Wormhole Newsletter March 2017

Hello Worms

We are meeting at the Minnreg building again this month. It is located at 6340 126th Ave N. That is immediately south of the Honeywell complex at Elmerton and US19. 126th runs between US19 access road and 66th St. There is tentatively a gem show scheduled for Saturday so there may be a crowd using the building. We will have private parking in the back. Come to the southeast corner of the fence around the rear of the building and come in through that chain link gate. The forecast is partly cloudy with a high of 73. Sounds like a great day for the meeting. Bring your folding chair if you have one. The gem show hours are 10 am to 6 pm so if you like gems you can make it a two-fer day. For those interested the Minnreg website is http://www.minnreg.com/.

I had a great time at the Orlando Hamcation. I saw many of you there. I hope you all found whatever you were looking for.

Most of the net listings at the bottom of this newsletter are several years old. I have a hard time keeping up with it especially since I am not much of a net person. Please look it over and let me know what changes are needed.

Talk-in is on the Wormhole repeater and we will be monitoring the simplex call frequency, 146.52. Actually my HT could not reach the repeater from the Minnreg building so I can’t monitor the repeater much but will monitor the simplex call frequency.

*AI NOW WINS AT POKER*

BBC NEWS By Jane Wakefield Technology reporter

A poker-playing AI has beaten four human players in a marathon match lasting 20 days. Libratus, an artificial intelligence program developed at Carnegie Mellon University, was trained to play a variant of the game known as no-limit heads-up Texas hold ’em. In a similar tournament in 2015, the humans won.

The victory has been hailed as a significant milestone for AI, by the team responsible for building it. The AI won more than $1.5m (£1.2m) worth of chips from the humans.

The matches – held at Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh – were live-streamed over gaming site Twitch. Tuomas Sandholm, professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon, said the event was “historic”. “Heads-up no limit Texas hold ’em is in a way the last frontier of all the games,” he said. “Othello, Chess, Go, Jeopardy have all been conquered, but this remained elusive: this is a landmark in AI game-play.”

Prof Sandholm said that the algorithm could be transferred to a range of other uses. “This is not just about poker,” he said. “The algorithms can take information and output a strategy in a range of scenarios, including negotiations, finance, medical treatment and cybersecurity.” “Now we have proven the ability of AI to do strategy and reasoning, there are many potential applications in future.”

One of the professional poker players, Jimmy Chou, admitted at the halfway point that the AI was proving a tough opponent. “The bot gets better and better every day. It’s like a tougher version of us,” he said. “The first couple of days, we had high hopes,” Mr Chou said. “But every time we find a weakness, it learns from us and the weakness disappears the next day.” He added that the professionals had been sharing notes and tips in an effort to find weaknesses in the AI’s game-play.

But they were not the only ones doing homework. Each night after the play ended, the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Centre added computations to sharpen the AI’s strategy. All four human players shared the $200,000 (£159,000) prize fund, ranked in order of how well they played against the AI. Jason Les, who came fourth, summed up the feelings of all four players when he said the match had been “incredibly challenging”. “I was impressed with the quality of poker Libratus played,” he said. “We tried everything we could, but it was just too strong. It became very demoralizing.”

 

* BEAM POWER TO SMARTPHONES AND HEARING AIDS*

James Morra | Microwaves and RF

Energous wants to transmit power to everything from smartphones to hearing aids just like signals are sent over Wi-Fi. And on Monday, it released a piece of that puzzle, a radio transmitter chip that works with its wireless battery charging technology.

The underlying technology is called WattUp and it uses the 5.8 GHz spectrum reserved for for industrial, scientific, and medical applications. An antenna array steers the radio waves into an invisible cloud of RF energy, inside of which devices can charge up. The system can deliver wireless power from up to 15 feet away, the company says.

That contrasts with most recent wireless battery charging technology, which only spans a few inches and requires devices to be placed directly on a charging pad. Both the pad and the device contain metal coils that transfer power magnetically instead of using radio waves.

The San Jose-based firm not only designs transmitters but also receivers that convert radio frequencies into direct current, in a process known as rectification. While the transmitters are used in special base stations for homes and offices, the tiny receivers can be embedded inside things like routers and laptops to suck up power.

Founded in 2012, Energous designs the chips required for wireless power transmission, but actual products using its technology have been slow to market. The company says that will change because its technology can transmit further distances, but thus far its slow progress is somewhat self-inflicted.

The company shuttered its original plans to make wireless charging smartphone cases after it signed a deal with a large consumer electronics maker, which asked the company for smaller and thinner wireless charging technology, Stephen Rizzone, chief executive of Energous, told the Verge. That customer is widely rumored to be Apple.

