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  4. HC/STAFF

    NCCC Sprint

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  6. Glad you enjoyed. Will be looking for other critters this weekend. Haven't seen the chipmunks yet but there is a neighborhood fox who lives in the area. Haven't see deer this far from Accotink Park for several years, so not much hope for them.
  7. This was a well-needed moment of zen! Loved it. A very calming start to my morning 🌞
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  9. Working from home, went outside for lunch and had a visitor. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBiM_vtaHY_fXuZCGhhY-PQ https://www.flickr.com/photos/clind/albums
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  13. This is not a review because I've never bought any of their products. This said, the product line looks amazing. I'd definitely consider buying there. The good news is that I have a friend, @WN3R who has some of their stuff and he ranks high in my esteem and I'm guessing he did his homework. That's all...
  14. Well great. If I make it through this pandemic alive I'll give you a call. -- Tom W3TDH
  15. On the first point, no you did not, and as though I were not impressed enough with you as is, I am more so now. On the second point, absolutely. I love a challenge.
  16. Mission • To disseminate hurricane advisory information to marine interests, Caribbean Island nations, emergency operation centers, and other interests for the Atlantic Tropical Cyclone Basin as promulgated by the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida, and when required, the Canadian Hurricane Center in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. • To obtain weather information from reporting stations and observers who are not part of the routine network for the National Weather Service, or the World Meteorological Organization, and forwarding it to the National Hurricane Center, and when required, the Canadian Hurricane Centre. • To function as a backup communication link for the National Hurricane Center, the National Weather Service Field Offices, the Canadian Hurricane Centre, Emergency Operation Centers, Emergency Management Agencies, Non-Governmental Organizations, and other vital interests, which can involve military relief operations, involved in the protection of life and property before, during and after a hurricane event. • To relay initial damage assessments of hurricane damage to the National Hurricane Center, and when required, the Canadian Hurricane Centre.
  17. Copied from the hurricane watch net on Facebook:
  18. I should point out that I worked as a control electrician and was good enough that other electricians would ask for my help with control wiring challenges. I've done controls for pharmaceutical laboratories that handle dangerous pathogens. I passed the field Underwriters Laboratory Inspection on both of those. I also worked for 2 years as a fire alarm installation and repair electrician which involved a lot of control work to integrate the fire detection with elevator, kitchen hood system, fire sprinkler controls, and central station signalling systems. I share all that to say to anyone reading the control schemes above that I AM, IN FACT, A PROFESSIONAL CONTROL ELECTRICIAN! Even another electrician who has not done extensive control work should not try to devise a power transfer assembly because it is literally a devastating injury and death prevention task. I'm not being arrogant in taking this task on. Life and death control systems, such as elevator control and fire alarm systems were my bread and butter for years. I know how to make and read ladder diagrams and control schematics. Attempting to design a one off power transfer control assembly would not be something most electricians would know how to do and, more importantly, know how to test. I'm not going to describe how transfer assembly testing is done less I tempt unqualified people to attempt it. It requires tools and equipment that most electricians do not have access to, let alone most AROs. As too why I left solar power for my home to last, it is because of it's cost and the amount of work required. My order of back up power improvements, to my home, is based on short term effectiveness followed by long term effectiveness but only from a continuity of emergency radio operations point of view. Making the changes in the transfer equipment would go gradually from strictly manual; which is what I have now; to remote manual. Then from remote manual to partial automatic. And from partial automatic to fully automatic transfer. Now that you made me look at this again I'm thinking that I will bypass the middle step and go to fully automatic with load shedding. That will save a lot of work and maybe lower the total costs. What may push me right back to a laboratory listed 200 ampere Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS) is the possibly prohibitive cost of 200 ampere and 30 Ampere solenoid trip breakers needed to open the Service Disconnecting Means breaker, which would disconnect the entire building from utility power; and shed the Air Conditioner load which, at least for now, would not be within the power budget of the present generator. I have not priced them yet but I seem to remember, from my working electrician days, the cost of solenoid trip breakers being quite high. I don't know if I ever told you that I've done radio equipment shelter builds from Tierra del Fuego to Alaska and from Uganda to French Frigate Shoals. Almost all of those involved a solar power array, charging controls, and battery bank. Some of the other power sources that we used were wind generation, thermal electric, and even water power on one site. Water power is a maintenance hog so we had to have a dammed good reason to resort to that. Many of the sights had some sort of Engine Alternator Set (generator) for back up power. LP gas was the fuel of choice for those. It will store without deteriorating almost forever or at least until the container corrodes through from the outside. It is also gentler on the engine itself than most other fuels and yet still has fairly high power density in Volt Amperes per pound. In the deployment arena I would prefer to add in solar as soon as possible but as I'm sure you know that is fairly pricey to do. Improving on what I already have would be more cost effective in the sort term. I have an entire box of used folding solar panels here that I obtained from the left overs of a development project. I've just never taken the time to pull them all out, test each one for function, and begin to acquire the other parts of a transportable solar charging system for batteries. Perhaps you would be willing to help me get to work on that after the pandemic crisis has abated. One of my hesitancies is a complete lack of experience with transportable systems. -- Tom Horne W3TDH
