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2023-12-31

The January - February 2024 SARC Communicator

A great way to start 2024!

The January - February 2024 Communicator, digital periodical of Surrey Amateur Radio Communications is now available for viewing or download.

Read in over 145 countries, we bring you 120 pages of Amateur Radio content from the Southwest corner of Canada and elsewhere. With less fluff and ads than other Amateur Radio publications, you will find Amateur Radio related articles, projects, profiles, news, tips and how-to's for all levels of the hobby.

You can view or download it as a .PDF file:  



Download the Communicator January - February 2024

Previous Communicator issues are at:

https://ve7sar.blogspot.com/search/label/The%20Communicator

and a full index is HERE.  

As always, thank you to our contributors, and your feedback is always welcome. 

The deadline for the next edition is February 15th.

If you have news or events from your club or photos, stories, projects or other items of interest from BC or elsewhere, please contact us at communicator@ve7sar.net

73,

John VE7TI
'The Communicator' Editor






2023-12-27

Restoring a rusty old tower (revisited)

Like being given a 'free' dog...

A BIG Project!

(from The Communicator - August 2013)

Three years ago I received a free tower and rotator. I’ll write about the rotator in another instalment but I’ve since discovered that some ‘free’ ham gear is like being given a free dog… you have to be aware of the hidden costs.

I had never had a tower but always wanted one. I’d been satisfied with my Carolina Windom, an off-centre fed dipole at 25 feet off the ground, that let me use most HF bands right up to 80m. It served me well, and still does but greater involvement in contesting and the desire to move up to a more directional antenna encouraged me to make the move.

Fortunately I have a wife who is also a ham, though not particularly active, but she knows the thrill I get when working a new country or breaking through a pile-up. She was supportive in my quest. Coincidentally I also had to replace the deck on our 30 year-old house. That provided another incentive to get the project started and find the right location. Our old laundry line was accessible from the deck at a corner of the house. The new deck, with glass panels around it would no longer allow this so the new tower would have to do double-duty as the anchor for the clothesline as well. I decided that it would be a light-duty tower as I didn’t have the space for a full-size tower, and I wanted to keep peace with my neighbours.

I spread the word among my fellow club members that I was looking. Pretty soon an offer came in of five ten-foot sections of light duty tower. I picked them up and it was immediately evident that some work would be needed before they would be safe and usable. Thick rust had eaten though much off the galvanized surface. Several of the cross-member welds had broken and one section was noticeably bent. I knew my wife wouldn’t be pleased if I attempted to place that within view.

Over the next several days I spent time washing down my new acquisition, which had evidently spent time behind someone’s shed, judging by the weeds, caked mud and dead critters in and outside the tubing. I also spent some Internet time researching whether I could revitalize this tower and how to go about it.



My daughter-in-law manages a paint store and was able to provide me with some technical advice on surface preparation and coatings. I knew I would have to paint the sections for my wife to accept them right outside her kitchen window. Colour would also be a factor.

I bought two brass wire wheels and some emery paper and set to work to clean off as much loose rust as I could with my power drill. It worked well and a day later I was done. Based on my Internet findings, and helpful reviews by previous users, I tried three products to tackle the remaining rust. From left to right on the adjoining photo they were Permatex brand ‘Rust Dissolving Gel’, ‘Evapo-Rust’ by Rust-stop Canada, and Rust Check brand ‘Rust Converter’. All were applied according to the provided directions and they performed their intended function. The gel, being thicker, clung to the parts better but was much slower and required a lot of re-coating to keep working. The other two products were thinner and more difficult to keep in place, but they produced faster results. If these were small pieces that could be submerged it would be no contest, but keeping to a short section at a time and using a paint brush to keep the area wet with solution clearly showed the Evapo-Rust product to be the most suitable, and the fastest. It also appears to be the most environmentally friendly of the three, though I wouldn't recommend doing this job on your lawn, as I started to do. Yes, the grass did eventually grow back.



The surface was now free of rust and, after another scrub, was ready for inspection. I looked closely at each crosstie and at every weld. Suspicious ones were marked. Several were obviously cracked or already split. With the assistance of Fred Orsetti VE7IO, the welds were repaired. I was ready for paint!


