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Chapter 36 - Northwest Indiana

~ Creaky Knees and Rusty Keys ~

A new record attendance at our May meeting: FIFTY people! Are you impressed? I sure am! Special thanks to Jim KF9EX who brought the family clan with him, including his beautiful great-granddaughter Alianna (Ali). We really filled up the room at Ryan's Buffet and it seemed that everyone had a good time. Thanks to all of you for coming out and spending your Saturday morning with us.

We were very happy to present our newest member, Carl K9LA, with his 50-year Anniversary and 50-year Continuously Licensed Awards. Congratulations Carl! I also handed out QCWA membership applications to three new people, so it will be nice to see more join our ranks as full members. We had some new faces in the crowd again this month, and I hope that everyone felt welcome and will return.

We had some interesting items for show-and-tell this month too. John KA9PGC brought his digital go kit... ready for instant use with PSK31 or RTTY on HF/VHF/UHF in a very small, lightweight package. See a detailed description from John below. Tom W8FIB showed us a Brandes Superior high impedance communications headset from around 1920. One of these models is featured on a Wikipedia article about headphones here. Stan W4SV showed an off-the-shelf digital interface made by Signal Link that makes it easy to hook up your computer to almost any radio for most digital modes. And a very interesting QSL card was brought by Bill AB9QU from a QSO he had with the Naturist Amateur Radio Club NU5DE. Being a family gathering, we didn't pass this QSL around, but you can see it and the other items in photos below. Thanks to everyone who brought in items to share with us!

Tom W8FIB also proudly reported that the Lake County gang had 12 hams operate W9LJ for 12 hours in the IN QSO Party. They racked up a total of 173,223 points with 862 contacts and 171 multipliers. Congratulations guys, well done! Don't forget that Field Day is coming up the last weekend in June (25-26). The Lake County group took first place for Indiana last year and they hope to improve their scores even more this year. Further east, the Porter County, Michigan City, and LaPorte clubs will have a joint Field Day at Danny W9DWS's tower site.

Photo by Vicky, AE9YL. Click for larger view.


Photos by Jim, KF9EX. Click for larger view.

Photos by Stan, W4SV. Click for larger view.

Photos and write-up by John, KA9PGC. Click for larger view.

The use of PSK-31 for portable operations has given new life to what I can do with a QRP rig. For just hanging out on a single frequency, its just amazing. A good CW operator can compete but the PSK-31 mode has alot to offer and for the beginner on QRP, it would just shock the newbie. It would also make you think CW is now on the way out. I highly respect CW, its the only way to go for QRP, but with this modem I have just changed the rules. I have it contained in a guncase to which opens up like a laptop. Very portable. As with any mode and activity in this hobby, don't get discouraged if at first you just don't get it. My FT-817 is hardly used for voice now when I am portable.

There are some incredible applications out there for the cell phone that will allow you to use a cell phone to be the PSK modem/terminal with a ham radio. I like this setup better because of the technical features and that I can repair it. I never like the idea of taking a laptop out in the field. My unit goes to Mt. Baldy and the sand dunes. Zip lock the radio to keep the sand out and operator on one frequency all day. Let the modem do all the work.

Look up NUE-PSK MODEM on your search engine and you will find QST articles, user groups, FAQs, and other info on this device. http://www.nue-psk.com for the website.

The NUE-PSK modem is a stand alone unit for PSK-31 and RTTY that is portable. Plug it in and turn it on, its ready to use. Just add keyboard and radio. It can be purchased in kit form or ready made. Be forewarned that it took me 4 hours to build and is all surface mount technology. Another 2 hours to find all the bugs. I only had two solder points to be redone.

Tuning is on a 4 line screen that resembles a spectrum display other than the normal waterfall you would have for this mode. Very easy to use. 4 lines of text for either receive or transmitt. You got to remember what you are doing, there is no scrolling back on this. Programmable macros in non-volatile memory.

Power consumption is only 65 ma with the backlight on. This is where I have fun connecting into a FT-817. The unit will run for several hours on a single 9 volt battery with has a max voltage input of 18 volts. Very solar powered friendly. The unit will diplay in real time supply voltage. Given a 10 amp gel cell, the FT-817 and PSK modem will get you at least 24 hours of action.

I draw all my power from the radios I connect to thru the microphone or accessory ports. In my case, the Yaesu FT-100D, FT-817 thru accessory port but the + power connection is directly to the battery thru another connector. Just one cable to connect when I move this unit from one setup to another.

Simple conclusion -- When setting up for a special event station, all the time is used in setting up the antenna. Here, just turn on the radio and modem follows. Nothing to load. Hit the antenna tuner and KABOOM. I let the smoke do its work. Check the picture of the Klondike Derby I setup for. How simple looking is that?

Attending: (in last name order)

Bruce (W9OTN) and Pam Balsley
James (KC9KTV) and Nancy (KC9NEB) Beckner
Ron Broviak (WA9RON)
Don (K9WHK) and Verneice Buchanan
Bill Carter (AB9QU)
Gary (WA6UOO) and Barb (KA6OJX) Cave
Joan Geoffrion, YL of Phil WD9BDW (SK)
Carl (W9CJH) and Lila (N9ESS) Hallberg

Jim Harney (KF9EX), Jim's wife Sandy, their son Don, Don's wife Sherry, their daughter Jennifer, Jennifer's baby Ali, and Jennifer's friend Falon

Troy (KC9E) and Claudette (KA9IXZ) Harrison
Chuck (KC9OYE) and Cheri Hill
Allen (W9DZ) and Carol Jones
Dale Kempf (AC2E)
Jeff Kohn (KC9TEW)
Joe (N9TAX) and Brandie (W9BLK) Krajacic
Carl (K9LA) and Vicky (AE9YL) Luetzelschwab
Tom Marrapode (W9WQA)
Levi (WB9CAO) and Sue (N9EOX) Mayes
Dave Nicolaus (W9DN)
John Phillips (KA9PGC) and daughter Justyne
Rich (N9PR) and Lucy Podolak
Dave Reberg (KA9WNQ)
Tom Ruggles (W8FIB)
Larry Sargent (KC9IU)
John (W8OCG) and Margie (W8MSN) Schick
Bob Scott (K9YH)
Stan Vandiver (W4SV)
Gene (W9CWG) and Helen Wiggins, and daughter Barb

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