Research via the Internet

By

W2ILP

[Jean Parker Shepherd, K2ORS (1921 – 1999)]

 

Last month I wrote about Jean Shepherd.  I spelled his name wrong.  It should not have been spelled Gene Sheppard.  I also spelled Ralphy instead of Raphie and Shultzy instead of Shultzie.  This was a clear case of an editor not editing his own work. There is no excuse for such ignorance.  I could have said that I purposely spelled Shep’s name wrong so that his heirs might not be able to sue me for infringing on what he had copyrighted.  To be honest that was not my intent.  In the future I will always do some research before I write anything.  I have the whole Internet browsing system at my disposal and I intend to use it wherever possible to help to clear up my own limited memory. I now use the Google or Yahoo search engines on the Internet.  Both of them seem to give basically the same results.  If your computer and your ISP are capable of fast operation, you can get information on almost any person (living or dead) or any subject (scientific or supernatural) in milliseconds.  I don’t know how those search engines can work so fast.  Anyway when I did a search for Gene Sheppard, I got a lot of stuff about a John Sheppard, who worked with genes. So then I tried Jean Sheppard and I got items about a   female vocalist.  Finally I gave up on Shep’s name and I did a search for Wanda Hickey.  She was one of Shep’s fictional characters. This led me to many pages of links to the real Shep. I searched in vain to see if there was a complete speech by Shep that was the same as I had heard at the Hudson Division ARRL convention.  I found two speeches that Shep had made at Dayton HamVentions.  They contained bits of what I wrote, but not all of it.  One of the speeches was hard to understand because the microphone was not placed properly.  The other was solid copy.  I also found a site where I could down load many of Shep’s actual WOR radio broadcasts.  I could not listen to them all, but I listened to ones that were labeled “Ham Radio”.  I found an introduction to an ARRL code practice tape that Shep had made. You can listen to his last impish suggestion and decide for yourselves why some conservative hams wanted the tape recalled.  In Shep’s memory I’ll print:  FLICK LIVES! EXCELSIOR YOU FATHEADS!

 

PRESIDENT’S PAGE

BY

KE2LJ

 

Not too much happening here, we are near the beginning of March, and it has been a cold, snowy

Winter so far. The solar cycle is near the bottom, so the DX conditions are not that good. This is a good time to get on the CW bands and practice code, but for some reason, I can’t find the time, or I am too tired. Life at “Grumman” is still good, and the Bethpage campus is very alive. If you haven’t been to Bethpage in the last 5 years or so, you might be shocked by the changes that have taken place there. Plants 3 and 5 are still unoccupied. Both were taken back by the Navy with plans to cede them to Nassau County. But, there is a snag somewhere, and the County hasn’t taken the buildings. They sit empty, and it’s been almost 5 years. A few months ago, Facilities people had to go to 5 to retrieve a piece of  equipment. Because the heat is off , the place is damp and moldy. They had to wear masks to protect their faces and lungs. Also, the piece of land that was the western most part of the runway (just west of the new water tower) was sold last year. That’s why we had to move our Field Day operation off of it. Recently there has been some heavy equipment on the site. They have been digging up the asphalt from the old runway surface, and grinding it up for salvage. There’s a few large piles of black stuff there, but we don’t know if they will erect a building there or not.

     I mentioned a few months back that my IC706 was acting up.  It would get very “staticy” sometimes when I was listening to the repeater. And when I transmitted, the guys would say my power level was way down, and they could hardly hear me.  It was an intermittent problem, but it was getting worse. When it got bad enough that I was sure a repairman would see it, I decided to send it out to get it fixed. My dilemma was either send it to Icom or use one of their authorized repair centers, which they list on their web site. I chose “local”, and used a place in Queens. He had to resolder some circuit traces, and he called to tell me. Then he sent it back. Very quick turn around, just a few days. The radio was fine for about a month, then it started acting up again, but nowhere as bad as it had been. So, I shipped it back to the repair guy. Of course, on his bench, it played beautifully.  Since I was going to Florida for a week, I asked him to hold on to it, run it a week, hit it with a hair dryer, and the Freon, to force some temperature extremes.  Now I’m back. I have to call him. I hope he found something else to fix. If not, I’m probably screwed, and will be unhappy with my decision to use a local shop, although lots of people here have used him. They are all pretty happy with his work.

