Next HARC TEK NET will be…..

July 25, 2021

“What does the Touch-tone buttons on your HT do?”




WELCOME all to the

Henderson Amateur Radio Club’s 

Sunday Night  TEK NET

 Subjects that have already been discussed will be displayed in GREEN text to show it has been discussed.

Sessions in ORANGE means that that session has been archived and you simply need to click on the ORANGE date/session to go directly to that Tek Net page.

The HARC Tek Net will be on all of the normally linked HARC repeaters and affiliates every Sundau evening at 8:00pm PST.

The photos, drawings and diagrams found here will assist with visually understanding the subject for that net discussion and can be downloaded by right click on any image and save it to your computer.

     Future subjects for discussion, which one will you do?

  • What do you think of the audio on most repeaters

  • What does it take to have a successful repeater

  • Ham swap meets, do you go

  • What does it take to have a successful repeater

  • Building your own antennas

  • Have you ever built or owned a repeater

  • Power supplies- operation and failures –  switching types

  • Homebrew projects “What project are you working on?”

  • Stealth or disquise antennas in an HOA

  • What does a swr meter really tell you



Click on any ORANGE archived Tek Net to go directly to that session’s page, I will get them all archived as soon as I can.

 Aug 11, 2019 – Power supplies- analog type- WB6AMT



July 25, 2021

“What does the Touch-tone buttons on your HT do?”

On November 18, 1963, the first electronic push-button system with touchtone dialing was commercially offered by Bell Telephone to customers in the Pittsburgh.

John E. Karlin, a New Jersey man is credited with inventing the keypad on phones and ATMs.


#1  Frequencies



#1A  Single Tone & Dual Tone

dowsingle tonedymf wave


#2  Examples – Encodersty__90555.1522962981.1280.1280


#2A  4X4 keypad switch



#2B  16 button MA Bell touch-tone encoder pad



#2C  DTMF encoder intergrated circuits

#3 Encoder ICs2559_5089freqs


#4 TelcoEncoder Schematic



#5 DTMF Decoders – Telco KT-247B247b


#5A DTMF Decoder – Telco  LC  type



#5B Decoder MT8870 type



#6 Decoder Schematic – MT8870 ICimages


Anyone can use Touch-tone or DTMF tones to provide switching functions to many differetnt circuits.

Radio transmitter, wireline telephone circuits, actually just about any medium that can pass voice range audio can be used to send DTMF tones to a decoder.

It is a stable and precision form of tone generation.

Your imagination is the limit to your switching or control projects.





June 13, 2021

“Ask the Pros” night



June 6,2021

But first a couple pictures of electronic equipment…..


This is from a late 1980’s Popular Electronics issue….we have come along way BABY!


MOTOROLA’s first trunk mount mobile telephone.



All about the 18650 Lithium ion battery (almost)

For informational purposes only. Use caution when working with any batteries.

Anyone doing anything that is shown here tonight, is doing it on their own and I am not responsible for your actions or outcomes.

Keep in mind that not using a battery correctly or not following proper charging specifications can result in burns, fire, cells rupturing (exploding) and damage to your equipment that the battery is installed in.

First thing…when dealing with and handing batteries, wear eye protection and always exercise cautious handing with all batteries and prevent the terminals from shorting against any metal objects by their terminals.

DO NOT DAMAGE THIS TYPE OF BATTERY CELL, or any battery for that matter!!

Those not agreeing with some of the information here or wanting to add to the discussion, that is what our question and comments are for, do participate.

I am NOT an expert on the Lithium-ion battery chemistry make-up, but I do attempt to know as much as I can when working with electronic components….including batteries. This where most of tonight’s information is from, my research and experimenting.

To be able to cover as much as possible on the different aspects of the 18650 please go online to dig deeper into the facts that will be touched on tonight.


Some concerns of the popular 18650 Lithium-ion battery to be discussed.


POPULARITY – ( what do they replace)

The new King of the Hill in batteries. Automotive uses.



The two types of lithium-ion cells are called PROTECTED and NON-PROTECTED

NON-PROTECTED are strictly the cells without a BMS (Battery Management System)

PROTECTED Cells have a BMS circuit board (normally on the bottom end of the cell).

Larger battery packs will have the circuit board under the shrink wrap of the battery pack.

#1  Some different type of BMS  circuit boards.


  • Besides protecting your cells from being overcharged and over-discharged, over temperature, they will also try to keep all your cells voltage to be at the same value. This is called cell balancing.

  • #2 Typical hookup of the cells to the BMS

  • s-l300


Nominal voltage is 3.6-3.7 volts.

A charged 18650 is 4.2 volts and a cell is considered discharged at 3.3 volts. 



The big four quality 18650 manufacturers are SONY, SAMSUNG, SANYO & LG.

maxresdefault (1)

Often times you can determine real from fake or counterfeit battery is by downloading the datasheet for the battery you have and note the weight.

The best confirmed capacity original cell at this point has 3400mAh.

Second, their weight is lighter. Original cells are 45grams+. Fakes have mostly under 40g, and the worst quality ones are even 20g. Those have an effective capacity of under 500mAh, even if they state 4000mAh+ on the label.

And there’s also the 99.998% fakes called Ultrafire. Practically, all Ultrafire cells on the online market that state any capacity over 3000mAh are fakes. Since there are other fake cells with fake-stated capacity, they have stated capacities of over 4000mAh, which is not currently possible.




Most Samsung cells in circulation are kind of Cyan color. Note that other smaller companies use this color, but only the Samsung’s have Samsung written on them.

Here is the color (light green) I’m talking about – in this picture we have a 2000mAh cell. Same color can be found for 2200mAh (most common) and 2400mAh.


Since for 2000,2200 and 2400 mAh cell things can get confusing when it comes to colors, the best way to identify capacity is from the end of the line number in the first text line on the cell (the row where it says 18650). As you can see in the pictures, that’s exactly what 20,22,24,26 and 30 mean – it’s the capacity tag for any Samsung cells. So you can now identify any Samsung cell.



Most Sanyo cells are RED (RGB: 255,0,0), or the new fakeRED (RGB: 255,0,64) that’s infested with blue (we’ll talk about that later). They are the most hard to identify overall.

This is how a real red cell suppose to look like (RGB: 255,0,0):

The 2000mAh original ones are indeed red by any standards. The cap is white. So if it’s pure red ones it’s 2000mAh capacity. The newer ones were also fakered, but the cap is still white.
Here they are:

The 2200mAh cells and above are fakered. It’s hard to detect in a picture, but there’s a clear tendency towards purple for those.
You can tell the cells that have 2200mAh capacity be the RED cap. The cap is true red, unlike the rest of the cell.
The 2600mAh ones are also fakered, but those have cyan cap.

The high power cells (like the high current 1500mAh ones used in power tools) have a pink or light blue cap.
So, to identify the Sanyo cell, you’ll have to use actual color nuance and cap color, since the series written on them are most of the time barely visible.



Sony are standard green. All of them are the same green. The way to identify them is the G-number.
On the second line, the first number after the G is the capacity identifier.





The good thing is that they can be identified very easy by color.

The 2000mAh cells are pale orange.


The 2200mAh are grey. They are still one of the most common LG batteries.

Probably the most used LG cell today is the 2600mAh one which is orange.

LG also has some new cells rated at 3100mAh.

Each manufacturer has a trick: for Samsung you have to check the tag at the end of the line, for Sanyo the cap color and for Sony the G-spot and for LG just the cell color.



First off, that’s why they make batteries with solder tabs. However…

If you are going to solder on to 18650’s, here is some tips for success…..Chemical contact.

  1. Use a 60 watt soldering iron with a chisel or conical tip at least 1/8″ wide.

  2. Silver-Bearing  (62/36/2) solder or at least a quality 60/40 solder.

  3. Using a sandpaper or a fine file, scuff the surface you are going to solder. About an 1/8″ is big enough

  4. Tin the wire that your going to attach.

  5. While holding the wire down on the scuffed area firmly, apply a small amount of solder, it should flow immediately. Remove the iron, not moving the wire.

  6. This should only take about 1/4 second, if the solder doesn’t want to flow as described, your iron tip is loosing it’s heat and is probably to small for the job.




When an 18650 battery always shows that it is not charging or charged (normally a green light) but has a voltage of 2 volts can cause the charger to misread the battery and over-charge causing over-heating.

With a properly charged good battery (measure +4.2 volts) you can sometimes jump start a cell by connecting the good cell (same type and size) with a pair of clip leads to your SICK battery for no more than 20 seconds. Positive to positive and negative to negative, while feeling the batteries for over-heating. The battery being jump charged may be a little warm. Measure the battery voltage and if it is over 3 volts, cycle it through a charge cycle in your charger.

Often times you have just resurrected your battery back from the dead.

When charging lithium-ion cells always check and see that they are not overly hot, as cells go bad they develope chemical issues that can cause excessive heat and internal gases to build up.

When in doubt, if they are out of waranty…to be on the safe side…..trash them.




For informational purposes only, this is from my own experimenting and not recommended by others.



For a video, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1w3Tv1Jg0ps


Quality 18650 battery chargers –

18650 Chargers



Here is a downloadable nine page document with additional information about the 18650 battery :

18650 Cells

Google 18650 batteries for more ( a LOT more) data on this new KING of The HILL in batteries.

If you are going to experiment…remeber to use extreme caution when working with theses cells they have a great deal of potential.

See you next week!



May 23, 2021

  • How does Allstar work?

  • More importantly, what is it really?

A simple description of “Allstar”:

This is a way of connecting a ham radio to another ham radio by using a Internet connection taking advantage of a {VoIP} Voice over Internet Protocal device.

This device of which we speak is called an Allstar Node.


What is VoIP?

VoIP is an acronym for Voice over Internet Protocol that describes the method to place and receive phone calls over the internet. Most people consider VoIP the alternative to the local telephone company.

If you’ve heard of an IP address, that’s your Internet Protocol address. An IP address is how computers and devices communicate with each other on the internet.

VoIP isn’t actually all that new. Telephony has relied on digital lines to carry phone calls since the late 90s.

VoIP is a cost-effective way to handle an unlimited number of calls. This requires that you have a VoIP Carrier to provide yopu with the ability to make and connect calls to other telephopnes in the world whether they are VoIP or regular Telephone subscribers.

Now days almost all of the telephone service available thru a phone carrier is Voip because it illiminates the need for Cat3 telephone lines. Internet service is available to over 94% of the entire United States at this time and covers a great deal of the world ( statitics unknown at this time).

How does that work for me as a ham radio operator?

Using that same technology of converting sound into data packets, we can send these data packets down the internet to make a connection to another Allstar node.

With an Allstar node, when you power up your device, part of the booting up process, (when your running Hamvoip on the Allstar node) sends data packets to AllStarlink.org.

At this point I need to tell you that you have to register with Allstarlink.org and request to get your own node number to be able to take advantage of the Allstarlink.org service.

This starts an Allstar Session and indicates back to you that you are now able to connect to any other Allstar Node that is currently active at that time.

When you start a new session (Boot up your Hamvoip device) once the program has loaded into your Rasp Pi and is running, you will hear your node readout the registered call sign and if you are connected to the internet it will read back your IP address. This IP address is what Allstar link has registered for that session and is what it will connect to.

Below is the bubble chart for Node #44045. This is the HARC Allstar Hub and can take incoming connections at anytime that internet service is available. At times when there is an issue with the internet, it will effect the ability to send or receive connections.


This is a bubble chart showing the current Allstar nodes that are connected to the HARC Allstar hub at 3:16pm this afternoon. http://stats.allstarlink.org/getstatus.cgi?44045

This is how we connect the repeaters to one another as a linked system using Allstar nodes at each repeater.

Shown is H1 repeater, H2 repeater with C1 in California connected to H2, H5 in Pahrumpt as well as other stations connected to the hub like NO7E node, WA6FSJ in Yucca Valley, N2DKI in henderson and the Echolink node. All these nodes are connected to the hub and can “talk” to each other simultaneously.

It looks very much like an older telephone party line systems, where anyone connected could hear what anyone else was saying during a phone call.

Operating an Allstar node is very much like making a phone call, it’s point to point connection done by sending DTMF Touch-tones to a server (Allstarlink.org), indicating who you want to connect to, if the node is active, you will be connected. It’s that simple.

Like any other thing in ham radio there are those who attempt to make it bigger…better…more options, more complicated etc.

I’m going to show you how simple an Allstar node can be with a minimum of required components.

(Keep an eye out at the end…)




#1A Schematic of Radioless nodeRadioless Node print


#2  Parts of a node20190817_181727_Film3[1]

Above is a demostration board built to show what is needed to make an operational Allstar node for the National Association of Broadcasters 3 yrs ago.

NAB Handout


#3   Typical Allstar node/Repeater controller20181005_013551_Film4

            Allstar node located at Pleasants Pk., California WB6MIE repeater 446.120MHz


#4  USB Radio Interface ra40-top        An RA40 USB Radio Interface board from Masters Communication (Built or kit form)


#5 RA40 SchematicRA40_sche

                   The stars indicate connections to your radio or radioless connections.


#6  5Volt regulated power supply board



#6A  A smaller version of above without a meter

5Amp Regulator brd


#7  SA-818 Radio ModuleDSCN2225



#8 What is the difference between Raspberry Pi 3 and B+?

Hardware improvements from the Pi 3 to Pi 3 B+

The Pi 3 Model B+ is based on the same quad-core, 64-bit processor, as the Pi 3Model B. Like the Model B, the B+’s is based on a Arm Cortex A53 architecture. However, the B+ ups the speed of the CPU to 1.4GHz from 1.2GHz in the original Model B, an increase of 16.7%.Mar 14, 2018

Back in 2017 the club had a club project where everyone built an allstar node using a Rasp Pi, a DMK Uri interface, and an SA818 radio module.Micro UHF Radio Dongle Construction (12-4-17)

This project was spearheaded by Lawrence N6YFN and was the author of the document.

This got many stations on the air with Allstar that had severe issues with antennas from their HOA’s. This was solution to them being able to get on the air without an external antenna.

We no longer use DMK Uri’s because of the high failure rate and the lack of support from the manufacturer.

I’m including the document here because it is a wealth of info on how to build a node and the setup information is still valid.


And Another way to build a node…

Headset allstar node

I have received this headset this week and plugged it into a Rasp Pi running Hamvoip and it works and sounds excellent, no muss….no fuss, however to control the node and connect to others you do have to install “NODE REMOTE”  as explained in the article on your cell to be able to control the node with your cell phone.

If you have any additional questions or comments about this topic, contact me at wb6amt@cox.net.


73 Earl





May 9, 2021

“The Uncertain Future of Ham Radio”

An open discussion with WB6AMT and EVERYONE.

I would like to get everyone’s take on the following observations.

Will the amateur airwaves fall silent?

Since the dawn of radio, amateur operators—hams—have transmitted on tenaciously guarded slices of spectrum. Electronic engineering has benefited tremendously from their activity, from the level of the individual engineer to the entire field. But the rise of the Internet in the 1990s, with its ability to easily connect billions of people, captured the attention of many potential hams. Now, with time taking its toll on the ranks of operators, new technologies offer opportunities to revitalize amateur radio, even if in a form that previous generations might not recognize.

The number of U.S. amateur licenses has held at an anemic 1 percent annual growth for the past few years, with about 7,000 new licensees added every year for a total of 755,430 in 2018. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission doesn’t track demographic data of operators, but anecdotally, white men in their 60s and 70s make up much of the population. As these baby boomers age out, the fear is that there are too few young people to sustain the hobby.


“Here is the $64,000 question: How do we get the kids involved?” 

This question of how to attract younger operators also reveals deep divides in the ham community about the future of amateur radio. Like any large population, ham enthusiasts are no monolith; their opinions and outlooks on the decades to come vary widely. And emerging digital technologies are exacerbating these divides: Some hams see them as the future of amateur radio, while others grouse that they are eviscerating some of the best things about it.

No matter where how you feel about Ham Radio’s future, everyone understands one fact.

The world is changing; the amount of spectrum is not.

And it will be hard to argue that spectrum reserved for amateur use and experimentation should not be sold off to commercial users if hardly any amateurs are taking advantage of it.

Before we look to the future, let’s examine the current state of play. In the United States, the ARRL, as the national association for hams, is at the forefront, and with more than 160,000 members it is the largest group of radio amateurs in the world. The 106-year-old organization offers educational courses for hams; holds contests where operators compete on the basis of, say, making the most long-distance contacts in 48 hours; trains emergency communicators for disasters; lobbies to protect amateur radio’s spectrum allocation; and more.


