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Messages - Quietguy

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I just did a little looking around and it has been around a year or so with lots of information on various sites, including Miklor: .  Eham gives it the usual mixed reviews from "the greatest thing since sliced bread" down to "pure junk".  Oddly enough it is available on Amazon for $85 with programming cable and free Prime shipping.  There are a few known issues, so read about it before ordering.

Apparently programming is supported by Chirp and there is a jack in the rear just above the power cable.  It is kinda hard to see in the Banggood photos but if you look close it is there. 


Classifieds / Re: MTR5b, American Morse mini-Paddles, Kayaker Case
« on: August 07, 2016, 08:55:58 PM »
if I have to pay for the plane ticket, I can think of a couple redheaded girlfriends who might take me up on such an offer ;-)

Well, yeah, but are they Morse code wizards?


General Discussion / Re: Field Day: What to expect?
« on: June 26, 2016, 11:18:16 PM »
I am trying to figure out how to auto-forward my emails from my gmail account to my winmore account based on their size.
I have not researched this, but I'm going to guess that you can't.  Or, at least if the WL2K people see that you are doing it they might disable your account.  It would be very easy to break the no-commercial traffic ham rule with an auto-forward setup.  One forwarded advertising message would put you and the WL2K team in violation of FCC rules.  I believe the FCC still holds the entrance node to WL2K network responsible for enforcing all rules.


Antennas / Re: End-fed angle and NVIS, observations.
« on: June 17, 2016, 05:34:13 PM »
Another thing to remember is there is not a sharp break between NVIS to not-NVIS.  There is a radiation pattern transition that goes from favoring an upward radiation pattern (NVIS) down to a radiation pattern that favors the horizon (not-NVIS).  Reality says that most ham 80 m dipoles have at least some NVIS characteristics because it is really hard to get them high enough in the air to avoid it.  As Bob mentioned, 1/8 to 1/4 wavelength above ground works for NVIS, and at 80 meters that is roughly 30 to 60 ft.  Lobes can come and go depending on height above ground and nearby objects.

A few years ago I had a fan dipole up about 50 feet that included 80 meters and it worked extremely well for daytime SSB contacts with friends out to about 200 miles.  Then at night I had reliable peer to peer 80m Pactor 3 links with friends in Virginia, Louisiana and Southern California from my more or less rural location in SW Washington state.  The limiting factor was really local QRM/QRN on their end.  That simple 80/40/20 fan dipole between trees at about 50 feet was pretty much a great all-purpose solution.  Nationwide daytime 20 meter Pactor 3 was a slam dunk and 80 meter daytime NVIS was a piece of cake.  Either 40 or 80 worked well for distance links at night, depending on conditions.

At the time I used WL2K as backup email and my routine was to hit an 80 m station about 100 miles away during the day and the San Diego Yacht Club station (about 1000ish air miles) on 80m at night.  If for some reason the "local" 80m station wasn't available during the day, 20 m would usually get me the San Diego station if it's frequency was clear (which was usually not the case during RTTY contests).


Technical Corner / Re: Crystal set cat's whisker
« on: June 15, 2016, 07:00:46 PM »
That's how the TV Tax cops in Great Britain catch people who watch TV without paying the "Telly Tax" that funds the BBC.  Radios and TVs are tuned by mixing a variable frequency local oscillator signal with the incoming RF, and the weak local oscillator signal is radiated out the antenna.  You can tell which radio or TV station is being received by the frequency of the local oscillator.

For a little boost in your paranoia level... a couple of years ago I read an article about an advertising agency setting up a monitoring station adjacent to a busy freeway leading into a major city.  They detected and recorded which radio stations car radios were tuned to as they drove past; the information was used to sell marketing campaigns to radio stations.  They insisted they had no way to associate any given record with a specific vehicle so there were no privacy concerns.  And that is probably reasonable during rush hour when all lanes are bumper-to-bumper with traffic since they are looking in from the side using detectors on adjacent private property.

However... a government agency could put detectors above each individual lane looking down from an over-crossing and merge the records with video and license plate readers to build a profile of traffic.  They would know you are secretly listening to Glenn Beck and the Bernie bumper sticker on your car is just camouflage.  Or that dark green helicopter that is hovering over your neighborhood...


