Michigan State University Amateur Radio Club
© 2007-2008
2121 Engineering Bldg
East Lansing, MI 48825

Aug 2007 - Aug 2008 Archived News

Sunday, Apr. 27, 2008: MSUARC Cookout

MSUARC Members, Alumni and Friends,

The eighth annual MSUARC cookout will be held at my house on Sunday, April 27th. I am extending this invitation to all club members, affiliated faculty, staff, alumni and friends of MSUARC. The cookout will be from 6:00-8:30 P.M., rain or shine. Just the break you need before finals week!

The menu will include steak dinners for those who received or upgraded their license this year (let me know who you are). For the rest of us there will be plenty of the usual hot dogs and hamburgers.

Please RSVP by 4/24 (Friday) so I can buy enough food to feed everyone. You are also welcome to bring a spouse or significant-other, just let me know.

If you qualify for one of the steaks, please let me know that also.

Looking forward to seeing all of you.

Michael Shanblatt
K8MAS

Saturday, Apr. 19, 2008: Michigan QSO Party

12 noon to midnight local time. We usually do Multi-Op, Single Transmitter. There is no restriction on operating power in this class.

Here are the results for the contest.
421 contacts total
222 on 80meters
195 on 40meters
2 dupes (might as well make sure you got the person)
89 multipliers
TOTAL CLAIM SCORE: 37469

Thanks to David KD8BXT, Andrew (KE7ESD), Gregg (WB8LZG) for showing up and having fun at the MI QSO party. I will make sure no funny business goes on this year and make sure our log gets to the right person so we get credit for the contacts. Thanks to all for a great QSO party and look forward for MSU to be in the QSO party next year. I also think there is a college of champions or something to that effect I am not sure how to submit the log for that but will look into it. To sum it up we killed last year score of 15264 with 72 multipliers.

Saturday, Apr. 12, 2008: Jan 2007 - Apr 2008 Echolink log for W8MSU-R

As the title suggests, the Callsign log for W8MSU-R is available. It is about 150KB, and requires Adobe Acrobe 6.0 or higher to view.

Feb 21, 2008: W8UM-R now on Echolink

The University of Michigan Amateur Radio Club W8UM-R repeater is now on Echolink. The University Echolink listing has been updated.

Jan 19 2008: HAARP Lunar Echo test as recorded by Bruce K2BET

4 minutes long, MP3 download (500KB) [This file is no longer available.]

Nov 20 2007: MSUARC featured in Spartaneering Newsletter

Click for newsletter (we're on page 2) [This file is no longer available.]

Nov 17-18 2007: Voice Sweepstakes

Please let Prof. Shanblatt K8MAS (mas at msu.edu) know what times you are available for the sweepstakes, which runs from about 4PM Saturday to 10PM Sunday local time.

Nov 15 2007

The email listserv has been updated. If you haven't been getting emails from the listserv since now, you might need to signup again for the mailing list. To do so, please go to: http://mailman.egr.msu.edu/mailman/listinfo/msuarc-info/ and follow the directions to signup again.

Sept 17, 2007: NASA Audio rebroadcast school contact

Monday, Sept 17 9:25AM-9:50AM

Hear LIVE NASA astronauts speaking with students in Ann Arbor, MI.

Audio on 147.400MHz and 442.900MHz.

Sept 7, 2007: MSUARC Open House!

Friday, Sept 7 3:00PM-5:00PM

Engineering Building, Room 2121

Come see what amateur radio is about, and meet MSUARC club members!

Sept 7, 2007: MSUARC Fall Meeting! (AFTER the Open House)

Friday, Sept 7 6:00PM

Hannah's Koney Island, in the Hannah Plaza near Hagadorn/Service Rd. intersection

We'll discuss club business, especially equipment replacement/acquisition, and meet other members.

August 25, 2007: Sparticipation '07

Saturday, Aug 25, 6:00-10:00PM

We will be setup on the lawn under the tents near the MSU Auditorium. Hoping to have some sort of radio setup, and lot of flyers to hand out.

