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Durham FM Association

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Recent Aricles - see left and below

6/30 Karl C. Ramm, N1XPB, sk
5/31 June 2 Prog: DFMA Meeting on the Air
5/02 May 5 Prog: DFMA Meeting on the Air
4/08 DurHamFest 2020 Canceled
4/03 Apr 7 Prog: DFMA Meeting on the Air
2/26 Joseph P. Fields, KF4QYY, sk
2/01 Feb 4 Prog: Software Defined Radios
1/07 Save Date: DurHamFest 2020 to be on May 30
1/05 Jan 7 Prog: Show and Tell
2019
12/09 Memorial Gathering for MK Ramm, W4MKR, sk
12/05 MK Ramm, W4MKR, sk
11/30 Dec 3 Prog: DFMA Christmas Party
11/02 Nov 5 Prog: Collins KWM-380 Rebuild
09/30 Oct 1 Prog: Visualization
08/31 Sep 3 Prog: A New Website for the DFMA
08/01 Aug 6 Prog: Election & Video on History of Radio
07/13 Jul 16 Prog: The Digital Revolution - FT8
07/06 New Field Day Pictures in the Gallery
07/01 No DFMA Meeting until July 16th
06/18 Field Day is Almost Here
05/31 June 4 Pgm: Field Day Planning and Show & Tell
05/20 DurHamFest 2019 is Almost Here!
05/01 May 7 Pgm: DurHamFest & Workings of the DFMA
04/11 Apr 13 VE Testing Session CANCELLED
03/27 Apr 2 Pgm: Sorry Progr. Languages & Surprises
03/01 Mar 5 Program: TARPN
02/19 ARES Meeting Tuesday, February 26
01/28 Feb 5 Program: Lightning Talks
For older news         Press for 2018 News

News

Karl C. Ramm, N1XPB, sk

n1xpb
Karl at work in 2007
Image courtesy of KF4PAB

2/15/1973 - 6/28/2020
Karl died Sunday as a result of complications due to metastatic colon cancer.

Karl Christopher Ramm was born on February 15, 1973, to Mary Kathlyn Brigmon Ramm and Dietolf Ramm, in Durham, NC. The family moved to Hillsborough, NC in 1989. Karl attended Charles E. Jordan High School and earned a B.S. in Computer Science from Duke University in 1995. Following graduation, he moved to Cambridge MA, where he worked for MIT, a series of start-ups, and eventually Google, as a systems programmer/administrator. He bought a house and moved to Wilmington, MA in 2016.

Karl grew up in a home in which he had easy access to computers and immersed himself in all aspects of them at an extremely young age. Not long after most children were first learning to read, he was reading Berkeley Standard Distribution UNIX manuals cover to cover. There was never any doubt of what he would study in college or what he would choose as a career. Throughout his life, he became very interested in “retro computing” and preserving many of the computer systems that were prevalent during his childhood.

Perhaps inspired by both of his grandfathers, one of Karl’s primary hobbies was music. He excelled at playing the piano. He was told he had “perfect pitch” and could play music after having heard it just a few times. He was equally proficient at sight reading. Before his voice changed, he sang with the North Carolina Boys Choir for several years. His true passion was composing electronic music and he collected numerous synthesizers.

Working for and, later, in proximity to MIT, Karl took advantage of many activities there. Almost immediately after he started, he joined the MIT Radio Society and earned an FCC License in Amatur Radio (N1XPB) and quickly inflicted the hobby on his entire immediate family in North Carolina. He trained in Jiu-Jitsu many hours during the week. He was a Keyholder at MITSFS, MIT’s Science Fiction Library and was active in MIT’s Student Information Processing Board (SIPB), MIT’s Lecture Series Committee (LSC), and MIT Gilbert & Sullivan Players.

Karl was a voracious, lightning-fast reader and, in his younger years, would frequently finish at least one newly purchased book before arriving home from the bookstore. He particularly loved science-fiction novels and was always the best source of recommendations on what to read next.

Karl was loved by an amazing network of loyal friends who were supportive, long before and after his diagnosis in 2017. He is survived by his father, Dietolf Ramm, and sister, Lenore Ramm Hill with her husband, Jack Hill, all of Hillsborough, NC.