I would have used an oil based primer and top-coat but my expert advised me against it and she was correct. According to the product sheets for such coatings, it is not recommended that you use an oil based product on galvanized surfaces. The paint will release and peel off after a time—and I didn’t fancy the thought of doing this again in a couple of years. There are special coatings available in a spray can specifically for galvanized metal but they are quite expensive with small coverage, exacerbated by the necessity to get inside and out and into all the nooks and crannies around the welds. I decided a brush was the better applicator for that job.

We, (read-in wife-approval mandatory) decided the least noticeable colour on our wooded lot would be a camouflage green. As a result of my ‘colour-Googling’ I had actually suggested a multi-colour camo paint scheme but that was vetoed as being too ‘military looking’, and so the appropriate latex primer and top-coat were tinted. It took exactly one litre each of primer and top coat to paint the five sections twice, with extra coatings on the welds. I used an air sprayer on the legs for the final coat.


Next came even tougher work. I had to remove a section of my cement patio to make the appropriate foundation and dig a big hole. There were brackets available that could be surface mounted but I’m a ‘belt and suspenders’ kind of guy and I wanted this thing in a block of concrete. If guys are not used, the tower manufacturer recommends fastening a section to the house as high up as possible, in my case that was just near the top of the 2nd section. I visited my local scrap yard and purchased some heavy-duty angle aluminium by the pound. I cut pieces to make an equilateral triangle and bolted one to the top plate of the house, running two arms to adjacent tower legs where they were secured by U-bolts. It’s steady as a rock. I used stainless steel hardware for all the section to section connectors in case I ever want (or have to) take it apart. That time is approaching as I have completed a rebuild of a rotator and HF Yagi that will go up in the spring.

It has now been two years plus and the tower shows no signs of either rust or paint failure. It was a lot of effort but I’m pleased I did it. Even with my Carolina Windom centred at the top of the tower, much higher than before, I’m getting much more activity across all the bands.



The sections above the roof blend in nicely with the trees. The final touch was to place flower baskets on the rungs at each level. We now refer to it as the ‘Tower of Flower’ and surprise… the neighbours even say it looks good.

 ~ John VE7TI



2023-11-13

Restricted putting up an antenna?

 Hide it in your holiday lights!

For all their supposed benefits, homeowner’s associations (HOAs) have a reputation of quickly turning otherwise quaint neighborhoods into a sort of Stanford prison experiment, as those who get even the slightest amount of power often abuse it. Arbitrary rules and enforcement abound about house color, landscaping, parking, and if you’ve ever operated a radio, antennas. While the FCC (at least as far as the US is concerned) does say that HOAs aren’t permitted to restrict the use of antennas, if you don’t want to get on anyone’s bad side you’ll want to put up an antenna like this one which is disguised as a set of HOA-friendly holiday lights.

For this build, a long wire is hidden along with a strand of otherwise plain-looking lights. While this might seem straightforward at first, there are a few things that need to be changed on the lighting string in order to make both the antenna and the disguise work. First, the leads on each bulb were removed to to prevent any coupling from the antenna into the lighting string. Clipping the leads turns what is essentially a long wire that might resonate with the antenna’s frequency into many short sections of wire which won’t have this problem. This also solves the problem of accidentally illuminating any bulbs when transmitting, as the RF energy from the antenna could otherwise transfer into the lighting string and draw attention from the aforementioned HOA.

Tests of this antenna seemed to show surprising promise while it was on the ground, but when the string and antenna was attached to the roof fascia the performance dropped slightly, presumably because of either the metal drip edge or the gutters. Still, the antenna’s creator [Bob] aka [HOA Ham] had excellent success with this, making clear contacts with other ham radio operators hundreds of miles away. We’ve shared another of [Bob]’s HOA-friendly builds below as well which hides the HF antenna in the roof’s ridge vent, and if you’re looking for other interesting antenna builds take a look at this one which uses a unique transformer to get wide-band performance out of an otherwise short HF antenna.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4uG_D0bDGuI

Antenna Hidden In Holiday Lights Skirts HOA Rules | Hackaday

~ Hackaday



2023-10-31

The November - December Communicator is now on-line

Wrapping up another year!

The November - December 2023 Communicator, digital periodical of Surrey Amateur Radio Communications is now available for viewing or download.