April 21, 2007: Michigan QSO Party!

12 noon to 12 midnight

HourCallsigns:
12PMKD8BXT
1PMKD8BXT
2PMKD8BXTNF8M
3PMNF8MWB8LZG
4PMNF8MWB8LZG
5PMWB8LZG
6PMW8KARK8MASWB8LZG
7PMW8KARK8MAS
8PMK8MAS
9PMKD8BXT
10PMKD8BXT
11PMKD8BXT


March 22, 2007: KT8X DXPedition presentation

6:00PM in Engineering Building 1225

Two MSU alumni travel to a remote South Pacific island to setup wireless communication with amateur radio stations worldwide! Hear of their travels and difficulties in establishing reliable worldwide communications links to as many locations as possible!

FREE PIZZA AND POP!

Jan 21, 2007: Repeater desense

Several dB of desense were noted.

Jan 20, 2007: North American QSO Party

Phone, 2PM local Saturday, Jan. 20 thru 2AM local Sunday, Jan 21.

Jan 17, 2007: Repeater Coverage Map

With the RF receive performance improved, a new coverage map has been made. Click the map for more details and higher resoluation.

Jan 15, 2007: Repeater interference

The formerly offending biz-band transmitter is back on the air, thus far without the interference(!)

Jan 14, 2007: Repeater sensitivity

The preamp was removed from the repeater since its output was not padded, leading to extremely high input levels (nearly 1/4 Watt!) directly into the repeater receiver. Also, the center pin of the input and output cable to the preamp were NOT soldered, leading to open connections that further degraded performance.

After removing the preamp, an immediate increase in sensitivity was noted, on the order of 6dB. This means a station that had to run 3 Watts to be clear now needs less than 1 Watt to be clear into the repeater.

Jan 11, 2007: Repeater interference

I noticed that the interference now was spreading over at least 21.5MHz, possibly right up into the public safety band, as I believe I could hear the system interfering with its own receiver(!).

UPDATE: At about 2PM today, the offending repeater was apparently disabled.

Jan 10, 2007: Repeater Interference

Over the past day or so, the interference has gotten worse, with a continuous loud buzz and distorted voice heard the entire time the biz-band repeater is keyed. Have left a voice mail for them.

UPDATE: Testing with KD8BXT has revealed that the interference is affecting the repeater INPUT frequency as well! This means not only is our repeater's "talkout" being reduced, but mobiles/portables trying to transmit TO the repeater are being interfered with as well!

Firstly, please leave Echolink running on the old right-hand computer by the TS-2000 so that I can observe this remotely when needed. Thanks. The TS-2000 does not need to be left on, because I can turn it on and off remotely, AS LONG AS Echolink is running. Further, though testing with KD8BXT we have found that the INPUT to our repeater is now being affected--that is, someone with a weaker signal can drop right out when the offending biz-band transmitter is on the air. The "chirp" and buzzing hash on SSB (and on FM when someone is transmitting to the repeater with a weak signal) is quite noticeable at W8MSU at 447.900MHz. When I put our repeater in carrier squelch, it is strong and there long enough from time to time to actually key up our repeater! Again, to observe this yourself you need to be scanning between say 442.700 to 443.00 or wider in 5kHz increments with an FM receiver--only sometimes does it land close enough to 442.900. The observed interference with the W8MSU TS-2000 in SSB mode is now over 21.5MHz wide--from about 428.400MHz to 450MHz, whereas before is was only observed to be about 5MHz wide--a corollary to this might be that it could now be interfering with other business band users such as police, EMS, etc. However, since I cannot measure above 450MHz with the current technique that is only speculation. If time permits I may take an off-air spectrum analyzer measurement. The bulk of the interference wanders between roughly 442.700 to 443.000MHz when their repeater is transmitting, but the "chirp" is observable over the entire 21.5MHz from W8MSU. The center of the interference sounds like a loud buzz with very distorted voice. It appears they have either dramatically reduced power or have mistuned their offending transmitter filter, since now the offending repeater is at least an order of magnitude weaker than the other 2 repeaters in their trunked system. However, despite their much weaker desired power, the undesired power interfering with the INPUT and OUTPUT of our repeater has if anything only INCREASED. Have left them a second voice mail about this just now.

