QRP Quarterly January 2017 & FDIM

Its been out for a month or so and it was a blockbuster issue with lots to read and build

I am sure FDIM 2017 Buildathon at Dayton has been sold out (I missed it as well) but there may still be space for the general sessions

Once again THANKS to Rex Harper W1REX for hosting the FDIM Buildathon !

Due to all the latest interest in FT-243 crystals , The FDIM 2017 Buildathon will add a kit to the process. we will first build an integrated crystal oscillator and frequency counter, calibrate it and then grind an FT-243 crystal from somewhere in the 6.x Mhz region to a desired 40m frequency. I will provide a genuine factory OLD FT-243 crystal within grinding distance of the 40m band as part of the Buildathon package.

As usual, the Buildathon will also include a time out for a complementary pizza party so that builders won’t miss dinner while we build. Directly after the Buildathon, the now sated builders only need to take a short walk around the lobby in order to enjoy the FDIM Club night being held in the adjacent ballroom.

We will be using the *USUAL* format of the Buildathon so we can register 35 builders…. Don’t wait until the last minute to sign up! After that, you will just have to resort to picking up your kit at the FDIM Buildathon and taking it home…..W1REX

Registration for the Buildathon is completed with Rex.

Download a sample issue at http://www.qrparci.org/qqsample/qqsample.pdf
QRP Quarterly – January 2017

Technical Articles

5 Idea Exchange—Mike Czuhajewski—WA8MCQ

Practical Propagation for the Everyday Ham—N2CX Finger Dimples from WalMart—W3TS

None Simpler Portable Antenna Insulators—NM5S Homebrewer’s Guide To Recycling—KK6FUT Whisper Sidetone—Shhhh! —ND6T

Hammond Plastic Project Boxes—VE3IPS Variations on PCB Method—KC7CJ

Portable Tent Pole Vertical Antenna—KK6FUT Alternative to Etching Muppet Boards—W5USJ

16 630 Meters for the QRPer—Paul Signorelli—WA2XRM (WØRW)

20 The QEC Antenna: A New Design—Akira Motohashi—JP1QEC

23 How Low Can You Go?—Robert Rosier—K4OCE

26 WSPR and the Raspberry Pi—Scotty Cowling—WA2DFI

30 Troubleshooting and Repair Techniques—Mike Bryce—WB8VGE

38 Antennas 101: A Look Back 25+ Years—Gary Breed—K9AY

The Joy of QRP

17 Clubs Make CW More Fun—Dan Romanchik—KB6NU

24 Pedestrian Mobile with the KX2 as a Hand-Held Rig—Greg Lane—N4KGL

The World of QRP ARCI

3 Editorial—Mitch Gill—NA7US


18 FDIM 2017 Announcement


The International Wires X Fusion NET in Room —America-Link- (21080)

The latest DV4mini update now supports YSF and the ability to join the various rooms. I have tried it and it works great.

***The International Wires X Fusion NET in Room —America-Link- (21080)*** reminder
When: Saturday, 25 March 2017 09:00 PM to 10:00 PM
(GMT-05:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada)

Where: America-Link- (21080)

Notes: Saturday Night 9 PM Eastern / Sunday 0100 UTC
DV4Mini FCS 2-90 (America Link Network)
Join us and check in! Listen, learn, interact, and be part of the world wide amateur radio community living the Wires X Fusion experience.

