THIS COMING WEEKEND!!!!!

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What’s that you say? A Fox Hunt?! You are darn tooting! Or in this case, locating the hidden fox transmitter in an undisclosed location on an undisclosed frequency somewhere in Fort Walton Beach Florida!

Excited? You should be!

The following details outline the event:

SHOW UP at the Playground Amateur Radio Club at 17 A First St SE in BEAUtiful Downtown Fort Walton Beach at 0930, 25 May, 2024! The transmitter frequency will be disclosed at that time!

Place you $10.00 buy in to support the Club’s efforts and participate in a BBQ following the hunt at the FOXES DEN! <- Not the location or a hint, but it might be a clue (ok, maybe not). Enjoy the fellowship and good sporting morning with your favorite Amateur Radio Club! The Playground Amateur Radio Club! Serving Fort Walton Beach for over 6 decades and still going strong!

 

FIELD DAY 2024!

Be sure to participate and volunteer!

 

Field Day 2024, June 22/23rd, Fred Gannon State Park, Niceville FL!!!

FOX HUNT!!!

Looking for some fun?! Head out out with the PARC Team!

From the Desk of Mike, W9MWP, Again!

coliner antenna

While it is not possible to home-brew a commercial quality antenna, it is very feasible to build a collinear antenna for average use. This article describes a collinear antenna made from very inexpensive RG58/U coaxial cable and encased in PVC pipe. FYI — This was (many years ago) for a science fair I entered. Didn’t win but had a great antenna when I was finished. Kind of looks like the modern fiberglass antennas we all have seen around..
Before we start building you need to know characteristics of coaxial cable. Remember that there is something called the velocity factor for coaxial cable. For RG58/U coax it is typically .66. This means that when we calculate the length of ½ wavelength in free space we need to adjust its size by multiplying it by the velocity factory. Simply put, RF is slowed down by the velocity factor when traveling through coaxial cable. Calculating the ½ wavelength of RG58/U coaxial cable with a frequency of 444 MHz.: I Chose 440 band because the lengths are small. Of course you can pick your own band by simply changing the frequency to say 145.47 MHz…

½ wavelength of coax = 300 / F / 2 * V Where F = Frequency in Megahertz V = Velocity factory of Coax 300 / 444 / 2 * .66 = .2229 meters or 223 millimeters or 8.78 in. (remember 25.4 mm per inch..) Since most of us don’t have mm tapes I will do this in inches.. To allow for cutting the ends of our coax, we will need to add .3 inches to each ½ wave length for a total of 9.08 inches. You will need 8 half wave lengths (9.08 inches) of RG58/U coaxial cable to be cut and connected in the manner shown in Figure 1. First cut back .16 inches of the outer jacket, braid and dielectric exposing the center conductor as in Figure 2. Now cut back the outer jacket another .16inches to expose the braid and push the braid back about a millimeter to prevent it from shorting with the center conductor. Now solder each half wavelength section as shown below. Add a few feet of RG58/U to the bottom. To add a ¼ wave element to the top of the antenna. Use #16 solid wire or similar and solder it to the center conductor only. Or on the last element you make simply make it ¼ wavelength longer than the rest and then remove the shield. The length of the ¼ wave element is calculated as follows: 1/4 wavelength radiator = 300 / F / 4 Where F = Frequency in Megahertz 300 / 444 / 4 = .1689 meters or 169 millimeters or 6.65 inches At the bottom of the array slide a 5/16 inch tube (or you can use braid from a piece of coax) over the feed point only. Solder the tube/braid to the shield of the bottom element.

The length of the tube (or braid) is calculated as follows: ¼ wavelength of tubing = 300 / F / 4 * V Where F = Frequency in Megahertz V = Velocity factory of Tubing. (Use .95 for 5/16″ tubing) 300 / 444 / 4 * .95 = .1604 meters or 160 millimeters or 6.4 inches Because a collinear antenna is hot with RF along the shield of the coax, it is necessary to prevent the RF from coming back through the coax. Slide three FT50-43 or almost any similar sized toroids over the bottom end of the coax as shown in Figure 3. The toroids should be placed about ½ wave length from the bottom of the array. Use the same formula for calculating a half wave length of coax. If you prefer, apply RF to the antenna at this point and slide the toroids up and down until minimum SWR is found. Tape the toroids to the proper point on the coax using electrical tape or similar means. Carefully insert the coax assembly into a length 1/2″ PVC pipe for final mounting. Place a cap on the top of the PVC after the antenna inserted. I taped a string to the top of the antenna (the bare ¼ wavelength) to allow me to pull the entire antenna into the PVC. On the bottom I used a cap with a hole drilled into it to mount a connector.

I used a BNC connector which fits nicely into the ½ inch PVC. You could also just extend the bottom coax through the hole and put a connector on the coax. Do not cement end caps until the SWR has been doubled checked. Do not use RG58/U for your complete feed line. Use a low loss coax such as LMNR 8 for the main feed line. After completing the assembly of the collinear antenna, apply a small amount of RF with the antenna on the ground. Low SWR should be observed at this point. Remember tuning can be accomplished with the toroids. The SWR will be lower once the antenna is mounted in the air. If the SWR is greater than 2 to 1 across the entire band, a connection may separated or a short occurred. It will be necessary to correct the problem before proceeding. After good SWR is obtained, I used heat shrink around each joint and the put a tie rap on each point. The tie rap will make the antenna fit bitter in a ½ PVC without moving around much.

