Sawnee Amateur Radio Association

An amateur radio club for the Forsyth County Georgia Area

February 13, 2017 Meeting

February Meeting

Jim Sorenson KA4IIA

Jim Sorenson KA4IIA

Our meeting is all about fox hunting. For those of you new to the hobby, rest assured that no real foxes are harmed in a fox hunt, but some radio waves get pretty perturbed. Someone hides a transmitter (the “fox”), and everyone else tries to find it.

Our speaker, Jim Sorenson (KA4IIA), is a Senior Program Manager with Scientific Research Corporation (SRC) – a privately held DoD contractor based in Atlanta, GA. For the past 20 years Jim has worked to support USAF programs and most recently has focused on providing engineering reach-back for the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex (JPARC) in support of US and multi-national military training exercises.
Jim has had a passion for transmitter hunting (T-Hunting) for over 27 years and has been involved in building several types of T-Hunting equipment. In 1990, Jim developed and successfully tested a switching amplifier modification for the Roanoke Doppler that was featured in the March 1996 73 Magazine – Homing In column.

When Jim isn’t experimenting with new T-Hunting equipment and techniques, he active in his church. Jim is married and has two children.

Presentation Summary:
History of T-Hunting
Application of T-Hunting
Equipment:
Antennas, Receivers, etc.
Advanced Equipment
Phases of a T-Hunt
T-Hunting Techniques
Question and Answers

The Meeting
The meeting is at 7:00 on Monday February 13. We are at Northside Forsyth Hospital’s Bennett Center, 1400 Northside Forsyth Drive, Cumming, GA 30041. This is off GA-400 Exit 14. Enter from Ronald Reagan Blvd. (extension of Marketplace Blvd.) The Bennett Center is on the first floor of the 1400 building, directly across the drive from the (free) parking garage. The conference center is directly behind the reception desk to your left as you enter the 1400 building.

The Eating
cue barbecue logoOur culinary consultant, Bryan, suggests trying a new (for us) place this month. The Friday group has been meeting there, so hams may have a bad reputation with them, but we’ll see. The location is ‘Cue BBQ, http://www.cuebarbecue.com/cumming.php, 1370 Buford Highway, Cumming, GA 30041. That’s Highway 20, also GA 400 Exit 14, about 2 miles east of GA 400 on the right. For those who can, let’s meet about 5:30 so we have time to eat and skedaddle to the meeting by 7:00. If you have to be a bit later, that should work.

Posted 6 months ago at 1:08 pm.

June 13, 2016 Club Meeting

Field Day Planning

As always, our June meeting is in the more than capable hands of our field day coordinator, Randal, N4AC, and this year we are going to hold it at the field day venue, Fowler Park.  Since we’re in the park and it’ll surely be a hot evening, let’s have some ice cream!

The Meeting Scoop
(Hope you caught the pun.)  So for this meeting and this meeting only, we will not be at the hospital, but rather we will be at the Fowler Park Main Pavilion, the same place we will hold field day in a couple of weeks.  This is the same place we have held it for the last several years.  Now the County charges to reserve the pavilion, and being hams, we’re way too cheap to pay for it, so we are just going to show up and hope no one else has it reserved that evening.  If we get unlucky, we’ll move to the two small pavilions, and if we are still unlucky, we’ll just stand on the hill somewhere.
Fowler Park
I didn’t get any takers for home made ice cream, so Kroger will benefit.  I’ll put out some sort of container, and ask you to drop in a contribution (US dollars only, please :-) ) to help defray the cost.  If the money received exceeds what the ice cream, drinks, etc. cost, the difference will go in the club’s general fund.  If we don’t get enough to cover the cost, I’ll go home with my tail between my legs and beg mamma to take me back anyway.  She may make me sell my ham gear to make up the difference. :-)

Posted 1 year, 2 months ago at 8:22 pm.

Welcome to the Sawnee Amateur Radio Association

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SARA is one of the premier clubs in the North Georgia area. Presently, we have over fifty active members. The club and its members are actively involved in many different amateur radio activities. Some members enjoy just rag-chewing, or operating CW, SSB, VHF SSB, or QRP. Others enjoy chasing DX, or working satellites, or building equipment and antenna systems.

