Program Ideas for the Nashua Area Radio Society

Nashua Area Radio Society Topics In All Forums General Information Forum Program Ideas for the Nashua Area Radio Society

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    Scott Andersen
    Scott Andersen

    I am Scott Anderson NE1RD and I am running for Program Chairperson this cycle. I’ve put together some thoughts on Program Topics and Tech Nights. All comments and suggestions on this list are welcome.

    Some of the ideas are [shamelessly] stolen from other clubs in the area. Speakers are for main meetings.


    1. The current state of the DSTAR evolution. Terry Stader, repeater manager for WB1GOF, W1HRO, and others will talk about Icom’s DSTAR repeater products, plus show how the open source community has created their own (much cheaper) systems. An overview of the features of DSTAR will also be provided.
    2. Contesting in the 21st century. [Somebody from YCCC] The Yankee Clipper Contest Club specializes in Team competition in major contests. The thing is: even us small stations making contacts contributes to the total team score. Many times, the club that wins is the one with the most stations contributing. So, join in. Learn how contesting works, and how your QSOs could help the home team win.
    3. DMR unleashed. [?] There is a new trend in digital radio as commercial DRM radios are repurposed for amateur use. Why are so many FM repeaters switching to DMR? This talk will let you know what radios are available, and why you might want to get involved.
    4. Truths & Myths about Station Grounding [Neil Goodell ~ AE1P] A master electrician talks about the best practices for station grounding.
    5. 12-Volt Power for Emergency Power Use. [Greg Troxel, N1DAM] A presentation about 12V lead-acid batteries and (off-grid) solar power for emergency use for Amateur Radio. The talk will cover testing batteries (and why you should not trust batteries you have not tested), types of solar charge controllers, metering, power distribution and connectors, and system sizing. Greg will describe his experience with powering his station entirely off-grid since February 2013. The talk is aimed at those who have hooked a 12V power supply up to a 12V radio but have not really contemplated extended operation without utility power.
    6. Antenna Modeling [Larry Banks ~ W1DYJ] This “Antenna Modeling 101” presentation will start with some history about why Larry started modeling antennas. It will then highlight the various software packages available in three ARRL Books. Detailed use of four packages – TLW, YW, HFTA, and EZNEC, using some of his homebrew antennas as examples – will help you get a start at modeling your own antenna systems. {I could also do a simplified version of this talk, adding Mac options, too.}
    7. Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and Radio Applications [Bob Evans, N1BE] This presentation will cover computer basics and technology changes that led to the construction of single board computers. With that background, we will look at the Arduino and Raspberry Pi; the capabilities of each board and how do they differ; and how you decide if one or the other is more appropriate for a particular application.
    8. New Roles for Amateur Radio in Public Service and Emergency Communications [Rob Macedo, KD1CY] Rob serves as the National Weather Service Taunton Liaison and ARES SKYWARN coordinator. He is also a former Section Emergency Coordinator.
    9. Technological Evolution in Disaster Communications [Tom Carrigan, NE1R], A discussion of disaster communications from 1970 to present, and the implications for Amateur Radio as an emergency communications resource.
    10. Antennas for the tower-less ham [Scott Andersen, NE1RD] Not all of us have five acres and three towers. Many of us must do with antennas far more simple and easy to manage. This talk will explore ideas and trade-offs of antennas for smaller spaces, with less visual impact to your property, and, arguably, more XYL-friendly. You can get great results with less if you’re careful.
    11. Strategies for getting awards. [??] Worked All States (WAS) and DXCC (DX Century Club) are well-known awards offered by the ARRL. There are plenty of other awards available, though, and are also worthy of some effort — which may help towards WAS and DXCC. Learn how state QSO parties, special event stations, and other on-air events can provide a
      rich hunting ground for collecting countries, states, and counties.