Lenore, KF4PAB, 6/30/20

PS: Memorial gift can be made to the Colorectal Cancer Alliance: https://impact.ccalliance.org/kcrfriends

June 2 Program: DFMA Meeting on the Air

Until outbreak conditions improve, the DFMA will not be having in-person meetings. Fortunately, our hobby supports communicating from a distance. As we did last month, instead of our usual monthly meeting at Bullock's, we'll have a special net. The net will be at 7pm on June 2nd, our usual meeting time, on the linked 145.45- and 147.225+ repeaters (both have a PL tone of 82.5). You can also check-in over the Internet via Echolink/SVXLink to the WR4AGC-R node. The format of the net will be check-ins (in place of our usual introductions), officer reports (including a special discussion about possible Field Day activities), and a rag chew round table discussion.

Jack, KM4MBG, 5/31/20

May 5 Program: DFMA Meeting on the Air

Until outbreak conditions improve, the DFMA will not be having in-person meetings. Fortunately, our hobby supports communicating from a distance. As we did last month, instead of our usual monthly meeting at Bullock's, we'll have a special net. The net will be at 7pm on May 5th, our usual meeting time, on the linked 145.45- and 147.225+ repeaters (both have a PL tone of 82.5). You can also check-in over the Internet via Echolink/SVXLink to the WR4AGC-R node. The format of the net will be check-ins (in place of our usual introductions), officer reports (including a special discussion about DurHamFest), and a rag chew round table discussion.

Jack, KM4MBG, 5/2/20

DurHamFest 2020 Canceled

At the "on the air" meeting last night DurHamFest was discussed. The Durham Public Schools had cancelled all rental reservation due to the ongoing pandemic. The question was, "Would they reopen things in time for our May 30th date and would they do it in time for people to prepare." Our contact with the rental facility expressed doubt that things would start up again in time. Also, many hams are in the more vulnerable demographic and will probably want to be extra careful.

A vote was taken on the motion to cancel DurHamFest 2020 and that was passed without opposition.

Dee, KU4GC, DurHamFest Chair: 4/8/20

April 7 Program: DFMA Meeting on the Air

What's going on with DFMA events? Until outbreak conditions improve, the DFMA will not be having in-person meetings. Fortunately, our hobby supports communicating from a distance. Instead of our usual monthly meeting at Bullock's, we'll have a special net. The net will be at 7pm on April 7th, our usual meeting time, on the linked 145.45- and 147.225+ repeaters (both have a PL tone of 82.5). You can also check-in over the Internet via Echolink/SVXLink to the WR4AGC-R node. The format of the net will be check-ins (in place of our usual introductions), officer reports (including a special discussion about DurHamFest), and a rag chew round table discussion.

Jack, KM4MBG, 4/3/20

Joseph P. Fields, KF4QYY, sk

KF4QYY
Image courtesy of
Holloway Memorial Funeral Home

6/28/57 - 11/20/19
Joseph, KF4QYY, passed away on 11/29/2019 at the age of 62. He grew up in Durham, earned a law degree and worked as a tax consultant. Joseph first became a ham in 1997 and held a General class license. He was a DFMA member from 1997 to 2008 and served as DurHamFest chair for several years. He frequented the DFMA repeaters and was a regular on the DFMA Thursday Night Net. He will be fondly remembered for his upbeat presence on the air.

Dee, KU4GC, 2/26/20

February 4 Program: Software Defined Radios

Jack Hill, KM4MBG will be talking about software defined radios. Join the crowd for this timely topic as well as some good food and excellent company.

Dee, KU4GC; 2/1/20

SAVE the DATE: DurHanFest 2020 to be on May 30

DurHamFest will be a week later this year. For many years it was held on Memorial Day Weekend. A new policy of the Durham Public School system forbids the rental of the facility on holiday weekends. This is to make sure that DPS employees are not pressured to give up an extended weekend to work to open the facility.

The facilities coordinator asked if we would like to try for the weekend before or the weekend after Memorial Day. Since we did not want to compete with the Dayton hamfest, we requested the weekend after. Today our application was approved.

More on DurHamFest soon.

Dee, KU4GC; 1/7/20

January 7 Program: Show and Tell

Here's a chance to show off your Christmas gift. Or maybe there's something else of interest to share. Tuesday we will have the always fun and informative Show and Tell. Plan on spending about 5 minutes talking about it.

Dee, KU4GC; 1/5/20

Memorial Gathering for MK Ramm, W4MKR, sk

There will be a memorial gathering for MK Ramm (W4MKR) on Sunday, December 15, from 2:30pm to 5:30pm. There will be no formal activity, just a framework for reminiscing, looking at photos, reconnecting with old friends, making new friends, and meeting with the family (Karl (N1XP) will be flying in from Massachusetts).

The format is open house. Come when you can and stay as long as you like. We will have light refreshments, so you won’t starve.