The clubs main emphasis is to assist local communities with special events and their communications needs. We also like to promote the public awareness of the ARRL Field Day event held every June. SARA has been honored with two national “First Place” finishes in our class, during past Field Day events.

If you are just starting out in amateur radio, we invite you to one of our upcoming events or meetings. Let us introduce you to our hobby while you visit one of the best clubs in the area.

March Meeting

Our March meeting, on Monday March 13, features Alan Adamson, W7QO, the guy who holds the record for the:

  • Longest duration balloon flight (over 197 days)
  • Longest distance  balloon flight (over 500000 km – which is to the moon and about half way back)
  • Most number of circumnavigations – just about to finish 13 and start 14, still counting
  • Lightest trackable payload
  • Most number of days of consecutive received report by a non-satellite system

The Topics

  • What started all this Balloon stuff (for me)
  • Overview of the pieces required to join the fun
  • Early flight learnings
  • Current long duration flights
  • How to get involved/started
  • What to expect
  • Records to be attained

The Speaker

- Alan has more than 30 years of Design, Development, Management, and Delivery of High-Tech communication and security products.

- Designed a variety of microcontroller, ARM based solutions including a frequency agile, fully programmable, RF radio/GPS tracking platform, a 3 axis camera stabilization system, a multi-axis, multi-motor, flight controller, and various small projects targeted at the internet of things environment

- Successful management of an RF consulting business, with focus on rooftop management of RF spectrum, communications technologies, public exposure and RF safety training issues.

- Held engineering and product management positions with BellSouth, BellSouth.com, Hayes Communications, and Symantec.

- 30+ year Holder of an Extra Class Amateur Radio license.

His professional career included working and retiring from BellSouth (before it was AT&T).  As a result, my communications background, about 13 years ago, he left working for someone else, and started a couple of consulting businesses.

 He chose a different approach to developing his own hardware and software technologies.  He was tired of the lack of flexibility surrounding the AVR, and specifically the Arduino platform.  At this time the ARM was just starting to take shape and the technology curve vs. cost was dropping dramatically.  He switched to the ARM platform then and has never looked back.

He’s designed and developed the following

- an Arduino feature/function/pin compatible STM32F1 and STM32F3 version of what Arduino calls the pro-mini

- a 3 axis gimbal controller for camera stabilization, built on either the STM32F105 or the STM32F405 processor.

- Working for a large West Coast company, he designed and developed the hardware and firmware for a balloon tracking system based upon a satellite modem

- a Silabs Si4463 radio module that can mate to either the Arduino Pro Mini or his ProMini32

The latter is what was used to prove and develop the radio module that he uses on his balloon controller.

Meeting Location

The meeting is at 7:00 on Monday March 13. We are at Northside Forsyth Hospital’s Bennett Center, 1400 Northside Forsyth Drive, Cumming, GA 30041. This is off GA-400 Exit 14. Enter from Ronald Reagan Blvd. (extension of Marketplace Blvd.) The Bennett Center is on the first floor of the 1400 building, directly across the drive from the (free) parking garage. The conference center is directly behind the reception desk to your left as you enter the 1400 building.

Eating Before Meeting

cue barbecue logoThe location is ‘Cue BBQ, http://www.cuebarbecue.com/cumming.php, 1370 Buford Highway, Cumming, GA 30041. That’s Highway 20, also GA 400 Exit 14, about 2 miles east of GA 400 on the right. For those who can, let’s meet about 5:30 so we have time to eat and skedaddle to the meeting by 7:00. If you have to be a bit later, that should work.

Posted 1 year, 9 months ago at 9:00 pm.

May 11th Club Meeting

Our Speaker Chuck Catledge, AE4CW is presenting “The Magic of Antennas and Some Practical Ones You Can Build”. His presentation will cover a range of topics including: Current and voltage on an antenna (including Ohm’s law), Electromagnetic waves – the “real” magic, Basic antenna configurations (dipoles, verticals, loops and more), and antennas you can build and how they perform.

The meeting begins at 7pm, please join us for a meal at 6pm. Directions can be find here.   Chuck was first licensed in 1957 Continue Reading…

Posted 2 years, 3 months ago at 10:00 am.

April 13th Club Meeting

2015 is SARA’s Year of the Antenna. To kick off this series of meetings, club member Brian Dunn, W3CP will present An Introduction to Antenna Modeling.

