Anvil Work Day Postponed!

Though the forecast for tomorrow (Sunday) doesn’t look too bad, we’d be lucky to get 3 hours on site.  Also the last couple of days of rain is likely to have made the road slimy & very muddy, with little chance for it to dry out before the morning. (More rain forecast through 7 PM this evening).

So, we will postpone the work day until Sunday September 11th.   Same plan meet at City Market in Rifle at 8AM.  (I’m out of town the next 3 weekends).   September is typically a bit drier so hopefully we’ll have a larger window.

Thanks     Chuck n0nhj

Anvil Points Site NWS Forecast

Cell that rolled over Anvil an hour or two ago

Satellite

Work Days – Sunlight & Anvil

All plans are weather dependent!!   Keep an ear on the repeater for last minute changes.  I’ll also try to post any changes here if time allows.

Tuesday, August 2nd – after breakfast the VI.  We will leave the Village Inn in Glenwood Springs for Sunlight Peak about 9:15 AM.   Early forecast calls for the possibility of showers in the afternoon, so it will probably be a 1/2 day, but it never hurts to pack lunch.

I hope to tackle some tower work to better secure the antenna feed lines.   Depending on the time available we may also swap out the UHF Hub repeater (447.6 MHz) with the new (to us) Motorola MTR2000 repeater, this will increase our transmit power and should have slightly better receive sensitivity.

Other general labor projects to be accomplished include some weed pulling/trimming around the building.    We’ll plan to be headed down by 2PM if the storms don’t arrive earlier.

Anvil

Sunday, August 7th – Anvil Points.  We will meet at City Market in Rifle at 8AM.  It’s 25 miles each way to the site via the JQS trail, and will take us about 90 minutes.   The road is in good shape as of yesterday (7/28), but is narrow in places. (My jeep liberty does fine, a full size vehicle will make it, but the pucker factor will be higher).  The last 150 meters is through the sage brush, and there is limited parking on top, so some folks should expect to hike the last section.    We will try to get as much time on site as weather allows, so pack a lunch.

The major project will be to dig and install mounting poles for our new solar panels.   Bring your post hole digger, and spade shovels.     Other projects that would be nice to accomplish:  Clearing/trimming the brush along that last section of ‘road’, clearing some down trees on the main road.  We’ve got some tower work to do, removing some old antennas and feedlines, installing a new antenna, and feedline for the UHF link.    There is also general cleanup and weed removal that needs to be done.   If you’ve got tools that would be helpful for any of these projects please bring them along.

Any questions, offers or suggestions please contact  Chuck  n0nhj  email is my call sign at yahoo.com or 970 930 1296.

Thanks    Chuck  – n0nhj

Field Day 2016 – SCARC Style

by   Everybody

ARRL Field Day Weekend 2016 – came with perfect Colorado weather.  Not as hot as it sometimes is (Missouri Heights, CO.) in late June and not as windy either.  A great turn out all weekend and a larger than average Friday afternoon – Antenna setup team.

Band Conditions?

Well…20 Meters was where ALL the action was during daylight hours…10m forgetaboutit, 6M zippo – even Satellite passes was a tough go on Saturday.  Fortunately, 40Meters improved a lot after dark and Sunday morning (daylight) brought 20 Meters back in as the busiest QSO band.

Ash KQ0C – added some interesting Field Testing to the GOTA Station.  A plethora of different Antennas (Verticals, Dipoles and Delta Loops just to name a few) you can setup in minutes and start operating.  Ash had internal and external Antenna Tuners to try at the GOTA station and even proved you can make a 20M QSO (Ash did) using a 200Watt Sylvania Light Bulb Antenna.  Really.  When you see a new Antenna book titled “Impedance Matching – When Nikola Tesla met Thomas Edison” – now you’ll know who Authored it!The-Mighty-KQ0C-and-Light-Blub-HF-Antenna

