Uitnodiging ALV maandag 4 maart 2024

Op maandag 4 maart 2024 zijn alle leden van de VRZA afdeling Zuid-Limburg uitgenodigd om deel te nemen aan de Algemene Ledenvergadering. De vergadering start om stipt 20:00 uur in ’t Volkshuis, Dennestraat 2 te Heerlen.

Iedereen die op die datum lid is, is van harte uitgenodigd.

De afdeling ontbeert nog een secretaris, een onmisbare functie die momenteel wordt waargenomen door de voorzitter. Aangezien dit teveel werk is voor een dubbelfunctie, legt de voorzitter de taken van secretaris neer. Als deze functie niet door een nieuwe functionaris wordt ingevuld, zal er geen jaarverslag kunnen worden gemaakt, is er geen vertegenwoordiging in de Stichting Radioamateurstations Zuid-Limburg (de repeater stichting) en loopt de vereniging de jaarlijkse bijdrage mis! Deze financiële middelen en inspraak zijn onmisbaar dus stelt u zich verkiesbaar!

De voorlopig agenda is als volgt. Indien u agendapunten wenst in te dienen, dan kan dat tot en met zondag 3 maart.

AGENDA

  • Opening door de voorzitter
  • Vaststellen van de agenda
  • Vaststellen notulen ALV 2023
  • Verslag van de voorzitter
  • Verslag van de penningmeester
  • Verslag van de kascontrolecommissie
  • Kiezen vacante functie van secretaris
  • Activiteiten 2024
    • Velddag (Roberto)
    • Repeater (Thijs)
    • Radiomarkt (Roberto)
  • Rooster van aftreden (3-jaarlijks) goedkeuren door de leden
    • Voorzitter: Thijs PE1RLN treedt af tijdens ALV 2025
    • John van Venrooij PE1SBN treedt af tijdens ALV 2027
    • Roberto Duckers PD0DX treedt af tijdens ALV 2027
  • Rondvraag
  • Sluiting door de voorzitter

Indien u zich verkiesbaar wilt stellen voor de functie van secretaris en/of agendapunten wilt inbrengen dan kan dat tot en met zondag 3 maart 2024 per e-mail: thijs@gerlachus.com . Tijdens de vergadering is dit niet meer mogelijk.

U hoeft zich voor de vergadering niet aan of af te melden. Voorafgaand aan de vergadering dient u wel de presentielijst aldaar te tekenen.

Tot maandag 4 maart 2024!

 

Verslag van de Algemene Ledenvergadering  2023  van afdeling 23 van de VRZA.

Gehouden op maandag 3 maart 2023 in het Volkshuis, gelegen aan de Dennenstraat 2 te Heerlen/Passart.

Aanwezig zijn 12 leden en 4 bestuursleden.
Afmelding ontvangen van: PE1OJX, PA0EJM, PA3HH, PD0RTL, PA3CK.
Aanwezig: PA0EJH, PA3CBH. PD1NL, PE1DVN, PE1IIG, PE1LHC, PA3HFH, PA3PCV, PA4GR, PE1MFS, PE1RIU, PE1SBN.

1.:Opening: De voorzitter: Thijs-PE1RLN opent de vergadering en heet iedereen welkom.

2.: Notulen: Er zijn geen vragen en  opmerkingen over het vorig verslag (2022).

3.: Terugblik en vooruitblik: Zie verhaal Thijs (voorzitter)

4.: Ingekomen: enkele bladen van andere afdelingen, verslag van de medewerkersdag, uitnodiging voor de Algemene Ledenvergadering, de concept notulen van de ALV van 2022 en de aan en afmeldingen van diverse leden en een mail/bericht voor deelname aan de WAP in november.
De voorzitter spreekt weer zijn dank uit aan Egbert-PA0EJH voor het afhandelen van diverse technische vragen.
Door de QSL manager wordt medegedeeld dat de niet afgehaalde QSL kaarten na 1 jaar teruggestuurd worden.

