Sawnee Amateur Radio Association

An amateur radio club for the Forsyth County Georgia Area

March 13, 2017 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 5 months, 1 week ago at 3:52 pm.

May 9, 2016 Meeting

May 10, 2016 Club Meeting

Joe Spear, W4WT Noise Tracking

Remember that in the news email we sent recently, which talked about the fox hunt, we mentioned that it was related to our program? Well, what is the reason for the fox hunt? It sharpens our ability to locate sources of radiation. The source may be a rogue transmitter, or it may be that bane of all amateurs’ existence, power line noise. W4WT happens to be a world-class expert in tracking down line noise, and working with the power company (when appropriate) to eliminate it. And he will share his secrets with us!

Oh, that’s Joe’s little antenna on his small 70 foot tower.W4WTTower

Joe was born in Panama City, Fl. He received his Novice ticket in 1963 at the age of 15 and had the callsign WA4OLP. The following year he obtained his General class license. Joe entered the USAF in 1967 and did one tour in Southeast Asia (SEA) in 1972 in airborne communications, flying missions over Laos and Vietnam aboard the Airborne Battlefield Command and Control aircraft (ABCCC) which were based first in Korat then in Udorn, Thailand.

After returning from SEA, Joe finished his enlistment at Eglin AFB in Florida and moved to Atlanta to work for IBM in 1975 as a Customer Engineer on large systems. He received his Extra class license in 1980. In 1981, Joe left IBM and moved to American Samoa and received the callsign AH8B. He lived in American Samoa until 1985 when he moved down to Fiji for a year and had the callsign 3D2FR. He moved back to American Samoa and remained until he returned to the U.S. in 1988 and rejoined IBM where he worked until he retired in 2006.

Joe holds an Amateur Extra license and obtained the vanity call W4WT in 1997. He has been licensed over 50 years and has worked over 335 countries, holds DXCC on 8 bands, has the WPX award of excellence, DXCC Challenge (1885 currently), Triple Play award, VUCC on 6m, 5 band WAS, and is in the A-1 Operators Club.

Joe has been an avid builder of Amateur Radio gear his entire Ham career and has

W4WT Homebrew Amplifier

designed and built numerous antennas, amplifiers, radios, and designed, programmed, and marketed one of the fist logging programs in the late 80′s called HyperLog. This program was discontinued in 2004 as work pressure didn’t allow time to continue its development. His current project, that has just entered the testing and adjustment phase, is a legal limit LDMOS solid state amplifier operating on 160-6m. The amplifier is a W6PQL design with modifications Joe made to allow the selection of up to two exciters and up to four antennas from the front panel as well as other enhancements to allow it to work well with Joe’s Anan 200D SDR. Wow does Joe ever do beautiful work!

Eatin’

Marie's Italian DeliWe always like to eat before a meeting.  If you can join us at 5:30 or even a bit later, we can have vittles together.  Our gastronomic consultant, Bryan, has found another good place to eat, by the name of Marie’s Italian Deli, http://www.mariesitaliandeli.com/.  It is in the Publix shopping center on the north side of GA 20 (GA400 Exit 14), 580 Atlanta Rd , Cumming, Ga. 30040.  Marie’s is in the 2nd building to the left of Publix, just past the Humane Society Thrift Store and the monopole cell tower (all hams notice towers, right?).  Here is a Google Street View of the restaurant front to show you what to look for:https://goo.gl/maps/ksJXJXkozMT2.

We’ll meet at Marie’s about 5:30, later if you need to, and adjourn to start the meeting at 7pm at  the Bennett Conference Center at Northside Hospital Forsyth, 1200 Northside Forsyth Drive, Cumming, GA 30041 . This is off of GA-400 Exit 14, off Ronald Regan Parkway. The Bennett Center is on the first floor of the 1400 building, directly across the drive from the (free) parking garage.  Enter at the building entrance and the conference center is directly behind the reception desk to your left.

Posted 1 year, 3 months ago at 11:14 am.

March 14, 2016 Meeting

Ron Rogers on The Fourlanders

Man, talk about some folks who do DX right in the upper bands! The Fourlanders do it right. And key to their success is our own Ron Rogers, who is going to talk to us at our next meeting, on March 14, 7:00 at the Bennett Conference Center, Northside Hospital Forsyth. These guys make just about any field day set-up look tame and crude. Ron is going to tell us about their exploits and will have pictures of their set-ups.

Ron himself has quite a long list of accomplishments, both in ham radio and RonRogersprofessionally. He has been licensed since 1968. He’s a member of ARRL, SEDXC, SVHFS, AMSAT, QCWA, ARES, & IEEE.
His main interests are VHF-UHF-Micro contesting, Home Brew, DX chasing, EME & WSJT experimentation, Satellite work, FM repeater system architectures, CW work, RTTY, PSK-31, ATV.

His primary homebrew focus is high power VHF-UHF-Microwave power amps & weak signal pre-amp design.

Currently he’s a member of W4NH VHF-UHF-SHF-Microwave contest team. He’s a former member and equipment builder of W8VP and W9ICE contest clubs.