    Our February meeting was quite successful.  W2KRM was our guest speaker. Geopge did a lovely presentation on old radio pioneers, and then demonstrated his antique spark transmitter. A few of the members then pounded the real brass, making CW on the rotary spark gap. We have lots of pictures on our web site, thanks to N2PYV and AB2EF.  Our next meeting will be

At UL on March 16th.  I hope to see you there.                                                                                

 

GRUMMAN AMATEUR RADIO CLUB

MINUTES OF GENERAL MEETING 2/16/05 by Pete, N2PYV

 

                                          The meeting was called to order by Pat at 5:40 PM.

 

TREASURERS REPORT – Ed, WB2EAV      REPEATER REP-Gordon,KB2UB

 Finances continue to be in good shape.                Both repeaters are working. No activity.

 

VE REPORT – Bob, W2ILP                           NET REPORT- Zack, WB2PUE

 This session was held at the Half Hollow            There was a good turnout on the

Library of Melville.  There were 2 applicants.      Thursday night 2-Meter Net.

A 13 year old passed a code test, but not the         Mike, KJ6XE was heard on the

General theory test. The other applicant                Sunday morning 20-Meter Net calling

Passed the General test. VEs present were:           mobile from the Orlando Ham Fest

N2REM, AB2NT ,KB2QFT, W2ILP

                                                                        

WAG ACTIVITY – Bob, W2FPF

No activity.

 

The program was an excellent slide show and demonstration by George Flanagan                                   W2RKM.  George showed slides and talked about the pioneers of radio and the important discoveries that they made.  He demonstrated vintage equipmentthat he had assembled into a rotary spark gap transmitter, circa 1910.  It was noisy and filled the room with ozone.

 

GARC NETS:

40 Meters: 7.289 MHz at 7:30 AM EST Sundays.

20 Meters: 14.275 MHz at 12 Noon EST Wednesdays.

2 Meters (via repeaters): 146.745 MHz  (-.600)at 8:30 PM EST Thursdays.

                                           145.330 MHz (- .600) at 9:00 PM EST Thursdays.

[Tone for both repeaters is 136.5 Hz]         (ARES/RACES) Mondays

                                          

                                           MEETINGS

General Meetings of the GARC are held on the third Wednesday of each month, starting at 5:30 PM.   The meetings are usually held at the Underwriters Lab, 1285 Walt Whitman Road,  Melville, NY.  Driving directions and maps can be obtained from http://www.mapquest.com   It is suggested that the GARC Web Site be checked to be certain of meeting location, which may change after this newsletter is distributed. Board meetings are held eight days before the General Meeting and GARC members are invited. to attend, but please call Pat Masterson, KE2LJ, at 516-346-7125 to confirm place and time of meeting.

 

                                                       

                                               GARC WEB SITE

The web site of the GARC can be found at http://www.qsl.net/wa2lqo/    The webmaster is Pat Masterson KE2LJ.  Pictures of GARC activities, archives of newsletters, roster of members, and other information about the GARC may be found there.

 

                                                 FOR SALE

Heathkit SB-102 (needs work), with matching Power Supply (works OK)   $100.00

Call ZAK, WB2PUE @ (631)667-4628

 

                                                   PUZZLE

    I have heard only positive comments about having cryptogram puzzles in this newsletter, so here is another one.  Your editor. 

 

P YPS IXKT IXSJM NPUJQ QSLGJT PSC CGNH PKKPBTQC YXJTK NQPUS KL

 

LWQUBLYQ KTQ UQMXMKPSBQ LZ KTQ PXU, PSC BLSVGQUXSJ XK MGBBQQC

 

XS MGEAGJPKXSJ XK PSC UPXMQ TXYMQNZ GRLS XK.