#1Photo: ARRL Former ARRL CEO Howard Michel (WB2ITX) at headquarters station, W1AW.


Michel led the ARRL between October 2018 and January 2020, and he fits easily the profile of the “average” American ham: The 66-year-old from Dartmouth, Mass., credits his career in electrical and computer engineering to an early interest in amateur radio. He received his call sign, WB2ITX, 50 years ago and has loved the hobby ever since.

“When our president goes around to speak to groups, he’ll ask, ‘How many people here are under 20 [years old]?’ In a group of 100 people, he might get one raising their hand,” Michel says.




Ronny Risinger (KC5EES) Members from the LASA High School Amateur Radio Club, K5LBJ, in Austin, Texas participated in School Club Roundup, a twice-yearly on-air event that encourages participation from ham radio school groups.  

The ARRL group runs twice-annual Kids Day events, fosters contacts with school clubs across the country, and publishes resources for teachers to lead radio-centric classroom activities. But Michel readily admits “we don’t have the resources to go out to middle schools”—which are key for piquing children’s interest.

We need to “convince them there’s more than getting licensed and putting a radio in your drawer and waiting for the end of the world.”

Sustained interest is essential because potential hams must clear a particular barrier before they can take to the airwaves: a licensing exam. Licensing requirements vary—in the United States no license is required to listen to ham radio signals—but every country requires operators to demonstrate some technical knowledge and an understanding of the relevant regulations before they can get a registered call sign and begin transmitting.

For those younger people who are drawn to ham radio, up to those in their 30s and 40s, the primary motivating factor is different from that of their predecessors. With the Internet and social media services like WhatsApp and Facebook, they don’t need a transceiver to talk with someone halfway around the world (a big attraction in the days before email and cheap long-distance phone calls). Instead, many are interested in the capacity for public service, such as providing communications in the wake of a disaster, or event comms for activities like city marathons.

“There’s something about this post-9/11 group, having grown up with technology. Michel says. “They see how fragile cellphone infrastructure can be. What we need to do is convince them there’s more than getting licensed and putting a radio in your drawer and waiting for the end of the world.”



New Frontiers


Sateesh Nallamothu Dhruv Rebba (KC9ZJX) with memorabilia from his ham radio contact with astronaut Joe Acaba (KE5DAR) onboard the International Space Station.

Rebba earned his technician class license when he was 9, after having visited the annual Dayton Hamvention with his father. (In the United States, there are currently three levels of amateur radio license, issued after completing a written exam for each—technician, general, and extra. Higher levels give operators access to more radio spectrum.)

The future lies in operators like Dhruv Rebba (KC9ZJX), who won Amateur Radio Newsline’s 2019 Young Ham of the Year award. He’s the 15-year-old son of immigrants from India and a sophomore at Normal Community High School in Illinois, where he also runs varsity cross-country and is active in the Future Business Leaders of America and robotics clubs. And he’s most interested in using amateur radio bands to communicate with astronauts in space.

His dad had a significant influence on him regarding amateur radio, he thought it was really cool,” Rebba says. “It was something my friends weren’t doing.”

Rebba found a way to combine ham radio with his passion for space: He learned about the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program, managed by an international consortium of amateur radio organizations, which allows students to apply to speak directly with crew members onboard the ISS. (There is also an automated digital transponder on the ISS that allows hams to ping the station as it orbits.)

Rebba rallied his principal, science teacher, and classmates at Chiddix Junior High, and on 23 October 2017, they made contact with astronaut Joe Acaba (KE5DAR). For Rebba, who served as lead control operator, it was a crystallizing moment.

“The younger generation would be more interested in emergency communications and the space aspect, I think. We want to be making an impact,” Rebba says. “The hobby aspect is great, but a lot of my friends would argue it’s quite easy to talk to people overseas with texting and everything, so it’s kind of lost its magic.”

That statement might break the hearts of some of the more experienced hams recalling their tinkering time in their childhood basements. But some older operators welcome the change.

Take Bob Heil (K9EID), the famed sound engineer who created touring systems and audio equipment for acts including the Who, the Grateful Dead, and Peter Frampton. His company Heil Sound, also manufactures amateur radio technology.

“I’d say wake up and smell the roses and see what ham radio is doing for emergencies!” Heil says cheerfully. “Dhruv and all of these kids are doing incredible things. They love that they can plug a kit the size of a cigar box into a computer and the screen becomes a ham radio…. It’s all getting mixed together and it’s wonderful.”

But there are other hams who think that the amateur radio community needs to be much more actively courting change if it is to survive. Sterling Mann (N0SSC), himself a millennial at age 27, wrote on his blog that “Millennials Are Killing Ham Radio.”




Sterling Mann (N0SSC) is advocating that ham radio shift away from a focus on person-to-person contacts.

It’s a clickbait title, Mann admits: His blog post focuses on the challenge of balancing support for the dominant, graying ham population while pulling in younger people too. “The target demographic of every single amateur radio show, podcast, club, media outlet, society, magazine, live streams, or otherwise, is not young people,” he wrote.

To capture the interest of young people, he urges that ham radio give up its century-long focus on person-to-person contacts in favor of activities where human to machine, or machine to machine, communication is the focus.

These differing interests are manifesting in something of an analog-to-digital technological divide. As Spectrum reported in July 2019, one of the key debates in ham radio is its main function in the future:

Is it a social hobby?

A utility to deliver data traffic?

And who gets to decide?

Those questions have no definitive or immediate answers, but they cut to the core of the future of ham radio.


Loring Kutchins (W3QA), president of the Amateur Radio Safety Foundation, Inc. (ARSFi)—which funds and guides the “global radio email” system Winlink—says the divide between hobbyists and utilitarians seems to come down to age.

“Ham radio is really a social hobby…Here in Mississippi, you get to 5 or 6 o’ clock and you have a big network going on and on—some of them are half-drunk chattin’ with you.”

“Younger people who have come along tend to see amateur radio as a service, as it’s defined by FCC rules, which outline the purpose of amateur radio—especially as it relates to emergency operations,” Kutchins (W3QA) told Spectrum last year.

Kutchins, 68, expanded on the theme in a recent interview: “The people of my era will be gone—the people who got into it when it was magic to tune into Radio Moscow as a SWL ( short wave listener). But Grandpa’s ham radio set isn’t that big a deal compared to today’s technology. That doesn’t have to be sad. That’s normal.”

Gramps’ radios are certainly still around, however. “Ham radio is really a social hobby, or it has been a very social hobby—the rag-chewing has historically been the big part of it,” says Martin F. Jue (K5FLU), founder of radio accessories maker MFJ Enterprises. “Here in Mississippi, you get to 5 or 6 o’ clock and you have a big network going on and on—some of them are half-drunk chattin’ with you. It’s a social group, and they won’t even talk to you unless you’re in the group.”



Martin F. Jue (K5FLU), founder of well-known radio accessories maker MFJ, is developing new products to accommodate the shift towards digital radio communications in the amateur bands. “It’ll all be digital at some point, right at the antenna all the way until it becomes audio.”

But Jue, 76, notes the ham radio space has fragmented significantly beyond rag-chewing and DXing, and he credits the shift to digital. That’s where MFJ has moved from its antenna-heavy catalog of products.

“Ham radio is connected to the Internet now, where with a simple inexpensive handheld walkie-talkie and through the repeater systems connected to the Internet, you’re set to go,” he says. “You don’t need a HF [high-frequency] radio with a huge antenna to talk to people anywhere in the world anymore.”

“Some folks can’t put up an antenna because of the increase of HOA conditions, but that doesn’t matter anymore because they can use somebody else’s radio through these RigPis and similar Voip equipment,” Jue says.

“It’s all going more and more toward digital modes,” Jue says. “In terms of equipment I think it’ll all be digital at some point, right at the antenna all the way until it becomes audio.”


The Signal From Overseas

Outside the United States, there are some notable bright spots, according to Dave Sumner (K1ZZ), secretary of the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU). This collective of national amateur radio associations around the globe represents hams’ interests to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a specialized United Nations agency that allocates and manages spectrum. In fact, in China, Indonesia, and Thailand, amateur radio is positively booming, Sumner says.

China’s advancing technology and growing middle class, with disposable income, has led to a “dramatic” increase in operators, Sumner says. Indonesia is subject to natural disasters as an island nation, spurring interest in emergency communication, and its president is a licensed operator. Trends in Thailand are less clear, Sumner says, but he believes here, too, that a desire to build community response teams is driving curiosity about ham radio.

“So,” Sumner says, “you have to be careful not to subscribe to the notion that it’s all collapsing everywhere.”

China is also changing the game in other ways, putting cheap radios on the market. A few years ago, an entry-level handheld UHF/VHF radio cost around US $100. Now, thanks to Chinese manufacturers like Baofeng, you can get one for under $25. HF radios are changing, too, with the rise of software-defined radio.

“It’s the low-cost radios that have changed ham radio and the future thereof, and will continue to do so,” says Jeff Crispino, CEO of Nooelec, a company in Wheatfield, N.Y., that makes test equipment and software-defined radios, where demodulating a signal is done in code, not hardwired electronics. “SDR was originally primarily for military operations because they were the only ones who could afford it, but over the past 10 years, this stuff has trickled down to become $20 if you want.” Activities like plane and boat tracking, and weather satellite communication, were “unheard of with analog” but are made much easier with SDR equipment, Crispino says.


Nooelec often hears from customers about how they’re leveraging the company’s products. For example, about 120 members from the group Space Australia to collect data from the Milky Way as a community project. They are using an SDR and a low-noise amplifier from Nooelec with a homemade horn antenna to detect the radio signal from interstellar clouds of hydrogen gas.

It is an increasingly fragmented space,” Crispino says. “But I don’t think that has negative connotations. When you can pull in totally unique perspectives, you get unique applications. And this could be a hook to get more young people interested.

The ham universe is affected by the world around it—by culture, by technology, by climate change, by the emergence of a new generation. And amateur radio enthusiasts are a varied and vibrant community of millions of operators, new and experienced and old and young, into robotics or chatting or contesting or emergency communications, excited or nervous or pessimistic or upbeat about what ham radio will look like decades from now.

As Michel, the former ARRL CEO, puts it: “Every ham has [their] own perspective. What we’ve learned over the hundred-plus years is that there will always be these battles—AM modulation versus single-sideband modulation, whatever it may be. The technology evolves. And the marketplace will follow where the interests lie.



I’m hoping that even if you did not have any questions or comments tonight that we can all agree, ham radio needs for its licensed hams to try to do a little more to reach out and see if we can get more young folks drawn to this hobby.  Old people interested in becoming users of amateur radio to further a career, spark an interest in school or become an active member of their community by providing services when needed, such as being a communicator at a local hospital for the Red Cross or during a Bike-A-thon event, and even race car events, etc.




May 2, 2021

“Starlink Satellite Internet Service”

By Tony Dinkel – WB6MIE


High-speed, low latency broadband internet.

Starlink is now delivering initial beta service both domestically and internationally, and will continue expansion to near global coverage of the populated world in 2021.

During beta, users can expect to see data speeds vary from 50Mb/s to 150Mb/s and latency from 20ms to 40ms in most locations over the next several months as we enhance the Starlink system. There will also be brief periods of no connectivity at all.

As we launch more satellites, install more ground stations and improve our networking software, data speed, latency and uptime will improve dramatically.


Finally arrived



All in one box

signal-2021-04-29-131447 (1)


signal-2021-04-29-131447 (3)



signal-2021-04-29-131447 (2)


Setting Up

starlink stowed 2


Operating after acquired satellite

starlink operating






starlink stats p1


Sector coverage



Planned constillation



Starlink Train



Deploying  1

starlink deploy 1


Deploying  2

starlink deploy 2


Deploying  3

starlink deploy 3


Deploying  4

starlink deploy 4


Deploying  5

starlink deploy 5


Deploying  6

starlink deploy 6





April 25, 2021

“Using phonetics on VHF/UHF repeaters”



Using phonetics on VHF and UHF repeaters has always been a active conversation topic since the 1970’s when I first became involved with 2 mtrs an radio clubs.

Tonight’s discussion is meant to get everyone’s opinio0n and thoughts on this. Does it work for you and the way you operate  on the repeaters.

So long as you identify your station with your call letters only, you are operating the way part 97 outlines proper behavior on the amateur bands.

I’ll be calling on all check-ins tonight, so that everyone can express their thoughts, ideas and feelings about this.

First a little background about how these discussions originally came about.

In the early 60’s and 70’s police departments were switching from low band radios around 30Mhz and were exploring the new VHF radios in the 50Mhz and vhf 151Mhz radios. 

This was actually very good for hams as newer models with more channels were sold to the business and commercial customers, this created a flood of surplus equipment available that hams quickly scooped up.

These hams were often referred to as techies by the older HF radio operators, because a lot of them were familiar with business band radio customers and these tube radios were as easily to get on the ham bands as ordering new crystals and doing a re-alignment.

At this time southern California was called the birth place of 2 meter vhf FM radios due to the shear numbers of radios that exploded on to the ham scene.

AM repeaters had been put into ham servbice and folks could see the benefit of this type of operation by placing radios on mountaintops and commercial antenna propogation.

But just like the broadcast radio stations, it was discovered that FM radios were very quiet and the audio was excellent to listen to in the mobile or on any two-way radio at the time.

As FM repeater clubs started and grew, the HF operators started to get on the air on 6 meters and 2 meters bringing with them the heavy use of Phonetics when identifying.

There was organized situations that called for the use of phonetics exclusively, however stations involved in commercial operations felt that this practice was taking a lot of air-time when just giving the call letters would be less time consuming and easier to understand because we are no longer listening to static and interference mixed with your audio, but audio coming thru the repeater was actually about as clear as talking to someone face to face or on a telephone. +++

All the FCC expects us to do is identify with our callsign only at the proper times. Every 10 minutes in a qso and at the end of a transmission.

An example of “end of transmission” is …Test 1..2..3.. WB6AMT, release PTT button.


Letter Word Pronounced as

A    Alfa    AL FAH
B    Bravo  BRAH VOH

C    Charlie    CHAR LEE or SHAR LEE
D   Delta    DELL TAH

E    Echo     ECK OH
F    Foxtrot   FOKS TROT

G   Golf    GOLF
H   Hotel   HOH TELL

I    India    IN DEE AH
J   Juliett   JEW LEE ETT

K   Kilo    KEY LOH
L   Lima   LEE MAH

M   Mike     MIKE
N   November    NO VEM BER

O   Oscar   OSS CAH
P   Papa    PAH PAH

Q   Quebec   KEH BECK
R   Romeo    ROW ME OH

S    Sierra     SEE AIR RAH
T    Tango    TANG GO

U   Uniform    YOU NEE FORM or OO NEE FORM
V   Victor   VIK TAH

W    Whiskey    WISS KEY
X    X-ray    ECKS RAY

Y    Yankee    YANG KEY
Z    Zulu    ZOO LOO



April 18, 2021

“Stump the Chumps Night”



Good evening to all.

It seems that we are back from the issues with WordPress.

This being a Stump the Chumps night, Anything is up for grabs for a discussion.

I do have few photos of our trip up to Low Potosi yesterday for those interested in what the site looks like and the direction we are going to squirt our RF to the valley area. The site is close to 6,000 ft, hopefully it will serve us well.

Where H2 gets weak down I-15 towards Jean this is going to open up that I-15 corridor as well into Sandy Valley and Goldsprings, and hopefully South towards Stateline.

Can’t wait to do a new coverage test once we are up and running.

This site has internet and security for our equipment as well as video cameras keeping an eye on things, and the BEST part…we can drive right to the building!


#1 The site for the H1 and D Star repeater


#2 Antenna locations


#3 View from the site to the valley


#4 Downtown is there…. behind all the haze


#5 Lo Potosi Project Engineer scoping things out


#6 The new home for the D Star repeater and the new H1 repeater


#7 Battery shelves we will be getting.


Thats about it, after we get all the equipment installed we’ll be sure to share that at that time.





April 4.2021

How to use a multimeter

#1  Digital LCD or LED multimeter

Some LCD digital meters have a sensitivity of Megohms per volt, making them very attractive when measuring a high impedence circuit, because it won’t load down the circuit or measurement under test.



#2 Display driver circuit LED



#3  Analog Multimeter 

Quality meter movements sensitivity was 20,000 ohms per volt, which depending on the circuit would change the tuning or measurement by loading the circuit down.

