NJ-QRP Meeting Summary

Saturday, February 24, 2007

(Click on photos to see bigger versions.)

What a fun club meeting thgis was! Thanks to everyone who made it out to the pre-meeting breakfast at Denny's and to the official meeting at the Red Cross Center there in Princeton. As usual, there were some real gems that I took away from the meeting - hope the same was for you too.

George Heron, N2APB kicked off the meeting with a show 'n tell of the "Rookey" Atlanticon Kit, now in final form and built up in an Altoids tin. I think everyone agreed that it's a nice looking kit, fairly easy to put together and calibrate, and that it should be fun to use during the competition on Saturday night there at Atlanticon, as well as afterwards around the shack using the additional information and "encoder" parts that we'll have for people there at the weekend. We have the Atlanticon kits all prepared now and they will start shipping next week to all those who pre-registered for Atlanticon, as well as to all those new registrations coming in now. (The Rookey Kit will be generally sold to others after Atlanticon.) 


George then gave an update on the Atlanticon logistics and details. Things are coming together well this year -- there's a great lineup of speakers (to be announced on the lists this weekend), the hotel is ready, prize donations are actively being solicited/collected from interested QRP clubs, and the shirts are on order for speakers and the staff. David Willmore, N0YMV will be the "pit boss" this year, so if any NJQRP club member can lend a hand at the registration table, kit table, lunch box table, prize table, etc., please see Dave and he'll get you coordinated in.

Joe Jesson, KB9LZB gave a wonderful overview presentation of his "Low Cost 2.4 GHz Spectrum Analyzer", as built from the Circuit Cellar article for April 2006. The project was demo'd and showed spectrum activity in the local area for some WiFi transmissions and perhaps a few cell phones. Joe described how the project could possibly be modified to operate down as low as 300 MHz too. Then he described possibilities for using an FM chip in some novel applications that just might pan out as a very cool club project.


Mark Phillips, G7LTT gave us a nice overview of another topic that he's become interested in: D-STAR. He and several others in the northern NJ area have installed a D-STAR-capable repeater and some radios that work across this evolving standard for digital voice over radio. As Mark described it, there are not too many feature benefits of the technology and appears to be driven by Icom as part of the need in Japan to meet certain regulations, but it appears to be an interesting technique to experiment with as an outgrowth of the older packet radio days. He doesn't predict it really gaining traction but will keep us posted on its continued progress here in the US.

Mark Phillips also handed out the club kit that we've been working on for a while: the 50 MHz frequency counter. This is a project that he's been spearheading, along with Joe and George, such that each club member attending our meetings gets this kit free as part of an ongoing, greater-vision project that we are working toward (highly-accurate, GPS-driven or WWVB-driven frequency standard and absolute clock). So all those in attendance got this kit of pcb, parts, programmed PIC and LCD ... we expect to see some progress on this when we next get together. The doc and further details are available on Mark's website at http://www.g7ltt.com/njqrp/.

Ron McConnell, W2IOL showed off some nifty superbright LEDs that he obtained from Walmart, Walgreen and Sears. LEDs were attached to his hat and to a glove, making hands-free visibility possible in low-light situations. So whether you are night time QRPer, a proctologist, or just hunting under the bed for spiders, you should check out these items.

Mike Ardovino, N2EAB showed off some of his fancy homebrewing expertise in the form of a 6m transverter and DC40 QRP rig. Nicely done Mike!

Dave Gwillim, KB2TQX brought along a hard copy of the increasingly-popular "DSP Signal Processing" book that guys have seen before in full PDF format online and useful for starting to experiment with the KK7P DSPx card. He picked it up from Amazon (ISBN 978-0-7506-7444-7, by Steven W. Smith). Dave also brought along some *nice* coils of #26 kynar-coated wire and magnet wire for handout to those at the meeting. Plus, Dave and his daughter Christine, and her boyfriend Romel, again brought along many cans of ice tea to quench our thirsts during the meeting. Thanks guys!


Dave Gwillim also showed us some interim results of a new Loader program that he's been designing for the Micro908 owners. This will be a "TeraTerm replacement" that simplifies the loading process of the Micro908 and eliminates a nasty habit people have of loading a non-binary file by mistake or forgetting to set the proper line delay, thus messing up the HC908 boot loader along the way. Dave's Loader program only allows downloading of the proper S19 files and shows a nice progress indicator during the load process. This loader program has great potential and we'll soon get it into beta test with the Micro908 gang ... thanks a ton for the initiative on designing this Dave!

Gary Wilson, K2GW described how he soon will be giving an "Intro to HF" presentation to the DVRA club, as well as a presentation (along with David Willmore) to the Sarnoff club on "station logging tools and techniques."

John Pugh, W2QOB was a fist-time attendees to the NJQRP club meetings ... welcome! 

Joe Everhart, N2CX described how he dissected one of the small stereo speaker assemblies that he demo'd at the last meeting. He found that it contained a couple of 1/2W mini speakers and small stereo amplifier IC that runs on the 3V. He says that we'll likely see some project Quickie from him on this chip in the future. Also being a Dollar Store aficionado, Joe showed us some interesting plastic holders of four AA cells that could contain NiMH cells to serve as a 4.8V supply for his bench projects (as well as for the Rookey kit ... hint hint).

Richard Bitzer, WB2ZKW updated us on his continuing efforts to sort through the offset tone challenge when using his Collins KWM-2 rig. After better understanding (and appreciating) the ingenuity of the Collins engineers, he's solved his problem with some digital circuits!

Ted Groke, W2TAG showed us a very useful book he obtained from Amazon called "RF Circuit Design", by Chris Bowick. N2CX mentioned that this is a classic instructional book that he's used in the past to teach RF concepts and principles to his team at work, and it truly looks like a good one for the shack.

It was great seeing everyone again and chewing on technical topics. These regular monthly meetings are great ... hope to see even more at our next gathering! (The next meeting, per the schedule at http://www.njqrp.club/data/Calendar.html will be on April 28th ... Atlanticon will take the place of our March meeting.)

See you at Atlanticon!

73, George N2APB
& Joe N2CX

Attendees: Joe Everhart (N2CX), George Heron (N2APB), Joe Jesson (KB9LZB), Ron McConnell (W2IOL), Mark Phillips (G7LTT), Mike Ardovino (N2EAB), Kip Burnett (KB2EGI), John Pugh (W2QOB), Dave Ottenburg (WA2DJN), David Willmore (N0YMV), John DeGood (NU3E), Gary Wilson (K2GW), Dave Gwillim (KB2TQX) and daughter Christine, Denis Albiser (AB2PD), Richard Bitzer (WB2ZKW), Larry Greidinger (WA2DGD), and Gerry Jurrens (N2GJ).

Last Modified: July 28, 2007