Wormhole Newsletter November 2016

November 2016

Hello Worms

Do not go to Walsingham Park for this meeting. October was our last meeting in the park and maybe our last meeting ever in a park. Jim has found another location that meets our requirements and is certainly ok at least for now. It is the Oakhurst United Methodist Church located at 13400 Park Blvd, within sight of the Intercoastal bridge. We meet behind the church under the trees. All nicely shaded with plenty of tables/benches so no folding chairs are needed, bring them as you wish. Plenty of parking also. We have to go inside for shelter from rain. They ask for a $25 donation if we meet inside and an “appropriate” amount for meeting outside. We will discuss this at the next meeting. The Google Earth location is 27°50’35.0” N and 82° 49’28.0” W.

Hopefully everyone got the information on the rescheduling of the Melbourne hamfest. I have not heard of anyone going over on the wrong weekend but I am sure someone did.

Talk-in is on the Wormhole repeater and I will be monitoring the simplex call frequency, 146.52. There is a 30% chance of rain, pretty much normal.

*CELEBRATE YOUR CLUB’S*

Sam, W5KF, recently sent me a link to the Elmers’ page on the Norman, OK South Canadian Amateur Radio Society (SCARS) website. Not only is it a listing of the club members who have stepped forward to Elmer new members, but also provides ways to honor current and past Elmers. This is from the SCARS newsletter:

“Elmer List on the W5NOR.org website

“This week we talk about a brand new feature on the W5NOR web site. In the amateur radio community, an experienced amateur radio operator who mentors a new or prospective ham is commonly called an “Elmer”. In our hobby, that seems to be a great way for knowledge to be transferred.

“Yes, we all have taken an FCC test to receive our license, however that’s only the starting point. Remember that person that helped you set up your first radio, or gave you the courage to press the PTT button, or answered endless questions about a radio, or an antenna? That’s the kind of thing we’re talking about.

“Thanks to a great suggestion from Gary Skaggs WB5ULK [not sure it was my idea. – Editor], we’ve created the SCARS Elmer Page, located at http://w5nor.org/elmers, for us to celebrate Elmers; past, present, and future. We provide a place for Elmers to list their specialty, and contact information, which allows new hams to find someone they can ask questions of.

“Since this is a new section of the web site, this list is rather short. If you’re willing to help others on a given topic, send a message to n5hzr@arrl.net and you will be added to the list. Right now we need lots of different categories, like antennas, radio setup, HT programming, contesting, satellite operation, high power operation, test gear, building your own gear, repairing radios, APRS, D-Star, DMR, CW, logging, etc. oh well, you get the idea.

“You don’t need a PhD to be listed here. You just need a willingness to help others in a given area. It’s OK to be a new ham, and be listed here. You may have just struggled through your first space contact, but you’ll have infinitely more knowledge than the person who’s been a ham for 40 years, and has never tried that portion of the hobby.

“Also, there is a link to the “ARRL Elmer Award” page of the American Radio Relay League’s web site. Here, you can enter your favorite Elmer’s name and callsign. The ARRL will print a nice certificate, and mail it to the address you enter. Yes, for FREE! This certificate can either be mailed to your favorite Elmer, or you can mail it to yourself so you can present it to them personally. Feel free to order an Elmer certificate, and present it to your Elmer at an upcoming SCARS meeting. Talk with one of the officers before the meeting to get your place on the agenda. What a great way to recognize these people for their extra efforts.

“Finally, we’ve got a place to list YOUR favorite Elmer in our SCARS Elmer Hall-of-Fame. This is the place to memorialize your Elmer, whether they are SCARS members, Silent Keys, or not. I’ve already listed a few Elmers on the list from my own travels through the hobby. We’d love to list the people that help us all succeed.

“So, please help make this page useful, visit the SCARS Elmer page at: http://w5nor.org/elmers and be listed as an Elmer, and list your favorite Elmers.”

I think this is a wonderful idea, and I hope that you will consider doing something similar in your club. A little recognition could go a long way, and we need all the Elmers we can muster. And, if you’re already doing this, please send me a link. I’ll add that link to my website, KB6NU.Com.