Jan 8, 2007: Echolink Down

Windows is being reinstalled by DECS, we hope to have Echolink back in service this weekend--if DECS gets the computer back to us.

Jan 5, 2007: Repeater Interference

The biz-band licensee has called back and they seem to understand the problem. They recently had increased power, and their radio service person was part of the conversation as well.

Jan 3, 2007: Repeater Interference

The biz-band licensee has been called and a voice mail left. Will wait a day or so for response before proceeding further.

Jan 2, 2007: Repeater interference

The business-band transmitter causing interference to the 442.900 repeater has been located and work is underway to resolve this inteference.

Dec 23, 2006: APRS Satgate setup

Is anyone interested in setting up a Satgate satellite station using our existing equipment to relay data packets from the ANDE and RAFT satellites just launched?

Dec 22, 2006: [Tentative pending possible schedule change] Space Shuttle landing audio

We plan to offer landing audio rebroadcast on 147.400MHz, PL 103.5Hz for the currently scheduled landing around 2:30PM on Friday, Dec 22.

Dec 9, 2006: Space Shuttle audio rebroadcast

The space shuttle launch audio worked very well.

We offered this audio on 147.400MHz, PL 103.5.

Dec 7, 2006: Space Shuttle audio rebroadcast

We are tentatively planning to offer space shuttle audio as it launches on or about Dec 7th, shortly before 9:30PM local time.

This would take on place on 147.400MHz.

Nov 20, 2006: ARRL Phone Sweepstakes Results

We placed very competitively, with instantaneous rates approaching 150 QSOs per hour at times.

Oct 2006: APRS W8MSU-10 transmitter failure

The APRS radio for W8MSU-10 has experienced a transmitter fault. It is unknown how long this has been in a failed condition, with extremely low transmit power.
The radio has been taken offline for examination for possible repair.

Nov 18-19: ARRL Phone Sweepstakes

We would like to have a rough schedule of times operators will be available to coordinate our participation across the 24 hour contest window.

Please contact us with the times you can operate.

Nov 6: CW Sweepstakes Results

Here's the final tally fer the CW Sweeps. QSO's = 185. Sections = 57. Total score = 10,545pts x 2 = 21,090. Power was 100 watts es abt 12 hours of operating time. I would like to thank all those who came out to help with operating , logging, es moral support.

Matt Palmer KD8DAO
Phil Perreault W8EKR
Mike Shanblatt K8MAS
Bob Berger K8RDN
Rick Klingensmith WA3TUU
Andrew Temme KE7ESD

This years effort was lots of fun. Had quite a few gud laughs with the crew. Seems we were always disagreeing on the number being sent in the exchange, but that made for some lighthearted humer.We had an interesting development right at the start of the contest. The Dupe Sheets had dissapeared ! We managed to make up one es this didn't hinder our progress any. ( we suspect U of M spies were trying to sabotage our operation) Hi Hi Our recently adjusted 80m dipole played beautifully. Got everyone on the 1st call. If u didn't get a chance to join the fun, you can still get in on the phone SS in 2 weeks.Consider coming out and having a gud time with the gang! A special thanks to Dr. Shanblatt for bringing the pizza on Saterday evening. The guys in the trenches can't put em in the log without pizza! See u in the Phone Sweeps
73, Gregg WB8LZG

Nov 4-5: ARRL CW Sweepstakes

We now have a retuned 80m dipole to enable better resonance on the lower portion of 80m. The control computer was repaired in time.

