July 18, 2014

Any intelligent fool...

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex... It takes a touch of genius --- and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." - Albert Einstein


Written by: NJ2X, Michael Maher

July 11, 2014

Imagination...

"Imagination is more important than knowledge." - Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein

Written by: NJ2X, Michael Maher

July 4, 2014

Contempt for authority....

“To punish me for my contempt for authority, fate made me an authority myself.” ― Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein



Written by: NJ2X, Michael Maher

June 30, 2014

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T8D11)

Q) What is a "parity" bit?

A) An extra code element used to detect errors in received data


NJ2X Notes:
A parity bit is used to detect errors in a data transmission.  It is a simple technique.  With "even parity", the number of bits with the value one are counted and then the parity bit is set such that the sum of all the bits is even.  With "odd" parity, the number of bits with the value of one are counted and then a parity bit is set such that the sum of all the bits is odd. 

With even parity, the receiver then checks the parity count and confirms it is even.  If data is received that is not even then the receiver recognizes that an error has occured.

Even Parity Example:
00001111 = 4, parity bit = 0, sum of all bits is even
11001101 = 5, parity bit = 1, sum of all bits is even
11111111 = 8, parity bit = 0, sum of all bits is even
01111111 = 7, parity bit = 1, sum of all bits is even




NJ2X Kindle Edition is now available.
Written by: NJ2X, Michael Maher

June 29, 2014

2014 Field Day Fun @ Monterey Bay Amateur Radio Association (N6IJ)

Field Day is FUN!  There is nothing quite like setting up and operating outdoors.

For some hams it is challenge of setting up temporary radio operations in the great outdoors.  For these amateurs, assembling the gear, hoisting and adjusting antennas, solving problems, and making everything work is what it is all about.

Other hams it is about lighting up the ether and operating in the wild.  For these amateurs, the fun is in making great contacts in the great outdoors with perhaps a bit of the old competitive spirit mixed in.

For Field Day 2014, KC2VSR, NJ2X, and KG6UBG set up two outdoor stations at the home of the Monterey Bay Amateur Radio Association (MBARA) headquarters in Marina, California.  We operated using the MBARA call N6IJ.  The site was formerly part of the Fort Ord military base which gave the operations a historical feel.

California weather is famously mild and we were not disappointed during Field Day 2014.  The skies were blue and there was a light cool breeze coming off Monterey Bay that encouraged a sweatshirt or jacket most of the day.  We we felt like we had little too much sun at the end of the day.  We forgot to pack sunscreen; though, we did remember to wear hats.

For antennas, we had a multi-band beam, a wire dipole, and NJ2X's portable rotatable dipole.  The beam was hoisted up onto a pole about about 15 feet and was used with the 20 meters station.  KG6UBG ran the 40 meters station through a ladder line fed wire dipole.  NJ2X and KC2VSR setup the portable rotatable dipole for use with  the 20 meters station.  We rotated the beam and dipole with the aid of ropes attached to the antennas.  A gentle pull on the rope and the antenna could be pointed in any direction.

NJ2X's Portable Rotatable Dipole in the bag

KC2VSR setting up the portable rotatable dipole

K2CVSR with the portable rotatable dipole up and ready for use (California blue sky)

KC2VSR with the 20 meters field day station
KG6UBG running the 40 meters field day station

A few lessons learned for next year:

START
  1. Pack sunscreen - our wide brimmed hats alone didn't keep us from getting a little too much sunshine
  2. Pack more snacks - we lost a bit of operating time making a mid-day food run
  3. Encourage a few more folks to come out and play radio - the more the merrier
  4. Fire up the grill - hot dogs and hamburgers would be terrific next year
STOP
  1. Failing to inspect the antenna bag beforehand to make sure technical info and everything needed is inside - we discovered that we had not packed a manual needed to setup the antenna.  Through trial and error we figured out how to put up the mast and tune the antenna for 20 meters; though, at the expense of operating time.
CONTINUE
  1. Bringing KG6UBG's Honda generator - small, quite, and ran flawlessly during the day providing power to our amateur radio stations
  2. Bringing the rotatable dipole - setting up a temporary antenna is part of the field day experience
  3. Setting up field day operations at the Monterey Bay Amateur Radio Association HQ - great location with plenty of room for operations, grilling, antennas, ...
  4. Drinking plenty of water - hydration is extra important when outdoors in the sun and breeze
  5. Pack a few spare batteries - 9v, AA's, ... handy when needed as proven by KG6UBG having a spare needed for our 20 meters station's SWR meter.
  6. Bringing 2 meters HT's - handy for communications around the field day site

2014 is 100th anniversary of the ARRL so this year's field day was particularly important for many amateurs.  It was a memorable event for KC2VSR and NJ2X since it was our first in the great state of California and with the Monterey Bay Amateur Radio Association.  We enjoyed it thoroughly and look forward to next year.