DV4Mini update link thanks to Monika at Wireless Holdings for the new Version 1.77



Basic Q Signals for Radio Amateurs


QRM     Is my transmission being interfered with? Your transmission is being interfered
QRN     Are you troubled by static? I am troubled by static ___ (1-5 as under QRM.)
QRO     Shall I increase power? Increase power.
QRP     Shall I decrease power? Decrease power.
QRQ     Shall I send faster? Send faster (___ WPM.)
QRS     Shall I send more slowly? Send more slowly (___ WPM.)
QRT     Shall I stop sending? Stop sending. also “I am shutting down a station”
QRU     Have you anything for me? I have nothing for you.
QRV     Are you ready? I am ready.
QRX     When will you call me again? I will call you again at ___ hours.
QRZ     Who is calling me? You are being called by ___.
QSB     Are my signals fading? Your signals are fading.
QSL     Can you acknowledge receipt? I am acknowledging receipt.
QSP     Will you relay to ___? I will relay to ___.
QSV     Shall I send a series of Vs on this frequency? Send a series of Vs on this frequency.
QSY     Shall I change to another frequency? Change to another frequency.
QTC     How many messages have you to send? I have ___ messages for you.
QTH     What is your location? My location is ___.
QUA     Have you news of ___? I have news of ___.
Note: The Q signals take the form of a question when followed by a question mark

Repeater Abuse from the UK Viewpoint

I was reading the February issue of Radcom (which i received from a stockist) which is an excellent ham radio publication published in the UK by the Radio Society of Great Britain (RGSB). They are the UK version of RAC or ARRL.

I strongly recommend a subscription or purchasing some of their excellent books.


Based on the actions that has been going on the local repeaters by various jammers this article is timely. In fact, jammers have been around since  Marconi heard the letter S. Jamming of shortwave stations by opposing countries, the military jamming signals of their opponents, CB guys jamming, hams jamming and even those jamming public safety.

Even the female cuban voice of the infamous numbers station gets jammed now and then.

I have attached the article for your reading enjoyment and there are suggestions in how to deal with it.

The Amateur Radio Observation Service is an advisory and reporting service of the RSGB
that is intended to assist radio amateurs and others who may be affected by problems that occur within the amateur bands or that develop on other frequencies as a result of amateur transmissions.

AROS investigates reports of licence infringements, or instances of poor operating
practice that might bring the Amateur Service into disrepute. Reports, complaints and associated supplementary information are accepted from any source and the contents of each communication are rega rded as confidential material. AROS has a team of over 100 observers who can be tasked with specific monitoring activities and these
volunteers help collate supporting information in cases that are passed to Ofcom.

Too bad we don’t have an AROS group working with RAC that can assist in opening files up with Industry Canada.

Maybe now is the time to ask RAC to be more involved in jammer complaints.

RadCom-February.2017 repeater abuse

DMR and BandMeister Etiquette and Tips

Confusion still abounds as to how DMR works due to the two time slots. Also because its digital with no squelch tail or kerchunk it can be confusing at times. Remember to leave a gap for others to join the conversation as you cannot hear a double.

Anytone released another DMR radio to join the cast of chinese manufacturers supporting the hobby with cheap radios.

Operation on the DMR protocol is very similar to what you’ve become used to on a VHF/UHF FM repeater, with a few minor differences.