In recent years, it has worked to miniaturize its transmitter chips and expand the number of devices compatible with WattUp technology. It also had to assuage regulator fears that its technology would interfere with Wi-Fi, which operates in spectrum neighboring WattUp’s frequency bands.

“This new IC will be the backbone of our transmitter technology moving forward and our efforts to miniaturize and reduce costs for our customers will allow WattUp transmitters to be included in-the-box with many consumer devices,” said Stephen Rizzone, chief executive of Energous, in a statement.

The new transmitter chip measures 7 millimeters square, compared to the 3 millimeters square of the company’s receiver chips. It integrates an ARM Cortex M0+ processor and DC-DC converter on the same chip. Energous says that sample evaluation kits are now available.

The chip was developed with Dialog Semiconductor, which invested $10 million last November to become the exclusive supplier of WattUp chips and jump start the technology’s adoption. Special software helps the transmitter link up with a Dialog Bluetooth Smart chip. WattUp uses Bluetooth to locate and track the charging of nearby devices.

There is some evidence that companies are interested. At the Consumer Electronics Show last month, Energous showed several devices ranging from power dongles and hearing aids that could be charged with WattUp technology. The catch was that they could only be charged on a short-range charging pad, not from 15 feet away.

Energous has not said when its long-range technology will come out. But it has said that the charging pad technology would help make its technology more prevalent and the switch to long-range technology more seamless.

WATT’S LAW*

 

By Ralph WD0EJA

 

 

The last article was on Ohms Law. The other law that is used a lot is Watt’s Law. A watt is a measurement of power. It can also be a measurement of energy used, if associated with time. You have seen this on your electric bill, “Kilowatt Hours” (KWH).

 

Two elements of ohms law make up Watt’s Law. Voltage and current. It is: P = I x E

 

It is worked the same way Ohm’s law is. The product of “I” and “E” will be your value in Watts. If you know the wattage and you know one of the other element, then you can calculate the third element.

 

I = P                   E = P

E                           I

 

Now you have two laws in electricity that will tell you most of what you need to know. The two laws have common elements, namely I and E. That is plenty to get us in trouble. For example, let’s say we know the voltage (E) and we know the Resistance (R) of a circuit and we need to know the wattage. We do not know the Current (I).

 

From ohms law we know that current (I) equals E .

                                                                            R

So, put that in the place of (I) in watt’s law.

  

P = E x E      or  P =

R                             R

 

                                                         

 

There are 12 variations of Ohm’s and Watt’s laws. Because we are supposed to be real schmart, we should know how to calculate all 12. At least, that is what my instructor told us in school. However, if we just don’t feel like doing all that thinking, we have what he called an “Idiots Wheel”.

 

You can determine wattage, voltage, current and resistance if you know only 2 of the other elements of either law.

 

Now, if you can calculate all the formulas, you have become an engineer.

 

If you have to use the “I” Wheel, You have become a technician.

 

Not bad for 10 minutes of reading.

 

 

FEB 2017

 73,

Ralph WD0EJA

isotronantennas.com

 

*WHY ARE THERE SO MANY TECHS?*

 

By Dan Romanchik, KB6NU

Recently, one of my readers asked, “Why do most people have a Technician license and not a General or Extra? Is it simply not interesting enough to get more privileges?”

This is a very interesting question, one that I’ve written about before. I think there are several issues at play here. In no particular order:

  • It’s pretty easy to get a Tech license, so a lot of people get them just for the challenge, but really never intend to use the license.
  • Some people get a Tech license, but then find out that amateur radio isn’t what they thought it was going to be.
  • Some people get a Tech license, then can’t find an Elmer to help them. They lose interest and give up on ham radio.
  • Some people get a Tech license, buy an HT, and think that’s all there is to amateur radio. They quickly lose interest in amateur radio, because talking on the repeaters just isn’t all that interesting.
  • Some people get licenses to participate in local emergency communications or CERT organizations. There’s no need for them to get anything more than a Tech license.
  • Since it’s so easy to get a Tech license, even those that aren’t technically inclined get them. Getting a General Class license requires a fair amount of study, and because they don’t see the benefits of putting in that kind of work, they just don’t bother.

I posted this question to my blog and got several interesting replies. Perhaps the most cogent was by Kenneth, W6KWF. He wrote: “The only thing General/Extra gets you is HF, which is becoming an increasingly small fraction of the possibilities of the amateur hobby. Amateurs could easily spend their whole lives moving from FM repeaters to microwave to VHF packet to EME to CERT/event support, etc, etc, without having any interest to explore what few facets of the hobby need HF privileges.”