A special "thank you" to KG6UBG for helping pull together this year's field day.  It simply would not have happened without him.


Good DX and 73, NJ2X


NJ2X Kindle Edition is now available.


Written by: NJ2X, Michael Maher

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T0B07)

Q) Which of the following is an important safety rule to remember when using a crank-up tower?

A) This type of tower must never be climbed unless it is in the fully retracted position


NJ2X Notes:
Crank-up masts are typically held in the extended position by a single cable.  If this cable were to break then the sections would collapse suddenly.  Crank-up towers must never be climbed unless it is in the fully retracted position.





Written by: NJ2X, Michael Maher

June 28, 2014

Amateur Radio ARRL Field Day Food - QSL Quiche

Field day has a long tradition for great amateur radio fun combined with good eats.  It takes a lot of calories to setup a field station, operate for long hours, and talk to friends near and far.  Well maybe not all that many calories but tasty food definitely enhances the fun. 

As much as we do love grilled hot dogs and hamburgers, it is also fun to wow your friends with a dish that looks and tastes great (while also easy).  Here is an easy-to-make recipe that yields results sure to please 4 or 5 hungry hams - QSL Quiche.

6 ounces cooked ham, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
3/4 cup broccoli, cut into bite size
2 ounces Monterrey jack pepper cheese
2 ounces cheddar cheese
Grated Parmesan cheese
8 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
A dash of your favorite hot sauce

Step #1 Heat oven to 375°F and grease a 9-inch pie plate.
Step #2 Scatter ham, broccoli and cheeses evenly in pie plate.
Step #3 Whisk remaining ingredients in a bowl until blended.
Step #4 Pour ingredients into the pie plate.
Step #5 Sprinkle a little Parmesan cheese on the top (lightly).
Step #6 Bake 40 minutes or until firm. Cover top with foil if it starts to get too brown.
Step #8 Serve.

Voila!

Enjoy Field Day, 73
NJ2X
Written by: NJ2X, Michael Maher

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T0B09)

Q) Why should you avoid attaching an antenna to a utility pole?

A) The antenna could contact high-voltage power wires

NJ2X Notes:
It is important to assure that antenna wires cannot come into contact with overhead power lines.  Do not attempt to attach antennas to utility poles since the antenna would be in close proximity to high-voltage power wires.
Written by: NJ2X, Michael Maher

June 27, 2014

Archimedes was my ideal...

Archimedes was my ideal. I admired the works of artists, but to my mind, they were only shadows and semblances. The inventor, I thought, gives to the world creations which are palpable, which live and work. -- Nikola Tesla

Nikola Tesla

Written by: NJ2X, Michael Maher

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T8C10)

Q) How do you select a specific IRLP node when using a portable transceiver?

A) Use the keypad to transmit the IRLP node ID

NJ2X Notes:
IRLP =  Internet Radio Linking Project
IRPL is used to link amateur radio systems without the use of RF links, leased lines, or satellites.



Written by: NJ2X, Michael Maher

June 26, 2014

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T0B08)

Q) What is considered to be a proper grounding method for a tower?

A) Separate eight-foot long ground rods for each tower leg, bonded to the tower and each other

NJ2X Notes:
Lightning protection systems for towers and amateur radio equipment is good engineering.
Written by: NJ2X, Michael Maher

June 25, 2014

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T8D07)

Q) What is PSK31?

A) A low-rate data transmission mode

NJ2X Notes:
PSK31 is a digital mode and a whole lot of fun.  All you need to get started with PSK31 is a computer, a program that supports PSK31 (many are free), and a transceiver.  We are avid PSK31 operators and hope to see you on the air.

Written by: NJ2X, Michael Maher

June 24, 2014

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T8D09)

Q) What code is used when sending CW in the amateur bands?

A) International Morse

NJ2X Notes:
This is a fairly easy question to get right if you recognize that "CW" refers to Morse code.  If you know that then you can easily eliminate the wrong answers since none of them includes the word, "Morse".  CW stands for continuous wave and is often used interchangeably with the term Morse code.


Written by: NJ2X, Michael Maher