Oct 21: Jamboree on the Air

The MSUARC participation in Jamboree on the Air with the Boy Scouts was a real success. David KD8BXT spearheaded the effort, spending much of Friday and all of Saturday making the event a success. The Red Cedar Log, MSU's Yearbook, sent a photographer on site to capture action photos for the Yearbook. 40 meters provided the best performance for the event, as Scouts communicated in droves for several hours at the Camp Kiwanis site. While the main mode used was voice, digital modes such as PSK31 were also utilized.
The Echolink connection was not utilized this year, due to more help needed at the Camp Kiwanis end--too many Boy Scouts and too few operators. However, we did get useful data to improve the performance in the future, but having enough operators is definately the limitation--very exhausting to operate for 8 hours straight.

Sept 21-26: ISS Contacts

Anousheh Ansari to make random school contacts from International Space Station from Thursday, Sept 21 through Tuesday, Sept. 26.
You should be able to easily hear this with an outdoor antenna of any sort.

Aug. 27: 8:00PM Sunday night net

We hope to hear some old friends and some new voices this Sunday, as we kick off the new academic year.

Aug. 26: 6PM-10PM @ MSU Auditorium

Demonstration of Amateur Radio to incoming MSU freshman at Auditorium. "Party at the Aud" is for student organizations such as MSUARC to present themselves to new MSU students.

Aug 14: 80m and 6m antenna repair

Repair successful. Please recall NOT to use the HF amplifier during business hours, this disturbs office equipment (and users thereof). We have had no complaints at the 100W power level (transceiver alone).

Aug 9: Polyphasor on order for 80m antenna

80 meter Polyphasor found defective, replacement has been ordered from AES. Planning to replace it and hopefully reconnect 6m yagi with good coax vs. present RG-58 in about a week or so.

July 20: W8SH 1999 History booklet found

The booklet made by Russ Fitzgerald N8FZ in 1999, was recently published to the web. We are planning to make a new version for the Aug 26th demo at the Aud.

July 4: Usage of 2 meter repeater link

The 147.400MHz, 103.5Hz PL VHF link via W8MSU-L will be made available from time to time. When in the repeater linking mode, it is best to connect to W8MSU-R to minimize delays and doubling during conversations.

When someone transmits via the Internet or the 147.400 link, you will hear a single medium-pitched courtesy tone on the 442.900MHz repeater.
When someone tranmits on the 442.900MHz repeater itself, you will hear a low-high pitched courtesy tone.

W8MSU-L (147.400MHz) is also used for other purposes, such as Space Shuttle audio rebroadcasts or linking to other repeaters/stations without tying up the main W8MSU 442.900MHz repeater. For example, perhaps a student would like to talk with her friend in India while one or both are bicycling. To avoid tying up the main repeater, the student uses W8MSU-L on 147.400MHz to connect to her friend's station/repeater in India. Now they can have an extended conversation with walkie-talkies on opposite sides of the world!

July 4: Space Shuttle audio rebroadcast

Shuttle audio rebroadcast tentatively planned for July 4th launch attempt on 147.400MHz from the MSUARC club station.

July 3: Echolink install today

Install happening this afternoon. Equipment has all been running for days, barring any unmitigable issues should be done up and running in temporary form by late afternoon. Further optimizations to be done remotely.

June 30: TS-2000 interface built

TS-2000 interface built, in testing now.

June 25: Echolink progress

The VA3TO controller has been modified to fit the needs of the RLC Club controller, namely removing two resistors, an optoisolator, and changing a capacitor value.

There is still hope that the install could be on the July 4th weekend, provided the equipment will fit in the cabinet without another rack shelf being needed.

June 20: Field Day 2006 Satellite schedule posted

AO-51 is already in Field Day mode, and ISS will be going into Field Day cross-band repeat mode on Thursday June 21, to allow people to practice.

June 19: Remaining HF/Echolink parts ordered

After receiving and powering up the DRF controller, and agonizing over what exact parts needed to be ordered (about fifty!), the parts order was finally placed. The shipment should arrive well in time to implement on schedule, provided mech hall access is available.

