QRP Antenna Tuner Fixed

I also got to fix my QRP antenna tuner I made. The resistors got blown when I put 50 watts of power through them when they are rated at about 3-5 watts

An easy fix and burn marks on the board are a nice reminder

This is the classi C-L-C design

The SWR meter is just something out of the ARRL handbook

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Boxed up Voltage Tattler Kit

I boxed it all up in a Hammond plastic box and made a hole for the super bright LED and the speaker element. I added a Power Pole and I am all set for battery voltage monitoring.

There are 2 use cases

  1. Connect it to the Power Supply
  2. Connect it at the radio end especially if there is a long power cable as this will accurately measure and voltage loss in the cable.

I wish it was built on a smaller PCB but the Peizo element is 1/4 of the PCB size

Get yours at http://www.qrpkits.com/volttattler.html

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Turner Plus 3 – Classic CB Microphone

I got my broken microphone working again. It had a bad transistor replaced and all is good and its wired for realistic.

I have a CB microphone tester i picked up at a truck stop in pennsylvania that confirmed it cranks up the output to drive the navaho to a full 12 watts on SSB

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I have a hand mic with Roger Beep I am also trying to fix – stay tuned

 

 

ARRL Hurricane Harvey Report 8/30/2017

As per the ARRL news net

08/30/2017

[UPDATED: 2017-08-30@1833 UTC] Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES®) volunteers are pitching in to support communication at some Red Cross shelters in South Texas in the ongoing aftermath of catastrophic and unprecedented flooding resulting from Hurricane Harvey. ARES members also are serving as net control liaisons to the Harris County Office of Emergency Management (OEM). At least 3 dozen volunteers were assisting at shelters. Another dozen were on tap to serve as OEM liaisons. ARRL Emergency Preparedness Manager Mike Corey, KI1U, said the Red Cross is in need of Red Cross-trained shelter managers and volunteer management specialists. Anyone interested should contact him.

A variety of emergency, health-and-welfare, traffic, and tactical nets in South Texas are active on HF at various times of the day as well as on a wide array of VHF and UHF repeaters, which remain available as needed. The Salvation Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) has been active on 14.265 MHz, while the Military Auxiliary Radio Service (MARS) has been using the 5.330.5 (USB) interoperability channel on 60 meters. As of mid-week, Harvey, now a tropical storm, was headed northeast toward Louisiana, where ARES volunteers are on standby.

This week, ARES® team members were being advised that the impact to the region’s communications infrastructure had been relatively minimal, considering the strength of the storm and the magnitude of the flooding.

ARRL South Texas Public Information Officer Mike Urich, KA5CVH, told ARRL on August 30 that “hardening” of the telecommunications infrastructure to make it more immune to storm damage has diminished the need for Amateur Radio communication support and altered hams’ traditional role there. Urich pointed out, however, that the Amateur Radio telecommunications infrastructure in South Texas has remained analog, as “the lowest common denominator” of technology — VHF/UHF FM, and HF — and has the highest degree of interoperability. “That’s what we train to, that’s what we teach, that’s what we practice,” he said.

Urich spent more than 40 hours alternating shifts at the Harris County Emergency Operations Center (EOC). Urich said the area’s extensive system of repeaters makes it possible for local radio amateurs to serve as “another set of eyes and ears” in spotting and reporting problems that require official attention.

The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) suspended operations for Hurricane Harvey on August 26 after 51.5 continuous hours of activation. The VoIP Hurricane Net, and WX4NHC, the Amateur Radio station at the NHC in Miami, also activated as Harvey approached landfall in Texas as a Category 4 hurricane. VOIPWXnet has been informally monitoring EchoLink 7203, IRLP 9219, and Allstar *33007203 for requests from the affected area at the request of Humanity Road, said Lloyd Colston, KC5FM.

He said a station checked in via EchoLink today (August 30) to request the rescue of a grandmother and children. “That request was relayed to the United States Coast Guard Houston,” Colston told ARRL. He said hams in the affected region needing to relay rescue needs should first call 911, then their local emergency operations center, and, if those aren’t available, then the US Coast Guard — in that order. He also said individuals in the flood zone are reporting cellular telephone degradation.

ARRL South Texas Section Manager Lee Cooper, W5LHC, told ARRL on Monday that the disaster would remain in the response phase for several days, although needs may change later in the response phase or when it transitions to the recovery phase. ARRL South Texas SEC Jeff Walter, KE5FGA, said ARES members could participate in any nets related to the storm response from home.

“Harris County and the City of Houston have issued a shelter-in-place order,” Walter pointed out over the past weekend. “The local region is paralyzed. Resources are stretched to accommodate all calls for assistance. Take care of your family first, then if you are able to help in the recovery phase contact your local Emergency Coordinator or District Emergency Coordinator for instruction on what to do. Do not show up without approval from your local EC.”