  19. In 2006, I was trying to remote a Yaesu FT-1000MP and then an IC-706 when the RemoteRig system was first introduced. The house is powered by a 25KW generator attached to a 1000 gallon LP tank. Antenna switching includes the Array Solutions Six-PAC and a couple of remote coax switches which are powered through coax. I added a few small relays with binary logic to save on Green Heron devices.
  20. Green Heron Engineering, LLC is dedicated to bringing amateur radio operators the best in sensible automation products, while providing the best customer support experience in our industry. Although we do have some commercial application, we treat everyone the same. Hams do not take a back-seat with Green Heron. We are dedicated to providing solutions to common issues facing the radio amateur in integrating amateur equipment from any vendor. The RT-20 was introduced in May of 2005 and was an instant success as the first of a kind, totally unique product that solves real world station problems. The current version, the RT-21 v4, has evolved based on customer feedback, as well as our own innovations. It has features that contesters will love, remote station owners will wonder how they did without, and even the casual operator, with one rotator, will want to own and operate. The latest unit has an optional Wi-Fi embedded web server. It’s was rather obvious to us, that rotator manufacturers were ignoring the user view (the controller) of their products. We developed an easy to use, fully programmable, and good looking controller that works with any manufacturer’s rotator. We made it easy to integrate the software side by making our unit compatible with the Hy-Gain DCU-1 protocol with enhancements to provide many more modern features. Over the years, we’ve added the Deluxe RT-21, a DC powered unit aimed at mobile or solar powered applications, and a universal Az/El controller that can’t be matched for versatility, performance and looks! We control everything from simple entry level rotators, to complete rotating tower multi HP motor systems. Our “Green Heron Everyware” is a complete product family of modules, software, and devices that solve another set of problems facing us in our own station integration efforts, targeted to the absolute best in Remote Station control and automation. We needed to share station resources, eliminate the myriad of cables and many different antenna switch control boxes cluttering the operating positions and provide wireless “last mile” connection to switches while adding internet or local control with zero change in operating interface. We use standard IP protocols and human readable XML configuration files. There is no proprietary LAN or “secret sauce” mixed in. We are constantly discovering new and useful applications and are now can supply many of our own switching devices with built-in GH Wireless Control. Our primary focus though, is not on our products. We believe that if you buy from us, you deserve to get our full support as well. This means that you can call or e-mail, that you will get a person or a response as soon as possible. This doesn’t mean “within 2-3 business days”! We continue to design, test and manufacture in the USA.
  21. Short and long version of my answer: "Wow!" Very elegant solutions and clearly state-of-the-art equipment both for now and for 2006. Being an antenna person, I'm particularly attracted to your antennas and the controller. I assume you're using the Green Heron antenna switching box... Also, do you have back up power and, if so, kind/duration? Thanks for the amazing images. Very clear and informative.
  22. Though not directly ham related, other than we follow the weather intently. Here is one I just borrowed from @W3TDH, from another post:
  23. Wow @W3TDH, what a complete and useful description. THANKS for this. I definitely agree that the LiFePO4 batteries are extraordinary. Alan, @W4DOI and James @W3JRD swear by them. I know that we've used Alan's batteries often, comparing them to my AGMs and they far outperform them and, yes, they are much lighter. As for the price, agreed, not cheap. James actually has one of the 100AH batteries which must have cost him just under $1K. I notice that you left solar right to the end of the future options. I must say that this is where I have invested the most, mostly because it is the one failsafe option. This said, it does come with its fair share of inconveniences and inefficiencies. For one, good luck with a solar panel behind a glass window. The Fresnel effect quickly brings you back to Earth; those panels have to be outside. Also, they're still not efficient enough for my taste. This said, we've become rather good at managing what power they do give us. I currently have 400W of portable panels, going into a very efficient, and too expensive, MPPT and then into a newly acquired (for the lockdown) 1500W pure sine inverter. I tested it with my big GE fridge and a few other necessary AC trinkets and I'm satisfied that with a reasonable amount of sun (I calculate 2 hours of pure sunshine) per day on average, and cycling through usage as in powering the fridge one out of every four hours, I could last as long as my batteries live. I also have a small 600W generator but being in an apartment, my fuel storage abilities are limited in space, safety, and legality. I'l finish the thought by saying that, from experience, we are the rare birds. The vast majority of people do not plan well for power outages. Indeed, even those who purchase a Generac style generator, don't really understand the ins and outs. They neglect maintenance, let fuel sit for months, etc. Makes me realize that it's time to get my two daughters equipped with some backup power!!
  24. HC/STAFF

