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Thu Jul 30 @ 6:05AM - 07:15AM
PT Net - Bob, W4RWC, ncs
Thu Jul 30 @ 8:00PM - 09:00PM
DFMA&ARES Net, KK4EIB ncs
Fri Jul 31 @ 6:05AM - 07:15AM
PT Net - Rhett, KE4HIH, ncs
Mon Aug 03 @ 6:05AM - 07:15AM
PT Net - Jim, KI4HQO, ncs
Mon Aug 03 @ 8:00PM - 08:30PM
10 Meter Sideband Net (N1LN ncs)
Tue Aug 04 @ 6:05AM - 07:15AM
PT Net - Rhett, KE4HIH, ncs
Welcome to the Durham FM Association

The Durham FM Association is a group of friendly amateur radio operators interested in all aspects of amateur radio service. Members in Durham, Chapel Hill, Raleigh, and surrounding areas of North Carolina enjoy operating through VHF and UHF repeaters sponsored and maintained by the club.

Currently the club operates FM voice repeaters on 145.450-, 147.225+, 224.260-, 444.100+ and 444.450+ mhz (the plus and minus indicating standard offsets on the respective bands).

We normally meet on the 1st Tuesday of the month (see Calendar) with Dinner (optional) at 6:00pm and the business meeting and program at 7:00pm.  We are meeting at Bullock's BBQ, on 3330 Quebec Drive in Durham. [click for map] (For more info on each meeting, check the Calendar entry.)

Our club runs a great hamfest toward the end of May each year. The DurHamFest was held in the Little River Community Complex for the last few years and expect to be there again.  Dealers sell new and used equipment, books, and parts. "Tailgaters" also offer much used equipment. Besides the buying, selling, and trading, door prizes and fellowship with old and new friends make this a really fun event.


 

 
Rechargeable Batteries Print E-mail
Written by KZ1X   
Friday, 17 July 2015 23:08

Recently I have been involved with several side conversations with members revolving around the topic of portable rechargeable batteries.

WalMart sells a 4 pack of 600 mAh 3.2V LiFePo cells that are AA size.  $10.  Yes, WalMart.  They sell these cells as replacements for the little solar rechargeable lawn lights that stop working when the neighbor's dog pees on them.
LiFePo?
Lithium Ferro Phosphate. Li-Fe-Po. Many people have never heard of it before. Now you are no longer one of them.
The story is, you can easily charge these inexpensive and lightweight cells to provide a quick and cheap 12V+ power source. Yes,the pack of four cells I am referencing is just 600 milliamp-hour rated.  But, you can put these four cells in a common AA holder and get 12.8V out of them for a LONG time compared to other types.

Also, hams are often about portable stuff.  It would take ELEVEN series connected NiMh cells to get a similar voltage.  Who makes an eleven cell holder?  Nobody.  And that's kind of big anyway.  And decent quality NiMh cells cost too much.  Meh.
If you get these LiFePo cells I am talking about, do NOT EVER mistake them for regular AA cells and put them in something that takes regular AA cells.  Poof.  You have been warned.

RadioShack still sells this 4 AA cell holder item, #270-391:

RadioShack® 4 “AA” Battery Holder,

or you can get similar from a variety of other places on line if you don't already have one.

You can charge this battery pack with a 13.8V current limited source, like the famous OCRA charger kits of some years back.  I still have four of those kits remaining at $8 each if you need one.  Or, just use your existing 13.8V regulated supply with a suitable series resistor.  Since you know Ohm's Law, I will let you do the math.

Here is a link to learn more about the modern battery chemistry that makes this possible:

Here is a link to the WalMart item:

Steve KZ1X

Last Updated on Monday, 20 July 2015 22:14
 
July 14 Program: A building block for the next generation of ham FM radios Print E-mail
Written by KU4GC   
Thursday, 02 July 2015 16:02

Steve Jackson, KZ1X,  will present a program entitled "A building block for the next generation of ham FM radios".

He writes: "A small US based company better known for supplying ham radio HF amplifier kits has recently introduced a 2 meter, 222, and 440 MHz FM transceiver module.  It is intended to be a building block for many people who construct their own ham equipment.  This new module is simple and inexpensive enough, however, that many hams who would not have previously considered building their own gear may change their minds."

Steve has been very active in the ham community for many years and is on the board of OCRA.  This is not Steve's first DFMA program.  He presented an excellent talk on antenna modeling several years ago.

Remember that our meeting is at Bennett Pointe Grill!

Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 July 2015 22:19
 
July Meeting at Bennett Pointe Grill - 2nd Tuesday Print E-mail
Written by KU4GC   
Thursday, 02 July 2015 15:52

Remember that due to Bullock's annual two week July shutdown, we are meeting at Bennett Pointe Grill.  (See the "Welcome" entry on the main page or the calendar entry or for more info and directions.)  Also, we will be meeting on the 2nd Tuesday, July 14.

Last Updated on Thursday, 02 July 2015 15:54
 
Pre-Field Day Potluck Dinner Print E-mail
Written by W4SAR   
Sunday, 21 June 2015 15:56

Planned dinner time is 6:30pm Friday.

Wilson is reminding all to let him know if you are bringing spouses, etc.
Bringing chairs may be a good idea!

Let Dave know what you are bringing (w4sar01 at gmail dot com).
Below is the list to date.

Dan, KK4DMS - coleslaw
Dave, W4SAR - barbecue beans
Karen, KD4YJZ - deviled eggs
Dan KR4UB and Jean - 3 bean salad
Bob, W4RWC - corn and tomato scramble
Keith, KM4JZB- mac and cheese
Chuck, KM4JZC and Mary-pickles, corn on the cob and potatoes
(bringing 6 gallon steamer)
Woody, K3VSA - fruit salad
Mark and wife, KR3AM - key lime pie
Loren KV4ZR - some more pies
M.K., W4MKR & Dee KU4GC - pound cake
Bruce N1LN & Laurie N1YXU - potato salad
Bill N8BR and Patti - potato casserole
Pete K4PHS - more coleslaw
Doug, KA5ETS - okra
Tucker and Dad KK4UNZ - pasta salad
Tim KW4GP and Jimmy KF4KHM - Baked Beans
Howie WA4PSC and Betsy - Kale
Patrick, KM4IWG - dinner rolls
Steve, W3AHL - roasted vegetable casserole, chocolate chip cookies
Rhett KE4HIH & Joanna KE4QOZ - special coleslaw
Joe K4SAR - hummus and pita chips
Adriano, KV7D - soft drinks, ice

Don't forget that Skip WB4P is bringing sandwich platters around 11am Friday;

See you all there!

Dave W4SAR

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 June 2015 21:22
 
Field Day Safety Guidelines Print E-mail
Written by W4SAR   
Saturday, 13 June 2015 22:38

Safety Guidelines for Field Day

We will be operating in the open in a rural setting. We will be dealing not only with outdoor concerns, but also dealing with electricity, RF energy, very heavy batteries, and pointy pieces of metal. So to keep it safe, please mind the following guidelines:

  • Be prepared for any kind of weather, our Field Days have had anything from muggy, oppressively hot days to chilly nights. Bring adequate clothing for the conditions.

  • Watch out for each other, and be alert for the signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. If someone is feeling nauseated, feels faint, seems slow to respond or is not responding appropriately to questions , or feels chills when it is hot, that can be heat exhaustion. Get them into a cool place and have them rest and drink fluids under observation until they recover, and urinate at least twice.  If they FLUSH RED AND STOP SWEATING, that is a red flag for heat stroke, cool them down immediately by any means externally - ice packs, cold water- and call 911, this is a dangerous condition.

  • Shelter is very important, a large tent or an elevated tarp will protect you and your equipment from direct sun and rain.

  • Stay hydrated! Dee, KU4GC will have a cooler stocked full of water and soft drinks, indulge yourself!

  • Be aware that the brush lines may have Poison Ivy, watch where you step. Ticks and mosquitoes are a couple of the unlikeable examples of wildlife you will run into. Use a good quality insect repellant containing DEET to keep them off. Be sure to wipe any DEET off the insides of your hands as it dissolves some plastics, and you might etch your fingerprints into your microphone.

  • When raising antennas, first off, be sure you have adequate help. If you are stacking metal, helmets and gloves should be worn. If shooting pilot lines with a bow and arrow, have a spotter to keep the target area clear of personnel.

  • All guy lines and feed lines should be clearly marked with fluorescent flagging tape or surveyor’s flags.  At night, guy lines at risk should be marked with “glow sticks”.

  • When moving batteries, don’t be shy about asking for help.

  • All battery terminals should be shielded to avoid short circuits.

  • All wiring harnesses must be fused. All stations will be securely connected to grounding rods.

  • Band Captains are urged to keep both a fire extinguisher and a first aid kit at their operating position.

  • In the event of an approaching electrical storm, shut down the station and disconnect the feedlines. If lightning, high winds, hail or other hazards are approaching, most likely the best option is to take shelter in a solid structure or your vehicle.

  • Report any injuries immediately.



 
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