Most Recent Blog Posts

  • May 2021 President’s Blog

    PRESIDENT’S BLOG – On Exposure and other things

    There has been a lot of talk lately about the new RF Exposure limits
    for amateur radio.  In the past we were given generous limits and
    only needed to comply by calculation if we exceeded those limits.
    Now the limits are tighter and the calculation will have to be made.

    There are a number of online calculators that we can use and at the
    club meeting (this Tuesday, May 18th, at 7:30 PM) we will be showing
    a YouTube video on the subject.  There are also links on the club
    web page that we can use to find out further information. Here is a
    link to the RF Exposure information on the club website:

    http://n2re.org/rf-exposure


    I hope to see you all at the meeting or, as we say in ham radio,
    “Stay Tuned”.
    73,
    Don, AK2S

  • President’s Blog April 2021

    SWL

    They are among us and we do not even know it!  I refer to Short Wave Listeners.

    Personally, I have received two QSL cards from SWL’s who were eves-dropping on my conversations; one even on CW, so no one is safe from being monitored.

    When starting a new mode of operation, be it CW, Digital, or phone, it is always appropriate to be a SWL. That way you get the “lay of the land” which will show you how things get done on the particular mode by observing other, more experienced, users.

    At this point, let me put in a plug for the Club’s 2-meter repeater net on Tuesday evenings at 8:00 PM local time. The net is held on the DSRC repeater (146.460 MHz and the PL is 131.8 Hz).  If you have a radio capable of working on this band and do not know how to set it up, you only need to ask any of the more experienced hams.  The purpose of the net is to allow new hams to test and get comfortable with their equipment and allow those hams who cannot get on because they do not have the equipment yet to join in the fun.

    On another personal note, when I worked for RCA, I was the Net Control Station (NCS) for the club’s 75-meter phone net.  One night I mentioned that a launch had been postponed due to inclement weather.  Next day the FBI showed up to investigate the leaking of classified information. It turns out that another ham, who was an engineer that had worked at Astro and was now working in Camden, had worked on the program in question and when he was doing that, it was a classified job.  It had since, unbeknown to him, been declassified and no harm was done but it shows that you never know who is listening to you.

    Also, in my opinion, there are too many SWL’s on the bands and not enough active hams.

    We need You!

    73,

    Don, AK2S

  • Ham Cram and Testing Session TCF 2021

    On Saturday March 20, 2021 the David Sarnoff Radio Club sponsored “Ham Cram” as a way to “Get a Ham Radio License via Zoom in One Day” during the Trenton Computer Fest 2021

    Our Club has supported a “Ham Cram” amateur radio Technician License Class and Exam Session at the annual Trenton Computer Festival since at least 1998 (that’s how far back my collection of club newsletters extends!)

    In March 2020, TCF was canceled for the first time in its 45-year history because of the outbreak of the then-new novel coronavirus. Large gatherings such as TCF were still restricted in 2021, so the TCF planning commmittee decided to conduct a virtual TCF in 2021 using Zoom. DSRC agreed to sponsor a virtual version of the Ham Cram and Exam Session.

    The transition of the Ham Cram to a virtual format using Zoom was relatively straightforward, as Zoom has already been used to provide remote instruction to millions of students.

    Slide from Ham Cram shows the 11 topics of the Agenda, and an image of The ARRL Ham Radio License Manual book.
    What we covered in the Ham Cram

    The license exam was much more of a challenge, because the FCC and ARRL VEC have strict requirements regarding the administration of amateur radio exams . My initial research uncovered that most pandemic exams used one of two approaches. In the first, candidates drive their vehicles to a large parking lot, complete the preliminary paperwork from inside their vehicles, and then take the test itself sitting on a folding chair in front of their vehicle, where they can be observed by the required minimum of 3 volunteer examiners. We immediately identified 3 problems with this approach. First local weather in mid-March is very unpredictable. Second, we did not find a commercial lot owner willing to let us use their land. And third, some candidates could be traveling a significant distance, so the exam would have to be delayed after the conclusion of the Ham Cram.

    The other common approach is a remote test software application called ExamTools. The test is conducted online while a Zoom session is used to observe the candidate. Unfortunately, the ExamTools application supports only a single candidate at a time, so for a large number of candidates, the testing would take many hours.

    Alan Wolke, W2AEW, heard of another alternative via Ria Jairam, N2RJ, who put me in contact with Joe Speroni, AH0A, in Honolulu. Joe has been conducting remote testing throughout the pandemic, observing up to 6 candidates at-a-time testing with traditional paper forms in a Zoom breakout room.

    Joe graciously offered to support our event if I could supply enough volunteer examiners to staff multiple Zoom breakout rooms. We wouldn’t know the final count until the day of TCF, so we decided to plan for up to 4 breakout rooms which could accommodate as many as 24 candidates.