The venue will be the Durham Locopops store on Hillsborough Rd, which has recently been remodeled and has a nice room for events. The address is 2618 Hillsborough Rd (Business US 70). For you Durhamites, this is a bit west of their old place that was next to Don Hill’s Lock shop.

If you missed the original announcement of MK’s passing, see below.

Please Join Us!
Dee Ramm (KU4GC), Karl Ramm (N1XPB) , Lenore Ramm Hill (KF4PAB), Jack Hill (KM4MBG) 12/9/19

MK Ramm, W4MKR, sk

DFMA 2016 Christmas Party

4/28/44 - 12/5/19
Mary Kathlyn (MK) Ramm (W4MKR), 75, of Hillsborough, NC, died on Thursday at the Duke Hospice in the Hock Family Pavilion in Durham, NC. She was born on April 28, 1944 to John Lee Brigmon and Jimmy Kathlyn Davis Brigmon, in Asheville, NC, while her father served in the Navy in the Pacific theater. Her mother died shortly after she was born. She was initially raised by her grandparents, Edward A. (EA) Brigmon and Mattie Wilson and then Ella Trantham Brigmon, who became her stepmother when her father remarried in 1947.

MK grew up in Candler, NC, where, with special encouragement from her grandfather, she helped in her father’s florist business. She attended Enka Candler High School and then Duke University and earned her bachelor’s degree in history. There she met her husband, Dietolf Ramm (KU4GC), whom she married after her graduation in 1966 and settled in Durham. After working in Nuclear Physics and Computer Science at Duke, in research support positions, she had two children, Karl (N1XPB) and Lenore (KF4PAB).

MK’s primary passions were plants and horticulture. She completed several years of graduate work at NC State University in Horticulture, and worked with Professor JC Raulston at the NC State Arboretum, where she was curator of the Lathe House. Years later she worked at Plant Delights Nursery. She served as coordinator of the Seed Exchange of the North American Rock Garden Society for two years. When she moved to Hillsborough in 1989, she transformed the land around her home from what was an open field into a lush botanical garden. She could identify virtually any plant and provide the complete scientific name from memory.

Other activities included sewing (including her wedding dress) and crocheting. She loved animals, including her horses, cats, and dogs. She also kept local birds, squirrels, groundhogs, and other visitors to her deck well fed. She was less enamored with the beavers that selected her ornamental trees. She was a voracious reader, favoring mysteries, science magazines, and anything mentioning perennials. She was a reluctant, but fantastic, cook and her family will always have fond memories of her fried chicken, lemon meringue pies, pound cakes, elaborate Thanksgiving dinners, and so many other delicious meals.

Following the rest of her family, she became active in Amateur Radio and passed her FCC license exam in 1997. She acquired the callsign W4MKR and was active in Durham FM Association - DFMA and the Orange County Radio Amateurs - OCRA. She was treasurer of the DFMA from 2008 to 2018 and actively coordinated the food operations for OCRA and DFMA in their annual Field Day (a 24 hour simulated emergency communications exercise). She provided logistical food support and other services for the annual DFMA DurHamFest (a radio oriented swapfest). She completed Orange County’s first CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) training course in 2007 and helped in public service events like serving in the Sheriff’s command post for the then annual Habitat for Humanity Halloween Bike Ride in Durham and in later years the Tar Heel Ten Miler in Chapel Hill.

MK is survived by her husband, Dietolf Ramm, of Hillsborough, their children, Karl Christopher Ramm of Wilmington, MA, and Lenore Ramm Hill with her husband, Jack Hill, of Hillsborough, NC.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts to the Nature Conservancy would be appreciated.

Plans for a memorial gathering are pending.

Lenore, KF4PAB, 12/5/19

December 3 Program: DFMA Christmas Party

DFMA 2016 Christmas Party

We are continuing a tradition of having the DFMA pick up the tab for members at our December Christmas Dinner Meeting. The festivities will be at Bullock's Barbecue Restaurant in Durham starting at 6:00 p.m. You will be able to order from the menu. Members can bring one guest — bring your spouse or friend!

This is our Christmas Meeting — In that tradition you may (optionally):

  • Bring a Christmas gift to be distributed to needy children through Toys for Tots. If wrapped, mark gender and age range on the outside. If not wrapped, that's fine too. If you have one — a gift bag would work too.
  • Make a donation. The Club will make its annual Christmas gift, splitting it between the Food Bank of North Carolina and the Durham Rescue Mission. We will be passing the "hat" for personal contributions. Cash contributions will also be split between the two organizations.

In past years some people have dropped a check in the hat. You can make it out to any charity you like. We can forward it and the cancelled check can be handy at tax time.

