During the weekly F-troop there are mentions of software, websites and solutions that are worth taking note of. This website attempts to document them.

If you're looking for inspiration, there's a list of all the posts here, otherwise use the search and any hash-tag that might be appropriate.

20201128 - SKYWARN

posted Nov 27, 2020, 5:03 PM by Onno Benschop

Don KC8CMQ sends us notice of a new event, SKYWARN:

Hello to all..
Apologies for those that have received this email multiple times. Its hard to believe but another SKYWARN Recognition Day is upon us. My sincerest apologies that this note is coming so late. With the changes in SRD due to the inability of volunteers being able to go into NWS offices due to COVID causing a revamp of this year's event with NWS along with several critical work projects, this first note has been delayed but I'm confident we can get the schedule pulled together for this year. The following is the first in the series of updates on SKYWARN Recognition Day (SRD) 2020 and Echolink/IRLP operations.
For 2020 SRD, understanding any NWS offices that are on the air will most likely be via NWS employees, we wanted to give everyone on this distribution first choice on the various time slots. You can operate with your personal call-sign as NWS coordinator or some may elect to use the NWS Call-Sign and state they are portable. WX4NHC, the Amateur Radio station at the National Hurricane Center, did that this year with their operations during hurricane activations.
EchoLink and IRLP are just a couple of modes people can utilize to contact NWS offices during SKYWARN Recognition Day. Many NWS offices will be on 2 Meters, 440 MHz, HF and other VHF/UHF bands. Additional details on SKYWARN Recognition Day including a registration link opened up to all Amateurs given the new SRD format can be found via the following link:
Also, there is a SRD Facebook group created. Those with Facebook can join it at the following link:
For 2020, the EchoLink *WX_TALK* Node: 7203/IRLP reflector 9219 system will be scheduling time for NWS offices or SKYWARN Coordinators with specific NWS office time slots to act as a net control to make contacts with spotters that are on the system. If a NWS office/SKYWARN Coordinator runs out of contacts and there are other NWS offices/SKYWARN Coordinators on the system, the NWS office acting as net control can turn it over to a different NWS office or SKYWARN Coordinator to act as a net control on the system at their discretion.
We'd like to ask NWS offices/SKYWARN Coordinators to do their best to adhere to the schedule. Sometimes this is difficult due to the number of contacts received by NWS offices/SKYWARN Coordinators. We ask for everyone's patience and work cooperatively to respect the time slot schedule.
Below is the 2019 SRD Schedule with the time slots from last year along with one confirmation for 2020. We would like to know if the remaining NWS offices or SKYWARN Coordinators with that office would like to keep their time slot or change time slots and then what call-sign should be listed on the schedule. See the list below:
Time in UTC NWS Office Call-Sign
0000-0100: N0NWS
0100-0200: WX1GYX
0200-0300: WX7SLC
0300-0400: WX9GRB
0400-0500: WX1BOX
0500-0600: WX9LOT
0600-0700: WX4HUN (Confirmed time slot from last year)
0700-0800: WX8APX
0800-0900: WX8APX
0900-1000: WX7SLC
1000-1100: WX4HUN
1100-1200: WX7SLC
1200-1300: W7NWS
1300-1400: Open
1400-1500: WX1AW
1500-1600: WX1BOX
1600-1700: WX4NC
1700-1800: Open
1800-1900: WX6LOX
1900-2000: K0MPX
2000-2100: Open
2100-2300: WX4NHC
2300-2400: WX6NWS
There will be other conference systems utilized for SKYWARN Recognition Day. They are as follows:
The New England Reflector Gateway System will be utilized by SKYWARN Coordinators from New England from 0000-0500 UTC and 1200-2400 UTC. The New England Gateway system is on EchoLink Conference server *NEW-ENG3* Node: 9123, IRLP reflector 9123. If other SKYWARN Coordinators and NWS offices would like to join the system, they are welcome to do so and participants in SKYWARN Recognition Day can also use that system to make contact with various NWS offices. This is a great place to move off the *WX_TALK* Node: 7203/IRLP 9219 system after your scheduled time if other Amateurs or NWS offices wish to make contact with you.
Also, the Western Reflector will be having NWS offices calling CQ as in past years and have multiple reflector channels and Echolink conferences available. There is reflector 9250/Echolink Conference *HI-GATE* node: 357564, IRLP 9251 and the *WORLD* Echolink Conference node: 479886, IRLP 9257/*DCF-ARC* Echolink Conference node: 336037 and IRLP 9258/EchoLink Conference *NV-GATE* Node: 152566 open for NWS offices. Please contact Kent-W7AOR for additional information on the Western Reflector.
A few technical reminders for folks interested in making contacts with the NWS Forecast Offices on the *WX-TALK* Node: 7203/IRLP 9219 and New England Reflector Gateway IRLP 9123/*NEW-ENG3* Echolink Node: 9123 systems:
-The system allows both EchoLink and IRLP connections. For EchoLink users, you connect to the *WX-TALK* Node: 7203 conference system. For IRLP users, you would connect to IRLP reflector 9219. It is possible we will have DMR/D-STAR and other modes directly linked on the system. This will be updated in the next few days regarding that aspect.
-If you are using EchoLink, the RF node or PC that you’re using must have EchoLink conferencing disabled. If it is not disabled, the system will automatically kick the node or PC off of the system. The reason this occurs is to prevent unintentional interference from a conferencing station that may not know the node is connected somewhere else. This will keep traffic moving on the net and reduce interference considerably.
For more information on VoIP Technical Configuration Tips, please go to our web site at http://www.voipwx.net where we have a link to that information on the main menu of the web site. This announcement will also be on the web site.
We are looking forward to another fun SKYWARN Recognition Day on the *WX-TALK* Node: 7203/IRLP reflector 9219 system, New England Reflector Gateway system and Western Reflector system. Thanks to all for their support!
Director of Operations for the VoIP Hurricane Net
ARES SKYWARN Coordinator for NWS Boston/Norton Massachusetts
Eastern Massachusetts ARES Section Emergency Coordinator

