Radio Astronomy

During the April 2021 TARS meeting we were blessed to have Dr. Francisco Reyes – KK4AAV – University of Florida, Dept. of Astronomy talk on Radio Astronomy touching on the following topics:

  • Brief history of the Univ. of Florida Radio Observatory (UFRO) and the closing of the UFRO.
  • The observations of Jupiter’s decametric emission from UFRO and a station in Chile
  • Antennas and equipment used at UFRO and the station in Chile
  • Pulsar observations at UFRO and Chile and the antennas we used.
  • The Radio JOVE educational, public outreach and citizen science project
  • The Spectrograph User Group (SUG) network, equipment and the observations
  • The small antenna and spectrograph at Rosemary Hill observatory
  • Planning for the observations of the 2024 total solar eclipse in the US.

Introduction to 5G

TARS March 2021 Presentation: More and more spectrum availability to wireless service providers over the years has opened doors to enhanced communication standards and applications.  We will see increased throughput speeds, lower latency, and the ability to provide connection support to larger amounts of devices in small areas with increased bandwidth, flexibility in transmission, edge computing, and massive MIMO.  At the same time, the telecommunication industry’s infrastructure needs to be built out to be able to support the equipment density needed by the wireless service providers to fully achieve the leap from 4G to 5G. 

Crown Castle is one of the leaders in providing that network of communications infrastructure. John Hellmer, Senior RF Engineer from the Crown Castle Nation RF Engineering team, who will leverage over 10 years of RF Engineering testing, design, and optimization experience in the telecommunications industry in leading us through the evolution to 5G.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIZ-dnw3yKc

Easy Points for Field Day

It’s not a contest, I know, I know, but everyone wants to get as many points as they can on Field Day.  Here are some easy points you can rack up without trying hard:

100 points for a formal message to your ARRL Section Manager or Section Emergency Coordinator:  It has to be in the form of a standard ARRL Radiogram and transmitted using the radio (no Internet).  The easy way to do this is send a radiogram using WINLINK to kk4bfn@arrl.net or k4hbn@arrl.net  (7.3.5)

100 points for copying the W1AW Field Day Bulletin.  The schedule for the broadcast is at: http://www.arrl.org/files/file/Field-Day/2020/4_37-2020%20W1AW%20Sked.pdf (7.3.9):  

100 points per transmitter if you are running off of emergency power (if you are operating from your home station that means you are running as a E class not a D class) (7.3.1)

50 points for turning in your entry via the web app at: https://field-day.arrl.org/fdentry.php (7.3.14)

And remember to get your power multiplier.  A 100watt station gets a power multiplier of 2 (7.2.4)

It is a good idea to look over the rules at: http://www.arrl.org/files/file/Field-Day/2020/1_61-2020%20Rules.pdf to see if there are any other rules that might influence how you operate your station.

If you need help/advise during the event, try calling on the 147.030 repeater

So good luck, be safe and have a great time

73

Tuning Tips for SSB

Tuning Tips for SSB

Stan, K4SBZ

Here are a few random tips for tuning in stations on SSB during Field Day (and during contests). They do not apply to other modes.

Precision. Most stations operate on even multiples of .25 MHz. For example, 14241.000, 14241.25, 14241.50, 14241.75, 14242.00. Some spotting stations will erroneously spot at 14241.1 or 14241.6.  .25 and .75 are problems with the DX Cluster. The only report to one decimal place, therefore, they report as .20, .30 .06 or .08. Follow the spot and then correct to the proper frequency or you will be 10 kHz off. (Sometimes stations do try to squeeze in between the .25 frequencies, especially operators that are accustomed to other modes.)

Tuning Step. If your receiver has a tuning step, set it to .05 (50 kHz). Setting it to .100 will make it impossible to tune the .25 and .75 stations precisely. Setting it to .01 will make tuning slow and is unnecessary.

Tuning Upper/Lower Sidebands. Stations operating above 10 MHz will normally use upper sideband (USB); stations below use lower sideband (LSB). When tuning through a band, it is usually easier to tune in stations as you approach them from their operating frequency in the direction of the sideband. For example, approach a station on 7.214 from the upper side down his operating frequency (7.214.2, 7.214.15, 7.214.10, 7.214.05 and stop at 7.214.0). For USB, start low and tune up. 