June 12: Heil mic here and wired

Wired up mic to Orion today. I didn't agree with Heil's suggested wiring, and used my own method. No hum or WKAR AM 870 audio noted. Very clean and surprisingly, it also eliminated the hum on the Aux. Input!

June 12: Echolink controller shipped

Expecting delivery within 2 weeks, and Mouser parts even sooner. Anticipating install around July 4th weekend.

June 11: AO-51 / International Space Station (ISS) Satellite Field Day

Both the International Space Station and AO-51 will be in special Field Day modes, allowing easier access to users. Besides the congestion of heavy usage, dual-band HTs with long antennas or yagis should be able to access either satellite.

ISS:
ISS will be in cross-band repeat mode. Since the downlink is on VHF and is 10 Watts, it is easily hearable on HTs with long (more than 10 centimeter) antennas. You can practice listening now since the BBS sends packet bursts about every 15 seconds on that frequency.

ISS Field Day Frequencies:
Downlink: 145.800MHz, 10 Watts
Uplink: 437.800MHz, NO PL

AO-51:
AO-51 will have TWO FM voice transponders operational.

AO-51 Field Day Frequencies:
AO-51 Transponder 1:
Downlink: 435.300MHz, 1300mW
Uplink: 145.920MHz, 67.0Hz PL REQUIRED!

AO-51 Transponder 2 "QRP":
Downlink: 435.150MHz, 400mW
Uplink: 145.880MHz, NO PL

June 9: Echolink controller ordered.

Ordered VA3TO controller, will place Mouser parts order this weekend or Monday.

June 8: Echolink approval pending

Pending a reconfirmation from the officers, the Echolink controller and associated components to modify it are planned to be ordered on Monday.
Also in the same order is planned the HF Data upgrade parts (to eliminate transmit hum).

June 6: Tentative Echolink / HF Data upgrade proposal posted

This document is no longer available.

June 5: HF Digital modes rolling!

After putting my sound card in temporarily, I've been making tons of digital mode contacts, and getting compliments on clean output signal with amplifier. But, spent too much time on that and not enough on Echolink! So, tonight I plan to work on Echolink BOM.

There is also now a sort of lousy cardboard cover on the wooden boost transformer box. Enough to prevent against some accidents, but we really need a proper housing for it!!

June 4: Echolink BOM in progress

Getting exact BOM to bring before officers for a vote to purchase VA3TO computer/radio interface since repeater controller cannot directly interface to computer.

Also, Echolink now shuts down automatically (even if QSO in progress) from midnight to 6AM. Please email one of the officers if you'd like access during those night hours.

June 3: Digital modes impaired w/o sound card

Tried working PSK31/SSTV with internal sound card, but too much distortion from cheap motherboard sound chips. Researching what is best card to get for about $50 or less.

June 3: HF amp online temporarily

Interference:
DON'T use the amp from 8AM to 5PM, because of interference to building phone system.

Cleaned up and wired transformer to produce 240V from 208V, which makes the amp easily produce rated output.
The limiting factor seems to be the cooling--no chimney so the tubes overheat more quickly.
Must get/make a proper enclosure for boost transformer. For now, only plug into wall when using and be careful!

Also, because Orion is now programmed for loop control, it must be plugged into amp to transmit (even though amp may be powered off, control circuitry in amp (relays) close circuits to allow Orion to transmit).

June 2: HF Amp install

Friday around noon--
Details of Install:
Rewire 208-240VAC boost transformer--figure out best way to switch and fuse AC input to transformer for fire/safety issues--figure out what type of enclosure we should make to safely house transformer
Install 12/10 meter filter upgrade in amp
Wire QSK loop control and reprogram Orion to accept loop control
Determine appropriate drive levels and document typical drive and knob settings for each band segment.
Make a label for amp front panel indicating not to exceed 800mA(?) plate current nor 130mA(?) grid current (must check manual)

May 30: Echolink

Programmed the controller some more in regards to the upgrades--must get access to the controller to measure/verify levels as noted on the Wiki. Estimate it will cost about $30 to build an interface, or about $90 to buy one--but in any event, the levels must be verified.