5.: Financiën:
a: Er zijn geen vragen over het financieel jaarverslag 2022.
b: Idem over de jaaropgave.
c: begroting 2023:

6.: De kascontrolecommissie:
De kascommissie, bestaande uit: Egbert-PA0EJH en Cor-PA3CK. Zij hebben de boeken van 2022 gecontroleerd.
Alles zag er overzichtelijk uit en was goed controleerbaar.
De commissie stelt de vergadering voor het bestuur decharge voor het jaar 2022 te verlenen.
De vergadering stemt hiermee in.
Voor het boekjaar 2023 zullen de stukken worden gecontroleerd door: Jos-PE1RII en Guido-PA4GR. . Reserve lid: Winand-PE1DVN.

7.: Verkiezingen:
Er heeft 1 kandidaat zich beschikbaar gesteld voor de functie penningmester.
Thijs bedankt Paul en Rudolf voor hun inzet in het bestuur.
Hij deelt mede dat Hij zich  3 jaar wil inzetten als voorzitter van de afdeling.
Roberto neemt als lid van het bestuur het promoten van de activiteiten op zich.
John- PE1SBN stelt zich beschikbaar als penningmeester.
De 3 voorstellen worden door de leden aangenomen.

8.: Actiepunten 2023:
– Thijs noemt 3 speerpunten op: Repeater, Velddag en radiomarkt.
De voorzitter zal een vergadering van de Stichtring bijeenroepen om de toekomst van de repeater te bespreken.

  • De Velddag:commissie maakt een voorstel voor 2023.
  • : de markt zal in 2023 gehouden worden onder de naam: VRZA en Veron. De Veron heeft een verzekering voor dergelijke activiteiten. Winand vraagt naar de kosten van de tafels en dekzeilen. Het bestuur weet het niet. Wel is er voldoende in de kas om deze kosten te dekken indien er te weinig tafels besteld worden. John-SBN merkt op dat er veel oude troep is en het aanbod is slecht.
  • Thijs stelt dat er mogelijk in het Volkshuis een markt gehouden kan worden. Het bestuur zal dat nagaan.

De lezingen : het wordt steeds moeilijker om onderwerpen en spreker te vinden. Thijs stelt voor om met de Veron te bespreken of en minder lezingen gehouden kunnen worden, bijv. niet in de zomer.
Ook is een mogelijkheid om door de Veron 4 lezingen te houden en 4 door de VRZA.
9.: Rondvraag:
Er wordt geen gebruik gemaakt van de rondvraag.

9.: Sluiting: De voorzitter sluit de bijeenkomst en nodigt de aanwezigen uit voor een gratis drankje.

Notulist: Rudolf, pa1ebm, ex-secretaris afdeling 23.

A Tiny Tuner For The Low Power Ham

Something that all radio amateurs encounter sooner or later is the subject of impedance matching. If you’d like to make sure all that power is transferred from your transmitter into the antenna and not reflected back into your power amplifier, there’s a need for the impedance of the one to match that of the other. Most antennas aren’t quite the desired 50 ohms impedance, so part of the standard equipment becomes an antenna tuner — an impedance matching network. For high-power hams these are big boxes full of chunky variable capacitors and big air cored inductors, but that doesn’t exclude the low-power ham from the impedance matching party. [Barbaros Aşuroğlu WB2CBA] has designed the perfect device for them: the credit card ATU.

The circuit of an antenna tuner is simple enough, two capacitors and an inductor in a so-called Pi-network because of its superficial resemblance to the Greek letter Pi. The idea is to vary the capacitances and inductance to find the best match, and on this tiny model it’s done through a set of miniature rotary switches. There are a set of slide switches to vary the configuration or switch in a load, and there’s even a simple matching indicator circuit.

We like this project, in that it elegantly provides an extremely useful piece of equipment, all integrated into a tiny footprint. It’s certainly not the first ATU we’ve brought you.

Thanks [ftg] for the tip!

 

Farewell MFJ

We were sad to hear that after 52 years in operation, iconic ham radio supplier MFJ will close next month. On the one hand, it is hard not to hear such news and think that it is another sign that ham radio isn’t in a healthy space. After all, in an ideal world, [Martin Jue] — the well-known founder of MFJ — would have found an anxious buyer. Not only is the MFJ line of ham radio gear well regarded, but [Martin] had bought other ham radio-related companies over the years, such as Ameritron, Hygain, Cushcraft, Mirage, and Vectronics. Now, they will all be gone, too.

