St. Petersburg Amateur Radio Club

Posts filed under Club Meetings

All About Batteries by Ed, NZ1Q

Everything you wanted to know but never got to ask.  Perfect for this active storm season.

Ed will discuss the different types of batteries available to the amateur such as NiCad, Nickel metal, lead acid, Lithium based and new types like LiFePO4.

Topics to be covered include the best applications for each battery type and how to maintain and properly recharge the different battery types.

A table will be provided that summarizing the usage and care for each type of battery.

Be sure to attend our October meeting to enjoy this informative presentation.

Announcing the July 2017 SPARC Mobile Installation Contest

Are you proud of your mobile installation? Why not enter it in the first annual SPARC mobile installation contest? At the regular July SPARC meeting on July 7th, members are welcome to enter their car in the contest for a chance to win a nice prize in either the HF category or VHF/UHF category (or both). The judging criteria are summarized below. Click here for more detailed judging criteria. It is not about the cost of your equipment, but how finished and polished the installation is. The more your installation looks like it came that way from the factory, the better.

HF and VHF/UHF entrants judged on:

Power Connections         Antenna Mounting

Grounding                         Cable Routing

Radio Installation              Operational Safety Concerns



All cars entering contest should park in front of DMI building (car show style) by 7:00 PM.  Judging will start at 7:15 PM. To take advantage of the light, we will have time for people to look at the cars until it starts getting too dark. Then we will go inside for the regular meeting and then the judges will highlight what they saw in the contest and announce the winners. Think of it as a meeting in reverse.

So tie off those cables, neaten that rat’s nest under your dash or under your hood and come out and enter your car–or just get ideas to improve your own installation.

Please contact Tom Schaefer, NY4I at or 727-437-2771 to register for the contest or with any questions.

May 2017 Meeting Recap

This is our first recap of the meeting as part of the project to move information that would have been in the club newsletter to the website. This is a high-level recap to share the general topics discussed along with some info about the particular presentation for that evening. This is not to be mistaken for the official club meeting minutes. That is available in the Club Business section of the website. Links to other websites, etc that may be relevant to the presentation will also be included here.

  • Work continues on the repeaters with a new amplifier added to the 2m repeater along with the audio volume being increased. The repeater committee reports the repeaters are working and asked people to use the 220m and 440m repeaters more if they have the equipment.
  • The club station performed well in the Florida QSO Party with many people participating to activate the W4S callsign.
  • Bob N2ESP began a long discussion about Field Day involved asking what the membership wanted to do for Field Day. This discussion focused on a plea for participation from the members. The club needs people to stand-up and take action. Due to the normal 5 people being physically unable to do the work to put up antennas and stations, the club needs new people to get involved. The existing core crew wants people to help versus that core doing all the work. Field Day has been a social function with meals served but without more participation from the club members in the planning stage, Field Day will be scaled back to use the existing antennas and radios in more of a home station aspect than Field-style operating. The general feeling of those that usually participate was this is not optimal, but without more participation, this is a fact of life.The time to act is NOW. Email, call or use any other means to contact a club officers and say you want to commit to helping out on Field Day. The time for passiveness and just showing up is over. Without action, Field Day will not be the event the club has sone in the past. Tom NY4I wrote some items about Field Day but shared a plea that we are all amateur radio operators. He stressed the fact that we get out to Field Day and operate.
  • As part of no longer publishing a newsletter, the website was again promoted. Some features have been added such as automatic posting to the club’s Facebook and Twitter accounts whenever a post is made on the website. If you want  to stay up to date and you use Facebook or Twitter, please follow the club on those services. For our Facebook page, click here. For Twitter, follow @SPARC_W4GAC
  • The June program will be about Field Day (whatever effort the above plea warrants). July’s program will be a mobile installation contest. Members will park in the front of the DMI building car-show style, open up their car and judges will evaluate their installation. There will be a prize for the best HF and VHF/UHF installation. Entrants installations will be judged on neatness, effectiveness, safety, good engineering principles among other criteria. Look for a future post on the club website about this event.


Tom NY4I Presenting at the May meeting  [AI4QP photo]

The program for May was by Tom Schaefer NY4I on interfacing HF radios with computers. The focus was the DXLab Suite of programs, but the information applied to any radios. Tom spoke of USB interfaces, serial interfaces and other tips on how to get your HF radio connected. Tom had an Icom 7300 setup as a demo and showed how one can click on a DX cluster spot to automatically tune the radio to the right frequency as well as using the information from the radio to fill in your log. Tom also demonstrated an Elecraft K3/0 which can be used for remote operation. This can be done with RemoteHamRadio or software available from RemoteHams.

N4NSS Gets Keyed Up

If you missed last Friday’s meeting, you missed a fine presentation by Kyle, N4NSS on his “sub-hobby” of collecting CW keys. The photos show Kyle in action at the SPARC meeting, as well as a close up of his collection. Click on title to display photos and click on a photo to enlarge it.

N4NSS describes his key collection

N4NSS’ Key Collection


Thanks for sharing your  collection with us.

Photos by AI4QP.


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