This Months News
Jeff Darby - KE0JD
The month of Thanksgiving is upon us. Time to give thanks for what we have and to enjoy time with family. It has been a busy year for us in SFTARC. We have a new ICOM IC-7300 radio to use for our field outings. Del Sawyer has allowed us to hold special events at the Sawyer Memorial Antenna farm. I look forward to see all at the Christmas party in December.
We currently have plans for an Extra class in 2020. If you are looking to upgrade please consult the club website.
I am ready to place an order for club hats. I currently have orders for 7 hats. You still have time to get your order in. Please email me before the end of the week.
G Wolfe - KI0KK
An Extra Class will be offered beginning on January 11, 2020 through February 29, 2020 (8 lessons and a test session on March 7). Classes will be from 8:30am to noon at the Salvation Army Building, 402 E Santa Fe, Olathe, KS. The currently available information is listed below.The text book will be the "ARRL Extra Class License Manual, 11th Addition".
Additional information will added as it becomes available.
Class information: (Click the link below)
Registration Deadline is 12/27/2019 for SFTARC to provide books or the first day of class if you provide your own book. Please let us know if you are interested in attending this class so we can judge the demand as early as possible.
Register early to insure your book is available by the first class. Class payment collected at first class - cash or check please. No credit cards.
Marty Peters - KE0PEZ
MEETING TO ORDER:
The President, Jeff Darby KE0CAZ, called the meeting to order in the Hy-Vee cafeteria area outside the Market Grill at ~7:40 AM. Attendees introduced themselves by name and call-sign. A total of 18 club members and 3 guests were present. Based on the average attendance for the last 12 monthly meetings, a quorum has been determined to be 14 members (see below).
Marty Peters KE0PEZ gave the annual report of the SFTARC Treasurer. There were neither receipts nor disbursements in October. He reported the current checking account balance and that of one year ago. He reported the current amounts in the general fund and the repeater fund. The major disbursements in 2019 were to buy the IC-7300, Pelican case, and Heil headset and to pay the fee to accompany the application to reinstate IRS tax-exempt status. Major income for the club comes from member dues and the City of Olathe. The budget of regularly recurring receipts and disbursements shows that receipts are expected to exceed disbursements by ~$400.
As of this meeting, there are 62 members of SFTARC. Fourteen members have comp membership (lawyer, repeater owners, youth, power Ensor volunteers, 2019 ham class); 10 members pay family dues, and 38 members pay individual dues. A total of 37 members belong to ARRL. The average attendance at the last 12 monthly meetings is 20 members (high of 24 members and low of 16 members). This establishes a quorum as 14 members (20 x 2/3 rounded up) needed to be present at a meeting in order for any official club action to be taken.
The SFTARC now has status as a 501( c)7 tax-exempt organization. It is listed in Exempt Organizations Business Master File Extracts.
Election of SFTARC officers for 2020.
Jeff Darby, Larry Hall KD0RIU, and Marty Peters ran unopposed for the offices of President, Vice-President, and Secretary/Treasurer, respectively. SFTARC members present at this meeting constituted a quorum, and Jeff, Larry, and Marty were elected by acclamation.
Club Newsletter [Greg Wolfe – KI0KK]
Newsletter inputs are due by 7PM Wednesday, November 6.
Change in the date of the regular monthly meeting of the SFTARC
The cafeteria dining area outside the Market Grill is not suitable for the meetings of the SFTARC on account of excess noise and inconvenient seating. Although we use the dining area inside the Market Grill for ragchew meetings on Saturdays other than the first Saturday of the month, this dining area is not available on the 1st Saturday. Therefore, a motion was made to move the regular SFTARC club meeting from the 1st to the 2nd Saturday of the month, which would enable us to meet inside the Market Grill. Although the SFTARC By-laws call for monthly meetings to be held on the 1st Saturday of each month, they allow date changes if there are conflicts. President Darby recognized the unsuitability of the cafeteria as a conflict necessitating a long-term change.
It was moved and seconded to hold future club monthly meetings on the 2nd Saturday of each month for as long as the Hy-Vee could not accommodate us in the Market Grill on the 1st Saturday of the month. THE DECEMBER MEETING OF THE SFTARC WILL BE HELD ON SATURDAY, DECEMBER 14, AT 7:30 AM AT THE HY-VEE MARKET GRILL. UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE, ALL MONTHLY MEETINGS OF THE SFTARC WILL BE HELD ON THE 2ND SATURDAY OF THE MONTH.