However, on a deeper reflection, maybe we shouldn’t see it as another nail in ham radio’s coffin. It is this way in every industry. There was a time when it was hard to imagine ham radio without, say, Heathkit. Yet they left, and the hobby continued. We could name a slew of other iconic companies that had their day: Eico, Hammarlund, Hallicrafters, and more. They live on at hamfests, their product lines are frozen in time, and we’re sure we’ll see a used market for MFJ gear well into the next century.

 

Maybe you aren’t a ham and wonder why you would care. Turns out MFJ made things of interest to anyone who worked with RF transmitting or receiving. If you were a shortwave listener, they had antennas and related gear for you. They also made antenna analyzers and network analyzers that were very cost-effective compared to other options. If you wanted clean power supplies, MFJ had quite the selection of those. They even had a great selection of variable capacitors and inductors, which are tough to find in small quantities. You could even get air-wound coil stock, knobs, meters, and toroids.

Sure, most of what they sold was things only hams or other radio operators wanted—that was the nature of the company. But their loss will be felt by more than just the ham community. Someone, of course, will step into the void as they always do.

So farewell MFJ. We will miss you, but we look forward to meeting your replacement, whoever that might be. While you can spend a lot of money on ham radio, you can get started for $50 or less. Oddly, we haven’t directly featured much MFJ gear on Hackaday over the years, but we have mentioned a few.

 

A Practical Guide To Understanding How Radios Work

How may radios do you own? Forget the AM/FM, GMRS/FRS radios you listen to or communicate with. We’re talking about the multiple radios and antennae in your phone, your TV, your car, your garage door opener, every computing device you own- you get the idea. It’s doubtful that you can accurately count them even in your own home. But what principles of the electromagnetic spectrum allow radio to work, and how do antenna design, modulation, and mixing affect it? [Michał Zalewski] aka [lcamtuf] aims to inform you with his excellent article Radios, how do they work?

A simple illustration compares a capacitor to a dipole antenna.
A simple illustration compares a capacitor to a dipole antenna.

For those of you with a penchant for difficult maths, there’s some good old formulae published in the article that’ll help you understand the physics of radio. For the rest of us, there are a plethora of fantastic illustrations showing some of the less obvious principals, such as why a longer diploe is more directional than a shorter dipole.

The article opens with a thought experiment, explaining how two dipole antennae are like capacitors, but then also explains how they are different, and why a 1/4 wave dipole saves the day. Of course it doesn’t stop there. [lcamtuf]’s animations show the action of a sine wave on a 1/4 wave dipole, bringing a nearly imaginary concept right into the real world, helping us visualize one of the most basic concepts of radio.

Now that you’re got a basic understanding of how radios work, why not Listen to Jupiter with your own homebrew receiver?

 

How Much Bandwidth Does CW Really Occupy?

Amateur radio license exams typically have a question about the bandwidths taken up by various modulation types. The concept behind the question is pretty obvious — as guardians of the spectrum, operators really should know how much space each emission type occupies. As a result, the budding ham is left knowing that continuous wave (CW) signals take up a mere 150 Hertz of precious bandwidth.

But is that really the case? And what does the bandwidth of a CW signal even mean, anyway? To understand that, we turn to [Alan (W2AEW)] and his in-depth look at CW bandwidth. But first, one needs to see that CW signals are a bit special. To send Morse code, the transmitter is not generating a tone for the dits and dahs and modulating a carrier wave, rather, the “naked” carrier is just being turned on and off by the operator using the transmitter’s keyer. The audio tone you hear results from mixing the carrier wave with the output of a separate oscillator in the receiver to create a beat frequency in the audio range.

That seems to suggest that CW signals occupy zero bandwidth since no information is modulated onto the carrier. But as [Alan] explains, the action of keying the transmitter imposes a low-frequency square wave on the carrier, so the occupied bandwidth of the signal depends on how fast the operator is sending, as well as the RF rise and fall time. His demonstration starts with a signal generator modulating a 14 MHz RF signal with a simple square wave at a 50% duty cycle. By controlling the keying frequency, he mimics different code speeds from 15 to 40 words per minute, and his fancy scope measures the occupied bandwidth at each speed. He’s also able to change the rise and fall time of the square wave, which turns out to have a huge effect on bandwidth; the faster the rise-fall, the larger the bandwidth.

It’s a surprising result given the stock “150 Hertz” answer on the license exam; in fact, none of the scenarios [Allen] tested came close to that canonical figure. It’s another great example of the subtle but important details of radio that [Alan] specializes in explaining.

