Work Party at the Shack on Sat Oct 13

We are holding a work party at the shack on Sat Oct 13th from 9am – 12pm.

On the agenda is:

  • Mowing and trimming
  • Organizing the workroom
  • Installing new door on furnace room

Click for driving directions

Remember your hat, gloves, sunscreen, sunglasses, specialized tools, etc.

Oct 10th Monthly Meeting

On Wednesday, October 10th 2018, the Delaware Valley Radio Association monthly meeting will feature a presentation on “Amateur Radio Licensing: From Incentive Licensing to the Present” by Dom DiClementi, N3DD. Dom will lead us on a brief review of the major FCC license and rule changes over the years that shaped how we operate under Part 97 today.

First licensed in 1968 as WA3IFF, Dom holds an Amateur Extra License and a BSEE degree. Dom is the Director of Marketing for a major pump and industrial electrical gear distributor and is the DVRA’s Station Director. There are only 4 DXCC countries missing from his list!

Open to both members and non-members. Feel free to join for all or part of the meeting.

  • Combined Directors/Business Meeting from 6:30 to 7:30 PM
  • Social/refreshment period from 7:30 to 8:00 PM
  • Featured talk at 8:00 PM

Click for driving directions

Shack Operating Hours for October 2018

The station maintains regular operating hours for both members and visitors. We invite the public to visit.

  • Tuesdays 1 – 4:00 PM
  • Tuesdays 7 – 9:00 PM
  • Thursdays 1 – 4:00 PM
  • Sundays 1 – 4 PM

If you wish to visit at other times, please call the station at 609-882-2240, or contact our Station Director Dom DiClementi, N3DD at N3DD@ARRL.net to make an appointment.

NJ QSO Party Preliminary Results

Here are the preliminary results for those club stations participating:

W2ZQ 895 Qs 67,650
W3PR 5,525
WA2TMF 5,423
K2GW 24
TOTAL 78,622

We are down from last year’s total by about 20k but part of the reason is we did not get all of the NJ counties and band conditions were miserable. Hopefully our competition faced the same issues.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed. Thanks to all who participated at the Station and at home.

Sep 12th Monthly Meeting

On Wednesday, September 12th 2018, the Delaware Valley Radio Association monthly meeting will feature a presentation on “What I did on my summer vacation” by various club members.

  • “Portable HF Operating on My Camping Vacation –Preparation, Setup, Troubleshooting and Operation of a Portable 20 Meter Station at a Remote Location” by Greg  Mauro, K3EA
  • “Assembling an Amateur Radio Operating Desk ” by Tullio Dellaquila,  K2PCG
  • “Using The LCR T5 Component Tester While Constructing an Iambic Keyer and Oscillator” by Gary Wilson, K2GW
  • “Modifying A Vintage 2-Meter Radio For Use With Repeaters, and Building Homebrew Antennas for the VHF and HF Bands” by Chris Tenev, KD2QFA

Open to both members and non-members. Feel free to join for all or part of the meeting.

  • Combined Directors/Business Meeting from 6:30 to 7:30 PM
  • Social/refreshment period from 7:30 to 8:00 PM
  • Featured talk at 8:00 PM

Click for driving directions

Sep 15th Hamfest sponsored by DVRA

DVRA Hamfest

Buy – Sell – Trade

Saturday, September 15, 2018

8AM to 12PM

Vendor setup starting at 7:00AM

Sponsored by Delaware Valley Radio Association

West Windsor Community Park

Food, Door Prizes, Ample Parking and a Good Time for all so come out and enjoy the day with us

Admission

$7.00 General Admission

$15.00 per Table which includes 1 Admission

Vendors supply their own tables

Vendor setup at 7:00AM

Talk in:

W2ZQ repeater 146.67 -.600 PL131.8 also 146.520 simplex

Directions:

From Route One North and South:

Take Washington Rd / Route 571 East for 1.25 miles, bear left, over RR Bridge. Continue for about 2 miles to Bernt Midland Blvd. Park sign and entrance is on your left.