I think this is a great point. When incentive licensing was put into place in the late 1960s, HF was where the action was. Nowadays, more of the “cool stuff” is happening on VHF, UHF and microwaves. Getting additional HF privileges is not really a big deal anymore for many hams.

Yet another new license class?

Right on the heels of this discussion, the ARRL posted a news item, “ARRL Seeks Opinions Concerning Possible New Entry Level License” (http://www.arrl.org/news/arrl-seeks-opinions-concerning-possible-new-entry-level-license). According to this report, the ARRL Board of Directors set up an An Entry Level License Committee in September 2016.

The committee is gathering member input via an online member survey (http://www.arrl.org/license-1) and will make recommendations to the Board for possible rules changes to submit to the FCC. They note, “The result could mean changes to the Technician license, but it could also be an additional, but simpler, license with privileges that would give a newcomer a taste of most facets of ham radio from HF to VHF and UHF. The survey will be online until April 7, 2017.

According to the survey page, the committee is trying to address several issues, including:

  • The declining population of new hams under the age of 30.
  • A decline in the number of new licensees who actually get on the air.
  • Amateur Radio’s lack of appeal for those under the age of 30, compared to other technical hobbies.
  • The increasing challenge of engaging and retaining Technician licensees.
  • A reluctance in much of the amateur community to embrace newer technologies of interest to the younger segment of the population.

Personally, I don’t think that coming up with a new entry-level license class with privileges that are even more limited than the Technician Class is a bad idea, but whether or not it’s successful will depend completely on the implementation. Unless the new class of license is accompanied by some kind of program that will help these new licensees really become engaged with amateur radio, then we’re just creating another class of inactive licensees. I don’t know exactly what this program would consist of, but without it, this effort is doomed to failure.

And, who’s going to develop and run this program? The only organization that has the horsepower to make this work is the ARRL. They are going to have to step up big time. Most clubs don’t have the people or resources to do it properly. If you have any thoughts on this, I urge you to contact your ARRL division director (http://www.arrl.org/divisions).

When he’s not pondering questions about the amateur radio licensing structure, Dan blogs about amateur radio at KB6NU.Com, writes the “No Nonsense” amateur radio study guides, and teaches ham classes. You can contact him by e-mailing cwgeek@kb6nu.com.

ED.. For the curious people out there here is the current license count: Novice=9774, Tech=372225, Tech-Plus=0, General=172459, Advanced=44457, Extra=143302 for a total licensed amateurs at 742217…Bill

 

*KINGS POINT ARC OPEN LETTER ABOUT REPEATERS*

To All;

AS many of you know there have been several of us that have been putting some extra effort into the repeaters lately. So I want to let you know what is going on and what is the plans. There is a large amount of information here and will be happy to answer questions for anyone just send me an email or catch me at the club room.

 

Dstar;

  1. The UHF Dstar has been repaired and is being shipped back to us. It will go back on the air as soon as it gets back.
  2. We have a VHF repeater (147.2625 +600), that will go on the air this week. Just need to finish tuning the cavities for it.

Analog Repeaters

  1. Both repeaters have been replaced with commercial grade Motorola Quantar repeaters. Both repeaters have the ability of transmitting 110 watts each but we have turned them down and sending about 60 watts to the Antennas. We are not finished with the installations on these as there are some feedline and antenna issues we are working on. We have had confirmed handheld contacts from Big Bend Road, Gibsonton Road, and I have checked in from in my house in Ruskin. This should improve further as we finish the antenna systems.
  2. P25 The UHF repeater is running in dual mode (Analog and P-25 digital), this means it will respond to either of these. I will finish the VHF upgrade this week, I had to get a replacement ship to complete it.
  3. Relocation – We have obtained to 6-foot-tall racks to house our repeaters in. One is up at the towers and one is in the repeater room at the club house. These will make a much safer storage for the repeaters and they are a metal mesh so it will improve the resistance to EMI. The intent is to finish the antenna work at the towers and move the Analog VHF repeater up there.  This will provide better handheld coverage for the VHF as well as the UHF. This will provide more flexibility for Kings Point Residents as well as the Sun City residents and with the South County Cert expanding this will provide better coverage for them.

