• [KB6NU] RATPAC presentation: Helping People Have Fun with Amateur Radio

    From KB6NU via rec.radio.amateur.moderat@21:1/5 to All on Sun Oct 17 13:56:37 2021
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    KB6NU's Ham Radio Blog

    RATPAC presentation: Helping People Have Fun with Amateur Radio

    Posted: 17 Oct 2021 08:16 AM PDT http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/kb6nu/tVpu/~3/sBtnnnEE7Bc/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email

    Last Wednesday, I gave this presentation to the Radio Amateur Training
    Planning and Activities Committee, also known as RATPAC. RATPAC hosts Zoom presentations twice-a-week. On Wednesdays, the presentations are on general amateur radio topics, and on Thursdays, the presentations are on amateur
    radio emergency communications.

    The thrust of my talk was how to be a better mentor for newcomers to
    amateur radio. In amateur radio circles, we commonly call this Elmering,
    but I think that we have possibly outgrown that term. The main points in my talk are:

    Be enthusiastic about ALL of amateur radio.
    Make yourself available.
    Show, dont tell
    Teach AND learn

    I also have a slide that includes a number of small things that you can do
    that mean a lot to newcomers and a list of resources. Click here to get all the slides.

    The post RATPAC presentation: Helping People Have Fun with Amateur Radio appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

    Getting hooked up to Reverse Beacon

    Posted: 16 Oct 2021 12:23 PM PDT http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/kb6nu/tVpu/~3/Bm6eUKXerG8/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email

    I love the Reverse Beacon Network (RBN) and have often thought about
    becoming one of the spotters in order to give something back. One of the
    things holding me back was that I needed to install CW Skimmer. Last
    December, I tried to get CW Skimmer working with my Flex 6400.
    Unfortunately, I wasn’t successful, and being both impatient and ambivalent about paying $75 for the program, I gave up on it after a little while.

    A couple of weeks ago, I decided to try it again. This time, after
    consulting the Flex Radio Community Forum, I was successful. The trick
    getting a program called Slice Master 6000, which configures and launches
    third party applications, such as CW Skimmer, GRITTY, WSJT-X, and flDigi, automatically. (By the way, it’s called Slice Master because Flex refers to their receivers as “slices.”)

    With that program up and running, the next step—and it turned out to be a bigggg step—was to connect CW Skimmer to RBN. The first thing that you have to do is to find the right version of a program called Aggregator. Unfortunately, there are links on the RBN website to version 4.4, and thats
    the version I first downloaded and installed. So, of course, that didnt

    The version that you want is version 6.3. Honestly, Ive forgotten how I
    found the right version, but you can find it at http://www.reversebeacon.net/pages/Aggregator+34.

    After installing version 6.3, I was able to get Aggregator to connect to
    and collect spots from CW Skimmer, but it still wasnt connecting to RBN for some reason. Googling around, I found the RBN-OPS groups.io mailing list. I asked for some help there, and after checking some of the obvious things,
    one of the fellows volunteered to actually log in remotely to my computer
    and get it all sorted out.

    We spent nearly two hours debugging the problem, and honestly, Im not sure
    what all he did, but its now up and running. At this point, Im only
    spotting on one band at a time, and only when Im not operating, but at
    least Im giving something back to RBN.

    Its been quite interesting to watch the spots. Heres a screen shot from a couple of mornings ago:

    Im not sure the ZM1A spot is for real. I just didnt have enough time to run down there and try to work him. It is very interesting, though, to see how propagation changes throughout the day.

    One thing that I found out is that many, if not most of the spotters are
    using Red Pitaya SDRs and not regular amateur radio transceivers. The Red Pitayas have an incredible bandwidth, and thats why you see so many of the spotters providing spots on so many bands.

    When my helper found out that I was using a Flex to provide the spots, he
    made it sound as though my single-band or dual-band spots werent going to
    be all that useful. It may not be as useful to the network as all the other spotters, but it certainly is interesting to me.

    He also bristled when I suggested that the Aggregator documentation could
    be improved and that there might be more RBN spotters if the documentation
    was better. His position was that the really serious folks would persist
    and get it up and running. Im not so sure about that. I think a lot of
    people give up when they encounter poor documentation.

    Anyway, looking to the future, I think my next step is to be setting up my
    Flex 6400 to listen on two bands and send those spots in. After that, I may think about getting a Red Pitaya to become a more comprehensive spotter.
    The Red Pitayas cost $500, though, so its not an insignificant investment.

    You can see  my spots by searching for KB6NU-1 into the spotter callsign
    box on http://beta.reversebeacon.net/main.php.

    The post Getting hooked up to Reverse Beacon appeared first on KB6NUs Ham
    Radio Blog.

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