SHOW & TELL 2017 – there’s still time!

People, Projects and Prizes!

As of this writing (March 16th) it’s three weeks until HCRA’s Annual Show & Tell on April 7th. That also means it’s only three weeks to finish your project, put together documentation and perhaps win a nice prize for your efforts. No time you say? Well, twenty two days is over three weeks the last time I checked. I’m sure you can rustle up something to show off to the crowd, get their creative juices flowing for 2017 and maybe win a nice prize! But… you really need to get started pretty soon!

BONUS SNOW STORM!

I don’t know if you noticed but the “super storm” of March 14th has effectively pushed back any yard work for at least a few weeks. Now you’ve time for a project and a prize!

K1VOI and the antenna gun. WB1DBY photograph

What exactly is Show & Tell you ask? Well, it’s a chance to show the members something cool you’ve done in your shack, antenna farm, secret laboratory, etc. over the last year. Maybe it’s a new antenna that works like a signal magnet, or a neat way to mount a radio in today’s ‘too small’ vehicles, or a tesla coil (yes, we’ve had one), or a KW amplifier (had those too), or a trick piece of software, or….  You get the picture. Speaking of pictures here’s a few photos from past events to whet your appetite.

KA1TDQ’s 75M AM Exciter

An RF sampler by KB1NWH. WB1DBY photograph

Rock-Mite and keyer by Matt, W1MSW. WB1DBY photograph

 

And of course there’s the prizes. This year the three winners get to choose from a hundred dollars worth of prizes that include an ARRL Operating Manual, a Raspberry Pi 3 and a TC-1 Multi-function tester.

Show & Tell 2017 Prizes

The audience votes for the best project, the votes are tallied and three winners are picked at the end of the evening. It’s easy to do and it’s fun. Of course everyone is a winner here because we all benefit by seeing what our fellow HCRA members created. Everyone in the audience and the presenters takes home a big dose of enthusiasm for 2017!

So there you go. Time to stop surfing, head to the shop and warm up the soldering iron. You too can be a winner at HCRA’s 2017 Show & Tell!

 

“Make a cheap ham HAPPY” night at HCRA!

Returning Friday, September 9, is HCRA’s Swap & Sell Table. A sight guaranteed to brings smiles of joy to any frugal hams’s face.

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Take a look at the photos, it gives you an idea of just some of this month’s offerings. That’s correct, you see a 1.3G frequency counter, project boxes, transformers, and more. There’s even a LARGE box of assorted wire and cable, dig through, pick what you want and make your donation. No reasonable offer refused.

Make the table even better by bringing along your own items for sale. The more we have, the more exciting for everyone!

NEWS FLASH! Rumor has it N1FJ may have a Mosley Tri-Bander to contribute to the cause. Watch for more info and and bring your roof rack for an HF antenna bargain

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Show & Tell Meeting – March 7th

There are less than two months left before Hampden County Radio Association’s Annual Show & Tell meeting. During this meeting members bring in projects they have either completed or have made progress on over the last year and give a short presentation to the membership. This is a great opportunity to show others what you’ve been up to and for fellow club members to get ideas on projects they might want to try. Past projects have ranged from the simple to the complex and from very small to very large and everywhere in between. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to share. There is still plenty of time to build that kit you have stashed away or put together photos from the project last summer. We look forward to seeing what you’re up to! If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

73,
Matt – W1MSW

2013 Annual HCRA Show & Tell Meeting a Success

Last Friday’s Show & Tell meeting was a great success.  We had 9 members bring projects that were either completed or close to completion. All of the presenters did a great job explaining their projects in detail to the club and the audience had good questions for the presenters.  Congratulations to Juergen – AB1SU (DK1TM) who scored the most points with the audience and chose the Raspberry Pi microcomputer for his prize.  Jeff – NT1K & Dan –KB1VWQ tied for 2nd place and duked it out over the last two prizes.  After the dust settled, Dan went home with the Arduino Uno Microcontroller and Jeff took home two raffle tickets for the KX3 drawing.  All of the presenters did a wonderful job with their projects and we thank you for taking the time to show your fellow club members what you’ve been working on.   Thank you to everyone who was able to make the meeting, including those who were able to tune in via the live stream on the HCRA USTREAM channel.  A special thank you to Jeff – NT1K who setup the live stream and manned the camera throughout the evening.  It’s never too early to start thinking about that project for next year!