Antenna modeling has become a popular amateur radio activity. If you
browse any recent amateur radio magazine, online antenna design
articles, or commercial antenna specs, or you will see many antenna
plots derived from antenna modeling. Fortunately, with the advent of
fast PCs and low-cost (including free) antenna modeling software, fast
and accurate antenna modeling is within your reach! Hams can now
effectively model many kinds of antennas, and the result will be
better understanding of antennas in general as well as your specific
antenna’s performance. In this introductory presentation, Bryan,
W3CP, will introduce you to the modeling process and available software
tools. His goal is to provide enough information and coaching to enable
you to get started modeling your own antennas! Continue Reading…

Posted 2 years, 4 months ago at 6:00 pm.

March 9th Club Meeting

This months meeting begins with a special feature: W4CBA is getting a brand spanking new 440 YAESU repeater on Sawnee Mountain. SARA Members Randal DePriest, N4AC and Ferrell Brown, KE4QDC fresh from helping with the installation will give us a tour complete with pictures of the new repeater.

SARA’s President Jim Farmer, K4BSE will lead a discussion of The Amateur’s Code, an outline of who we are and how to operate properly. Join us at the meeting and learn to be a better operator and vent some steam at those who don’t hold to the Code’s high standards.

This will be followed by an open discussion of how to apply The Code’s principles today – and you are welcome to argue the finer points of proper operating, as there is room for disagreement. You can vent about those who don’t follow good operating practices, and brag on those who do.

We look forward to seeing you Monday night for food at 6pm and the meeting at 7pm. Location and directions can be found here.
Continue Reading…

Posted 2 years, 5 months ago at 3:30 pm.

February 9th Club Meeting

SARA’s own membership chair Ryan Kovacs, KK4OSG will demonstrate Amateur radio related apps for your phone or tablet. Ryan will review some of his favourite and helpful apps in use on his phablet. If you are a cheap ham and hate to spend money you will not want to miss this. Never before have hams been able to get on the air for Free until now, come and see how! As a door prize we will be giving away a 2 meter roll up J-pole kit!

We look forward to seeing you Monday night at 7pm. Additional information including location of the meeting can be found here.

Posted 2 years, 6 months ago at 12:00 pm.

November 10th Club Meeting

Club member Bryan Dunn, W3CP presents “What is the optimal HF antenna height?”.  Conventional wisdom is higher is better.   However, that is not always the case?  The “optimal” height depends on your local terrain and the bands you want to operate on.

Fortunately, publicly available terrain and propagation data enables hams to perform a QTH-specific analysis and make informed decisions about antenna height when planning their antenna system.  Bryan will introduce us to the theory, walk us through the analysis process, and share some actual analysis results for some local hams’ QTHs.  One of the QTHs that Bryan will analyze is that of your program chair.  Come see just how badly Jim has screwed up.    Continue Reading…

Posted 2 years, 9 months ago at 7:06 am.

August 11th Club Meeting

Our August program will feature Ned Mountain, WC4X, discussing the BevFlex receiving antenna. The BevFlex is a new Beverage antenna developed by Ned and Geoff, W8GNM, two engineers with long, distinguished careers in broadcast equipment engineering, with roots as hams since before their teens. Take a look at their QRZ pages!

Ned will describe the antenna, and if we can keep Dr. Murphy at bay, a live demonstration of BevFlex at his home on the side of a mountain in Sautee-Nacoochee. Ned will be controlling a radio and switching the antenna via the Internet. Continue Reading…

Posted 3 years ago at 10:42 am.

July 14th Club Meeting

Our featured speaker is Chris Batch, KS4MM of Balch Law Group. As an Amateur Extra class licensee and ARRL Volunteer Counsel, he understands the science and art that is Amateur Radio. Chris will be speaking on the legal issues surrounding our hobby including antennas.

We look forward to seeing you Monday night at 7pm. Additional information including location of the meeting can be found here.

For those who would like to grab a bite with fellow hams before the meeting, there will be a group meeting at 5:30pm in Dicky’s BBQ at 415 Peachtree Parkway #255, Cumming, GA. (This is near the intersection of 141 and Ronald Regan Parkway, in the area of Starbucks.)

Posted 3 years, 1 month ago at 10:39 am.