Next Scheduled Meeting:
Friday, May 14, 6:30 P.M. / at Goodnow Park
(See Upcoming Events.)
About Our Club
The Manhattan, Kansas Amateur Radio Society (MAARS) was formed on July 7, 1976. The purpose of the club is to advance amateur radio in the Manhattan area. Since the beginning, the club has been active in different aspects of amateur radio, packet radio, satellites, community activities, ARRL Field Day, and amateur radio classes. Also, many club members have been very involved through the years with emergency communications and storm spotting. The club operates under the authority and guidelines of our Constitution.
To learn more about a committee or to volunteer, please contact the president.
MAARS Facebook Page
MAARS Google Group
PO BOX 613 Manhattan, KS 66505-0613
Reviving Packet and Other Modes
from Bill Dickinson, WSØI, May 2021
Myself and others across the states are trying to revive packet HF/VHF and some of other older analog modes, AMTOR, Pactor 1*, and GTOR**.
All the TOR modes that use ARQ modes, must be hardware TNCs, or require a HDLC card in your computer system. However, all the TOR also support a 1 to many broadcast mode called FEC, and these are supported by soundcard/software.
So for those with soundcard/radio interfaces Signal Link, Navigator, Microham devices, the best Packet software modem is the UZ7HO. It is very robust, and utilizes the Kantronics tone pair 1600/1800 center frequency 1700, and you will need a terminal program for TX. RMS Simple Term works very well.
The UH7HO software modem puts the AGW Packet engine to shame both the free and Pro versions. The UZ7HO software can be found here.
Also, there are other folks starting off the grid, no internet linking Packet networks, which utilize kit form KISS TNCs, that can be used on Windows, Macs, Linux, and even Raspberry Pi's running the G8BPQ Port Linbpq software.
The TNC board they offer will not work on HF Packet, however. If you are interested in this area of operation, the TARPN Network can be found here.
I am running a dedicated 24/7 40 Meter HF Packet Network Node, running BPQ32 software with a Dual Port TNC in KISS mode HF Port 1/VHF APRS Port 2. I am running a BBS/Mail Server and also a Chat Room Server, as well as APRS Igate/Digi/WX.
The Chat room is interesting, as stations that connect to the Room can all talk to each other, or create sub-rooms.
The LinBPQ port that runs on a raspberry PI also supports all these features.
So, if you're tired of all the FT-xxxx Modes, dust off your old TNCs, or hook that Soundcard interface back up and have a real conversation again.
If you have any questions, drop me a note.
*Pactor 1 was an open source mode created by SCS. All other Pactor Modes 2,3,4 are proprietary to SCS, and require license upgrade fees.
**GTOR is a proprietary mode from Kantronics.
from Doug Miller, KFØDAT, April 2021
Several of the MAARS group attended an online Emergency Comms-themed event. Thanks, John, for setting up the Zoom meeting. For anyone who did not have the opportunity, the YouTube videos and the slides/presentation materials will be available at the links below.
Comm Academy Archives
Morse Code Ninja Sticker
from Kurt Zoglmann, ADØWE, January 2021
If you would like a Morse Code Ninja Sticker, please reply directly to me with your callsign (or your address, if it is different than the one listed on QRZ). I would be happy to send you one. The stickers are four by two inches. They are UV resistant and waterproof, so you can put them on your car window, or even just a laptop/computer.
I have been sending out many stickers to celebrate my Morse Code Ninja website – https://morsecode.ninja, which is a great resource to learn more about Morse code. I have a Morse Code course, 1,000s of hours of practice to help you improve proficiency up to 50 wpm (and select content up to 100 wpm), and a comprehensive list of related resources. (If you are accessing the website on a phone, click the hamburger-looking icon in the upper-right corner to access the other pages.)
I normally ask for an SASE or a $5 donation, but I'm happy to give back to our local amateur radio club. :) I wish you all the best on your Morse code journey!
Amateur Radio Bands
from Myron Calhoun, WØPBV, January 2021
Here is the latest (Jan. 2020) band chart, which is available to anyone from the ARRL. (PDF, 1.2 MB) Other versions of the chart are available here.
Morse Code Speed vs. Proficiency
from Kurt Zoglmann, ADØWE, December 2020
Kurt says, "I wrote this story for my Morse Code Ninja website's Advice page — https://morsecode.ninja/advice/index.html. I thought at least a few in the club would find it of interest, perhaps even inspiring. Have you ever wondered what is involved in copying Morse code at high speed?
The unconscious mind's lightning-fast ability to process information is the key to copying code faster. As a general principle, as the Morse code speed increases, a larger amount of the processing and interpretation must be done by the unconscious mind. And this is directly related to the four levels of Morse code proficiency.