As of August 29, some 268,000 customers were without power in Texas. American Red Cross shelters were reporting more than 6,000 occupants in Texas; more than 725,000 people have been ordered to evacuate. The state Emergency Operations Center is at full activation, and Governor Greg Abbott has declared a state of disaster for 50 Texas counties, while evacuation orders and advisories are in effect for eight counties and several independent communities in Louisiana, where the state EOC is partially activated. A state of emergency also exists for all Louisiana parishes in preparation for widespread flooding.

Alfonso Tamez, XE2O, President of the FMRE in Mexico, has offered South Texas “all the help you need from our country in ham communications.” Tamez noted the extensive Mexican community in the Houston area.

NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston has announced that it will remain closed to all but mission-essential personnel through Labor Day, due to the effects of Harvey. The center will reopen on September 5. JSC said its primary concern was personnel and public safety, but that it also would allow the center to focus on its highest-priority mission activities, including the return to Earth this weekend of ISS crew members Peggy Whitson, ex-KC5ZTD; Jack Fischer, K2FSH, and Fyodor Yurchikin, RN3FI.

Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC) said it was monitoring the progress of Harvey, which could, in due course, brush the coastal waters of Newfoundland.

Hurricane Harvey FCC Cell Site Report – Don’t expect your cellphone to work during an emergency

Please find this IEEE article regarding the failure of cell towers in the Texas disaster.  Independent backup radio systems are very important.

https://spectrum.ieee.org/telecom/wireless/when-disaster-strikes-flying-cell-towers-could-aid-search-and-rescue

“When Hurricane Harvey struck land in southeast Texas on Friday, ferocious winds and rain nearly obliterated the telecommunications network in Aransas County, a coastal community that lies directly in the storm’s path. Only one of the county’s 19 cell towers was still working on Saturday, according to a report [PDF] by the Federal Communications Commission.”

 

60M Dipole

Pretty simple dipole for the 60M or 5.3Mhz band for your HF nets

There is traffic for Hurricane Harvey being received

5MHz_Standard_Dipole_60_meter_Band

Mount it 15 feet of the ground and you now have an NVIS set up

Using Technology During a Disaster – Hurricane Harvey

Using Technology During a Disaster

GETTING YOUR HAM RADIO LICENSE COULD HELP IN EMERGENCY COMMUNICTIONS BEYOND A FAMILY USING FRS RADIOS

We rely on technology more and more to keep in touch with our family, friends, and colleagues with a click of a button. But what happens in the event of a major emergency? Suddenly these tools can become vital in helping you and your family deal get in touch and stay informed. So here are some tips on the use of technology in an emergency:

  • If possible, use non-voice channels like text messaging, email or social media. These use less bandwidth than voice communications and may work even when phone service doesn’t.
  • If you must use a phone, keep your conversation brief and convey only vital information to emergency personnel and/or family. This will also conserve your phone’s battery.
  • Unable to complete a call? Wait 10 seconds before redialing to help reduce network congestion. Note, cordless phones rely on electricity and will not work during a power outage. If you have a landline, keep at least one corded phone in your home.
  • Keep extra batteries or a charger for your mobile device in your emergency kit. Consider getting a solar-powered, crank, or vehicle phone charger. If you don’t have a cell phone, keep a prepaid phone card in your emergency kit.
  • Keep your contacts up to date on your phone, email and other channels. This will make it easier to reach important contacts, such as friends, family, neighbours, child’s school, or insurance agent.
  • If you have a smartphone, save your safe meeting location(s) on its mapping application.
  • Conserve your smartphone’s battery by reducing the screen’s brightness, placing your phone in airplane mode, and closing apps you are not using. You never know how long a power outage will last!

Remember, in an emergency or to save a life, call 9-1-1 for help. You cannot currently text 9-1-1. If you are not experiencing an emergency, do not call 9-1-1. If your area offers 3-1-1 service or another information system, call that number for non-emergencies.