==================================

When he’s not Elmering new hams, you’ll find Dan building kits and working CW on the HF bands. He is the author of the “No Nonsense” amateur radio license study guides, and blogs about amateur radio at KB6NU.Com. You can contact him by e-mailing cwgeek@kb6nu.com.

* WHAT IS IN A CAPACITOR? – PART 2*

By Ralph WD0EJA

The last issue described some basics of a capacitor. This issue will continue on this subject.

How do we measure the size of a capacitor?

The fundamental unit of capacitance is the farad, but this unit is much too large for practical work. Capacitance is usually measured in “microfarads” (uf) or picofarads (pf). The microfarad is one-millionth of a farad, and the picofarad is one-millionth of a microfarad. Capacitors nearly always have more than 2 plates, the alternate plates being connected together to form two sets. This makes it possible to attain a fairly large capacitance in a small space, since several plates of smaller individual area can be stacked to form the equivalent of a single large plate of the same total area. Also, all plates, except the two on the ends, are exposed to plates of the other group on both sides, and so are twice as affective in increasing capacitance.

What type of capacitors are used in our radios?

The types of capacitors used in radio work differ considerably in physical size, construction and capacitance. In variable capacitors (almost always constructed with air for the dielectric) one set of plates is made movable with respect to the other set so that the capacitance can be varied. Fixed capacitors, that is, assemblies having a single, non-adjustable value of capacitance, also can be made with metal plates and with air as a dielectric, but usually are constructed from plates of metal foil with a thin solid or liquid dielectric sandwiched in between, so that a relatively large capacitance can be secured in a small unit. The solid dielectric commonly used are mica, paper, certain plastics and special ceramics.

The “electrolytic” capacitor uses aluminum foil plates with a semi-liquid conducting chemical compound between them; the actual dielectric is a very thin film of insulating material that forms on one set of plates through electrochemical action when a DC voltage is applied to the capacitor. The capacitance obtained with a given plate area in an electrolytic capacitor is very large, compared with capacitors that have other dielectrics, because the film is so thin, much less than any thickness that is practicable with a solid dielectric.

A word of caution about electrolytics, be sure to watch the polarity. The capacitors are always marked negative and positive. Reversing polarity can be quite exciting. However, some would feel more at home if there was a bit of an explosion associated with their project.

The use of electrolytic capacitors is mainly used in power supply filtering and audio bypass applications. Other types of capacitors are used throughout the frequency range from audio to the high RF spectrum.

You are welcome to contact me at wd0eja@isotronantennas.com with questions you may have. 73, Ralph WD0EJA, BILAL COMPANY

*SHOULD YOU USE A PASSWORD MANAGER?*

INFOPACKETS by John Lister on October 5, 2016

Lately we’ve been posting a lot of articles about websites and services that have been hacked. One of the primary recommendations we have also repeated is that users should use unique and hard-to-guess passwords for each site, as this will help to prevent any further breaches.

The reasoning is that if user account data is stolen on one site (Yahoo is a good example), the same username and passwords may also be valid on other sites – but only if users are using the same account names, passwords or password hints. Unfortunately this is often the case, because using the same passwords on multiple sites is habitual and easy to remember. That said, this is a very bad security practice because any account data which is stolen on one site can be used to gain access to other websites, such as Paypal, for example.

Easily Remember Passwords with a Password Manager

So, what is a password manager? A password manager is a program or online service that generates and stores passwords for multiple websites, so that you don’t have to remember them all. The idea is that because you don’t have to remember lots of passwords, it’s easier to have unique passwords for each site and avoid using predictable words or phrases which are easy to guess by hackers and bots.

A password manager is not the same password storage tool in your web browser. These don’t usually generate passwords for you; instead only storing the ones you create. In some cases, they store an unencrypted list of your passwords on your computer, so a thief or remote hacker might be able to access the list and cause havoc.

What if I’m on a different computer?

Most password managers can work in two ways. They can be an extension or plugin for the browser on your main computer. They can also work by you visiting a dedicated website (such as “Dashlane”), logging in with a master password, and retrieving your stored site passwords.

