Fallbrook Amateur Radio Club Bulletin May 2020
No Regular May Meeting Will Be Doing A Virtual Zoom Meeting.
Members To Get Email Invite
Visitors Will Need To Contact Webmaster.
The Fallbrook Amateur Radio Club normally meet at 3:00 PM on the first Saturday of the month.
Normal Meeting Location, The Scout Hut, 231 E. Hawthorne St. Map
THIS MONTHS MEETING AGENDA
- No Regular May Meeting, Virtual Meeting By Zoom.
- Winlink Demo.
Fallbrook Amateur Radio Renewals
Cal Fire Tank Replacement
FCC requires anti-robocall tech after “voluntary” plan didn’t work out [Updated]
A little more action and a little less emphasis on cute names. (Maybe they need the pretty colored blocks to keep the kids in Congress interested)
Leaked pics from Amazon Ring show potential new surveillance features
I always say “no capability goes unused”. The first thing Microsoft did after acquiring Skype was to change the system from peer-to-peer to client-server, so all call data could be made available to the government (a major Microsoft customer).
Ultraviolet Irradiation of Blood: “The Cure That Time Forgot”?
From the National Institutes of Health / US National Library of Medicine
The third NILE VIRUS is coming.
Even the most advanced programs from Norton McAfee cannot take care of this. It appears to target those who were born prior to 1960.
1. Causes you to send the same e-mail twice. (Done that)
2. Causes you to send a blank e-mail. (That too)
3. Causes you to send an e-mail to the wrong person. (Yup)
4. Causes you to send it back to the person who sent it to you. (Ah-ha)
5. Causes you to forget to attach the attachment. (Done that)
6. Causes you to hit “SEND” before you’ve finished. (Oh no, not again)
7. Causes you to hit “DELETE” instead of “SEND”. (Hate that)
8. Causes you to hit “SEND” when you should “DELETE.” (OH HECK, NOW WHAT?)
IT IS CALLED THE “C-NILE VIRUS.” Hmmm… have I sent this to you already, or did you just send it to me?
Just something to share with the club….
About Next Gen TV Broadcasting
TV stations across the U.S. are being encouraged to adopt a new method of over-the-air transmission known as Next Gen, short for Next Generation TV. From an RF standpoint, the basic idea is to adopt a spread spectrum method of modulation along the lines of what the cell companies already use. With this form of modulation, multipath is your friend instead of your enemy. However, the new modulation method is just one of the advantages of Next Gen TV. There are many more layers of improvements such as more efficient video compression techniques but those enhancements are beyond the scope of this email.
Proponents of Next Gen plan to have one Next Gen station on the air in each of the 40 largest U.S. TV markets by the end of this year. This they hope will encourage interest in the new standard and of course sell large numbers of new TV sets. On the other hand, many TV stations are content with the current DTV standard and see no need to rush into Next Gen and further disorient over-the-air TV viewers. After all, over-the-air TV viewers were recently required to “rescan” their TVs when the FCC sold another big chunk of TV spectrum to the cell companies. Just how much disruption are over-the-air TV viewers expected to take?
It’s good to keep these points in mind as you read the following FCC News release.
Truth in Cable Billing Will Have to Wait a Bit
Robocall Gateways on the Hotseat
Flaw in iPhone, iPads may have allowed hackers to steal data…
More WiFi Spectrum
The 5G Train Continues Its Journey
FCC Scrutinizes Four Chinese Telecoms (Bravo!)
More on China Telecom
Say Goodbye to that G5RV! Look at the ZS6BKW
G5RV vs ZS6BKW vs Fan Dipole vs DX-CC vs Trap Dipole
Zoom company story: How Eric Yuan defeated Skype
Military HF Radio – Episode 1 – RF Theory
He does many more videos
A modest proposal (for the next Extra Class question pool)
By Dan Romanchik, KB6NU
At our last club meeting, I was discussing the changes to the Extra Class question pool with someone, and the topic of memorizing the answers popped up. As I always do, I mentioned that many of the questions you can only get right by memorizing the answer. At that point, someone down the way piped up. “Not me,” he said, “I studied the material so that I didn’t have to memorize the answers.”
At that point, the president called the meeting to order, so I didn’t get to challenge him on that point, but that statement is just plain wrong. First of all, it’s true that some questions you can only get right by memorizing the answer. Almost all of the rules questions are that way, for example.
Secondly, there is no way to study the rest of the material in any depth and still have time to actually be an amateur radio operator. The amount of material that the Extra Class question pool covers takes an electrical engineering student four years or more to study thoroughly. And even then, some topics are bound to get short shrift.
So, we’re back to memorizing. I would say that even an “engaged” person will memorize about half the answers. I’d go even further and say that those that “study” the technical topics, don’t study it as thoroughly as a college student would.