Now he is Assistant EC for Forsyth Co. ARES, and ARRL Technical Specialist, GA Section

Ron recently retired as Engineering Program Manager and Technical Intellectual Property consultant for a Fortune 100 company that provides retail store automation equipment and software, electronic payment products, network communications systems, and data warehousing.

Other interests include early wireless communications technology, early Broadcast radio history, antique radio and restoration, Golf, occasional Bass fishing, and licensed Private Pilot. Whew!

His entire family is licensed. XYL is N8ILW along with sons WE8W and W8BPR.

Eatin’

Marie's Italian DeliWe always like to eat before a meeting.  If you can join us at 5:30 or even a bit later, we can have vittles together.  Our gastronomic consultant, Bryan, has found another good place to eat, by the name of Marie’s Italian Deli, http://www.mariesitaliandeli.com/.  It is in the Publix shopping center on the north side of GA 20 (GA400 Exit 14), 580 Atlanta Rd , Cumming, Ga. 30040.  Marie’s is in the 2nd building to the left of Publix, just past the Humane Society Thrift Store and the monopole cell tower (all hams notice towers, right?).  Here is a Google Street View of the restaurant front to show you what to look for:https://goo.gl/maps/ksJXJXkozMT2.

We’ll meet at Marie’s about 5:30, later if you need to, and adjourn to start the meeting at 7pm at  the Bennett Conference Center at Northside Hospital Forsyth, 1200 Northside Forsyth Drive, Cumming, GA 30041 . This is off of GA-400 Exit 14, off Ronald Regan Parkway. The Bennett Center is on the first floor of the 1400 building, directly across the drive from the (free) parking garage.  Enter at the building entrance and the conference center is directly behind the reception desk to your left.

Posted 1 year, 5 months ago at 3:59 pm.

January 11, 2016 Club Meeting

The first SARA meeting of the year will be Monday January 13 at 7:00 in our regular meeting place, the Bennett Conference Center, Northside Hospital Forsyth. The Bennett Center is immediately across the street from the FREE parking garage – go in the building and it’ll be to your left. Our featured speaker will be Corporal Peter Sabella of the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office. Pete is with the School Resource Officer Unit and is the Forsyth County CERT Coordinator. He will be speaking about CERT, the Community Emergency Response Team. A lot of hams are active in this vital public service activity, and we want to get more active here in Forsyth. Visit their web site at https://www.fema.gov/community-emergency-response-teams. Pete will be starting a new series of classes a week after our meeting.

The meeting begins at 7pm, please feel free to join us at IHOP for a meal at 5:30 pm. The Twisted Taco where we met prior to our November meeting has closed. The IHOP is where we held our meeting prior to moving to the hospital.

Posted 1 year, 7 months ago at 10:00 am.

August 10th Club Meeting

Our August meeting continues “the year of the antenna at SARA”, we now come to invisible antennas, and specifically, attic antennas. The perfect solution for covenant-restricted neighborhoods! And we have an expert to tell us about them. Bob Edwards, W4ED, has constructed many of them in his ham career, which goes back to 1961 – take a look at his QRZ page!

A true expert in the subject, Bob has three HF, two VHF, and two UHF antennas in his attic. Bob will talk about simulating the antennas, and the practical issues of putting them up, focusing on the HF and 2 meter antennas. And he has some neat construction ideas.

The meeting begins at 7pm, please feel free to join us at IHOP for a meal at 6pm. Directions can be found here.

Posted 2 years ago at 1:00 pm.

July 13th Club Meeting

This month our speaker Steve Garrison, N4TTY presents and overview of Mesh Networking and the use of Broadband-Hamnet and HSMM-MESH. He will explain how a Mesh network is used, and show which Linksys and Ubiquiti routers can be converted for Ham use. There will be a chance for the audience to connect to the Mesh network for those with wifi devices.

The meeting begins at 7pm, please feel free to join us for a meal at 6pm. Directions can be found here. Steve has worked in the IT industry for 34 years, most recently with Georgia-Pacific and Unisource. He retired 7 years ago, but still dabbles in IT. Steve has served as the President of the Alford Memorial Radio Club in Stone Mountain for 7 years, and is a former ARES Emergency Coordinator for DeKalb County and District Emergency Coordinator for the Metro Atlanta District.

Posted 2 years, 1 month ago at 12:30 am.

June 8th Club Meeting

SARA’s biggest weekend is just around the corner! June 27 and 28th is ARRL Field day, a combination of fun activities including: playing with radios and antennas, aggressive contesting, eating, learning- all
in the name of emergency preparedness training.

This month our Field Day Coordinator, Randal DePriest, N4AC will discuss SARA’s planning for Field Day at Forsyth County’s Fowler Park in the Large Group Pavilion. In 24 hours of operating there is a place for every skill level, veteran contester to newly-licensed ham.

We look forward to seeing you Monday night- join us for food at 6pm and the meeting begins at 7pm. Location and directions can be found here.

Posted 2 years, 2 months ago at 12:45 am.

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.