Levels of Morse code proficiency:
1. Conscious decoding of Dits and Dahs
2. Instant Character Recognition
3. Instant Word Recognition
4. Focus on the Meaning"
webmaster's note: Kurt's extensive comments on CW proficiency went out to MAARS members. He has a page on learning to copy two and three words at a time. Finally, Kurt has a YouTube video, Morse Code Speed vs. Proficiency.
Lunch SSB Roundtable
from Bill Dickinson, WSØI, September 2020
We have several folks who get on 3.805 MHz almost every day, from around 11:30 to 12:30 or so. It started when COVID-19 hit in March, and I was working from home. It has continued since then, even after going back to work, as I also run 80 meter mobile in my truck. We talk about anything and everything: radios, weather, news, etc. We have also been getting some of the older hybrid gear on the back on the air. So, if you happen to find yourself wondering what to do around this time every day, jump on and jump in for a bit. Everyone is welcome.
Licensed Amateurs in Riley and Nearby Counties
from Myron Calhoun, WØPBV, July 2020
Myron has compiled text files of area amateurs, as listed in the FCC database. He has lists for Manhattan, and Clay, Geary, Marshall, Morris, Pottawatomie and Riley counties. Click here to access the files. Thanks to Myron for doing this!
Emergency Checklist (If You're Called Out)
from Myron Calhoun, WØPBV, July 2020
- 3-day supply of food and water ready to go
- vehicle's gas tank at least half full
- arrangements for care of your family if called out
- a supply of operating materials (message blanks, pencils, logs, scratch or memo paper, etc.)
- a battery-operated transistor broadcast-band radio, with spare batteries
- a gas-engine generator for emergency power at a moment's notice
- portable antenna plans and materials available
- a completely portable rig that can operate independently of your vehicle
- identification, both on your car and on your person
- informed on assembly points or frequencies, or other emergency plans in effect locally
|List of Emergency Supplies|
||can & bottle openers
||3 days' food, water
||12V, 120V soldering irons
||flashlight & lantern
||tools (all kinds)
||hand & laundry soap
||tow & jumper cables
||towels & washcloths
||mirror & shaving gear
|gas & oil
||battery BC radio
||pencils & erasers
||maps, esp. local
||traffic log forms
On All Bands
from Bill Dickinson, WSØI, July 2020
I am not affiliated with DX Engineering in any way, other than being a customer. They have a pretty good Ham Radio Blog and Information web site. It is vendor neutral. Give it a look. (On All Bands)
Noise and Interference Mitigation Techniques
by Bill Dickinson, WSØI, May 2020
Bill says, "I thought I would provide a bit of online Elmering. I believe all of us are using fairly recently designed equipment, and I thought I would share a few tips and tricks for HF and VHF/UHF phone operations."
- [RX] Use your IF shift and IF Width Filters to move an interfering signal out of your receiver's passband, and utilize your Low Cut/High Cut filters to narrow your IF passband.
- [RX] If your equipment had DSP Noise Reduction utilize it, and if it is adjustable, play with the levels controls too much and you will start hearing DSP artifacts and distortion, so you have to vary it with conditions.
- [RX] The Noise Blanker can be a blessing and also your worst enemy. If it is a fixed type, you are stuck with on or off. If it is the adjustable type, less is more, and again setting it too high will cause AGC pumping action, distortion, and well as generate spurs throughout your receiver.
- [RX] The AGC Control another blessing and your worst enemy. Many are fixed with your options being Fast, Medium, Slow, time constants or Auto. Swap back and forth and see how your receiver acts between Slow and Medium. Do not rely on Auto.
- [RX] RF Gain: They made this adjustable for a reason, and everybody runs that baby cranked all the way to the right, that's your starting point, but did you know if you back that off, and increase your AF gain level, you would be amazed at the weak signals that pop up out of the noise that were being blocked by the AGC circuit action when it was running full bore.
- [RX] If you have a newer DSP based transceiver, adjust your receiver bandwidth filters, 1.8K, 2.1K, 2.4K 2.6K, 2.8K, 3K and if it allows for filter shaping, choose hard or soft shoulders as conditions warrant. A 1.8k will not be pleasant to listen to for very long, but it can help. Try different widths. Some allow you to create your own. Most transceivers default to 2.4, 2.6 or 2.8K.
- [RX] For the older rigs that utilize Crystal filters, if your rig does not have them installed, as many do not as these were options, look on the swap pages. Some can be found for reasonable prices, and 3rd party aftermarket filters which btw are actually better than the manufacturers' filters, are still available for many of the older popular rigs.