Automatic Gain Control (AGC). Most radios now have automatic gain control (AGC). For SSB, setting you AGC to medium or slow will give the best results. Try it on a loud (but not blasting) signal to see what you prefer.

Bandwidth. Remember that an SSB signal is 2.7 kHz (2700 Hz.) wide. If you have a bandwidth control/bandpass filter, setting it to 3.0 or 2.7 would be normal. With a crowded band, setting it at 2.0 or even slightly lower will partially suppress stations that are near the one you want to copy. Setting it too narrow will distort the sound.

Understanding the SSB bandwidth will guide you on where to try to transmit if you are in the running mode (calling CQ). You should pick a frequency that won’t interfere with other stations and where other stations won’t interfere with you. If someone is on 7.214 MHz, you shouldn’t get any closer than 7.122 below or 7.216 above the station. If you could go a full 3.0 kHz away from him, you would be giving even more room for your 2.7 kHZ signal. You need, of course, to check that there is enough room on the other side of you so as not to interfere with or be interfered by another nearby station. Bottom line is that you need a 4-6 kHz wide opening where there are no signals. You should then ask, “Is this frequency in use?” at least twice before operating.

Field Day Questions/Tips From Other Club Members


Question from Don (KK4SIH):

Since I will be operating using my callsign (1D/E) should I upload my contacts (QSOs) to LoTW or QRZ etc so that others can claim the contacts for other purposes or do field day contacts not count for other purposes?

Answer from Stan (K4SBZ)

Many people upload Field Day contacts to LoTW, eQSL and QRZ. Although there is no contest, any contacts that you make at any time (Field Day, DXing, ragchewing, etc.) count for certificates such as WAS, Worked All Counties and the CQ WPX Award. 

If you have a good day, you could make WAS in one day on Field Day.

Don’t forget to upload to 3830Scores.com to get a quick look at how you and our club are doing for FD.

Answer from Gerry Gross (WA6POZ)

You can upload your contacts to LOTW since you are operating from home your QTH and grid square have not changed. 

———

Comment from Paul ( KN4TRT) 

Thanks for the nice breakdown discussion in the Field Day Band Forecast.  I just want to point that you missed one of the most important watering holes.  JS8 mode, according to the statistics give at pskreporter.info, is consistently one of the top 4 utilized digital modes.   I have included a list of frequency settings for JS8 in the table below, but as a general rule, the JS8 frequencies are 4 kHz above the FT8 frequencies.

160m:   1.842000 MHz

 80m:   3.578000 MHz

 40m:   7.078000 MHz

 20m:  14.078000 MHz

 15m:  21.078000 MHz

 10m:  28.078000 MHz

   6m:  50.318000 MHz

   2m: 144.178000 MHz

——————

Comment from Mike (N4JEL)

This might be of interest to anyone who wants an information overload. It looks like a club presentation. It is a fat file. The thoughts on which station class to use are helpful.

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/e/2PACX-1vSWypTtJ_R0s-UmysOEhQWwJwBlMrOavXqfs5AvigQzad8Z1c3JFn9TMl5ewxc8VVIIX-2g6bOTpUFD/pub?start=false&loop=false&delayms=3000&slide=id.g774df1657a_0_3

___________

Comment from Austin (KN4YRH)

I would like to have you use these two videos on the site to help introduce ham to others.  This is what I used to get people interested.

—————–

Comment from Don (KK4SIH)

Reminder that our “Club or Group Name” is “Tallahassee ARS” when you submit your scores

The main ARRL Field Day site is at:  http://www.arrl.org/field-day

All of the information that has or will be sent out is located on the club web site at http://k4tlh.net

New to Field Day

It’s Fun! It’s Easy!

Be sure to get on the air for the 2020 ARRL Field Day. It will be fun. It will be easy. Even if you have operated very much HF before. 

Operating in Field Day is similar to operating in a contest. Some say Field Day is a contest, but it is not adjudicated and there are no awards. It is just a demonstration of amateur radio capabilities. 

You don’t have to work DX or any special bands. You can operate on any authorized band, except the WARC bands. All you have to do is work stations with different ARRL or RAC (Canadian) sections. So don’t worry if you don’t have a lot of power or a great antenna. You can still rack up a good score.