For example, there are a dozen questions in Section E7G – Active filters and op-amp circuits: active audio filters; characteristics; basic circuit design; operational amplifiers. Despite the name, you don’t need to know how to design or build an op-amp filter. All you really need to know is that op-amps are high gain devices and if you have a circuit like the one shown below, Vout/Vin = RF/R1.
These concepts are relatively easy to learn. but there are also two questions on filter “ringing.” Honestly, you’re better off just memorizing the answers to those questions unless you have a real interest in active filters that use op amps. Wading into the mathematics isn’t all that hard, but when you consider this is only one of dozens of topics, you can see where doing any kind of in-depth study is going to take you months, if not years, to accomplish.
A modest proposal.
The end result of this approach to testing is that we have many Extra Class licensees who know about a lot of things, but not in very much depth. Perhaps that’s OK. Perhaps that’s just what the question pool committee of the National Council of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators (NCVEC) was shooting for. If, however, we want an Extra Class license to denote that the licensee has some real technical expertise, I have a modest proposal.
Basically, my idea is that instead of testing on an incredibly wide range of topics, we test applicants on a set of basics, plus one or two particular topics. These would be topics that the person has expertise in already or enough of an interest in to study the topic in some depth.
Below are the topics that I would consider to be basic and some that I consider to be more specialized. This is, of course, not an extensive list.
- Basic questions (20 questions, everyone takes this part of the exam)
- Rules and regulations
- Electrical principles/basic circuits
- Technical Interests (Choose two, 20 questions each)
- Antennas and transmission lines
- Radio wave propagation
- Analog and digital design
- Digital communications and networking
- Software/software-defined radio
- Operating: contests, DXing, direction finding, etc.
The questions in each of the technical interest question pools would be designed to really test the knowledge of the person taking the test. We’d have to figure out a way to make them difficult enough so that one couldn’t just simply memorize the answer. Questions could appear in one or more technical interest test. For example, a question on VHF/UHF propagation could appear in both the Radio Wave Propagation and VHF/UHF question pools.
Having said all this, I realize that this would not be easy to implement. You’d have to first decide on the topics and then enlist experts for each of the topics and get them to come up with a list of 80 – 100 questions each.
I realize that this has very little chance of being adopted, but it’s interesting to think about, no? And, we have four years to do this, so it could be possible.
Dan Romanchik, KB6NU, is the author of the KB6NU amateur radio blog (KB6NU.Com), the “No Nonsense” amateur radio license study guides (KB6NU.Com/study-guides/), and often appears on the ICQPodcast (icqpodcast.com). When he’s not thinking up ways to make the lives of the NCVEC question pool committee more difficult, he likes to build stuff and operate CW on the HF bands.
Fallbrook Amateur Radio Club
Virtual Meeting, Fallbrook, California
April 4, 2020
At Approximately 1500 Ron, KG6HSQ, activated the monthly club meeting thru an internet connection and a Virtual Meeting was conducted via Zoom. Earlier in the week Ron had sent an e-mail to the membership prior to the meeting giving instructions on downloading the Zoom program and provided a “meeting” connection URL.
Ken, W6MF, gave the following financial report.
|Checking Balance February 29, 2020||$6,828.09|
|Petty Cash Balance February 29, 2020||$58.81|
|ARRL Renewal Fees||$187.00|
|On-Line Internet Service (Annual Fee)||$135.39|
|Petty Cash Balance February 29, 2020||$58.81|
|Expenses March 2020||$0.00|
|Checking Balance March 31, 2020||$6,798.70|
|Petty Cash Balance March 31, 2020||$58.81|
There was a short discussion regarding “grocery” shopping and supply availability here in Fallbrook.
Ron gave provided a discussion and gave a live demonstration on full screen of a very popular digital mode. The mode has become very popular over a very short period of time and is designated as FT8. The software Ron uses to run this activity is WSJT-X and is a free download. The program is interconnected with a HF Radio transceiver and computer and essentially is an automated process. There are several frequencies on various bands where FT8 is usable. One of the more popular frequencies at the present time is 14.074MHz (usb). For more information on the use of the program contact Ron. Stephen, KC6MIE, and Forrest, KK6BYR are also FT8 users.
For those members that were unavailable or unable to connect. Thru a very simple process, a connection was made thru a predetermined program that Ron had sent. When you “checked” in your “block” came into view to all that were connected. If you had video and or sound they were both active and there was two way communications between all members that were checked in. At one time there were 19 blocks (members) on the screen. As Ron did the demonstration he actually showed, full screen, his computer screen that was currently in use and the activity of the FT8 that was in progress. While showing live content he actually made some contacts and was doing live narration of the process. If we have to use this mode in the future please watch your mail from Ron. He’ll provide the necessary information on downloading and running the very easy to use program.
The Virtual meeting lasted for approximately 40 minutes and was well attended by 21 total check-ins. It was a very informative meeting and a new concept for most of us and was a very good learning experience.
Ken Dickson, W6MF
Fallbrook Amateur Radio Club