If you were unable to attend the meeting, you can always see what you missed here: http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/29659726

Matt – W1MSW

Get ready for HCRA ‘Show and Tell’ Friday, March 1st

It’s time to finish up that project you’ve been working on over the last year and bring it to the annual HCRA Show & Tell meeting in March. No project is too small or too big (but it does have to fit through the door). Do you have something that’s not finished, but close enough to be able to show your progress and explain? Well then bring it along. This is your chance to show your fellow club members what you’ve been working on and a chance for everyone listening to pickup some ideas for projects that might improve their shack. Maybe you’ve been working on a homebrew antenna, or maybe you built a kit, or automatic antenna switch. How about a portable station, a homebrew balun, or a modification to a radio that you came up with? No project is too simple or too complex
to bring to Show & Tell. However, you are going to have to explain it to everyone and bonus points will be given for keeping everyone awake! We look forward to seeing everyone at the meeting. Prizes will be awarded (more details soon) and refreshments will be provided with donations appreciated. So pack up that project and come on down to the March 1st HCRA meeting @ 7pm and show your fellow hams what you’ve been up to! For more information, please contact Matt – W1MSW. w1msw@ arrl.net

VHF 3EL Tape Measure Yagi Workshop – February 1st

A part of next month’s meeting will consist of a “Build A Beam” workshop where you can build a 3 element VHF Yagi that is made from PVC and measuring tape.

3EL Beam

 

It’s a great antenna for portable operations such as foxhunting (RDF), SOTA, camping or anything else that you need an improved antenna over the stock “rubber duck” antenna that comes with your portable.

Here is a quick video of it in action.

The antenna will be mostly fabricated before the meeting. At the meeting we’ll be assembling the antenna and soldering on the coax which makes it a easy and fun build.

The antenna will end up costing $20 that has to be pre-paid before the meeting to cover the costs of material. If you’re interested in making an really neat Yagi, please fill out the form below.

UPDATE: ALL SPOTS ARE FILLED. NO MORE ANTENNAS AVAILABLE! 
Those whom have not paid, please bring cash to the meeting. Thank you!

Palm Paddle on a KX3? No problem!

Palm Paddles on a KX3

Well, I bit the bullet back in March, caved in and ordered a KX3 kit. It arrived August 9th via my friendly postlady and was on the air that evening. Overall the build process was painless – maybe 3.5 hours to complete without working very hard.

One of the major reasons for purchasing the radio was SOTA activations, primarily using CW (Morse code). The radio was a major purchase and since I already own a set of Palm Mini Paddles I chose not to order the Elecraft paddles that screw directly to the front of the transceiver.

Of course the magnetic base of the Mini Paddles does not work very well on the KX3’s aluminum case. A quick internet search didn’t turn up an ‘aluminum magnets’ so I was forced to find a different solution. I mocked up a cardboard version of a thin steel end panel that would slip over the RH side of the KX3 and held in place by the thumb screws. I took a few photos and bounced the idea off Frandy/N1FJ, Jeff/NT1K and Barry/N1EU.

First idea, scrapped quickly the following morning!

After sleeping on it I thought it could be accomplished more simply by a single strip of steel, perhaps stuck to the radio with double stick tape. I opened up my email and Frandy had already done the deed, using one of those metal strips that mounts electrical boxes in sheet rock. They’re called ‘F’ brackets, or by the slang term ‘battleships’. Damn, I have a bunch of those in stock, why didn’t I see them last night?

Anyway, a half hour later or so my Palm Paddles are mounted neatly on the RH side of the rig. I choose to counter sink the screw holes and use slightly longer FH screws (1/4″) to mount the steel strip, a sturdy method and still allows dis-assembly without having to peel off the strip. I could have elected to drill the holes larger than the bolt heads, and use double stick tape with the same result. I guess I just like to screw things together!

Here’s a short step by step of the process. The battleships cost maybe 25 cents, there were extra screws in the spare parts bag that fit perfectly, total time maybe 1/2 hour or so. I still may send my strip to the paint shop (rattle can) – but not today. We’re going on an activation tomorrow!

First, find yourself a ‘battleship’ and modify. Most any hardware store/home center will have these in their electrical department.

A ‘battleship’ ready for modification.

Cut where indicated, drill to fit, file the edges to a nice shape. Polish with one of those 3-M finishing pads, paint to match if desired. Sorry for the reflection in the photo, there is a vertical cut line just to the left of the ‘cut at arrows’. The easiest thing to do is remove the side panel from the KX3 and use it as a template.

Mounted on the RH side of the KX3

I added a piece of vinyl electrical tape on the back (not shown) so it won’t mar the case, then took out the original screws and attached the strip with two 1/4″ long screws that came in the spare parts bag. The original screws will just fit but I had these so why not use them?
Warning! Choose your screw length carefully, you don’t want them to extend too far into the KX3 and cause damage!

Another view of the paddles on the KX3

That’s all there is too it. Less than $1 in materials, maybe an hours time and your Palm Mini Paddles are ready to make lots of CW QSO’s Thanks to Frandy, Barry & Jeff for all their ideas.
Jim/KK1W