Winter Preparedness

NWS Signs of HypothermiaWe had our first measurable snow on campus this weekend! There are a number of good things about winter. The chance of lightning in Michigan is almost non-existent so those 80 meter static crashes vanish. You won’t get burned if you forget to turn that antenna switch to ground when you shut down the rig. And there’s something magic about pulling in some great dx as the terminator dances over your QTH.

At the same time, there’s a whole new layer of preparedness questions you have to ask yourself when you leave the friendly confines of your dorm room or your ham shack. Speaking of layering, that’s the secret. Make sure you have enough layers to keep out the cold and protect you from the moisture. Electronic components can behave differently at extremes of temperature, so give that car (and your gear inside of it) time to warm up if the operating temps get below those recommended in your manual.

And be aware if you start to feel any of the symptoms shown in the NWS graphic and check out this handy reference from our friends at NOLS. Hams need to be prepared to serve in extraordinary times. Be ready to help by taking care of yourself first.

SSB Sweeps!!

This weekend is Phone Sweepstakes ! The shack is all ready to go. The equipment and antenna switches have all been labeled for easy identification. The logging computer has N3FJP up and running on it. All you need to do is remember to change operators in the log. The band and mode will be tracked automatically for you. (as long as rig is on) When the contest is done, please have someone SAVE the log data to the hard drive.

I will be in contact with Ed or Reece as to submitting our entry after the contest is over. ANY questions about operating times, please coordinate with ED W8EO. If you need help PLEASE ASK. There are manuals for all the rigs on the bookcase. If you don’t know how to tune the amplifier, ask for help or DON’T use it.

Please do not run over 1KW. The REASON ? Our 40 meter es 80 meter dipoles are made of #16 wire and won’t handle over a KW.

I will be at home all weekend if there are problems that can’t be resolved by following the direction sheets. I will hopefully be operating from home while recovering from surgery.

I’m going to play QRP this year just for fun.(and the challenge)
Gud Luck es Clean Sweep guys ! 73, Gregg WB8LZG

CW Sweepstakes This Weekend!

original_goldCalling all Sweepers ! Man your Keys ! A reminder to all CW enthusiasts.
This weekend is the CW Sweepstakes. I wanted to let everyone know my schedule and availability.

I am planning on being in the W8SH shack near the starting time 5pm local Sat. if the time stays the same. I plan on operating from 5pm thru 8 or 9pm Sat evening. Then I usually am in the shack Sunday morning about 6am and operate till 9 or 10 am. If anyone would like to gain access to the shack outside of these hours please contact me.

SWEEPS is the “big one” ! It has the longest exchange of any of the contests and accuracy is the goal. I first started Sweeps at 16 and have been hooked ever since. my mentors taught me well too. I do Sweeps entirely on paper. No computer, no logging program, no dupe checker, no assisted, no nonsense. Just a key , a pencil, and the radio ! It’s the purest form of CW Zen that there is ! For years i ran Sweeps QRP (low power) just to test my meddle, But that was hard work and operation from W8SH is very fast paced fun. With our School Station status and our Check 19 being the only one on the planet, a pileup is inevitable ! Want to hone the “filter between the ears” just try picking one callers signal out of 5 or 6 ! It just doesn’t get any better unless your in a rare section. ( like N. Dakota , or the NWT !) hi hi

For those of you who prefer the computer logging, N3FJP Sweeps program is up and running on the computer. Please leave it running and i will combine and compile the scores after the weekend. Phone Sweeps is in 2 more weekends and i’ll make an announcement a few days before.

Want to pound some brass this weekend? Come keyed up with us at W8SH !

73 Gregg WB8LZG

School Club Roundup!

School Club RoundupOne of our favorite ARRL events is the annual School Club Roundup. It’s a staple of the W8SH fall operating schedule. W9WSW and W8EO were on the air on Tuesday, knocking out 50 QSOs per hour across in 20 states. It’s always fun to watch the bands morph as sunset starts to cross the continent. We started out on 20 meters and migrated down to 40 as the evening wore on. Great to talk with so many other clubs and individuals who are helping inspire the next generation of radio amateurs.

Coming soon! The W8MSU APRS I-Gate

APRS DisplayIn the world of APRS, WA8LMF is a legend. Stephen Smith is an internationally renown expert on this most creative application of packet radio on the amateur bands.

APRS is short for the Automatic Position Reporting System, developed over the last three decades by Bob Bruninga, WB4APR. Emanating at 144.39 MHz on the 2 meter band, it sound like a series of short data bursts fired back and forth between originating stations, digipeaters and devices connected to the Internet via one or more of the over 1500 I-Gates that are deployed around the world.

Hook up a GPS antenna to an APRS radio and you can let the world follow your travels, wherever you may go. Load an APRS application onto your smart phone and, not only can you transmit your location, you’ll also be able to see what other stations surround you.

There are both fixed and mobile stations in the APRS network. Some fire out weather information, others delineate where FM repeaters are located, many are integrated into mobile rigs, making it possible to see how far your best friend may be away from arriving for that face to face QSO at a local hamfest.

There is a robust network of APRS I-Gates in Michigan and soon we’ll have one installed at W8SH. Thanks to Stephen’s generosity a robust APRS station will soon be installed in the alcove near the roof of the Engineering Building, tracking received signals and creating up to the minute maps that we can easily view on any browser, anywhere.

At a recent open shack night, WA8LMF brought the installation over so we could test it. Naturally, it worked perfectly. We are scheduling a time when can give it full Internet connectivity and move it up into the alcove for full deployment.

Stand by for updates!