SPARC

SPARC

St. Petersburg Amateur Radio Club

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SPARC Members attend West Central Florida Section TECHCON

Section Manager Darrell KT4WX discussing PICAXE Microcontrollers.

On Saturday, February 25, several members of SPARC made the trip to Sarasota for the 3rd annual WCF section TECHCON. This is a free technical conference put on by the WCF ARRL section technical staff. The location changes to various places around the section to allow the most section members to attend.

This year, there were two conference tracks. One focused on more introductory topics such as station design, antenna building, APRS and programable microcontrollers such as the PICAXE and the Arduino. Another track discussed more technical topics including the Amateur Radio Emergency Digital Network (AREDN) and HamWAN—both which allow creating high-speed data networks similar to WiFi but over greater distances and utilizing amateur radio frequencies (HamWAN was presented by SPARC member Bryan Fields W9CR.

NY4I, W4OQM by NZ1Q

Tom NY4I and Charlie W4OQM – Photo by Ed NZ1Q

One of the benefits of these meetings besides the technical content is the chance to discuss the technical aspects with other hams. During breaks, it is common to hear hams discussing how they are applying the things learned in unique ways that you would not learn just reading the material from a magazine article in QST. For example, the two networking topics might seem competitive but during the Q&A sessions, we discussed how to couple the mesh capabilities of AREDN for emergency data networks wth the long distance networking backbone capabilities of HamWAN can complement each other to serve the widest area.

If you missed it, make plans to attend next year’s TECHCON (around the same time in February tentatively planned for somewhere in Polk county.

After Holidays Party

This years After the Holidays Party is right around the corner. We will have the entire Skyway Diner, 4000 34th Street South, St. Petersburg at our disposal. Note: This is NOT Skyway Jack’s. The Skyway Diner is further south on the east side of US 19.

The festivities will start at 3:00PM on Sunday, January 29, 2017. Members will order off the menu, and are responsible for their own bill. Rumor has it that Santa may stop by on his way to his timeshare on St Pete Beach. Dress is casual.

Be sure to sign up at the meeting or email Bob (click here) with the number of attendees.

Skywarn Training

St. Petersburg Fire Rescue will host a National Weather Service (NWS) SKYWARN Severe Weather Spotter training on December 14th.  This free 75-minute long class will be delivered by Tampa Bay National Weather Service Warning and Coordination Meteorologist Dan Noah. Those completing this training will receive a weather spotter’s guidebook and become part of a nationwide network of citizen monitors.  Citizen monitors report anomalies such as tornados, flooding rains and extreme temperatures. 

WHO:        Anyone! You can attend the training even if you do not want to be an official spotter.   

WHEN:      Wednesday, December 14th at 10:00am 

WHERE:    St. Petersburg Fire Rescue Headquarters, 1st Floor Classroom

                    400 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. S.

                    St. Petersburg, FL 33701 

WHY:         You can help protect yourself, your family, and neighbors by becoming a trained SKYWARN Spotter.  A trained spotter knows the weather threats in Florida, safety rules, and visual clues regarding thunderstorm strength.  

HOW:         Reserve your seat by emailing Amber.Boulding@StPete.org or call

                    727-892-5200. Seating for the course is limited to the first 40 people.  

Information on SKYWARN – www.weather.gov/Tampa/skywarn

 

2017 Dues Payable Now

Rejoin now and get the entire 2017 year paid up, only $15 for all 12 months. You get all our club activities, events, club station, newsletter, meetings, e-mail reflector, websites and a lot more. You can re-up at any meeting or by mail.

It’s Party Time

Yes, it’s time for an antenna get together.

Tower site B

Current antenna location

The plan is to remove the log periodic antenna from atop the storage containers, followed by the mast, rotator and thrust bearing. If you would like to help (or supervise) in this effort, the party starts at 10:00AM on Saturday (9/8) the day after the next SPARC meeting.

Hope to see you there.

 

Tower Installed

Our trusty tower team consisting of John, KI4UIP; Donn, N4KII and Dave KR4U were at it again. Today (9/27) the tower tilt mechanism was mated with the telescoping tower. The tower mounts to the base with two large bolts that also serve as hinges when the tower goes from horizontal to vertical or vice versa. Once the third leg is bolted to the base, the tower can then be extended to a raised height of approximately 54 feet.

Final installation details include adding tower grounding, installing the rotor, mast, and antenna followed by coax and rotor control cables.

 

twr1

Tower retrieved from “storage.”

twr3

Tower jockeyed into position

twr4

Tower being cranked up

twr5

Finished tower base

twr6

Tower Installed waiting for antenna

 

 

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