  • Use the repeater that gives you the best signal. Remember to use the Parrot channel on each repeater to see what your audio sounds like.
  • Check your audio level. Since the audio is digitized on your radio, and there’s no leveling happening in transit, it’s very important for you to send a proper audio level. Use the Parrot, or ask your friends to verify that your audio level is proper, and remember the mic to mouth distance for your radio. A lot of these radios are operated very “HOT” and need to be adjusted in the CPS
  • Use the smallest area talk group to make the communication work. If you and the person you’re talking to are using the same repeater, be sure to use the Local talkgroup. If you’re both in the GTA area, then use that talkgroup. Both in Ontario, use the Ontario Province wide talkgroup. ON/AB area, use Canada, etc.
  • The North America talkgroup is ONLY to be used as a calling frequency. Make your call on this channel, and then arrange to change to a TAC talkgroup, like 310, 311, and 312. Make sure that these talkgroups are clear before you start having your converation on one of the TAC’s. Asking “Is this talkgroup in use?” is a good way to start that message. If so, try the next TAC Channel. However, I have been told that North American can be used for QSO’s
  • When you wish to talk with anyone on a given talkgroup, it is common to give your callsign, your location, and the talkgroup. For example, “This is VE3IPS, in Toronto  on North America”.
  • Remember that there’s two different timeslots on each repeater (1 & 2). You may see your radio indicating a receive light, and hear nothing. This traffic may be the CWID, or on the other timeslot, or a talk group that you’re not listening to.
  • When you press the Push-To-Talk (PTT) button, wait to hear the confirmation tones before you start talking. When you push the button, your radio contact the repeater, and makes sure it’s not busy, and that you can hit the repeater. A long tone or brrp, or no tone when you hit the PTT means your transmission won’t go through.
  • If you’re in a conversation with another person, and for some reason you lose contact with them, it may be that either end has traffic that blocks your conversation. Watching your receive light will let you know if the blocking is happening at your end. Simply wait for a clear condition, and try again.
  • Each channel is allowed to have a receive list, that lets you listen additional talkgroups, on the same timeslot, at the same time. So, if you’re listening to a Local talkgroup, you can add a receive list that will let you listen to Ontario, and Canada at the same time. This may let you hear what’s happening on this timeslot.
  • Many zones can be set up to keep your radio organized. One way to set up a zone is to have a different zone for each repeater. That way you can cycle through all of the talkgroups on a given repeater by twisting the knob.  For example, if your Toronto zone is set up, you can start in Toronto, then twist the knob to Hamilton as you go west on the 401.
  • Scanning is allowed among the channels on a given zone. Remember that you can have analog channels set up, and that would let you scan between the UHF analog channels, and various DMR repeaters and timeslots.
  • Codeplugs are personal. Your very first codeplug has enough to get you going. You’ll find that you work differently from the next person, and start making changes that match your use of the radio. Make sure you keep a copy of your codeplug on your computer, so you can reload this into a new radio as one appears.


VE3YYZ Upgraded to G3 D-Star

DStar Gateway Version 3 (“G3”) 11/2016
There is a lot of speculation and mis-information spreading throughout the D-STAR community regarding ID-51A Plus2, the RS-RP3C (G3) software, K5TIT and the Trust Server.
The Trust ServerThe Trust Server is a necessary element in the design of D-STAR. This key feature is neither owned nor controlled by ICOM. The Trust Server is owned by the Texas Interconnect Team (K5TIT), and managed by an international team of volunteers – the Trust Server Admin Team.
D-STAR Gateway Version 3 (“G3”)

With the release of G3 by ICOM. The Trust Server is now converted. The D-STAR system in Japan is now converted to G3. The G3 gateway software has been tested by the Trust Server Administration team. The Team has also been ensuring that DPLUS, DstarMonitor and other administration tools will continue to work as installed.

ID-51A Plus2

The newly released radios have several exciting new features. Those features are enabled by and require G3 Gateway registration. Those new features will be enabled as soon as the Gateways convert to G3, which will then allow users to register another Terminal ID, as an “Access Point”. Until those conversions occur, the radios are functional as normal D-STAR user radios.

Please note the local VE3YYZ repeater has been successfully converted to G3. Eric VE3EI has put a lot of time and effort in getting this completed last night. We thank his pioneering efforts in D-Star.


Gateway Software G3 Release RS-RP3C

Icom America is allowing the Texas Interconnect Team (K5TIT) to distribute the software to repeater owners:

  1. The Gateway must be in the United States, Canada, Mexico, or South America;
  2. The Gateway must be actively syncing with the USRoot Trust Server;
  3. The Gateway administrator must provide a mailing address and allow that address to be shared with ICOM America. ICOM America intends to use that address to mail you physical media containing the program when it is available, and to use the address for other purposes as may arise;
  4. The Gateway administrator must provide a serial number of an ICOM RP2000 or RP4000;
  5. The Gateway administrator must agree to abide by anti-piracy regulations and not to share the software.


Since all support for CentOS 5 ends in March of 2017, continuing to run CentOS 5 is not advised and most have moved to the latest CentOS 7 version.



