Social Meeting Talk – SETI @ Home

In case you missed the talk from last night social meeting here is the recording. We thank Dr David Anderson for giving a great talk about SETI @ Home.

The UC Berkeley SETI team has discovered that there are already thousands of computers that might be available for use. Most of these computers sit around most of the time with toasters flying across their screens accomplishing absolutely nothing and wasting electricity to boot. This is where SETI@home (and you!) come into the picture. The SETI@home project hopes to convince you to allow us to borrow your computer when you aren’t using it and to help us “…search out new life and new civilizations.”

Zoom Meeting – The Ultimate DX Contact

Seti @ Home-This Wednesday Night Zoom Meeting
This Wednesday Jan 13th @ 7:30PM

On Wednesday Jan 13th the Steel City ARC will be hosting an educational Zoom meeting at 7:30 PM.  We have a very special speaker this week from Seti@Home a member of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence team Dr David Anderson who created software that uses your computer screen saver to search for signals from other  worlds.  Below you will find a better description on how the screen saver works and a link to their site so you can try it out.   If you or your club is interested in joining the Zoom meeting send an email to me and I will add you to the meeting link.  N3LRG (at) W3KWH {dit} COM

The UC Berkeley SETI team has discovered that there are already thousands of computers that might be available for use. Most of these computers sit around most of the time with toasters flying across their screens accomplishing absolutely nothing and wasting electricity to boot. This is where SETI@home (and you!) come into the picture. The SETI@home project hopes to convince you to allow us to borrow your computer when you aren’t using it and to help us “…search out new life and new civilizations.” We’ll do this with a screen saver that can go get a chunk of data from us over the internet, analyze that data, and then report the results back to us. When you need your computer back, our screen saver instantly gets out of the way and only continues it’s analysis when you are finished with your work.

For more information & software:

Dr. David P. Anderson,
Scientist and software architect

David is a computer scientist, with research interests in volunteer computing, distributed systems, and real-time systems. He co-founded SETI@home and directed it from 1998 to 2015. He leads the BOINC project, and is leading Nebula, the back-end data analysis phase of SETI@home.  David is a rock climber, mountain climber, classical pianist,



Straight Key Night is held every January 1 from 0000 UTC through 2359 UTC.

The J38 CW key has a vast and wonderful history behind it. The J38 key was used by all branches of the U.S. military. The J38 key was produced by numerous manufacturers in very large numbers during the 1940’s and later.

Learn Morse Code with VBand

This project was created by two friends who wanted to (re)learn CW, but didn’t regularly have great propagation between them to practice, and were a bit embarrassed to get on the air at their current skill level. While it allows code to be sent with a keyboard as either a paddle or straight key, it really shines using the USB paddle interface below.

The goal was to make a fun way to practice sending and receiving CW with a buddy, without worrying about a radio, an antenna, a license, good propagation, or RF noise.

Try it out:

The USB paddle interface allows sending with an actual paddle or straight key instead of the computer keyboard. The adapter connects to a computer with a USB cable, and has a 3.5mm TRS jack for the paddle / straight key connection.

Paddle Or Straight Key USB Adapter

Installing Fldigi Help Page

Fldigi is a computer program intended for Amateur Radio Digital Modes operation using a PC (Personal Computer). Fldigi operates (as does most similar software) in conjunction with a conventional HF SSB radio transceiver, and uses the PC sound card as the main means of input from the radio, and output to the radio. These are audio-frequency signals. The software also controls the radio by means of another connection, typically a serial port.

Fldigi is multi-mode, which means that it is able to operate many popular digital modes without switching programs, so you only have one program to learn. Fldigi includes all the popular modes, such as DominoEX, MFSK16, PSK31, and RTTY.

Have trouble with installing and operating Fldigi?  The CAT interface wont work? Follow the link below to an help page that will teach you how to install the software on some popular modem HDF radios.

Fldigi Help Page:


Band conditions have been good with solar flux index over 100. In the early morning 6am or so 10 meters open into South Africa and 15 meters into Asia and the EU and 40 into South Pacific.

FEMA – Telecommunications Operator Reservists

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is seeking telecommunications operator reservists to assist in emergency recovery efforts on an intermittent, on-call basis. The deadline to apply is December 8, but FEMA will not take any applications beyond the first 200, which may come sooner than that.

