Welcoming Students Back to Campus

MSUARC FlierWhen students return to the residence halls this year, they will find a special welcome from MSUARC. We’re papering the dorms with a flier, directed both at licensed and unlicensed Spartans, inviting them to visit our social sites and join the family.

Getting youth excited about our essential avocation is a challenge when so many other things compete for their time and attention. But we are undaunted! With new gear and new energy in the club, we’re excited about all that we have to offer.

The flier features a Yaesu FT-2DR handheld, the state of the art for those interested in operating both in analog and Fusion digital modes.

Remote Rig Update

The Kenwood TS480 Base UnitOne of MSUARC’s goals for the 2016-17 school year is making W8SH more accessible to more students. In a world where we like to take our technology with us, creating an opportunity to remotely control an operating position was a natural step.

To create a portable experience, the Shack Upgrade Team selected the Kenwood TS480SAT and the Remote Rig 1258 MKII system. Kenwood’s popular HF radio includes a built-in antenna tuner and a control head that connects via cable to an RJ12 jack on the base unit. The Remote Rig 1258 features an ethernet connected base unit and a WiFi enabled remote box with easy connections for both the control unit and microphone.

The Kenwood TS480SAT Control HeadThe gear was acquired and tested on August 14 via a 59 contact with a Maryland QSO Party contestant. Engineering IT generously provided us with a dedicated IP address and configured the control box so that students can connect from anywhere on campus.

Testing was done both on and off campus today and the results were excellent. Check out the YouTube video, below for a taste of how things sounded on a day when the bands were pretty poor. That’s a West Virginia station on 40 meters.


Getting Ready for Fall!

IMG_1440What a summer it’s been! We learned last month that we were again the top university club in the Michigan QSO Party, returning the “Ole Log” to East Lansing in our ongoing, friendly rivalry with our friends in Ann Arbor. Our members chased literally hundreds of hams who “activated” scores of National Parks in the ARRL’s National Parks On the Air contest. And returning students will find our shack transformed with some cool new gear.

Screen Shot 2016-08-11 at 8.45.55 PMIn August we installed a brand new Yaesu DR-1X Repeater, becoming the first entity in the area to support both the C4FM Fusion digital standard and classic analog FM simultaneously. (See a photo album of the project here.)

Kenwood TS480SATThe Shack Upgrade Team also purchased a Kenwood TS-480SAT and associated equipment from RemoteRig.com to make it possible for students to check out a tranceiver control head and opearate remotely from any area on campus with WiFi. This marks a new era in amateur radio at Michigan State, extending the on air experience beyond the confines of 2121 Engineering Building. A network of remote accessible rigs is envisioned, over time, expanding the locations, students, and ultimately alumni can access from wherever they might be.

We plan another appearance at MSU’s “Sparticipation” this fall, demonstrating all that’s cool about ham radio to students in search of extracurricular activities. Contact us if you’d like to help.

Ham Radio 101: Working Amateur Satellites

Current ISS position via Heavens-Above.com

Few things in the hobby are more exciting than talking to the world with an HT. D-STAR, DMR, IRLP and Echolink have made this possible via internet connectivity but you can also do it directly, via satellite.

Working the heavens is easier than you might think. Here is a great reourse to get you started.

Work-Sat.com – One of the best all around websites for amateur satellite enthusiasts. If amateur radio icons like Bob Heil, K9EID and Gordon West, WB6NOA recommend it, you know it’s good.

The site is hosted by Clint Bradford, K6LCS, who is also a good guy to know if you need help programming your rig.