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Meeting Recap: December 2010

About 14 members attended the December NJQRP meeting there at our regular location (Brooklawn Community Center).  In fact, a good number also attended the pre-meeting close by there at the Metro Diner where we informally convened over pancakes and eggs.  (This is one of the highlights of our meetings for me!) 


A very special treat for some of us long-timers was the appearance of Ken Newman N2CQ!  Ken hasn't been able to attend many meetings in recent years, but is feeling a little better now, and since the meeting location is closer to his home he was able to attend.  N2CQ is a great friend and supporter of the club over the years and has motivated us on many occasions to have a good CW station at our club outings (FD, QTTF, etc.)  And of course for the newcomers, N2CQ is the originator of the regular Contesting Links that gets published across many servers in the QRP community.  And despite Ken's preference to stay away from computer-based radios, he's built up a Softrock Lite version and may hop into out project path leading toward not needing a PC for the Ensembles.  Very glad to have Ken with us at the December meeting!


The main theme of the meeting was again 'constructing and testing the Ensemble receivers'.  Lots of progress has been made on this Group Build by our members.  N2CX and N2APB again brought along the cope, soldering stations, meters and tools that we set up on one 'working' table, and ultimately we got 5 out of 8 receiving pretty well during the meeting.  The remaining 3 are on the bench right now and should be ready in time for our January meeting.  Congrats to the members now having working receivers!


N2APB again had his new SDR Cube station in operation on another table, with a simple PAC-10 portable antenna pulling in loads of stations. (www.sdr-cube.com)


Dave WA2DJN brought along some boatanchor parts collection for the Ultimate Regen Receiver, by the famous Bruce Vaughn, NR5Q (SK).  KE3S and N2APB arm wrestled for the parts, and George took them home to build into a special enclosure that he hopes to bring to the next meeting.   Dave also brought along some estate radios to unload (TT Argosy, 80-10m, CW/SSB, 50W, $100.  Also TT-580, 160-10, CW/SSB, with problem power supply, $50.  And lastly an FT-726, 2m/75cm, $50.  Great way for someone to start building up a station!


John KE3S discussed the use of Litz wire in crystal radios, and the merits of the Retro-75 AM transceiver from Small Wonder Labs.  Said he wished that K1SWL would actually produce his 60m rig too.


Ted W2TAG described how his 160m Windom blew down and now has an 80m dipole up.  Ted has a Retro-75 transceiver on the bench.  Ted also demonstrated (again) his combined hot air station and solder station.  N2APB used it, under Ted's guidance, to attach the 100-pin dsPIC controller to the SDR Cube's DSP board.  Worked great!


Tony N2ATB described his Kenwood hybrid radio collection from the '70s, consisting of tubes & semiconductors.  The Kenwood TS-830S is an example of a good rig from this hybrid era.


Denis AD2DA showed a number of gadgets that he was looking for people interested in a group buy: brass shavings for cleaning soldering iron tips, Harbor Freight mag/lighted headset, Home Depot AC monitor, and a few other items.  Denis has cat problems, so he wasn't operating on all cylinders.


Mark G7LTT mentioned that the latest version of Hamlib now supports the Si570, so any tool/application using Hamlib can deal with this popular clock generator.  Mark has the N2ADR Quisk application working (N2APB and N2CX are quite envious of this achievement.)  Mark has been evaluating different quadrature sampling RF decks, like the Lazy Dog 'softrock' and a pretty inexpensive USB stereo sound card coming from Japan.  He also showed off a real nifty EL clock kit from Russia ... These electro-luminescent tubes are very sexy.


Cory WA3UVV has come across a vintage 1951 Magnavox television and is currently in a "going retro" kind of mood with his homebrewing.  This stimulated some fun discussion of the good ol' days when as youngsters we'd rescue old TVs from their landfill fate and disembowel them for parts to create our earliest transmitters.  Now those were the days!


Joe KC2VGL overviewed the iSDR add-on for the iPAD, and showed (to most people) a nifty 2 GHz hand-held spectrum analyzer.  Joe also mentioned having cat problems, in that his prize cat ran away.  Must be something in the water.  [My cat problems are that my wife has two - n2apb]


Rich W2NSA described the benefits of No-Ox, and that he's working on learning CW since he doesn't yet have a rig.


Jim KB1JXB described how he's just started getting into embedded development on the NUE-PSK digital modem, learning CW and loving QRP.


Joe N2CX got his Ensemble working and is looking forward to using it on a regular basis.  Einstein joke: "How does telegraphy work?"


Nick K2JMK just finished building his Ensemble receiver that morning at 6am!


See some photos from the meeting below ...


See you all at the January meeting on the 15th!



73, George N2APB
    & Joe N2CX



Pics ...

Last updated: January 15, 2011