Robin, AA4RC, has updated DPlus to work with G3.  Since this new version, 2.2n, supports G2 and G3, gateway admins still running G2 can run /dstar/tools/dplus-check.sh and update to the new version of DPlus right away.

DStarMonitor  / D-PRS

Pete, AE5PL, reports that there is a version of DStarMonitor that will work with G3 and that it is already in the hands of K5TIT.  D-PRS, also an AE5PL module, also works with G3.

DPlusreport, Monlink

Ken, WB4FAY, reports that G3-compatible versions of DPlusreport and Monlink are available here: http://wb4fay.com/util

ircDDB Add-on



Balloon flights and ZL1RS ocean buoy news – IOT

Balloon flights and ZL1RS ocean buoy news

February saw the first QRP Labs High Altitude Balloon flight launches of 2017, both on the same day, 20-Feb-2017! The first was flight S-21 by Dave VE3KCL from Toronto, Canada; followed close behind by flight U3S-7 by Jim N2NXZ.

These are Internet of Things (IOT) or RIOT Radio INternet of Things

Dave VE3KCL used the special QRP Labs Ultimate3S transmitter firmware installed on his own board assembly, with the WSPR telemetry overlay first developed by QRP Labs. The entire payload weight was only 10.26 grams and flew on a single Qualatex mylar film “party” balloon. S-21 made very rapid progress South across the US and the following morning, woke up over Puerto Rico! However there appears to have been some new problem with the GPS, a reminder of how difficult this type of balloon flight is. The position reports were transmitted all day, but stuck at the same point over Puerto Rico without updating. The following morning (day 3) there was no sign of S-21. So presumably it hit bad weather, a high altitude storm, that could have brought it down. Full details here: http://www.qrp-labs.com/flights/s21.html. Dave has already built two more transmitter payloads, which will fly on S-22 and S-23 (they use a different GPS module!).

S21 S21map

Jim N2NXZ used the standard QRP Labs Ultimate3S firmware installed on a bare ATmega328 chip, carried by two balloons. His position was reported over WSPR and JT9. The flight path was quite similar to Dave’s but a little further East. The same as Dave, nothing was heard from the U3S-7 balloon on Day 3 so again, it must have taken a swim in the Atlantic ocean. Full details here: http://www.qrp-labs.com/flights/u3s7.

U3S-7 U3S-7 map

Over in the South Pacific, Bob ZL1RS’ “ocean floater” project has now been at sea for 285 days (more than 9 months). An amazing endurance journey! It uses the QRP Labs Ultimate3S transmitter sending WSPR and JT transmissions. The position is now RG93SQ, near New Caledonia. Relatively speaking, it has made a lot of progress West since last month, having evidently seen a period of steady winds (the loops are thought to be more due to wind than ocean currents). The power onboard is 18 D-cell batteries. The battery voltage decline will accelerate as more current is drawn from the batteries by the boost regulator circuit, to maintain the operating voltage.

RDF Handbook V3 by VE3RDD

a very big thanks to Al Duncan Ve3RRD for sharing


Radio Direction Finding
Al Duncan – VE3RRD

v3 – March 2012
Radio direction finding or RDF has been around since before World War One. From the time of the invention of radio, there has been a desire to know from what direction a radio signal was arriving at the listener’s radio receiving antenna.
Amateur Radio has found several uses for RDF:

Hunting down interfering radio signals, both accidental and malicious interference to repeaters (affecting both ham and commercial communications, including emergency services).

Helping to locate downed aircraft by DFing their emergency locator beacons (ELT).