    Phone Fray

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  26. Walt Starling; who was a traffic reporter in the Washington DC Area years ago; once said as a snow flurry began to fall "For you new people welcome to the nation's capital were a fella with a bad case of dandruff can lean his head out his car window, scratch his scalp, and create a five mile backup. People here cannot cope with white flakes!" -- Tom Horne W3TDH
  27. At present My first back up is a 5000 watt Engine Alternator Set (Generator to most folks). Second back up is a Honda EU2000i Inverter Generator, over 400 feet of various outdoor cords, with weather proof connection covers. Third is a "Pup" generator. That is a small engine mounted on a steel plate and fitted with an A pattern industrial belt pulley. That drives a high capacity vehicle alternator, using a A belt to another A pattern industrial pulley, which produces an effectively unlimited supply of 12 volt DC; i.e. more than I'll ever need. That will be supplemented with a large capacity sign wave inverter, once the stay at home order is lifted and I can prowl the wrecking yards for one out of a total loss service van or truck. I already have a source for a riding mower engine which is higher horsepower than the present one in case the one I have will not carry the inverter I hope to get. I plan to put together cord sets with the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) standard connectors for 12 volt DC, to run to a Schlocky Diode battery isolator and a charge controller for the battery. Fourth is the 2 Absorbed Glass Mat Valve Regulated Lead Acid 100 Ampere Hour batteries. Those are under continuous charge by the station's 50 Ampere linear power supply. That leaves me set for the likely duration of power outages here at my home location. Which is to say 2 to 4 weeks maximum. What it is not completely adequate for is for a true field deployment. To be completely prepared for a prolonged field deployment I would want to add another switching power supply to the 23 Ampere one which I already have. I'd prefer a second one to a larger one so that each of the 2 readily transported radios I have will have a power supply if they need to be used apart. The other thing I'd love to be able to afford to buy would be 2 Lithium Ferro Phosphate batteries of somewhere around 50 Ampere hour capacity. Again that would provide one for each radio I might need to deploy. The reasons that I would like to obtain the LiFePh4 batteries is that they are much lighter per ampere hour than almost any other battery chemistry presently available; AGM batteries weigh 80 pounds in the 100 ampere hour capacity size; have a much flatter discharge curve; that makes it possible for a LiFePH4 battery to carry nominal 12 volt loads through almost their entire capacity without any need for a boost regulator; they are acceptable in air, and other common carrier, transportation, they are not counted in the limit on Lithium polymer capacity which is now enforced by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA); but because of inadequate training you will need to take them to the TSA office with the documentation of their acceptability well prior to your departure. That means that you don't have to go through the additional effort and high expense to ship them overnight to the deployment area when you travel by Airline, Bus, or Train. Being at the Airport much earlier than your scheduled departure means that you can run them over to an air freight office if the approval is declined. -- Tom Horne In the future I am planning to add propane / natural gas fuel capability to my larger generator set. The reason to have propane fuel supply as well is that propane, like natural gas, does not have fuel storage issues. Thus whatever sized propane tank I’m able to afford would be available to run the generator if the natural gas supply failed. When I need to replace the generator which I have now I hope to be able to buy an electric start model which could be left connected to Natural Gas so that by solenoid controlled gas flow and electric starting I could have it online without leaving the operating position. When I could afford to add an automatic transfer switch I would do so but not necessarily leave it in automatic all the time. If I bought a 200 Ampere automatic transfer switch the cost would be higher than I can justify on my family's budget. By placing the minimum critical loads in a feeder supplied panel supplied from a fifty Ampere breaker as the Feeder Over Current and Fault Protection I would only need a fifty ampere transfer switch for automatic transfer and generator control of the power to the emergency loads feeder supplied panel. The reason to leave it in manual start is to be able to use any load in the house and avoid overloading the generator by applying careful load management. a solenoid trip breaker as the Service Disconnecting Means. When I didn't need the automatic transfer capability I could have the generator connected to a different cord inlet and a generator supply relay of only 50 ampere capacity. On the closing of the starting control relay, by wireless remote, it would apply the generator’s Starting and Ignition battery's 12 volts to a solenoid trip on the Service Disconnecting Means breaker. An auxiliary contact of the shunt trip Service Disconnecting Means breaker would close when the breaker tripped and apply the generators Starting and Ignition battery power to the generator supply relay. A Normally Open auxiliary contact on the generator supply relay would then close and apply battery power to the starting solenoid of the generator. If the Service Disconnecting Means breaker fails to open, when the DC of the generator starting and ignition battery is applied to it's solenoid trip, the contact which would have supplied the 12 volt DC control power to pull in the generator supply relay remain open and the auxiliary contact on the generator supply relay would also remain open and not engage the generator starter. If we are talking about a power outage of months in duration I would like to have Solar Panels with capacity sufficient to carry the essential home loads together with a small wind generator for longer periods of cloudy whether. Those would feed the more cost effective AGM VRLA batteries in a home battery bank. If I ever got filthy rich I would use LiFePH4 batteries for the house bank as well because of the flatter discharge curve that makes more of the nominal capacity of the battery available for actual use. -- Tom Horne W3TDH
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    • With all that is happening in this world, COVID-19 has been getting the majority of the news and headlines. Nevertheless, Mother Nature is still at work and we do have a Hurricane Season that is soon approaching.