But, if you are not in a position to donate anything this year, please come anyway. Or if you are making a special effort through your church or at the office, don’t feel pressured to do more than you really should. Your presence at this dinner is a gift to all of us.

Since this is our annual Christmas Party we won’t have a program as usual. However, we will continue the fun tradition of soliciting “Ham New Year’s Resolutions.” Please join us for some wonderful holiday fellowship.

- Dee, KU4GC 11/30/19

November 5 Program: Collins KWM-380 Rebuild

John Green, KX4P, has prepared a Power-Point presentation on his rebuild of a 1980 Collins KWM-380. He shows why and how this project materialized. There are even some movie clips showing the repaired radio operating SSB and CW. John has put a lot of effort into creating this very interesting presentation. You don’t want to miss this one!

Dee, KU4GC, 11/2/19

October 1 Program: Visualization

Eric Monson, a Data Visualization Analyst at Duke University Libraries, will be giving a presentation of his choosing. Eric holds a Ph.D. in Applied Physics, but has been working for twelve years with Duke faculty and graduate students from Math to Computational Biology to Art History, helping them transform, visualize and understand their data.

Dee, KU4GC, 9/30/19

September 3 Program: A New Website for the DFMA

Jimmy, KF4KHU, our new vice president KF4KHU will be the program for the club meeting. He will be talking on the new club website that he is developing. He is also exploring add-ons available to 501c(3) organizations that could add useful functionality to the site, and the use of social media to draw new members into the club.

Dee, KU4GC, 8/31/19

August 6 Program: Election of Officers &
A Video on the History of Radio and Radio Waves

- Election of Officers: (See The Link for nominations as of this time.)
- A Video on the History of Radio and Radio Waves: (Martin, KA5JUJ notes: "A friend in Oklahoma, an electrical engineer who designs power transmission lines for utilities, sent me a 26 minute video about the history of radio and radio waves that I really liked and believe that the club members would really enjoy.")

Dee, KU4GC, 8/1/19

July 16 Program: The Digital Revolution - FT8

In this period of few or no sunspots and even less propagation, there has been one saving grace. Even in conditions where everything seems to be in the noise, there are QSOs taking place and contacts being made. This is due to the digital mode FT8. It was widely used for the last Field Day and still seems to be getting new converts.

Dan, KR4UB, will present Tuesday's program with an introduction to FT8.

Don't miss it! 73, Dee, KU4GC, 7/13/19

New Field Day Pictures in the Gallery

In a effort to get some new pictures on this website's picture gallery, Field Day pictures offered by John, KM4MDR and Dee, KU4GC have been added. You can access them by clicking on the "Gallery Button" on the left.

You can also find recent Field Day pictures on the OCRA website: ncocra.org .

Dee, KU4GC, 7/6/19

NO DFMA MEETING UNTIL JULY 16th

Bullock's always closes two weeks for the 4th of July holiday. So our meeting will not be held until the 3rd Tuesday: July 16. Since this is the time slot for the DFMA Board Meeting, any urgent Board business will be dealt with at that time.

As of this time, no program has been set. A reminder with program information will be sent out the week before the meeting.

Dee, KU4GC, 7/1/19

Field Day is Almost Here

It is only a couple of days for Field Day setup to begin. Press the Field Day "button" on the left for the latest information.

Field Day is an excellent opportunity for newcomers to learn both about operating under less than optimal conditions. Since there is plenty of supervsions, even hams with only a tech license, or prospective hams may operate. It is also an excellent opportunity to get to know your fellow hams a little better. There's little more rewarding than working with otheres to achieve common goals. Even if you have only limited time, it is worth dropping by to see what is going one. Join us!

Dee, KU4GC; 6/18/19

June 4 Program: Field Day Planning and Show & Tell

Our Field Day coördinator, Dave, W4SAR, will lead us through what to expect during our joint Field Day exercise with OCRA June 21st through 23rd. Want to find out what goes in to a #2 Field Day operation? Come to find out what you need to know. We'll also have time for some show-and-tell after Dave's presentation, so bring your new acquisitions from DurHamFest to show to the group (not-so-new items from around your shack are also welcome).

73 Jack Hill, KM4MBG, 5/31/19

DurHamFest 2019 is Almost Here!

Hamfest Saturday (and before that Friday) is later this week. This year's DurhamFest will again be at the Durham Public Schools Staff Development Center. (See detailed instructions by pressing on the DurHamFest button on the left.) We can still use more help.

There is still time to let Jack, KM4MBG, our Hamfest Chair, know that you are ready to sign up for specific tasks. Specific areas that can always use more help are: Parking, Food Sales, Club Table and Talk-In. You can mail Jack at durhamfest at km4mbg dot org to let him know you will be helping.