Fred K0VK had his own unofficial competition with Frank N0AFO – each from their individual (on site) RV’s.  The competition was dubbed “who has the most cool radios and gadgets inside their RV”?  K0RV jumped out in front with his (yellow over right shoulder) electronic (“bug zapping fly swatter?”)  N0AFO countered “I have one of those yellow thingy’s too!” and upped the competitive ante with N0AFO’s new electronic (image video/stabilization) iPhone hand holder, proudly demonstrated to Eric K0JEG just before Saturday’s Pot Luck dinner started.  It was the last time N0ECT saw that device, K0JEG did have an especially big smile on his face as he walked away shooting iPhone videos with it…IMG_6650

SCARC’s “Dynamic Duo from Delaware” – Clark K3NI and wife Pam KB3UBU were operating Icom’s brand new SDR HF Rig Icom’s (now famous) IC-7300 – on loan from Bob K9MWM’s Ham Shack in Glenwood Springs.  Clark rumored to have quipped – “this Rig is so easy to operate, I can operate it with my arms folded!”  HA!!  Well at least we all know now who the real HF operator is in that family!  SCARC tip from Pam…careful who you ask to be your energetic – QSO logger!IMG_6654Picture Perfect Prentice K0VXP – ran the Digital Station – however 15 Meters was not cooperating – so Prentice ended up with a few more “very cool comments” about his brand new 4-wheel drive Jeep (you should see this VHF/UHF Jeep) than 15M Digital/PSK QSO’s that Saturday afternoon.IMG_6651Finally, Ms. Sue – N0DBY – Hence forth shall be known as “Shutterbug Sue” was busy on Field Day with her own QSO’s and Field Day Photo’s promptly uploading to her brand new Ski Country ARC Facebook Page (Click Here) for all our Facebook fans.  Lots more photos there too!

If you recognize any of these folks below – with their picture on the side of the Post Office wall – please let N0ECT know.  Just CLICK on the Photo to Enlarge it.  N0ECT will email it off to the ARRL/QST – for further review and inspection.  Where’s Waldo?  We mean where’s SCARC President Russell – W0CDE?  We found him!  Can you?SCARC-Field-Day-2016

Here is a really cool Video – a Drone’s Eye view of the SCARC Field Day site!  Special thanks to Drone Pilot – Wyatt Morhman KD0OLQ – son of Bill, N0MID from Aspen, Colorado.  Wyatt graduated CU/Boulder a couple of years ago with a BSEE and Computer Science.  His GoPro camera is our lens….

Below a few more of our favorite Field Day 2016 Photos!  73’s  from N0ECT

Raspberry Pi Bootcamp

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Yesterday we held the Raspberry Pi bootcamp at the Silt branch library. This was a course to introduce the small inexpensive computer to novice users. More and more hams are finding uses for it in the shack. My prior presentations have always generated a lot of questions and interest in the club, so I thought it would be a good idea to show how easy it is to get your feet wet. We had 7 members in the class: Larry (N0ACW), Bob (K9MWM), Bob (KI0G), Bryan (N0THY), Betty (KD0YDH) and Ken (KB0HP).
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Here’s a link to my notes. This is a dynamic document using OneNote. Some of you will see the irony in taking notes for a Linux class using a Microsoft product. I’ll be cleaning this notebook up and adding to it over the next few days, but I wanted to get something out there while it was still fresh.

The day was split roughly into 2 sections. In the morning we covered basic navigation and operation of the Raspberry Pi and the Linux operating system, some history of Unix and educational computers, and making sure everyone was able to get their Pi booted up and working -which might have been the most important lesson of the class (HIHI). The afternoon was spent actually setting up a simple SDR program called dump1090.

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K0JEG’s Raspberry Pi 3 based ADSB receiver. Almost wireless

This program, which Chuck (N0NHJ) uses to upload data to Flight Aware (actually Flightaware.com uses their own software) from locations throughout the west slope and Pete uses to display “virtual aircraft radar” on his web site, seemed to be a fairly good introduction to installing and compiling software on the Pi. The instructions are mostly clear and easy to follow too. It uses a USB dongle that was designed for picking up European standard off-air digital television (DVB-T). The engineers actually created the front end of a software defined radio platform. Hams quickly picked up on this fact and began using it for all sorts of activities. I picked up one last fall and have had a lot of fun playing around with it, both with my Macbook and with the Raspberry Pi. Take a look at my previous post with the parts list for the class for ordering information if you want to try it out.

