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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Minutes by Gerry Jurrens, N2GJ at N2ARC.

Attendees (12 hams):

Gerry Jurrens, N2GJ - Kingston, NJ
Ted Groke, W2TAG - Tabernacle, NJ
Tony Canuso, N2ATB - Cherry Hill, NJ
Mike Ardovino, N2EAB - Peekskill, NY
Lenny Wintfield, W2BVH - Cranford, NJ
Jim Disco, K2SZ - Barnegat, NJ
Brian Boccardi, N2MPM - North Brunswick, NJ
Mario Dianori, N2AK - Medford, NJ
Vojtech Bubnick, AB2ZA - Plainsboro, NJ
Tom Bagdas, NU2I - Hamilton, NJ
Hiroki "Hiro" Kato, AH6CY - Easton, PA/Portola Valley, CA
John "Jack" Acacia, KB3OXW - Morrisville, PA

Meeting notes:

N2MPM - Brian is building Tom's (NU2I) Elecraft KX1. He's making "slow progress." He's wrestling with the microscopic part markings and a cat that has to verify that gravity works each and every day.

N2ATB - Tony is working 40 and 80 meters and playing with DSTAR. He brought in a DV Dongle, a $199 USB device developed by Robin AA4RC. See www.dstarusers.org for more info. The units can be purchased from HRO (tax and shipping are free).

W2TAG - Ted reports that he's not doing a whole lot with radio since his 160 meter Carolina Windom came down in a storm. He got a huge amount (1/4 mile) of #14 aluminum wire from Tractor supply for only $26! This stuff is usually used for fences. He repaired the antenna with this wire. He recommends getting and using AL/CU flux to connect to coax. He uses wire nuts with some coax seal to keep water out. He also described a pulley/weight system that he uses to keep the wire from breaking in the future.

N2AK - Mario brought a very nice looking QRP rig he built. He told us about the Classic Exchange special event (CQ CX) - he owns more than 40 different rigs plus 3 "stations" including some TenTec classics, 25 "tube jobs" (aka "radios with 'hernia' written all over them"). For example, his Heath Mohawk/Apache station weighs in at about 200 lbs. He has an NC-173 from Rhode Island 1947 vintage exactly like the one that was used by Thor Heyerdahl on the trans-Pacific raft called "Kon Tiki." The CX events let you multiply the number of QSOs times the age of the equipment. For example, the last event he scored 1100 years worth of QSOs due to his extensive collection of what some call "boat anchors!" He also uses a keyer (the SJRA Pickeyer), a "SPOT box" crystal oscillator/calibrator that's set for the frequency range between 7041 and 7045 KHz (where a lot of the old-time radio sets play). For the phone contest he uses a VFO designed by the great W1FB, Doug DeMaw. For additional details, visit the ARRL website to see Mario's article on Classic Exchange (Jan. 9 issue).

AB2ZA - Vojtech brought a 2.5 mah battery pack he assembled from ostensibly "dead" DeWalt power tools packs. He connects 2 in parallel then 3 in series. He also spoke about some other chemistry batteries (and elaborated in an email thread on the njqrp.club maillist). He also demonstrated how clamp-on chokes can be used to builed 50 ohm 1:1 or 4:1 baluns.

KB3OXW - Jack is kicking around a couple of ideas including using 955 "acorn" tubes and reverse-engineering a "modern receiver with old tubes." He announced that the Warminster Amateur Radio Club is offering free amateur radio classes. He wants to know if anyone still wants to meet for breakfast at Denny's (most agree it's not too good) prior to our meetings.

AH6CY - Hiro visited us from outside Easton, PA (by way of Portola, CA near Palo Alto). He has a Yaesu FT-817 and an MP-1 portable antenna. He has been experimenting with homebrew magnetic loop antennas. He enjoys operating "pedestrian mobile" and is a fan of the HFPack group and using a backpack setup.
Editor's note: after the meeting, Hiro sent a very nice email to me:
Hi Gerry,
It was nice meeting you and other club members of the NJQRP club. I thoroughly enjoyed the content and the casual manner in which the meeting was conducted. While I intend to attend the meeting as regularly as possible, I found out on my return today that I need to be back in California from Feb. 27 thru March 9, thus missing the Feb meeting. I opened your website this evening and enjoyed browsing it. The format is unique and quite attractive. I like the no-nonsense, minimalist approach. Thanks again for inviting me to the meeting.
Hiro AH6CY

NU2I - Tom is eagerly awaiting Brian's completion of the KX1! He reported on the very successful Boy Scout Radio Merit Badge Day held at the Sarnoff Labs on Saturday January 10. He mentioned that AA2F Don Wright offers a free Technician Class course. He told us that the DVRA February meeting would feature an auction of old equipment.

N2EAB - Mike brought his MMR40 which he built with about 60% of the parts from his junkbox and 40% from Mouser. It's a 40 meter transceiver, 6 watts PEP, SSB and CW. He recycled an old cellphone headset and re-purposed the mute button as a PTT switch. He mentioned near his QTH there is a good surplus dealer known as P&T Surplus on Abeel St. in Kingston, NY.

W2BVH - Len operated the ARRL VHF Sweepstakes, adding a borrowed Yaesu FT-736 to his station for 220 & 432 MHz. He reports that during Dec. and Jan. there was very minor e-skip. He was able to work Mexico, Louisiana, and the Bahamas. Some stations in Idaho worked Europe and into Saskatchewan and Alberta, Canada. From May to July (and even into August) conditions should improve. He is experimenting with a surplus LNB that cost a dollar. He thinks it might be useful as a 10 GHz low noise amplifier.

K2SZ - Jim updated us on the story he told back in the Fall about the estate sale where he acquired 2,000 vacuum tubes. He has a good tube tester and has found most of the tubes are in great condition. He also got a 1927 radio in a nice cabinet with all the right tubes. He also got a 1954 Blaupunkt AM/SSB/HF/FM receiver (I think he said his wife found it in an antique store for him!) Jim had knee replacement surgery earlier in January and is recovering well.

N2GJ - Gerry mentioned that he had swapped emails with a very busy George N2APB who extended his good wishes to the club. Gerry operated the ARRL VHF Sweepstakes from K1JT (Dr. Joe Taylor's QTH in Princeton) and had a fantastic time! He has been playing around with digital modes, including FSK/RTTY, using a microham microkeyer USB interface on the Icom IC-756 Pro III. He also got an Icom IC-7000 as a combination 60th birthday/Christmas present. He's enjoying that rig very much!

During the meeting, we had an impromptu visit from someone looking for a Red Cross training function. He noticed that we were a ham group and identified himself as Frank Anicoche, ex-KD6NTS. "Unfortunately," he said, "my license expired back in 2002, but I'm very interested in getting back into amateur radio." Gerry gave him his card and email address for further contact.

Additions/corrections welcome!

Respectfully submitted, 73,
Gerry Jurrens, N2GJ

See you all at the next meeting! (See the NJQRP Event Calendar for the full set of meeting dates.)

Last updated: March 22, 2009