To a circuit it could look like you just connected a 20K resistor in the circuit.


images (1)



#4 The meter movement inside

The DArsonval movement is a DC moving coil-type movement in which an electromagnetic core is suspended between the poles of a permanent magnet. This was first called a galvanometer before the development of the D Arsenval movement. They were the first instruments used to detect and measure small amounts of electric currents.


Note…that when using an analog meter the Polarity or Positive and Negative leads MUST be hooked up correctly or the meter movement will deflect the needle in the opposite direction and can damage the movement.


#5 What are some of the uses of a typical multimeter?

* DC voltages when checking a battery or power supply output.

* Checking the charging voltage that your car’s alternator produces.

* Checking the AC voltage at an outlet in your home.

* Determining what AC voltages an unmarked transformer is producing.

* Measuring the ohms of a resistor or potentiometer.

* Checking the voice coils of a speaker.

* Checking a fuse or lamp to see if it is open.

* Measuring the current that a circuit is drawing from its power source.

* Measuring the charging current to a battery being charged.

* Use as a continuity checker with an audible tone.

#6 Analog meter face



#7  Digital meter face fisplay


#7A  What am I seeing?




#7B  Measuring a “AA” battery incorrectlyAnalog_switched_leads




Power Supply output



#8 Measuring vehicle alternator output

Vehicle battery



#9 Measuring Resistance (zero’ing your meter leads)



#9A  Measuring a unknown potentiometer – Meter is set to measure 20KDSCN1896


#9B  Close but not as accurate as a digital



#9C  Measuring a fixed resistance




#10 Measuring current demand

LED current


#11 Measuring current with leads reversed




#12 Continuity testing (low resistance range)

Used to track a short.

Check for good ground.

For checking fuses that are sand filled. Typically used in high voltage circuits and unable to see the element in the glass tube.

Checking connections or solder joints that look suspicious.


Your multimeter is probably the one item in your tool box that will be used more often than any other tool. 


The information that it will tell you in just a few seconds will become your goto item.

Make yourself a few different types of leads for your meter with E-Z hook clips, alligator clips and even a large set of clips to connect to a battery terminals.

When Measuring current of a device make sure that the metter leads are large enough gauge wire to handle the current safely.

Always remember to DOUBLE-CHECK the meter settings before connecting to a voltage source.

Meters have a lot of capabilities and it is easy to destroy the meter by not paying attention to what you are working with.

73  WB6AMT


March 28, 2021

“How to solder…and how NOT to solder Plus making solder repairs”

Thank You Johm KJ7OEN for tonight’s suggested topic.

This will include thru-hole joints, Surface Mounted Devices – SMD, wire splices, How to repair damaged traces or pads, and how to remove excess solder from a joint and correcting a BAD solder connection.

I have found that there are many opinions about soldering as there are folks soldering. The following has proven to work for my style of board assembly.

While working at Southcom International, a company manufacturing military communication equipment under RF Harris, my job was the Manager of the Production Test Dept. I oversaw the testing, alignment and repair of circuit boards being made on the assembly line including making ECN (Engineering Change Notices).

It was also my responsibility to teach an ISO 9000 (at the time) refresher training course to the assembly line workers doing the assemblying of circuit boards going into a military radios SC-106 vehicle comm unit and the SC-130 manpack radio for the United States Marine Corps and United States Army.

There are many requirements in that type pf production soldering, including the correct amount of solder (and NO MORE) due to weight restrictions, when producing a Military radio several thousand solder joints with just a little too much and there is a very real weight difference in the overall unit’s weight, which can lead to board or unit rejection by Quality Assurance dept or the customer. Imagine this condition on satellite circuit board assembly and the weight  specifications needed.

I’m going to touch on what is practical to solder for a ham building or repairing a circuit board today and the tools needed.

-Soldering station with Temperature control (Preferred) and tip assortment

soldering stations

-Dampened sponge to wipe the tip for each connection

-Quality solder (not lead-free) fluxed SN60/40 or similar, applies to Electronic Silver solder also. (See photo #5 below)

-Tip cleaner (helps to protect the tips plating tip cleaner

-Desoldering vacuum device or Desoldering Wick braid.

solder wick


Probably the single most important part of soldering is PRACTICE, Make use of the following tips and tricks. Practice pc boards (new) are available for cost of postage. (email me)

I personally recommend a low wattage iron 15-40 watt or a soldering station with a temperature control. This temperature control and proper soldering iron tip becomes very important depending on what your joint will be comprised of parts wise.

#1  Correct means to transfer heat to pad and component leadSolder image


#1A Soldering plated thru-holesBoard_design2

#1B Lead sizesSoldering A


#2 Soldering TipsTips


#3 Soldering large gauge wire (16-10 ga) to a terminal post or lug


Using a large conical tip 700 degrees, .030″ solder allows the heat to transfer quickly to all the wires and to the post to accept solder quickly without damaging the insulation on the wire.

It’s necessary to use the correct size solder for the joint your making because of the amount of rosin core flux that will be released as the solder liquifies for the particular joint.  ( Here I used  63/37 .030″ ).

Too little flux and you will end up holding the tip on the connection too long to get the solder to flow & fill the joint.

I normally use .015″ solder for most of my circuit boards I build. These are 1/8th watt resistors, Integrated circuit pins, 3mm led leads etc.

The reason for .015″ is that all my boards are thru-hole plated and I want the entire thru-hole filled. I want very little solder above the pcb surface so that the component leads can be flush cut to the pc board when finished.

#4 Leads cut close & flush with boardIMG_20210326_122111378

Initial trim to get out of the way of other solder joints, then a final flush cut of all joints.

<Video #1>

#5 .015″ SolderIMG_20210326_133947063

Most of the solder we use on electronic circuits is labeled 60/40, meaning that it has 60% Tin by weight and 40% Lead by weight. 60/40 Sn-Pb, melts at 188 °C (370 °F)

Soldered labeled as 63/37  has slightly different weights and has a lower melting point, typically 183 degree C (361F).

.015″ solder is ok to use by hand on SMD solder connections without leaving too much solder on the connection pad or island.

The preferred method to solder Surface Mounted Devices are to use soldering paste on a cut-out stencil to apply the paste to the pads and a hot-air soldering tool.

#5A Hand applied pasteCU_Hand_Pasted_PCB

#5B Hand placementmaxresdefault


#6 Tips and Hot-air noozles



#6A Surface Mount Device soldering by hand prepping


#6B Surface Mount Device soldering by handsmd4

By applying a small amount of solder to one of the pads first, then hold the part in place and re-wet the connection with your needle tip to reflow the solder.

If all the pins are aligned correctly, make the next solder connection at the opposite end of the part to hold it in place and straight, while you solder the rest of the pins/pads.

Note- I used less than 1/16″ of .015″ solder for each pin/pad of the SMD Relay.


#7 SMD Parts2N2222 SMD


#8 Placing part by hand2N2222 SMD

At this time I need to say that it is possible to solder SMD parts by hand on a board like the above.

Is it easy? Not really!   Is it for the faint of heart…probably not.

While trying to do this demo, once the solder was on the pad I tried to place the transistor on the board with my SMD tweezer…..

The first attempt….the transistor completely disappeared by the the time I moved from the bench top to the location highlighted by the Red arrow above. I never felt it leave the tweezers! Have no idea where it went!

The second attempt….the transistor made it to the board surface….but I breathed a sigh of relief and whoosh, it disappeared!

My final attempt (third transistor) was with the help of a piece of scotch tape.….grab the transistor on the mat with the tape, placed it on the board and stuck the tape to the board and soldered it in place to the first pad making sure it was straight. Easey-Peasey!


#9 Finally!2n2222

After discovering the tape trick it was no problem getting the rest of the parts installed by hand.

#10 In-line wire splicesIMG_20210326_162008233

#10B  Just enough solder to fill the wiresIMG_20210326_162055542

All ready for a small piece of shrink tubing.


Problem Joints

Correcting a bad solder joint or fixing a missing pad or trace is not that hard to do with a little patience and analyzing how to go about the repair.


#11 Burn’t trace on a pc boardTrace


#11A  Trace jumpertrace fix

This is an excellent use of those resistor leads that get trimmed from your circuit board building projects. Be sure to pre-tin the wire lead with fresh solder

I keep a 35mm film canistor filled with cut-offs over the years, they make good jumpers, the bigger wires like 1/2 watt & 1watt resistor leads can handle more current.  Don’t forget to clean the board of all the burn’t flux as it is corrosive if left on the board.


Repairing a missing pad

#12 Missing Pads


Missing pads normally occur when de-soldering single sided circuit board traces that are not thru-hole plated.

The pads or “Donut holes” lift off the board when heat is applied too long on a joint trying to unsolder a connection, and the adhesive bonding between the copper and the circuit material  is compromised.

The repair of a missing donut hole is similar to the burn’t trace repair.

Cleaning a short distance on to clean copper where the pad or trace lifted from, tin the copper with a little solder.

#13 Missing Donut hole fix


Next take a component lead cut-off and form it around the lead coming up thru the hole that is missing the pad, solder in place.

Next bend the lead to match the original trace layout over to the fresh copper you have pre-tinned, trim and solder in place. Make sure that the size of the replacement conductor is adequately sized for the current that the original pad/trace was handling.

#13A Point to point trace replacementf4vew03jm0v7j4x-large-e1537929441900


Another Donut hole repair, is to place a piece of copper foil and solder to the component lead and to the fresh copper on the trace itself.

#14 Alternmate Donut hole fix (occupies a lot of space)


I’m not a big fan of this type of repair because it normally is too close to surrounding component connections.

I’m sure that there is something that I have left out, so please let me know and we can talk about it.





December 13, 2020 at 8pm  








There is a plethora of equipment available that will assist you with measuring the VSWR of your antenna system. Too many to list here.

A directional watt meter like the Bird Model 43.

#3 Model 43


#4  MFJ-259-C


#5  N1201SA Vector Impedence AnalyzerIMG_20201213_100950121

#6 Checking portable antennasIMG_20201213_101427455


#7 Checking feedlines


#8 What do we know?


#9  What does it all mean?

reflected power


#10  Types of transmitter/PA VSWR protection


#11  Circulators


#12  Circulator



Obviously a radio system’s VSWR is important for the proper operation of the station and to extend the life of the equipment involved.

Let’s hear from anyone that has had to tackle a high VSWR condition and your results.

Tonight’s audio stream is provided by Dave W3QQQ.



December 6, 2020 at 8pm  

“How to add an “S” meter to your radio, that has a LCD bargraph”

This presentation was originally created for showing at several different radio clubs in the valley. We will be bringing  some of our past favorites for the benefit of all our newest club members and participants to the Tek Net.

Being an avid transmitter hunter, I have over the years used many types of radios, some were great…some not so good. The one thing that was evident was that the radios that had an analog “S” meter was by far easiest to use.

Why add an “S” meter if there is already one on my current radio’s LCD display?

There’s several reasons that an external “S” meter may be desired….


The radio may not have an “S” meter or is inadequate or difficult to see.

A good example is if the radio being used, is a commercial radio that is being used in the amateur radio service.



In my case, I wanted to be able to see a large meter with ease while driving, during a transmitter hunt.



An analog meter will give you a more dynamic visualization of signal change than a stepped or block  bargraph that is on so many of today’s modern radios.

Any change in signal strength level is indicated by the needle swing on the meter instantaneously.

A LCD bargraph increases or decreases the number of blocks on the bargraph in increments (little blocks), that can be misleading when rotating the directional antenna in use is trying to find the “peak” signal direction.

How can we do this?

#3 Picture3

If your radio already has an “S” meter you can add an external one very easily.

It’s a simple matter of disconnecting the internal meter and wire in a meter movement that is the same type, place it up where you can easily view it.

A lot of “S” meters are 1-ma meter movements and are plentiful online and at swap meets real cheap.

If the radio has a bargraph “S” meter, than it is time to obtain some technical data about that radio so that a “S” meter circuit can be built and added.

A manual for most radios can be obtained from https://www.manualslib.com/

You will have to register to use the site (no charge). It is worth the time to do this to be able to download manuals and technical data pertinent to your needs.

This project will involve a Yaesu FT1500M VHF mobile radio.


The following approach to adding an external meter is going to be the same no matter what the brand or model of FM receiver is used, even some scanners.

#4  The block diagramBlock Diagram

Block diagram of the receiver will help you identify and locate the IF integrated circuit on the circuit board.


#5 Schematic


Schematic of receiver shows that Q2023 is the IF Ic where we are going to connect our circuit.




The RX signal leaves the crystal filters XF2001/2002 into the IF amp Q2021, then into the limiter D2021, then out into the IF integrated circuit TA-31136FN at pin number 16.


#7 Adding our circuit to the radio


FT1500M main board out of the chassis.

The TA31136 IF integrated circuit is located on the underside of the main board. Soldering these connections onto the Ic’s pin isn’t for the faint of heart, I can lend a hand on this part.


#8 Close-up of pin 16


#9 “S” meter circuit schematic

Meter schematic


#10 Meter driver circuit board


This circuit is a very basic meter driver circuit.

Depending on the particular radio’s IF level, this will do a good job of having an external “S” meter.

There are some other ways of accomplishing this using an IF subsystem IC with a tuning meter output, similar to the tuning meter on an FM stereo receiver, thats for another day…


#11   In the radio where the speaker use to be



#12 Swap meet specials on meters




Don’t like the meter face that is on the meter that you have chosen for your project…


Most quality meters can be taken apart or the front lense can be removed, giving access to the meter face.

Carefully remove the two small screws holding the meter face in position behind the meter’s needle.

Carefully remove the face without touching the needle.


Picture14 Picture23

Make a new meter face on your computer, print it on an adhesive label, and put it on the face….careful to align the face to match the needle location. Practice getting the label the way you want it to look on plain paper first, then print on the adhesive label.

#16 Custom meter face


Time to hook it up and test it.

#17    Test #1


#18    Test #2


#19    Test #3



New “S” meter circuit is displaying a greater dynamic range than the segmented LCD bargraph meter.

Any signal level changes will be easily displayed.

Anyone wanting to build this project, I will supply the components (minus a meter) at no cost. You have to come by my QTH or mail me an envelope with return postage, and I will send the parts to you.

There are many styles, sizes and prices online of 50ua meters to suit your individual taste. I currently have a 6″ 50ua meter we found online in my vehicle to connect to several radios that I use for T-hunting.

This isn’t a real difficult project to build, a total of 8 components, but careful soldering to the radio’s main circuit board is essential.

This is the same circuit I have installed in a Yaesu FT-7800, Yaesu FT-7900, Alinco, Motorola, and now this FT-1500M. (Note)

This method works for other brands and types of radios including scanner receivers.

73 until our next project….


November 29, 2020 at 8pm  

DMR by WB6MIE Tony”

Both of these guys have over four decades each in radio experience. Some in commercial two-way service and implementation of systems as well as being a licensed ham during that time.

Hands-on experience is the best experience ( my opinion), these guys have it.

Get your questions ready because they can answer them and help you get your DMR or P25 radio on the air.

Here is Tony’s entire presentation if you care to download the presentation to refer back to. dmrfinal

Digital Mobile Radio – an overview

Presented over the Henderson Amateur Radio Club Tek Net

By Tony Dinkel, WB6MIE

 DMR stands for “Digital mobile radio”. It is a standard for mobile radio communications that is defined in the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) Standard TS 102 361 parts 1–4. You can Google that if you want, but it goes far deeper than the scope of tonight’s presentation. In fact, most publications on this topic delve far deeper than I intend to go tonight, please consider this an overview of the system and some simple rules of entry.


Figure 1. A simplified diagram of a 2 timeslot DMR conversation in progress.

DMR is a two time slot, Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) communication system. It was designed to service the commercial mobile radio market, hotels, taxi cabs, trucking companies, private security and other types of “dispatch” applications. Because it is a commercial system, we have to adapt our operations to it by using its existing feature set. Talk Groups, Group Calls, Private Calls, Color Codes and Time Slots are most likely all foreign terms to most hams that are analog users.

About “time slots”… with regular ham radio analog communication we get just a single time slot. A single conversation occupies all of the time on a given channel. With DMR and TDM we get to have two independent conversations on the same RF channel. Two separate QSOs? Yes, two separate QSOs, on the same channel, at the same time, and all within the FCC’s 2013 12.5khz emissions mask. This makes DMR one of the most spectrally efficient voice communication modes on the ham bands today.

Operating under Part 97, we don’t have to meet this emissions mask right now. We can continue occupying our full 25khz bandwidth channels. But this spectral efficiency may become more important to us in the future. I’ll talk a little bit more about this later.