May 30: Orion II

Getting AM 870 WKAR broadcast coming through faintly in TX audio due to cheap temporary mic cord--but Heil equipment should be here soon enough, so not bothering to fix it now.

May 29: Orion II Operational

Orion II is on and working, no amplifier connected yet, but hopefully soon.

May 25 2006: HF Upgrade

Orion II install begins today, continuing through tomorrow. Have temporary mic, we now have funds to purchase a Heil mic, thus we are specifying one to order by 6/2.

May 22 2006: Projects

We have several open projects that you can help with! Even if only to learn about the systems involved, we'd love to have your help.
Build rapport with colleagues and faculty, gaining practical experience.
Some of these topics may sound intimidating, but if you are basically familiar with radios and/or networking, you can make a serious contribution to the project(s).

Current Projects: [for details, see Wiki]
HF Station Upgrade
Echolink/web/email server upgrade
Website design
Repeater maintenance
W8SH Remote Control

May 22 2006: Wiki

Launched MSU Amateur Radio Club Wiki! A wiki is a place to collaborate on projects and share ideas.

May 21 2006: Dayton

Good times had, nice to meet people and operate equipment in person. Not much in "bargains" on used gear, excepting test equipment, modules and components.
Found that a dual-receive HT gets too much self-generated interference in an RF-intense environment to listen on two frequencies at once, and switched to one band only.
Didn't find any bargains on sound cards, so going to mail order for Echolink and HF/UHF stations. Also didn't find a bargain on used UHF mobile, so likewise with that for the Remote Operation project.
I compared the Orion II operation with the Yaesu FTDX-9000 and Icom IC-7800 ($10000 class rigs) and feel more strongly than ever that the club made the right choice in choosing the Orion II. The Orion II sweep update seems 2-3 times as fast as the 7800 and 9000. The receiver performance of the Orion II tested under actual operating conditions significantly exceeds that of either radio. The much simpler control layout and native computer interfacing make the most sense for our club. In short, a $160,000 Bentley has some more gimmicky features than a $40,000 Lexus, but it's hard to justify the price increase for the Bentley--and the Lexus probably has better handling.
Also, compared the Centurion amplifier to equivalent MFJ models, and found the Centurion to be of substantially higher quality.

Updated remaining pages to XHTML, auditing web collaboration/wiki server for new server.

May 19 2006

Friday evening: Dinner in Dayton: Rob's Family Restaurant 6:30PM

May 16 2006: Repeater

Note: Some repeater messages have been modified for the time being to alleviate message bleedthrough onto Echolink.
This does not help the PL dropout issue, but will make internet repeater conferencing possible in the meantime at least.

(PL Dropout issue is where a fluttering signal (or for any other reason PL level uplink drops low such as high modulation) sometimes experiences loss of repeater transmit PL for the duration of their transmission).

May 15 2006

Updated new web server to Apache 2.2.2. Installed LSoft Listserv 14.5 on new server. Currently testing NMail SMTP server solution. Investigating ASSP for SMTP server proxy/filtering.

Planning to order Echolink parts by end of next week; waiting to see what parts we'll need for new HF install to save on shipping costs.

Directly connected temporary Echolink audio to server, improving reliability of level, increasing fidelity, and reducing distortion.

May 14 2006

Setup IDP system for new server today. Need to make crossover cable, then finalize web server/email server setup.

Also, reformatted entire website, except old photo archives (to be fixed in future when new photos are taken).

May 12 2006

Anticipating install of Orion II & Centurion week of May 22

May 1 2006

New Michigan Scanner Law comes into effect May 31, 2006

March 4 2006

Dr. Gerry Park, W8QS amplifier dedication celebration