- Tanner Ham Talk Live
Tanner represented our club during last Thursday’s famous Ham Talk Live podcast.
During the live interview, Tanner shared mic-time with Rob Suggs, KB5EZ, from Marshall Space Flight Center; Mike Logan, KM4WUO from Langley Research Center, and Ken Ransom, N5VHO, also from JSC. Tanner provided an extensive overview of our club’s recent achievements and activities while co-promoting our collective NASA On The Air (NOTA) event. Ken Goodwin was a previous victim to be interviewed on this podcast, and now Tanner has kept it going with a performance very well done. Thanks and good job, Tanner.
- NOTA event this weekend
Lots of work is continuing to make sure both our ops and online presence will be setup well for this week. Here are a few scattered tidbits:
Jerry N5FWB has setup the TS950 station for Slow Scan TV. He’s installed the MMSSTV software and has also configured some great pre-canned graphics for our transmissions. He’s already made a few QSOs to validate the ops. We’ll post some easy instructions so others can operate as well.
Ken, K5RG, is working around the clock to get the 1958 vintage station up and running. For this NOTA event, Ken fixed an surprising audio interface issue between his amplified microphone and his Johnson Ranger. As far as we’ve been tracking, he’s nearly ready to deploy this station in our shack on Wednesday. We’ve removed the IC781 station to make room for Ken’s vintage station. We’ve especially looking forward to have a few Amplitude Modulation contacts on the air during this event. These boatanchors are heavy and we’re looking for volunteers with strong backs, who can help heft the radios and transport to the shack.
Tanner has successfully updated our QRZ page to reflect more content and relevant information related to this week’s 60th anniversary event. This is super important since hams typically hit this site regularly. We’re still expecting a heavy hits and getting this update is very timely.
We’re giving full attention to promote multi-band and multi-mode operations during this brief concentrated effort. David, KB5PGY, has volunteered to bring his Omni 6 transceiver to work FT8 contacts. Jerry, as we mentioned, will be helping us get SSTV on the air. W5OC has configured the FT1000 to interface with CW Winkeyer, so CW will have a presence. Ken’s vintage station will provide all the traditional modes as well, but including AM as mentioned. And John will help us with our Satellite contacts on VHF/UHF as well. This should be a huge effort to promote not only NASA, but the W5RRR capabilities after 2 years of upgrading our capabilities.
To date, our VIP guest operator will be Milt Heflin. He’s tentatively indicated some interest to come down and operate on Saturday. Milt is one of NASA JSC’s icons, overseeing 20 shuttle flights with seven as lead flight director in charge of overall ops on the ground. If he does show up, we’d like all members to extend our best red carpet treatment to him and to make sure to give him priority operating attention and privilege so he can get on the air immediately in his limited time. We believe this is Saturday afternoon.
Band conditions has been fair to poor, this week, so we have little idea of how large our footprint may be for this event. For example, all week, 20m has been only fair, but luckily our excellent antenna still punches through for many contacts. This weekend 10m was open for a few hours, so we’ll just take what propagation gives us and we’ll demonstrate agility to work what we can.
John Maca, has pulled out all stops and designed a special QSL card just for this 60th anniversary event. This is a real graphic masterpiece and depicts NASA at it’s best. We’re very lucky to have John’s graphic artistry in our club, and he’s spent countless hours manipulating the graphic art and narrative history on the back, to give us a QSL card that truly is awesome. We’ve sent the card out for a production quantity of 2500, and we hope to get the delivery in a few weeks.
The shack has been cleaned up and we ask all club members to be mindful to keep it that way upon leaving your shift. A fact sheet script which describes NASA On The Air as well as this 60th anniversary has been printed out and left at each station. We ask that you use some portions of this, and periodically announce the purpose of our operating special event while on the air.
We encourage all member, including new Technician License holders, to come down to the shack an experience pile ups and outreach to American and the world during this event. We all need to appreciate and promote the significance of how NASA has shaped this country and these technological advances introduced to improve humankind. If you’d like a seasoned operator to give you guidance, please let any of the officer’s know and we’ll schedule a pair up of your time with another ops. This includes afterhours for the rest of this week as well as all day Fri thru Sun.