Read in over 145 countries, we bring you 134 pages of Amateur Radio content from the Southwest corner of Canada and elsewhere. With less fluff and ads than other Amateur Radio publications, you will find Amateur Radio related articles, projects, profiles, news, tips and how-to's for all levels of the hobby.

You can view or download it as a .PDF file:  



Previous Communicator issues are at:

https://ve7sar.blogspot.com/search/label/The%20Communicator

and a full index is HERE.  

As always, thank you to our contributors, and your feedback is always welcome. 

The deadline for the next edition is December 15th.

If you have news or events from your club or photos, stories, projects or other items of interest from BC or elsewhere, please contact us at communicator@ve7sar.net

73,

John VE7TI
'The Communicator' Editor






2023-10-02

SARCBUZZ News - October 2023

 SARCBUZZ

Monthly News and Announcements
Celebrating 50 years of service - 1975-2023

September 30, 2023

  • CQ WW DX Contest (SSB)
    October 28/29 Don’t miss out on your chance to compete in the largest Amateur Radio contest in the world. Over 35,000 participants take to the airwaves on the last weekend of October with the goal of  making as many contacts with as many DXCC entities and CQ Zones as possible. Both seasoned SARC DXers and GOTA newbies are invited to participate as a VE7SAR team. Coaching will be available to those who request it. Whether we operate two radios as Multi-Two (Low Power) or one radio as Multi-One (High Power) will depend on the number of operators signed up. Both Larry (VE7LXB@gmail.com) and John (brodiejb@shaw.ca) will collect names of those who wish to participate, and prepare a schedule. The team already has the September CQ WW RTTY contest under its belt and is looking forward to this next challenge.
  • Soldering Workshop
    October 21 8:30 am - Noon. FULL This workshop is for those new to soldering or wishing to refresh their skills. As presented by Dino (VE7XDT) and John (VE7TI) the workshop includes an introduction to soldering, types of soldering irons and stations, and  the construction of an xmas tree circuit board (agenda attached). This workshop is FULL but if you wish to be put on a waiting list or have interest in the next workshop you may contact John VE7TI or Larry VE7LXB .
  • Delta ARS Comfest

Sunday October 15 10am - 1pm The long tradition of the ComFest Amateur Radio Swap Meet continues. It is a great venue to meet fellow hams, buy and sell gear and or simply discover what the world of amateur radio has to offer. 1720 56th Street Tsawwassen. General admission $5. Major door prizes.

  • SARC Monthly Meeting
    Wednesday October 11th 7pm - 9pm. Location: Surrey Fire Hall Training Centre. The guest speaker for the next meeting is Halden Field VE7UTS. Halden is a member of the North Shore ARC and a past contributor to their newsletter and to The Communicator. Halden has presented at several west coast Ham Fests including at Seaside Oregon. He will be speaking on some of his favourite amateur radio construction projects.
  • Saturday Morning Breakfast and OTC
    SARC Meets informally for breakfast at Denny’s Restaurant 6850 King George Boulevard in Surrey, between 7:30 and 9:00am each Saturday morning. We’d love for you to join us. Following breakfast, the OTC will be open from 9:30 until noon. You are invited to come down to the OTC with your equipment and any ham-related issues and our Elmers will try to assist you. You can also reach Elmers by email at elmers@ve7sar.net.

Thank you for being a SARCBuzz reader.

gota@ve7sar.net

Calendar of Events


2023-09-19

Working POTA: A beginner's guide and video

 

SARC in the park!

We had an interesting workshop on Saturday, September 16, 2023.  'SARC in the Park' was a presentation by Dmitry VA7DVO for our members interested in POTA activations. You will find more about getting started in POTA at their website, and in our free digital magazine 'The Communicator'.

With an easy to build and inexpensive segmented 5-band wire dipole antenna, we made several of the 17m SSB POTA contacts shown in this video, including Switzerland, Italy and with a mobile station in Northern England.

The antenna plan is at: https://bit.ly/SARC23Sep-Oct on page 45.



Dmitry VA7DVO presenting POTA at the OTC

The on-site demonstration took place at Serpentine Fen Wildlife Refuge

Alex VA7PVC, Dmitry VA7DVO , and Leandro VE7LSI at Serpentine Fen

Here is the presentation on video and a look at the activation

https://youtu.be/RTAKs40DHjQ


Do you want to know what else is happening at SARC?