 

          --NQLSPUCL CP WXSBX--

 

Solution to last month’s cryptogram:

You mentioned your name as if I should recognize it, but I assure you that, beyond the obvious facts that you are a bachelor, a solicitor, a Freemason, and an asthmatic, I know nothing about you.       --Sir Arthur Conan Doyle--

 

 

 

 

 

                                       A REMINDER                                                                                                     To those who have not already paid their 2005 GARC dues:   Dues may be mailed to our

treasurer,  Ed Gallender, Grumman Amateur Radio Club,  P.O. Box 0644,  Bethpage, NY

11714-0644

 

 

 

 

Internet Link of the Month

I had promised to print an internet link for “internerds” that is of interest to hams in each newsletter. Editors note:  I have invented a new word: INTERNERD = A Nerd who uses the Internet. This is no big deal.  I have made up words before.  When I find that other people are using my words I feel almost as good as when people repeat my jokes, and tell them without laughing because I can’t.  If anything I might leave my words to posterity.   An example of a w2ilp designition:-  Citizens’ Multibanders (CMBers ) =  No Code+ No Theory Hams. “CMBers” became a common designation on some ham chat reflectors, when the ham license requirements were proposed to be changed.  I started it.  I was a mugwump at the time.  Don’t blame me for anything the FCC finally decided to do.

Last month I mentioned WinDRM, which is a new digital mode that is still being developed.

You can get started with it and get on the e-mail list with those hams who are experimentally trying to use it by going to http://www.qsl.net/HB9TLK/  HB9TLK is in Switzerland and is the prime developer.  He types in perfect English.  His handle is Cesco. I said that WinDRM is the same as Ham Dream. Actually they are two different versions by HB9TLK.  WinDRM = Windows Digital Radio Mondiale.   Don’t ask how to pronounce “Mondiale”.  It was debated internationally on the WinDRM reflector with no consensus.  This month I was going to talk about WinDRM.  This is a system to transmit and receive voice by a digital method.  It can also be used to send still pictures, like SSTV, only better.  It is a digital QAM mode.

Before I go any further I want to thank Dave Ledo, AB2EF for sending me a list of many web sites where we can download programs that are related to ham radio communication.  The list can be found at: http://www.qsl.net/rv3apm/

I also want to thank Dave for a link to another digitized audio system that can be downloaded from:http://www.eSoftAnywhere.com/Install/eSoftwhere-Ham-Radio-DSP.html