The concept of having two independent conversations going on the same channel at the same time may make some peoples brains hurt. It’s called multiplexing and it goes on all the time in the real world. You are a user of multiplexing systems and you don’t even have to know about it. You use voice multiplex systems every day if you make a phone or cellular call. Whether you know it or not, you conversations are taking place simultaneously with millions of other calls, all being carried on massive multiplex systems.

Or consider an FM stereo radio station. Two audio channels, left and right are broadcast to your stereo multiplex receiver and we don’t even think about it. Well, I think about it a lot because my job is to maintain systems like this, but you as the end user don’t have to think about it at all, it just happens. Listen to a Beatles record on an oldies FM radio station. If you hear “Flying” or “Revolution #9”, you will hear an example of just how independent these two channels can be.

Multiplex systems seem unlimited in scope. In my younger years I worked with Frequency Division Multiplex or FDM. This was a technique where a “baseband” of separately modulated RF carriers was modulated onto a higher frequency RF carrier, around 1 ghz. These systems carried up to 20 independent conversations at the same time.

In later years I was working with a system called T-1, which carried 24 simultaneous conversations using a technique called Time Division Multiplex or TDM.

These systems grew into T-3 systems which carried 28 T-1s or 672 conversations. Then 3 T-3 systems were combined onto a system called Optical Carrier 3 or OC-3 for 2016 conversations, or more specifically “voice circuits”. We really have to refer to these as circuits because each time slot also carries channel associated signaling messages such as on hook, off hook and caller information. Or in the case of ham radio, channel keyed, channel unkeyed, caller identification, and which conversation you wish to participate in.


Figure 2. Shows a comparison between conventional analog and two time-slot TDMA.

So, to recap, in analog, what you hear on the repeater is our only current talk group. We don’t really refer to it as a talk group because it’s just where we talk, but it can be considered a talk group for the purpose of this discussion. The only equivalent in DMR terms is “ALL CALL” and that is not really meant for two way communication in this context. +In DMR, using different talk groups and time slots, it is possible for a conversation to be going on over a repeater channel and not be able to hear it. That’s not really ham radio you might say. I’ll come back to that and other unique aspects of DMR later. First, lets look at the steps involved in generating a DMR signal.

There are 4 steps involved in generating a Digital Mobile Radio signal. Thankfully, they are all taken care of inside the radio, no additional boxes or computers are needed. This is the last time you should have to think of these steps, I present them here to simply explain the process.


Figure 3. A basic block diagram of the DMR signal generation process.

  1. Analog to Digital Conversion

When a radio user presses the Push-To-Talk (PTT) button and begins speaking, the voice is received by the radio microphone and converted from an acoustic pressure waveform to an analog electrical waveform. The voice waveform is then sampled by an analog to digital converter. In non two-way radio applications, a 16-bit sample is taken every 8 kHz, this produces a 128,000 bits per second digital bitstream, which contains far too much information to send over a 12.5 kHz or 25 kHz radio channel. Therefore, some form of compression is required.

  1. Vocoder and Forward Error Correction (FEC)

Vocoding, for Voice encoding, compresses speech by breaking it into its most important parts and encoding them with a smaller number of bits. Vocoding compresses the voice bitstream to fit the narrow 6.25 kHz equivalent radio channel. The vocoder used in DMR is an AMBE+2TM which was developed by Digital Voice System, Inc. (DVSI). You can Google that if you are interested.

This particular vocoder works by dividing speech into short segments, 30 milliseconds in length. Each segment of speech is analyzed, and the important parameters such as pitch, level, and frequency content are extracted. These parameters are then encoded using a smaller number of digital bits. Forward Error Correction (FEC) is also applied. FEC is a mathematical technique that enables the receiver to both validate the integrity of a received message and determine which, if any, bits have been corrupted. FEC enables the receiver to correct bit errors that may have occurred due to radio frequency (RF) channel impairments. Think noise, phase distortion, multipath, etc. This effectively rejects noise that can distort an analog signal and by comparison enables more consistent audio performance throughout the coverage area.

This error correction has it limits, it can’t correct for gross errors or total loss of signal. It’s only able to correct for the occasional dropout, so don’t expect a miraculous increase in coverage. It can and does operate quite well at eliminating the noise associated with linear signal to noise degradation experienced when traveling away from a repeater or other station. It can and does work out to just about where you would typically find an analog FM signal to be totally unusable, perhaps just slightly farther. There are also timing related distance limitations imposed by DMR but I don’t know if I have ever reached the actual timing limit.


Figure 4. A comparison of voice quality in analog vs digital transmission.

  1. Framing

At this stage, the vocoder has compressed the 128,000 bps input signal to 3,600 bps or 3.6 khz. In framing, the vocoded speech is formatted for transmission. This includes organizing the voice and any embedded signaling information, such as color code, group ID, PTT ID, call type, etc. into packets. These packets form a header and payload type of structure with the header containing the call control and ID information, and the payload containing the encoded speech.

This same structure can also relay Internet Protocol (IP) data packets, the IP packets are simply an alternative form of payload to the radio.

The two-slot TDMA implemented in DMR uplinks use a 30ms window for each time slot, this is further divided into a 27.5ms frame and a 2.5ms gap. This means when transmitting, your mobile transmitter is only turned on for 27.5ms every 60ms.

In contrast, the DMR repeater transmits a continuous data stream even if only one timeslot is being used, the 2.5ms uplink gap is replaced with a Common Announcement Channel or CACH burst, that is used for channel management and low speed signaling. The 27.5ms frame consists of a total of 264 bits, a 108 bit payload, 48 bits for sync or embedded signaling, and a second 108 bit payload for a total of 216 bits of payload per frame.

The vocoder must compress 60ms of audio with FEC into 216 bits of data for transmission. The 2.5ms gap is used for guard time to allow PA ramping and propagation delay. Because of propagation delay and synchronization there is a limit to the usable range of DMR. I’ve never worked out what that range limitation is, but I don’t believe I’ve ever reached it. I do believe that the limit is far enough out that it will never affect us in the Las Vegas area.

The header information is repeated periodically throughout the transmission, thereby improving the reliability of the signaling information as well as enabling a receiving radio to join a call that may already be in progress when, for example, it is just turned on or tunes to the channel. This feature is called “late entry”.


  1. TDMA Transmission

Finally, the signal is encoded for 4FSK RF transmission. The bits contained in the digital packets are encoded as symbols representing the amplitude and phase of the modulated carrier frequency, amplified, and then transmitted. TDMA organizes a channel into 2 time slots: a given radio’s transmitter is active only for short bursts. By transmitting only on their alternating time slots, two calls can share the same channel at the same time without interfering with one another, thereby doubling spectrum efficiency. Using TDMA, a radio transmits only during its time slot, that is, it transmits a burst of information, waits, then transmits the next burst of information.

Break for questions and radio cool down.

It is important to note that all of this “spectral efficiency”, two time slots, error correction and the other stuff comes with some engineering tradeoffs. When people think of “digital” they think about extremely high quality audio. Nothing about digital mobile radio is high quality. Digital two-way radio was never about high quality voice transmission. It’s about cramming more users in an existing finite amount of bandwidth and selling more radios. Anything that involves compression loses something in the process, by design. Parts of speech that are familiar to us are simply thrown away by the compression algorithms. Speaker recognition, tone, inflections and other nuances are simply lost. All that is transmitted is the important stuff, the speech, with as few accouterments as possible. The reproduced voice can sound almost mechanical at times. And because of the way the digital signal is recovered, there is no noise. So there are no cues for when you are about to lose a signal. It simply drops out. There may be some unintelligible fragments of something that sounds remotely like a human voice, but that’s it, then nothing.

Also, historical problems cannot be solved by digital radio. System issues with coverage and interference are not necessarily eliminated. Adjacent or co-channel interference may sound different to a digital user, but digital technology does not solve interference issues. For example, analog interference will not be heard as voice to a digital radio and vice versa, but disruption of system performance can still occur.

Some historical perspective

Now why is all of this a big deal? Because back in 2008, the FCC decided it was a big deal. Back then commercial users were facing a spectrum crunch. More entities than ever before were using the radio spectrum, and every single one of them were asking for more. Voice users, data users, cellular and broadband companies, television and radio broadcasting all have tremendous bandwidth requirements. The FCC decided that decreasing the bandwidth that we all occupy with our voices would be a great idea.

By January 1, 2013 all voice radio communication systems would occupy no more than 12.5 khz bandwidth for a single voice circuit. Since the radio spectrum is not an infinite resource, we have to try and fit as many users into that limited resource as possible.

That spectrum crunch may have been relieved for a little while, but it never really ended. It is now worse than ever.

As Ham radio operators, we historically have not really ever faced a spectrum crunch. Yes, we have lost spectrum slices here and there. Some of it was for noble causes and some of it was not. But it still  seems that we have plenty of bandwidth. On the hf bands there always seems to be plenty of room to camp out on a frequency and call CQ. And not so much on the 2 meter band but on the UHF band there seems to be plenty of dead space to put repeaters, simplex channels, different forms of data communications and other emissions. These days are about to come to a close. Our usable frequencies are under intense scrutiny in the form of commercial interests that need our frequencies to build their 5G, 6G, 7G and whatever comes next communication systems. Our frequencies are a commodity and they will be traded as such, for big money, with the blessing of the FCC and the rest of the US Federal government. “Alternative” spectrum may be offered, but it very well may not be appropriate for our needs or just not enough.

Eventually, and possibly sooner than we all think, we will need systems like DMR to utilize the meager slices of spectrum that we will be left with.

Applications such as “Trunked Radio” may become popular. Trunking is popular in commercial radio and public safety systems. It involves a set of common radio channels that are shared between a large number of users. A rack of 5 repeaters on only 5 RF channels would give us a total of 10 logical channels. Each user would select the group of users that they want to communicate with and a channel would be assigned to us automatically as everyone else talks around us. Common talkgroups could be assigned so we could have our basic channel that everybody in Las Vegas talks on, kind of like what we have now on the harc network.

The trunking application is called Capacity Plustm in the Motorola lexicon. More specifically, Linked Capacity Plustm would be more correct, since we would be linking our repeaters together over Internet Protocol Site Connecttm or IPSCtm.

Now I will get off of my soapbox and get on with the rest of the show.

But first…

Break for questions and radio cool down.

As I said earlier, DMR has some unique requirements. The first thing you are going to need is a Radio ID number. Go to:


and follow the instructions. After you receive your Radio ID number, you need to program it into the radio ID field of your radio codeplug. If you will be using more than one radio at the same time, in the case of a family or spousal unit, you will need more than one radio ID number. Don’t even try to key up on a DMR channel without a proper radio ID number. It’s the same as saying your callsign.

To find your first repeater, either use repeaterbook or just Google Search for DMR repeater (your area). For example, a Google search for DMR repeaters Las Vegas sent me to:


I clicked the Potosi UHF link and ended up with a plethora of listings of talkgroups, timeslots and frequencies with the appropriate color codes.

When selecting a talk group, keep in mind they are usually arranged by geographic area. A good place to start would probably be 91 or Worldwide. Other good ones to try would be 31327 for Las Vegas Local. Also try 3132 for Nevada Statewide. Explore, don’t be afraid to try things.

Be sure to use the specified time slots for the various talk groups.

The Color Code also needs to be correct. Color Code takes the place of PL or Digital PL in a DMR system. There are 15 “CC”s so make sure you enter them correctly.

Networking or linking of repeaters is an integrated feature of DMR systems. There are several worldwide and many regional networks setup by individuals who are so inclined. One of the friendliest and easiest to enter I have found is the Brandmeister Network. Visit their Wiki at:


Click around and learn about them. They really are an incredible system.

My professional and amateur experience is with the Motorola® MOTOTRBO® product line and only with their XPR® series of professional radios. Some of the features I discussed may differ in functionality or not be available on other brands of DMR equipment.

This paper was sourced from my brain and used the Motorola® publication MOTOTRBOtm System Planner as subject matter reference. The part number for it is 6880309t12. If you are seriously interested in DMR I strongly suggest that you purchase a copy for yourself.

In this paper I have made references to Motorola trademarks, patents or other intellectual property. These references were made for the purpose of technical discussion and no infringement upon the intellectual property rights of Motorola, Inc. was or is intended. All of the graphics used in this paper were copied from the MOTOTRBOtm System Planner publication copyright 2016. These were presented for the purpose of technical discussion and no copyright infringement was or is intended.

That said, DMR is a fun mode so program away and talk to some people. The longer you use it, the better it will sound.


Tony an be contacted at wb6mie@outlook.com

Tonight’s audio stream is here, recorded by Dave W3QQQ


November 22, 2020 at 8pm  

“Differences between D Star and System Fusion”

We got the following email from a club member this week requesting a special Tek Net :

 I would like to see a TekNet explaining the differences, pros, and cons of DMR, D-Star, All-Star, P25 what I can use them for and what equipment is needed. I’ve heard talk of making a “bridge” between our Analog repeaters and the DMR “gateway?” How would that work, and what equipment would be needed?

WOW…As you can see that is a heck of a large request. We are going to break it down into short talks and a round table style of Q&A can to get this request met.

Tonight Chris NO7E will address the D-Star system, and I will talk about Yaesu’s System Fusion radios and how they differ tonight.

First off, originally these are the only digital modes that were designed for amateur use. DMR and P25 and any other modes were originally designed for commercial applications and when those radios were starting to be used in the amateur bands, so came their functionality.

Dmr will be moderated by Tony WB6MIE and P25 moderated by Kirk NO7BS will be on next Sunday’s Tek Net.

These discussions will be short so that each mode will have time and allow time for questions & answers.

Bridges and Hotspots will be coming in the next few weeks. I have no moderators at this time on those subjects. Anyone wanting to handle either of those please contact me at wb6amt@cox.net.

System Fusion

Understand that System Fusion radios use C4FM modulation to communicate. This Frequency Division Multiple Access ( FDMA) was originally used in the analog AMPS or Advanced Mobile Phone System around the world.

Fusion radios can talk on simplex frequencies, station to station or through a DR-1 or DR-2 Yaesu repeater only using C4FM, however you can’t connect to the internet and use remote nodes or “Rooms” with out the additional Wires-X equipment attached to a radio (like your base station) or a repeater. More on that a little later.

What is C4FM?

System Fusion radios operate in three (3) Digital modes and an (1) Analog mode depending on your preference. Yaesu radios have an Automatic Mode Select (AMS) function that instantly detects the received signal mode. The AMS function eliminates the need to manually switch between communication modes.

V/D Mode (Voice/Data simultaneous communication mode)
The digital voice signal is transmitted in one half of the band width. Simultaneously the other half of the 12.5 kHz band width channel is used for error correction of the voice signal and other data. By incorporating error correction technology, effective error correction codes provide fewer interruptions to conversations. The Clear Voice technology developed for the C4FM FDMA Digital mode provides outstanding sound quality.

Voice FR mode (Voice Full Rate Mode)
This mode uses the full 12.5 kHz bandwidth to transmit digital voice data. The increased amount of voice data permits high quality voice communication, providing superb sound quality of both stations.

Data FR mode (High Speed Data Communication Mode)
This high-speed data communication mode uses the full 12.5 kHz bandwidth for data communication. The transceiver automatically switches to Data FR mode when transmitting snapshot pictures, and can be used to transmit large quantities of data at high speed.

Analog FM mode
Analog FM is effective when weak signal strength causes audio drop out in the digital mode, and enables communication up to the borderline of the noise level. Also the use of established Yaesu low power circuit designs provides greater efficiency than the digital modes.

How does this differ from D Star?

The D star  system uses a 2 level modulation scheme. In regards to the raw signal, a low frequency would represent a “0” while a high frequency would represent a “1”.

This means that for a symbol  transmitted you only get a “1” or “0”, so you get 1 bit per baud. 4800 baud modulation on a Dstar signal  means that our data rate is (1 bit X the baud rate ) = 4800 bits per second or 4800 baud..

Yaesu’s C4FM modulation is more complicated.

Full audio rate of  C4FM is:

 4400bps for voice, 2800bps for voice FEC –, Data Full Rate (DW) supports 7200bps, (no FEC) C4FM Framing Details 5 . Frames max Raw rate: 9600bps Payload after framing: 7200bps AMBE Voice: 100ms voice is compressed to 20ms of data Digit Symbol Frequency Deviation

00 +1 +900hz

01 +3 +2700hz

10 -1 -900hz

11 -3 -2700hz

Instead of just a 1 or 0 being transmitted by a low  and high frequency, C4FM has four possible states.