All our events are now available through our 'live' calendar at: https://ve7sar.net/.

~



2023-08-31

The September-October SARC Communicator Journal

Here's another great issue!

'The September-October 2023 Communicator' digital periodical of Surrey Amateur Radio Communications is now available for viewing or download.

Our biggest issue to date, read in over 145 countries, we bring you 132 pages of Amateur Radio news from the South West corner of Canada and elsewhere. With less fluff and ads than other Amateur Radio publications, you will find Amateur Radio related articles, projects, profiles, news, tips and how-to's for all levels of the hobby.

You can view or download it as a .PDF file:  




Previous Communicator issues are at:

https://ve7sar.blogspot.com/search/label/The%20Communicator

and a full index is HERE.  

As always, thank you to our contributors, and your feedback is always welcome. 

The deadline for the next edition is October 15th.

If you have news or events from your club or photos, stories, projects or other items of interest from BC or elsewhere, please contact us at communicator@ve7sar.net

73,

John VE7TI

'The Communicator' Editor






2023-07-01

The July-August 2023 Communicator

Here's another great issue!

'The Communicator' digital periodical of Surrey Amateur Radio Communications is now available for viewing or download.

Read in over 145 countries now, with almost 14,000 downloads for the March-April issue, we bring you 124 pages of Amateur Radio news from the South West corner of Canada and elsewhere. With less fluff and ads than other Amateur Radio publications, you will find Amateur Radio related articles, projects, profiles, news, tips and how-to's for all levels of the hobby.

You can view or download it as a .PDF file:  




Previous Communicator issues are at:

https://ve7sar.blogspot.com/search/label/The%20Communicator

and a full index is HERE.  

As always, thank you to our contributors, and your feedback is always welcome. 

The deadline for the next edition is August 15th.

If you have news or events from your club or photos, stories, projects or other items of interest from BC or elsewhere, please contact us at communicator@ve7sar.net

Have great summer!

73,

John VE7TI

'The Communicator' Editor






2023-04-30

The May-June 2023 Communicator

Here's The Communicator!

'The Communicator' digital periodical of Surrey Amateur Radio Communications is now available for view or download.

Read in over 145 countries now, with almost 14,000 downloads for the March-April issue, we bring you 130 pages of Amateur Radio news from the South West corner of Canada and elsewhere. With less fluff and ads than other Amateur Radio publications, you will find Amateur Radio related articles, projects, profiles, news, tips and how-to's for all levels of the hobby.

You can view or download it as a .PDF file:  



Previous Communicator issues are at:

https://ve7sar.blogspot.com/search/label/The%20Communicator

and a full index is HERE.  

As always, thank you to our contributors, and your feedback is always welcome. 

The deadline for the next edition is June 15th.

If you have news or events from your club or photos, stories, projects or other items of interest from BC or elsewhere, please contact us at communicator@ve7sar.net

73,

John VE7TI

'The Communicator' Editor






2023-04-24

A Pop-up Ham Sale

 

April 29 at our Training Site

5746 142 Street, Surrey

Surrey Amateur Radio Communications will be holding a parking lot sale next Saturday April 29th (weather permitting) to dispose of a large quantity of surplus ham equipment. 


Lots to choose from!
 
Items for sale include HF and mobile transmitters, receivers, transceivers, antennas, rotators, test instruments, coax and other cable, swr and power meters, power supplies, tuners, scopes, dummy loads, misc. accessories etc. We also have a utility trailer for sale. 
 
The sale is at our Ops & Training Centre 5756 142 St. Surrey, BC. from 11 am to 2 pm.  No early birds please (Map link: 
: https://what3words.com/daunted.rarity.parrot)
 
SARC/SEPAR members and non-members are also invited to set up a table or sell personal items from their vehicles. There is no charge for this.
 
Before the event, you may also wish to join us for our club breakfast at Denny’s Restaurant 6850 King George Blvd between 7:30 and 9:00 am.
 
Questions? SARC@VE7SAR.net

Here is a partial list









































See you there.

 
~

CQ CQ CQ

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