Rules for the use of the KS0KS callsign [Jeff Darby KE0CAZ]
A committee will continue to consider the issues surrounding the use of the club callsign KS0KS. The committee will report recommendations at an upcoming meeting.
2020 SFTARC Ham Classes
The SFTARC will conduct a ham class in January and February of 2020 to prepare students for the Extra Class FCC license. The club has teacher textbooks from the Extra class that was taught 3 years ago, and these can be used again. When the number of students needing a textbook has been determined, an order will be placed with ARRL. Larry will help make a flyer advertising the class. The 2020 class will be taught in the meeting room of the Salvation Army in Olathe.
Jim Andera K0NK is in contact with officials at the Olathe Medical Center. He has communicated to them the benefit that would accrue to the OMC if repeaters were located on their premises and available for their use. The present tower on the roof of the OMC is overloaded, so a separate tower would be needed for our three repeater antennas. Jim will advise us of the progress of negotiations with OMC at the December club meeting. The SFTARC has a repeater fund of $1000 to defray expenses incurred in getting these repeaters operational.
Jeff is putting together a baseball-style hat order. The club logo along with callsign will be stitched onto the hat. Cost depends on the number of hats in the order. Please email Jeff to place your hat order.
Kansas Day event
We will operate KS0KS from Del's Radio Park & Antenna Farm. The event will take place on a Saturday at the end of January, 2020, possibly the 25th. It is a fun way to celebrate the 159th anniversary of the admission of Kansas into the Union.
Mike KE0CIS is not available to host the SFTARC Net this coming Tuesday. Jeff will act in his stead.
We need to prepare for a Christmas Party. Jim Andera will contact the Gardner Citizen's Center to see if it is available for our use on a suitable evening in December. Cost would be $60.
After a motion, a second, and a unanimous vote, the meeting was adjourned at 8:15 AM.
Jeff Darby - KS0JD
Well the final count for the Kansas QSO party is in. For the first time we had more CW QSO's than phone QSO's. We also missed out of the digital modes. That probably would have helped bring the score up even more. The results are shown below:
Totals: 263 207
Total Multipliers: 52
In preparing for publication the story I wrote for the October newsletter about the visit to Ensor Park and Museum by members of the Kansas City Blind Amateur Radio Club, I had cause to send an email to Dave Plumlee of Independence, Mo., K5POU, asking if I had accurately rendered the information I had received from Craig Martin of Northmoor, Mo., KY0O, in regard to how individuals who are visually impaired are able to effectively function as amateur radio operators with the assistance of computer software capable of supplying them with essential information aurally.
After confirming the accuracy of my proposed statement with respect to modern transceiver rigs, Dave felt led to write, “‘But what about rigs of the 50s and 60s before we had all the speech synthesizers available?’ you might ask.” And then he proceeded to enlighten me as to how hams who were blind and on the air during the last 10, 15, 20 years of Marshall Ensor’s life managed to be “part of the action,” so to speak, using equipment that was strictly built with the amateur radio pioneer of W9BSP fame and other sighted hams in mind.
Dave said that the “most popular approach” to the safe operation of the DX20, DX35, DX40, DX60, DX100, Apache, Viking II and other equipment that included “home-brew rigs” involved the use of a transistorized ‘gimmick oscillator’ that was “connected across the meter movement in these rigs.”
According to him, these “gimmick circuits” were designed in such a way that the pitch emitted by the oscillator was related to “the amount of current drawn by the meter.” Consequently, in order to tune the circuit, the pitch produced under what he called ‘key down’ conditions was compared to the pitch produced when the gimmick was switched to what he called the ‘comparison’ tone. And if there were multiple circuits that had to be tuned, the gimmick was constructed with multiple buttons the operator would push, one after the other, to get the tone he needed to match “when tuning a particular stage.”
Dave said that in the case of operators using a DX40 or Apache who usually only had to concern themselves with the adjustment of the grid drive and the plate current, the ‘comparison’ tone switched a potentiometer that had a Braille scale associated with it. After a sighted ham had marked at least a few points on that scale for the benefit of a ham who was blind, the ham who was blind could then turn the dial to one mark to adjust the grid drive and to another mark to adjust the plate current.
