Wednesday, June 22, 2011

EAA special event station

The Fox Cities Amateur Radio Club, W9ZL will once again operate a Special Event station from the grounds of the EAA AirVenture 2011. We will operate 5 days -- Wednesday through Sunday, during the last week of July (July 27 thru 31,2011). This operating event is open to all license classes.  We will operate 2 HF stations, one on 20m and one on 40m, plus local communications on 2-meters. The club call, W9ZL, will be used throughout the event.

We are looking for both "am" and "pm" operators covering each of the 5 days. You can sign up for one shift or more if you so desire. The event is open to all of the amateur community. If operators sign up for a 4 hour shift, they will be given a daily wristband that will allow them to go and wonder around the Fly-in.

For further information and to sign up to operate the event go to: http://fcarc.us/eaa/eaa.htm or contact Jon Oldenburg AB9AH @arrl.net, or (920) 832-9727

Jon Oldenburg AB9AH
Special Event Coordinator
EAA AirVenture 2011

Monday, June 20, 2011

Field Day 2011 - June 25 & 26th

Field Day - This coming weekend June 25 & 26th. This event is a 24 hour emergency powered communications practice/contest.

This will take place at 3385 Finger Road. From I-43 take Mason Street East to Huron Road. Go North (Left) on Huron to Finger Road (first road) Turn East (Right). Sports Complex on left(first Drive) We will be setting up on the West end of the parking lot.

Things you may need: Manual for your radio, Lighting (flashlight or battery lamp) Dress for the weather (day and night) Radio, coax, power source, antenna, Ear phones- a must have!- writing tools, (if you have a laptop, you may want to bring it for logging). You may want to bring your favorite TP.

I will be at the site around 8AM.. The donuts will arrive around 9. So far, the plan is to then design the layout of the antenna farm and begin to set it up. IF we get set up right away, we can go for lunch before time to start.... This is a good time to try out those antennas you made or bought and some different radio modes. The comm trailer will start out hooked up to operate on PSK 31. There will be a laptop there for when not on PSK, for logging.

Let's make this a fun activity... I am sure that once we are up and going, there will be a lot to talk about...

Food... bring an energy snack for between major meat times, and any medications that you may need. There are near by restaurants or we may want to chip in for a bunch of pizzas ... I will have an insulated five gallon container with water..(a few cups)

This event is open to the public and we will have "dignitaries" there between noon and 5 PM.

I hope that you can find some time to come and operate or at least stop by to give encouragement... Questions or concerns or good advice is always welcome.

Dave N8KQS

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Innovating Makerspaces

Ham radio operators have long been some of the original open source , Do-It-Yourself (DIY) proponents.

Going back in time, radio stuff was expensive and out of the reach of a lot of hams. So they invented newer and mostly cheaper ways of doing things. They also came up with better ways of doing things because somebody else would see that idea in print and improve upon it. Of course the technology was rather rudimentary, and there was little way to go but up at that point in radio technology calendar.

What most people tend not to think about is the open-source nature of Amateur Radio. While operators most often are seen working in emergency situations, many of the modern conveniences we have today—cell phones, satellites, wireless devices— were developed and tested by radio amateurs.

Decades ago, amateur radio operators were on the forefront of scores of technological innovations, including television, digital communications, solid-state design and cellular networks. The hobby's roots trace back to radio pioneers such as Guglielmo Marconi and FM-inventor Edwin Armstrong.

Well a lot has changed over the years in society and ham radio. Many amateurs have gotten away from these "do-it-yourself" roots. But those types are still out there!

When the economic crisis first started to unfold in 2009, the Wall Street Journal just had an article on how Tinkering is making a comeback amid the economic crisis.

"The American tradition of tinkering -- the spark for inventions from the telephone to the Apple computer -- is making a comeback, boosted by renewed interest in hands-on work amid the economic crisis and falling prices of high-tech tools and materials.

Engineering schools across the country report students are showing an enthusiasm for hands-on work that hasn't been seen in years. Workshops for people to share tools and ideas -- called "hackerspaces" -- are popping up all over the country; there are 124 hackerspaces in the U.S."


In 2005 just shortly before the economic mess stated to unfold, Make Magazine was introduced by O'Reilly Media. It focuses on do it yourself (DIY) and/or DIWO (Do It With Others) projects involving computers, electronics, robotics, metalworking, woodworking and other disciplines.

The magazine was well accepted by engineering and electronics students. And led to the first Maker Faire. An event filled with DIY projects, science, demos.

These "fests" are now in their 6th year, and being held in California, Detroit and New York and many other places.

As mentioned in the Wall Street Journal article, regional groups are popping up all over the place to help support this innovation. These are referred to as Makerspaces/ Hackerspaces. They are places where people with common interests, usually in science, technology, or arts can meet, socialize and collaborate. A Makerspace can be viewed as a community lab, machine shop, or workshop where people of diverse backgrounds can come together to share resources and knowledge to build/make things.

There are two that I know of in our area:

http://milwaukeemakerspace.org/

And closer to home, http://www.dhmn.net/ an Appleton: a group of hacker/maker/software/hardware technology-enamored people.

And right here in Green Bay:  http://www.protogb.org/

If you still have a bit of "amateur" in you, I encourage you to branch-out and check these innovative groups out. I think there can be / should be a lot of crossing over and sharing of talents between some ham radio folks and these groups. These are the types of people that need to welcomed with open arms into the hobby.

Friday, June 3, 2011

VE Testing

There will be testing on June 9th at 5:00 PM at St Norbert College, room 223 of
the JM Science Building. As usual bring 2 forms of ID... at least 1 being
having a picture. Also bring a copy of your current license (if you have one)
AND the original. Test fee is $15.00. Hope to see you there.

Any questions, please call Keith @ 920-619-3394.

Keith, KS9WI
VE Laison