Saturday, April 20, 2019

Finger lakes Balloon launch on Sunday 4/28/19

The Amateur Radio Club at Cornell, W2CXM, is planning a high altitude balloon flight on Sunday, April 28, 2019 between 10am – 1pm.   Our Rain Date is the following Sunday, May 5 at the same time.   The picture above is representative of imagery we capture on these flights.  It was captured from a launch we did from the Rochester Hamfest in 2017.  Lake Ontario and Rochester are visible.
This year’s payload will include a typical set of cameras as well as a cross-band repeater, which you are welcomed to try.  The transmit side of the repeater is a very simple VOX activated affair, so you will want to make a moment of noise to wake it up before speaking.

In addition to the cameras and repeater, we will also have a special DTMF activated payload with its own tracker which we will drop on command.  This is just to add some additional fun and technology to the experiment.

We generally launch the balloon somewhere West of Ithaca so that it descends into farm country just Northeast of Ithaca.  It’s a little early to know the exact launch location, but typically it’s in the Dansville area.  Here’s a typical flight pattern, though we won’t know for sure until the day before launch. In this example, the balloon bursts over Seneca lake, at about 100,000 feet, and the payload descends by parachute to land Northeast of Ithaca.

The payload will include three APRS trackers.  We’ll also have chase vehicles.
                W2CXM-11:        Main Payload
                W2CXM-12:        Main Payload backup (on 144.990)
                W2CXM-13:        Drop payload
                KD2EAT-9:           Main Payload Chase
                KD2JEE-9:            Drop payload Chase
                WB2EMS-7:        Airborne reconnaissance (weather permitting)
Our cross-band repeater will be configured as follows:
Repeater receives on:                   144.580 PL 103.5               (takes about ½ second to wake up Vox)
Repeater transmits on:                 447.025 at 100mw

More details for the flight are on our web site,  We will continue to update the content there as the flight nears.

Mike Hojnowski / KD2EAT
Advisor, Amateur Radio Club at Cornell

......These guys always do some pretty cool stuff! Good luck and Thanks for the update Mike!

Friday, April 19, 2019

Receive only antennas

On the morning commute/coffee clutch this morning a few of us had an interesting conversation about receive only antennas. We talked about long random wires strung around the yard and maybe using a chain link fence to support a wire antenna. The topic of the tried and true Beverage antenna also came into the discussion. As we shared ideas I thought we ought to highlight some of  the places to find good information on various receive only antenna options here on

Many of the HF rigs today have a separate receive only antenna port for this purpose. Seasoned DXers will tell you about some nice low noise performance with receive only antenna designs. Many of us also like to experiment with DC to daylight SDR receivers and any/ALL options for the best receive antennas to use with them. I did a brief search for some background and ideas for the best receiving antennas out there. In my search I found some very interesting articles and web pages. Here are a few on-line spots I found that you can start with:

WØBTU Beverage Receiving Antennas
How to build your own one- or two-wire Beverage antennas that work great.

W8JI Receive Antenna site link:

W8JI Beverage antenna info link:

VE6EY Bevearge antenna article:

DX Zone receiving antenna ideas/links:

W7VO Beverage Antenna link:

Let us know about your favorite receive antenna at or leave a comment here.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Results from the 2019 State of our hobby survey

We ran across a link to a survey done by N8RMA on the state of the Amateur Radio hobby. This is a
pretty interesting survey and the results we hope will interest you. The analysis of the results will hopefully give us all something to think about as the wave of technology change continues to influence the world and our hobby.

Check it out and tell us what you think in the comments section below this post! (and share it with others!) ...maybe a topic for a future club meeting or Net.

Find the survey results here:

Saturday, April 6, 2019

NIST WWV Time and Frequency station - 100 year celebration in 2019

(from ARRL News 2/14/19)

According to the ARRL news; The fiscal year (FY) 2019 budget — once signed — will include full funding for the WWV stations, which also mark their 100th year this fall. The WWV Centennial Committee has a tentative agreement with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to mount a special event station this fall adjacent to the WWV site in Colorado to mark the 100th anniversary of the time and frequency standard station, the world’s oldest continuously operating radio station. A memorandum of understanding is in the works.