Once we had some of the bugs worked out, we set to work getting the software sorted out. I’m happy to report that all five attempts worked. But the real good news is that there are seven more people who can poke around the terminal screen and have a little better chance of understanding what all that gibberish means.

Ken gets extra credit for stumping the teacher – he pointed out that the instructions I was using showed how, if I had just scrolled down a little further, you could use any web browser to connect to the Pi and display a moving map of the planes received. Whoops –I mean “I meant to skip that part to see who would be the first to figure it out…”

The only other thing I’ll mention is that we had more interest from other members. I know that scheduling can be difficult. If we had a better idea of the actual number of people who could attend it might have saved us needing to rent space for the event. I’m thinking I might want to try doing another class in the fall. If we do it would be nice to get a more realistic head count. If only a few people plan on attending it would be better to hold at someone’s home or other location. The Garfield County libraries are good locations for these activities, but unless we open events to the public, they aren’t free even for non-profits. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled with the turnout we had and I think everyone got more out of it than if it were a packed room, just that we could have saved a fair amount of hassle if we knew to plan for a smaller crowd. (end rant)

Anyway, I hope everyone enjoyed the day as much as I did. As a bonus, Phil (N0KE) and I finally made a contact on 1200 Mhz, between 7th street in downtown Silt and the N0KE global communications center. I had the IC9100 in the hatchback of my car, pumping about 5 Watts into half (11 elements) of my 24 element Yagi antenna. Phil had his 30 element loop Yagi pointed north, completing the link with his trusty (crusty?) Yaesu 736R. I need to get it in the log so we have another grid worked!

Links:

http://www.rtl-sdr.com/adsb-aircraft-radar-with-rtl-sdr/ – HowTo guide for everything to build an ADSB receiver, including antenna designs. Not just Raspberry Pi, although scroll down to the section about dump1090 for instructions.

http://flightaware.com/adsb/piaware/build – instructions for setting up a Raspberry Pi for use with flight aware, a web site that will keep airplane lovers geeking out for hours.

Digital in Dayton – 2016

by  K0JEG and N0ECT

There can be little doubt that Digital Radios will be a big part of Amateur Radio in the years to come.  Here is some new information on some of the Digital Radios discovered at Dayton this 2016.  Hold on to your Wallets…these new Digital Models don’t say BaoFeng on the front…(well, at least not yet)

Introducing the DV4mobile – can’t buy it yet, however can “Reserve” one for $35.00 deposit today.  Expected delivery?  Oct-Dec 2016….Cost guesstimate $900-$1,200 each.

Here is N0ECT’s online Chat with GigaParts about this new DV4Mobile.

New Picture (2)

New Picture (1)

N0ECT Comment:  Not sure how programming this Radio with LTE is going to work.  My iPhone (like yours) is programmed via the USB/Lightning connector -or- via WiFi in my office with iTunes running on the PC…New Picture (1)

Kenwood’s new Tri-Band – Digital Handheld – “Coming Soon”

(APRS, D-Star, Color TFT Display, GPS/Bluethooth, microSD, Micro-USB connector)

Fox Hunt Tools

Couple of folks were asking about the variable attenuator I was using at the Picnic Saturday.   Here’s the link to the Offset Fox Hunt Attenuator on the Arrow Antennas page.  http://www.arrowantennas.com/main/4ofha.html

Thanks Pat for hosting another great Picnic, and thanks to Brent for providing and hiding the fox!

Chuck   n0nhj

Rock Mountain HAMCON – Pregame Show

by   N0KE, KQ0C, K0BJ and N0ECT

Every Great Event has a good “pre-game” before the main event.  The Rocky Mountain HAMCOM (May 12th – May 15th) was no exception.HamCon-Banner

The Conference started at Noon last Friday – however the Pregame show was held Friday Morning – just 6 Miles up the Road from the Keystone, Colorado – Convention Center.  A 72” Snow Base at The Legend – Colorado’s A-Basin Ski area on the Continental Divide.

The Team  L-R   Bruce K0BJ from Colby, Kansas – Phil N0KE from Silt, Colorado and Ashton KQ0C from Carbondale, Co.  N0ECT safely behind the Lens.