From Route 130 North and South:

Take Route 571 West heading toward Princeton. Travel about four miles to Bernt Midland Blvd. Park sign and entrance is on your right.

(An address of 193 Princeton Hightstown Rd, Princeton Junction, NJ 08550 will get you near it on most GPS devices and Google Maps)

For more information contact Frank, KC2TKD at frankpal@comcast.net or 609-306-5038

Aug 2018 Repeater Talk

New repeaters have arrived – KC2TGM Mark has come through again for the DVRA ! Yaesu is offering their newest and redesigned DR2X Repeater to promote the latest features and improved design. These new machines will be Installed in July.

For more information on the new DR2X Repeater check out the Yaesu webpage

DR-2X

AMS Comes to W2ZQ 2 Meter Repeater –

When Yaesu introduced the Fusion Digital radios and repeaters, their genius was having the mode AutoModeSelect (AMS) . This allowed the traditional FM users to coexist with the new Digital mode C4FM. It was always the intention to have the DVRA repeaters in AMS mode, however it took the Yaesu engineers a few firmware releases to iron out the details of handling the AMS process.

Now that many clubs has been operating in AMS mode and the fact that the new DR2X repeaters that we will be installing require AMS mode or full / only digital we have switched over.

If you have a Yaesu fusion radio, “ you can set it and forget it “ into the AMS mode. If you have a standard analog FM VHF radio you need to keep two things in mind.

  • Set tone squelch on your radio for transmit and receive. This will allow access to the machine and also prevent you from hearing the C4FM digital sounds in your speaker which would be otherwise decoded by a Yaesu Fusion Radio.
  • Check your signal strength meter before keying your radio ( always good practice ) If you see signal strength indications and don’t hear the audio it’s most likely because a C4FM encoded digital conversation is underway.
  • For the Fusion users – please be courteous of the analog users and especially the Pepper Net nightly at 2200 hours. Please consider the time that the net is running as a C4FM free time slot.

For more information / check the webpage for instructions on how to coexist when operating on the two meter machine.

The 440 machine will remain locked on C4FM digital and available to WiresX. A UPS has been installed on the node machine in Cream Ridge to improve link stability.

If you haven’t checked out the DVRA Fusion night Tuesdays @ 2000 hours – please do.

All invited to the club shack open house on Aug 12th

To celebrate the anniversary of the refurbishment of the W2ZQ Amateur Radio station, the DVRA is hosting an open house on Sunday August 12th from 1 to 5 PM.

All hams and the public are welcome to tour and use the modern facility which the DVRA has used since 1953.

Our modern shack features two complete HF stations utilizing our two main towers (one at 100 ft. and the other at 50ft.) with beams for 40M thru 10m. We also have a complete VHF station available. The facility also houses our 146.67 MHz repeater. All visitors are encouraged to operate the station.

On display is historical documents from the ARRL and others dating back to the clubs founding in 1930.  We will be cooking burgers and hot dogs and providing soft drinks.

Jul 2018 Repeater Talk – Yaesu System Fusion

In this Repeater Talk article we will focus on the topic of Wires-X and how the DVRA is taking part in the expansion of this exciting feature of Yaesu System Fusion.

Many UHF/VHF users have long lamented the limitations of line of sight communications that are the norm – well with the exception of tropospheric propagation or other atmospheric phenomenon’s. Now with the expansion of the world-wide web since the mid 80’s the possibilities of using a hybrid RF-IP pathway for communications has opened up to the amateur community.

Interesting enough this movement was spearheaded in 1998 by the Japanese government in conjunction with the Japanese Amateur Radio League and the out come was a plan /guidance referred to as Digital Smart Technologies for Amateur Radio or as we call it today D-Star. Of course that’s not where the story ends – or else we wouldn’t be using and writing about Yaesu’s System Fusion technology and Wires-X! Of course the idea wasn’t unique to Icom, Motorola, Yaesu or others – it was something that was technologically sound and needed the collective brain power to realize.

That’s exactly what happened, the community got together and using commercial hardware and software built a number of applications and platforms that would blend RF with IP. You may have used several of these modes already and know them as IRLP, Echolink, WinLnk, D-Star and others.