    Joe had never conducted such a large test event previously, but he was enthusiastic to do so.

    The planning and execution for up to 4 simultaneous virtual exam rooms via Zoom was a huge challenge. We assembled a team of 16 volunteer examiners: 8 local VEs from DSRC and other area clubs, plus an additional 8 VEs from Hawaii, California, and Guam, who have worked with AH0A in the past. We held a mock testing session via Zoom to rehearse the TCF test session logistics.

    On Saturday, March 20, 14 candidates registered to take exams, but 2 backed-out at the last minute. We split the 12 candidates between 3 breakout rooms. The testing proceeded very smoothly.

    A total of 17 exam elements were attempted by the 12 candidates. 7 earned a Technician class license, 3 earned a General class license, and 2 did not earn a license.

    Special thanks to Joe Speroni, AH0A who developed the virtual Zoom exam session process and spent countless hours before, during, and after TCF to support our event.

    73, John NU3E

    2021 TCF VIRTUAL HAM CRAM INSTRUCTORS

    • Pat Howard K2PAT
    • Alan Wolke W2AEW
    • Joe Zaroff WA3NEQ

    2021 TCF VIRTUAL VE TEAM

    • Ben Cahill AC2YD
    • John DeGood NU3E
    • Michael Harla N2MHO
    • C.R. Phillips N3HTZ
    • Carlos Prior KE2TT
    • Eric Russell KD2ONY
    • Cathy Tsao KD2UGE
    • Joe Zaroff WA3NEQ

    AH0A’s Pacific Team:

    • Gessie Alpuuro WH6AV
    • Shane Callaghan AH2EJ
    • Stephen Kawamae KH6WG
    • Larry Loomer KI6LNB
    • Joe Speroni AH0A
    • Joseph Tabrah KH6FHI
    • Beverly Yuen AH6NF
    • James Yuen WH6GS
  • TCF Ham Cram / Testing page added

    Link to: Trenton Computer Fest – Ham Cram – David Sarnoff Radio Club

    The link above has information about the morning Ham Cram and the afternoon VE Session.

    See you at TCF2021: Saturday March 20, 2021

  • Soapbox WFD 2021

    COVID-19 kept us from having a “club station” but lots of us got into the spirit of Winter Field Day this year.

    Ben, AC2YD worked 137 QSOs in a walk-in shed for horses

    Image 1 of 5

    Used battery power for the QRP rig (including laptop), but household A/C for the 2 heating pads (feet and lap/hands) and 1 space heater for trying to keep me warm.

    From Our Organizer, Bob, N2EIM:  I made 50 QSOs  (49 cw and 1 ssb) on 20m. I tried vhf and uhf simplex but no responses. I did hear Deb on 146.520 but he didn’t hear me. 

    From Karl, KB2FA: First WFD for me. Worked yesterday opening to dusk 1O on 2m simplex. Only made a handful of contacts with half of them being non participant rag chews. 🙂 Still, got 3 logable contacts. (on paper) Planning to use the software from n3fjp that John posted about to create the Cabrillo file and submit for the club.

    From Pat, K2PAT: Using a 5 watt HT, and hill-topping at 500′ to 600′, Pat made 2 contacts about 20 miles away in 1 hour and went home. Few contacts but a big pile of bonus points.

    From Ben, AC2YD:  I wish I could have earned bonus points for being cold, but that’s my usual station location, using my usual antenna … next project: remote operation!
    Used battery power for the QRP rig (including laptop), but household A/C for the 2 heating pads (feet and lap/hands) and 1 space heater for trying to keep me warm. Special credit to the neck gaiter made by my XYL … helped immensely!
    Worked 137 QSOs, and even got a good night’s sleep. I have a feeling that I didn’t miss a lot overnight. All on 20m and 40m, the only bands I can use with my Softrock rig … missed out on much higher multipliers if I could have used other bands.
    Among the QSOs were 4 that, before Friday, I had no real intention of doing … SSB! 2 on 20m and 2 on 40m, just to get the band/mode multipliers. My little Softrock (with Quisk) “just worked” with the mic built into the laptop … did one trial Friday night, reaching a Texas POTA CQ on the first call! I’m impressed with what SSB can do on 2 watts!
    … photo of me this morning trying to stay warm in the “radio shed” (really a walk-in shed for horses, but that’s where my rig is!).

    From Rebecca, K3RPM: Anybody out there on 2M simplex? 

    From Bob,WA2BSP :Guess my signal Doesn’t make it.

    From SKIP, N2EI: And a good time was had by all. 76 casual QRP QSOs across three bands operating 1H. Another WFD in the Log.

    From Charlie, N2CTW:  I proved I could get on the air, then pulled the plug, went inside and got warm. 40M SSB and 2M FM

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