(CLICK ON the photos to enlarge them)IMG_1666

How high is “UP” for this team?  No HF interference from Trees – Up Here!A-Basin-Snow-Plume-Refuge-13MAY2014-Top-Of-Pallavicini

Olympic Gold Medalist 2014 (Women’s Slalom) – and World Cup Champion Mikaela Shiffrin – stopped by for a quick Photo Op too!Mikaela-Shiffrin-A-Basin-13MAY2016

Need some A-Basin Perspective?  Try This!  It’s called Hiking “The Wall”Photo-1-Hike-the-Wall-ABasin-Best

Same Hikers and Skiers from above – Can you Find them below?

(Click on the Photo to enlarge it)Photo-2-Hike-the-Wall-ABasin-Best

A few more photos from our HAMCON – Pregame Show

Parts List for Raspberry Pi Bootcamp

by  Eric K0JEG

We’re still planning the agenda for the Raspberry Pi bootcamp, but I have a plan for the class room build phase. I think a good project will be to build an Aircraft ADSB receiver, using a USB tuner and GNU (SDR) radio. This ADSB Radio Receiver (combined kit) can then be used to upload ADSB Real-Time digital flight data to FlightAware.com or just used as a launching pad for more SDR projects.  (below an example)Eric-ADSB

We were aiming for sometime in May, but it turns out May is a very busy month. Must have something to do with pent-up demand from winter… Anyway, we’re now looking at June 4th for the date. Ken White, KD0YDH has permission for us to use his WiFi classroom at Rifle High School. Thanks Ken for doing the legwork! (Update: 30APR2016 – note date may change)

The project will require a Raspberry Pi 2 or (preferred) Pi 3. The Pi 3 is shipping in quantity so it should be fairly easy to pick one up, although you might pay a little more than the $35 target price. The Pi 2 is more than powerful enough though, so don’t worry if you can’t get a Pi 3.  Pi3 advantage?  WiFi (and Bluetooth) built right into the tiny motherboard.  Pi2 has to add WiFi externally via one of its USB ports.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00T2U7R7I  – Link to the Pi 2

http://www.amazon.com/Rasberry-Pi-Model-Mother-board/dp/B01CD5VC92/ – Pi 3

For the Price of (2) Baofeng’s you can get a complete Pi3 – Kit (case, micro-SD hard drive and Power Adaptor and HDMI cable $69.99

http://www.amazon.com/Vilros-Raspberry-Complete-Starter-Kit-Clear/dp/B00L87YMGM?ie=UTF8&psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o03_s01

http://www.amazon.com/Wifi-Antenna-Raspberry-Pi-Instructions/dp/B00H95C0A2 – good WiFi/USB adapter for the Pi 2. Has a removable (SMA-RP) antenna connector

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MARDJZ4 – Micro-USB power supply, 2.5 Amps, more than enough to power the Pi and a few USB devices. You can use a minimum of 1A phone charger, but if you’re going to do anything permanent it’s a good idea to pick up a good power supply.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JRSPSZI/ – Micro-SD card.  This acts as the Pi Computers (hard drive). The Pi 2 and 3 switched to micro-SD cards and a much more stable card reader. 16 GB is the minimum I’d get, 32 GB is better. Get a higher-class (read: faster disk drive) micro-SD card so that it doesn’t become a bottleneck.

http://www.amazon.com/NooElec-NESDR-Mini-RTL2832-Antenna/dp/B00P2UOU72 – USB-SDR module (photo). There are others that are a little less expensive, but theRTL-Dongle manufacturer of this model claims they use a more stable TXCO circuit, which means lower phase noise and more precise frequency control. Your mileage may vary… Just make sure whatever model you buy is based on the RTL2832 chip.

You’ll also need a keyboard, mouse and HDMI monitor.