Tactical Corner / Re: Venezuela: A Real SHTF Situation
« on: June 11, 2016, 03:02:16 AM »
*  Water:  as of today most Venezuelans have enough safe drinking water.
Yes, but... one of the causes of their problems is a severe drought which has hammered agriculture and almost shut down their hydro-electric production.  Their main hydro reservoir is so empty that a few weeks ago Maduro ordered government employees to work only two days a week so they could turn off electricity to government buildings.  I doubt employees are receiving full pay while on "vacation".  No electricity means no commercial food processing.

No rain = no hydro-electric (which I benefit from up here in the PNW), no farming, no garden...

From a Stratfor report 11 May 2016:

Amid shortages, reports of riots over food in Venezuela have become more frequent in recent months. As Venezuela's economy continues to deteriorate and its people struggle to deal with reduced access to increasingly expensive food, looting at distribution centers and markets could spiral out of control, adding pressure to force President Nicolas Maduro from office.

On May 11, a mob far outnumbering the security forces standing guard forced its way into a distribution warehouse in Maracay, less than 80 kilometers (50 miles) west of Caracas, and carried off food. The fact that the crowd defied armed guards reveals the magnitude of the situation in Venezuela, where the food, water and electricity shortages that have plagued its populace for years have worsened.

Note the location of the riot:  50 miles from the capital city and in an agricultural area.  This is what Wikipedia says about Maracay:

One of the most important cities in Venezuela, Maracay is primarily an industrial and commercial center, the city produces paper, textiles chemicals, tobacco, cement, cattle, processed foods, soap, and perfumes.

The areas around Maracay are agricultural: sugarcane, tobacco, coffee and cocoa stand out as the main products. There are also cattle-herding and timber-cutting activities. Activity by the Venezuelan Military also adds a great deal to Maracay's economy.

If this is what it is like in an area where you would expect to find lots of resources, what is like in other places?

New To Radio / Re: Working with s7 -s9 noise
« on: May 08, 2016, 04:26:34 PM »
but turning on individual breakers I've identified about 6 breakers that bring the noise floor up to beyond S-6.  It seems like I've got about 20 things to fix.
Bob, don't overlook the breaker itself.  I had a situation once where a flat garage roof leaked at a parapet and water ran inside the wall into a sub-panel.  The leak went unnoticed and over time corroded the terminals on several breakers.  I didn't catch it until the kitchen stove breaker tripped from overheating caused by arcing at the bad contact.  Replacing the breakers took care of a lot of my noise and re-roofing protected the new breakers.


New To Radio / Re: Working with s7 -s9 noise
« on: May 07, 2016, 06:55:13 PM »
How does a beginner work with s7 to s9 constant HF noise levels?  Living in an apartment that is what I see always. 
Have you tried to find out where the noise is coming from?  Maybe a significant amount is coming from inside your own apartment.  Shut down everything electrical you have control over and see if the noise level changes.  If it does, try to isolate the various sources.  Lamp dimmers and switch mode power supplies (like the lightweight wall warts) are notorious for generating noise.  We have one dimmer in a bedroom wall switch box that makes HF almost unusable across the hall but the noise goes away when turned off.  If noise is coming in from outside on 120 volt power lines you can install line filters to help knock it down.  It's a process of elimination but sometimes you can make significant improvements just within your own stuff even though you can't get rid of it all.

Edit to add:  Other common sources to check are 120 volt LED replacements for standard light bulbs and all types of fluorescent lights - both older style tubes and the newer compact fluorescent energy savers.  These all use power supplies that can be incredibly noisy.


General Discussion / Re: Public Service
« on: March 15, 2016, 08:36:44 PM »
Fortunately, around here most hams are just on the old side and a bit nerdy.  I see very few "radio-tactical" guys.

Same thing for me, Bob.  I haven't been nearly as involved the last couple of years because of some physical problems, but I spent several years as an active volunteer and most of the people problems were the kind you find in any part of civilized society.  The rewards were numerous, not the least of which was gaining familiarity with the local law enforcement structure.  Our organization is not a traditional ARES group, but operates as an auxiliary (ACS - Auxiliary Communications Service) to the county Sheriff's office and members are subject to a background check.  We work with uniformed folks and are authorized to use their equipment on their frequencies during activation.  That made a huge difference in my understanding of what was being heard over the radio.  An additional benefit is being covered by state insurance as a Registered Emergency Worker when activated with a mission number.