- [TX] The Speech processor, and or Compressor, utilize these as conditions warrant. Again less is more, but what will do is increase your average talk power, as well as boost your transmitted audio.
- [TX] If your newer DSP rig supports adjustable Transmit bandwidths, adjust these as needed. Many default to 2.4K or 2.6K, with low cutoff usually defaulting to either 200 or 300 Hz, and the High cutoff at 2600 to 2900 Hz.
John T. Frye's Carl and Jerry (from Popular Electronics)
from Myron Calhoun, WØPBV, May 2020
You don't have to be old to enjoy John T. Frye's Carl and Jerry stories, published in Popular Electronics from 1954 thru 1964 (119 stories altogether!), but it might help! -) Visit www.copperwood.com/carlandjerry.htm for "the rest of the story" (kudos to Paul Harvey), and for 10 stories you can download as PDF files.
I am attaching the first one, just to whet the appetite of all you young whippersnappers who haven't heard of Carl and Jerry before.
Harvard University Study on Morse Code in 1943
from Kurt Zoglmann, ADØWE, May 2020
I had the day off, and spent the afternoon restoring a fascinating research paper on Morse Code from Harvard University, released in the Journal of Psychology in July 1943! (PDF attached)
The outbreak of World Word II created a massive demand for the United States to train men in the use of the International Morse Code, perhaps as many as 10,000 men per month! The problem was that 30 to 60% of men entering radiotelegraphy schools failed to become proficient operators. The author, Donald Taylor, carried out experiments to determine aptitude and ways to shorten the length of time necessary to train men to become proficient with Morse code. The results are fascinating! And some of it goes against commonly held beliefs in the amateur radio community, even today!
I hope some of you will enjoy it!
All About Spectrum Scopes
from Kevin Loughin, KB9RLW, April 2020
KAØJPM here. I happened across an outstanding 27-minute YouTube video... an explanation of spectrum scopes, waterfall displays, etc., such as you'd see on an ICOM IC-7300. KSUARC has this radio, and until watching this, I had very little understanding. I don't know if I've ever seen a better instruction video. (link)
Remotely Administered Amateur Radio Exams
The ARRL Letter, April 2020
Facing a growing demand for amateur radio exam sessions in a time of stay-at-home orders, sponsors of some Volunteer Examiner teams are developing systems to remotely proctor test sessions. "Many of our VEs and VE Teams have been working on remotely proctored exam session ideas, employing both video and in-person components -- following social distancing protocols," ARRL-VEC Manager Maria Somma, AB1FM, said. Some teams are using a combination of Zoom and fill-and-sign Adobe PDFs. (link)
Midwest Division Newsletter
from Myron Calhoun, WØPBV, April 2020
There is some really-good HAM-related reading in the April 2020 ARRL Midwest Division Newsletter. (previous newsletters: www.arrlmidwest.org)
Newsletter highlights this month are:
My B-29 Flight
Ye Olde Ham Quiz
New Ham Production
After-Action Report: 2020 Missouri State-Wide Tornado Drill
ARRL Membership Statistics Update
Midwest Division ARRL Hamfests & Conventions
State QSO Parties in the Midwest Division
Midwest Division Special Event Stations
Morse Code Ninja
from Kurt Zoglmann, ADØWE, April 2020
"My interview on the DitDit.fm podcast was released recently: Episode #29 – Morse Code Ninja. Feel free to check it out! Bruce (N9WKE) was a lot of fun to talk to! It was a joy talking to him about my love and passion for Morse Code. We also spoke about my Morse Code Ninja web site, and many other tips for learning Morse code."
from Dave Mills, KDØAZG
Our NODE number is 369596 via KD0AZG-L. (LINK) No remote ability to access outgoing DTMF process to make outgoing calls. Inbound access is good, from other stations calling into the MAARS repeater from other locations from around the world.
In recent years, meetings were normally in the Manhattan Public Library. Because of Coronavirus, they have been in various locations that allow more distancing. See Upcoming Events below for details on the next meeting. Regardless of location, meetings are normally in the evening of the second Friday of the month.
Manhattan Weekly Net
Tuesdays at 8 P.M.
KSØMAN repeater, 147.255+ MHz
All amateurs (technician and above) are welcome to check in.
Following the net, we have the swap net. You can buy or sell any items found in the shack.
On-air negotiating is not permitted during the swap net.
Nets Around the Area
Sunday 9:00 Emporia ARES 146.985
Monday 8:00 RACES
Tuesday 8:00 Manhattan 147.255
Tuesday 8:30 Topeka 145.270
Wednesday 7:30 Clay Center 147.165
Wednesday 8:00 Salina 147.030
Wednesday 9:00 KLINK 444.525
Thursday 7:30 Pott/Jackson ARES 146.955 ???