Dave reported that some hams “modified voltmeters, SWR bridges, and other devices in a similar way” in those days.
Antennas? Dave reported that there were a few instances in which hams altered “certain older rotator-control boxes” for beam antennas if both the rotator assembly at the antenna and the control box included “a pot.” This being the case, the motor for the antenna could be operated while the ham “set the knob for the desired antenna orientation.” When the signal ‘nulled out,’ as Dave described it, the Wien Bridge circuit was “balanced,” with the antenna pointed in the right direction.
“While these controllers may have lacked a bit in precision compared to modern rotators, they worked well enough for many of us to work a lot of good DX with rigs such as the Apache, DX100, or Viking II,” he related.
Dave also recalled “the so-called CDR rotator” that had a “big knob” the operator “turned to the desired orientation,” then the box “clicked repeatedly” until the antenna got to where it was supposed to be. For “good antenna orientation” to be achieved, a ham had to file a notch in the control box “in line with the pointer.”
According to Dave, back in the 1930s and ‘40s and on into the early ‘50s, hams who were blind were doing the same thing Ensor, the brains and brawn behind “The Big Kilowatt Beast” of 1937, did: building their own rigs to communicate with others. And mind you, that was a number of years before there was a Courage Kenny Handiham Program to help them overcome any of the various challenges they undoubtedly encountered along the way.
In the photograph accompanying this story, Ensor's 1,000-watt rig bearing his call sign, W9BSP, and that of his younger sister Loretta, W9UA, is pictured as it can be viewed today in the Radio Room at Ensor Park and Museum.
After pointing out that “some modern equipment is virtually inaccessible to a blind operator” because of the way it is designed, Dave was quick to sing the praises of the Handiham Program. Through it, he said, he and others like him can get study information as well as instructions pertaining to the operation of “several popular modern rigs.”
Dave, who earned his Novice license in 1957, went on to mention the public service another ham who was blind, Beryl Masters, WB0EJJ, had been able to perform during the course of his life by giving travelers unfamiliar with the Kansas City area directions. He wrote, “It was widely known at that time, ‘If you are new to KC and need directions around town, try to hook up with Beryl, EJJ.’ He helped many folk on the 34/94 repeater in those days.”
Several years Dave’s junior, Ronald “Butch” Bussen of Wallace, Kan., WA0VJR, was born blind and was first exposed to amateur radio while he was attending the Kansas School for the Blind in Kansas City as a seventh grader. Interestingly enough, according to Part 1 of a four-part article Butch penned for QST in October 1987, “Amateur Radio and the Blind,” his first Elmer for all intents and purposes was an Elmer, Elmer Rose, a licensed Kansas City, Mo., area ham who taught the Novice license class he and some of the other students took when it was offered to them.
An active operator since 1969, eight years after he received his Novice ‘ticket,’ Butch reported that up until microprocessor-controlled radios arrived on the scene, determining his operating frequency was a problem he “never solved” and that the “best solution” he ever came up with involved the use of a crystal calibrator, finding the “beat notes” and counting the turns of the Variable Frequency Oscillator knob. “If I lost count, I went clear to the top or bottom of the band and started counting all over,” he wrote.
Butch went on to address the tuning of tube-type transmitters. “Tuning a tube-type transmitter is critical, and I’ve tried several approaches,” he wrote. “I found I could take a standard broadcast radio, key the transmitter and find a heterodyne. By listening to this, I could adjust the drive, plate and load controls.”
He then mentioned how he “really came up in the world!” when a California ham sent him what had to be a ‘gimmick oscillator’ like the one Dave talked about earlier, as this transistor device “hooked across” his plate-current meter and provided him with “an audible indication” of what was happening from an operational standpoint. “As the current rose, so did the tone pitch; if the current fell, so did the pitch,” he related.
Butch said the device was “the most sensitive and stable” tuning device he was aware of at the time and that he also used it with his Standing Wave Ratio meter. Just by hearing “the pitch of the tones on forward and reflected power,” he could “get an idea” as to what the SWR was at that particular moment, he explained.
Dave and Butch. K5POU and WA0VJR. Two hams separated by approximately 400 miles but proverbially joined at the hip by their ability to persevere in learning how to function successfully as amateur radio operators in a world of darkness they share with many others.
For more information about the Courage Kenny Handiham Program mentioned earlier, visit http://handiham.org/wordpress1/.
G Wolfe - KI0KK
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