The entertaining sport of “fox”, “bunny” or T-hunting.
It is “fox hunting” that has spread through many ham radio clubs around the world as a very exciting and fun aspect of the hobby. Fox hunting can take many forms of transmitter hunting, from a person hiding within a few blocks of the starting point with his handheld and periodically making a transmission while others try to find him on foot using directional antennas; to a competition with multiple unmanned automatic transmitters scattered over a course that can be several hundred kilometers long – the entrants being required to find each transmitter in proper order with a minimum number of kilometers driven. Another variation called ARDF or radio orienteering is popular in Europe (just gaining popularity in North America) and includes jogging or running from one low power hidden transmitter to another while carrying RDF equipment in a timed race.
What makes fox hunting so popular?

The social aspect of getting together with others with similar interests.

Anyone can take part – you don’t need a ham license since only a receiver is required.

The satisfaction of building your own equipment such as an antenna or attenuator for use in RDFing.

The fun and competitiveness of the hunt, which also can involve both physical and mental exercise (walking while searching, and the calculations and map plotting required to determine where the fox may be located).

The outdoor aspect of the sport (sunshine and fresh air).

After the fun of the hunt, there is always coffee and conversation at Tim Hortons to look forward to.
The “fox” has several basic requirements:

Be able to move to a location unobserved by those who plan on taking part in the hunt.

Be able to hide well enough at the location he has chosen so he will not be accidentally spotted. The hunters should have to almost stumble over him in order to find him.

Be equipped with enough handheld battery capacity, water, lunch etc. for the expected duration of the hunt – it could be one or two hours or more in length, depending on the distance the fox is from the starting point and how well he is able to confuse the hunters as to his probable location.

Pleas download the complete book


AM Rally, April 1-3 (“No fooling”)

Ever wonder what that “AM” button is for on your transceiver? Well, if you don’t know about full-carrier amplitude modulation (AM) or have never used it on the air, you’ll get the chance during the AM Rally, April 1-3, on the HF bands between 160 and 10 meters (except 30, 17, and 12 meters) plus 6 meters. Amateur Radio voice-mode transmissions on the HF bands into the 1960s were AM, the same mode that used to predominate in radio broadcasting. Single-sideband (SSB), a form of AM, gradually took over the phone bands, although not without some pushback!

Today, a group of dedicated radio amateurs keeps the magic flame alive, getting on AM frequently, and for many of them, AM is their primary operating mode. The AM Rally gives the uninitiated a chance to dip a toe into the pool, so to speak.

A cooperative event organized by AM, SSB, and, yes, even CW operators, the AM Rally aims to encourage fellow operators to take this “sister mode” for a spin, make a few contacts, and have a shot at earning some nice certificates.

“We plan to make the AM Rally fun for everyone, but we also want to help ops who might be new to the mode get their rigs set up and sounding the best they can in time for the event,” said Clark Burgard, N1BCG, who is spearheading the event with Steve Cloutier, WA1QIX, and Brian Kress, KB3WFV. “Whether your rig is software defined, solid state, vacuum tube, hybrid, homebrew or broadcast surplus, you’ll be a welcome part of the AM Rally.”

The event website (www.amrally.com/) has complete AM Rally details, contact information, award categories, logging, and tips on how to get the most out of your station equipment in AM mode.

The AM Rally begins on Saturday, April 1 at 0000 UTC (Friday, March 31, in US time zones) and concludes at 0000 UTC on Monday, April 3.

It’s open to all radio amateurs capable of transmitting full-carrier AM, using any type of equipment, from vintage to bleeding edge. The event is sponsored by Radio Engineering Associates (REA), in cooperation with ARRL, which supports all modes of Amateur Radio operation.

If you like to get on the air and have fun and now operate — or would like to operate — AM mode, then you’re good to go!

Participating stations earn 1 point for each station worked per band, and you may work the same station on more than one band. They also earn 1 point for each state, Canadian province/territory, or DXCC entity worked. Both stations must be using AM for a contact to count.

Certificates will be awarded to stations scoring the highest number of points in each of the five power classes, regardless of rig category, both for most contacts and most states/provinces.

“All it takes is a turn, push, or click to participate!” There’s also plenty of time to dig out and dust off that old AM-capable tube gear sitting in your attic or basement.

(from the ARRL website)