So what exactly occurs when you use one of these hybrid RF-IP communications methods? Think of it this way – your RF is picked up by another radio that is connected to a computer with access to the Internet – your signal is converted to a digital form which in turn is passed to the chosen destination where it is decoded and repeated via RF to the other end point.

Point to Point – Simple Example

WiresArchitectureSimple

Now as well there are cases and the capabilities vary where the signal may not use RF at all or only in part on either end. Take Echolink for instance – I’ve had QSO’s from a park bench in Germany using my smartphone with other hams in the states using their computers. The common point in all of these approaches is that they use the Internet and voice to digital conversions.

Okay, so what is Wires-X and how is it implemented – what are the features available and how can I use it? Many, many questions – to make it digestible I will break it down over the next issues of Repeater Talk. This month we can cover the architecture and some basics to get you started.

Yaesu developed Wide-coverage Internet Repeater Enhancement System ( WIRES ) to link compatible protocols amateur radios users across the world using the Internet. Initially the system was called WIRES as it used the analog method of transmission, this was introduced at Dayton in 2002, since then the analog version has evolved into WIRES-X which rolled in the analog with the new C4FM Fusion protocol. While mixed mode can exist in WIRES-X systems the two systems don’t interconnect with each other.

The architecture looks very similar to our first illustration

WiresArchitectureEndtoEnd

There are a couple of things to note – A central server is used to connect / publish / manage nodes available for users. This is managed by the Yaesu company and is how the node enrollment and activation occurs. A computer is used to manage the node and we have already seen older PC’s revived to support the need and even Raspberry Pi based technologies to serve – as the “power required” and bandwidth for that matter is minimal.

So let’s discuss just some of the features available; ( I need to save some other nifty things for next issue!)

With WIRES-X you can connect to a single node user – or connect to a number of users/modes via interconnected nodes. You can pass our metadata which contains your call sign, location to others to support location services. All with mixed modes working together. This is all capable without the need to use DTMF!

This is available anywhere and around the world! All from your HT or Mobile unit.

Now another thing that I find to be very interesting is how the local user finds nodes to connect to. It all starts with a function button. Did you ever notice the WIRES-X button on your radio? ( I’m showing the faceplate of the FTM-400XDR, however the button Images used are from Yaesu online documentation labeled as #2 on the diagram is on all of the Fusion and older Wires capable Models – although you may see this image instead WIRES_VX8_Button)

FTM400XDR_FrontPanel

When you hit the FTM400XDR_WIRESX_Button the radio invokes a sequence in which it transmits a signal that in turn is received by the RF link to a given node – that in turn replies with the available nodes either connected to or available to the user. At that point you can select the node of interest and connect. Below is a example of this result:

FTM400XDR_WiresXList

Locally to the W2ZQ West Trenton area I use for WIRES-X connections and the frequency is 444.8. Of course many others are available and in order to find them you must know the local frequency first and then you’re good to go! As with any good system a listing of active nodes is important – so I recommend using the Yaesu listing found at http://www.yaesu.com/jp/en/wires-x/id/id_usa.php This new feature is just getting started and growing on a daily basis as nodes are being added across the world and Yaesu is working to address identified issues/bugs.

Stay tuned to Repeater Talk for the latest on our DVRA/W2ZQ System Fusion repeater upgrade.

Next month we will continue to explore the benefits of digital HAM radio and in coming issues of Repeater Talk take on more and more of the technical side always breaking it down for easy understanding. The images in this article are all from Yaesu online documentation.

Memories of ARRL Field Day 2018

The DVRA Field Day event on June 23rd and 24th 2018 was a great effort by many club members, long time friends, and several members of the public that walked up. The weather was forecast to be challenging, however the rain held off until after the initial setup was completed Friday evening and only our security team was impacted.

The DVRA operated 2A which means that we had 2 HF stations operating on emergency power. We also had in operating 1 GOTA manned by Chuck and a free UHF/VHF station which made some 50 mhz contacts. DVRA was also available via C4FM and APRS.