Dave Swartz, W0DAS, of the Northern Colorado Amateur Radio Club (NCARC) heads the committee, which is developing plans for an NCARC special event from September 28 through October 2, with a NIST centennial observance tentatively set for October 1.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

DMR training collaboration in Upstate NY

.......very nice story from Pete; NY2V:

Last Fall, a group from the Liverpool Amateur Repeater Club (LARC) collaborated in developing a comprehensive program designed to showcase the emerging technology behind Digital Mobile Radio (DMR).  We conducted our first full day program, DMR College to the Upstate New York Amateur Radio community in Syracuse this past October.  By all accounts, it was well received and was considered to be quite successful.

Word spread across the region and we were approached by the Greene County ARES group to conduct a similar program in the Catskill Region.  Len Signoretti, N2LEN, worked hard to procure space in the Greene County Public Safety Center, send out the invitations, and coordinate all the details.

On Saturday, March 30th, Rich Kilmartin (WB2WAU), Pete Sochocki (NY2V), Ron Panetta (WB2WGH), and Joe Apuzzo (N1JTA) presented a full day of information and skill development in utilizing DMR.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Drumlins Hamfest, Sat. April 27th, 2019

(editors note: This is one of our favorite Hamfests in Upstate NY! This club does a great job and always has a very good turn out! If you have never been, we think you should give it a try!)

Saturday, March 30, 2019

International Museum Ship Weekend - June 1st and 2nd

In anticipation of the International Museum Ship Weekend Event on June 1st and 2nd, W2LGA will be setting up a special event station at the H Lee White Maritime Museum in Oswego, NY.

The station will be set up at the LT-5 WWII tugboat. This tug was used during the Normandy invasion of June 6, 1944. D-Day! It is the last remaining, fully restored tugboats that were used during Operation Overlord.

All amateurs are welcome to stop by and ragchew or try to make a contact or two!! Questions or inquiries can be made via Fred Legawiec, W2LGA or by viewing the H Lee White Maritime Museum website. link:

Hours of operation are planned to be from 8am until 5pm daily. All plans should be finalized by mid-May.

from Fred Legawiec, W2LGA

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Spring 2019 SkyWarn Training

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Binghamton has started spring SkyWarn training. They have both on-line and local training classes available. I can personally speak of the great job the NWS Binghamton office does with this training. (Buffalo and Albany offices are also doing spring training - see their websites for details)

What is SKYWARN?
The effects of severe weather are felt every year by many Americans. To obtain critical weather information, NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS), part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, established SKYWARN® with partner organizations. SKYWARN® is a volunteer program with nearly 290,000 trained severe weather spotters. These volunteers help keep their local communities safe by providing timely and accurate reports of severe weather to the National Weather Service.

More on SkyWarn and Amateur Radio      here:

See the BGM NOAA-SkyWarn Training schedule here:

Friday, March 22, 2019

Geomagnetic storm warning - Saturday 3/23/19

From,  link:

GEOMAGNETIC STORM WARNING: NOAA forecasters say there is a 75% chance of geomagnetic storms on March 23rd when a coronal mass ejection (CME) is expected to sideswipe Earth's magnetic field. Storm levels could reach category G2, which is moderately strong. During G2-class storms, auroras may be seen in northern-tier US states as far south as New York and Idaho. Aurora alerts: SMS textemail.
BIG CRACKLING SUNSPOT: A few days ago, sunspot AR2736 didn't exist. Now, the rapidly-growing active region (movie) stretches across more than 100,000 km of the solar surface and contains multiple dark cores larger than Earth. Moreover, it has a complicated magnetic field that is crackling with C-classsolar flares. The sunspot is inset in this magnetic map of the sun from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory:

Ham Radio for Kids - Newark NY - March 23rd

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

‘Light up 2 Meters Night’ – an FM simplex event - March 24th

by W5KV

It’s time for ‘Light up 2 Meters Night’ – an FM simplex event that encourages ham radio operators to get out portable or operate from home and light up the 2 meter airwaves with some FM Simplex! Taking place on March, 24, 2019, from 6-8pm local time. This event encourages new & seasoned ham radio operators to enjoy a band that is all too often left quiet and to encourage communication within your community.