The contest is from 1800 UTC (2 pm EDST) Saturday to the same time on Sunday, so you can pick your operating times at your convenience. As mentioned earlier, you can operate on almost any band, so you can operate day or night and choose your band. Just get on and make as many contacts as you can and have some fun!

Don’t forget to join the Club event. It will be great to see TARS listed in QST among the other participants. Just enter Tallahassee ARS (not TARS) as your club and the contest robot will take it from there.

New to Field Day?

Does operating during Field Day sound interesting, but you do know what to do? Never fear. It is easy. Read on.

The Contact

The first thing you have to do is make a contact. There are two ways of doing that: “running” and “search and pounce.” Running is simply sitting on an open frequency and calling CQ. It is the most efficient because the other stations come to you. However, it is for the more experienced contester because you may experience a pile-up with many stations wanting to contact you and that can be stressful to the inexperienced. So, you should probably start out with search and pounce which is just searching for someone else calling CQ. When you find them, listen for a few minutes to get a feel for what others are doing. When you are ready, just give your callsign once, using standard phonetics, and listen to see if they come back to you. If not, try again.

The Exchange

The main thing about making a contact is the exchange. After the other station has come back to you and probably given his exchange, you should give your exchange. For Field Day, it consists of your station class and your ARRL section.

Class. If you are operating from home, you will probably be Class D. This is for home stations operating on commercial power. If you are able to operate from emergency power such as a generator, batteries or solar power, then you would be Class E.  If you can operate portable, then you may be Class B. Check the Field Day rules for details. As part of your class, you also state the total number of transmitters that you have operating. Most of you will be operating just one transmitter, so your class would probably be “1D”.

Section. The ARRL and RAC (Radio Amateurs of Canada) have divided the two countries into sections. Most states have one section, except for the larger states such as California, Florida, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Texas, Washington and Pennsylvania. The US and Canada combined have 84 sections. Tallahassee is in the North Florida (NFL) section.

So, you would probably say “One Delta, North Florida” for your exchange. And you are done (unless you need to do a repeat). I usually say QSL or Thank You before saying One Delta North Florida. I also usually follow North Florida with its abbreviation, NFL, given phonetically: November Foxtrot Lima.

The other station will respond with “QSL” or “thank you” and go on to make his next contact, by saying either QRZ or CQ. 

So, an example of a Field Day contact might be: 

W1AW:           CQ Field Day CQ Field Day. This is Whiskey One Alpha Whiskey. 
Whiskey One Alpha Whiskey.

K4SBZ:           Kilo Four Sierra Bravo Zulu.

W1AW:           Kilo Four Sierra Bravo Zulu, we are Four Alpha, Connecticut.

K4SBZ:           Thank you, I am One Delta, North Florida, November Foxtrot Lima.

W1AW:           QSL. This is Whiskey One Alpha Whiskey, Q-R-Zed?

Because Field Day is not a formal contest, many operators will also say “73,” “Good luck” or “Have fun,” but generally you should keep it brief.

Log the Contact

Now you log the contact and move on to the next one.

It is that simple!

At The End

Once the contest is over, use your contest logging software to produce a Cabrillo log and email it to the address given in the rules. You should get an email within minutes from the ARRL confirming the receipt of your log or telling you about any errors you may have made. A contest robot reviews your log immediately. You may resubmit your log as often as necessary to correct any errors. 

You may also submit your results to 3830Scores (http://www.3830scores.com/ ) to compare your score with the claimed scores of other participants. The results are almost immediate and totally unofficial. Don’t be discouraged to see that the top guns have a few million points and you have only a couple thousand. They may have 1500 watts, three beams and worked every minute of the event.

Then sit back and wait. The official results take months before they are published, usually in the December issue of QST. The ARRL website often has the unofficial results sooner.

Now that you are an old hand at making contacts, why not try a real contest? WA7BNM’s Contest Calendar (https://www.contestcalendar.com/) shows a new contest almost every weekend. There is also an overview of the next month’s contests in each issue of the TARS newsletter, The Printed Circuit.

HAVE FUN!  JOIN IN!