As to counts – DVRA made 395 QSOs – mostly 40 meters and CW!  The GOTA station logs will also add to this count. Additional points for Battery, SAT, and Solar contacts, having a safety official checklist, and an onsite educational activity will be tallied.

Thanks to our Field Day Captain Cliff, the new food team, the setup and tear down crew, the operators, guests, the Mercer Park for hosting us and everyone/anyone else that was a part of this great event.

 

Jun 2018 Repeater Talk – A few words about nets

In this Repeater Talk article we will focus on the topic of Nets and how the DVRA is pioneering the use of Digital Technologies.

The beginning of the year 2016 found the DVRA kicking off a new DIGITAL net. But before we dive into the new net we should touch on the general concept of Nets.

Nets are groups of HAMs with a set purpose of communications. This can come in different forms – Planned / Scheduled Nets or On Demand nets that are activated for a purpose such as emergency support. Beyond those types, another characteristic can be that nets can be directed or open roundtable types.

The DVRA Digital 440 Net is a directed net that is regularly scheduled for Tuesday evening at 2000 hours local Trenton NJ time. We have a Net Control station that reads the nets Preamble and manages the nets activities. The Preamble states the purpose of the net, how it will be controlled and gives the name of the Net Control Station Operator. Beyond that the Net Control calls for “short timers” and mobile stations first. This is done in an effort to allow HAMs that can’t stay on for the duration to check in and for the mobile stations that may have challenges making a solid signal to the repeater. After that the net control station opens it up for other stations to check in.

Once all have checked in the Net Control Station repeats the stations ID’s and first names of the HAMs to catch any missing or mistakes. Once that is done the Net Control calls on each station and they contribute to the discussion topic of the week in turn. The fun goes on until everyone has exhausted their thoughts or runs out of time! This is the point when a couple of relevant club announcements are made for the benefit of the Hams gathered. The closing statements are made and the repeater is returned to normal amateur use.

One thing that is always important is that if ANY STATION calls with EMERGENCY TRAFFIC all discussion stops until the emergency is resolved. The Net exists as a secondary use of the machine and all yield to Emergency traffic or stations.

We had 7 stations check in to the first DVRA digital net on the January 5th. N2GJ Jerry, KC2TGM Mark, K2GW Gary, W3TEC Ed, N3DD Dom, WA2EHL Dick and Net Control NJ3U Rory.

The topic was getting to know other HAMs using Fusion Digital Technology and after a great round-table we switched topics and went to a live back and forth demonstration of sending pictures and text messages to each other and the group. This is one of the major benefits of C4FM Digital technology the ability to send metadata and data files.

Next week the DVRA Digital Net will meet again on Tuesday evening January 12 th @ 2000 hours on the 442.650 repeater for a Digital Only Net. The topic planned is advanced messaging – so load some standard messages into your fusion radio and join in to learn and have a good time with other Fusion users.

Stay tuned to this feature column Repeater Talk for the latest on our DVRA/W2ZQ System Fusion repeater upgrade.

Jun 13th Monthly Meeting

On Wednesday, June 13th 2018, the Delaware Valley Radio Association monthly meeting will feature a presentation on “Field Day” by Cliff Green, WA2TMF.  Cliff will discuss the history of Field Day and the DVRA’s plans for operation from Richard J. Coffee Mercer County Park in West Windsor on the weekend of June 23-24.

Field Day is ham radio’s open house. Every June, more than 40,000 hams throughout North America set up temporary transmitting stations in public places to demonstrate ham radio’s science, skill, and service to our communities and our nation. It combines public service, emergency preparedness, community outreach, and technical skills, all in a single event. Field Day has been an annual event since 1933, and remains the most popular event in ham radio.

First licensed in 1977, Cliff holds an Amateur Extra License, a BSEE, and MSEE degree. Cliff worked  for two major Japanese electronic consumer manufacturers as an electrical engineer, project manager, and technical training instructor. He is now retired and has plenty of time to work the 10 DXCC countries missing from his list. Cliff can often be found operating from the W2ZQ Club Station.

