I Love Pluto – Special Event

The Northern Arizona DX Association will be conducting a 10 year special event countdown to the 100th anniversary of the historic discovery of Pluto by Clyde Tombaugh at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona. This 9 day annual event , as W7P , will be held every February through the 2030 anniversary with the inaugural event February 13-21, 2021(UTC).  Club members will be operating from Lowell Observatory and their home QTHs and each year of the countdown will feature a new QSL with subjects centered around Clyde, his discovery, the moons of Pluto, some of his homebrewed telescopes he used, etc., with lots of great information about this historic discovery.

A beautiful 8 X 10 color certificate , suitable for framing, with endorsement stickers for each year worked during the event will be available.

Each year, Doug Tombaugh(N3PDT), Clyde Tombaugh’s nephew will be operating during the event at W7P/0 and a contact with him or his team, counts as an additional endorsement on the certificate.

More information can be found on QRZ’s callsign lookup of W7P.

Raspberry Pi Pico

The rise of the micro controller has one new board out today. The Raspberry PI foundation has release and micro controller called the “Pico”.  What is the difference between a micro controller and a micro computer is that is has no operating system.  The code is loaded into the processor and it run just that one program 24 hours an day.  They are mostly used in controlling device such as car engines, thermostats, dishwashers, and other singular device running a single task.

What difference with the device the the foundation created there own silicon processor the RP2040 which has its spec’s below.  The board has a USB jack built on top of it which if you hold down the button while plugging it in turns it into a USB drive where you can simply drag and drop your software into memory.

  • RP2040 microcontroller chip
  • 264KB on-chip SRAM
  • 2MB on-board QSPI Flash
  • 26 multifunction GPIO pins, including 3 analogue inputs
  • 2 × UART, 2 × SPI controllers, 2 × I2C controllers, 16 × PWM channels
  • 1 × USB 1.1 controller and PHY, with host and device support

The other difference is that like the Arduino it can run the “C” programming language it can also run “Micro Python” which is a subset of the Python language.  Micro Python is getting a very popular in the micro controller boards.  It is a higher level language that is easier to learn and to work with.  Below is an example of a Morse code program written in Micro Python which is only 53 lines long.  And some hardware to interface to your radio and it will transmit Morse code all day long.

from machine import Pin, Timer
import time
led=Pin(25, Pin.OUT)
#----------------------------------------
# Morse code dictionary
#----------------------------------------
morse = {
    'A':'.-','B':'-...','C':'-.-.','D':'-..','E':'.','F':'..-.',
    'G':'--.','H':'....','I':'..','J':'.---','K':'-.-','L':'.-..',
    'M':'--','N':'-.','O':'---','P':'.--.','Q':'--.-','R':'.-.',
    'S':'...','T':'-','U':'..-','V':'...-','W':'.--','X':'-..-',
    'Y':'-.--','Z':'--..', 
    '1':'.----','2':'..---','3':'...--','4':'....-','5':'.....',
    '6':'-....','7':'--...','8':'---..','9':'----.','0':'-----',
    '.':'.-.-.-','/':'-..-.',' ':' '
}
#----------------------------------------
def dah(t):
    print("-", end=" ")
    led.value(1)
    time.sleep(t*3.0)   #Dah
    led.value(0)
    time.sleep(t*2.0)   #Char spacing
    
def dit(t):
    print(".", end=" ")
    led.value(1)
    time.sleep(t)       #Dit
    led.value(0)
    time.sleep(t*2.0)   #Char spacing
    
def space(t):
    print("  ", end=" ")
    time.sleep(t*3.0)   #Letter spacing
#----------------------------------------
def Transmit(message):
    timing=0.150        #Timing Value       
    Transmit_Code=""
    print("\n")
    for letter in message:  #Break message into code
        print(letter," ",morse[letter])
        Transmit_Code=Transmit_Code+morse[letter]+" "

    print("To be sent: ",Transmit_Code,"\n")
    for character in Transmit_Code: #Transmit the code
        if character == "-": dah(timing)
        if character == ".": dit(timing)
        if character == " ": space(timing)
#----------------------------------------
while True:
    Transmit("W3KWH FOX HUNT")
    time.sleep(5)
    

 

Winter Field Day – Going to work it?

Hello Members,

Are you planning to work Winter Field Day?  This is a good contest to do as your first contest since it tends to be pretty laid back. Give a listen then try working a couple of people.  This will help you get ready for the big field day this June!


Winter Field Day Association (WFDA) is a dedicated group of Amateur Radio Operators who believe that emergency communications in a winter environment is just as important as the preparations and practice that is done each summer but with some additional unique operational concerns.

 We believe as do those entities of ARRL Organizations like ARES & RACES that maintaining your operational skills should not be limited to fair weather scenarios. The addition of Winter Field Day will enhance those already important skills of those that who generously volunteer their time and equipment to these organizations. This is why WFD is open to all licensed amateur radio operators worldwide.

Home Page: https://www.winterfieldday.com/

Official Rules: Click Here

 

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: https://setiathome.berkeley.edu/

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,

 

Wash Club 21st – 2 Meter Contest

This January will mark the Twenty-First Annual WASH 2 Meter Contest. We’re looking forward to a chance to stretch our legs, our wheels, and our antennas once again!

Date & Times:
Saturday, January 9th , 2021 from 7 to 11 PM
EST. (That’s January 10th 0000-0400 UTC to the purists!)

Objectives:
• To make as many contacts as possible
• To have fun!

Band, Mode & Frequencies:
The contest will take place solely on 2 meter band.

FM : FM simplex only, no repeater contacts. The FM
frequencies are all standard 2 Meter simplex frequencies, as
per the ARRL 2 Meter Band Plan, every 15 kHz, from
146.505 to 146.595 MHz , and 147.450 to 147.580 MHz.
Use of simplex frequencies in the “FM Experimental
Simplex” band of 145.510 to 145.670 are not recommended.
See list of recommended simplex channels at the end of the
rules.

• CW: 144.05 to 144.1 MHz Only. (See ARRL 2 Meter band
plan)

SSB & AM: 144.2 to 144.275 MHz Only. (See ARRL 2
Meter band plan).

Digital (including RTTY): 144.51 to 144.55 MHz. (See
ARRL 2 Meter band plan) Multiple digital modes may be
used, and participants are free to use any generally
accepted Digital mode, but only ONE Digital QSO with a
given station regardless of mode

Full rules and paperwork:
http://n3sh.org/WASHRAG/2021/2021_WASH_2M_Contest.pdf

 

Digital Net Tonight on UHF Repeater

Reminder there is an digital net tonight at 8:00 PM on the Steel City UHF repeater 444.450 Mhz. Due to the Keystone room being down the digital net will be held on the Steel City Room # 43352.   This is a state wide net and we welcome all C4FM repeater owners and user nodes to connection to the Steel City room to join the net.

See you at 8:00 PM @ Steel City Room #43352

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: https://hamradio.solutions/vband/

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

Testing out the Drake TR-4C @ W3KWH

Trying out Drake TR-4C that was recently recondition by Brian K9VKY and is on loan from its owner Bob Gamble who father was an Ham Radio Operator. It working out nicely on CW we would need to get a mic for phone.  The radio came with an matching remote VFO.