John McCoy, K4KBB, SK 11/29/20

It is with deep sorrow that I heard of my dear friend’s passing just a few days ago. He will be missed for his kind words and great sense of humor. We must remember all the things he did for the club in the many positions he held over the years. He had a way of lighting up a room with kindness and laughter. Please visit the online memorial pages that the funeral home has produced -HERE- and leave a note to the family. The service is on Friday 12/4/20 at 2 pm. See the announcement for the location. As the BARC club, we should pitch in to send flowers. Send a check or email to the treasurer(at)w4amc.com with your thoughts and donations.

Ride the radio waves forever and rest in peace, 73 Peter.


10kHz Wide Signal on 40M

This is a 10 kHz wide digital signal with a central carrier in the 40M band heard in NC and MD on 11/22/20 at 2:50pm ET heard from MD and NC. What is it? This is the second time I have heard it. Vimeo video link: https://vimeo.com/484529483 to hear it and tune the pan adapter.

Please leave comments on the BARC Blog on this: 73 N4PVH


Everyone Join Amazon Smile and support BARC!

Stop! Don’t do any more Christmas shopping until you change your Amazon Smile charity to Brightleaf Amateur Radio Club. By designating Brightleaf as your charity, a small donation will automatically be made to the club from each eligible purchase that you make. It costs you nothing extra, but will add up to support for the club.

You will need to go to smile.amazon.com and sign in to your existing account (you can create an account there if you don’t already have one).

  • Right under the search bar is a button that says AmazonSmile.  Hovering over that button brings up a box which allows you to choose a charity. There is either the word “change” highlighted in blue or a grey “change” button. Either one will take you to the next step.
  • My page comes up with a list of “spotlight charities” and a search bar where you will have to type in “Brightleaf Amateur Radio Club”. 
  • The search results on the next page will show the name of the club and the location here in Greenville. “Select” our club using the button on the right. 
  • It should bring up a page with a confirmation that you have selected BARC. 

You did it! Now you are ready to shop. You must be logged in through the Smile.Amazon.com page (as opposed to Amazon.com) for a donation to be made from your purchases. I added the page to my bookmarks toolbar for easy access.

Submitted by

Beth
KN4FZB

The”Bubba” Potato Gun

Well, we had to have a big tree trimmed as the last thunderstorm must’ve had a small tornado up at the top of the tree and twisted it off. It landed next to the house nearly took out my gutters but the house is OK. So I had to take down my random wire antenna out of the tree to be able to trim it and get the deadwood out of it. The tree is only 75 feet tall and trying to get my rope back up there with a slingshot was difficult. There are a lot of other things around there like powerlines just beyond the tree, parking lot with cars and other targets that we do not want to touch. Needless to say my slingshot decided to break. I had bought a “boss airgun” made out of PVC pipe about five years ago at a ham fest in Benson. I didn’t think it was all that great because he had to have an air compressor to charge it up. Well now it was time to test it. I realized that the 1 oz lead fishing weight would not be snug enough to fit the 1 inch barrel portion of the tube. I used a small portion of a paper towel folded up to make a “wadding” like is used in a musket gun. The weight was dropped in until it was against the valve. I charged the lower large diameter PVC pipe with 50 psi, aimed it and opened the valve. To my surprise the lead weight shot out of the barrel almost straight to the target clipping off some branches and leaves flying everywhere. I had the presence of mind to put my finger over the fishing reel to act like a break on the outgoing fishing line so that it would limit how far the lead weight would go. This was good because I think the lead weight was heading for the next county at the trajectory and speed that it was going. A second attempt was needed to try to get the fishing line in the right place. I noticed however as I was winding the fishing line back into the reel that the weight was hanging over a branch. As I gently pulled the line back out of the tree, the pendulum effect started to get quicker the shorter I made the line. I realized that if I didn’t let the pendulum effect die out, when the lead weight reached close to the branch it would be swinging so wildly that it would wrap itself around the limb. Then I would have the fishing line and the lead weight stuck in the tree and couldn’t get it out and would have to break the line. I avoided that mistake, shot again and this time I got the branch I want it. Lowering the lead weight to the ground allowed me to exchange it for a line that I want up in the tree. Rewinding the fishing line pull the line over the limb and we had a line 60 feet in the air. I did learn another lesson about the air gun: before you load the end of the barrel, close the valve. I didn’t and so when I packed the paper towel back into the barrel, it got caught in the valve and wouldn’t close properly. I decided to charge the gun with 10 psi and open the valve to blow the paper towel out of it and to my surprise the lead weight went flying out of the end of the barrel and when it reached the end of the fishing line, it bent the hook open and kept flying all the way into the river. I had a second 1 ounce fishing weight that made the trip over the limb this time. My advice is to pretend this is a loaded real gun and take the normal gun handling precautions with it. A 1 oz lead weight that can fly 60 feet into the air will probably not kill anything but it would hurt or damage your eye if it were to hit the wrong thing. (Remember the Christmas movie of the BB gun: “It could put your eye out”.) The unit is labeled not to go higher than 75 psi as probably the PVC pipe is rated for that. I cannot imagine which state the projectile would be landing in if I had used 75 psi so start with a much lower pressure and work up.