What about mobile apps?

Some password manager services can work with mobile apps rather than a web browser on a PC, though such an option is usually a paid feature.

How does a master password work?

Usually when you use the browser extension or plugin, you are logged in to the password manager service for a specific duration of time (usually, 5 to 10 minutes providing the computer is active). To access your list of stored passwords, or to make major changes, you’ll usually need to type in your master password. Depending on the settings you choose, you may need to type in your master password every time you try to login to a site using the service, or the service may timeout after 5 minutes of inactivity on the computer.

Picking the master password can be tricky as you need something memorable (particularly if you don’t type it in often) but also difficult for other people to guess. You can setup a password hint that will be sent to your registered email address if you forget it. Again, the trick is to choose a hint that instantly helps you remember your password, but is no help to anyone else. Some password managers such as Roboform allow you to use a fingerprint reader as a way to access your passwords and logins, plus a master password in case your fingerprint reader isn’t working.

Be aware that with most password manager services, added protection comes from the fact that the people running the service don’t have access to your master password, so if you forget it, you are out of luck.

What features should I look for?

Look for a password manager that can generate passwords automatically, rather than have you create them yourselves. This will make sure they are truly random and thus harder to guess. For added convenience, some services will let you request particular characteristics (such as minimum length, including punctuation marks, including a mix of capital and lower case letters) to meet the requirements of the particular site.

Also, you will want to check how your passwords are stored by the service. Ideally you want to see that the service stores them in an encrypted form that can only be decrypted by you providing the master password. That means that the staff of the company couldn’t read your passwords even if they wanted to.

Some services will perform an audit of your passwords, let you know which are too weak and easy to guess, and even change them to a new generated password for you. In some cases, services will even pay attention to any reports of hacking at an online service and automatically change your password for you.

Some, but not all password managers will also fill in forms for you – so you don’t have to remember your user name, password, or any other information usually required on a page with input fields. Roboform can remember passwords and can fill in fields automatically, for example.

Should you use a password manager?

For most users, a password manager is a great solution to the dilemma of wanting to have secure unique passwords for dozens or even hundreds of sites without the hassle of remembering them.

If you’re not 100% confident about whether or not someone might be able to gain access to your master password (and hence all of your other passwords) –  one good option is to use a password manager for most sites, but not use it for a few key sites where you’d have the most to lose such as online banking, your main email account, and financial services such as PayPal. If you are going to exclude some sites, it’s best if they are ones where you login regularly, so you are less likely to forget the password.

Another option would be to store the most secure websites and passwords using an encrypted file that is password protected, then store that special file on a USB flash drive. If you need to access your special set of login and passwords, a master password is required to open the file, and only if the USB flash drive is attached to the computer. When it is not in use, unplug the USB flash drive with encrypted login and passwords and store it in a safe place. Roboform offers such an option – these are called “Safe Notes”.

Yet another option is to store all your passwords and logins onto external USB media (such as a flash drive), then unplug the media when not in use. This is similar to the above suggestion; however, the downside is that you will need to plug and unplug the USB media constantly throughout the day. One major caveat in this practice is that you run the risk of corrupting the external USB media if the media is not ejected properly using the “Safely Remove hardware and USB media” option (via the Windows tray bar). If the media goes corrupt, then you would lose all your passwords. As such, backing up the passwords onto another external media would be a very good idea.

Note from editor: LastPass and MetroPass Free are both very good free password managers.

 

*FAKE BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH WITH 1-800 NUMBER IS A SCAM*

INFOPACKETS by John Lister on October, 25 2016

Microsoft has warned that scammers are trying to trick users with a fake “Blue Screen of Death” error message. The idea is to fool users into calling a bogus 1-800 tech support hotline.

The Blue Screen of Death is an unofficial name given to a particular type of error message which appears when a Windows computer suffers a serious malfunction. In most cases, once the screen appears the only option is to reboot the computer, usually by switching it off with a physical power button or by resetting the machine with a reset button (if it is available).

