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Meeting Recap: February 2011

Saturday was yet another super club meeting ... in fact, it was a Growling meeting!

Joe demonstrated a breadboard of a new project from the "SBI" mental department of N2APB & N2CX that will be offered at-cost to NJQRP meeting attendees. It is the GROWLER, a simple QRP SWR bridge that operates up to 144 MHz . It is unique in that it has a multicolor bar graph display of SWR (similar to the older Rainbow Tuner) and it features an audio tone whose pitch varies according to measured SWR. Only several inches square it is ideal for in-shack or portable use where the ability to "hear" as well as see the readout make adjusting antennas and antenna tuners more convenient. A Morse readout of the SWR is also delivered by the onboard speaker when the adjustment is complete. The kit will be available for purchase for those who attend the March meeting. George N2APB was unable to make the meeting since he threw his back out doing some QRO yard work; however he called in real-time and e-mailed pictures of his printed circuit board version of the Growler and some custom metalwork for one of his boat anchor projects.

The Growler Kit
(click photo for bigger view, and see demo on YouTube below )


Once again we were honored to have a visit from Jim N2ADR who presented an excellent demo of his home brew FPGA-based SDR receiver which was featured in a recent issue of QEX. It brought out many questions for its simplicity and outstanding design.

Jim KB1JXB spoke about his work on a software Morse decoder for the NUE-PSK.

Jeff W2PWD showed off his most excellent ARK 30 and ARK 40 transceivers. They are probably the earliest commercial synthesized QRP CW rigs. He reports them as being solid performers even in his field operations and laments the fact that the parent company that sold them ceased business years ago.

Mike WA8BXN from Cleveland, OH was in the area visiting a friend so he decided to join us. He demonstrated a software package called Team Viewer that controls Flex 1500 back in his home shack. Using Team Viewer and Skype he is able to operate the ham rig while traveling and even while camping. He is also in the process of configuring a TS480 to operate remotely.

New ham Dave KA3RYS brought his Rockmite transceiver that he has built to transition to CW from VHF phone operation. He reported some difficulty in getting it working so we volunteered to assist him next meeting if he has not fully debugged it by then.

John KE3S brought along a piece of real craftsmanship, a duplication of a 19368 Lamphouse 1 space charge regenerative receiver. It has a triode whose grid is biased positively so that it operates well with only 9V on its plate! John carefully hand crafted it in typical 1930's style construction and most of its components are likewise period authentic. He also reported on a joint project by himself and George N2APB to build some "vintage" style wooden cases for antique radio reproductions.

Denis AD2A had reported last meeting that he found a source for inexpensive vacuum pickup tools useful for SMT construction. He had ordered several for those interested but reported that the vendor had not yet delivered them. He has now found some inexpensive analog and digital battery meters. A number of members expressed interest so he will bring some of the along next meeting as well.

Jim K2SZ showed a 70 cm-band eggbeater omni antenna he home built for satellite operation. He reports that initial results were intermittent due to using direct coax cable feed to its balanced elements. Adding a current balun has stabilized its characteristics.

Joe KC2VGL mentioned a refurb project he is undertaking to restore an older Tektronix spectrum analyzer to operating condition. He asked that if any members know of private folks who work on Tektronix or Anritsu Spectrum Analyzers please pass along their name.

Cory WA3UVV reported stopping at the nearby Gloucester City ARC before coming to our meeting. He found 50+ attendees – not bad for a first year effort. Cory also brought along the Dave Ingram Traveling Key Display, a show piece of keys put together by Dave before he became SK. This display is appearing at various ham clubs and events to give some historical info about Morse sending apparatus. He also reported that he is preparing a video documentary for a new QRPme kit, the Lil Squall. This is a much-updated version of the popular Pixie 2 transceiver that is easy enough that a beginner can build it and has is much more usable than the usual Pixie.

Not to be outdone Mark G7LTT/NI2O showed a receiver developed by shortwave broadcaster HCJB's German R&D department in. It is a simple SDR design that Mark claims has comparable performance to the SoftRock series. This receiver the "PappRadio" German for cardboard is named for its earliest breadboard material. HCJB's motto is "That all may hear" and with that in mind they set about developing a DRM capable RX for a modest amount. More info is available at http://www.pappradio.de/typo3/ in German but remember that Google has a translation feature. He also stopped by the Gloucester City hamfest though was less impressed by it than was Cory.

My apologies if I left anyone out of the meeting notes. If I did please remind me and we will add any missing info in the meeting report here. See the meeting pics below!


Joe E. N2CX

Attendees included:   Jim KB1JXB, Jeff W2PWD, Mike WA8BXN, Dave KA3RYS, Jack KB3OXW, Jim K2SZ, Jim N2ADR, John KE3S, Joe KB3BMI, Samuel KF3G, Denis AD2DA, Bryan AA3WM, Joe KC2VGL, Cory WA3UVV, Mark NI2O, and Joe N2CX

Views from the Meeting

(click photo for bigger view)


Last updated: March 26, 2011