I am trying to use it for audio processing but I see that it can also be used to transmit audio in a digital mode, so it is like WinDRM, but a different software program and display. So far I tried it on an AM broadcasting station.  I adjusted the levels so I could hear the station through the computer’s speakers rather than the radio’s speaker.  I tried to see what the DSP filter settings could do.  I can see that it will take some learning for me to use the filters to advantage .  I will be trying this DSP on the 40 Meter WAG net, where I always have lots of noise.  I missed the net last Sunday morning because I was busy filtering zees through my nose at that time and in a dormant standby condition.  You need not wait for me to define each link in this newsletter.   Aside from that you can search Google or Yahoo for anything you may be interested in, so long as you know what you are looking for. (See my comments on page 1) It is interesting to see that although many of the ham programs are free, there are some that require payment.  On the one hand the FCC says that hams should not use any coding methods that are not available free for all hams to monitor (as well as free for the FCC to monitor). That is because special codes that require payment from amateurs may be defined by the FCC to be as illegal as “secret codes” before they are really popular.  I myself am not transmitting in the free developing modes, especially until I can receive in those modes.  On the other hand I understand that it is hard to write software that relies only on freeware. When we use most programs we are using an operating system such as Windows.  Windows and other MS programs are not free, even though you get them preinstalled when you buy most PCs as a part of the package.  If you want to build your own PC legally, you have to buy a Microsoft programs from Billy Gates or you have to pay for some other O.S.   If a ham wants to develop software that might include some subroutines from special programs he might have to buy the subroutine programs if it not preinstalled on his hard drive. Maybe that is why these ham developers are usually in foreign countries.  Even if the ham who designed your freeware pays for the subroutine, that may not enable you to use it legally without also paying.  This is a very murky area.  We find similar problems with music copyrights because it may be hard to write a song that doesn’t use a few bars from a song that someone else is selling. Obviously programs that cost money are not going to be popular with the hams, who can get similar programs for free.  When audio and video tape recorders were first being sold, Walt Disney and others sued the manufactures because they feared that music and movies could be easily copied and bootlegged without paying the real source.  The courts threw the cases out and ruled that the recorder manufactures were not liable for anything that the users did.  The recorders could be used for copying stuff that the users made with their own microphones or camcorders and that is legal.  In other words if the users sold copies of copyrighted songs or movies it was only the individual users that should be punished (if you could find them). Recently there has been a reversal and a court decision said that the manufacturers of DVD copying devices are responsible for preventing the copying of proprietary stuff.  How this can be enforced, I don’t know. We have seen that proprietary ham programs are harder to win popularity and thus it is harder to find them on the ham bands.   Pactor I and II are examples of digital modes that require special TNCs and they are not as popular as RTTY or PSK-31 which can be run using only a very simple home brewed  interface or the lowest cost RigBlaster.   WinDRM uses only the same simple interface which I built to connect my PC to my HF transceiver for RTTY, PSK,MFSK and Hellschreiber.  WinDRM requires a PC with a fast microprocessor.  It is being designed for Windows XP, but some hams are trying to use it with older versions of Windows and are having some success.  The other big change that some hams have made is to add a second sound card to their PCs.  HB9TLK has tried to keep WinDRM working with one sound card, but there are advantages for those who can install a second sound card in an open slot on their PC’s motherboard.  I had bought another Creative sound card some time ago, before I knew anything about WinDRM.  I haven’t installed it into my new PC yet.  I guess that figuring out my income tax this month has priority.  With two running computers and monitors, microphones, speakers, a camera, a USB drawing tablet, a modem, a telephone, my simple interface and an IC-706 ham station with power supply on my desk, there is a rat’s nest of cables behind it.  I have to put a label on my lamp cord to remember what it is for.  If I pull the wrong plug I could be lost in the darkness while crouching on the floor behind my desk and never be able to find an open socket to plug in the next human interfacing device.  I would have to wait for the light of day to be able to plug and play or to get up without stepping on wires.


GARC VE EXAMS

 

We are continuing to proctor exams for all classes of ham licenses on the second Tuesday of each month, starting at 5:00 PM.

 

The present exams are: Element 1: 5 WPM CW, Element 2: Technician,

Element 3: General and Element 4: Amateur Extra Class. The fee for 2005 is $14 for all exams taken in one sitting.

 

Applicants for upgrading should bring a photocopy of their present license and their FRN number.

 

New, first time, applicants should be aware that their Social Security

number will be required on their application form. All applicants should bring drivers license or other picture ID. The exams are given at the Underwriters Lab in Melville,

unless otherwise noted.   This is the same building where GARC meetings are presently held.

 

For any further information e-mail: -

w2ilp@optonline.net or phone: - (631) 499-2214

 

Study material information is available at the http://www.arrl.org or the http://www.w5yi.org web site.

 

All VECs use the same Q & A pools.

 

Since the beginning of the VE program the GARC has provided opportunities to take ham exams monthly, during all twelve months of every year.

 

Bob Wexelbaum, W2ILP

and the Grumman VE team.

 

CQ de WA2LQO

March 2005

 VOL.  78,  NO.  3

 

EDITOR

Bob Wexelbaum  W2ILP

(631) 499-2214

w2ilp@optonline.net

 

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

PAT MASTERSON, KE2LJ

PETE RAPELJE, N2PYV

And all the members of GARC (we hope!)