Prepper articles usually mention the importance of including a "police scanner" for finding out what is going on.  But few mention how difficult it is to understand the radio traffic if you are not familiar with the structure and operational aspects of your local agencies.  Even though most, if not all, agencies are moving from 10-codes to plain language there is still a lot of confusion if you are not familiar with local structure.  More than once I have been able to turn to a near-by uniform and ask "what does that mean" when some unfamiliar piece of traffic comes over the radio... and they were always happy to tell me.

People who want to find out more about their local area should check out the local emcomm scene.  Just because the club in some other city has a lot of jerks in it doesn't mean your local club is the same.  Maybe I'm just lucky, but our group is comprised of a bunch of good people who have the desire to help their community.  And in return they receive a lot of side benefits - not the least of which is that elusive "insider knowledge".


Digital Modes / Re: What equipment do I need to start sendind email?
« on: December 18, 2015, 12:38:48 AM »
Is the Winmor and WL2K all included in the RMSexpress, or is it separate software ?

As Richard said, Winlink (WL2K) is the system you want to access.  Winmor is the sound card mode RMS Express uses to connect to WL2K stations.  It is an option built into RMS Express, you don't have to install any other software.  I installed RMS Express, told it to use the SignaLink device, went through the configuration and everything seemed to work the way it should.

I didn't have any problems installing RMS Express in Windows 7 - could you be having Windows compatibility problems, like maybe some of the new Windows 10 security signing requirements?  I don't have Win10 so I don't know if there are any issues there.


Digital Modes / Re: What equipment do I need to start sendind email?
« on: December 16, 2015, 06:24:11 PM »
So Winlink will run as a soundcard mode ?  I thought it would take a TNC.
RMS Express will operate WL2K on HF using Winmor as a soundcard mode.  I have used a SignaLink for this and it is pretty smooth.  Speeds are not great, I have heard somewhere between Pactor 1 and Pactor 2, but it works fine for normal text emails or small attachments.  It makes a good low-cost alternative to Pactor modems.

In theory sound card packet can be used on VHF to access WL2K stations but I have heard there are problems making it work reliably and a hardware TNC is much better.  I have hardware TNCs so I have not attempted sound card packet in a long time; the TNC makes it easy and reliable.  Even the old Kantronics TNCs work well so the cost isn't too bad.


General Discussion / Re: New Russian EMP
« on: September 23, 2015, 06:06:59 PM »
How can someone say a trashcan will protect from something then in the very next sentence say they don't know anything about what it is the trashcan is protecting from??????

Because there is a presumption that preppers as a group are not protecting against specialized Directed Energy weapons (such as the demo you saw) that would be targeting military/infrastructure assets.  The presumed threat to the prepper community is a generalized high altitude nuclear EMP (HEMP), which is what CockpitBob was addressing.  Just like the garden-variety prepper has little defense against NSA eavesdropping, the garden-variety prepper has little to no defense against military weapons or tactics of any kind, kinetic or electronic.

The problem with discussing EMP is the survival literature (mostly sensationalist fiction) has mingled the affects of HEMP, ionizing radiation and directed energy weapons to the point where there is way too much confusion about the real affects of each - and they are all different.  Unless a prepper lives next door to a high value military or critical infrastructure asset, there is little need to lose sleep over ionizing radiation or DE weapons.  Ionizing radiation strong enough to disable your electronics is also strong enough to disable you.  DE weapons are for important targets, not somebody's clandestine short wave receiver.  That leaves HEMP, which is what Bob was addressing, and there is plenty of credible information out there.

Preppers are not military units.  If anyone is concerned their activities may be interesting enough to attract the level of attention from a Well Funded Adversary that would result in a DE strike, maybe they should re-think their OpSec.


Technical Corner / Re: Building the Weber MTR-5B.
« on: August 04, 2015, 11:09:01 PM »
Gil, maybe you have checked this, but in your closeup photo of the chip, with the quarter for scale, it looks like you are dangerously close to a solder bridge between a couple of pins.  If the dot is in the corner with pin 1 and if I counted right the possible bridge is between pins 18 and 19.  It's just above the "X6" stenciled on the board.


AlexLoop inside of our front room.
Ray, I assume you built your own AlexLoop (his costs $400 shipped); what design details did you use?


General Discussion / Re: I raise chickens......this not good
« on: June 05, 2015, 11:35:41 PM »
Backyard flocks here in the Pacific North West are at risk also.  The Pacific Flyway goes over the top of us and migratory birds have been spreading avian flu everywhere they go.  There have been warnings for people to take precautions, but I don't know what you can do.  We don't have chickens, but sometimes I think we should.


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