      This morning, Dr. Philip Klotzbach released his first forecast for the 2020 Atlantic Basin Hurricane Season. “We anticipate that the 2020 Atlantic basin hurricane season will have above-normal activity. Current warm neutral ENSO conditions appear likely to transition to cool neutral ENSO or potentially even weak La Niña conditions by this summer/fall. Sea surface temperatures averaged across the tropical Atlantic are somewhat above normal. Our Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation index is below its long-term average; however, most of the tropical Atlantic is warmer than normal. We anticipate an above-average probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the continental United States coastline and in the Caribbean. As is the case with all hurricane seasons, coastal residents are reminded that it only takes one hurricane making landfall to make it an active season for them. They should prepare the same for every season, regardless of how much activity is predicted.”
      • 0 replies
    • Mission:
      • To disseminate hurricane advisory information to marine interests, Caribbean Island nations, emergency operation centers, and other interests for the Atlantic Tropical Cyclone Basin as promulgated by the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida, and when required, the Canadian Hurricane Center in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.
      • To obtain weather information from reporting stations and observers who are not part of the routine network for the National Weather Service, or the World Meteorological Organization, and forwarding it to the National Hurricane Center, and when required, the Canadian Hurricane Centre.
      • To function as a backup communication link for the National Hurricane Center, the National Weather Service Field Offices, the Canadian Hurricane Centre, Emergency Operation Centers, Emergency Management Agencies, Non-Governmental Organizations, and other vital interests, which can involve military relief operations, involved in the protection of life and property before, during and after a hurricane event.
      • To relay initial damage assessments of hurricane damage to the National Hurricane Center, and when required, the Canadian Hurricane Centre.




       
      • 0 replies
    • Green Hero Engineering
      Green Heron Engineering, LLC is dedicated to bringing amateur radio operators the best in sensible automation products, while providing the best customer support experience in our industry. Although we do have some commercial application, we treat everyone the same. Hams do not take a back-seat with Green Heron.