If you can not make a fixed time commitment, you can still just show up and help. Key times will be assisting with Friday evening setup from 6pm to 8pm. Then Saturday at 7am we’ll do final setup and, where needed, help vendors move in as well. During the event, you can help out where needed. Someone may need to take a break at would be thankful for even brief relief. Then at 12:30pm we’ll shut down and many hands will make the work go faster and seem much lighter.

And, even if you can’t find time to help, do drop in. Buy something. Say hello to some old friends and make some new ones. Have a free cup of coffee. Don’t miss our super hamburgers and hot dogs. Everyone can use a good lunch. We hope we'll see you there!

Dee, KU4GC 5/20/19

ps: The 2019 DFMA Directory & Repeater Guide will be available to pick up at the ticket table for DFMA members whose dues are current. Ask for your copy. (You can also renew your membership there if you forgot that earlier.)

May 7 Program: DurHamFest & Workings of the DFMA

At the meeting I'll cover the logistics and how you can help for DurHamFest. While we do great work that weekend, there is also work that goes on behind the scenes for much of the year. I'll shed light on that work and talk about what I have learned running DurHamFest for the past three years.

Since I started working on DurHamFest, I've also learned about the other work that needs to happen to keep the club running smoothly. I'll talk about that work as well. It ranges from getting miscellaneous equipment cataloged and ready to sell at the club table to the duties of named officers such as treasurer and, or course, vice president.

After the meeting, I hope that your fondness for the club will grow as your knowledge about it increases, and you will appreciate the value we are creating by doing things together.

73 Jack Hill, KM4MBG, 5/1/19

April 13 VE Testing Session CANCELLED

Dave, W4SAR, coordinator for the local VE team reported that due to a facilities scheduling problem, the site would not be available and therefore the Saturday, 4/13 VE test sessision had to be cancelled. He has notified the ARRL and any candidates that made their plans to attend known to him.

F.Y.I There will be a VE Testing session at RARSfest on April 20. See https://www.rarsfest.org/ for further information.

73, Dee, KU4GC 4/11/19

April 2 Program: Sorry Programming Languages & Surprises

Mark, KR3AM will present on "The sorry state of modern programming languages, and other rants, with surprises."

Mark always presents an interesting program. He's keeping details close to the vest, but there will be some interesting artifacts. You'll have to come to find out...

73, Dee, KU4GC 3/27/19

March 5 Program: TARPN

Tadd, KA2DEW, will be at Bullocks this Tuesday to talk about what VHF/UHF packet radio is, what operators of a TARPN station see, what hardware it uses, what people do in the group, and how to join in the fun. We'll have a couple of systems, radios, Raspberry PIs, antennas and a very short slide show.

History:
A local group Amateur Radio project has sprung up over the past 5 years called TARPN. The project uses packet radio in a new way to do live chats between the participants over a four county area here in Central North Carolina.

Just as DxCluster, APRS and working digital satellites are all different ways of using packet over VHF/UHF Amateur Radio, TARPN has yet another. TARPN is building an off-the-grid text chat network which is attractive to builders, tinkers, preppers, VHF enthusiasts and especially to young adult hams.

The Central North Carolina TARPN has 22 on-the-air stations between Wendel and Mebane. There are TARPNs in NC, Pennsylvania and Michigan and experimenters in a few more US locations including Puerto Rico, as well as in England and Japan. The TARPN email reflector has 140 participants world-wide.

Two interesting elements about the TARPN project are that they've overcome the saturation problem where packet radio networks fail when they get too crowded, and TARPN permits (nay, insists) that each and every participant have a fully expandable piece of the network. Nobody is a dependent. Everybody is a builder.

73, Tadd, KA2DEW 3/1/19

ARES Meeting Tuesday, February 26

Come join us at the ARES meeting. For more info click of the [DC ARES] button on the left.

February 5 Program: Lightning Talks

As a DFMA member, and person responsible for presenting programs at club meetings, it is great to be part of such a knowledgeable community. To celebrate that knowledge, the February meeting will feature lightning talks A lightning talk is a short presentation, usually under five minutes, of an interesting technique, fact, artifact, practice, story from a past adventure, or anything else you think would be interesting to the club. It will be a bit like our show-and-tell meetings, but there is no need for a physical object to show.

To make this work, I need your participation. Let me know by emailing me privately at km4mbg AT km4mbg DOT org if you'd like to present. Now is your chance to inflict your interests on the club without having to fill a full length presentation!

73, Jack, KM4MBG 1/28/19