Facts About Emergency Preparedness

  1. Roughly 5,000 earthquakes are recorded in Canada every year.
  2. Canada gets more tornadoes than any other country except the U.S., averaging about 50 tornadoes per year.
  3. The worldwide cost of natural disasters has skyrocketed from $2 billion in the 1980s, to $27 billion over the past decade.
  4. Canada’s first billion dollar disaster, the Saguenay flood of 1996, triggered a surge of water, rocks, trees and mud that forced 12,000 residents to evacuate their homes.
  5. Some hailstones are the size of peas while others can be as big as baseballs.
  6. Approximately 85% of Canadians agree that having an emergency kit is important in ensuring their and their family’s safety, yet only 40% have prepared or bought an emergency kit. Complete yours online at www.GetPrepared.ca.
  7. In 2011, flooding in Manitoba and Saskatchewan featured the highest water levels and flows in modern history. Over 11,000 residents were displaced from their homes.
  8. Ice, branches or power lines can continue to break and fall for several hours after the end of an ice storm.
  9. The deadliest heat wave in Canadian history produced temperatures exceeding 44ºC in Manitoba and Ontario in 1936. Rail lines and bridge girders twisted, sidewalks buckled, crops wilted and fruit baked on trees.
  10. In 2007, the Prairies experienced 410 severe weather events including tornadoes, heavy rain, wind and hail, nearly double the yearly average of 221 events.
  11. The coldest temperature reached in North America was –63ºC, recorded in 1947 in Snag, Yukon.
  12. The largest landslide in Canada involved 185 million m3 of material and created a 40m deep scar that covered the size of 80 city blocks in 1894 at Saint-Alban, Quebec.
  13. Hurricanes are bigger and cause more widespread damage than tornadoes (a very large system can be up to 1,000 kilometres wide).
  14. One of the most destructive and disruptive storms in Canadian history was the 1998 ice storm in Eastern Canada causing hardship for 4 million people and costing $3 billion. Power outages lasted for up to 4 weeks.
  15. The June 23, 2010 earthquake in Val-des-Bois, Quebec produced the strongest shaking ever experienced in Ottawa and was felt as far away as Kentucky in the United States.
  16. Using non-voice communication technology like text messaging, email, or social media instead of telephones takes up less bandwidth and helps reduce network congestion after an emergency.
  17. At the end of October 2012, Hurricane Sandy devastated parts of the Caribbean and the northeast of the North American continent. When the hurricane made landfall in the United States it blended with a continental cold front forming a storm described as the “Monsterstorm” by the media.

Emergency Management in Canada: How Does It Work?

In a country that borders on three oceans and spans six time zones, creating an emergency response system that works for every region is a huge challenge. That’s why emergency management in Canada is a shared responsibility. That means everyone has an important role to play, including individuals, communities, governments, the private sector and volunteer organizations.

Basic emergency preparedness starts with each individual. If someone cannot cope, emergency first responders such as police, fire and ambulance services will provide help.

If the municipality needs additional assistance or resources, they can call on provincial/territorial emergency management organizations, who can seek assistance from the federal government if the emergency escalates beyond their capabilities. Depending on the situation, federal assistance could include policing, national defence and border security, and environmental and health protection.

Requests for assistance from provincial/territorial authorities are managed through Public Safety Canada, which maintains close operational links with the provinces and territories. It can take just a few minutes for the response to move from the local to the national level, ensuring that the right resources and expertise are identified and triggered.

Everyone responsible for Canada’s emergency management system shares the common goal of preventing or managing disasters. Public Safety Canada is responsible for coordinating emergency response efforts on behalf of the federal government. More information is available on the Public Safety web site at www.publicsafety.gc.ca (click on “Emergency Management”).

Cut Off voltage for a 12V 7AH Gel Cell – SLA

Many hams use these inexpensive gel cells or SLAs in their Go Kits or for Portable ops. They are heavy so not a backpackers first choice but they are cheap and “pulls” can be found at hamfests for a few dollars.

I got one recently that included an 80w inverter in a nice little carry case. I added a Power Pole lead and its all set up ready to go and is perfect for an extended day of hand held operating at a public service or safety  event.

The cut off voltage for this type of battery is 10.8 volts but have seen charts that also claim it should be 11.3 or even 11.6 volts. Considering a fully charged battery is considered to be at 12.8 volts then we do have about a volt of leeway. These batteries tend to discharge very quickly from operating to cut off voltage after being depleted.

If you are using the Voltage Tattler then I suggest the Low warning to be set at 11.3 volts and then it doesn’t matter what battery you are using.

 

 

Bioenno BLF-1206A Cut Off Voltage

In my last post, I built the Voltage Tattler for battery protection out in the field or when operating on battery power.

I use the Bioenno BLF-1206A a fair bit when running higher power (20 to 50 watts) for emcomm work.

“The Bioenno Power Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) Battery Model BLF-1206A is a state of the art 12V 6Ah battery.  Please note that this battery should be charged using a LiFePO4 compatible charger, and not a charger for SLA batteries.”

Its rated at 6A but can handle ups to 12A of draw. This makes it ideal for SSB usage but if you are on DMR or FM I suggest the next model up, if you are running higher power.

The cutoff voltage is 10.5VDC for the batteries.  So you can set the Tattler to around 11 VDC for a safety margin.  The battery has built in protection against overvoltage, over discharge, overcurrent, and balancing function. This battery is sophisticated in that YOU MUST USE the specified charger.

Unlike the Windcamp battery that is junk (I had a charger go bad and a battery pack go bad so out of the 2 I have I now only having one working) the Bioenno battery has worked very well under various loads.