If the eight ½ wave coaxial elements result in an antenna too long for your liking (over seven feet), then it is okay to use four ½ wave coaxial elements but the SWR may be slightly higher (Attach four ¼ wave vertical ground radials at the antenna feed point to help lower SWR.). No radials are needed for the eight element version. If 9 dB gain is still not enough for you then increase the number of coax elements from eight to sixteen. You will notice the antenna is getting kind of long if you do this!! Although only a 440 antenna was described in this article, the formulas can be easily calculated for any band. If you go lower than 6 meters it is going to be very LONG..

 

Mike, W9MWP

Scanning with Wings!

How does the Playground Team take flight? We go to an air show! Our fellow member Steve and his friend Joe went to Wichita Falls Texas and attended an air show for a fun day  on a flight line ramp and spectacular aerial performance!

The purpose of an air show is to demonstrate the capabilities of military and civilian aircraft through aerial displays and static exhibitions. This helps raise public awareness and appreciation for aviation technology and achievements. This same “give back” is the mantra of Amateur Radio and all of our capabilities. While not necessarily Ham related, the take away here should be that we all share. It provides a sense of purpose and meaning in life by allowing you to make a positive impact on causes you care about and serve your community. Volunteering gives a feeling of accomplishment and pride.

 

Thanks Steve for sharing aspects of life you enjoy and being a valuable part of the Playground Amateur Radio Club!

 

From the Desk of N2XU

Hi all!

Worldwide Dx and the enjoyment of communications continue!

Not bad what you can do with a wire and a radio… 40 meter dipole with existing wire from an old antenna, inverted v at 24 ft with ends about 10 ft… SWR is 1.17 in the middle of the band and I got a guy in Bulgaria on my first attempt.

 

N2XU

From the Desk of Mike, W9MWP

Hello to everyone at the PARC, my radio home away from home, hi hi. I would like to invite everyone who can to participate in our special event station happening 4/27/2024. The Green Bay Mike and Key Club is celebrating the founding of St. Norbert College in De Pere, WI 125 years ago. It is common knowledge around here that the college was an early experimenter with radio and brought the first radio broadcast station to the Green Bay area. Although the station is no longer owned by the Norbertine Fathers who still run the college, WTAQ is still on the air and it’s transmitting plant is nestled inside the property of the campus on an outlying edge.
It would sure be great to hear some of those 4 calls on that Saturday, so please help us make the day a memorable event. Details about when and where to find us on the dial are below.
  • 04/27/2024 | The 125th Anniversary of the founding of St. Norbert College in De Pere, WI

    Apr 27, 1400Z-1830Z, K9N, De Pere, WI. Green Bay Mike & Key Club, inc. 3.915 7.270 14.285. Certificate. E-certificate only;, email, contact@k9eam.orgwww.k9eam.org

The ARRL listing can be found here.
Michael W Pickett  W9MWP (proud member of PARC)

Sunday Funday, Every Sunday at 3 pm CST!

Hey and howdy fellow communications enthusiasts!

Today we met up once again for our weekly Pile-Up! Contacts were made, new members signed up, and of course, the excitement of multiple projects! The continuation of working on Wires-X, repairing members coaxial runs, reviewing rotators and controllers with new hams, looking up the callsigns of recent contacts and seeing their shacks (virtually of course). Believe it or not, there’s more! Our members help each other out and we went over and performed some minor vehicle repairs as well! We are more than just an Amateur Radio Club, we are participants that matter in each others lives.

As we continue to expand our horizons into our ever evolving hobby we encourage lifelong learning and intellectual growth. By pursuing new interests and challenging ourselves, we open up avenues for continual learning and development. We build meaningful connections and expand our social circles. Joining clubs, classes or online communities related to our hobbies allows us to meet new people who share our passions. This can lead to the formation of new friendships, collaborations and a broader understanding of different perspectives.

Find your passion, find your area of expertise, and share it with others. You never know who you inspire, or what you will learn!

 

 

 

Happy Easter from all of us at the Playground Amateur Radio Club

Happy Easter to all! We hope you are taking the time to celebrate with family and enjoy the day. We are having our Pile-Up and working a few bands as well working on some small projects. As a reminder, there is no Playground Amateur Radio Club Net tonight. We will hear you on the air next Sunday at 730pm Sunday and see you on Thursday at 730pm for the Playground Amateur Radio club Technical Night!

Work That Reaps benefits!

Meet the Moroccan Ham!

KC4R, John,  originally licensed as WA4RHU in Morocco while deployed on active duty with the United States Navy in 1963 (20 year Veteran) had not only the Playground Team but the North Okaloosa Team come out for completion work on a beam and rotor install (from a previous build) located in gorgeous Gulf Breeze Florida!

While in Morocco John recalls details of DX’ing along with the former King of Morocco CN8MH! That’s right!!! Amateur Radio is fit for a King and for all of you as well (depicted below)!

The stacks of the QSL cards that John has offers a long history and informational view point of how the hobby has evolved over the years and remained worthy of the crown! Depicted below is KI4ZER, KN4UDS, KQ4FRB and Michelle (studying in progressish). As you can see in the photos, John’s shack has great equipment and is simple to use. His tilt over tower and beam are manual crank (like the catapults you’ll still find in Morocco! <-True Story, look it up! The weather was perfect for this task and the shade provided by a beautiful tree!

Be sure to listen for John, KC4R in CW across the bands but this time, from the wonderful coast of Florida!

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