“00” is the lowest frequency.

“01” is the frequency partway between the lowest and the mid point.

“10” is the frequency between the mid point and the highest.

“11” is the highest frequency.

So during any single baud period, the signal could have any one of four states.

Like Dstar, let’s say the baud rate is 4800 symbols per second, but since each symbol could be one of four bit combinations, 00, 01, 10, 11 we are actually conveying two bits per baud.

This means that at just 4800 baud , our raw data rate is actually twice that of Dstar or 9600 bits per second.

With C4FM we have four possibilities in modulation that in the event of a noisy signal, the receiver is going to have a more difficult time determining if the signal is a 00,01,10,11. This is due to the decreased distance between the four possible states of C4FM as opposed to the 2 states of FSK used in D star.

We all know that the more data we pack in to a smaller period of time , the more bandwidth and power we need to convey it, if we want to maintain the same bit error rate, which is why more work has to be done in the receiver to demodulate the signal for it to work well with weak and noisy signals. This has led to more complex ways to decode the C4FM signals requiring proprietory components and more circuitry for the receiver to be able to reconstruct the audio.

This means that a C4FM signal has a bandwidth approximately 3db wider than a D star signal on the same frequency. Adjacent frequency usage beware.



Keep mind that the HRI-200 as well as a computer with the following specs has to be purchased and interfaced with a high speed access point internet connection.

OS: Microsoft®Windows®7 / 8.1 / 10
• Clock frequency: 2.0 GHz or more
• HDD: 1 GB of empty space or more
• RAM: 2 GB or more
• USB port: 2.0 (Full-speed)

• Display resolution: 1366 x 768 or more
16-bit high color or more (32-bit true color is recommended)
• LAN port: 100BASE-TX/1000BASE-T
A wired connection is recommended, do not use wifi.


Go here for a complete explanation of Wires-X https://www.yaesu.com/jp/en/wires-x/node/index.php

Go here for an Introduction to System Fusion video:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNjgHUhhMmA&feature=youtu.be

And an understanding why it is called ” SYSTEM CONFUSION “

D Star With Chris NO7E…



November 15, 2020 at 8pm  

“Building and using a XR2206 Function Generator kit”

Probably one of the best bargains you will ever spend $10.00 dollars on a piece of test equipment on.

The XR2206 High Precision Function Generator kit. IMG_20201113_193501427_HDR

As my hearing gets worse and worse, I’m finding myself having issues with some of the Allstar nodes I build when it comes to getting the audio adjusted to sound good.

Different radios have different audio characteristics, and I found that I’m relying on my oscilloscope more for a visual representation of the audio signals I’m dealing with.

One of the features I like is the frequency range, which is from 1Hz to 1 Mhz. Ranges are selected by moving a plug-in jumper to one of five different ranges with the actual  frequency being adjusted by a potentiometer, a course and fine control.

Depending on the output terminal you use will give you a nice sine-wave, square-wave or a triangle-wave.

Power supplied should be from 9-12vdc, so it runs fine on a 9 volt battery.

Actual time to build this kit was 15-20 minutes, your mileage (time) may vary. The board is of good quality and is not crowded like some kits (including some of my own circuit boards…lol).


The kit comes with a laser cut Plexi-glass enclosure

#2 Parts placement XR2206_1

#3  Schematic & hookup


#4 Layout 


#5 Jumpers


#6A Square wave


#6B Triangle wave


#6C  Sine wave


I have used this little generator for testing some small speakers by setting a frequency of 1000 Hz and turn the amplitude all the way up and it drove the speaker pretty good so I could hear it. Connecting this to a microphone input of a transmitter makes adjusting the deviation of an FM transmitter easy. A pair of these will let you adjust your SSB transmitter and linear amplifier for perfect SSB waveform on your station monitor.

The amplitude does vary depending on the output chosen as can be seen in the last three photos. I did not change the amplitude but you can see that the square wave was about 11 volts output, the triangle wave was over 5 volts and the sine wave was about 3.5 volts, these voltages were all Peak-to-Peak.

Keep in mind that this is a single integrated circuit generator, so don’t expect the output conditioning or features of a high priced signal generator, but for $10 bux and less than a half an hour of your time, you’ll have a handy piece of test equipment to add to your shack.

The following is a commercially made, DS345 Function generator that has fantastic frequency resolution, and that is indicated by the price tag.

Tony WB6MIE bought this piece of equipment for frequency measurements of AM broadcast transmitter’s frequencies down to a tenth (.1) of a hertz. ( Ask him how he did it with a signal generator instead of a frequency counter)ds-345full

I originally got the kit from Amazon and it was here in a couple of days. You can get it here: (copy & paste to your browser)


Tonight’s audio stream is courtesy of W3QQQ.

73 until next time..


November 8, 2020 at 8pm  

“Using a Motorola R2660 service monitor to check your transmitter.”

Motorola R2660-2


The Communications System Analyzer or service monitor as it is normally called is probably the single most important piece of service equipment a two-way radio technician needs to have at his disposal.

The multimeter and his trusty wattmeter is very important but his service monitor is normally the first piece of test equipment that gets turned on, whenever a radio needs service.

Not only can you measure the accuracy of the transmitted signal’s frequency, but also the level of audio generated from the radio microphone, the level of the sub-audible tone or digital coded squelch signal that is transmitted to operate the repeater’s receiver squelch but can also generate signals for the alignment of the radio receiver and verify that the different sections of the receiver are functioning properly.

We have mentioned many times on the Tek Nets about how to “talk” to the microphone of our transmitters so that we produce a fully deviated 5khz FM signal.

The reason is so that the receiving station can hear you clearly. Even if you are in a noisey environment, like being out at the fringe areas of the repeater or if we have interference as we sometimes do from Nellis AFB occasionally on the input to H2, not having a fully deviated transmitted signal makes it harder to copy your audio out of the noise or interference, and if your audio is low to the same level of the noise, it’s going to be “game over” because you won’t have any recoverable audio to the receiving station.

However if your audio is higher than the noise level or interference you will still be heard.

It’s simple to practice good speaking habits to your transmitter and we will “see” how this looks today using the monitor portion of this service monitor.

We will only be dealing with the transmitter signal today and will cover the receiver, tuning cavities as well as some of the other capabilities a service monitor has on other Tek Nets.

What are some of the things a service monitor can do?

• RF Signal Generator Frequency Range: 400 kHz to 1 GHz
• Stabilization Time: .1 Second
• 50 MHz Tracking Generator
• Spectrum Analyzer
• Duplex Generator
• Terminated RF Wattmeter
• Programmable Test Memory
• Relative Signal Strength Meter
• RF Scan/RF Counter Function
• Signaling Simulator: Encoder and Decoder
• General Purpose & Modulation Oscilloscope
• AM, FM Signal Generator
• Off-the-Air Sensitive Receiver

#1 Typical R2660 displayMotorola R2660-3

#2 Various controlsMotorola R2660-4


#3 Current DisplayDSCN2388

HARC Tek Net Transmitter Deviation Check video  https://youtu.be/bdJGKwI7GXQ

Notice the different sections on the display:

Upper Left side is displaying the monitor frequency with the audio deviation to the right of the transmit frequency. Under that is the display showing how far off frequency I am compared to the dialed in frequency of 449.9250 Mhz.

Lower Left side is showing our audio on the Modulation Scope. The center line is our zero reference and each horizontal line above and below the center represents 2Khz of audio, so the peaks that go over the second line indicate that we are a little over 4 Khz deviation and by looking at the upper display Dev: it is showing that our actual transmitter deviation is 4.48Khz on voice peaks.

The following pdf was sent to me this afternoon and is a great collection of older service monitors from the past. I actually used the first ones that are shown in my early two-way service days.

This presentation is from 2015 and has a bunch of photos of early service monitors and what they did…including my personal Motorola R2660 service monitor that I used for todays video. ( some times I feel SO old!).


If you have any questions about service monitors or how to use them send me a message and I will get back to you.  wb6amt@cox.net 

73 until; next time….Earl WB6AMT


October 18, 2020

Tonight is “Ask the Pros” night.

The third Sunday of the month is normally our Ask the Pros get together.

This is an open forum format tonight.

Anything and everything Amateur Radio or Electronics is up for grabs tonight.

Have a problem in the shack or with a radio or possible a mode using one of your radios, this is where you can get the answers you need.  

Don’t be bashful and any question is not a dumb question, please join in.




October 11, 2020 at 8pm  

“What story tells how you became a HAM”

There is a reason why you wanted to get a ham radio license, tonight we want to hear from folks about what triggered that desire to become a HAM.

It can be a short description of something that grabbed your attention or a matter of necessity like getting involved with a Search and Rescue group that used amateur frequencies on the there radios.

Many of us had an ELMER enter our lives and their guidance played a part or maybe it was a magazine article that created that spark…let’s hear about it.

My love for radio and electronics started with my getting a Knight-kit Star Roamer shortwave radio kit for Christmas in 1965 at the age of 14.

Tonight we may go over 9pm to allow for everyone to tell their story, if we do run out of time, send me a write up and I will post all of the ones I receive here so everyone can read your stories.


October 4, 2020 at 8pm  

“Repairing an Astron 35Amp power supply”

The tips and techniques that will be displayed and talked about tonight, are not the only way to approach troubleshooting a defective power supply. Some technicians use a AC Variac when trouble shooting ac circuits.

AC line voltage circuits can be lethal, exercise safe handling especially when energized. 

The following methods have worked well for me over many years of fixing and building  low current and high current power supplies.

The processes can be used to troubleshoot a 500Mah Radio Shack power supply or an adjustable high-current 165 amp commercial supply and just about anything in between.

#1 Rear view



#2 RS-35 Schematic


#3  Basic PS block diagram


#4  Blown protective fuses




#5 Under the hood



#5B Checking the rectifiers



#5C  Checks GOOD


#5D  Checks GOOD


#5E   Shorted!


At this point we know what was causing the violent blowing of the fuse.

A direct short on one of the 23 volt 35 amp secondary ac leads!

A replacement pair of bridge rectifiers were ordered from the manufacturer, and installed when they arrived in a few days.

As a sound troubleshooting method, I also removed the four pass transistors from the heatsink on the rear.

Using the ohmmeter I checked the junctions of the Emitter, Base & Collector just like we did with the rectifier diodes in the bridge, to make sure we didn’t have any more hidden problems to be dealt with prior to powering the unit back up.

When installing the new bridges I made sure that the rectifier blocks had a good coat of thermal grease applied, and to the pass transistors mica insulators also.

The most time consuming element of this repair was the disassembly of the chassis, bridges, configuring the new bridges and removing the pass transistors from their sockets on the heatsink .

Actual testing with the meter took a few seconds for each hookup and test.

Troubleshooting a defective power supply  does not have to be too daunting. All power supplies will consist of the basic building blocks. The regulation circuits and the various sections of the regulator circuit is where most of the complexity will be.

There are many hams in the valley that are willing to help you on the phone while your stepping thru some of the steps to isolate where the fault has occurred, or assist in person.

If the part is no longer available from the manufacturer or out of business, NTE makes over 250,000 replacement components that can be obtained online or at some local shops, so the chance of them having a part that will work for you are very good.

After powering up the power supply (with no load applied), always verify that the output voltage is correct for the application and readjust if necessary.

So…instead of buying a new power supply the next time your shack supply dies, take the cover off and use your ohmmeter and try finding the problem and fixing it yourself.

You have nothing to lose, and may end up with a power supply costing a few dollars to fix instead of a replacement costing a few hundred dollars.

Good Luck & 73


September 20, 2020 at 8pm  


The third Sunday of the month brings us one of our favorite topics.

Tonight is the time to bring your comments or questions that you have out in the open so our club members can chime in and help you get solutions to your problems, questions, ideas…anything ham radio.

Everyone participating is what makes ASK THE PROS night as successful as it is.

Vhf/Uhf T-hunt Transmitter project.

Schematic_Transmitter Controller Dual outputs_2020-09-18_12-36-04


September 13, 2020 at 8pm  

“Building and using a 70cm directional antenna”

There was discussion at last month’s T hunt/finish point that there was an interest in direction finding a 70cm frequency for the hidden transmitter in the future.

I have started building a Version “2” T-hunt transmitter that will have a 146.565 vhf transmitter and a 1 watt uhf frequency also transmitting at the same time. Both RF outputs will be fed into an antenna combiner so it can be fed to a single dual band antenna like a GP-3.

The initial test frequency will be on the H5 frequency of 449.850 so that most folks that have all the HARC  “H” channels programmed into their radios can T-hunt on H5 frequency without bothering anyone in Pahrump and we will see how that works out

Seems like a great time to start talking about a small uhf directional antenna for your vehicle.

Being a bit lazy, I will start out with an antenna I already have, a 5 element quad antenna that was originally built 6 years ago. It has a fair amount of gain if my memory serves me correctly of about 8-9db forward gain.

We will be building a new quad today for the presentation photos.

#1 Original UHF Homebrew Quad Antenna



#2 Materials list


(2)  48″ Fiberglass driveway markers, 5/16″ dia.   $2.28 ea.

(1)  24″ x 1-1/2″ x 3/4″ Poplar   $2.44

#3 18Ga Copper picture hanging wire


#4 Cutting materials


You will need four rods cut to 9-1/2″ long and six rods cut to 8-1/2″ long.

Sand a flat spot on each end being careful to keep the rod straight so the ends were flat and inline with the other end.




#4B Drilling the ends


On all rods drill a 1/16″ hole near the end of each rod (1/8″ from end)

On one 9-1/2″ rod drill a second hole, this will be the Driven element.

#5 Element spacing on boom


#5A Element centering prior to gluing


This example is 3-15/16 from the end of the ruler, against the wide side of the boom on both sides. The rod is centered when the rod is sticking out the same distance on each side. This applies for the narrow width side also. Be sure to mark the rod against the boom so you will know where to put the rod when gluing.

When you are ready to apply glue, insert the rod to the mark against the boom, pull the rod out about 1/2″ and apply glue to the rod, spin the rod as you insert it back to your mark and be sure that the drilled holes on the ends are facing up. The holes need to be in the correct position so you can thread the wire through each end of the rods later.



#6 Prepping the wire


#6A Solder the loop


When threading the copper wire thru each rod, use plenty of pull to get and keep the wire tight and straight until you have it back to the small loop and pull tight….bend….wrap it, trim and solder like Photo 6B.

#6B Creating/ attaching each loop


#6C Creating the feedpoint


As mentioned earlier, the feed point has two holes for each end of the Driven Element’s loop. You will connect the coax shield to one end of the loop and the center conductor to the other end of the loop like 6D.

#6D Coax at feed point


The feedpoint of the quad antenna is actually in the horizontal plane for the antenna to be VERTICAL polarized.

A favorite trick of quad users is to make two feedpoints with two coax cables going to a Two-port antenna switch, this allows the operator to select between Horizontal or Vertical polarization of the receive signal.

This antenna is small enough to use easily at the finish point to SNIFF out the secondary baby transmitter.



September 6, 2020 2020 at 8pm  

“Charging your cell and tablet faster”

This seems like a reasonable question to ask.

After getting a new phone this week requiring a different changer than my old Android used, a little research seemed to be in order. I was made aware that not being just a different charger, but the science behind this new  charging method and the capabilities were nothing less than surprising.

Charging a phone is simultaneously incredibly simple and can be maddeningly complex. Depending on what you are using, how your using it and what you expect or what your trying to achieve.

Basically any USB port in the world can charge any phone, but some will recharge half your battery in the blink of an eye, while others can barely be able to keep up with your phone’s natural battery drain.

If you’re charging your phone on your nightstand overnight, the charger that came in the box with your device will easily get the job done over the course of seven hours.

But if you’re trying to get some extra juice into your device between meetings at work, during a few minutes at the gate before your flight boards, every percentage point you can add to your phone’s battery meter counts.

Luckily, the charging world is finally starting to use a single standard: USB-C Power Delivery, which can communicate with your device to deliver the fastest charging speeds it can handle.



Typical connectors on charging cables


The charger you use with your phone overnight doesn’t need to be fast. Fast charging really shines in situations where you only have a few minutes to recharge, but will need your phone to last the rest of the day. If you spend a lot of time traveling, or work in a job that takes you away from your desk, a few minutes of fast charging can be all it takes to keep your device alive for the rest of the day.

It’s also worth noting that most phone manufacturers throttle charging speeds on nearly-full batteries, both for safety and for the lifespan of the battery. For example, once your iPhone reaches 80%, its charging speeds will automatically drop no matter what it’s plugged into. So if you’re hoping to fast-charge your device during your morning commute when your battery is still over 90%, its not going to happen.