 

 

First licensed in 1968 as WA3IFF, Dom holds an Amateur Extra License and a BSEE degree. Dom is the Director of Marketing for a major pump and industrial electrical gear distributor and is the DVRA’s Station Director. There are only 4 DXCC countries missing from his list!

Open to both members and non-members. Feel free to join for all or part of the meeting.

  • Combined Directors/Business Meeting from 6:30 to 7:30 PM
  • Social/refreshment period from 7:30 to 8:00 PM
  • Featured talk at 8:00 PM

Click for driving directions

May 9th Monthly Meeting

On Wednesday, May 9th 2018, the Delaware Valley Radio Association monthly meeting will feature a presentation on “Mercer County ARES/RACES” by John Pugh, WJ3P.

John, the Mercer County Emergency Coordinator, will explain how the ARRL, in cooperation with the Mercer County Office of Emergency Management, The American Red Cross, and The National Weather Service, organizes local ham radio operators to provide such services in this area. He’ll also explain how you can be prepared and get involved with such efforts.

First licensed in 1992 as one of the early no-code Technicians (first N2QOB, then W2QOB), John has always been interested in providing public service communications. He participated for many years in the National Traffic Service (NTS) handling radiogram messages in both phone and CW modes, which is an essential skill for ARES communicators. Today you will find WJ3P on the digital modes, primarily D-Star and DMR, or on HF portable operating /1 from the coast of Maine.

Open to both members and non-members. Feel free to join for all or part of the meeting.

  • Combined Directors/Business Meeting from 6:30 to 7:30 PM
  • Social/refreshment period from 7:30 to 8:00 PM
  • Featured talk at 8:00 PM

Apr 11th Monthly Meeting

On Wednesday, April 11th 2018, the Delaware Valley Radio Association monthly meeting will feature a presentation on “Operating an Amateur Station Remotely” by Bob Beyer, KE2D. Bob will discuss the concept of what is required for remote station control, some of the present options and approaches, and then talk specifically about the RemoteHams solution that he uses.  After presenting slides, he hopes to actually run the application and connect to his station at home from the meeting location.

First licensed in 1972 when a young member of the DVRA, Bob is an active contester and enjoys CW.  He currently works in the broadcast industry.

Open to both members and non-members. Feel free to join for all or part of the meeting.

  • Combined Directors/Business Meeting from 6:30 to 7:30 PM
  • Social/refreshment period from 7:30 to 8:00 PM
  • Featured talk at 8:00 PM

Click for driving directions

Mar 14th Monthly Meeting

On Wednesday, March 14th 2018, the Delaware Valley Radio Association monthly meeting will feature a presentation on “Ham Radio Deluxe” by Dom DiClementi, N3DD. Dom will lead us on a brief review of the amateur radio software suite and how the five applications are the best asset you can add to your ham shack.

First licensed in 1968 as WA3IFF, Dom holds an Amateur Extra License and a BSEE degree. Dom is the Director of Marketing for a major pump and industrial electrical gear distributor and is the DVRA’s Station Director. There are only 4 DXCC countries missing from his list!

Open to both members and non-members. Feel free to join for all or part of the meeting.

  • Combined Directors/Business Meeting from 6:30 to 7:30 PM
  • Social/refreshment period from 7:30 to 8:00 PM
  • Featured talk at 8:00 PM

Click for driving directions

Feb 14th Monthly Meeting

On Wednesday, February 14th 2018, the Delaware Valley Radio Association monthly meeting will feature a presentation on “Drones” by Stephen DeLuca, KD2OTC. Stephen will focus on the current state of the consumer drone technology describing the different types of drones available, as well as, typical uses for them. A review of drone subsystems will be discussed with a particular emphases placed on remote control and remote viewing technology (FPV). In addition, hot topics such as the new “sport” of drone racing and the FAA’s Part 107: Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) will be presented. Certification and regulations applying to drones will also be reviewed.

