Colorado 14er Event – August 12, 2007

The Colorado 14er Event is coming on August 12th, in the morning local time in Colorado.

Amateur Radio operators from around Colorado will be climbing many of Colorado’s 14,000-foot mountains to set up amateur radio stations in an effort to communicate with other radio amateurs across the state and around the world. Join in on the fun Sunday, August 12th 2007 and see how many of the mountaintop stations you can contact. The prime operating hours are from approximately 9 AM to noon local time (1500 to 1800 UTC), but activity may occur at other times during the day.

Two awards to encourage mountaintop operating throughout the year are available. The Summit Award is given to radio amateurs that contact 10 or more peaks and the Pinnacle Award is for operating from 5 or more peaks. Radio operators with 14er climbing experience who plan to climb a 14er should log their name and intended peak at the HAM 14er Yahoo group.

I will be operating from the summit of Pikes Peak with a crew of other ham radio operators, using club callsign K0YB.

73, Bob K0NR

The FCC and Automatic Control

In several recent FCC actions, the regulatory agency removed the privilege of automatic control from a licensed amateur radio operator. For example, this FCC letter to John Kimbraugh WR3S says:

“…on various dates in March 2007, your repeater stations operated without proper control and re-broadcast portions of commercial TV programming and music, contrary to the Commission’s rules regarding the Amateur Radio Service. The monitoring information also shows that operators on your system failed to identify properly and used false call signs.”

The FCC letter also says that WR3S will lose the privilege of operating under automatic control. Without automatic control, a control operator must be present at the control point of the repeater whenever the repeater is in use. This pretty much forces the repeater system to go off the air, unless a repeater operator or a team of control operators can manage to monitor the repeater most of the day.

I see this as the FCC saying that the use of automatic control can be a problem on a repeater. If station operation remains within reasonable limits, then go for it. If you can’t get your act together as the repeater operator, then the FCC will take away this privilege.

– 73, Bob K0NR

Model 400 Mini Volt Voltmeter

I’ve worked in the electronic test and measurement business for over a quarter of a century, so I have a keen interest in test equipment. My friend Steve K0SRW came across an interesting “classic” voltmeter and decided that I needed it in my collection of electronic treasures. Thanks, Steve!

This measuring device is a clever design with a neon bulb used as the voltage detector. A potentiometer varies the voltage to the neon detector, with the potentiometer knob calibrated to read out in volts. You adjust the dial until the light just turns on. This meter works for both AC and DC voltages, from a range of 65 to 660 volts. Click on the pictures to take a closer look.

The original box came with the voltmeter and it says that it was manufactured by Industrial Devices, Inc. of Edgewater, NJ. The device is marked with US Patent Number 2,644,134, which I looked up one of the free online patent databases. The patent was applied for by Nathan Schnoll on July 20, 1949 and was issued on June 30, 1953. As expected, the circuit diagram uses the potentiometer as a simple voltage divider, varying the voltage to the neon bulb.

I’ve done some searching on the web but have not found anything beyond the patent document. Does anyone have any additional information on this voltmeter?

73, Bob K0NR

Colorado QSO Party – This Weekend

It is coming to your favorite frequency band this weekend…The Colorado QSO Party. This ham radio contest….er, party….is sponsored by the Pikes Peak Radio Amateur Assocation. These guys have gotten sponsors for over 50 plaques to be given out, which is an amazing accomplishment. If you don’t win a plaque, there are plenty of certificates, too.

There has also been a major push to get all of the Colorado counties activated. If you are interested in operating mobile, this will be a great opportunity to go activate a rare county. Frequency coverage includes all HF, VHF and UHF bands except 60 meters and WARC bands.

Turn on the radio, get on the air and work someone this weekend.

73, Bob K0NR