Most iPhones ship with a tiny, 5 watt charging brick, but for nearly a decade now, Apple’s phones have supported charging speeds of up to 12 watts, which is why you’ve probably noticed that your phone charges faster when plugged into an iPad charger.

But all of the latest and greatest iPhones (starting with the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, from 2017) support even faster charging, up to 18 watts, with a compatible USB-C Power Delivery charger and a USB-C to Lightning cable.

It was found that 18 watt and greater chargers could charge an iPhone battery from 0% to over 50% in just 30 minutes. The included 5W charger, by comparison, barely cleared 25% in the same time period.

Pretty much any USB-C Power Delivery charger will max out your iPhone charging speed, including the latest lineup of small, gallium nitride-powered chargers.



Conventional and Gallium nitride-powered changer

The 18W Anker PowerPort III Nano is esentially the same size as the charging brick that Apple includes with most iPhones, and is one of the smallest and most travel-friendly options available.

If you only want to bring one charger with you while traveling, RAVPower’s 30W charger includes an 18W USB-C port, plus a 12W USB port that you can use to charge a second device simultaneously.



#4 USB-C Power Delivery pcb




Android phones, which are made by a variety of different manufacturers, are understandably a bit more complicated and used the Micro-USB connector prior to the USB Type C Power Delivery change.



Micro USB on most Android prior to USB Type C Power Delivery

For many years now, most high-end Android phones have supported Qualcomm Quick Charge technology (though some, confusingly, rebrand the technology with their own names). Quick Charge begat the faster Quick Charge 2.0, which begat the even faster Quick Charge 3.0, which has given way to Quick Charge 4.0, which for all intents and purposes is the same thing as USB-C Power Delivery.

Luckily, most modern Android phones support some variety of USB-C Power Delivery just like the iPhone (though, again, many will have a different name for it), but the exact implementation can vary from phone to phone.

For example, Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10+ use non-standard 25W charging profiles that are incompatible with most third party chargers. But with very few exceptions, the same chargers we mentioned earlier for iPhones will also charge your Android device quickly (assuming you have a USB-C to USB-C cable).

There is also a new technology developed called PowerIQ 3.0 technology, which is able to communicate back and forth with almost every major device, and adapt its output to deliver the fastest possible charging speed, whether you’ve plugged in an iPhone, an Android phone, or even a laptop.

#7 Nekteck 45w Car Charger612budrohjL._AC_SL1200_

And if you want to maximize your charging time while you’re driving to and from work, this Nekteck car charger includes a 45W USB-C port that’ll charge everything from your phone to a laptop, plus an additional USB port for a second device.

Battery Packs

If you want to fast-charge your iPhone on the go without a power outlet, many USB battery packs released over the past few years support USB-C Power Delivery charging as well.

The RAVPower 26,800mAh pack features a 30W USB-C port, two other USB ports, and is one of the highest capacity batteries that you can legally take on a plane. Great for long flights or camping trips.


NOTE ** When shopping around for a cheaper way to go for your particular needs make sure that it’s MFi-certified, which means it has Apple’s seal of approval, and is guaranteed to be compatible with your iPhone.

For more information on Gallium Nitride chargers and why and how they are going to revolutionize the charger market, click here for  the full download:  Gallium Nitride chargers



August 23, 2020 2020 at 8pm  

“Ham Radio…1000 hobbies in 1”

That statement was made by a TV news person describing an interview at a Ham Radio Field day event up at Mt. Charleston in Las Vegas, after talking to over 25 hams.

The one thing about ham radio is that you can dive as deeply as you want into the field of electronics, communications, antennas, digital communications, public service, contest -as competitive operating, solar applications, geophysics sciences, world-wide DX-ing  as it’s called, building robotics using ham radio to communicate with, Test Equipment – Building it and using, Radio Interference, Grounding and many more including just using ham radios as your personal communications tool.

Let’s try to break it down into some categories and then dive into the categories even farther

Software Defined Radio


Above is Nate’s N8BSD SDR project


<1MHz to 3000MHz – USB PC SDR dongle cost about $25 

Terrestrial Microwave
– 1 GHz & Up

Microwave Meshhttps://www.arednmesh.org

Weak signal

– HF, VHF, Microwave
– Tropospheric ducting

     – Meteor Scatter

     – Plane Scatter

– Microwave GEO (QO-100, Es’hail 2)
– ISS (Voice & Packet)

– ATV/DATV (amateur TV)


– SSTV ( see below)
– NTSC Format


Digital Data modes
– CW



– FT4 / FT8


WSPR – Weak Signal Propagation Radio

– APRS / Packet Radio

-WINLINK    https://www.winlink.org/


Send and receive E-mail over HF ham radio


Digital voice modes


– Allstar Voip


Allstar node for Rasp Pi without a radio 

– P25

– EMCOMM / Skywarn


A portable GO BOX with radio, tuner, power supply and internal battery





Summit On The Air involves hams taking their radios to the tops of mountains and making contacts to gather points per contact.



Jamboree On The Air

Antenna building / radio building / tinkering


Homebrew T-hunt antenna attenuator made out of printed board material

What about the frequencies?

Starting at the lowest and going higher

VLF below 500 khz


Very Low Frequency antenna

 620 meter band

1750 meter band part 15

2200 meter band – This is the lowest frequency a ham can transmit on, 136 KHz.


HF 1.7 to 30 mhz

maxresdefault - Copy

From the modest, starting out…..to the

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Avid Heathkit builder

CW ( Morse code)



NO7BS SSB operating station (just out of the picture is his Henry 2K Linear Amp)


FM on 10 meters


Some CB radios can be modified to operate on 10 Meters

Digital modes, pactor, sitor, amtor, winlink, psk31, ft-8, more


Sample of FT-8 screen on your computer



Slow Scan Television from NO7BS today



DXing is the hobby of receiving and identifying distant radio or television signals, or making two-way radio contact with distant stations in amateur radio or other two-way radio communications. Many DXers also attempt to obtain written verifications of reception or contact, sometimes referred to asQSLs “




By operating on battery power and other qualifiers more points are earned


NR5M Radio club contest station

VHF 50 mhz to 225 mhz

6 meters magic band



Meteor scatter

Sporadic E layer skip


Auroral scatter

Chasing the MUF

MUF propagation prediction is a statistical science. The maximum usable frequency (MUF)is the highest frequency that, with a probability of 50% of the time, can be used for radio communication between two points at a specified distance (but not necessary in all directions) via refraction by the ionosphere.


2 meters 144-148 mhz




Home made T hunt antenna & mount


Digital modes, DMR, Fusion, DStar, P-25

Packet radio





UHF 300MHz to 3000Mhz



Digital modes, Allstar, DMR, Fusion, DStar, P-25

Weak Signal


Packet radio


Moon Bounce also called EME








Wideband FM

Narrowband FM


Weak signal

Propagation modes

Tropospheric scatter

Rain/snow scatter


Millimeter wave above 50 ghz

Here is a paper on getting on first 725GHz!

First connection in the 725 GHz amateur band DB6NT 7

This is a vintage Ham Radio film please watch it and see how some of us got going in ham radio with so much enthusiasm.


We have only scratched the surface….


August 9, 2020 2020 at 8pm  

“What is the “Cloud”…really?”

To some of you, no explanation is needed.

However this week I received the above question for the third time from three different hams over the past couple of months.

I am going to pretty much use most of my narrative on screen so that it will be available for later lookup. I have a feeling that this will be a Tek Net that will spark interest to others unaware of the HARC TekNet.

We have received positive comments on adding the entire Tek Net audio file of the evenings Tek Net at the end of the session after the net, for those folks that missed the net can listen to it in its entirety at a later time.

For those who don’t know much about me, I’m an old guy (70 years old) and got my ham license 47 years ago and still get referred to as youngster by some of our regular Tek Net members! lol

Having been pretty active in amateur radio for most of that time, I will be the first to admit that I have forgot many things technical or plain don’t know a lot about some technological things.

Modern technology too often uses unclear phrases to describe new technologies whose meanings can be tough to comprehend from their contexts. “Big data,” “internet of things,” and “5G” are a few that come to mind.

However, few are more confusing than “the cloud”, the invisible data storage system that seems to exist in the air/ atmosphere around us, despite being made of very real and physical components.

I’m going to try my best to explain just what “the cloud” is, so the next time one of your neighbors asks you what is it or so you can understand what is meant when you hear a tech person toss the term around.


What is the cloud?

The cloud is a metaphor for a global network of remote servers that operates as a single ecosystem, commonly associated with the Internet.

Shane Huston KG7QWH our HARC Tek Net IT Specialist defines the cloud as the following:

The Internet is drawn as a Cloud.  The cloud consists of thousands of Switches interlinked utilizing routing protocols to send your packet to the destination you intended.

What does the cloud do?


At its most basic, the cloud is the umbrella term for the global network of servers that store data. This data can be almost anything. This includes a text document saved to Google Drive, a file shared by colleagues over Dropbox, or a song that an artist makes available through SoundCloud.

The data that make up these files is hosted on large server farms, some of which may be owned by the companies themselves, others of which are rented like Microsoft Asur, Intel Multi Cloud, Digital Ocean, Amazon Lightsail, and many others.

The main appeal of utilizing the cloud instead of saving files on a physical drive or a local network is that once the files are on these systems, they can be accessed from anywhere by anyone. It is this kind of access that allows virtual teams to collaborate around the globe and allows today’s hyper-mobile workforce to engage with projects from remote settings.

How do you get to the cloud?

Even if you don’t realize it, you probably interact with the cloud on a regular basis. Most cloud-based services are designed to be accessible from a simple web browser on a desktop or mobile device.  Many functions we depend on rely on the cloud, such as email services like Yahoo Mail and Gmail.

However, the cloud can be utilized to perform more advanced functions than just this. Cloud servers are high end pieces of technology, and other devices can take advantage of their computing powers.

For example, a popular new piece of technology is Google’s Chromebook, which is a low-cost laptops running on comparatively cheap, low-powered hardware. They are entirely dependent on an internet connection to hook up to cloud-connected apps and services, meaning that you can get high-level functionality out of inexpensive equipment.


Inexpensive Google Chromebook laptop

Cloud storage helps preserve data

#3 Storage

Storing data on the cloud instead of on a hard drive (internal or external) not only makes it easy to reach from anywhere, it helps save local storage space and ensures that file’s safety.

Tools such as Google Photos can be set up to automatically upload photos to cloud storage, meaning that your phone never fills up, you can take as many photos as you want, and if your phone gets damaged, the photos won’t be lost.

Are there any risks with the cloud?

As with any new technology, there are some things that you should be aware of. Since cloud-based data requires an internet connection, if you find yourself without one, you cannot access your data unless you pull a hard copy off before you lose service. In addition, data that exists someplace beyond your phone or desktop is at a slight security risk, so be aware of this when saving sensitive information.

Finally, since the data leaves your physical control when it goes on the cloud, you can’t protect it from being destroyed by some sort of disaster at the server farm.

However, most servers include more back up and safety systems than the average user would have anyway, so this risk is negligible.

So, the next time your coworker sends you a photo to review or a friend shares a song with you, remember, it is all thanks to the collaborative power of the cloud.


I hope this answered some of your questions about what is the “cloud”.

The following audio clip was created by Dave AG7ZF so you can enjoy this evening’s narrative of the entire net.

There is some after net discussions too.

73 – Earl


August 2, 2020 2020 at 8pm  

“Connector Basics – RF connectors 100”

Tonight’s moderator is Tony Dinkel WB6MIE

Tony has over 50 years experience with all types of RF connectors on about as many pieces of electronic and communications equipment. He will be able to answer your questions regarding the different kinds of RF connectors and of course we welcome all comments to the net.

Tony’s presentation photos are located here https://www.facebook.com/104477997564655/photos/pcb.304596007552852/304590967553356/?type=1&theater

The following audio clip was created by Dave AG7ZF so you can enjoy this evening’s narrative of the entire net.


An additional download on the new band plan changes allowing Technicians HF frequencies is here:


73 & see you next week!


July 29, 2020 2020 at 8pm  

“APEX presentation for HARC’s TAG meeting”



#1AMountain Range




















#17Apex Interior - Feb 01 '19 01_22_02 PM













The end…73


July 26, 2020 2020 at 8pm  

“Connectors Basics (or 101)  – Audio types” (and a few others too!)

Continuing in our Connector Basics presentation tonight we’ll be touching on the audio types of connectors used in modern devices and and some of the Do’s and Don’ts when using them in your own projects.

Audio Connectors

Another familiar connector group are those used for audio-visual applications–RCA, phono and phone type. While these can’t truly be considered to be of the same family, as the various USB connectors are, we’ll consider both of them to be in the same vein while discussing them as audio connectors.

You’ll probably immediately recognize the 1/8″ version of this connector as a the plug on the end of a pair of headphones. These connectors actually come in three common sizes: 1/4″ (6.35mm), 1/8″ (3.5mm), and 2.5mm. ¼” size connectors find a lot of use in the professional audio and music

“Phone” Type Connectors

#1     1/8″ or 3.5mm phone plug

 Phone type

Headphone-type TRS phone plug, 1/8″. Typically, tip and ring will carry the stereo audio signals while sleeve will be connected to ground.

Often times the 1/4″ phone plug is called a professional or music industry instrument connector or an older stereo headphone plug.

Most electric guitars and amplifiers have 1/4″ tip-sleeve (TS) jacks on them. Some home entertainment center stereo amplifiers still have a 1/4″ headphone jack on the front panel.

The most common headphone plug on newer equipment is the “Mini” phone plug which is 1/8″ (3.5mm) tip-ring-sleeve (TRS) is very common as the connector for headphones or audio output signals on MP3 players, cell phones or computers input and output connections.

A least common plug is the “Micro” phone connector, I have seen these become more scarce on more audio equipment but they are still in use.

Some ham radio handhelds provide a 2.5mm tip-ring-ring-sleeve (TRRS) jack for connecting to headphones that also include a microphone for hands-free communications. There are lots of combinations being used on most of the Chinese and Japanese import HT radios for the headphone and external microphone connection.

The common availability of these connectors and cables makes them a good candidate for general purpose connectivity applications–for instance, long before USB, Texas Instruments graphing calculators used a 2.5mm TRS connector for a serial programming connector.

The lack of shielding makes them poor candidates for high-speed data, but low speed serial data can be passed through these connectors easily.

It should be remembered that tip-sleeve connector types are not designed for carrying power; during insertion, the tip and the sleeve can be momentarily shorted together, which will do damage to the power supply.


#2     1/8″ Mono phone plugphone plug

1/8″ phone plug. Note the lack of a ring contact on this connector.

#3     1/8″ Stereo Jackphone jack

                   1/8″ printed circuit board mount headphone jack 

With corresponding pin connections labeled. When no jack is inserted, an internal switch connects the tip and ring pins to the adjacent unmarked pins, allowing insertion detection.


#4   4-circuit Specialty plug4circuit plug

This 4 pole plug is what your cell phone has installed so that a headset with a microphone can be used. This plug has also been found to be in some home audio/video equipment for the Left and Right audio as well as the video signal.

#4A  Tip-Ring-Ring-Sleeve plug


RCA Connectors

Familiar as the home-stereo connector of choice for many decades, the RCA connector was introduced in the 1940s by RCA for home phonographs. It is slowly being supplanted by connections like HDMI in the audio-visual realm, but the ubiquity of the connectors and cables makes it a good candidate for home-built systems. It will be a long time before it is obsolete.

Female RCA connectors are usually found on devices, although it is possible to find extension or conversion cables with female jacks on them. Most RCA connectors are connected to one of four types of signals: component video (PAL or NTSC, depending on where the equipment was sold), composite video, stereo audio, or S/PDIF audio.


#5 RCA Phono


Female RCA connector, for video signals. Typically, NTSC or PAL video signal connectors will be yellow.

Left & Right audio phono jacks and plugs are typically colored Red & White.

Male RCA connectors are usually found on cables.

#6 RCA Phono Cables


Male RCA plugs. Red and white are usually for audio applications, with red denoting the “right” audio channel.

Some consumer RCA cables will have a third wire ( Yellow) that is a bit larger than the Red & White wire, this is a Video cable and is typically a 75 ohm wire.

Power Connectors

While many connectors carry power in addition to data, some connectors are used specifically to provide power connections to consumer devices. These vary widely by application and size, but we will only focus on some of the most common ones here.