#contest #kc8cmq #skywarn

20201114 - WWFF: Pike County Pocosin Complex in Alabama (KFF-3701)

posted Nov 13, 2020, 6:00 PM by Onno Benschop

Charles NK8O shares with us his park activation during the week:

More parks for me. ATNO (A totally new one - for everyone) was on the list this week.

Pike County Pocosin Complex in Alabama. According to dictionary.com:
pocosin, [puh-KOH-suhn] n. Southeastern US: a swamp or marsh in an upland coastal region

Maybe closer to a bog in the Queen's English.

47 contacts, with EU coming in like gangbusters. My beloved KX2 is back in service.

Picture show pertinent views. Confession time: I left my linked dipole at my previous park, so I made a new one from what I had at hand, the box for a package of butter. Fortunately I did have some alligator clips in the car.

WWFF designation for Pike County Pocosin Complex is KFF-3701


#nk8o #wwff #KFF-3701

20201107 - Neutrino-1 Satellite

posted Nov 6, 2020, 4:40 PM by Onno Benschop

Paul G3SEA/KH6 shares with us the existence of the Neutrino-1 satellite. It contains a 2m FM repeater. It was launched on 5 November from the ISS and the on-board beacon is available. Check out the details:

20201031 - Antenna Designs

posted Oct 30, 2020, 5:58 PM by Onno Benschop   [ updated Oct 30, 2020, 6:04 PM ]

 Eric VK6BJW shares with us an antenna design for satellite work after discussion on making portable antennas:
Ben VK6NCB advises that if you're using copper tape to make a trace - as an antenna element for example - you can join two lengths of tape together by putting a dot of solder on the seam and briefly holding a soldering iron to the dot.

Ben also introduced us to the back packer version of the Arrow antenna (his model is the 146/437-10-WBP) which packs up to 10cm x 50cm. Here are all the Arrow II antennas:
Arrow Satellite Antenna
Ben VK6NCB's antenna

#vk6bjw #vk6ncb #yagi #portable #satellite

20201024 - Morse Code Training

posted Oct 23, 2020, 5:21 PM by Onno Benschop

Warren VK6VET shares with us a new Morse Code training frequency, useful for people located in the Perth Metro Area.
  • 145.675 FM, Morse Code Training
#morse #vk6vet

20201010 - ARRL EME contest

posted Oct 9, 2020, 5:42 PM by Onno Benschop

Randall VK6WR and Charles NK8O share with us the ARRL EME contest details:

20201003 - Park Activation

posted Oct 2, 2020, 6:02 PM by Onno Benschop

Charles NK8O sends in this report:

My node is down for some reason. Activity was a new park on the
Mississippi River. Nice view. 71 contacts. Frontenac State Park,

#nk8o #park

20201003 - Web Report

posted Oct 2, 2020, 5:55 PM by Onno Benschop

Grant has been a long time web-listener and sends in this email:

Good morning Onno and all on.

Will be listening to Broardcastify via VK6HUB, in sunny Melbourne.

I recently built a UHF antenna so that I can connect it to my Uniden UBCD-436-PT radio scanner, to listen in on the ISS Amateur Repeater comms.

I tried it out this morning, without any contacts being heard. ( maybe all the ham operators were still snoozing after working contacts all night, haha)

I will try again tomorrow when the pass will be higher and almost overhead.

My antenna got a bit heavy to hold one handed, so some mods are required, either a lighter piece of timber or install a handle of some sort, and maybe a holder for the phone so I can keep an eye on ISS predicted path.

1, Plan
2, try
3, review
4, modify
Back to step 1

I suppose that is life of an experimenter.

Looking forward to the reduction of the restrictions we have in place here in Melbourne, already planning our trip to Perth next year to visit friends.

Cheers to all, I enjoy the ideas and stories from the FTROOP operators when I can listen in.



#iss #grant #broadcastify

20200919 - Soldering

posted Sep 18, 2020, 11:58 PM by Onno Benschop

Discussion on the net today around soldering and improving skill. Many suggestions that will help anyone who needs to improve their skill or who is fighting failing eyesight.

  • 3rd Hand, allows you to hold the work independently from your own hands. (Example)
  • Reading Glasses, makes it easier to see, rather than having to peer through a magnifying glass. (Example)
  • Magnifying Glass, with LED lighting it adds both light and magnification. (Example)
  • Component Holder, homebrew, will allow you to solder whilst holding the component down, no need to bend the legs making removal later harder.
  • Vero Board, allows you to practice your skills. (Example, Example)
  • How to Solder, Steve WD8DAS - see below.
Modified Clothes Peg (Ben VK6NCB)
Modified Clothes Peg - Ben VK6NCB

20200829 - Digital Calling Frequencies

posted Aug 28, 2020, 3:10 PM by Onno Benschop   [ updated Aug 28, 2020, 10:13 PM ]

Digital modes are all over the bands. As a new project I've moved the table that was here to the vk6flab projects page at:

1-10 of 339