Stephen is an FAA Part 107: sUAS certified drone pilot. Interested in computers from an early age, he earned his Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ in 2010 and his Master of Science in Computer Engineering from Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA in 2014. His professional interests center on full stack digital hardware development and implementation. In his spare time, Stephen continues to build high performance custom gaming PC’s, as well as, building and flying drones. He lives in Flemington, NJ and currently works for Intel in Allentown, PA as a VLSI backend physical silicon design engineer.

Open to both members and non-members. Feel free to join for all or part of the meeting.
•Combined Directors/Business Meeting from 6:30 to 7:30 PM
•Social/refreshment period from 7:30 to 8:00 PM
•Featured talk at 8:00 PM

Click for driving directions

2018 Exam Schedule

 

  • Saturday Nov 10
  • Saturday Sep 8
  • Saturday Jul 14
  • Saturday May 12
  • Saturday Mar 10
  • Saturday Jan 13

The examination begins promptly at 10AM at the American Red Cross facility in Princeton Junction, NJ.  Click here for driving directions

Please bring with you:

  • $15.00 cash or check made out to ARRL-VEC
  • A government issued photo identification – drivers license, passport, etc.
  • A copy of your current FCC amateur license (if upgrading to General or Amateur Extra)
  • Optionally, you may bring completed application form NCVEC 605, else one will be provided for you at the exam to complete

The NCVEC 605 application form will ask you to supply a Federal Registration Number (FRN) and if you do not have one, supply your social security number (SSN) instead. Some people are a bit hesitant to give their SSN but it (or the FRN) is required by law for the FCC to process your application. The FRN is used in lieu of a SSN as a unique identifier when doing business with the FCC.

You may obtain your own FRN from the FCC prior to the license exam session to use on your application

A note to volunteer examiners:  Please arrive at 9:30AM to assist with set up.

WA2TMF Cliff explains the W2T and W2P special event station activities

video credit: Steve Gingo

Jan 10th Monthly Meeting

On Wednesday, January 10th 2018, the Delaware Valley Radio Association monthly meeting will feature a presentation on “Introduction to Ku Band free to air Satellite (FTA)” by Mario Filippi, N2HUN.

Free to Air satellite (FTA) is an esoteric (even to us hams)  system of receiving TV and radio stations from around the globe using a minimum 30 inch (Ku band) diameter dish and is completely legal for anyone to enjoy.  Programs from North America, Europe, Asia, South America, Cuba, and the Middle East are being broadcast 24/7 mainly to expatriates around the world for them to keep in touch with home.  An FTA system consists of a dish, LNB (Low-Noise Block amplifier), STB (Set Top Box, that is, a receiver), coax, TV set and a obstruction-free view of the sky.  Anyone who’s interested in news, sports, history, kiddie shows and the arts from around the world can  set up an FTA system, and Mario will show you how.

Mario Filippi, N2HUN (ex. WB2JII, N3CXK) has been a ham/SWL for over 40 years and monitors anything from DC to daylight.  He has written articles for Monitoring Times, The Spectrum Monitor, TeleAudiovision, MAKE magazine, RadioWorld, and several radio-related blogs such as RTL-SDR.com and The SWL Post. He lives in Ringoes, NJ with a very radio-tolerant XYL, Edith and human-intolerant cat Little Miss.

Open to both members and non-members. Feel free to join for all or part of the meeting.

  • Combined Directors/Business Meeting from 6:30 to 7:30 PM
  • Social/refreshment period from 7:30 to 8:00 PM
  • Featured talk at 8:00 PM

Click for driving directions

A look at our shack antennas

A Force 12 Magnum 240N, and a Force 12 C-31XR turned by an M2 OR2800 rotator atop 100 foot tower

 

Our main HF Antennas are a 2 element Yagi for 40 meters (Force 12 Magnum 240N), and an 14 element 20, 15, and 10 meter (Force 12 C-31XR) multi monoband Yagi turned by an M2 OR2800 rotator atop our primary 100 foot tower. Our secondary 50 foot tower has a Cushcraft A3S triband beam and various VHF/UHF antennas. A SteppIR Vertical covers 40-6 Meters. Dipoles for 80 and 160 meters are strung between the towers and various supports.

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