Barrel Connectors

Barrel connectors are typically found on low-cost consumer electronics which can be plugged into wall power via bulky AC wall adaptors.

Wall adaptors are widely available, in a variety of power ratings and voltages, making barrel connectors a common means for connecting power to small projects.

The female barrel connector, or “jack”, can be purchased in several varieties: PCB mounted (surface mount or through hole), cable mount, or panel mount. Some of these connectors will have an additional contact that allows the application to detect whether a power supply is plugged into the barrel jack or not, thus allowing the device to bypass batteries and save battery life when running on external power.

#7 DC & AC Barrel connector

barrel plug

Unattached male barrel plug, for attachment to any power supply. Note that the sleeve connection is designed to be crimped onto the wire for extra strain relief.

The male barrel connector, or “plug”, is usually only found in a wire termination.

Barrel connectors provide only two connections, frequently referred to as “pin” or “tip” and “sleeve”.

When ordering, there are three differentiating characteristics of a barrel connection- inner diameter (the diameter of the pin inside the jack), outer diameter (the diameter of the sleeve on the outside of the plug), and polarity (whether the sleeve voltage is higher or lower than the tip voltage).

Sleeve diameter is most commonly either 5.5mm or 3.5mm.

Pin diameter is contingent upon sleeve diameter; a 5.5mm sleeve will have either a 2.5mm or 2.1mm pin. Unfortunately, this means that a plug designed for a 2.5mm pin will fit in a 2.1mm jack, but that the connection will be, at best, intermittent. 3.5mm sleeve plugs usually mate to a jack with a 1.3mm pin.

#8 DC & AC Barrel Jack

barrel jack


There are varying opinions on the gender of the jack and plug for these low power coax connectors.

Depending on where your get these connectors, the jack can be referred to “male” barrel connector due to the pin in the center and vice versa for the plug. Make sure to check out the product image and specs to find what you are looking for! In the above illustration the Insertion Detect pin is a connection that makes contact to the shield ( normally ground) when there is no plug inserted and opens that connection when a plug is inserted.

This is used in battery applications to disconnect the internal battery when external power is applied to the device.


Polarity is the final aspect to consider; most often, the sleeve will be considered 0V and the tip will be a positive voltage relative to the sleeve.

Many devices will have a small diagram indicating the polarity expected by the device; care should be taken to adhere to this, as an improper power supply may damage the device.


#9 Polarity diagram


Common polarity diagrams for AC adaptors with barrel plugs. Positive polarity (tip positive, sleeve 0V) is most common.

The polarity diagram above can often be found at the connector jack of your equipment or on the serial number sticker such as on the bottom of a laptop computer.

This tells you the polarity of the instrument and is handy when you are making your own power cable. You will normally see this diagram on the wall transformer also telling you what is on the end of the plug.

Plugs of both sleeve sizes are usually 9.5mm long, but longer and shorter ones do exist.

Some products use a negative 5.5mm sleeve and a positive 2.1mm pin; we recommend sticking to that standard where possible, as it seems to be the most common flavor found in the wild.


#10 MOLEX Connectors


Male Molex connector. The gender of the pins inside the connector is what signifies the gender of the connector as a whole.

Most computer hard drives, optical drives, and other internal peripherals get power through what is typically called a “Molex” connector. To be more accurate, it’s a Molex series 8981 connector–Molex is actually the name of the company which initially designed this connector back in the 1950s–but common usage has denuded that fact somewhat.

Molex connectors are designed to carry a lot of current: up to 11A per pin. For projects where a lot of power may be needed–a CNC machine, for instance, or a 3D printer- a very common method for powering the project is to use a desktop PC power supply and connecting the various system circuits through Molex connectors.

The Molex connector is one where the male/female terminology is a bit odd. The female connector is usually found on the end of a cable, and it slips inside of a plastic shell which surrounds the male pins on the male connector. Usually, the connectors are press-fit only, and very, very tight–they are intended to be connected and disconnected only a few times and, as such, are a bad choice for systems where connections will frequently be changed.

#11 MOLEX Cable connectors


MOLEX plugs and jacks are outfitted with some sort of indexing or locating capability, that allows the plug to be inserted one way only, sort of a polarity measure. (notice the corners missing on this hard-drive power cable connector)

Molex connectors can come in a variety of number of connections to meet your applications.

#12    Multiple pin Molex connectors

12pin molex

IEC Connector

IEC connector usually refers to the power supply inlet which is commonly seen on desktop PC power supplies, electronic test equipment and other devices reguiring a three conductor (grounded) power cord.

Strictly speaking, that’s an IEC 60320-1 C13 (female) and C14 (male) connector.

#13 IEC 


C14 male IEC power inlet, on a DC project power supply. Note that, as with the Molex connector, the gender of the connector is defined by the pins within the hood.

#14 IEC Cable


C13 female IEC power connector, on a fairly standard AC power supply cable. Cables with this end can be found all around the world, usually with the dominant local AC connector at the other end.

IEC connectors are used almost exclusively for AC power input. The nice thing about using one on a project is that IEC-to-wall cables are extremely common and available everywhere.

Well folks this went longer than I had anticipated, but this is all stuff that can come in handy when information is needed in the future and you will know where to go to find it!

Did you want to review a piece of information mentioned in the narrative, you can find it in the following audio file of tonights Tek Net. 

The following audio clip was created by Dave AG7ZF so you can enjoy this evening’s narrative of the entire net.

                     73 until next week!


July 19, 2020 2020 at 8pm  


This is our open forum type net, and always comes up with some interesting discussions.

Remember anything Ham Radio is fair game.

Did you want to review a piece of information mentioned in the narrative, you can find it in the following audio file of tonights Tek Net. 

The following audio clip was created by Dave AG7ZF, enjoy this evening’s narrative of the entire net.


July 12, 2020 2020 at 8pm  

“Connector Basics”

This evening’s topic was suggested by one of our regular Tek Net participants.

This will be a refresher for some and new material for others, however by having all this data about connectors and the wiring to such in one location will provide a really easy access point for future connector references.


Connectors are used to join subsections of circuits together. Usually, a connector is used where it may be desirable to disconnect the subsections at some future time: power inputs, peripheral connections, or boards which may need to be replaced.

I’m going to touch on the following and expect that many members tonight have experience with connectors. so join in.

  • Basic connector terminology

  • Categorize connectors into distinguishable categories

  • Talk about the differences between connectors within those categories.

  • Show how to identify polarized connectors

  • Talk about which connectors are best suited for certain applications


Connector Terminology

Gender – The gender of a connector refers to whether it plugs in or is plugged into and is typically male or female, respectively (kids, ask your parents for a more thorough explanation). Unfortunately, there are cases where a connector may be referred to as “male” when it would appear to be female; in the examples section, we’ll point a few of those out as we discuss individual component types and explain why that’s the case.



Male (left) and female 2.0mm PH series JST connectors. In this case, gender is determined by the individual conductor.


Polarity – Most connectors can only be connected in one orientation. This trait is called polarity, and connectors which have some means to prevent them being connected wrong are said to be polarized, or sometimes keyed.


A polarized North American wall plug. By having two different widths for the plug blades, the plug will only go into the outlet one way.


Contact – Contacts are the business portion of the connector. They are the metal parts which touch each other, forming an electrical connection. This is also where problems occur: the contacts can become soiled or oxidized, or the springiness required to hold the contacts together may fade with time.



Pitch – Many connectors consist of an array of contacts in a repeated pattern. The pitch of the connector is the distance from the center of one contact to the center of the next. This is important, because there are many families of contacts which look very similar but may differ in pitch, making it difficult to know that you are purchasing the right mating connector.


The pitch of the pins on the headers on a standard Arduino is .1″.


Mating cycles – Connectors have a finite life, and connecting and disconnecting them is what wears them out. Datasheets usually present that information in terms of mating cycles, and it varies widely from one technology to another. A USB connector may have a lifetime in the thousands or tens of thousands of cycles, while a board-to-board connector designed for use inside of consumer electronics may be limited to tens of cycles. It’s important that you select a connector with a suitable life for the application.


Mount – This one has the potential for being confusing. The term “mount” can refer to several things: how the connector is mounted in use (panel mount, free-hanging, board mount), what the angle of the connector is relative to its attachment (straight or right-angle), or how it is mechanically attached (solder tab, surface mount, through hole).

Here are three examples of the same connector




Strain relief – When a connector mounts to a board or cable, the electrical connections tend to be somewhat fragile. It is typical to provide some kind of strain relief to transfer any forces acting on that connector to a more mechanically sound object than the fragile electrical connections. Again, there will be some good examples of this later on.

Starin relief

This 1/8″ headphone jack comes with a strain relief “boot” slid over the cable to prevent forces on the cable from being transmitted directly to the electrical joints.


USB connectors come in two flavors: host and peripheral. In the USB standard, there is a difference between the two, and the connectors on cables and devices reflect this. However, all USB connectors will have some things in common:

  • Polarization– A USB connector can only nominally be inserted one way. It may be possible to force a connector in wrong, but that will result in damage to the device.

  • Four contacts– All USB connectors have at least four contacts (although some may have five, and USB 3.0+ connectors have even more). These are for power, ground, and two data lines (D+ and D-). USB connectors are designed to transmit 5V, up to 500mA.

  • Shielding– USB connectors are shielded, such that a metal shell which is not part of the electrical circuit is provided. This is important to keep the signal intact in environments with a lot of electrical “noise”.

  • Robust power connection– It’s important for the power pins to make connection before the data lines, to avoid trying to power the device over the data lines. All USB connectors are designed with this in mind.

  • Molded strain relief– All USB cables have plastic overmolding at the connector to prevent strain on the cable that could potentially damage the electrical connections.


USB extension cable, with some of the common features of USB connectors labeled.




USB-A female is the standard “host” connector type. This is found on computers, hubs, or any device intended to have peripherals plugged into it. It is also possible to find extension cables with a female A connector and a male A connector on the other end. (illustrated above)


Female USB-A ports on the side of a laptop. The blue connector is USB 3.0 compliant.



USB-A male is the standard “peripheral” connector type. Most USB cables will have one end terminating in a USB-A male connector, and many devices (such as keyboards and mice) will have a built-in cable terminated with a USB-A male connector. It’s also possible to find USB-A male connectors that are board mountable, for devices like USB memory sticks.

Male usb

Two types of Male USB-A connectors, on a cable and an stick development board.



USB-B female is a standard for peripheral devices. It’s bulky, but robust, so in applications where size is not an issue, it’s the preferred means for providing a removable connector for USB connectivity. It is usually a through-hole board mount connector, for maximum reliability, but there are panel-mount options for it as well.


Arduino boards, including this Uno, have long used the female USB-B connector, due to its low cost and durability.


USB-B male is almost exclusively found at the end of a cable. USB-B cables are ubiquitous and inexpensive, which also contributes to the popularity of the USB-B connection.

USBB male

USB-B male connector on the end of a SparkFun Cerberus cable.


The USB-Mini connection was the first standard attempt to reduce the size of the USB connector for smaller devices. USB-Mini female is typically found on smaller peripherals (MP3 players, older cellphones, small external hard drives), and is usually a surface mount connector, trading robustness for size. USB-Mini is slowly being phased out in favor of the USB-Micro connector

usb mini

USB-Mini female connector



USB-Mini male is another cable-only connector. As with USB-B, it’s extremely common, and cables can be found almost anywhere usually on electronic device power supply chargers.

usb mini male


USB-Micro female is found on many newer peripherals, such as digital cameras and MP3 players. The adoption of USB-micro as a standard charge port for all new cellular phones and tablet computers means that chargers and data cables are becoming increasingly common, and USB-Micro is likely to supplant USB-Mini in the coming years as the small-factor USB connector of choice.

usb micro

USB-Micro female connector




USB-Micro male is also a cable-only connector. There are generally two types of cables with USB-Micro male ends: one for connecting a device with a USB-Micro port as a peripheral to a USB host device and one for adapting the USB-Micro female port to a USB-A female port, to be used in USB-OTG capable devices.

usb micro male


USB 3.0 micro-B cables look similar to USB 2.0 micro-B connectors but they include additional pins for two differential pairs and a ground. This cable is often times seen on external storage devices.

usb 3

USB 3.0 Type A to Micro-B Cable


USB 3.1 C Cable

USB C packs 24 pins into the USB connector. Unlike the previous versions predecessors, this version is reversable! The design of the USB C cable also allows for current above 500mA for your power hungry devices.

usb c

USB 3.1 Cable A to C

Heads up! Depending on the cable, not all of the pins are broken out for USB C.

Some cables may be limited to the USB 2.0 specification with 4 pins as opposed to the full USB 3.1 specification. The reversible USB A to C cables and SuzyQable are a few examples.

Depending on the USB port that is used, you may also be limited in the amount of current that can be provided to your device.

This is it for tonight’s connector Basics.

We will continue on Audio/Visual and other types of connectors on the next segment of Connector Basics in 2 weeks.


July 5, 2020 2020 at 8pm  

“Adding an analog “S” meter to a radio with digital display.”

Tonight we will see how easy it is to add an analog meter to a radio that has a digital bargraph “S” meter, no meter at all.

The circuit is a 1 transistor circuit and is made on a 3/4″ X 3/4″ piece of circuit board material. It connects to a point in the radio where the IF signal is present ( Frank will explain).

#1 “S” Meter OriginalS Meter Original

#2 “S” Meter Circuit N2DKIS meter circuit for N2DKI (2)

#3 HTX212 with meter boardHTX with meter board

#4 Board tap point connectionSlide4

#5 HTX212 SchematicHTX212 Schematic Ful

#6 C47 Schematic pointC47 Schematic

#7 Tap Point C47Tap Point C47

#8 Meter box insideMeter box inside

#9 Calibration potentiometer close-upCal Pot Close

#10 Meter faceMeter Face

#11 Speakerspeaker

#12 Speaker TopSpeaker Top

#13 Dashboard ViewDash Board View (2)

You can see how the analog meter has good dynamic range, displaying less than half-scale on the meter while the digital bargraph is still displaying full-scale.

If you have any additional questions or comments for Frank, he can be contacted at frank@n2dki.com.

Anyone needing the parts to build this circuit can pick them up from Earl WB6AMT at his QTH in North Las Vegas.

This is a great addition to your transmitter hunting set of “Tools”, so come on out and have more fun from your ham radio.


June 28, 2020 

Field Day at the H5 location.

This year we were fortunate to be invited to the H5 repeater location to set up and operate from the QTH of WB6MIE Tony Dinkel.

Not having any HF antennas available, we had to do some setting up.

A new 8′ ground rod at the base of the HyGain AV-18VS antenna was one of the first things to enjoy doing.

A four sided grounding ring was silver soldered together, made from 2″ copper strap creating the connection point for the planned ground radials.




The Tuner was an SGC-230 Autotuner located out at the antenna base and was powered by a 12 volt gel-cel battery for the duration of the weekend as this was a temporary setup with the autotuner.


#2As-l1600 (1)


The 2,500ft roll of 14ga copper ground wire was Georgia Copper, and made silver soldering the radials to the grounding ring easy.


Ground radials were strung out to marker stakes and pulled tight. We started with four runs of over 100 feet each, and will have many more at varying lengths.


1-1/2″ Copper strap was used for the ground and the antenna connection leads.

As can be seen at the base of the vertical antenna, the base connection and loading coil with the taps for the different bands was left off of the construction of the vertical. The vertical is directly connected to the tuner’s antenna input with a copper strap.



The antenna is in the middle of the backyard of WB6MIE’s qth.

The only drawback I found with this antenna location was that the 120ft piece of feed line was short to get to the house, necessitating the addition of another piece of coax to reach the coax pigtail entering the house.



We were using 1/2″ Andrews heliax as well as a quality RG-213 coax. We were forced to use inline coupling.


The H5 repeater antenna support is 10ft piece of IMC pipe and is clamped to a railroad tie with six 2″ pipe clamps with lag bolts. There is an additional 8′ ground rod at the base of the pipe. There is a 75 ft piece of Andrews 1/2″ Superflex Heliax to the repeater.


#9 The H5 8-bay Andrews DB-408 antenna. The antenna is oriented so that the major lobes of the antenna concentrate the energy North and South onto state highway #160.




#10   The operating positionDSCN2357

#11  Our logging software was WA0H MicroLogDSCN2358


Can’t wait until next year!


June 21, 2020 at 8pm  


Every third Sunday of the month is our round table open forum “ASK the PROS” night.

Anything and everything is fair game so long as it is about communications …electronics….homebrew  or ham radio in general.