The idea of the screen is to give some indication of what the particular fault is. In the past, the screen was criticized for containing confusing technical jargon that didn’t mean much to the average user, though Microsoft redesigned it for Windows 10 to include details which either explained the problem or could be passed on to a computer expert for more precise advice.

The new scam is actually a piece of malware dubbed Hicurdismos. It appears to be distributed mainly by scammers who disguise it as Microsoft Security Essentials, a standalone security program for Windows 7 and earlier. That seems to be a deliberate attempt by the scammers to target people who are actually seeking to secure their machines. (Source: zdnet.com)

Hicrudismos is set up to stop the user being able to access the Task Manager. It also stops the mouse cursor appearing on screen. Both of these tactics are designed to create the false impression the computer has indeed crashed.

The on-screen message is closely modeled on the genuine Blue Screen of Death from Windows 10 and includes an error code that users can search for online. Unlike the real messages, this bogus one includes a 1-800 phone number to call for fake support.

This appears to be the purpose of the scam. Exactly what happens when people phone the number isn’t detailed by Microsoft, but bogus support staff will likely attempt to trick victims into downloading (and perhaps paying for) additional “security software” which compromises the PC further and may include spyware that tries to steal passwords or personal data. From there, scammers might also try to persuade the victim to pay for additional fixes.

Microsoft says its genuine error messages will never include a support phone number. It also says its SmartScreen tool built into several Microsoft browsers and other applications should identify the original download of “Microsoft Security Essentials” as bogus.

 

*CLUB MEETING*

The next meeting is 1100 Saturday morning, November 5 at the Oakhurst United Methodist Church located at 13400 Park Blvd. We meet behind the church under the trees. The Google Earth location is 27°50’35.0” N and 82° 49’28.0” W. 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 luncheon.

*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 147.060 no tone Buy-Sell net on SPARC also on www.buysellnet.net

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

1845 147.060 no tone Buy Sell 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

2000 147.360+ pl 127.3 METRO ARC Friday 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*

2016

November 12 SPARCFest, Pinellas Park,  SPARCFest, FREE,  Freedom Lake Park, 9990 46th St N, Southeast corner of US 19 and 49th Street, Talk-in on 147.060+ no tone. VE testing at 0900. For more information go to http://www.sparc-club.org/sparcfest.html

November 19 Upper Pinellas ARC Hamfest, Palm Harbor, Palm Harbor United Methodist Church, 1551 Belcher Road, Talk-In: 147.120 PL 100, no info on website, call Andy Miller , KJ4FEC, 727-488-4297

December 9-10 Plant City, the 2015 Tampa Bay Hamfest is the West Central Florida Section Convention, Friday and Saturday, at the Ag Building in the Strawberry Festival grounds, for information contact Bill Williams AG4QX, chairman@fgcarc.org or go to http://www.tampabayhamfest.org or you can just ask me, Jim or Dee 😉

2017

January 28 DeSoto County Hamfest, Arcadia, Turner Center Exhibit Hall, 2260 NE Roan Street, Talk-In: 147.075 (PL 100), contact Dougb Christ KN4YT at 863-990-2507. The website at http://desotoarc.org has no information yet

February 10-12 Orlando Hamcation, Central Florida Fairgrounds, 4603 West Colonial Drive, Tickets $13 in advance, $15 at door. Talkin 146.4760 – no PL or D-Star 146.850 -, all the information at www.hamcation.com or call 407-841-0874

February 18 Brooksville Hamfest, Sand Hill Scout Reservation, 11210 Cortez Blvd., talk-In 146.715 – no tone, contact John Nejedlo WB4NOD, 813-838-5432, website is http://www.hcara.org/.

February 25 West Central Florida Section Technical Conference (3rd Annual TECHCON), Sarasota, Sarasota Red Cross, 2001 Cantu Court. Looking for presentations and displays. For info see http://www.arrlwcf.org/ or contact Darrell Davis KT4WX at kt4wx@arrl.net

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 .

*Ham Radio Events Schedule*

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

Mid May MS 150 bike ride

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

August International Lighthouse/Lightship Week

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

*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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