Plans

  1. When the moves are complete we will have the analog repeaters up on the Towers apartments and will have preamplifier and additional filtering as required. The D-Star repeaters will be at the Club House as before, although we have upgraded the router for better protection and throughput.
  2. Once these moves are stable, I will start the process of upgrading the D-Star gateway from G2 to G3. I must do some checking as this will require a 64-bit computer and I am not sure if the one we have will meet the requirements.
  3. Cross-band linking on the analog computers (it is already available in Dstar). We will look into cross-banding the repeaters with the ability to manage the link remotely (using the touch tone pad on a hand held). In addition, we have been invited to join the P25 network in the area. Not sure if we want to do it or how hard it will be, but if we do, this could give worldwide connectivity.
  4. We have been asked to change our Analog VHF repeater frequency (currently 147.09). We periodically interfere with TARC on 147.105, we changed PLs to make that better and it really did not. We hear and get interference from N1FL from Orlando periodically and I am sure we do the same to him. We have been given 145.45 -600 as the new VHF analog frequency. The intent is to make the frequency shift on 25 February 2016. This will give time if anyone needs to help to come in and we will help them put the new frequency in their radio for them.

 

Q: What is that noise? –  I have had some people asking me about the interference on the UHF repeater, or let me know that it sounds like the power supply is going bad as there is a hum on the repeater when it transmits.

A: When you are listening to the UHF and VHF KPARC repeaters with an Analog only radio, you could hear a Hiss (like white noise), a buzz or a hum. This is the P25 going over the air.  What you can do so you do not have to listen to it is to set your radio’s receive PL to 162.2 like you do for transmit.  Then your radio will only open the squelch when the analog side is transmitting. If you have a problem, please contact Dick or I to get you some assistance to set your memory for this.

 

Q: Where can I get the P25 Radios?

A: I have been buying them from eBay. If that is what you desire to do, please spend a few minutes with myself or Frank when he is in the radio room as there are many different versions and they may not work on ham frequencies.

 

 

 

Respectfully

Bill

N1CDO

Ph.  757-635-2195

Email n1cdobill@verizon.net

 

*CLUB MEETING*

This meeting at 11:00 Saturday morning at the Minnreg Building located at 6340 126th Ave N, Largo. Talk-in is on the Wormhole repeater system.  For those coming to the meeting who cannot hit the repeater we will be monitoring 146.520 simplex, the national calling frequency. We will keep an eye peeled for you. We will take advantage of the cooking facilities with an after-the-meeting Social and Wormdog picnic.

 

*CLUB NETS*

Check in on the club net Thursdays at 1930.  442.625 + with a 146.2 tone or the 2M side at 146.850 – also with a tone of 146.2.  We are always looking for volunteers to be the net control operator.  Anyone interested, talk to one your club officers.

 