 

CQ de WA2LQO is published monthly by the Grumman Amateur Radio Club for its members and friends. Send articles and amateur equipment advertisements to:

KE2LJ

 

ELECTRONIC SUBMISSIONS

If you want to submit articles or amateur equipment ads via e-mail do the following:

1. For submission direct to editor call him at above number to set up a transfer.

2. For e-mail transfer:

Internet Address

bat@grumman.com

 

 
EDITORIAL

Not long ago I got a new PC, which runs Windows XP.  I then installed

a cable modem and have a new e-mail address: w2ilp@optonline.net

I will also be reading mail to w2ilp@juno.com for a while, but eventually I’ll be using only the cable address. I have spoken to many hams over the years, and have found many differing views about what ham radio is and what ham radio should be. The two basic areas most considered are TRADITION and TECHNOLOGY.  Some of us old hams are living in the past. We remember the thrill of our first QSO and we talk with nostalgia about what ham radio was like in the “good old days” and how its rules and traditions evolved.  Others of us are interested in the technology of the future and want to learn about the new nano, fiberoptic, and  digital techniques that are advancing the science of radio communication.  I guess I tend to do a little of both.  Ham radio is also a social hobby because it is designed to connect people. I must always remember: Ham Radio means different things to different people.

 

 

 

 

GRUMMAN AMATEUR RADIO CLUB OFFICERS FOR 2005

 

President               Pat Masterson              KE2LJ              V01-01    516-346-7125

Vice President       Gordon Sammis             KB2UB            Retiree     631-666-7563

Secretary               Peter Rapelje                  N2PYV          Retiree     516-676-0694
Treasurer               Ed Gellender                   WB2EAV         X02-14   516-575-0013

2Yr Board Member    Zack Zilavy               WB2PUE        Retiree     631-667-4628
2YrBoard Member     Dave Ledo               AB2EF

2Yr Board Member   Bob Christen         W2FPF               

1Yr Board Member   Bob Wexelbaum    W2ILP                 Retiree     631-499-2214

1Yr Board Member    Jack Cotterell        WA2PYK            Retiree     516-249-0979

Trustee WA2LQO       Ray Schubnel        W2DKM           Retiree

 

STANDING COMMITTEE CHAIRMEN

 

Meeting Programs       Contact a Board Member

FCC Exam Coord.         Bob Wexelbaum       W2ILP                          631-499-2214

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 


                                 TECHNICAL BITS

 

I am going to talk about communications systems here and I will start at the beginning.  The simplest system is the one bit or beacon method of signaling.  An example is the smoke from a signal fire.  Indians used this method and I am sure that the ancient people did too.

Now if there is just smoke or there is no smoke that could be a binary bit of information.  One smoke could be a beacon to mark a location also.  If you see smoke in the west the enemy is coming from the east or smoke in the east means the enemy is coming from the west.

 

.

 

 

No smoke = no enemy.  Anything different is a different condition.  The smoke is like a continuous radio carrier.  The carrier can serve as a beacon, and it might mark a frequency and be used for propagation studies, but it can’t carry more than a single bit of information if it gets propagated from the same location.  We hams call a Morse code keyed RF carrier CW, but it is not a continuous carrier when we turn it on and off by keying it with a serial digital code. The Indians could also send codes by turning on and off the smoke with a blanket. This all sounds very simple but just wait until I get into more complex communications methods.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We can use Morse code to send and receive all of the characters that are in the code.  We could also make more combinations of dot and dashes to transmit more characters than are now in the code, but we would have even a harder time learning to copy the code by ear.  If we make a code that has a fixed number of dots and dashes for each character then we become limited to 2^n possibilities for the different combinations.  Morse code is not limited to a fixed number of bits per character.  It has only one bit for “e” and five bits for each of the numerals.  This allows for more possibilities and makes it possible to send common letters faster. To be continued next month.