June 14, 2020 at 8pm  

“Repeater 100, Overview of Repeater Basics.”

Our guest moderator this evening is Tony Dinkel WB6MIE

What is a repeater?

To start off with, here is a typical place that you want to put a repeater. On top of a nice hill with a clear view and a fast drop in terrain to your desired coverage area. This…


Go here for Tony’s presentation.


The following audio clip was created by Dave AG7ZF so you can enjoy this evening’s narrative of the entire net.

Look for you next week!


June 7, 2020 at 8pm  

“Introduction to Surface Mount Devices soldering technologies”

Guest moderator tonight is Nate N8BSD

Please click on the link below to follow along with Nate’s discussion this evening.

Nate will pause after each slide to field any questions or comments, so speak up and don’t miss your chance to have your questions answered.


Here are the videos that Nate was talking about…enjoy





This audio clip was created by Dave AG7ZF so you can listen to everyone’s participation  of the entire net.

This will be a regular feature in the future….TNX Dave

As always this Tek Net will be archived so you may refer back and watch this slide show or the videos after the Tek Net as many times as you like.



May 31, 2020 at 8pm  

“What do you want to see from a Ham Radio Club”

With all the changes that Ham Radio Clubs have been  experiencing, I thought that it’s about time I find out what some of the annoyances are….what do you like about how clubs are now and what is something you would like see in the future.

Participate and speak your mind tonight…..


May 24, 2020 at 8pm  

“Using commercial radios on the ham bands” 

The big question…

Heard on this subject is WHY  and How do I do it?

I will be the first to admit that putting an old commercial radio on the air isn’t as easy as picking a radio up at Gigaparts or Ham Radio Outlet, that’s why it’s not for everyone.



  • QUALITY (Construction, parts)

















A little background…

#1 Older radios on ebay

 MaxTrac  (typical age – 35+ yrs old, typical price $20.00)




#2 XPR6550  (Very popular among hams)


#3 Batteries


#4 Mobile Chargers & other Accessories



#5 What  $100 will get you.  (your brand may vary)



Quality components- (drop test)

Performance- (drop test)


Service ability- (after drop test)

#6 Spurious emissions ( typical especially after drop test)


#7 Spurious emissions (commercial radio after drop)



The bottom line for me has been that using a commercial radio in Amateur service must be like “Baby’ing” it in comparison to what they were designed to go thru 8+ hours a day for years on end…your wear may vary!





May 17, 2020 at 8pm  


NO7BS, KG7QWH, WB6MIE, N8BSD and check-ins…. 


May 10, 2020 at 8pm  

“Building the Searcher Directional T-Hunt antenna kit” 

After having such a successful transmitter hunt yesterday, it was apparent that folks enjoyed getting out on a T-hunt…

Today I will review and build a Rainbow Kits SDF-1 “Searcher” antenna kit.

It has become a popular kit that a few locals use to “Sniff” the transmitter’s signal at the finish point.

When your so close to the transmitter that the signal level is so high that the receiver seems to be overloaded and a directional antenna can’t provide a directional bearing, this little 24″ dual dipole antenna really shines.

It doesn’t rely on signal strength to determine direction but rather the phase of the signal reaching the ends of the antennas.

If the signal coming into each antenna is out of phase you hear the audio tone superimposed on the modulation. Out of phase is when the ends of the antenna is not 90 degrees to the radio transmitter.

Since the antenna are phase dependent you will get a “NULL” at two points, these points are exactly 180 degrees apart.

With the antenna held in a vertical manner away from your body and rotated, the adjustable tone that the unit superimposes on the received signal will go into a null as the two antennas are brought to the same distance from the transmitter you are direction finding. At this point  the antennas are equal distances from the transmitter in two directions. By moving 15 – 20 feet off to the side you can now get a new directional bearing ( remembering your first direction and crossing your new direction or triangulate the transmitter’s location) and tell you which way you need to go.

Let’s get started…

#1  SDF-1 The Searcher by Rainbow KitsRainbow_SDF1_1


#2  What’s included in the kitRainbow_SDF1_2

#3 Clear and concise instructionsRainbow_SDF1_3

#4  Ten minutes later…Rainbow_SDF1_4


#5 Prepping antenna cables Rainbow_SDF1_5DSCN2242


#6  Getting it all togetherDSCN2243

After soldering the leads from the circuit board to the BNC connector, potentiometer and the on/off switch  install a fresh 9 volt battery.

After going thru the check out procedure in the instructions, then it’s on to the operation part of the instruction manual.DSCN2244

My personal opinion of this kit is that you can spend a lot more money for a sniffer type antenna but you won’t get as much bang for your buck as you will from this kit.

On a scale of 1 to 5, it gets a solid 5.

Note– Some heavy duty Velco holding the radio to the Searcher case makes the job a little easier, utilizing a pair of headphones was the icing on the cake for this old guy with bad hearing.

Tonight’s kit is for sale for $60, call or text me at 702-372-9891 

These kits are available from http://www.rainbowkits.com or from myself at the monthly Las Vegas Ham Radio Swap meet when I have them in stock.


May 3, 2020 at 8pm  

“IT-101” Information Technology 101

Basic IT home networking essentials

with an emphasis for using with Allstar

About KG7QWH Shane Huston…

Shane is a retired Air Force NCO, has formal Information Technology training and has also retired from operating a successful IT service company serving the Las Vegas area.

He is a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer and brings a wealth of computer knowledge to the Tek Net today.

Shane welcomes your questions and comments, his mission is to assist us over some of these hurdles that can be extremely nerve racking (at least for me!).

Tonight is not the night to just sit back and listen….get those computer questions answered this evening in a clear and concise manner.

Here is Shane’s narrative, is suggested that you print this document out and follow along or refer back to it after tonight’s Tek Net.

May 3 Teknet_latest




KG7QWH Shane has been an active participant on the HARC’s  Tek Net since it began 10 months ago and is one of our regular “PROS” on Ask The Pros Night.

Shane frequents the HARC repeater network’s H2 & H3 repeaters.

You can send your questions to Shane at:  AGERanger10@gmail.com


April 26, 2020 at 8pm  

“Open Forum Night, anything goes!”

Lets talk about whatever is on anyone’s mind.

Antennas or antenna builds…

DYI projects your doing…


“Q” signals for the COVID-19 Times

QLD – I am Locked down.

QUA – I am quarantined.

QPD – I am in a pandemic.

QTP – I have toilet paper, want to trade for a car?

QFC –  I am flattening the curve.

QHG – I need a hug.

QSH – I am sheltering in place.

QHS – I have hand sanitizer, Want to trade for a car?

QSD – I am observing social distancing.

QVC – I hate Coronovirus.

Borrowed from the Fair Lawn (NJ) Amateur Radio Club April 2020 

April 19, 2020 at 8pm  


This being the third weekend of the month, tonight is the regularly scheduled “STUMP THE CHUMPS” night.

This is your opportunity to ask those questions that you think our regular “Experts” may stumble on or may not be able to answer.


April 12, 2020 at 8pm  

“Building a radio using the NiceRF SA-818 Walkie-talkie module”

#1 NiceRF.com  Analog & DMR modulesNiceRF_products

#1B  Where to get these componentsNiceRF

#2A SA-818 VHF/UHF Walkie-talkie moduleDSCN2108

#2B Technical DataDSCN2089

#3A EasyEDA Schematic/ PCB softwareDSCN2075

#3B  Radio schematicSchematic_MaxTrac Node Radio_Sheet_1_20200412125039

#5A Original breadboard version of the radioDSCN2097

#5B (back) point to point wiring methodDSCN2098

#6A Laying out the printed circuit boardDSCN2112

#6B How the finished unit looksDSCN2113

#7A  Bare boards delivered 3-4 days laterDSCN2099

#7B  SA-818 and parts installedDSCN2100

#7C  Assembly instructionsSA-818 Carrier Board

#7D DSCN2103

#7E   Solder filletsDSCN2101

#8A  Programming with the SU-108 program moduleDSCN2115

#8B  Select #9 “Start Bash Shell Interface”DSCN2125


#8C  At the prompt enter < 818-prog > DSCN2084

#9A  Radio installed into the projectDSCN2094


#9B  Allstar node in Maxtrac chassis


#9C Radio to Interconnect boardDSCN2096

#10A  Interconnect board wiringInterconnect Wiring



Printed circuit board kits are available from WB6AMT@cox.net, Paypal invoice will be sent back to you for payment, items are mailed that day.

SA-818 Carrier board parts kit – $12.00 each (minus SA-818 module)

(Plus shipping)

VOIP Interconnect board parts kit – $12.00 each  (Plus shipping)

AR4  4Amp Adjustable Regulator parts kit – $15.00 each  (Plus shipping)

April 5, 2020 at 8pm  

“FCC testing online”

KJ7NNU Joe is our guest tonight.

Press release on his testing session….


Enter the above in to your browser and read how Joe took his test for his Technician license from the comfort of his home.


March 29, 2020 at 8pm  

“How the COVID-19 has impacted Ham Radio” is tonight’s topic.

This will be an open forum style net.

Let’s hear how it has effected you and your ability to enjoy ham radio.

Staying home has this been the opportunity you needed to get on HF a little more.

Have you decided that now would be a good time to start a new project…possibly build a new circuit?

I have a treat for anyone starting a new build and needing components…..


March 22, 2020 at 8pm  

“Introduction to Software Defined Radios” will be tonight’s topic.

N8BSD Nate has put together a very informative presentation for everyone to follow along here.


Click on the above to start his presentation. To make a slide larger click on that image, then click on it to return back to the presentation.

He has a lot of photos and information to share tonight.

Take lots of notes and have your questions ready.

You can send your questions or comments directly to Nate at  <n8bsd0@gmail.com>


March 15, 2020 at 8pm  

“ASK THE PROS” will be tonight’s topic.



TRW SWAPMEET in Long Beach is cancelled until further notice.


Yesterday was the Fourth Annual ARES/Races 2020 Ham Radio Rodeo.

The event was hosted at the QTH of Frank N7ZEV and his wife Linda KC7IIT

This event puts a few Las Vegas ARES/RACES ham radio operators on display with their emergency preparedness vehicle setups.

A few of the vehicles









Various antennas in use






















Handheld Frequency & Deviation Clinic was available






March 8, 2020 at 8pm  

“DC Power Distribution” will be tonight’s topic.

People that do two-way radio mobile installations often times have a personal set of ideas or techniques that were taught to them or developed over time from installing mobile radios into many different locations in vehicles. and solving the problems encountered.

Attention to your vehicle’s electrical system capability is needed so that you don’t over tax the vehicle’s charging system.

Up grading to a premium battery will keep from causing headaches down the road.

If you are running a 100 watt HF rig, you should have a larger battery and upgrade your alternator to keep the battery up while transmitting and so that your antenna will see that 100 watts the radio is producing.

Typical mobile installation




All wiring that is done in a vehicle has to have proper fuse protection as close to the battery or positive power distribution point to break the path in case of a excessive current demand or damage to power leads causing contact to chassis metal.

#1A  High Current ProtectionDSCN2046

#1B High Current car stereo amp fuses




#2A Proper Vehicle Grounding/ Bonding



For maximum performance from the radio and to also insure that your DC power system will have a minimum of ignition/ alternator noise. This cuts down on the possibility of non-bonded surfaces from creating rectification noise where moving metal surfaces touch during movement or vibration. This can occur during receiving or transmitting.


#3A Power Distribution Points #8Ga feed


#3B  Anderson Power Poles makes it easy.DSCN2043


#3C HD Barrier strip distribution pointDSCN2049





#4B  Trunk area installation


Dual 55Amp Gel-cel installation, piece of acrylic plastic snaps over the connection bar.

#4C Cable management


Use rubber covered metal clamps when managing cable routes.

The following is for entertainment purposes only.

The scarey part is that someone actually thought that what they did in these installations were acceptable!


#5 DON’T EVER DO THIS…35518483_10155844956734635_9021045348835000320_n






Hope everyone enjoyed tonight’s topic. 73


March 1, 2020 at 8pm  

Using “Radio Mobile Online” Antenna Plotting software

Tonight’s moderator is Tony Dinkel WB6MIE on the uses of and how to take full advantage of this antenna propagation plotting tool.

Radio Mobile authored by VE2DBE.

This program is available for free and with only a few limitations frequency wise has the ability to plot paths between two locations and with the appropriate data input will display a wealth of information allowing you to optimize your repeater site’s performance.

This is also being used by many of the Las Vegas Mesh Node sites.

To download the software follow this link:


The installation instructions are very well documented and is easy to follow.

There is also a Yahoo users group that has a plethora of information on this program and is a great place for the exchange of ideas, tips, help and support from other users.


There is also an excellent Radio Mobile Online tutorial located here  http://pizon.org/rmw/

This site also has several other RF tools, formula calculators used for designing radio links.

  • Antenna Downtilt Angle

  • Downtilt Coverage Radius

  • Fresnel Zone

  • System Operating Margin

  • Watts to dBm

#1  5.8GHz path from Apex to WB6AMT QTH

apex-amazon plot



#3  Coverage plot of H1 repeater from Seven HillsH1_coverage

#4  Coverage are display of the C1 repeater on Pleasants Pk in Ca.C1Coverage

Any questions about this program or if you need clarification on using it can be sent to Tony’s email: wb6mie@outlook.com 

or to my email: wb6amt@cox.net

See you next week!



February 23, 2020 at 8pm  

Ground systems from the R56 manual

Motorola’s Standards and Guidelines for Communications Sites R56 Manual has been the go to handbook for those designing, building and maintaining a commercial communications site.

Our discussion this evening will talk about an issue that has occurred on the Henderson Amateur Radio Club’s Apex site.

That being a 60Hz hum that can be heard when a signal is no longer being received and for the duration that the transmitter is still transmitting (Squelch tail duration).

Ground Loop Hum is caused by a difference in electrical potential at grounding points. … When you have more than one piece of equipment in your system connected to a common ground through different paths at different ground potential, like different outlets on the same circuit, you can get a ground loop.

The following link will allow you to download and save The Motorola Standards and Guidelines for Communications Site Manual to your local computer, so that everyone can follow along and be on the same page (literally).


Some of what we will touch on is:

-Common Grounding ( Earthing) page 4-5

There shall only be one grounding electrode system. This include the AC power system ground, communications tower ground, lightening protection system ground, telephone system ground, exposed structural building steel, under ground metallic piping that enters the facility and any other ground system shall all be bonded together to form a single grounding electrode system.

#1Common Ground

Besides the ground elements shown above there could also be:

  • Fence grounding conductors

  • Tower guy wire ground conductors

  • Radial ground conductors

The main purpose of the grounding electrodes in the earth are to maintain the electrical equipment at the same potential as the earth.

The UL approved ground rod shall be constructed of copper-clad steel, solid copper, hot-dipped galvanized steel or stainless steel.

Stainless steel ground rods shall be formed of an austenitic stainless steel of the 18% chromium, 8 % nickel type.

According to code, the upper end of the ground rod shall be buried to a minimum depth of 24″ below the surface of earth.

#2Ground Rod Installation

Electrolytic Ground systems

#3Electrolytic ground

Grounding conductor shall be a minimum of #2AWG unless it is a lightening prone area or a military installation and it shall be a minimum of #1/0 AWG.

This conductor may be stranded , however the recommended stranded conductor shall be tinned.

Solid, bare, tinned, copper conductors should be used to minimize the galvanic corrosion between other parts of the grounding electrode system.


Open discussion about Apex.

February 16, 2020 

ASK THE PRO’S night.

There is going to be a little recap on some of last weeks discussion on “How my signal gets to the repeater”.

As we were closing the Tek Net last week there were a few issues that were left out of the discussion.

WB6MIE  Tony Dinkel will attempt to be on the net tonight from out of town to answer your follow-up questions.

Earl WB6AMT will ask “When was your first time participating at a Field Day event”.

What did you find unique about that experience?
















unnamed (1)

What will your next field day setup be like? 


February 9, 2020 at 8pm

How does my signal get to the repeater?

This evenings guest speaker is:


Tony Dinkel WB6MIE.

Tony has over 4 decades of experience in the commercial communications field and will bed able to answer all your questions on tonight’s topic.

It travels through the air…right? But there are always other factors in radio signal propagation. The best path from a transmitter to a receiver is always an “optical” path. That is, if you can see the receiver antenna, you have the best chance having an acceptable signal into the receiver.


Here is a good example of an optical path to our Apex H2 repeater:


apex-amazon plot


I picked a location very near to apex and I had to model 50 meter high antennas to get this path profile