*LOCAL NETS*

MONDAY

1730 147.030 + Receiver sites and tone info http://www.qsl.net/wd4scd/

St Pete Yacht Club ARC St Petersburg

1830 147.060+ no tone St Pete ARC daily net St Petersburg

1900 144.210 USB CARS, vertical polarization Clearwater

1900 147.135 +146.2 Zephyrhills ARC Zephyrhills

2000 147.165+ 136.5 Brandon ARS from Brandon

2000 50.135 Pinellas ARK Pinellas County

2030 NI4CE system EAGLE Net, NTS traffic net, NI4CE system

2030 145.450 Pinellas ARK Pinellas County

TUESDAY

1830 147.060 no tone St Pete ARC daily net from St Petersburg

1900 50.200 USB 6M net Brandon ARS

1900 28.450 WCF section net Clearwater

1900 NI4CE system WCF Section VHF ARES NI4CE system

1930 145.170 & 442.4 both pl 156.7 Pinellas ACS net Clearwater

1930 444.900 +141.3 Sheriff’s Tactical ARC Tampa

2000 NI4CE system WCF Skywarn net NI4CE system

2000 147.105+ 146.2 Tampa ARC net from Tampa

2000 28.365 USB simplex Brandon ARS

2030 NI4CE system EAGLE Net, NTS traffic net NI4CE system

2100 28.465 USB 10/10 net from Orlando

WEDNESDAY

1830 147.060 no tone St Pete ARC daily net from St Petersburg

1930 52.020 simplex Suncoast 6’ers from St Petersburg

1930 NI4CE system WCF Section Digital Info Ne NI4CE system

2000 147.105 146.2 Greater Tampa CERT net from Tampa

2000 146.97- 146.2 Clearwater ARS from Clearwater

2030 NI4CE system EAGLE Net, NTS traffic net NI4CE system

2100 NI4CE system Tampa Bay Traders Net non-affiliated

THURSDAY

1800 146.52 simplex Hillsborough ARES/RACES North Tampa

1830 147.060 no tone St Pete ARC daily net from St Petersburg

1900 444.750 +146.2 Fusion net from Tampa

1930 146.850- & 442.625+ both pl 146.2 Wormhole from St Petersburg

1930 146.6385 -127.3 Lakeland ARC from Lakeland

1915 224.660- no tone St Pete ARC from St Petersburg

2030 NI4CE system EAGLE Net, NTS traffic net NI4CE system

FRIDAY

1830 147.060 no tone St Pete ARC daily net from St Petersburg

2030 NI4CE system EAGLE Net, NTS traffic net NI4CE system

SATURDAY

0830 3.911 (7.281 Alt.)+/- QRM WCF Section HF Net from Pinellas County

1830 147.060 no tone St Pete ARC daily net from St Petersburg

2030 NI4CE system EAGLE Net, NTS traffic net NI4CE system

SUNDAY

1830 147.060 no tone St Pete ARC daily net from St Petersburg

1930 NI4CE system WCF Section Net NI4CE system

2000 147.550 simplex 550 Simplex Net Pinellas County

2030 NI4CE system EAGLE Net, NTS traffic net NI4CE system

2100 144.210 USB Clearwater ARS vertical orientation

 

*FOR SALE / WANTED*

Anyone having something for sale or who might be looking for an item let me know.  I will not print phone numbers or email addresses unless specifically told to since this newsletter might end up on the web.  The exception is when I get the information off the web.  If you are a member of the Wormhole then you have all the information you need on a club roster and if you are not a member  .. why not?  OK, if you are not a member you can contact me at the email address at the end of this newsletter, I will give you the information to contact the person involved.

FOR SALE, 13 element, 14.5 ft 220 beam. Wormhole property, $20, contact Bill AG4QX or any other officer. Free to any Wormhole member or other club. Pickup at Bill’s house.

 

*HAMFESTS*

2017

May 27 WormFest 2017, Pinellas Park,  FREE,  Freedom Lake Park, 9990 46th St N, southeast corner of US 19 and 49th Street, 33782.  Park opens at sunrise, hamfest from 0800 till…  Talkin on 442.625 + or 146.850 – both with a tone of 146.2.  For a map and directions see http://www.TheWormholeSociety.org .

 

 

*OTHER AREA EVENTS*

Mid January Frogman swim in Tampa Bay. http://www.tampabayfrogman.com/

Last full weekend January Winter Field Day, http://www.spar-hams.org/index.php

Late January Gasparilla celebration

March/April MS Walks

March/April Mass Casualty Exercises

Late April Southeastern VHF Society Conference, http://www.svhfs.org

Late April Walk For Babies (was March of Dimes)

Late April Florida QSO Party

Mid-May Annual Armed Forces Crossband Test

Early to Mid May MS 150 bike ride http://bikeflc.nationalmssociety.org/site/TR?fr_id=28207&pg=entry

Mid-May Florida Hurricane Exercise

Late May Wormfest

Early June Museum Ships on the Air

Fourth weekend in June Field Day http://www.arrl.org/contests/announcements/fd/

July 3/4 Midnight Run in Largo http://www.kiwanismidnightrun.com/

August International Lighthouse/Lightship Week https://illw.net/

October, 3rd weekend JOTA, Scout Jamboree-on-the-AIR

Early December ALS bike ride in Walsingham Park

December, first full weekend Ride & Run With The Stars in Fort DeSoto Park

December, Second full weekend Tampa Bay Hamfest http://www.fgcarc.org/

 

*YOUR WORMHOLE OFFICERS*

Bill AG4QX is President and editor of this newsletter, Vice-President is Mike K4ZPE,  Treasurer is Jim KD4MZL, Paul KA4IOX is the Secretary, Dee N4GD is the Repeater Trustee and Neil W4NHL and Mike K4ZPE are our club webmasters.

*YOUR WORMHOLE REPEATERS*

442.625 +  PL 146.2

146.850 –  PL 146.2

The Wormhole repeaters are both now dual mode Yaesu DR-1X. FM analog as always and now Yaesu Fusion, a C4FM/FM digital mode. The repeater crew updated the software on May 3, 2016.

The Wormhole website is at: http://www.TheWormholeSociety.org.

West Central Florida Section website:  http://www.arrlwcf.org/.

The ARRL website is at: http://www.arrl.org/

This newsletter is written for The Glorious Society of the Wormhole, an ARRL affiliated amateur radio club located around the Seminole section of Pinellas County Florida. Anyone wishing to be added or removed from The Glorious Society of the Wormhole mailings please write to me at the address below and thy will be done.

73,

Bill Williams

AG4QX

ag4qx AT arrl DOT net

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