don’t fight the metal, take advantage of it, by cutting a half-wavelength-long slot antenna into the TV dish reflector. A slot antenna is a narrow rectangular opening in a large conductive surface, such
as a TV satellite dish. Slot antennas are familiar in the commercial radio world. They’re common in TV broadcasting, the
skin of aircraft, and in radar, microwave, and cell phone applications. This TV dish (see Figure 1) slot is the complement to a dipole. It is also a great way to learn about slot antennas.

Read the full QST article here:
https://w6nbc.com/articles/2016-03QSTdishslot.pdf

Raspberry PI Ham Radio Remote

One problem with ham radio these days is that most hams live where you can’t put a big old antenna up due to city laws and homeowner covenants. If you’re just working local stations on VHF or UHF, that might not be a big problem. But for HF usage, using a low profile antenna is a big deal. However, most modern radios can operate remotely. Well-known ham radio company MFJ now has the RigPi Station Server.

As the name implies, the box contains a Raspberry Pi. There’s also an audio interface. The idea is to consolidate rig control along with other station control (such as rotators) along with feeding audio back and forth to the radio. It also sends Morse code keying to the radio. The idea is that this box will put your radio on the network so that you operate it using a web browser on a PC or a mobile device.

According to MFJ, you can operate voice, Morse code, or digital modes easily and remotely. The box uses open source software that can control over 200 different radios and 30 rotors. Of course, you could build all this yourself and use the same open source software, but it is nicely packaged. [Ham Radio DX] says you don’t need to know much about the Pi or Linux to use the box, although clearly you can get into Linux and use the normal applications if you’re so inclined.

Read The Full Article Here 

Hurricane Watch Net

The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) has announced tentative plans to activate on 14.325 MHz on Wednesday, September 18, at 1800 UTC. The net will switch to 7.268 MHz at 2100 UTC on Wednesday.

“Today has been a busy day in the tropics,” Net Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV, said. “Since 1500 UTC, four new systems have been identified — two already named. At present, the storm we are most interested in is Hurricane Humberto.” The Category 2 Atlantic storm is forecast to affect Bermuda late Wednesday evening or early Thursday morning, with the eye forecast to remain north of Bermuda. Graves said any deviation to the right of the forecast track could bring the eye closer or even onshore.

The Hurricane Watch Net will remain active on 14.325 MHz for as long as propagation allows, switching to 7.268.00 MHz at 2100 UTC and remaining in operation until Humberto is no longer a threat.

“This activation plan is subject to change,” Graves advised. “As with any net activation, we request observed ground-truth data from those in the affected area (wind speed, wind gust, wind direction, barometric pressure — if available, rainfall, damage, and storm surge). Measured weather data is always appreciated but we do accept estimates.”

Graves said other Atlantic storms include Tropical Depression (TD) 10 and Tropical Storm (TS) Imelda, while on the Eastern Pacific side are TD 14-E, TS Lorena, and the Category 1 Hurricane Kiko.