      We are dedicated to providing solutions to common issues facing the radio amateur in integrating amateur equipment from any vendor. The RT-20 was introduced in May of 2005 and was an instant success as the first of a kind, totally unique product that solves real world station problems. The current version, the RT-21 v4, has evolved based on customer feedback, as well as our own innovations. It has features that contesters will love, remote station owners will wonder how they did without, and even the casual operator, with one rotator, will want to own and operate. The latest unit has an optional Wi-Fi embedded web server. It’s was rather obvious to us, that rotator manufacturers were ignoring the user view (the controller) of their products. We developed an easy to use, fully programmable, and good looking controller that works with any manufacturer’s rotator. We made it easy to integrate the software side by making our unit compatible with the Hy-Gain DCU-1 protocol with enhancements to provide many more modern features.

      Over the years, we’ve added the Deluxe RT-21, a DC powered unit aimed at mobile or solar powered applications, and a universal Az/El controller that can’t be matched for versatility, performance and looks! We control everything from simple entry level rotators, to complete rotating tower multi HP motor systems.

      Our “Green Heron Everyware” is a complete product family of modules, software, and devices that solve another set of problems facing us in our own station integration efforts, targeted to the absolute best in Remote Station control and automation. We needed to share station resources, eliminate the myriad of cables and many different antenna switch control boxes cluttering the operating positions and provide wireless “last mile” connection to switches while adding internet or local control with zero change in operating interface. We use standard IP protocols and human readable XML configuration files. There is no proprietary LAN or “secret sauce” mixed in. We are constantly discovering new and useful applications and are now can supply many of our own switching devices with built-in GH Wireless Control.

      Our primary focus though, is not on our products.  We believe that if you buy from us, you deserve to get our full support as well.  This means that you can call or e-mail, that you will get a person or a response as soon as possible.  This doesn’t mean “within 2-3 business days”!

      We continue to design, test and manufacture in the USA.
      • 1 reply
    • WN3R Remote Station
      WN3R

      I started trying to remote my Frederick HF station back in 2006. I was way ahead of the technology. Just a few years ago, I was finally successful in duplicating my local operating style remotely from Rockville.

      The "Frederick" remote station consists of the following: Elecraft K3, KAT500 - ATU, and KPA500 Amplifier, RemoteRig, PC + TEAMVIEWER, and Green Heron Everywhere system.
      The "Rockville" remote operating position consists of the following: Elecraft K3/0, Laptop, second monitor, CW paddle, headset, RemoteRig, and TEAMVIEWER - Remote Desktop software.

      Antennas: 160M inverted "L", 80M sloping dipole fed with Ladder Line (Multiband), 40M dipole, Tribander, 6M beam, and 40M 4-square.

      73, Dick, WN3R

       
        • Like
      • 2 replies
    • Power failures
      My first back up is a 5000 watt Engine Alternator Set (Generator to most folks).

      Second back up is a Honda EU2000i Inverter Generator, over 400 feet of various outdoor cords, with weather proof connection covers.

      Third is a "Pup" generator. That is a small engine mounted on a steel plate and fitted with an A pattern industrial belt pulley. That drives a high capacity vehicle alternator, using a A belt to another A pattern industrial pulley, which produces an effectively unlimited supply of 12 volt DC; i.e. more than I'll ever need. That will be supplemented with a large capacity sign wave inverter, once the stay at home order is lifted and I can prowl the wrecking yards for one out of a total loss service van or truck. I already have a source for a riding mower engine which is higher horsepower than the present one in case the one I have will not carry the inverter I hope to get. I plan to put together cord sets with the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) standard connectors for 12 volt DC, to run to a Schlocky Diode battery isolator and a charge controller for the battery.

      Fourth is the 2 Absorbed Glass Mat Valve Regulated Lead Acid 100 Ampere Hour batteries. Those are under continuous charge by the station's 50 Ampere linear power supply.
      • 12 replies
    • HAM Jokes?
      Does anyone out there know any amateur radio jokes? I know my dad knew several, obviously I don't remember a single one. Anyone?
      • 8 replies
    • Solar Charging an HT?
      I’d like to find an opinion for powering my HT via solar. The radio I’d like to charge with solar  is a Kenwood TH-D74a. I’m looking for a solar system for power  that is super easy and under 70$ if possible. Thanks!
      • 3 replies
    • Crisis 2020: how is it affecting ham radio?
      I'm curious what people are seeing on-air during this shelter-in-place period. Is there an increase in HF traffic? VHF/UHF? Repeaters? Nets? Also, are we spending more time talking about the virus than about anything else? Or, is everyone just sitting around making puzzles????
      • 6 replies
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