We’ll be configuring our TH7DX tri-bander beam with a Triplexer which allows us to simultaneously operate on 10, 15 and 20 meters. Because this triplexer only handles 200W max, we’ll be prohibt use of our linear amplifiers thru this antenna. We’ll put signs on the amps to emphasize the warning.
Final note: For this event, the volunteer signups via our web has not attracted much interaction, which implies that people will simply show up without any signup formality. That’s OK, and we’ll make it work.
This also indicates that our online signup is not effective with our members. If you have feedback how to make this more user friendly, or more convenient, please let us know.
If we get a large turnout this weekend for operators, please jump in initially to help the operators log via our N3FJP computer logger; Everyone will get an opportunity to rotate into the operating position sooner or later, but your best opportunities are later at night or early mornings . We’re also expecting interference from multiple radios trying to operate simultaneously, so we’ll just play it by ear and try to co-exist. In some cases, we may need to take turns and restrict the number of simultaneous active radios. Thanks to everyone for your patience and cooperation.
- Calendar of Events
August 1 Weekend- Austin Summerfest 2018
Austin will be hosting it’s annual summerfest event in the Capital City during the weekend of August 1. It’s always been a big draw for the state’s population of hams, it attracts bigtime speakers and technical sessions. This year, Ed Hare W1RFI, of ARRL Lab fame will be a guest speaker. A Yaesu FT-891 All mode radio will be given away as their Grand Prize. We’re all still taking odds that N5FWB will win it.
August 1 Saturday. North American QSO Party, CW
Also during the same weekend, CW ops of W5RRR will operate this morse code only event on Saturday. Please allow these folks priority usage in the shack during this event as they they plan to operate for a solid 12 hours from 1:00pm Saturday thru 1:00AM Sunday morning. Currently our ops team will be WD9GET, NZ5A, and W5OC. Please let W5OC know if you’d like to participate, too.
August 18 North American QSO Party Single Side Band
Nobody has indicated formal interest yet, but we expect some of our Single Side Band operators to consider working this contest. This will be a very popular and fun event for SSB operators.
August 25th The south Texas Balloon Launch Team will be inflating and launching another large balloon; BLT-50. Any individual, groups, teams and/or clubs can build and launch their payloads on these balloons. This one will carty a variety of payload radios including FM and DMR repeaters, Digital TV, and Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS). The JSCARC is interested in members who are willing to build a fly a payload on some future balloon transports. This upcoming event is highly recommended for those who have this interest and to gain an understanding how the balloon team will launch our potential payloads beyond the 100,000 foot elevations. If there’s enough interest, we can carpool a group to observe the launch and tracking. See AB5SS for more information.
- JSCARC ELMERS
ELMER is the the ham radio term used for a wise mentor. We’re received 9 requests for ELMERS from the Technician class, Stu, W4STU, is currently instructing. These ELMERS will be someone who may be called upon to help understand some of the class material, or perhaps someone willing to offer recommendations to buy their first ham radio set. This was a successful program used last quarter, so we’re continuing the tradition of hams helping hams. Many thanks to the members who have volunteered to serve as ELMERS. Later on, we may sponsor a joint ELMER sponsored on-the-air shack event and possibly another Soldering 101 class for them. If any club member would also like an ELMER,
- Student hams
In support of our most recently licensed hams, last week we held our first ever get-on-the-air hands-on tutorials at the shack. We also produced a cheat sheet handout describing the typical radio protocols as a first timer’s guide. We’ll post this on the web in case other members would like to use this for visiting friends and/or family members. We’ve received positive feedback from this effort so we’re hopeful this will a regular recurring club program for new licensees.
- EME Moon Bounce
John, AB5SS and Mike, N8MTV are continuing the evaluation of our club’s involvement in the Oct and November ARRL Moonbounce contest. This would likely be a digital JT65 QSO on either 144, 432, or 1296 using the shack equipment and likely borrowing some of John’s UHF assets. There are known big guns with high power and huge antenna arrays which will increase our changes to make a contact using our modest setup. Today’s use of digital modulation really improves our chances of success because JT65 was designed specifically for EME and it decodes through the noise floor by over 15 dB compared to a good day using old fashioned CW. Getting an EME contact is exciting and would be a historic 1st for the club and would be a great way to cap off all of our achievements for 2018. After we get past the 60th anniversary NOTA operations, we’ll start concentrating on this next big club milestone event.