It was time to test the antenna once I had it raised back into place. It is a random 123 foot wire that is strung between two trees and then all the way down to the ground. There is a 9 to 1 balun with a groundplane of about 25 wires around it. All this is hidden in the bushes and halfway down the hill to try and hide it from the HOA police. I found that the ARRL sweepstakes contest was going on and decided to join in the fray. To my surprise I had two contacts in Hawaii, a couple more in Oregon, Washington state, California, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Maryland, South Carolina and Florida (can you say “multipliers”?) The 20 m band was hot on the West Coast and the 40 m band was hot on the East Coast. For the first time I heard Hawaii twice and managed to make contacts. Incredible performance for such a limited antenna.

You can also get a rope in another tree to put up lights in a form of a Christmas tree. The reward for doing this is to make you 90 year old mother happy so that she makes her special apple pancake for breakfast!!! YUMMM…

PS: anyone know what the broad band signal is seen on the Panadapter on 40m? Leave a comment. Be safe!

Elecraft founder visited BARC

We are fortunate to have one of the co-founders of Elecraft Radio, Eric Swartz, produce a presentation on zoom for BARC. It started at 7pm (EST) on November 10, 2020.

You should have be there!!! Yes, on Zoom.

He talked about the advanced radios that the two hams that started Elecraft are producing. These radios are “the state of the art” radios that are known for their performance. A question and answer session followed With many interesting questions answered. The video will be eventually edited and put up, notification will be done here. A link will be here to be able to link you to see the presentation.

There was a club meeting after the Q&A session.


What you can do with help…

My Dad is 92 and cannot get around much. Mom is 90, the two of them spend a lot of time in front of the TV. It is their window to the world during this lockdown as they cannot risk going out at all. So when their TV started switching on and off again, it was very upsetting. It was an older Samsung 42″ about 8 years old. To my surprise, my 46″ Samsung of the same vintage, started to do the same thing. I was spooked as one of these TV’s was in Maryland and the other in NC. A quick call to Danny Garris WD4CQ (Garris TV Repair in New Bern 252-638-4477) produced the information that the capacitors on the power supply were known to be weak and could be replaced. I bundled up both TVs and headed out to New Bern Friday after clinic. Garry told me he would guide me but that I could do the work!?! Yeah, right!

Bulging capacitors that needed replacing

I got there and we immediately proceeded to dismantle the first TV disconnecting the boards and inspecting them. Multiple caps had blown and “vented”. He showed me how to use a solder sucker to desolder and remove the caps. He then found the matching new better rated cap from his vast collection of the highest quality parts that you can imagine. Beautiful rows of drawers all labeled in order making finding the replacement a breeze. 14 caps later, I started on the second board. One cap is a surface cap that is known to go bad and it was replaced as well. The grounding contacts to the chassis were cleaned and re-soldered to make the best contact. The interior was cleaned of all the accumulation of dust. The TV reassembled and tested in all of the modes and inputs. Here is where the “MIRACLE” happens: it all worked very well and the image looked much better!

N95, socially distance repairs, “What the heck?”

To celebrate on a Friday night, what better thing to do with a good friend but order pizza and get on the local repeater net and check in. Danny is the President of the local New Bern Amateur Radio Club.

Once the pizza was consumed the second TV had the same procedure and success. He gave me a tour of the store and showed all the TVs he has repaired and has for sale. Some really impressive models and units he has. He does not just repair the one broken part but also takes the time to upgrade the unit so that it becomes reliable and performs at the best possible level. He has the attitude of “once I fix it I do not want it coming back frequently for repairs again.” In effect, he covers the weak spots in the engineering of the device so that it becomes more reliable as possible. I probably will never have to do the cap replacement again as all the caps we replaced and were of a much higher rating and quality. I wish that the rest of the world would adopt this attitude.

I drove home and set up my TV. I swear the picture looks better, sharper and brighter but I know all we did was work on the power supply area. It makes sense that if the energy coming into a system is not the best or has a ripple in the current, the rest of the components will also not work well either. Thank you Danny, now I have a better than new TV and a great respect for what you do!

73 PVH


Brightleaf Amateur Radio Club (BARC)

Started in the 1967 with a group of radio enthusiasts that came together to talk about and solve problems of using radios. Originally, the local tobacco growers were supporting the club and would donate $1 every time a QSL card was sent with “Brightleaf” on it. The name stuck but the support went away.

Our old web page is now archived on https://qsl.net/w4amc where a lot of old history is presently displayed. Videos and photos from activities, field day and events are displayed. Old Hamchatter Newsletter issues can be downloaded that our illustrious editor in chief Dave W4YDY toiled for 27 years as the editor. We could not get 30 years out of him but are trying to get him to continue! The Ham Chatter Newletters are archived here.

With the new web page on WordPress we hope to make it easier to read on any device, easier to edit and add content, and to ultimately pay dues right through this location in order to continue the mission.

Our mission includes:

  • Enjoy the hobby
  • Do good works helping the community in times of need and disaster
  • Make new friends, learn more about the hobby.
  • Develop new skills (soldering, trouble shooting, Morse code, contesting, kit building, antenna design etc…

When you get tired of one aspect of the hobby, just look around and there are many other things to do and learn like digital modes, slow scan TV and satellite communications. how about talking to the space station as most astronauts are hams!

As they say: Stay tuned! Stay turned on and enjoy.