Thursday 8:00 Osage County 147.300
Thursday 9:00 Emporia Club 146.985
Saturday 9:00 NCK ARES 444.525
President Benteman says, "The Wednesday 8 P.M. net is just for playing on different modes that normally aren't on the repeater. It doesn't have to be a 2m SSB voice net. It's for any mode, any band, just to learn new things, and get people involved and excited about different modes. We can use FLDigi, WSJTX, SSTV, voice, 70cm, 2m, HF, FM, AM, SSB, etc. Whoever would like to take the reins as net control on any given week, just speak up!"
|KANSAS HF NETS|
|M, W, F
||Kansas Phone Net
||Kansas AM Weather Net
||Kansas Phone Net
|Mon. - Fri.
||Central States Traffic Net
||Kansas Weather Net
||Kansas Sideband Net
||QKS CW NTS Traffic Net
||QKS SS CW Traffic Net
||QKS CW NTS Traffic Net
|KSARRL.ORG / 11-06-19
Officers – 2020-21
Located 1.5 miles south of Manhattan, Kansas, the MAARS repeater is at the KSDB site near K-177. The controller is an S-Com 7K. The repeater runs 10 watts output to a commercial antenna at 110 feet. Coverage as far east as Topeka and as far west as Abilene is common. The input frequency is 147.855 MHz, and the output frequency is 147.255 MHz. The repeater callsign is KSØMAN. The repeater is an open repeater, and may be accessed by any properly-licensed amateur.
Users of the KSØMAN repeater should be familiar with the autopatch procedures and other guidelines.
Visit the Kansas Amateur Repeater Council page for a comprehensive list of Kansas repeaters. (Click on RPT Directory.)
As of Jan. 2020, a new feature has been added for the KSØMAN 147.255 repeater. Audio can be monitored via Broadcastify.
|Manhattan Area Repeaters|
|KS1EMS||147.315 +||open||162.2||Ft. Riley / J.C.|
|KSØMAN||147.255 +||open||88.5||autopatch, wx net|
|KSØMAN||442.000 +||open||88.5||offset 447.000, AMS Mode, fusion or analog|
|WØKHP||444.525 +||open||162.2||Alma to Clay Center & Lawrence (map)|
Jan. 31, 2020: From Ryan Benteman, ADØTZ: Repeater Upgrade Announcement
As most of you know already, the KSØMAN 147.255 repeater was upgraded this afternoon. The two old repeaters were removed, and 125w Motorola Quantars were placed in their spot, along with a new duplexer set. This is still a full analog-only radio on the same frequency, with a tone of 88.5.
First off, many thanks to everyone who's helped with getting this repeater upgraded, both monetarily and physically. It's been a long process since October, when we started looking into the prospect of upgrading or repairing our Mastr II machine, and I'm pleased that the club now has a matching pair of very high quality repeaters that should last well into the future for us.
It still has battery backup, utilizing 200ah of UPS-grade backup batteries. The transmit power is 100w when it is under normal AC power, and 50w when under battery backup power.
The controller is different than what we had before. The repeater gives a CW ID every 10 minutes, and after transmission is a Nasa Quindar tone, with the same squelch tail length that the prior machine had. There are no voice announcements, no intros, just a CW ID and a beep after transmissions.
So far, initial reports are good, but I look forward to hearing any signal reports or problems you have with it. Our transmit power is the same as before, so I don't expect a coverage change, but it could have slightly better reception on the fringes.
repeaters in the rack, APRS radio on top, backup batteries to the side
(click photo to enlarge)
MAARS MONTHLY MEETING
ARRL FIELD DAY 2021
- Saturday, June 26 to Sunday, June 27
- Saturday 1800 UTC / 1:00 P CDT — Sunday, June 27 2059 UTC / 3:59 P CDT
- Tuttle Creek State Park / River Round Campground / Bob Fleming Shelter, located near the Cottonwood Nature Trailhead
- There is power, lighting, shade, plenty of space, and trees for wire antennas, and it is located close to the facilities/showers.
- A state park annual or daily ($10) pass is needed to enter.
- Google Map
- Details via Powerpoint
- MAARS Facebook page
- ARRL Facebook Group
- Learn more about Field Day here. *****
- Field Day Rules
LUNCH SSB ROUNDTABLE
- 11:30 A to ~ 12:30 P
- 3.805 MHz
- WSØI says, "We talk about anything and everything, radios, weather, news, etc. Everyone is welcome."