    Tech Night Programs

    1. Antenna analyzer advanced course. Learn to detect and locate breaks in coax. Measure traps. Understanding Smith charts. Tuning antenna strategies.
    2. Understanding receiver basics. Learn how receivers work by examining the simplest (trans)ceiver: the PIXIE. Learn about mixers and the theory behind mixing two frequencies to get the products. A one-page schematic can be a first step to understanding how radios work.
    3. Electronic QSLing. Bring your laptop and we will get you set up on Logbook of the World, eQSL, QRZ, and Clublog. Each platform has their benefits and challenges. Electronics QSLing means instant gratification and a quick path to awards.
    4. SOTA explained. The Summits on the Air program first popularized in England is now worldwide. There are categories for activators (those who climb mountains), and chasers (those who work them). There are a variety of awards to earn for both camps, and all of the tracking is done online, so no paperwork. Learn the rules for activating and chasing, and start collecting summits.
    5. IOTA explained. Islands on the Air, a British invention, is an awards program specializing in sea islands. Every island “out to sea” has a designator (though islands sheltered by land are excluded). Learn how to find them, work them, get credit for the contacts (cards or electronic), the plans for this newly spun off organization supporting this program.
    6. DXpedition chasing. [rare] Once in a while, a big, important DXpedition is active in some remote part of the world. Those of us with small stations sometimes never hear them! About once a year, when a DXpedition is active, interested DXCC chasers will descend on Fred’s station, and everybody can get this rare entity in their log. Results from the night will be discussed at the next main club meeting.
    7. Baluns and Ununs. We will plan ahead a bit, and we’ll have interested people pay a few bucks so we can have balun kits from, or equivalent. Then, we will
      discuss the different kinds of baluns, and even wind a toroid to make our own 9:1 balun for end-fed or Carolina Windom use. Hands-on, but with lots of help from the Elmers.
    8. Software Defined Radios (SDRs). What is an SDR? How does it work? What is a Fourier Transform, and why does computing power matter? How does filtering in software relate to mechanical filtering? Simple (and cheap) USB dongle SDRs will be examined to see how they work, and what software is needed to drive them.

    - Scott NE1RD

    Fred Kemmerer
    Fred Kemmerer

    How about how to use DMR Emcomm applications?

    - Fred (AB1OC)
    President, Nashua Area Radio Society
    Visit us on the web at -


    David Merchant

    I just received a note from FlexRadio indicating that they’d like to present at Ham Meetings.  I say we take them up on it.  Details are as follows:

    73, Dave, K1DLM


    FlexRadio Systems
    Michael Walker (Employee) profile picture
    <hr />

    Hi All!

    FlexRadio is looking to do a few virtual club meetings where we come visit your club, however, we would like to do it over Skype.

    This would allow us to have interactive voice conversations with your members at your club meeting to discuss our products, some of the features, what you can do with your station, remote operation and more.

    In order to do this, we would suggest that you give us a few weeks notice so we can schedule the time frame.

    For hosting, it is recommended that you have a PC that is internet connected (a hotspot should work) and some way to present the PC Screen either via a projector or a very large TV.

    External computer speakers would also make it easy to hear the presenter.

    If you club is interested, please email me (at work), [email protected] and let me know t he following:

    • Approximate number of participants
    • Some times and dates that would work
    • Areas of interest, or, if just generalized, that is OK too.

    73, mike



    Aron Insinga
    Aron Insinga

    Great ideas, thanks!

    The bonding & grounding talk sounds very useful. It was something I found mysterious when I was starting out. And should I connect my broadcast TV antenna mast to my radio ground?

    Antennas without towers also sounds great. Maybe it can be paired up with a “bring your own” problem solving session on an afternoon out in a park.

    For antenna analyzers, how to get it to talk to a PC would be helpful.

    I like the idea of a build session for a balun. And what’s the difference between current and voltage baluns?

    - Aron, W1AKI

    Fred Kemmerer
    Fred Kemmerer

    Scott and Brian,

    Here’s another idea for you for a Tech Night –

    How about getting someone to explain how the N1IMO repeater system works?

    - Fred (AB1OC)
    President, Nashua Area Radio Society
    Visit us on the web at -

    Fred Kemmerer
    Fred Kemmerer

    Here are a few additional ideas –

    1. All about High-Altitude Balloons Carrying Amateur Radio – this could start with our HAB platform and build from there. Would include both the Balloon/flight design/tracking/cameras/etc. as well as radio topics like APRS.
    2. Hands-on Tech Night to set up a Raspberry Pi for Amateur Radio Applications – this could also cover AB1QB’s DX Alarm Clock and the Satellite Tracker that I’ve recently created.
    3. Antenna matching – all manner of techniques to match antennas to 50-ohm feedlines. Some areas include baluns, unums, load coils, delta matching, gamma matching, how to adjust matches, etc.
    4. Kit Builds – Mike, K1WVO showed me a really neat touch CW keyer and tone device that is available at modest cost. I am sure that that are lots of good choices here. Would want something that did not cost a lot and could be built in 2-3 hours. Nice if we could do two of these in 2018…
    5. How to engineer and put up a tower – Topics to include tower types, zoning/permitting, wind load calculations, guyed towers, house bracketed towers, crank-ups, etc.
    6. Contesting for beginners – basics of contesting, which contests to pick, software and gear, operating techniques, etc.
    7. All about operating awards – whats available and how to go about earning awards.

    Hope that this helps….


    - Fred (AB1OC)
    President, Nashua Area Radio Society
    Visit us on the web at -

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