Learn more at:

(forwarded from Barry; KD4MCB - Thanks Barry! )

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Mentors Needed for New ARRL Emergency Communications Course

More Mentors Needed for New ARRL Emergency Communications Course Sessions

(From the ARRL 03/11/2019)

High interest in the recently announced updated ARRL Introduction to Emergency Communications (EC-001) course is prompting a call for additional class mentors to help meet the demand, which ARRL Lifelong Learning Manager Kris Bickell, K1BIC, says “exceeded our projections.” As Bickell explains, the course is designed to be interactive, with volunteer mentors guiding each session.

“We appreciate the work of the mentors to make EC-001 an interactive experience for the participants. The real-world emergency communications experience they bring to the course is very important to the learning process,” Bickell said. “We look forward to bringing in more mentors to help ARRL expand the reach of this valuable emergency communications training.” Bickell has developed a waiting list for prospective EC-001 students, who will be notified as additional sessions are scheduled.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Why Radio Amateurs are called Hams

(Original story from Florida Skip Magazine - 1959) 

Have you ever wondered why radio amateurs are called "HAMS?"

Well, it goes like this: The word "HAM" was the station CALL of the first amateur wireless station that was operated by some amateurs at the Harvard Radio Club. They were ALBERT S. HYMAN, BOB ALMY and POOGIE MURRAY. In the early pioneer days of unregulated radio amateur operators picked their own frequency and their own call-letters. At first they called their station "HYMAN-ALMY-MURRAY". Tapping out such a long name in code soon became tiresome and called for a revision. They changed it to "HY-AL-MU," using the first two letters of each of their names. Early in 1901 some confusion resulted between signals from amateur wireless station "HYALMU" and a Mexican ship named "HYALMO." They then decided to use only the first letter of each name, and their station CALL became "HAM" Then, as now, some amateurs had better signals than commercial stations. The resulting interference came to the attention of congressional committees in Washington and Congress gave much time to proposed legislation designed to critically limit amateur radio activity.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Balloon tracker - falling near Utica NY (3/8/19 - 11:30am)

(a message from our Balloon enthusiast friend Jim....if you are near Utica please keep an eye (or ear) out for it)

Launched a experimental balloon this morning and appears to have failed and is dropping near Utica,NY. Seen here as U3S29 -!mt=roadmap&mz=8&qm=1_day&f=U3S29&q=!RS_*;

Balloon is large and shiny,maybe someone will find it?

Tracker uses 20m band WSPR / QRSS @ 14095.60 mhz USB.

Maybe someone will see it in a tree somewhere.. :)

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

RARA Workshop - Electronic Components — March 9th

RaRa Academy Workshops

Electronic Components

March 2019 — Electronic Components — March 9th (10AM to Noon)
For the March Academy we will have a jam-packed discussion of the basic properties of common electronic components.
The goal is to give participants a basic understanding of common parts for kit building and basic repair.
We will cover the basic components, their characteristics, schematics symbols, uses, how to read them and how to test some of them. Types will include:
•   Passive Components such as: resistors, capacitors, inductors, diodes, relays, lamps and indicators, wire gauges & ratings, connectors etc.
•   Active Components such as: transistors, ICs, tubes, opto-couplers etc.
•   Assemblies and Modules, such as: displays, controllers, RF modules, etc.
•   Basic Testing of Components - Using DVM, LCR Meter and Transistor Testing Techniques
This Session will be hosted by Scott Theis, W2LW, with Karl Heinz Kremer, K5KHK assisting.

You can sign up for Academy Workshops by emailing You can also sign-up at the General Meeting on March 6th.
Please take advantage of the RaRa sponsored training and operating opportunities.
Timothy Brown,
FCC Callsign: WB2PAY
RaRa Education Coordinator