Welcome to the Kamloops Amateur Radio Club Website!

Please click on any of the top club links at the top of the page, or more informational links on the side. News is immediately below.

Reminder: KARC Monthly Meeting next Thursday, April 7 at 7:00PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next monthly meeting of the Kamloops Amateur Radio Club will be held on Thursday, April 7, 2022 at 7:00 PM PST.

The Agenda and Minutes from the last meeting are attached below. 

Looking forward to seeing everyone tonight!

 

Project Corner: Building an APRS Tracker for a Snowmobile

 

 

 

 

By Myles Bruns, VE7FSR

The APRS-IS network is terrific -- it not only shows the geospatial location of amateur radio stations (for example, https://aprs.fi/VE7FSR-9), but it allows for messaging between those amateur radio stations over RF (on 144.390 MHz).  The APRS-IS also supports short messages to and from email (see http://www.aprs-is.net/email.aspx) and short messages to and from SMS (e.g. mobile phone, see https://smsgte.org/ug-sending-messages/ for more info).  What this means is that the user of a "two-way" APRS tracker has the ability to send and receive messages to other ham radio operators on APRS, but also to non-hams such as family members through the email or SMS gateways.  This increases a person's safety net and ability to "stay in touch" -- and to call for help if needed.

Fortunately for me, in my pile of "ham radio and electronics junk" I had almost everything I needed to build a "two-way" APRS tracker which would allow me to send and receive short messages over APRS while out on the snowmobile alone.  It took a little thinking to figure out how to make this work on the snowmobile -- I didn't want to have something else (more weight) to carry in my pack -- and I wanted to use an efficient (and tough) antenna mounted to the snowmobile.

Click on "Read more" to see the rest of the article...

South Forge VE7LGN Solar Charging Analysis

by Myles VE7FSR and Lee VE7FET

On January 15, 2022 Myles, VE7FSR snowmobiled up to South Forge Mtn to download the log file from the Morningstar TriStar MPPT solar charge controller.  Myles and Lee were curious how the new solar panel array and "new" batteries were faring so far this winter.

Originally we had planned to have a 48vdc battery plant, but when we undertook the big rebuild project this summer we had to change those plans and use a 12vdc system.  The TriStar MPPT-45 solar charge controller is rated for a 2400W array when using 48vdc, but only 600W when using 12vdc.  This means that our solar panel array (~900W) is over-sized and over the rated capacity of the charge controller.

In full sun, and with a lower battery voltage, it appears that the charge controller is reaching its 45A charge limit and goes into current limiting (and also generates one or more error messages in the log file, see attached).  The good news is that the charge controller still charges, and it hasn't gone kaput so far!

We were worried that without the wind generator (with we discovered had failed when we did the repeater rebuild last summer) we might be short of power, hence the trip up in mid-January to check on things.  We we guessing that if the repeater had survived through the shortest (and probably coldest) days of the winter then things might not be too bad.

Lee: "Looking at the log file, it is good to see "float entered" on most days. That means that the battery voltage got up to the absorb voltage, and stayed there for the three hour time limit, when it transitioned to float (remember, this charge controller is "dumb" and can't measure battery current, so it relies on a timer for how long to stay at the absorb voltage, before switching to float)."

Click on "Read more" to see the rest of the article...

Greenstone Mountain Panorama

VE7RLO UHF repeater back on the air!

After unexpectedly going silent a week ago, the VE7RLO UHF (442.525+ PL 100) repeater is back in action.  Myles, VE7FSR and Doug, VA7GPX made a number of trips up and down Mt. Dufferin to bring down, and take back up the repeater, both times in the dark.  One the first trip up one evening, Myles discovered that the fuse had blown on the repeater power supply, and not having brought any tools with him (other than a tiny pocket tool which was all but useless) it meant another trip up to take the repeater out of the rack and bring it down for testing.

After some head scratching and bench testing the best hypothesis was that the stock power amplifier (PA) fan was not running when there was an Allstar connection (such as during the Rainbow Country Net, which is when it died a week ago) which probably led to the PA overheating and blowing the fuse.  A new bracket was fabricated and couple of fans were added that operate all the time, cooling the PA and power supply.  After two days of bench testing showed everything was working fine, and no overheating problems were evident, it was time to take the repeater back up the hill.

Last Friday evening Myles and Doug took the repeater back up to the top, which led to some interesting questions from curious and confused night time dog walkers!

Thanks Doug for your assistance and company on this project!

Updated: KARC Monthly Meeting this Thursday, February 3 at 7:00 PM

The next monthly meeting of the Kamloops Amateur Radio Club will be held on Thursday, February 3, 2022 at 7:00 PM PST.

We are going to do things a bit differently from now on, and will be opening the meeting at 7:00PM so that members have a chance to chat, catch up, share news of their recent exciting DX contacts, etc.  So feel free to sign in a bit early and kibitz with your fellow hams!

