A monthly publication of the Meridian Amateur Radio Club November 2014


 Bible Verse

2 Corinthians 5:17 / Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. KJV



President's Report

Many thanks to all you for making our swapfest this weekend be a positive success. We started off with twenty two tables and before 9:00 am we were adding more to adjust for the influx of people wanting to have a chance to sell some quality items. Also I would like to thank everyone who helped work the event; We certainly could not have done it without you. This was the second swapfest ever to be held in Meridian and hopefully we will be planning to have another one next year. With your help we can build this into a great event for the hams in this area, and at the same time we may even generate some new hams in the community.

I look forward to seeing everyone this Saturday at the meeting, so come on out and show your support as we discuss the new direction we are headed and again thanks to all who showed up this weekend and for those that missed it, you missed a great time for fellowship.

Charles, KB5SZJ



Next MARC Business Meeting

The next business meeting will be held at the Checker Board Restaurant on Saturday, November 1st , 2014 beginning at 10 A.M. Come join us for breakfast, coffee and fellowship.



Are knobs and buttons toast?
By Dan Romanchik, KB6NU

In a recent column on EETimes ( doc_id=1324283), an old colleague of mine, Martin Rowe, says, “Knobs and buttons are slowly on their way out. Get used to it.” He’s referring to the controls on oscilloscopes, but if he were a ham, he might just as well be talking about amateur radio transceivers, too.

We already see this happening in amateur radio. FlexRadio, and a couple of other companies, already make transceivers with no front panel controls. You must have a computer to use them.

Might we even start to see this with handheld and portable equipment? For example, how much cheaper could they make a Baofeng if to use it, you had to also have an Android or iPhone app to act as the human interface?

To be honest, I haven’t really thought about this much myself. I’m enough of a dinosaur to still prefer buttons and knobs, but having to use on- screen controls certainly doesn't turn me off. Rowe claims, however, that “as the old-timers retire (or in our case as older hams become SKs), younger engineers (or young hams) will expect every user interface to function like a phone or tablet. Don’t believe me? Just wait.”

I got several interesting replies to this idea on my blog. Bill, AD8BC says, "What would be fun would be an open-source mobile radio. I picture an RF deck with a Raspberry Pi and touch screen for control, the Pi would simply tell the RF deck where to tune and handle the interface and scanning functions, it would ship with a stock app, but you could make your own. Built in support for SDR stuff, packet, APRS, remote operation…."

Most commenters, however, even the younger guys, still seem to prefer analog controls. Lucien, DH7LM, says, "I’m a newly licensed ham and I like both – experimenting with advanced computer stuff like SDRs and the great feeling a real radio provides!" Grant, KJ6ZZD, says, "Knobs perform some tasks better than a screen can. Knobs provide some tactile feedback that a screen just can’t."

So, what do you think? Are knobs and buttons toast, or do you think there's still some life left in analog controls?


When not twiddling the knobs on his HF transceiver or relatively ancient Tek 2213 analog oscilloscope, you'll find KB6NU working on updates to his "No Nonsense" study guides or blogging about amateur radio at www. kb6nu. com.


Hamming it up on the airwaves
Amateur radio spans the globe and helps out at home

By John N. Felsher

Found the exerpt below in this article:

‘Alert, Alert, help me!’

When beginning a communication session, many ham operators say something like, “CQ, CQ, CQ, this is (their call sign) calling CQ,” which means the operator wants to talk to anyone who might respond.

“CQ” sounds similar to the English pronunciation of the French word “sécurité,” meaning “alert.” Anyone who watched the movie Titanic saw the captain instruct a wireless telegraph operator to send out a “CQD” message to inform others about the sinking ship. The “D” stands for “distress,” so the operator transmitted the message “Alert! Distress!”

The R. M. S. Titanic sank in April 1912. At about the same time, a new alert message started to gain popularity. In Morse code, SOS, for “save our ship,” is “dot, dot, dot; dash, dash, dash; dot, dot, dot,” a simpler code than the one for CQD. In fact, Jack Phillips, the radio operator on the Titanic, used both CQD and SOS codes when trying to bring help to his doomed vessel.

In 1923, radio operators began using the voice command “mayday” to indicate a life-threatening emergency, particularly with aircraft. The word “mayday” sounds similar to the French word “m’aider” in the phrase “venez m’aider,” meaning “come help me.” Mayday remains the international distress code to this day. – John N. Felsher






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