 

 

Super-Portable, Tunable VHF Antenna

Ham radio is having a bit of a resurgence these days, likely due to awards programs like Parks on the Air (POTA) and Summits on the Air (SOTA), which encourage amateur radio operators to head outside and “activate” at various parks and mountaintops. For semi-mobile operations like this, a low-power radio is often used, as well as other portable gear including antennas. In the VHF/UHF world, the J-pole is a commonly used antenna as well, and this roll-up tunable J-pole antenna is among the most versatile we’ve seen.

The antenna uses mostly common household parts which keeps the cost down tremendously. The structure of the antenna is replacement webbing for old lawn chairs, and the conductive elements for the antenna are made out of metallic HVAC tape which is fixed onto the chair webbing after being cut to shape. The only specialized parts needed for this is a 3D printed bracket which not only holds the hookup for the coax cable feeding the antenna, but is also capable of sliding up and down the lower section of the “J” to allow the antenna to be easily tuned.

As long as you have access to a 3D printer, this antenna is exceptionally portable and pretty easy to make as well. Although VHF and UHF aren’t too popular for POTA and SOTA, portable equipment like this for the higher frequency bands is still handy to have around when traveling or operating remotely. With the antenna situation sorted out, a DIY radio that can make use of it might be in order as well.

 

 

HF In Small Spaces

Generally, the biggest problem a new ham radio operator will come across when starting out on the high frequency (HF) bands is finding physical space for the antennas. For a quick example, a dipole antenna for the 20 m band will need around 10 m of wire, and the lower frequencies like 80 m need about four times as much linear space. But if you’re willing to trade a large space requirement for a high voltage hazard instead, a magnetic loop antenna might be just the ticket.

Loop antennas like these are typically used only for receiving, but in a pinch they can be used to transmit as well. To tune the antennas, which are much shorter than a standard vertical or dipole, a capacitor is soldered onto the ends, which electrically lengthens the antenna. [OM0ET] is using two loops of coax cable for the antenna, with each end soldered to one half of a dual variable capacitor which allows this antenna to tune from the 30 m bands to the 10 m bands, although he is using it mostly for WSPR on 20 m. His project also includes the use of an openWSPR module, meaning that he doesn’t have to dedicate an entire computer to run this mode.

The main downsides of antennas like these is that they are not omnidirectional, are not particularly good at transmitting, and develop a significantly high voltage across the capacitor as this similar mag loop antenna project demonstrated. But for those with extreme limitations on space or who, like [OM0ET] want a simple, small setup for running low-power applications like WSPR they can really excel. In fact, WSPR is a great mode for getting on the air at an absolute minimum of cost.

 

Decoding JS1YMG: First Ham Radio Station On The Moon After SLIM Mission

When Japan’s SLIM lunar lander made a rather unconventional touch-down on the lunar surface, it had already disgorged two small lunar excursion vehicles from its innards: LEV-1 and LEV-2. Of these, the LEV-1 is not only capable of direct to Earth transmission, but it also has been assigned its own amateur radio license: JS1YMG, which makes it the first Ham radio station on the Moon. LEV-1 receives data from LEV-2, which is transmitted to Earth using its 1 Watt UHF circular polarization antenna as Morse code at 437.410 MHz. Although the data format hasn’t been published, [Daniel Estévez] (EA4GPZ) has been sleuthing around to figure it out.

Using captures from the 25 meter radiotelescope at Dwingeloo in the Netherlands, [Daniel] set to work deciphering what he knew to be telemetry data following a CCSDS standard. After some mix-and-matching he found that the encoding matched PCM/PSK/PM with a symbol rate of 64 baud and 2048 kHz subcarrier. The residual carrier is modulated in amplitude with Morse code, but initially this Morse code made no sense.

 

Waterfall of the LEV-1 signal (Credit: Daniel Estévez)
Waterfall of the LEV-1 signal (Credit: Daniel Estévez)

Fortunately a few fellow Hams pitched in and figured out that the amplitude signs for the Morse code were inverted. By inverting the amplitude, suddenly the Morse code looked a lot more clear, with the LEV-1’s call sign and what looked like hexadecimal data following it. Each of the frames is also followed by a CRC-16, which should make it possible to start decoding the data transmitted in each frame.