Check out this amazing list of the number of USB-SDR Receiver projects this NooElec $22.50ea adaptor is capable of…and the list is GROWING!  (Click Here)

You can’t beat this $23.99 Logitech Wireless Mouse and Keyboard (uses just 1 USB tiny connector)  Logitech even includes the batteries for the Mouse and Keyboard.

http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-Wireless-Combo-MK270-Keyboard/dp/B00BP5KOPA?ie=UTF8&psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00

Once you get your Pi working you’ll be able to access it remotely on your home network.  We can show you how to download the (free) Remote Desktop App for the Pi – that allows your home PC to “Remote Desktop” to the Pi for complete control.  But for the class we’re going to be connected directly. A case would be a good addition too, especially if you plan on using the Pi permanently. There are lots available, at lots of different price points. You don’t really need to worry too much about heat dissipation unless you are going to overclock your Pi, which won’t be necessary for the class (but I will go over the process).

Anyway, we have 13 people who signed up during last months’ meeting. I’ll also have a sign-up sheet at the foxhunt in May or just drop me an email if you plan on attending.

Announcing: Raspberry Pi boot camp

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In case you weren’t at the March meeting, I asked the crowd if there was any interest in a 1 day introduction to the Raspberry Pi. About 15 or so people indicated (enthusiastically) that they were interested. And so once again I have bitten off more than I can chew (HIHI).

For those who don’t know, the Raspberry Pi is a credit card sized single board computer that was initially created for students taking computer science courses. The developers thought that it was important to have an inexpensive computer that students could “break” without having to worry about their other coursework being impacted by their laptop being out of commission. It also is somewhat standard and uses a lot of open source software tools, which also keeps the costs down. It quickly became a cult classic of sorts in the maker movement, being used for many different projects, including several amateur radio orientated. I’ve been using them for some time on different projects, including a GPS-based time server for my home network (which would be great for time critical modes like JT-65), Direwolf sound modem, and even the K0RV Dstar repeater. With an inexpensive SDR dongle you can track airplanes. There are also Echolink, IRLP and AllStar nodes built on this useful little computer. And if that’s not all, it can be used for non-ham uses like playing online video using a program called Kodi.

My thoughts when I came up with this is not that I’m an expert in Linux or Unix, but I can get around in the operating system having used it for many years. The thing I’d like to avoid is to teach a class, but I understand that going from 0 to 100 MPH isn’t easy, so maybe break it out into a more formal session in the morning and a workshop in the afternoon. The idea would be that we’d meet somewhere and work on a simple project, hands-on, that would have a real world use as well as serve as an introduction. A few ideas for a syllabus:

  • How to install software
  • Directory navigation
  • Updates and maintenance
  • Reading logs and editing files
  • Networking basics
  • Getting help and make good use of search engines

The workshop would apply some of these concepts to get a working device you can use. One idea would be an Echolink node, or an APRS TNC using DireWolf. Drop a comment below if there’s something specific you’d like covered and we’ll see what we can do.

Because this would be a hands-on meeting you’ll need to have:

  1. a Raspberry Pi 2 Model B. The original Pi model B will work too, but the Pi2 is much more powerful. If you can get one, a Pi 3 would be the best as far as horsepower.
  2. Monitor (HDMI), mouse and keyboard. A laptop can also be used with a USB terminal adaptor   although you won’t have access to the GUI interface.
  3. SD card (4GB minimum, 16GB recommended)
  4. power adapter (micro-USB, 1 Amp minimum, 2A recommended)
  5. CAT 5 jumper.

There are several sources of kits that include everything you need, but you might be able to grab some of what you need from your last-generation smart phone. I’ll be able to write the operating system to an SD card at the event.

We’ll need a location with Internet access and power (I can scrounge up some long power strips and Ethernet switches). It might not be for a few months down the road, depending on how quickly we can find a location that meets the requirements and time I can devote to the workshop. And I’m also looking for other Linux types who can help out with the workshop and might have some ideas as well. If you’d like to help out, drop me an email.

Before the event I would strongly recommend the book “Think Unix” by John Lasser. It is not your typical user guide! If you aren’t a “computer person” you might find out that you are after reading it. Instead of going through a bunch of commands, the book shows you how the design approach to Unix (and Linux) is based on simple building blocks that can interact in very powerful ways.

We’ll need to get some idea of how many people to expect, so we know what sort of location we’ll need to find. This would be outside the normal monthly meeting and with summer coming up I think it would be better to hold it in the fall. For now leave a comment below letting me know you’re interested. We’ll probably have a sign-up sheet at the next few meetings. Watch this space for a shopping list as we get closer as well.