These FEMA reservist positions seem well suited to radio amateurs. Duties include sending, receiving, and distributing HF radio messages between first responders using the phonetic alphabet, Morse code, call signs, continuous wave, and proper frequencies based on network requirements, as well as setting up, establishing, and maintaining an HF radio site in an austere environment and performing site analysis to determine an optimal location.

Among other requirements, candidates should have an understanding of radio wave propagation for day, night, and transitional period frequency use, and be able to maintain station message logs and compile communication reports.

The Reservist Program is an appointment type granted under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, Section 306(b), which authorizes FEMA to appoint such temporary employees as necessary to accomplish work authorized under the Act. See the position description on the USAJobs website for complete information.


ARRL Foundation Scholarship Application Deadline

Notice of ARRL Foundation Scholarship Application deadline

The ARRL Foundation scholarship application period for the academic year 2021 ends on December 31, 2020. The Foundation issued nearly $300,000 in scholarships in 2020 and for the academic year 2021 there has been a significant increase in the number of large dollar scholarships thanks to a generous contribution from the Amateur Radio Digital Communication group (ARDC).

For the academic year 2021, there are two new $25,000 scholarships, thirteen $10,000 scholarships, nine $5,000 scholarships as well as dozens of $1,000 and $500 scholarships.

A description of the many scholarships available is online:

It is also very easy to apply as scholarship applications are online:

Since only amateur radio operator students may apply, the chances of being selected for a scholarship are good. It would be a shame for your members to miss this opportunity. Please place a notice in your December Newsletter or send a separate e-mail to your Section to let your members know that the ARRL Foundation offers over 100 scholarships and it only takes a simple online application to apply.

Since 1973, the ARRL Foundation, with the generosity of many donors and the hard work of a long line of dedicated Foundation Directors, has had a positive impact on the lives of many amateur radio operator students. To ensure that this positive impact does not wane, I ask each of you to timely notify your members of this opportunity. Being awarded an ARRL Foundation scholarship could mean the difference in whether a student can pursue their education in 2021 or not.

Thank you and the Foundation and I wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Dr. David Woolweaver, K5RAV
President, ARRL Foundation

Is a Perfect Antenna Necessary for the New-To-HF Ham Operator?


Are you new to operating on the shortwave frequencies (or, high-frequencies–HF; 3 MHz to 30 MHz; 80m, 75m, 60m, 40m, 30m, 20m, 17m, 15m, 12m, 10m)? Is the prospect of figuring out a good HF antenna a bit daunting?

Here’s a question that might be relevant: Does an amateur radio operator need to design a perfect antenna, in order to get on HF?

Consider: It might not take as much antenna as you may think necessary to make two-way contacts on shortwave radio.

Often, makeshift antennae are effective enough to be viable. This is proven by those who go to parks, mountain tops, or go mobile with HF. They use compromise antenna designs. Simple dipoles, end-feed wires, and sometimes loops or a vertical antenna. Those are far from the perfect antenna. Is there even such a thing as a perfect antenna? No.

My advice? Start with SOMETHING just to get on the air.

Start with what you can, and then start to enhance, improve, and learn the secrets of HF communications (hint: most of your success will come by improving your antenna system, including a good ground system).


The bottom line: just get something up in the air and start communicating. Improve things over time. You’ll have much fun that way. (Check out: Fiddle Factor – Get on the air!)

Case in point: here’s a look at my makeshift antenna that I put up just to get on the air from my new residence in Ohio:

With this antenna, I’ve made successful two-way voice and Morse code contacts (QSOs) with stations in Europe and across North America. I am able to tune it on the 80-, 75-, 60-, 40-, 30-, 20-, 15-, 17-, 12-, and 10-Meter bands. Reverse beacon detection pick up my Morse-code CW signals, especially on 40 meters (the band on which it is tuned physically). Watch:

Don’t mind the first part of the video, in which I show you my new QTH (residence). I just moved here from Nebraska. There’s plenty of room for antennas, and there are some tall trees!

I’m excited, and I plan on improving this antenna and getting it up higher–somewhere around 40 or 50 feet up in the air–in time for the November CQ WW contest at the end of the month.

Of course, I want to make a proper dipole out of this example antenna. But, while I wait for the rest of the parts I need to complete this antenna project (pulleys and a ladder, and maybe a rope launcher), I’ve put this makeshift antenna on the air. It is just high enough so that I can enjoy some time on the shortwave bands.

73 de NW7US