We will start the official portion of the meeting at 7:30PM as usual, and this month we are fortunate to have our very own Ralph Adams, VA7VZA to give us a presentation titled:

 

 

Ralph tells us that this talk started as a joke over a lunch with Myles, VE7FSR at his favorite restaurant, the Coconut. 

"I was explaining my lack of progress with getting on air on HF and all the ways I kept finding to play with my collection of cheap software defined radios. After about fifteen minutes of me going on, he shut me up by suggesting I do a club talk on the subject. So here it is."

Ralph's presentation will give listeners a quick introduction to SDRs, a quick description of what is meant by inexpensive SDRs, and an introduction to the software available to operate them.  Then Ralph is going to tell us about all the ways he has found to have fun with SDRs, some things that he has tried, and others that he is going to try. You may have already heard about some of these in his last talk on weather-related projects, tracking weather balloons, decoding weather satellite images, etc..

Ralph is going to tell us about more fun SDR projects such as: tracking aircraft using the ADS-B system, recording IQ spectrum for "tuning" through later, surveying and tracking down RFI sources, as panadapters for high-end HF rigs, and amateur radio astronomy projects such as the one we heard about last month from Ken Tapping. With luck we will get to learn about the kiwiSDR network, an amazing resource, especially for those of us who suffer from RFI and HF antenna challenges.

This will be an online meeting so please use this link to join: https://bbb.isurf.ca/b/ada-jnt-mkf

Non-members are welcome to attend, so please feel free to share this information and the meeting link above with anyone you think might be interested.

Please click on "Read more" below to access the attached Meeting Agenda, Draft Minutes and Treasurer's Report.

Follow up to "Taking the Moon's Temperature" by Ken Tapping

As promised at the January meeting, Ken Tapping has followed up with a plethora of information for those of us interested in "backyard" radio astronomy.

Ken tells me that he has sent a highly-eclectic selection of stuff (see attachments by clicking "Read more") that might be of interest to backyard radio astronomers. He has also attached a copy of that solar radio programme paper he spoke about during his presentation, because there might be odds and ends of useful stuff in there.

There are no books on "backyard" radio astronomy that Ken would recommend. However, there are two main-stream radio astronomy books that are loaded with useful information:

  1. Radio Astronomy, by J.D. Kraus. McGraw Hill. The edition Ken has was printed in the 1960's, so the background discussions are not so buried in "clever stuff" that one cannot understand the important information. The one Ken has is the old, regular-sized hardback with a blue cover. Ken looked on the web and learned that the book is still out there for sale.
  2. Solar Radio Astronomy, by MR Kundu - John Wiley - again, 1960's. Lots of stuff here for the solar radio oriented.

Ken noticed an RSGB book titled "Amateur Radio Astronomy", by John Fielding, but he said he knows nothing of its contents, so he cannot recommend it.

Ken also included the website for the Canadian Centre for Experimental Radio Astronomy. There is a lot of backyard radio astronomy information - and more - so please check this out.

If anyone wants to have their email address added to the backyard radio astronomy email list that Ken mentioned, please let Myles know and he will forward your email address to Ken.

 

Congratulations to Dwight VE7BV!

 

Congratulations to Dwight Morrow, VE7BV, on receiving his DX Century Club Award under his TG9BBV callsign! 

He tells us that there was some kind of "glitch" in his TG9BBV file with the ARRL and it delayed his receipt of the award.  He has 119 countries worked, and 112 countried confirmed.

Way to go Dwight!

Reminder: KARC Monthly Meeting this Thursday, January 6 at 7:30 PM

Happy New Year to all!

The next monthly meeting of the Kamloops Amateur Radio Club will be held on Thursday, January 6, 2022 at 7:30 PM PST.

We are pleased to announce that Ken Tapping from the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory (DRAO) will be our special guest presenter, and he will be telling us how he takes the temperature of the moon!  He has a really awesome presentation, and I'm sure (like me) you will be amazed at his creativity and astounded at his willingness to stand outside in the cold to get these accurate measurements with home-brew equipment.

This will be an online meeting so please use this link to join: https://bbb.isurf.ca/b/ada-jnt-mkf

Non-members are welcome to attend, so please feel free to share this information and the meeting link above with anyone you think might be interested.

Thank you to Nutech Phoenix!

Thank you to local company Nutech Phoenix and President Bob Dieno for their very kind donation of reconditioned CO2 fire extinguishers for our KARC repeater sites. 

Nutech has been in business for 26 years and they have supported many local non-profit organizations by donating fire fighting equipment, service, or parts to keep those organizations and their volunteers safe and to help keep their costs down.

Nutech Phoenix also carries First Aid supplies, traffic equipment, PPE (hard hats, glasses, gloves, high-vis apparel), and gas detection equipment.

Pages

Subscribe to Kamloops Amateur Radio Club RSS